By Tammy Everitt
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Little River Band, with a popular list of Top 10 hits from the 1970s, will be in concert at two sold-out shows Friday in the Terrace Showroom at Hoosier Park.
The group has had chart hits “Cool Change,” “Lonesome Loser,” “Take It Easy On Me” and “Lady.” After an evening of hits, concert-goers will no doubt be “Reminiscing.”
LRB was formed in Melbourne, Australia, back in 1975. They sold more than 25 million records and achieved 11 U.S. Top 40 hits.
Although the lineup has switched over the years, the current band members include Greg Hind, Chris Marion, Rich Herring, Ryan Ricks, and Wayne Nelson.
Wayne Nelson, lead vocalist, recently talked with The Herald Bulletin.
THB: Are any of the current members of LRB original band members?
Nelson: Just me. All the founding members of the band left at different times for various reasons ... some musical, some personal, and some because things got rough in the music business. Because they all originally lived in Australia, all those elements were magnified by the distance they had to travel every time they toured. Back then it could take as long as 26 hours to get from Melbourne to Los Angeles. That kind of travel can wear you out.
THB: What are you guys working on this summer? Any new stuff? How many shows a year are you currently doing?
Nelson: We have just completed a new CD with all new material for a European label called Frontiers. The worldwide release is in late August. We had to work on all the aspects of the CD ... writing, recording, and post production... in and around our touring schedule. We still average 80-85 shows per year.
THB: What has been the biggest change touring since the band got started back in the ‘70s?
Nelson: Far and away the biggest change to what we do has come from technology. What used to take a truck full of sound gear can be done at a higher quality with much less now. We carry smaller gear, smaller consoles, in-ear devices instead of stage monitors, etc. Technology also allows us to add elements to the show that used to require extra musicians ... strings, percussion parts, loops, samples, etc. What hasn’t changed a bit is the human element ... it still takes hands and voices to create the live music.
THB: What is the biggest difference between your fans in the United States and those in the band’s homeland of Australia?
Nelson: The window of success in the U.S. has been much wider than it was in Australia. This is a broad generalization, but the musical taste of Aussies used to lean more to either the heavy side or the quirky side. Bands like AC/DC, Midnight Oil, The Angels, INXS, Men at Work, Split Enz, Skyhooks ... they held the spotlight early on. LRB’s success around the world was and is highly respected in Australia ... but that respect didn’t always equate to ticket sales. We were seen as pretty “normal” at the time ... which we were. That was our one of our strengths in the U.S. ... the songs have lived on because they were real stories about real life.
THB: What’s the most “requested” song that you guys get asked to play in each show?
Nelson: I’d have to say “Cool Change.” In some way or other, that song seems to have touched more hearts than any of the others.
THB: Do any of the band members have children who are in the music business? If so, what genre of music are they involved with?
Nelson: Our non-touring guitar player has three sons in the business ... a drummer, bass player, and a singer/videographer. My son chose another path, and the rest of the band’s children are too young to have made the choice yet.
THB: What’s the average age of your fan base? Do you think with today’s social media (Internet, Itunes, etc.) that you get a lot more younger fans from that tool?
Nelson: Hard to say. The core of the base would be the generation between 45-60. But they played that music in their homes or cars enough times to introduce their kids to it. So we now have many fans in their 20s and 30s as well. Social media helps us stay in touch, but I think we impress those young fans more with our live show. There’s a level of musicianship and song quality that they don’t get to see a lot of with younger bands.
THB: What appeal is there that keeps the fans coming out to hear the “older” groups. (Those out of the ‘70’s, for example). The venue that you’re playing in has had several bands in the last year or so from that era (Styx, Foreigner, Lynyrd Skynyrd, America, Poco) with good sized crowds.
Nelson: Good songs ... and ones they have memories attached to. Those markers in people’s lives have deep meaning. There’s nothing like music to transport you to the time and place when it first rang your bell.