Classic rock bands in the 70s and 80s made their mark in the world with compositions that are timeless like the melodic rock sounds from the Little River Band whom will be performing at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto on Feb. 26 at 8 p.m.
The band was originally formed in Australia in 1975, and they have had several hits that have seen success on the charts throughout the years like, "It’s a Long Way There," "Happy Anniversary," "Reminiscing," "Lady," "Cool Change," "Lonesome Loser," "The Night Owls" and "Take It Easy On Me" to name a few.
Current members of LRB are Wayne Nelson, bass, lead vocals; Greg Hind, guitar, lead vocals; Chris Marion keyboards, vocals; Rich Herring lead guitar, vocals; and Ryan Ricks drums, vocals. The band toured in 2015 and have over 100 shows scheduled for 2016.
Their current CD, titled “Cuts like a Diamond” with all new tracks and an upcoming single set to release in the spring, the band is enjoying a successful tour.
The vocally heavy vintage classic rock sound that Little River Band is known for is still a part of the new album and they continue to tell stories in their songs. The tracks include topics from falling in love, breaking up, to some heavier topics like domestic abuse.
“There are plenty of vocals and it is very guitar driven,” said Nelson. “I think the strength of the new CD is in the quality of the songs, the stories that are being told and we are just telling the stories from a more grown up, a more seasoned prospective.”
For 36 years, Nelson has been a member of LRB and was originally cast as the eighth bass player in the band.
“At that time they were looking for a bass player and vocals being such a huge part of the band’s sound, a singing bass player was a bonus,” added Nelson. “I was in a band that was opening for LRB and that is when they made me the offer to join up.”
He grew up listening to classical music like Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Chopin which his parents played at home and then moved into vocal bands like the Beach Boys and the Four Seasons in the early '60s.
“Everybody from our vintage was inspired by the Beatles at one time or another, the Rolling Stones, the Guess Who, and moving forward into great R&B; bands like Earth Wind and Fire and stuff like that so vocals and horns, and great arrangements,” stated Nelson. “Chicago, another great band, there were all kinds of influences so we draw from so many different areas.”
The band was reconstructed in the early 2000s and currently all the members of the band sing.
With the changes in the music industry, Little River Band has been able to move with the times enjoying some of the new digital advances which gives artists freedom in the creative process.
“Some of the keyboard parts were recorded on the road, some of the vocals were recorded at my house, and some of them were recorded in the studio,” said Nelson regarding some of the digital changes. “It makes life easier for bands that don’t all live in the same town.”
LRB played in Modesto several years ago and are looking forward to coming back to the Central Valley, according to Nelson. They plan on performing all their hits and some of their new music for concert goers at the Gallo.
“'Cool Change' is a wonderful song, a very emotional song that lots of people connect with for all kinds of different reasons, like boaters, people that have been through hard times, people that have been through good times and that music means something to them, it is an escape for them,” expressed Nelson. “'Lonesome Loser' is like every high school senior's theme song from the late '70s and early '80s and 'Night Owls' is one of my favorites because it is the first one that I sang lead for in the band, a lot of great memories attached to that one.
“'Take it Easy on Me,' same thing. 'Reminiscing' is a song that has been played almost six million times now on the radio.”
According to Nelson, guests can expect a party along with some surprises at their concert with a quality sound and some new material as well as the hits.
“Luckily, Little River Band has always had a great live show and our reputation is built on that experience,” said Nelson. “When people come to the show they hear all of the vocals, they hear all of the hits and it is a great experience for them.”