Classic rock band Kansas will perform live at the Tippecanoe County Amphitheater Saturday night in honor of 9/11. Proceeds will go to the Lafayette Transitional Housing Center.
Ronnie Platt joined the band as lead singer in 2014, replacing original singer Steve Walsh. He sat down to answer a few questions from the exhibitor.
How does it feel to be on tour after no live music for a year?
Oh my God. You know, it’s so “hold your breath as long as you can”. I see. And then take that deep breath. I mean, that’s what it does. It’s so nice to be back playing in front of people and seeing people and having that adrenaline rush of being on stage and playing Kansas music. It doesn’t get any better than that.
What brought Kansas to Indiana on your tour?
Are the vehicles valid?
Well, we hit the road, anywhere, everywhere we can, and we love Indiana. I know we’ve been to West Lafayette before. We know there are a lot of Kansas fans there and we love coming to West Lafayette.
What’s it like performing in the Midwest region? Is it like coming home?
Oh, I love it because I can drive instead of fly. It’s funny, I always said that if it was less than 240 km from Chicago, it really felt like home. Because after 25+ years of not only driving a truck but also traveling with Kansas and other bands, it would be easier to add up the places I haven’t been.
What states have you visited with and without the band?
It’s really wild. Indiana, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, even parts of Ohio. It’s just crazy how we come to a city and I’m like, wait a second. I have been here before. I’ve had this moment so many times. It’s basically insane.
How did you get to where you are today as Kansas’ lead singer?
Perseverance. It’s crazy, you know, to consider joining Kansas at 52, I know it’s crazy. And that was seven years ago. Time flies when you’re having fun. And you know, what do they say? Life is a journey, not a destination, and my foot never left the accelerator.
How long have you been involved in music?
Being a little kid and just surrounded by music, I guess it was kind of predestination for me. Everyone in my family, including my mother and my grandparents, plays the piano. It was just something that was so automatic in my environment, just getting involved in the music and never stopping. And that’s something that I’m saying is pretty unique because I had so many friends who were really involved in music, but then they fell out of the music scene because they got married and had kids and had families and you know, is the typical life event.
It just wasn’t in the cards for me. I’ve always been involved in music and so immersed in it and, you know, just loving what I do and having a passion for it got me to where I am in Kansas today.
What does being part of Kansas mean to you?
It’s still surreal. It’s still surreal to this day. Thinking back to when I was a teenager and releasing those Kansas albums that I was a huge fan of. I’ve always been a big fan of progressive music and so much music in general. It really is so fulfilling and it’s hard to find the right words to describe it.
I know I’m part of a very, very exclusive group of guys who have achieved the status that I have myself in Kansas. I am part of a very, very small group of unique individuals who have found themselves in a group that they have idolized their entire lives.
When you were making a living as a trucker, did you listen to Kansas when you were on the road?
I was a listener in my truck. I saved my voice for the end of the day. I’ve always had a work band since probably I was 14, 15, and I’ve really lived a double life as a musician all my life and as a truck driver.
I was always eager to end my day because I wanted him to go home and practice or go rehearse with a band or do a show.
What is your favorite part of the live?
For me, it’s just the adrenaline rush of being in front of people and playing for people who love this music. Kansas music isn’t easy. It’s progressive rock and it takes an intense level of musicality to pull it off.
When you look at the audience and just see the look of appreciation and people’s faces, that’s really great for me. I love it.
Is there a specific Kansas song that hits you particularly hard when playing?
Not particularly, but we just played a huge festival just outside Toledo, and there were about 25,000 people there. We played “Dust in the Wind” and over half the crowd was holding their cell phones with the lights on. It was quite emotional, you know, just to see thousands of people, so much in this song. It was intense.
How does Kansas fit into the definition of progressive rock?
The music is very, very involved. Kansas has a lot of influence on classical music. I’ve always been in progressive bands like Rush and Genesis, you know, bands of that nature that have that progressive rock label on them.