The Little River Band is ready for a cool change.
After months of lockdown, the soft rock quintet is finally back on the road, touring nonstop until Thanksgiving, including a stop at Frog Alley Brewing Co. in Schenectady on Friday.
âThere’s nothing quite like being able to get back on the bus and go to work,â said Wayne Nelson, singer and bassist for the band. He spent over four decades with the band, which started in Australia in the 1970s but found a fan base in the United States, with hit songs like “Reminiscing”, “Lonesome Loser” and “Cool Change. “.
Nelson grew up singing with his parents in church and local theater companies. By the time he was in high school he joined a garage band and got hooked.
âI was addicted and kept going from one thing to another. Years later, [I] went to Los Angeles and ended up meeting Little River Band, âNelson said.
It was in 1980, after touring with Jim Messina, who opened for the Little River Band. Even as a newcomer, Nelson has worked with some of the biggest names in the music business. âTime Exposure,â the first record he worked on with the band, was produced by the late Beatles producer George Martin.
“He’s just a legend in the music business and we had the honor of doing this album with him and on top of that it was the first time I sang the lead vocals on a song in the studio and this song hit the Top 5 in the US It was an amazing time for me and for the band to be able to work with him, âsaid Nelson.
He sang on both “The Night Owls” and “Take It Easy On Me”, some of Little River Band’s best known songs.
In the years that followed, as the band continued to tour and produce new music, the lineup changed dramatically. The original band members left and were replaced, and the turnover on the right was quite high.
âWhat’s interesting is that Little River Band was an assembled band. . . but they immediately started replacing people and I was the eighth bass player to tour or record with them. It continued, so once I joined they fired a guitarist, then they fired a lead singer, then another guy came out, and then another guy came out so about three or four years later, I had seen the revolving door turn many times already and every time it happened the process was the same. We were hoping to find someone who could be a singer but we were really looking for a great musician to bring something new to the band. . . I’ve seen all of these changes and been involved in so many of them that it just becomes second nature, âsaid Nelson.
The good thing about changing programming, said Nelson, is that it can go back to each era and appreciate them for different reasons.
âNow I have another great group of musicians as we continue to make new music and the music catalog just keeps growing. I think about everything I’ve been through with the band, it’s the thing I’m most proud of [we] keep making music and [finding] a way to make it good and to keep people happy, âNelson said.
During the pandemic, the group was unable to reunite, let alone tour. Instead, the members, including Chris Marion, Rich Herring, Ryan Ricks, and Colin Whinery, focused on songwriting.
âWe weathered the storm this way. Fortunately, we were about to release a live record when the pandemic struck. We finished that, released it and had something to say in the meantime, which was a hell of a good live record with an orchestra that we recorded the year before. So we were able to come out with something that bridged the gap, âNelson said, referring toâ Black Tie â.
They’ve also recorded a few upcoming singles and they’ll be releasing them later this year, which marks a change from the way the band used to release music.
âIt’s a whole new way for us to do things. Again, we learned some of this during the pandemic. We all had to go to our own studios and work on stuff and instead of an engineer finding you a good vocal sound, I had to find one here on my own and compose things. So it was pretty fun learning it and being a little more independent, âsaid Nelson.
Over the past year he’s also been working on a series called “Little Rivers Run Rough”, on “surviving the music industry” as he puts it. Through videos and podcasts, Nelson spoke to Al Bertani, a high school friend he used to perform with. The series, available at littleriversrunrough.net, chronicles Nelson’s career as well as the changes and challenges in the music industry.
Since the pandemic began to wane in the United States later this spring, Nelson and the group have gotten back together and things are looking a bit more like the status quo.
“He [feels] really good. People are happy too. We’ve done a few shows now where the venues can open up their capacity again and people are just hungry to go out and enjoy again, âNelson said.
When asked which songs the band is always invited to play, Nelson said there are around 10 hits that seem to be everyone’s favorites.
âFor the most part, most people come to hear their favorite two or three, but those two or three are different for anyone sitting in a crowd,â Nelson said. âYou just do the job and present them all with the same love. “
Little River Band will perform at 7 p.m. on Friday. Tickets are $ 49 for general admission.
Wild Adriatic will also perform on Friday.
Then, Saturday, Air Supply will take the stage. The soft rock duo founded by Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock began performing together in 1975 and are well known for hits like “All Out of Love”, “Sweet Dreams”, “Making Love out of Nothing at all” and âLost in Love. “
For tickets and more information, visit frogalleybrewing.com.
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