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Interview:
REO Speedwagon's old energizes its new
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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REO Speedwagon frontman Kevin Cronin says he's usually "not one for nostalgia." But coming off an extended 30th anniversary celebration for the group's nine-times-platinum 2010 album "Hi Infidelity," Cronin has a somewhat gentler view of the past.

But, he adds, the future is still his paramount concern.

"I'm much more into looking forward and keeping the creative juices flowing," says Cronin, 61, who has in fact been working on new material, REO's first since releasing the "Find Your Own Way Home" album in 2007 (with a holiday album in 2009). "I think maybe the fact I am in kind of a creative mode right now makes it a little easier to embrace the nostalgia. If all you're doing is being nostalgic, I think that gets stale pretty quick. But when the creative juices start flowing and you're also open to accepting the beauty of some of the things you accomplished in the past, those things can go hand in hand.

"I'm feeling really strong in both of those ways right now. And as a result we've got, believe it or not, people coming up to us after the show who are like, 'You guys are better than ever right now.' To be hearing that at this point is pretty gratifying."

And, Cronin adds, it's even more encouraging that some of that praise is coming from fans who weren't even born when "Hi Fidelity" was released, much less older REO favorites such as "Ridin' the Storm Out," "Roll With the Changes" and "Time For Me to Fly."

"These are young people at our shows -- I'm talking about high school and college kids," Cronin notes. "We've got people of all ages coming to these concerts and we're just kicking ass and we're having fun and enjoying what we're doing.

"It's just another one of those great, tight periods for the band. Everyone is healthy. Everyone's feeling the creative spurt that we're on and everyone is embracing the beauty of what's got us there. To have five guys all in the same mindspace, it's a really special thing. I can't take that for granted."

REO Speedwagon and the Tubes perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, at Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights. Tickets are $45 and $35 pavilion, $16 lawn. Call 568-268-9700 or visit ww.freedomhill.net.

Web Site: www.freedomhill.net

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