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Interview:
Little River Band at The Strand, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Forty years ago, Australia’s Little River Band assured us that “Help Is On The Way.” And now the group, based out of Nashville these days, is on its way again.

After going through numerous lineup changes and a few legal machinations, the current edition of the band -- led by Wayne Nelson, bassist and singer since 1980 -- has released a live home video as well as a compilation called “The Big Box,” which features all the music the group has released since 2000. A new album is also in Nelson and company’s sights.

But rest assured that any LRB show will always, without fail, feature the hits -- “Reminiscing,” “Cool Change,” “Lonesome Loser,” “The Night Owls,” “Happy Anniversary” and more -- that have insured the group’s legacy for the past four decades...

• Nelson, 67, credits LRB’s durability to the songs themselves. “They’re great songs that relate to people and continue to relate to people,” he says by phone from Nashville. “Our songs have never been about fads or haircuts and trends and so and so forth. The songs are about life. They have at least a serious nature to some of them. They’re not taking things lightly or for granted. We hear more and more stories about how our music of the 70s got people through and still gets people through college and marriages and split-ups and so on and so forth.”

• Nelson is also confident this edition of the band represents the material well. “It’s the same band,” he explains. “It’s 42 years later, but it’s the same concept, the same musical approach -- lots of vocals, lots of harmonized guitars that people can chew on. It’s reminiscent, dare I use the word, of that the whole era of the 70s, where the band was singing and playing together and creating that sound.”

• Nelson took a hiatus from LRB between 1996-99, and shortly after returning singer Steve Wade left the group, leaving Nelson to fill the gap. “I’ve always loved the bass,” he says. “The bottom end was home for me, and I was happy being able to stand in the back and just play. But (Wade) decided he didn’t want to leave Australia anymore and everybody looked at me and said, ‘Why do we keep training somebody else? Why don’t you step up and be the lead singer?’ You step into the shoes of Glenn Shorrock and John Farnham and that’s not easy. It’s been a long learning curve and every single night is another adventure of looking people in the eye and going, ‘Here’s our new music. Here’s who we are now.’ I enjoy the challenge but it was pretty daunting at the beginning.”

• The current LRB ran afoul of the original members a couple of years ago when a “Tonight” show appearance on NBC marking the group’s 40th anniversary had to be canceled when the founders objected to the group playing the old hits on the show. I can only describe it as shortsightedness and bitterness,” Nelson says now. “There are certain songs certain songwriters will not allow this band to go on television and play. They’ve drawn a line in the sand. That’s become the reality that we live with. I would thnk any use of the song is good for them, too, but they have that right to deny (permission). It doesn’t affect the live show. It doesn’t affect anything other than us going on television.”

• LRB’s last album, “Cuts Like A Diamond,” came out in 2013, but Nelson is anxious to do another. “We’ve got to do it,” he says. “I really want to dig into another CD project. We’re itching to do more new material. The reaction to our last CD was very strong. The reaction to the new music on the DVD is very strong. So we need to do some more. It might not be until next year, but we’re itching to write and start doing new stuff. New stuff is coming, for sure.”



If You Go:

• The Little River Band and Jill Jack

• 8 p.m. Friday, May 19.

• The Flagstar Strand Theatre, 12 N. Saginaw St., Pontiac.

• Tickets are $34.50-$74.50.

• Call 248-221-5128 or visit flagstarstrandtheatrepontiac.com


Web Site: www.flagstarstrandtheatrepontiac.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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