KEVIN CRONIN Looks Back at 50 Years With REO SPEEDWAGON
Written by megarock on May 4, 2022
Kevin Cronin is celebrating 50 years of ridin’ the storm out with REO Speedwagon this year — an anniversary the frontman tells UCR crept up on him.
“That was an anniversary that didn’t even cross my radar screen,” Cronin says. “It didn’t dawn on me ’til we played some shows earlier in the year and that came up and I was like, ‘Wow!’ But, yeah, 50 years ago now is when I joined the band. I can’t even believe it. I was 20 years old. I was a baby! It’s pretty cool.”
Looking back at that auspicious occasion, Cronin acknowledges that a bit of subterfuge played a part in his boarding the Speedwagon.
He was in Chicago and in the midst of a transition during the early part of 1972. “I had a flyer up at the Chicago Guitar Gallery for a little venture that I started called the Musicians Referral Service,” Cronin recalls. “Basically I was just looking for some guys to join my band, ’cause we lost our guitar player and our bass player.” REO guitarist Gary Richrath, who died in 2015, was among those who came upon the flyer; at the time the group was preparing to record its second album and looking to take things up another level.
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