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article imageREO Speedwagon talks tour, Westbury, music career and technology Special

By Markos Papadatos     Apr 2, 2019 in Music
Westbury - Kevin Cronin, the frontman and lead singer of the acclaimed rock group REO Speedwagon, chatted with Digital Journal about their upcoming show at Westbury as part of their 2019 tour, and the digital transformation of the music business.
Throughout their career in the music business, REO Speedwagon has sold in excess of 40 million albums worldwide. They are known for such rock classics as "In Your Letter," "Can't Fight This Feeling," "Keep on Loving You" and "Take It On the Run," among many others. They formed in 1967 and they signed to a record label in 1971.
REO Speedwagon's seminal studio album, Hi Infidelity, went on to spend 15 weeks at No. 1 on the charts, and ever since, it has been certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for sales over 10 million units in America.
Aside from Cronin on lead vocals, the iconic rock band is made up of Bruce Hall on bass, Neal Doughty on the keyboard, Dave Amato on guitar, and drummer Bryan Hitt.
On Sunday, April 14, REO Speedwagon will be performing at The Theatre at Westbury on Long Island. "I believe we've played there before. It's a theater in the round," Cronin said.
Cronin continued, "Honestly, I like the challenge of a different environment. It gives us the opportunity to do a different type of performance. You definitely feel like the entire audience is a part of the show since every seat is close to the stage. Sometimes it is even more fun than the arenas when we play intimate venues. We are looking forward to playing Westbury."
Three years ago, REO Speedwagon headlined The Paramount in Huntington on Long Island. "I remember that gig. That's a very cool room. The dressing rooms and The Founder's Room are really cool," he recalled.
Digital transformation of the music industry
On the impact of technology on the music business, Cronin said, "When we learned about the diamond award, the Hi Infidelity album had sold 9.6 million units, and we thought it would be nice to get a diamond award, but we thought 'where would we find 400,000 people who want that album, who don't already have a copy. We didn't think it was going to happen. Then, we got a call in our office saying that we are presented the diamond award, which was a result of the resurgence of vinyl, and mostly, a result of streaming services."
"At that moment, I realized that our fans and people of all ages are discovering that streaming is a real thing. It's a primary way that music is being delivered in this day and age. We have embraced it and it's great. It's all good," he said, about streaming services.
Regarding the passage of the Music Modernization Act, Cronin said, "It's a really important law because it seems that in music the songwriters always get the squeeze. The record companies make money, the artists get paid for the artist royalties and for touring, and the songwriters that write the hit songs, which puts artists in a position to tour and make a good living, don't earn anything from that. Songwriters are strictly reliant on royalties to be able to feed their families."
"We need to put songwriters in a position where they don't have to get a day job, to work as creative artists. The world needs new music to inspire and to motivate us," he added.
On his definition of the word success, Cronin said, "The ultimate success is being good parents and doing everything you can do to bring your kids up with good values. Also, to provide them with a good education and send them out in the world with a positive attitude so they can become a part of the solution instead of becoming a part of the problem."
To learn more about REO Speedwagon and their tour dates, check out their official website.
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