Kerry Livgren

Update - Kerry Livgren

by Danl Blackwood
(written February 1996)

As co-founder of the immensely successful 70's secular rock band, Kansas, Dove-Award winning Kerry Livgren is also known by many for his 80's CCM band, AD. Livgren's music and ministry in AD was a major influence in my life and one of my earliest exposures to Contemporary Christian Music. You may say, "So where's he been?" Actually Livgren has been around all along, and very busy. Most recently he released When Things Get Electric, an excellent rock CD that evokes nostalgic Kansas/AD memories, as well as providing more unique songs to add to your list of "Favorite Livgren Music."

When Things Get Electric was an independent release, and was not widely distributed at first (most sales occurred by word-of-mouth on the Internet), but Livgren informs me that it should be available by now in any record store. If it's not in stock, the stores can order it through Phantom Distribution, and Riverside in Christian record stores. Of course, you can always get it directly from Livgren's independent label, Numavox Records in Topeka. You can contact them at I understand that in addition to some Christian Rock radio airplay, it has also begun to enjoy even more exposure in the mainstream radio market as well. When I asked him how sales were going, Livgren told me, "Reasonably well. It's still a little early to tell. Most of the orders now are coming from retailers and distributors rather than direct, which means Numavox has moved out of being a mail order operation into being a "real" label. The distributors are just now getting the album into their systems. The biggest obstacle has been radio. There's just not much in the way of a format for the music I'm doing, but then that's pretty much always been the case." The format of the CD is pretty much rock and pop-rock, therefore it's been difficult for Light 99, to find a spot for the tunes, since the main format is Adult Contemporary.

Numavox may be moving away from the mail order business, but it's still one of the only resources to purchase older Kansas/Livgren/AD recordings. In addition to recently out-of-print Livgren recordings One of Several Possible Musiks and Decade, Livgren told me, "AD's Art of the State should be available for the first time on CD within a month. It will have new cover art, it will be digitally re-mastered, and there may even be an unreleased bonus track. Also, Time Line and Seeds Of Change are being re-released on CD by Renaissance Music of Nashville. Both CD's will have a bonus interview track at the end of the album."

The next project Livgren is working on involves writing and arranging a soundtrack for the next release in the Mind's Eye series of computer animated feature-length videos. If you're invo|ved at all in computer animation, you'll be familiar with the first three videos The Mind's Eye by James Reynolds, Beyond the Mind's Eye by Jan Hammer, and The Gate to the Mind's Eye by Thomas Dolby. The fourth video, Journey Into The Mind's Eye, will feature some excerpts from When ThingsGet Electric, as well as some new instrumental music from Livgren. It was originally scheduled for a February '96 release, but (obviously) that has slipped back several months. When I asked how the project is going, Livgren said, "Lately, I have been making some good progress. It is a challenging undertaking, both artistically and technologically."

The other item that many Livgren fans are anxious to hear about is whether or not there will be a tour. So ... any news to announce on live concerts? Livgren responded, "Not really. We've had a couple of offers,but it doesn't make sense to tour yet. We're still trying to getNumavox off the ground, and then I've got Mind's Eye."

Get a hold of When Things Get Electric. Classic Livgren and great Christian rock music!

Other related news...

"Christian Kansas" album's released on CD

In 1981, after Livgren and bass player Dave Hope became Christians, creative differences finally took there toll in Kansas, and original lead singer, keyboardist, co-writer Steve Walsh quit. After finding a replacement lead singer in a very young John Elefante, they released Vinyl Confessions (1982) and Drastic Measures (1983). Elefante, also a Christian, lent not only his incredible vocal talents, but wrote and co-wrote many of the songs on these albums. At that point, almost half the band was Christian; it's no wonder some have referred to these as "Christian Kansas". The news according to Sony/Legacy is these albums (in addition to AudioVisions) were released February 27th for the first time on CD, and are in stores as you read this. If you're a fan of Kerry Livgren and John Elefante, I would highly recommend checking out these albums.

For more info on the history of Kerry Livgren, Kansas, AD,
and his latest projects, see the Kerry Livgren Links on my Music Page.

Return to the Blackwood Music History Scrapbook
Danl Blackwood  /\/\  \/\/  Topeka KS