September 15, 2015
Gary Richrath of REO Speedwagon passed away today. I had been thinking about him. He was another bright star to amazingly come out of the armpit of the nation, Peoria. When I was growing up in the Coachmen days, Gary was in another garage band the Suburban 9 to 5. We were all part of Hank Skinner’s Peoria Musical Enterprises. They too went into Golden Voice Studios in Pekin and cut a single 45. We reconnected in Champaign at the U of I. Gary played an outstanding lead guitar with the first incarnation of REO. I still can remember his guitar solo on their rendition of “Sympathy for the Devil”
I spent the day reading Facebook tributes and memories. The best bit was something I recalled. Gary growing up would play his lead with his back turned to the audience in case another guitar player tried to steal his licks. Gary had come a long way down many roads. May he rest in peace.
Another Peoria friend passed away in June. David Backstrom was Dan’s band mate in his first band, The Clan. Dan and David wrote songs together in high school. We knew him as David Jordan then. He wasn’t a big fan of the Coachmen when we lured Dan away. Years later he showed up at Mountain Bird Ranch with Dan during one of his parties. David was an incredible songwriter and musician in his own right. He played several of his songs at Dan and Jean’s Santa Fe.
Here is a video of David on Star Search blowing us all away with his energy.
Well this is shaping up to be quite the heavenly band.