Rich Williams Names Kansas’ ‘Game-Changing’ Moment

Rich Williams recently discussed the Kansas album he called a ‘game changer,’ as he spoke with Ultimate Guitar.

Williams’ pick for their landmark moment came while the guitarist was discussing the behind-the-scenes of Kansas’ two hits, ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ and ‘Dust In The Wind.’ He said:

“A similarity between both of them – they were last-minute submissions. Especially ‘Wayward Son.’ We were still based in Topeka, Kansas at that time rehearsal for a good while – writing and working up material for the ‘Leftoverture’ album.”

The guitarist continued by revealing how ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ came to feature in the ‘game-changing’ record:

“And in the final hour [of our time in the studio], Kerry [Livgren] walks in one day – and we thought we were basically going to run through some stuff quickly and break down the gear, jump in the truck, and head down to Louisiana to record it. He said, ‘I wrote another song.’ And then he starts laying the song out – it wasn’t recorded or anything.”

He continued by recalling the initial reactions to the song:

“[After hearing Livgren sing it, we said] ‘Boy, that’s a cool riff. Great lyrics.’ The arrangement wasn’t put together at all. But there was a lot of promise in it. The next day, we learned the basic structure, and that was about it. Now, we’re in the studio – and especially then – recording was an assembly line process.”

Rich further detailed the ‘assembly line’ process that went into recording a song:

“[It’s] Where you get set up, get the drums in the right part of the room, mic’d up, they’re sounding good – and then you’re going for drum tracks on everything. So, we’d do the basic tracks of each song. Finally, it was like, ‘Well, we’ve got to start working on that new song.’ So, we learned it in the studio.”

The rocker then added by saying that the band had no idea what the song would sound like:

“The version on the album is probably the first time somebody finally said, ‘I think we’ve got a take.’ That was that. Then, you go into the process of doing acoustic guitars, electric guitars, rhythm guitars, solos, keyboards, and you’re doing that on every song So, we never knew where we were at – until everybody had finished their parts and we had begun mixing.”

However, after listening to the song, Williams said that he knew it would be a hit, as the guitarist called ‘Leftoverture’ a ‘game changer:’

“[We said upon listening to the track] ‘What do we have here?’ Once we started fine-tuning the mixes and sitting back and listening to those initial rough mixes of everything, it was like, ‘Wow. This album is going to be a game-changer.’ And it was. That moved us from an opening act to a headliner – boom.”

Although he’s been with Kansas for more than 40 years, Williams recently discussed how he had pre-show anxiety and opened up about what caused it. Check out here for further details and read the rocker’s personal statement.