Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Morning Vault: Head East--Never Been Any Reason (1975)

     I am not usually one of those people who would talk about the "days when I was a kid" to a younger generation. But with today's blog one of the two things (vinyl albums being one) that made music better in the 70's comes to the forefront of my mind.

     The story of how FM began to be used as a regular alternative for music other than top 40 AM radio is for another day. But for me, it was in Jr. High school that my memory of our local "underground" music station comes clear. KSHE 95 was the station and it was THE place to listen if you wanted a respite from Donny Osmond and The Carpenters.  My love of progressive rock music found seed and grew here, as was an appreciation of rock acts that were not "popular" until much later. Groups like Supertramp, Styx, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Billy Joel, Charlie Daniels, were heard regularly on our airwaves long before they hit top40 gold. Also many acts that never saw huge success but found a home here like Pavlov's Dog, Missouri and today's focus....Head East.

     Head East was out of South Central Illinois, and had taken the same route as another group from the same area, REO Speedwagon. They honed their skills playing the bars and clubs around Carbondale (home of Southern Illinois University), St. Louis, then more regionally. They released their first album, "Flat as a Pancake" in 1974 on their own record label and quickly sold the first pressing of 5,000 units. The single eventually would reach the top 100 on the Billboard charts, as would two later releases.

     Singer John Schlitt would be kicked out of the band in 1980 because of cocaine and alcohol abuse. He would clean up his life and for a time was out of music entirely. In 1986, he was asked become lead singer of Petra, which at the time was Contemporary Christian Music's top band. He not only joined, but stayed with the group until they retired as a group in 2005. 



Post a Comment