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  #1  
Old 09-19-2006, 06:19 PM
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Default Phil Ehart

For years I viewed Phil just as an OK drummer but lately I have come to respect him more and more. As a member of Kansas he had his work cut out for him. He didn't seem to stand out for me because his fills seemed a little weak. As I listen to Kansas music now my perception of them is that they are sort of like a modern version of Classical music. Phil's role then becomes like the percussion section of a symphony. In that mode he does his job extremely well. (There are not a lot of places for drum fills in Classical music)

Kansas has had at least 3 lead players in the band at any given time over the years (including Steve Morse) yet Phil still emerges as their leader. He sets an perfect example of how a drummer should blend in with the rest of the players.

Phil has a flawless sense of time. That is a requirement with all the crazy time signatures that Kansas uses. It is also apparent that he has extensive knowledge of music overall and not just drums.

As usual, if you listen to Kansas' music that gets played on the radio you are missing their best. Here are some of my favorite tracks:

Device-Voice-Drum DVD. This one is highly recommended for Kansas fans. It takes a while for Steve Walsh to warm his voice up but the music is awesome. Phil's chops really shine on the updated version of Portrait.
Song for America
Icarus
The Pinnacle
Miracles Out Of Nowhere
Cheyenne Anthem - there is a live version of this on the Leftoverature CD (not great for drumming but a great track)
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  #2  
Old 09-19-2006, 09:00 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

I have a deep respect & love for that band and Phil Ehart. Masque and Leftoverture are probably my favorite albums by them. If anyone is not familiar with the song Magnum Opus... you should be! what an intense piece of music!
I really liked a song by Kansas called Musicatto ( I think that was the name ) Steve Morse is my absolute favorite guitarist (not because of Kansas or Deep Purple). It's a shame he had to leave the band. he said it was basically because the original guitarist Kerry Livgren made more money off of new album sales and tours and he wasnt even in the band anymore, he just owned the name of the band still.
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  #3  
Old 09-19-2006, 11:36 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

[quote=Ufipman
If anyone is not familiar with the song Magnum Opus... you should be! what an intense piece of music! [/QUOTE]

I totally agree with you there. It's almost not fair to call Magnum Opus a "song" because of all the unique and various parts in it. I think many have accurately labeled Kansas' music as Baroque-progressive-rock. I've always been a huge Ehart fan and I have always felt he has not received the credit he deserves for his talents.

I highly recommend for all Kansas fans Kerry Livgren's solo album from 1980 called "Seeds of Change." It has Phil Ehart and Barriemore Barlow of Jethro Tull playing drums on all but one track and the performances by both are simply perfect. Ronnie James Dio, Steve Walsh, Jeff Pollard and David Pack also appear on the album.

Last edited by Ruok; 09-21-2006 at 03:37 AM.
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  #4  
Old 09-20-2006, 03:19 AM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Kansas is one of my favorite bands, but I always thought Phil to be very stiff. He does the job for the band, but I don't enjoy his playing.
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2006, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Quote:
but I always thought Phil to be very stiff
I would say that being "stiff" and having "flawless timing" could be subjective views of the same thing.

I think that this section of the forum is to highlight the strengths of various drummers and not to resolve who is the best. When someone needs help with a certain aspect of drumming they should look here for examples of drummers that are strong in that area. If someone wanted help with counting out something I would recommend listening to "Journey from Mariabronn" and playing along with Phil.
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  #6  
Old 04-29-2007, 07:38 AM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Just saw Kansas tonight in Biloxi and WOW I am impressed. The last time I saw Kansas they opened up for Yes and I couldn't hear the band as well as I would've liked. Got a great look at Phil and have a new found respect. Impecable timing, totally fluent. The rest of the band sounded great and of course Rich kicked butt.
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  #7  
Old 05-12-2007, 01:31 AM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

I am a huge fan of Kansas, and I saw them last year. They sounded better than ever. Phil is great drummer who deserves more respect in the drum world. Visit the band's site www.kansasband.com . Peace.
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  #8  
Old 05-21-2007, 12:14 AM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Resguy,I can agree with much of what you are saying. I don't think Phil's "fills" are so much "weak" as they are just "commonplace," meaning that they do not stand out or blaze across the music the same way that other Prog-rock contemporaries like Carl Palmer's or Bill Bruford's fills do. In this way,Phil Ehart is typically American,with a playing style based more on the Blues than Stravinsky. And there is nothing wrong with that: European Prog is based on European sound sources such as Classical music while most American music (no matter how "Proggy" it pretends to be,) nods in the direction of Jazz and Blues with the Blues being the deciding factor. Therefore,Ehart's drumming would fit comfortably into any mid-1970s Hard Rock Lp but not necessarily into the European Prog variants that were in vogue at the time. Personally,I love both Kansas and Phil Ehart. Much of what Ehart plays sounds simple but is like hell to play along with. I love the writing and arranging in songs like The Pinnacle,Magnum Opus,Miracles Out Of Nowhere,Song For America and Lamplight Symphony; these guys were no slouches.I saw them afew years back in 2001 and they sounded like they were going through the motions which is too bad because when a band reaches that stage in their career they should just call it quits. Even so,some of the best music in the 70s was being made by these guys and as resguy says: if you think the hits were great,just dig into the other stuff. Check out this link to a performance of The Pinnacle on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert from 1975. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZzLPf_zyKk
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  #9  
Old 09-26-2007, 03:48 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Our band will be doing Carry On Wayward Son ....and I've been listening to pick up any nuances that may have been missed over the years...and wow...new found respect!!

2 things...

1) I thought he was Ludwig guy........all the old videos show Slingerland...hmmmm
2) What snare is he using on C.O.W.S ??
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  #10  
Old 10-19-2007, 04:36 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

you guys are funny. Kansas will lead! I've been playing since 1967 and Phil blows me away.
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  #11  
Old 10-19-2007, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Quote:
Originally Posted by fusssion View Post
Our band will be doing Carry On Wayward Son ....and I've been listening to pick up any nuances that may have been missed over the years...and wow...new found respect!!

2 things...

1) I thought he was Ludwig guy........all the old videos show Slingerland...hmmmm
2) What snare is he using on C.O.W.S ??
I was just listening to the Two for the Show Lp, and in the pics, it shows a Slingerland chrome snare. It could be a chrome over Brass, because that snare sound is pretty solid sounding and fatter than a 'normal' steel chrome snare. I think it's a 6.5, but I'm not sure about that.
One (of a ton :P) of the best snare sounds on record IMO--it still sounds awesome when it's on the radio.

Phil was a Ludwig guy for a short time, just before he went with Yamaha I think....

I was just re-looking at PE's MD article from around 85 ( I love that black Yamaha kit he had!) and he said he really just considered himself a rock drummer that happened to be in a band that played odd sigs, and passages.
His parts were never that 'complicated', but they fit the songs, and are good to listen too.
I always liked the feel of Fight Fire With Fire, a totally simple groove, but it fits just right, and the time sig is perfect for that type of tune. And Song For America is fun to play along to as well.
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  #12  
Old 10-19-2007, 07:27 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlCrafton View Post
I was just listening to the Two for the Show Lp, and in the pics, it shows a Slingerland chrome snare. It could be a chrome over Brass, because that snare sound is pretty solid sounding and fatter than a 'normal' steel chrome snare. I think it's a 6.5, but I'm not sure about that.
One (of a ton :P) of the best snare sounds on record IMO--it still sounds awesome when it's on the radio.
Thanks Karl....good stuff!

But,...I wouldn't assume that it was a chrome over brass because of it's sound....think Ludwig Supraphonic ;)

Which to me....that sounds like on Carry On....

Thanks again....
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  #13  
Old 10-19-2007, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Actually...I always really thought it sounded like a Supraphonic myself...but since he was a Slingerland player, and those pics had that Slingerland snare...I assumed he used a Slingerland....

BUT, you're right, it does sound like a Supra...which is a waaaay better snare IMO...being a Ludwig guy :P.

That gong he has in those pics looks really cool too with the lathed, then un-lathed circles.
I have one of those 28" Wuhan wind gongs, but I wish I could get one like Phil had back then.
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  #14  
Old 10-19-2007, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Ludwig guy myself! :)

BUT ...

You may have misunderstood what I said.....All I was saying is that that snare (while probably a Slingerland) wasn't necessarily a chrome over brass,....then I used the Supra as an example ;)
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  #15  
Old 10-19-2007, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

OK...
I get you.

Hey you know what...in my 'mind's eye'..not blurry after all these years haha!...I'm thinking that snare (in the pics I'm talking about) MAY be a wood snare with reinforcing hoops....
He has the snare pretty angled from what I recall too....without having the pic in front of me that is.
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  #16  
Old 10-22-2007, 03:48 AM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Karl,I believe the gong that Phil used in the 1970s was a custom-made Zildjian. I used to have a Zildjian catalogue at that time and it had several odd gongs that Zildjian no longer makes. In fact I still own a 30" Zildjian "Taiwan" Gong that I bought from that particular catalogue.The closest I could come to an example of Phil's gong can be purchased at this website: http://www.gongs-unlimited.com/22suoncabago.html
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  #17  
Old 10-26-2007, 09:01 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Thanks for the info ellenvannin105.
This is the gong I have. It's a 28" Wuhan Wind Gong. It's got a pretty cool sound.



I think my school used to have a gong ( a looonnnng time ago) that was like Phil's, but not striped. It was like the Wind Gong in shape, but smoother and a little thicker.

I found this on that site. It doesn't say what size it is...
http://www.gongs-unlimited.com/targogong.html
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  #18  
Old 10-27-2007, 02:49 AM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

I have been a huge fan since I was 17. I saw Kansas in Don Kirschner's Rock Concert. Us old farts will remember that Don Kirshner introduced them as "progressive country".

I have seen them live a few times but the first time was the original band with Moorse. I was lucky enough to see them in the round from the front row, that meant as the stage slowest rotated I got to watch him play from behind about 8 feet away. I was a real treat.

Song For America is a masterpiece.
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  #19  
Old 10-31-2007, 06:20 AM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Karl,I think the gong in your link might very well be the Phil Ehart gong as well. I'd forgotten about that one. Anyway,it's a Ufip and the drummer with PFM also used a Ufip.Incredibly heavy gongs as I recall. Your own gong is pretty good; I am always thinking of buying a Wuhan wind gong but I wonder if it will go down well alongside my Paiste Symphonics. Gongs,quite fun,aren't they...?
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  #20  
Old 11-01-2007, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

I think the Wind gong would go pretty well with your Paiste Symphonics.

It would sound good with the Traditional series and the new Twenty series too.

I had been thinking of getting this for years, and finally had a use for it, so I went for it.

The situation for using it changed, and I only used it for one thing, but even with that, I don't regret getting it.

The price was good too.

I like it because you get the 'gong' sound, but it gets out of the way pretty quick and doesn't go "nnnnnnn" for 10 minuites behind you.

The loudest gong I ever heard was Bobby Rondineli's when he was with BOC a few years ago. I heard it from about 15 feet away on the side of the stage, and it was so freakin' loud, I was like....Holy crap that's freakin' loud!
And I saw the hit coming too!!

Booby is a cool guy too.

Hey rmandelbaum,

LUCKY!!!! That must have ruled.
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  #21  
Old 01-29-2008, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Phil is definitely one of my favorites. What could you not like about his drumming on Magnum Opus or Song for America??
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  #22  
Old 09-24-2008, 12:19 AM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmandelbaum View Post
I have been a huge fan since I was 17. I saw Kansas in Don Kirschner's Rock Concert. Us old farts will remember that Don Kirshner introduced them as "progressive country".

I have seen them live a few times but the first time was the original band with Moorse. I was lucky enough to see them in the round from the front row, that meant as the stage slowest rotated I got to watch him play from behind about 8 feet away. I was a real treat.

Song For America is a masterpiece.
Yes, I fondly remember seeing Kansas on Don Kirshner's show. I wish I could remember what they played- I was too blown away for it to stick with me! I had just heard Rush's 2112 at the time, and I abhorred pop and country. These two bands and especially their drummers, helped me to see that there were artists that could make an entire ALBUM (yes, I remember vinyl!) that held you by the throat and didn't let go, even after it ended. I had the great fortune to meet Kansas in 1982 on their Vinyl Confessions tour. It was at a record-signing at the largest record store(vinyl, again) in Jacksonville, Fl, called Coconut's Records. And yes, I had my album there for them to sign. They were all very humble-seeming and engaging people. Phil had a couple kind words about the need to practice and keep drumming. Very powerful to a 21 year old who was trying to balance fatherhood, work and drumming. That night at the Jacksonville Coliseum, one of the songs on the list was We're All Together from Audio-Visions. The sound was clean, powerful, and very true to the studio version. Phil is definitely one of the most inventive drummers ever. He played in a band that was harmonically and musically very diverse, yet he always seemed to come up with the right part for the song. His playing of odd times was so fluid and un-forced. One of my favorites has Always been Miracles Of Of Nowhere. The 7/4parts sounded so fluid, I didn't realize at first that I was listening to Common Time. The metric modulations the band performs in the last couple minutes of the song are still inspiring and sound great to this day. With his excellent sense of time, he was always able to help me hear things in the musical context of the song in a different light from most other drummers.
A great drummer with a great band.
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  #23  
Old 09-24-2008, 04:08 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

I really like Phil's playing "Carry On Wayward Son" was one of the first songs I ever learned that whole "Leftoverture" album(yes I said album LOL) has great drumming on it,"Point of No Return" was a good album also very cool drumming.IMO Phil falls into the underrated not overrated bracket.

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  #24  
Old 03-23-2011, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

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Originally Posted by rmandelbaum View Post
I Us old farts will remember that Don Kirshner introduced them as "progressive country".
I suppose this explains Rich's ridiculous Kansas wheat farmer outfit in this outstanding live performance on Kirschner's Rock Concert:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZzLPf_zyKk

BTW, Walsh looked so much better before all the cocaine. I saw them live on the Audio Visions tour in 1980. They were excellent in concert - all very good musicians, and tight with good timing, especially with all the changes they do.
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Resqguy, you must have been reading my mind.

I'm an unabashedly Kansas fan and the reason why is Phil Ehart, beginning way back in 1979 - my first concert as a young lad.

Needless to say, I have seen Phil and band as recent as Ocotber 2010 and two weeks ago, and Phil was simply amazing behind the kit. So much energy and passion. I was transfixed. Wow, he gets better every year. He plays simple, is not very flashy, but solid amongst the many time changes and twists in Kansas' music. And a to-die-for Yamaha kit.

I took a killer photo of Phil playing live a couple weeks ago and I'll post it here soon.

Phils my #1 drummer. Better than Peart even.

Thanks for the post!!!
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

I always thought "Song for America" was a great drum track. It's still one of my workout tunes to stay sharp.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:32 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

I really respect Ehart's playing as well. Somebody mentioned that he feels a bit stiff - I think this is true, but a lot of it has to do with the recording technology back then. It makes everything sound really dry and un-resonant, so it's impossible to get a really big, fat, or legato sound like we can today. Of course, maybe that's just the sound that he likes. Regardless, he is a technical master.

I think Kansas laid down the foundations for epic rock and metal bands later on. So many of those songs are full of interesting time changes and strange movements between them - a lot like what you hear epic metal bands doing today. Kansas is like a Dream Theater from the 70's to me, but with a more natural sound.

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  #28  
Old 03-24-2011, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

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Originally Posted by Muckster View Post
I always thought "Song for America" was a great drum track. It's still one of my workout tunes to stay sharp.
Yeah, I love that song, too - especially the live versions from this era:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rkHciHPLFc

Checkout the slide of Ehart's mega Slingerland set towards the end. That looks like 24" China in the upper left. I don't remember seeing a lot of chinas in the 1970s.
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  #29  
Old 03-24-2011, 10:32 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

If you listen to some Kansas tracks carefully, Phil's patterns are so intricately complex that it virtually defies imitation...I'll even go as far as to say that if there were no Phil Erhart there would be no Peart, Palmer or any of the prog rock drummers that of us grew up admiring.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

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Originally Posted by KarlCrafton View Post
OK...
I get you.

Hey you know what...in my 'mind's eye'..not blurry after all these years haha!...I'm thinking that snare (in the pics I'm talking about) MAY be a wood snare with reinforcing hoops....
He has the snare pretty angled from what I recall too....without having the pic in front of me that is.
Yes, if you look at his set even on the current Kansasband website, his snare and toms look like something featured in our infamous "Tom Angles" thread, lol.
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  #31  
Old 04-03-2011, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

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Originally Posted by artisandrummer View Post
If you listen to some Kansas tracks carefully, Phil's patterns are so intricately complex that it virtually defies imitation...I'll even go as far as to say that if there were no Phil Erhart there would be no Peart, Palmer or any of the prog rock drummers that of us grew up admiring.
He and everybody in that band were very talented. I hear some say they were "lesser thans" to the British Progressive rockers of the era. In fact I was listening to Walsh's famous outro in Journey to Mariabronn, and thinking that Greg Lake or any of the variety of vocalists that King Crimson produced just sounded commonplace compared to Steve.
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  #32  
Old 04-04-2011, 01:37 AM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

Kansas is a great live band. Steve Walsh's voice has recovered quite a bit in the last five years or so. He sounds much better on the new DVD than he did on the first one. I have seen Kansas live twice in the last four years, and they are very good live. I really wish they would make a new studio album, but that will probably never happen. Phil Ehart plays great on both DVD's. Peace and goodwill.
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  #33  
Old 04-04-2011, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Drumolator View Post
Kansas is agreat live band. Steve Walsh's voice has recovered quite a bit in the last five years or so. He sounds much better on the new DVD than he did on the first one. I have seen Kansas live twice in the last four years, and they are very good live. I really wish they would make a new studio album, but that will probably never happen. Phil Ehart plays great on both DVD's. Peace and goodwill.
Even though Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope have been split off and in Proto Kaw, I think there are no bad feelings between them all. Provided Kerry gets feeling back in his hands after that stroke, I sure would like to see them all back together, Robby included.
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:13 PM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

No, no bad feelings in the band. Maybe some minor rifts over the years, but the former and current member are all good. Someone said above about Steve's voice - yeah it's much much better and he's in great shape too.

I agree about Phil - I tried to play along with "No One Together" from Audiovisions album and immediately threw in the towel. Phil makes it look easy but we all know it ain't.
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  #35  
Old 04-07-2011, 12:15 AM
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

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Originally Posted by Strangelove View Post
Even though Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope have been split off and in Proto Kaw, I think there are no bad feelings between them all. Provided Kerry gets feeling back in his hands after that stroke, I sure would like to see them all back together, Robby included.
Dave Hope is not in Proto Kaw; he is pastor in Florida. Robby was sorta asked to leave because he was not playing up to par. Billy has been the bass player in Kansas longer than Dave Hope was. I am a big fan of Kerry Livgren, but IMHO, the current version of Kansas is the best one yet. This is just one guy's opinion.
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  #36  
Old 06-25-2011, 03:45 PM
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KirbyM KirbyM is offline
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

I wonder if Phil still has the 26" Zildjian Ride he used for so long? Anyone know?
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  #37  
Old 06-25-2011, 10:11 PM
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theindian theindian is offline
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Default Re: Phil Ehart

I am big Kansas fan. They may not be regarded as highly as some other prog bands, I always thought they sounded more coherent than Yes or ELP.

In a transcription book Kerry Livgren talks about how everyone had to really lay back and make sure not to overplay because there were so many instruments in the band. Phil's parts are appropriate for the songs and he is given time to shine on several tunes.

Cool drum break at the end of Belexes - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kflsPW6m6A

Old school double bass and a drum solo in How my sould cries out for you - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hpDJr4Wj5g
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