is one of the founding members of the group "Kansas".
Born and raised there, he was the lead guitarist, keyboardist, and primary writer for the group.
His career with them lasted over 13 years, starting in Topeka, Kansas garages and ending in stadiums
Kerry and drummer Phil Ehart formed the first "Kansas" band in 1970, a seven member group known for its
sometimes bizarre originality. The locals who remember this band testify that they were "far ahead of
their time". "Discovered" by Television and Publishing mogul Don Kirshner in 1973, he signed the now
six-member Midwestern band to his newly formed label and brought them to the Record Plant in New York.
Kirshner was not to be disappointed.
From the release of their first album the band's momentum grew quickly, and they became a touring band to
be reckoned with.
During the late Seventies Livgren penned the hit songs "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind"
among many others, propelling the band to the top of the charts. Kansas was, (and many believe still is),
America's premier progressive rock band, known for combining intricate musical arrangements with power
rock and accessible melodies. Livgren's spiritual and sometimes arcane lyrics also help set the groups
music apart from the mainstream. They have toured extensively worldwide, and sold more than 14 million
records to date.
In 1980 Kerry Livgren released "Seeds of Change", the first of several solo albums, which featured
Ronnie James Dio, David Pack of Ambrosia, Jethro Tull drummer Barriemore Barlowe, and other well known
"Time Line", Kerry's first self-produced album, was released by CBS (now Sony) in 1983, at which time he
departed from Kansas and formed the group "AD". AD toured the U.S. From 1983-1985, and released three more
albums, "Art of the State", "Reconstructions", and "Prime Mover" for Sparrow Records. Lately available
only as imports, they are scheduled to be re released in February 1996 by Renaissance Music (Nashville).
Livgren's next effort and first instrumental, One of Several Possible Musiks, won a Dove Award for
Instrumental Album of the year in 1989.
Kerry Livgren's last release for Sparrow was a double CD compilation entitled "Decade", which contained
"Seeds of Change" and "Time Line" in their entirety, (they had not previously been available as compact
disks), excerpts from the other AD albums and some unreleased tracks. The package also contained a booklet
with excerpts from his published autobiography, also entitled "Seeds of Change" which chronicles the
history of the band as well as Livgren's spiritual pilgrimage.
In 1989 and 1990 Livgren re-united with Kansas for a European and then a domestic tour. There was also
sporadic recording with the band during this period resulting in the song "Wheels" which was included in
the band's Box Set, and an appearance in the "Live at the Whiskey" video issued by Intersound.
Kerry was simultaneously writing music for his next album, a task that would consume almost two years,
and was interrupted by a move from Georgia back to his native state. After building a new studio facility
and recruiting a new group of musicians and singers he refers to as the "Corps de Pneuma", work was
resumed on the album. Kerry comments: "Though I dearly love Georgia, it was great to be back in Kansas
(the state) again. I immediately felt at home. There's something about returning to your roots that's
inspiring". Dubbed "When Things Get Electric" after the title track, it is Kerry Livgren's latest effort,
and is also the debut for the new independent label, Numavox, which plans future releases of new music,
as well as "first time on CD" re-releases of some of Kerry's and AD's past catalog.
Lately Kerry Livgren is engaged in recording the soundtrack for an upcoming release of the popular
"Mind's Eye" series of computer animation videos, to be released by Sony in 1996. This video series has
received rave reviews, has been widely distributed through retail and video rental stores, and continues
to get a lot of televised airtime (PBS, Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, etc.)
Though Kerry Livgren is known for his music, he will quickly point out that it is only one of his many
pursuits. "I'm a family man, I have a role in my church , I'm running a record label, a studio, a
production company, a farm, and I have more hobbies and interests than there are hours in the day.
Sometimes I feel like I'm spread pretty thin." Busy or not, there's nothing thin about Kerry Livgren's
music, as his fans will eagerly point out. Livgren has plans for more in the future. "Lord willing,
I'm just getting started. It's difficult for me to envision myself not making music, so I hope I can
continue to explore the world of musical expression for a long time to come."