REO Speedwagon rockers Kevin Cronin, Bruce Hall, Neal Doughty, Dave Amato, and Bryan Hitt sit down with Dan Rather to discuss their legendary career in music on an all-new episode of The Big Interview—airing Tuesday, May 14 at 8pE/5pP.
In this exclusive preview, frontman Kevin Cronin reflects on the moment he knew the band had made it big. After they finished recording their landmark 1980 opus Hi Infidelity—which landed at #1 on the Billboard charts, and went on to become the best-selling rock release of 1981 and certified 10x platinum—REO Speedwagon immediately hit the road as their signature hit “Keep On Loving You” was starting to take over the airwaves. On one of their first stops, at an arena in Baton Rouge, it became clear that the band was destined for superstardom.
“Back in those days, we were good for maybe 3,000 tickets,” Cronin explains. “When we played an arena, they would put a curtain halfway across so it didn’t look so empty… My window in my room looked out to the arena. About two o’clock in the afternoon people were starting to line up, and I’m like, ‘Oh, this is awesome!’” A few hours later, around five o’clock, a massive crowd had snaked its way around the arena. The initial tickets had completely sold out, forcing the promoter to buy carnival tickets to keep up with the demand—the band would not be needing the dividing curtain that night. Cronin continues, “It turned out ‘Keep On Loving You’ had been getting airplay on the local radio station in Baton Rouge, and people just reacted to it. We went from being a 3,000-seat band to being a 12,000-seat band seemingly overnight. And I just went, ‘Ok, here we go. Something’s happening here!’” Watch it here.
The Big Interview airs every Tuesday at 8pE/5pP, only on AXS TV.