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Why Ronnie Platt Thought Twice About Joining Kansas

Platt, third right, with Kansas
Marti Griffin

When current Styx singer Lawrence Gowan spoke in a TV interview about his difficult early days with the band, it sent new Kansas vocalist Ronnie Platt’s stress levels through the roof.

Platt was preparing for his debut appearance, after replacing original Kansas frontman Steve Walsh in 2014, when he saw Gowan on VH1’s Behind the Music discussing his 1999 replacement of Styx singer Dennis DeYoung.

“Lawrence is saying he was in the band a year, and he’d walk out onstage and people were going, ‘F— you! Where is Dennis?’ “ Platt told The Rock Brigade podcast, which you can hear below. “The guy is phenomenal. Is he Dennis? No. But he’s phenomenal in his own right. Talk about a perfect fit for the band. I’m watching this, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God – what have I gotten myself into? Am I going to go out, taking Steve Walsh’s place, and they’re going to stone me until there’s nothing but a pile of bloody apple sauce in the middle of the stage?’”

Platt, who’d spent 25 years as a truck driver before joining Shooting Star in 2007, didn’t have to worry. “The Kansas fans have been so overwhelmingly accepting of me,” he said. “I thank my lucky stars for that.”

Kansas chose him following Walsh’s retirement, and after early ‘80s singer John Elefante refused an invitation to return. “Steve is not only one of the best singers of all time, but one of the greatest entertainers of all time,” Platt said. “I attribute my voice to listening to Steve Walsh, Steve Perry and Lou Gramm. The stress level was off the charts for me when I did the first gig in Oklahoma. I was so nervous. In some respects it seems like yesterday – in other ways it feels like ten years from now.”

Platt’s first studio appearance with Kansas came on their 15th album, The Prelude Implicit, released last year. “When we were recording, we’d hear the engineers going, ‘This album is really good. There’s no filler,’” he recalled. “When you hear that around the corner, and it’s unsolicited, it’s really flattering. We really put every ounce of heart and soul into every song. It’s something we’re really proud of.”

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