REO Speedwagon found its new keyboardist who would replace Neal Doughty following his announcement regarding his retirement from touring.
After spending more than a decade of his life with REO Speedwagon, Doughty made a shocking decision which the band shared on Instagram. It confirmed that he would bow out from performing live after 55 years of being its keyboardist.
The original keyboardist said it was time for him to fly as he had had enough of traveling. Despite his retirement, he suggested that he might reunite with his bandmates onstage on occasion.
Following his announcement, his bandmate Kevin Cronin officially announced Derek Hilland as Neal Doughty’s replacement in REO Speedwagon.
On the band’s website, the musician introduced Hilland and detailed the experience he has before officially joining them.
“Since his stint with Iron Butterfly, Derek has toured with Whitesnake and Foreigner, and most recently spent 15 years in Rick Springfield’s band,” Cronin wrote. “When I contacted my old buddy Rick for a reference, he said of Derek, ‘He is the sweetest, most gifted f**king keyboard player since Keith Emerson, a great harmony singer, and a really decent human.’ And Rick was right.”
Cronin added that, while Hilland is younger than the rest of the current lineup, the band’s new keyboardist is a perfect fit as he grew up listening to REO Speedwagon. Hilland is reportedly a fan of Doughty’s work, as well.
REO Speedwagon’s Career Plans
REO Speedwagon has scheduled tours this year. Starting on Feb. 3 at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, the band will visit more venues in the next few months until its last stop on August 30 at the Great Allentown Fair.
The band will also perform in Orland, Clearwater, Pompano Beach, Brookings, Sioux City, Park City, Bemidji, La Crosse, New Buffalo, Mt. Pleasant, Albany, Tupelo, Birmingham, Temecula, Kennewick, Lincoln, Biloxi, North Charleston, Wheeling, Youngstown, Port Huron, Prior Lake, Billings, Sandpoint, Idaho Falls, Sturgis, and Arcadia.
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The American rock band was formed in 1966. Among the albums it released, its 1980 “Hi Infidelity” became the group’s best-selling album as of press time.
Through the years, it saw people come and go in the lineup. They also tapped touring substitutes and guests in the past years.
Currently, REO Speedwagon is composed of Cronin, Hilland, Bruce Hall, Dave Amato, and Bryan Hitt.
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