Kevin Cronin, REO Speedwagon Singer/Songwriter

On December 14, 2009, by AMI Staff

Over the past few years you’ve probably noticed a lot bands jumping into video games. Hell, since September escaping an ad for the Beatles Rockband game has been like getting rid of a bad case of lice – a near impossibility.

Until now, every one of these games have been “action” oriented video games where you have to be able to keep up with the pace of action to win.

Now, REO Speedwagon offers something different. Yes, that REO Speedwagon: rock mullets, taking it on the run baby, because, you know, that’s the way you want it baby, and you just want to keep on lovin’ you. Or so they say.

Along with Curious Sense, which creates digital music experiences for various acts, the band just released a “casual” video game called “Find Your Own Way Home,” that features new and old REO songs in a story-based, slower paced “mind-game” you can play on a computer.

The game it can be played and downloaded online for a pretty fair price – $8 – at the new Republic of Music (and other popular gaming sites) and give you the opportunity to win free REO concert meet-and-greet experiences, as well as a coupon code for 25 percent off the band’s new album, “Not So Silent Night – Christmas with REO Speedwagon.”

I recently sat down with REO lead singer Kevin Cronin to talk about his former mullet, the video game, and his vinyl pants.

Q: The music industry has obviously changed a lot. It’s gotten tough for bands. Give me your perspective of those changes and how has the band changed to meet those alterations in the landscape.

A: When we started out, in choosing life as a musician you were also choosing a life of desperate poverty. When musicians actually started getting paid, a lot of posers decided it was a sound financial strategy to start bands.

Q: It’s making a mild comeback but do you miss vinyl?

A: I really do miss my old vinyl pants.

Q: What did you think when you were first approached with the idea of a video game?

A: I was impressed by the dashing good looks of my avatar.

Q: What does the video game provide you in terms of a creative avenue to reach fans?

A: Fans get an opportunity to re-mix “Roll With The Changes”, so it will be interesting to see how they hear the song.

Q: Were you amazed to learn how many people are playing games like these?

A: I am amazed that anyone has the time to play these games. I barely have time to brush my teeth.

Q: When you first met Adam Blumenthal of Curious Sense, and rumor has it his first words to you were, “Fuck you.” Did you want to club him over the head with your guitar or hug him?

A: Adam had the misfortune of meeting us on a Thursday…or as it came to be known on our tour, “Fuck You Thursday”. The following Thursday I met figure skating champion, Peggy Fleming, who greeted me in similar fashion. Being told to fuck off by America’s Sweetheart was definitely a tour highlight.

Q: I’m a longtime fan and I really miss the old school rock mullet you used to sport. What the hell?

A: Strictly speaking, my doo was more of a “mull-fro”…equal parts mullet and Afro, but thanks.

Q: When you had that hair, did you and Billy Squier ever exchange notes on hair care?

A: No, but Richard Marx learned a thing or two from me. Later I would trade in the “mull-fro” for more of an Art Alexakis (of the band Everclear) look…and Art tortures me with this fact regularly.

Q: Despite being bare-lipped, would you say you support the Mustached American way of life?

A: Actually, I strongly disapprove of mustaches…two words: “food particles”. I am Irish. Facial hair is not one of my people’s strong points.

Q: You do know it improves guitar play and melodies by 38 and 49 percent respectively, yes?

A: That would explain David Crosby’s perfect pitch.

Q: You’ve been at this 40 years or so and you’ve done more interviews than I’m sure you care to remember. Certainly I’m the best looking person to ever interview you, but am I also the dumbest? And if not, who was?

A: I’ll take your word for it. I’m sure I have spoken to dumber interviewers, but none come to mind at the moment.

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