REO SPEEDWAGON Announces New Keyboardist

February 3, 2023

REO SPEEDWAGON has recruited Derek Hilland as the replacement for keyboardist and founding member Neal Doughty, who left the band last month.

On Thursday (February 2),REO SPEEDWAGON singer Kevin Cronin released the following statement via social media: "Hi friends, those of you who have caught any of our 2023 shows may have noticed a new face behind the keyboards.

"As most of you know, our brother and co-founding member Neal Doughty concluded that fifty-five years on the road was enough, and is home in Minneapolis enjoying this time with his wife and family. We, on the other hand, are in hotel rooms in Asheville, NC, awaiting our show at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort tomorrow night.

"So, I will take a moment here to introduce Derek Hilland. Coincidentally Neal and Derek met several years ago when Derek was playing in IRON BUTTERFLY. After that show, Neal approached the young keyboardist and complimented his playing; Derek has never forgotten that encounter.

"Since his stint with IRON BUTTERFLY, Derek has toured with WHITESNAKE and FOREIGNER, and most recently spent fifteen years in Rick Springfield's band.

"When I contacted my old buddy Rick for a reference, he said of Derek, 'He is the sweetest, most gifted fucking keyboard player since Keith Emerson, a great harmony singer, and a really decent human.' And Rick was right.

"Derek is a bit younger than the rest of us, (who isn't),grew up listening to REO SPEEDWAGON, and is a long-time fan of Neal's keyboard work. He is a perfect fit, and fits right in with our band vibe.

"So, once again REO SPEEDWAGON survives a major personnel change, and keeps on rolling.

"While Neal is certainly irreplaceable, Derek is an extremely gifted keyboardist and a fine singer, who brings renewed enthusiasm to our band. We will carry on, continue to raise the bar musically, and have fun in the process.

"We hope to see you at our upcoming shows in Orlando and Clearwater, with our friends Levon next week, and a big night in San Juan, Puerto Rico next Saturday, with NIGHT RANGER as our special guest.

"Onward and upward, with love."

When Doughty announced his departure from REO SPEEDWAGON, he said in a statement that "it was all that traveling that finally got to me." The 76-year-old added: "I always enjoyed playing the shows and looking out to see all the loyal fans who allowed me to do this for so long."

Formed in 1967, signed in 1971, and fronted by Cronin since 1972, REO SPEEDWAGON's unrelenting drive, as well as non-stop touring and recording jump-started the burgeoning rock movement in the Midwest. Platinum albums and radio staples soon followed, setting the stage for the release of the band's explosive "Hi Infidelity" in 1980, which contained the massive hit singles "Keep On Loving You" and "Take It On the Run". That landmark album spent 15 weeks in the No. 1 slot and has since earned the RIAA's coveted diamond award for surpassing sales of 10 million units in the United States.

From 1977 to 1989, REO SPEEDWAGON released nine consecutive albums all certified platinum or higher. REO SPEEDWAGON has sold more than 40 million albums around the globe, and Cronin and bandmates Bruce Hall (bass),Neal Doughty (keyboards),Dave Amato (guitar),and Bryan Hitt (drums) are still electrifying audiences worldwide in concert with hits and fan-favorites such as "Ridin' The Storm Out", "Can't Fight This Feeling", "Time For Me To Fly", "Roll With The Changes", "Keep On Loving You", "Take It On the Run" and many, many more.

REO SPEEDWAGON remained busy throughout the pandemic before the band was able to return to the road. Beginning in April 2020, Cronin began a series of webisodes from his home titled "Songs & Stories From Camp Cronin". Consisting of anecdotes and acoustic performances from him and his family, the series posted 24 episodes. Cronin and members of REO gave back over the past 16 months by participating in charity events for St. Jude Children's Hospital, Marilou and Mark Hamill's USC McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative, John Oates's "Oates Song Fest", "Stars To The Rescue," Acoustic-4-A-Cure, and more. Additionally, while Cronin began keeping a journal of the band's 2016 U.K. tour, he never stopped writing and recently submitted what turned out to be his life story, as well as his telling of REO SPEEDWAGON's history. He says, "Putting out an autobiography is risky. Once it's out there's nowhere to hide!"

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