RISE - My personal Steve Walsh-Story


by Patrick McMichael



It was back in 1979, when I was 13 years old and some friends of mine introduced me to some bands of the so called "prog rock" scene. I'd never heard of such a sort of music before and I was wondering what this music was all about. We were sitting around a campfire when "People of the South Wind" was played on a mobile tapedeck. My friends told me that this band was called Kansas. Before that time, I only knew Kansas as a state in the USA and I was not really interested in that song.  But after listening to it for a while the voice of the lead singer blew me away. I really had no reason for that, but I remember it was a kind of an emotional electricity. "Who's that vocalist?" I asked my friends, and I was told that his name is Steve Walsh.  Wow! I thought and asked my friends and myself why I'd never heard of him or his voice before. So they told me that a song called "Dust in the Wind" is also by Kansas. Of course I knew this song but never recognized that the band behind it is Kansas.

A few days later I went to a record store and bought "Monolith," my first Kansas album. 
What should I say? I have never heard a better voice before. Now I began to buy every Kansas album and I was totally consumed by this music and by his voice. I recognized that his voice led the music directly to my heart. I became a Kansas fan and especially a fan of Steve Walsh, who is my all-time No.1 musically!

In those days I was listening to Steve every day and recognized that his voice was the first one that gave me that unique feeling when I am listening to it. His ability to transfer emotions via music is unique. I think every Walsh fan will know this feeling.

So I was very happy with my favourite band and I expected to hear much more music from them. But then the disaster happened! On my way back from school I bought a music magazine to read some news. While sitting in the bus I read an article about Steve's departure from Kansas. 
"How could this happened!" I thought. "Where will he go?" and "What will he do?" I asked myself.  I was totally shocked and "my world" broke down.

Later on, Vinyl Confessions was released and I gave it a try. But  the  mighty big shoes that Steve left with his departure were empty. The next years were filled with silence about Steve.  I heard nothing about him. Streets was not popular in Germany and I first heard about Steve again in 1986, when I visited a record store. As always, I had a look at the Kansas drawer and I saw a new record called "Power."  A look at the backside of the cover and....I couldn't believe my eyes.....Steve Walsh - vocals and keyboards.
The Wayward Son was finally back. What a day!

On the 5th of April in 1989 I experienced my first Kansas show during their ItSoT Tour here in Germany. Philipshalle Düsseldorf was the first place I saw him live. Blue Oyster Cult opened the show and then -with a giant "Howlin' at the Moon"- my first Kansas show began. Right before the vocal part, Steve entered the stage  by climbing up a ladder to the top of the hall. I was completely fascinated. I can't express my feelings during that show, but Steve was superb, as was the whole band. His voice was incredible. I felt like I was dreaming. The dream lasted for some days, because I was not able to realize that I saw HIM live!

Steve came back to Germany with Kansas in 1990, but I was not able to see him, so I had to wait until 1994, when they played in a nearby town with the strange name "Castrop-Rauxel". It was the 17th of December back in 1994 when I saw him live for the second time. Bobby Kimball opened for Kansas and he did a good job. Then Kansas started their show. Steve's voice was not in good shape and he sounded very rough. But at all it was wonderful. They played many of my favourite songs.

In 1999 I joined the worldwideweb and I was fascinated by the quantity of Kansas websites and information about the band. It tooks days to read it all and I was very happy about it.

But I was wondering, there was no separate website about Steve Walsh and recently I decided to do that, to give him the honour he deserves. On the 30th of August in 2000 I received an e-mail from Steve and he told me that he would like to help me with some information. And.. he did! To talk to my idol, was the fullfilment of a dream, that is more than 20 years old.

During our e-mail conversation he was very humble, honest and pleasant. He coloured my life and the world I live in and I am sure it will go on in the future. His voice is immortal and he is a star that shines brightly!

Carry on Steve, you're still the greatest singer ever!

Ferdinand Arning, 1st of December 2000


The dream went on....

From now on, Steve and I will stay in continuous contact via email. He helped me tremendously in building this website. During all the contact we have had, he was always very friendly, honest and humble. To talk to him via email is always like a surreal dream, because it is hard for me to realize that the person I have admired for such a long time is really the man “on the other side” of the line.
Years ago I always asked myself, how it would be, if I ever had the chance to meet him personally and talk to him vis-à-vis..... 

On the 11th of September 2000 my daughter was born and….it was the official release date of “Glossolalia” in Germany. So one day I asked Steve to sign a Glossolalia-CD for my daughter which I would like to give to her when she is older. Steve told me that it would be a pleasure for him to do this. Great I thought…but how to do this?

At the end of March 2001 Kansas came back to Germany after 7 years and Steve invited me to the show in Fulda. It was Saturday, the 7th of April, when I met Steve at his Hotel in Fulda. Matthias, who build the first German Kansas-Page and who is also the owner of the German Kansas-Mailing-List, was with me. We were sitting in the Hotel-lounge (it was a small hotel in the City of Fulda) when Steve came downstairs and after we said “Hello” to each other he talked with us for about an hour and a half. During the whole time I was sitting next to him I always feared I would wake up from a dream. But it wasn`t a dream. We talked about different things like their Tour, music, Germany….and it was wonderful. He was so kind, so friendly and humble and he really made me proud to be his fan. Yes, he signed a Glossolalia-CD with a personal dedication for my daughter. But that was the only thing I asked him for. I did not want to get anything else from him, no pictures, no autographed CD`s or something else because I think you can`t catch the glimpse of such a moment, of the feeling of talking to such a legend, on celluloid or with an autograph. So soon our talk time went by and suddenly Steve asked Matthias and me if we would like to drive to the Concert with him. To drive to a Kansas-Show together with Steve……we couldn`t believe what happened. Our ride tooks about 5 minutes to the Richthalle in Fulda and we went backstage where Steve introduced us to the rest of the Band. He invited us to eat with them. I said “Hello” to Rich and Robby and I had a little talk with Billy, who is also a really nice person, about his new Homepage and we decided to set links on each of our websites. It was a great day. When Asia began to play Matthias and I decided to see them and Kansas in the hall. Steve told us, that he would like to take us back to the hotel with him after the show, if we want.... So after the show I met Steve again at the backstage-door and I stood on his side while he was signing CD`s or posing for pictures with his fans. He was very patient and friendly during that time. After this Steve and I drove back to the hotel, where we said “Goodbye” to each other. “What a nice guy...” I thought.  It is hard for me to describe how good the Kansas-Show really was, because the meeting with Steve right before the show impressed me very much. One thing I have to say: They showed everyone who can really play and sing. It was great and wonderful to have him back here in Germany after all this time and I hope he will come back soon. Germany loves him!
Meeting Steve after all these years was one of the most wonderful things that happened in my life!

Ferdinand Arning, 20th August 2001


2005....and it went on (coming up soon)