Hi friends, we are saddened by the news of the passing of original REO bass guitarist, Gregg Philbin. Gregg played on the first six studio albums and the Live, You Get What You Play For double-live album, which broke the band and became our first gold album. No one should underestimate the Philbin Factor in the evolution of REO Speedwagon. When Gregg left the band in 1977, he took with him the prog-leaning extended instrumental section aspect of the REO sound. Gregg approached the bass guitar much like legendary Who bassist, John Entwistle. They both played the bass as more of a lead instrument. But as the songs Gary Richrath and I were writing became more compact, and needing the bass to play a more traditional role of locking with the drums, Gregg’s style became an issue, and he would leave the band.
All that said, Gregg was a smart, funny, charming guy, and you would be hard pressed to find a more savvy individual. His health had been an issue for some time, and today his soul is freed. We all loved Gregg, mourn his death, and send our condolences to his surviving family members and friends. Today is a sad day in REO World…kc