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Introducing Derek Hilland

written by REO Speedwagon

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 …kc