REO Speedwagon Introduces Derek Hilland As Neal Doughty’s Replacement
via Heavy Metal Hill / Youtube
Neal Doughty, who retired last month after his 55 years of service with REO Speedwagon, will now be replaced by Derek Hilland, as presented by Kevin Cronin.
Co-founder and sole member on every album by the band, keyboardist Doughty, said he had had enough of traveling and although he still enjoyed playing live, it was time for him to fly. He would “always be part of the REO fraternity,” according to his bandmates, who also hinted that he would occasionally re-join them onstage.
The frontman of the band, Cronin, made it official in a website post, saying:
“Since his stint with Iron Butterfly, Derek has toured with Whitesnake and Foreigner, and most recently spent 15 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.”
He added that Hilland “is a bit younger than the rest of us – who isn’t! – grew up listening to REO Speedwagon, and is a longtime 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. … Onward and upward, with love.”
REO Speedwagon is currently hitting the road and playing their U.S. dates which are expected to run until August.