Orleans – still the one
FRISCO – John Hall, Lance Hoppen and Larry Hoppen have lived in the house of Orleans for 31 years – not the house of New Orleans, but the house of 1970s band Orleans, known for such top 10 hits as “Still the One” and “Dance with Me.”
In 1972, Hall, Larry Hoppen and Wells Kelly formed Orleans, and nine months later, they added Larry Hoppen’s brother, Lance. ABC Records signed the band in 1973, and by 1975, “Dance with Me” became its first top 10 hit, followed by “Still the One” in August, 1973.
They’ve shared the stage and studio with Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Little Feat and released 15 albums throughout three decades.
Though the band took up to a four-year hiatus throughout the decades, it’s still committed to singing in harmony.
“This is not a reunion. This is a continuation,” said guitarist Larry Hoppen. “Being in a band is like being married for a long time – a lot of problems come up. But as you get older, you get a little more wise. We’ve been able to work things out. Eventually, we talk it over and find a reason to go on. I think we appreciate our situation a lot more.”
Orleans went through its roughest spot in the 1980s when Hall left. Lance and Larry Hoppen kept the band going, but then Kelly died while touring with Meat Loaf in 1984. The brothers were ready to call it quits, until they played with Hall at a memorial gig for Kelly – seven years after Hall left.
They had always wanted to cut a live album and finally released “Still the One,” a live album recorded at a 1990 concert in Woodstock, N.Y. They remained on track until 1997, when Dinosaur Records (aptly named) went out of business after recording Orleans’ studio album “Ride” in 1996. Once the record company became extinct, the band members went their separate ways until September 2001.
Their latest release, “Still the One LIVE! – A 30th Anniversary,” is a collection of live recordings pulled from the band’s archives from 1972-2002.
“The songs are snapshots of the band’s evolution over 30 years,” said Hall, the main songwriter. “The selections celebrate Orleans’ musical eclecticism, a definite trademark of the band’s style.”
“We never followed trends – no metal, disco, grunge, hip-hop,” Larry Hoppen said. “In that sense, it hasn’t changed. We’re still playing the music we know we like and that our audience is comfortable with. Everybody tells us that we basically sound the same as we did 30 years ago. It’s pretty incredible.”
The Hoppens’ youngest (and third) brother, Lane, will join Orleans, along with drummer Charlie Morgan – who was Elton John’s drummer for 15 years – at Frisco’s Music on Main Street at 7 p.m. Saturday. Orleans puts on a family-friendly show the members are proud of.
“We never used to think about that, and now that we have kids, we’re glad we just ended up writing family-
friendly songs,” Larry Hoppen said.
Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail
For Starters S
Phil Jensen is a Canadian singer and songwriter backed by an ensemble of drums, bass,
keyboards and electric guitar. The Phil Jensen Band plays blues, folk and country-blues at 3 p.m.
Saturday on Main Street in Frisco.
The Mary and Mars Trio features Shannon Gilchrist on vocals, mandolin and bass, Ben Wright on vocals and guitar and Josh Martin on vocals and bass. The trio’s
influences include rock, bluegrass and jazz. It plays at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Headliner Orleans starts at 7 p.m.
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