Kerry Livgren was born in Topeka, Kansas the first son in a family of six. Drawn to music at a young age, his first musical interests developed with classical and jazz influences while his peers were embracing Elvis Presley. Starting with an electric guitar he built himself, Kerry focused on writing songs as he learned to play -- seeking to create songs that if nothing else, were original.

Kerry's first band was the Gimlets, which he formed with several close friends in high school. After school and on weekends, they soon found themselves booked throughout Kansas and neighboring Missouri. Kerry's involvement with the band continued through college, before joining the Mellotones, a mainstream rhythm and blues band. Driven by a desire for more creative expression, Kerry formed Saratoga, who played for audience members around the area, including a young drummer named Phil Ehart and a bass player, Dave Hope.

In 1970, they formed the group, Kansas, combining the best members from their respective bands. Known for their sometimes bizarre originality, the band went through several iterations before becoming the six-member group signed by Don Kirshner in 1973.

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Kerry remained with the band for 13 years as the band's primary song writer, lead guitarist and keyboard player. Penning such hits as "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind," Kerry propelled the band to worldwide success and critical acclaim, with numerous gold and multi-platinum albums.

In 1980 Kerry Livgren released his first solo work, Seeds of Change, featuring vocalists Ronnie James Dio and David Pack of Ambrosia, drummer Barriemore Barlow, and guest spots by friends from Kansas. Also accompanying the album was Kerry's book of the same name. Together, they expressed the passage and resolution of Kerry's spiritual journey, often the subject of his songs with Kansas.

Following his departure from Kansas in 1983, Kerry recorded his second self-produced album for CBS, Timeline, in the same year. With the musicians involved in that project, he formed the band, AD. Between 1983 and 1986, the band released two albums and toured extensively.

Kerry next signed with Sparrow records and released Prime Mover in 1988, followed by his first instrumental work, One of Several Possible Musiks in 1989. Exploring a new musical direction, this confluence of orchestral and rock styles received the Dove Award for Instrumental Album of the Year.

Livgren concluded this period with his final album for Sparrow. Decade was a double CD retrospective marking ten years since his first solo recording. Featuring two complete albums, excerpts from others and previously unreleased songs, the set continues to be highly regarded among enthusiasts of his music.

In 1994, Kerry moved from Atlanta back to his home town of Topeka Kansas. Once there, he initiated his production companies, Grandyzine, and record company, Numavox Records. As part of this work, he constructed a state-of-the-art recording and production facility on his farm, in the frame of a restored barn. This studio would serve as the nexus of his and many other musician's work through the present day.

"Though I dearly love Georgia, it was great to be back in Kansas (the state) again. I immediately felt at home. There's something about returning to your roots that's inspiring." Composed over the period of two years, Kerry's next album clearly expressed this sentiment as one his most celebrated. Entitled "When Things Get Electric," this 1995 release was also the debut album for Kerry's new label.

Over the next several years, Mr. Livgren worked on recording projects with other artists, before returning to solo work in 1997. That year saw the release of his first soundtrack, for the third SONY's Mind's Eye computer animation feature, comprising the work of more than 100 computer artists.

Numavox released Prime Mover II in the spring of 1998, a complete re-recording of Livgren's original 1988 album (Sparrow), plus five new tracks featuring the single "Incantos", which he described as another completely new direction, and one of his most inspired lyrics. The CD also features his first re-recording of a Kansas song. ("Fair Exchange" from Vinyl Confessions.)

His next CD was the solo effort, Collector's Sedition Volume One, on Numavox. It featured the talents of several vocalists, including Kerry's nephew, Jake Livgren. "Jake began singing with me on a family trip to Georgia in 1992," Kerry says. "We were just goofing around in the studio but I quickly realized he had serious potential and lacked only experience. Over time my instincts have proven to be correct."

The new millennium saw the reunion of Kansas for the much anticipated release, Somewhere to Elsewhere. For this album, Kerry Livgren returned to his traditional role as the group's songwriter, lead guitarist and keyboardist. Recorded at the Numavox Studio, Kerry also produced the album. Many longtime fans feel it to be among the band's very best.

Hot on the heels of the Kansas release, Kerry began work on The Best of Kerry Livgren, an album celebrating 20 years since his first solo album. Both retrospective and forward-looking, it contains tracks from all his solo releases and those with the band, AD. There are also 2 brand new songs and new recordings of 4 others. Each of these new versions features the original vocalists, including Warren Ham, Michael Gleason and Ronnie James Dio.

Kerry is now working on the most ambitious work of his career, entitled "Cantata: The Resurrection Lazarus." An epic, orchestral and vocal composition, it has been under development for almost 20 years. The piece features a large ensemble cast, including Matthew Ward, Phil Keaggy, David Pack and Kansas drummer Phil Ehart. Its scheduled release is late 2002.

Though Kerry Livgren is known for his music, he will quickly point out that it is only one of his many pursuits. "I'm a family man, I have a role in my church, I'm running a record label, a studio, a production company, a farm, and I have more hobbies and interests than there are hours in the day."

And while Kerry may have just completed his best-of, the greatest is yet to come.


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