Rock band Fyre inducted into Kansas Music Hall of Fame
The rock band Fyre, which included former Concordian John Richard, will be inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony is scheduled for April 13 at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, and Fyre is scheduled to perform.
Richard, a 1971 graduate of Concordia High School, was a member of Fyre from 1971 to 1981.
Fyre was well known to rock fans in north central Kansas during the 1970s and early 1980s. The band played at DJ's in Concordia, at the National Guard Armory in Belleville and at Cuba.
Fyre got its start in Hays in 1968, upon the dissolution of the midwestern group The Blue Things.
The Blue Things, which had experienced a lineup change, renamed themselves Fyre and moved to the west coast.
Fyre was scheduled to play for Senator Robert Kennedy's post-primary election celebration. The band members were on their way to the Ambassador Hotel when they heard the news on the limousine's radio that Kennedy had been shot.
Fyre was signed to Dot by Ray Ruff, the original producer for The Blue Things.
Ruff planned to release the four Audio House sides that remained unissued.
The band went on tour with a Van Morrision-less version of Them, another band that Ruff had produced. The last dates on the tour were at the Electric Theatre in Chicago, opening for Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.
Fyre broke up following the tour with some members staying in California and others returning to Kansas.
Fyre was resurrected several years later in Emporia with a revamped lineup that included Richard, Dennis Argo, Marvin Hunt and Rich Bisterfeldt. The band was packing clubs all over Kansas, as well as select venues in Hollywood.
By mid-1977, Fyre was holed up in Hall of Fame musician and songwriter Leon Russell's home studio, tracking their debut album “Pyromancy.”
Upon release of the album, Billboard magazine was singing the band's praises and expectations were high.
Limited distribution in some markets kept the album from breaking big nationwide.
A promising band that never quite hit it big, Fyre is nonetheless remembered as a bright star on the 1970s music scene.
The band embarked on a reunion tour in 2007, and will also reunite to perform at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Richard, a retired music teacher in the Manhattan school district, began playing music at the age of 12. He has shared his talents in multiple rock and country bands as a lead singer, drummer and bass guitar player. He has enjoyed substitute teaching in the district since his retirement and also enjoys sharing his gift of music with the students of USD 383.
Currently battling cancer for a third time in his life, Richard and his family are hopeful for a third stem cell transplant this year.
The Kansas Music Hall of Fame was established in 2005 to recognize and honor performers and others who have made significant contributions to the musical history of the state of Kansas and the greater Kansas City metropolitan area.
Also being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year include:
Jim Dale, Burlington; Bill Glenn, Wichita; Scatband, Topeka; Bureman & O'Rourke, Kansas City; Samantha Fish (Bill Lee Award), Kansas City; Ida McBeth, Kansas City; Warren Bernhardt (Bob Hapgood Award), Holton; The Secrets, Lawrence; Nation, Kansas City; and “Home on the Range, the official song of Kansas.