“Charting the future while preserving the past”

Gary Richrath

Gary Richrath was perhaps East Peoria’s most notable person. He grew up in East Peoria on Randolph St. just off of Pekin Ave.

He played in local bands Mach IV and Suburban 9 to 5.  He was also in a band called Feather Train which Bruce Hall was also in. Then he landed the gig as the lead guitarist for an up and coming band, REO Speedwagon.

Gary wrote a lot of the music for REO. He had a distinct guitar playing sound that dominated the band’s music. They became one of the greatest bands in the world. But after many successful albums and tours, he and Kevin Cronin had different ideas on which direction the music was going and ultimately, Gary left REO. He went on to form his own band called, The Richrath Band.

The Richrath Band had little success making new albums. They traveled the country playing nightclubs and other smaller venues. When they disbanded, Gary sort of disappeared for the next 20 years.

He returned to East Peoria secretly to care for his dying mother. While he was here, he played a few small gigs with the band Bubblegum Jack and the band Exit. While he was here, parts of East Peoria and the city of Washington were devastated by tornadoes. Washington was hit hard, losing an entire neighborhood. The current REO Speedwagon lineup came to see the devastation and agreed to put on a benefit show in Bloomington called Rock to the Rescue. To everyone’s surprise, Gary Richrath took the stage with them to play a couple songs.

Gary’s mom passed away and he returned to his California home. Then, Gary went to Louisiana with his wife to care for his wife’s dying mother. While there, Gary had some kind of stomach problems and went to the hospital. Gary passed away in the hospital. There was a private memorial for Gary, but no funeral. The location of his remains are unknown.

 

Gary Richrath’s school days in East Peoria

After high school he played in a band locally called Suburban 9 to 5. They made several singles, recorded at Golden Voice Studios in South Pekin. They have opened for a few big named bands in their day. The Who played in Peoria once at the Opera House in Exposition Gardens. Suburban 9 to 5 with Gary Richrath, and a band called The Coachmen, with Dan Fogelberg were the opening acts.

Then of course, Gary Richrath rose to stardom as the lead guitarist for REO Speedwagon. His mom drove him to Champaign, IL to meet with the band who was looking for a lead guitarist. The rest is history.

After REO Speedwagon, Gary formed the Richrath Band. Photos of his time with that band can be found at this link. The former members of the Richrath Band are keeping Gary’s spirit alive with their band  called Richrath Project 3:13.

Gary Richrath Memorial Album

Check out Gary Richrath’s collection of photos featuring captured moments in his life. This memorial album is a tribute to honor his contribution in the history of rock music.

Video/Music links below are of Gary’s band Suburban 9 to 5. Also of The Richrath Band when they played at City Limits in Creve Coeur. Also videos playing with Bubblegum Jack and Exit at various clubs in the area. And a video produced locally of Gary and Kevin Cronin supporting the St. Jude Telethon.

WEEK Creative Services

A special #WEEKCSTBT on a Monday. In memory of REO Speedwagon’s Gary Richrath.

REO Speedwagon – Roll With The Changes [HQ] (Live

GREAT song from a great musician As soon as you are able Woman I am willing To make the break that we Are on the brink of My cup is on the table Our love is spilling Waiting here for you to Take and

Suburban 9 to 5, ‘Flying on the Ground’

Third single, ‘B’ side. Recorded at Golden Voice Studios, Pekin, Illinois, 1968. Suburban 9 to 5. This popular Peoria band played throughout the Midwest from 1966 through 1968. Band members were, Scott Somerville (vocals), Gary Richrath (lead guitar), Rick Nelson (rhythm guitar and Vox keyboards), Danny Higgins (bass), Bubby Skinner (drums).

Suburban 9 to 5, “I Wanna Be There”

Third single, ‘A’ side. Recorded at Golden Voice Studios, Pekin, Illinois, 1968. Suburban 9 to 5. This popular Peoria band played throughout the Midwest from 1966 through 1968. Band members were, Scott Somerville (vocals), Gary Richrath (lead guitar), Rick Nelson (rhythm guitar and Vox keyboards), Danny Higgins (bass), Bubby Skinner (drums).

Suburban 9 to 5, ‘Captain Kangaroo’

Second single, ‘B’ side. Recorded at Golden Voice Studios, Pekin, Illinois, 1967. Suburban 9 to 5. This popular Peoria band played throughout the Midwest from 1966 through 1968. Band members were, Scott Somerville (vocals), Gary Richrath (lead guitar), Rick Nelson (rhythm guitar and Vox keyboards), Danny Higgins (bass), Bubby Skinner (drums).

Suburban 9 to 5, ‘Sunshine Becomes You’

Second single, ‘A’ side. Recorded at Golden Voice Studios, Pekin, Illinois, 1967. Suburban 9 to 5. This popular Peoria band played throughout the Midwest from 1966 through 1968. Band members were, Scott Somerville (vocals), Gary Richrath (lead guitar), Rick Nelson (rhythm guitar and Vox keyboards), Danny Higgins (bass), Bubby Skinner (drums).

Suburban 9 to 5, ‘Elevator Operator’

First single, ‘B’ side. Recorded at Golden Voice Studios, Pekin, Illinois, 1966. Suburban 9 to 5. This popular Peoria band played throughout the Midwest from 1966 through 1968. Band members were, Scott Somerville (vocals), Gary Richrath (lead guitar), Rick Nelson (rhythm guitar and Vox keyboards), Danny Higgins (bass), Bubby Skinner (drums).

Suburban 9 to 5, ‘Walk Away’

First single, ‘A’ side. ‘Walk Away’. Recorded at Golden Voice Studios, Pekin, Illinois, 1966. Suburban 9 to 5. This popular Peoria band played throughout the Midwest from 1966 through 1968. Band members were, Scott Somerville (vocals), Gary Richrath (lead guitar), Rick Nelson (rhythm guitar and Vox keyboards), Danny Higgins (bass), Bubby Skinner (drums).

Gary Richrath Band~Golden Country Part 1

Gary Richrath Band Nov 8th 1990, @ City Limits,East Peoria Illinois Garys hometown! This Ones For Iraq!! Check out the one-handed playin on this classic song!

Gary Richrath Band~Golden Country Part 2

Nov.8th 1990,City Limits East Peoria IL

Gary Richrath Band – Turkey Trot

The Gary Richrath Band filmed @ City Limits- East Peoria Illinois on November 8 1990

Ridin the Storm Out

The Gary Richrath Band filmed November 8 1990 @ City Limits East Peoria Illinois

Gary Richrath Band Intro-Only the Strong Survive

The beginning of what turned out to be 2 hours of a in your face ROCK&ROLL ASS KICKIN!!!!!!! Let the guitar lessons begin!!!

Gary Richrath Band OutLaws

November 8 1990 East Peoria Illinois Garys hometown! Dedicated to Garys best friend Bill Stout,R.E.O. and his new band!

REO Speedwagon Reunion with Gary Richrath December 4th 2013 at the @ Rock To The Rescue

At the sold-out Rock to the Rescue concert at the Bloomington Coliseum REO Speedwagon welcomed both Larry the Cable Guy (the benefit’s MC) and fellow Illinois native Richard Marx to the stage but the most unexpected moment of the night came when former REO guitarist Gary Richrath joined the band onstage for the first time since his departure in 1989.

Gary Richrath with Bubblegum Jack at Goodfella’s, Pekin, IL. 2-8-14

via YouTube Capture

Gary Richrath with Bubblegum Jack at Crusens Farmington Rd, Peoria, IL, 1-18-14

Gary Richrath of REO Speedwagon joined Bubblegum Jack for a couple songs at Crusens II 1-18-14. Awesome night!

Gary Richrath “Ridin The Storm Out” Live 1-25-14

The legendary Gary Richrath plays Ridin The Storm Out with local band, Bubblegum Jack at a tornado relief concert in East Peoria, IL 1-25-14

Gary Richrath doing Roll With The Changes with Exit 3 22 2014

Uploaded by Becky Meier on 2014-03-23.

Gary Richrath Ridin’ The Storm Out with Exit 3 22 2014

Uploaded by Becky Meier on 2014-03-23.

Gary Richrath Take It on The Run with Exit 3 22 2014

Uploaded by Becky Meier on 2014-03-23.

GARY RICHRATH REO SPEEDWAGON interview 04/01/01 with Rev Derek Moody

GARY RICHRATH of REO SPEEDWAGON interviewed on 04/01/01 with Rev. Derek Moody on the Church of Rock radio show. the Church of Rock radio show can be heard Sunday nites – 7pm PST KSKQ.org livestream 89.5 Ashland, OR. 94.1 Medford, OR. youtube.com/thechurchofrock DISCLAIMER: This video including audio, images, and references are provided for informational purposes only.

 

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