For the first time in more than a decade, Survivor and John Waite will unite on stage for one night only at the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb on May 17.
Survivor reunited with both lead singers Jimi Jamison and Dave Bickler earlier this year and have hit the road performing fan favorites, including “Eye of the Tiger” and “The Search is Over.”
After much success as lead singer of the British rock band, The Babys, John Waite went solo in the early 1980s and produced hits such as “Missing You” and “Every Step of the Way.” He has been working on a new live album that will be available on iTunes in June, with the full album being released later this summer.
The Daily Chronicle talked with Survivor guitarist Frankie Sullivan and Waite about their upcoming show and how they’ve kept their rock ‘n’ roll music alive all these years.
DC: What made your band want to get back together and perform?
FS: We’ve been kind of getting back together and performing over various lineups over the last years or so. The core of us have been around ... I wanted to get Jim Jamison back because I missed his voice ... I wondered if Dave wanted to come back ... I was thinking about some of our old recordings ... I started thinking maybe we could get both singers in the band ... I think it’s nice we have both singers, we can do the entire catalog ... It’s kind of like all these different eras of the band ... and we’re just getting started with it ... I think we’re still in the middle of seeing how far we can go. But it’s nice to be able to perform any song from that catalog. The fans like to hear that.
Are you just performing in DeKalb?
We’ve only done three shows so far this year. But we’ve got more shows on the books. There’s more to come. Like I said, this is just the beginning ... We’re just going to feel it out. That’s why I’m a musician, it’s about experimenting ...
What songs do you get most excited to perform for the fans?
I don’t know so much the songs you’re most excited about, it’s more the feedback we get from the fans ... You have to start off at a certain level and then build ... We don’t open the set with “Eye of the Tiger” ... I think they’re all exciting ... I don’t know if there’s any song in particular, I think you want to look at the whole show and be excited as the entire show you’re playing for the fans. I think that takes time for other artists to learn ...
Have you performed with John Waite before?
Yeah, I have. He’s just great. Several times. I always tell everybody get there early when we play with him. I tell the guys at the event, especially the singers, get there early ... he’s really, really good ... When I heard he was on the show I got really pumped up. John’s cool. He’s a got a look, he’s got a vibe, he’s got the whole deal. It doesn’t come along that often ... He goes out there and throws down. So I thought that was a really good pairing.
What can fans look forward to at this show?
I never really know how to answer that question because I’m a fan when I go see bands ... I’m a fan, too. So it’s kind of nice to be a fan because it also keeps you in touch with what fans feel, what excites them and what they like. And that’s all important to all of us ... It’s always about the connection between the performer and the fans. That’s really the essence of what we do ... I don’t know what they can expect, but I’d like to say a great show because that’s what we try to do ...
What have you been up to these last few years?
Not much, just playing a lot. We have just been playing a lot of gigs ... I wanted to get something (the live album) out this summer. We’re not going to tour Europe this year. So I thought it would be nice to put something out for the world.
Have you performed with Survivor before?
We did the 9/11 benefit. I remember that vividly ... We played a couple of arenas to raise money for the firemen and police and all that. That was great ... They’re nice guys.
Are you looking forward to performing with them again?
Yeah, you know. Absolutely ... It’s always great to get together with them no matter what.
So how do you get your fans pumped up at your shows?
(Laughing) I don’t know ... You talk about how you’re going to perform this or that. But you walk out and every night’s different ... it’s the most subjective experience you can have. The music and the moment takes over ...
What’s the best part about your job?
Everything. The travel, the music, the people, the chance I get to write music ... That’s really something ... It’s such a privilege to think you get a chance to explain who you are to the rest of the world without doing something that doesn’t come naturally. It’s shown me the world and it’s shown me myself ... It’s great.
Anything else you want to add?
I’m very happy to be back on the road this year and we’ll be back in the studio. It’s taken me three months to get the live album done and it usually takes about a week ... I’ll be glad when they shut the lid on it and it goes out the door...
If you go
What: Survivor and John Waite
When: 7:30 p.m. May 17
Where: Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St.., DeKalb
Cost: $49.50, premium reserved; $39.50, regular reserved
Tickets: 815-758-1225 or www.egyptiantheatre.org