Monday, September 14, 2015

REO Speedwagon guitarist Gary Richrath dead at 65

Former REO Speedwagon guitarist Gary Richrath died Sunday at the age of 65.

REO frontman Kevin Cronin broke the news via Facebook, writing “Hi friends, kc here. My longtime friend and collaborator Gary Richrath passed away earlier today. I feel so sad.

“Gary was both a unique guitarist and songwriter, and the embodiment of the tough guy with a heart of gold. I learned most of what I know about being in a rock band from Gary Richrath.

“The entire REO Family mourns his death and shares in the grief of his family, friends, and fans. These words do not come close to expressing the depth of emotions I am feeling at this time.”

Richrath played with REO from 1970 to 1989 and wrote many of the band's songs including the 1981 US No. 5 hit, “Take It On The Run”, from the 10-million plus selling album “High Infidelity.”

The guitarist released a solo album, “Only The Strong Survive”, in 1992 under the name "Richrath."

The former REO member rejoined the group for a pair of songs during a 2013 benefit show in Bloomington, Illinois for families affected by a tornado in central Illinois.

Few details about Richrath’s passing, including location and cause of death, were available at press time.