Rich Wyman celebrates 20 years of ‘Where We Stand’ with a Netherlands tour
Rich Wyman is all about 20th anniversaries.
This year, the Park City-based singer and songwriter will celebrate the two decade anniversary of “Where We Stand,” his first album, which he recorded in the Netherlands.
In addition, Wyman and his wife Lisa Needham, who are known as the music duo Park88, will head to the Netherlands in October for a tour to commemorate “Where We Stand.”
The concerts will start on Oct. 3 at De Gelderlandfabriek venue in Culemborg, and finish on Oct. 7 at the Waterhole in Amsterdam.
The tour highlight will be the sold-out concert on Oct. 6, at De Cactus in Hengelo, Wyman said during an interview last week.
“We’re not sure exactly what the full set list is going to be, yet, but we knew we want to perform the entire ‘Where We Stand’ album,” he said. “We will also perform some Park88 songs, and put Lisa out in front.”
“Where We Stand,” which featured the Netherlands charting singles “So What” and “Little Things,” started with some music Wyman recorded in the 1990s with Dutch-born guitar wizard,Eddie Van Halen.
Van Halen tried to get Wyman a record deal in Los Angeles with the work they did, but it didn’t pan out.
“So I took the tracks I did with him and recorded eight more tracks to make my album ‘Fatherless Child’ down in the Osmond studio in Orem,” Wyman said.
After completing “Fatherless Child,” Wyman found a manager in New York who sent the album to Europe, and the album became a big hit in the Netherlands, thanks to the Van Halen connection.
“We got a call from the Van Halen fan club in the Netherlands, and the album sold out over there,” Wyman said. “I immediately set up a tour and went to Holland, and the second night of the tour, I got offered a recording contract with a company called New Road Music.”
The record company hired producer Gordon Groothedde, and some of the top session musicians from Holland to record ‘Where We Stand.’
“It was interesting because I recorded the basic tracks with the whole band and then I came back to the states,” Wyman said.
A few months later, Wyman returned to Holland to do more recording of his piano and vocals.
“In the meantime, Gordon had added some strings, guitars and background vocals,” he said. “Then they took the tracks to Abbey Road studios in London and had Chris Blair, who mastered Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ to master them.”
A month later, Wyman received a CD in the mail.
“When I got the album, I sent off some notes, and they told me, ‘No. This is the finished album,’” he said with a chuckle. “It surprised me, because I didn’t really know what he was going for when he produced it, but now I can hear what an incredible job he did as a producer.”
“Where We Stand,” like “Fatherless Child,” hit it big and Wyman played a bunch of tours and festivals as well as TV and radio shows.
New Road Music folded a few years ago while it still owned the rights to the album.
“I had tried over and over again to buy the rights back, but it would have cost an exuberant amount of money,” Wyman said.
Earlier this year, the album appeared on Spotify.
“When that happened, all of these fans responded,” Wyman said. “So, I threw out the idea of doing a reunion show with some of the original band members, and people started asking where they could get tickets.”
Word got back to Wyman’s friend Erwin Kwakman, the owner of De Cactus, a concert venue in Hengelo, Netherlands.
“He contacted me and said he wanted to do the reunion show at his place,” Wyman said.
Wyman reached out to the album’s original musicians, and the only one who couldn’t play was the drummer, Renee Creemers.
Percussionist Martin Verdonk recommended drummer Juan Van Emmerloot, who has worked with Toto’s Steve Lukaather and blues guitarist Walter Trout, to Wyman.
“Juan and I have been emailing each other, and he is really motivated for the tour,” Wyman said.
The musicians who will join Wyman at De Cactus are Verdonk, Emmerloot, guitarists Karl Adams and Marcel Singor, backup vocalist Jacco Kreukniet and bassists Paul Verberne and Charles Nangztaam.
“One of the bassists, Charles, could only play one night, which will be the De Cactus show, and Paul, who will also play De Cactus, will do all of the other shows on the tour.”
Needham, who will sing leads on the Park88 songs, and backup on the “Where We Stand” tunes, is also looking forward to how the arrangements will flow.
“I have to listen to that album over and over to make sure I can plug myself in somehow,” she said.
I know it will gel, but I need to find out where to go within those specific harmonies.”
To add fuel to the reunion-tour fire, Park88 will release a European version of its extended play, “The Fearlessness,” which was originally released last year in the United States.
The new edition will include the six-song EP, and an additional six songs that were never digitally released, Needham said.
“I’m looking forward to performing the Park88 songs with the band as well, because there is nothing like singing with professional musicians on stage,” she said.
For full itinerary of the “Where We Stand” 20th anniversary Netherlands tour, visit park88.com and richwyman.com.
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