Lenny White and RTF IV: Switzerland, France and Italy
"On this tour we're doing music from all the electric Return To Forever periods. Right now we're in discussions about doing a film. Not just a documentary, because I wouldn't want it to be done the same way every other documentary film is done. I think we're going to approach it from a different perspective, with someone who has a real vision, as opposed to just doing a concert filmthat's not really what we want to do. The angle is that the industry really has suppressed music like this. When you see the effect it has on people, there's no reason why this direction in music, and bands like what we represent, haven't gotten the exposure they deserve. If you look at the number of people this music reaches, the per capita concentration of fans we make happy during a live performance, we do as well and reach as many people, in effect, as Lady Gaga. Without meat dresses, without dancing and pyrotechnics. If you think about it, Lady Gaga plays arenas that hold 20,000 people, and we play concert halls with 2,000 people. I can't compete with Lady Gaga, who plays in front of 10,000,000 people on her tour. Return To Forever can play in front of 600,000 on a tour. But per capita, I can say that we reach fans the same way she does.
"There's good justification for the music that we play to be exposed the same way, but that's not the case. From a money standpoint, record labels or commercially oriented companies want to hire artists with commercial appeal because they reach more fans. It's easier for those companies to use them as corporate branding because they reach a larger audience."
"We touch the soul. Pop music touches souls because it has lyricsmost of the time it's the lyrics that touch the soul, not necessarily the performance. You have to be there to experience a performance for it to touch your soul. You hear the song that has lyrics and you hear it sungdepending upon how great the artist is who is rendering the storyyou get it and you say, 'Wow, that song really touched me,' because these words relate to your consciousness, or whatever. Return To Forever has been able to do that from a musical standpoint. That's why we have such dedicated fans, because we've been able to accomplish that without lyrics."
All Photos: Andrew Elliott