The Hidden Story of REO Speedwagon’s Dungeons
via Live Aid Youtube
Every successful rock band has its share of wild stories and hedonistic adventures, and REO Speedwagon is no exception. The band reached a critical point in their career in 1982 when they had to make a crucial decision between indulging in the party lifestyle or prioritizing their music. In a recent interview with singer Kevin Cronin, the hidden story of REO Speedwagon’s extravagant hotel rooms, dubbed “the dungeons,” was revealed, shedding light on the band’s struggle to strike a balance between their wild antics and their commitment to their craft.
The Legendary Dungeons
During The Kenny Aronoff Sessions, drummer Kenny Aronoff asked Cronin about the band’s experiences of partying too hard. Cronin recalled a significant moment when they realized they had to choose between the excessive partying and their musical careers. Referring to their hugely successful 1980 album, Hi Infidelity, Cronin described their lavish hotel experiences, particularly with their “security guy” who always carried a mysterious briefcase. He explained:
“We would check into the hotel, he’d check into the presidential suite and spend the day getting the stereo system in, changing all the lightbulbs to color… We used to call it the dungeon. So after the show, everybody would retreat to the dungeon… It was every show, no matter what day of the week it is.”
The dungeons became infamous party hubs, drawing everyone associated with the band into a non-stop revelry.
Watch the interview below:
The Turning Point
As REO Speedwagon’s party lifestyle continued, Cronin began to recognize that the focus on the festivities was outweighing the importance of their performances. Around 1982, he had an awakening and realized that the party was taking precedence over their music. Cronin confessed:
“Right around 1982, I remember starting to go, ‘You know what? The party… is starting to become more important than the actual show itself.’ And I didn’t like that.”
While he didn’t immediately put an end to the wild nights, he acknowledged that their priorities had become distorted.
The Battle Between Party and Career
Although REO Speedwagon didn’t reach the extremes of some other bands, Cronin admitted that their excessive partying had its moments. The realization that their focus had shifted prompted a turning point for the band. They recognized the need to reevaluate their priorities and find a healthier balance between their rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle and their dedication to their craft.