We have seen the future of annual meeting entertainment and it is World Classic Rockers--a super-group featuring members of Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Santana, Boston, Toto and Steppenwolf. They play nothing but the hits, and after a day of lectures, breakout sessions, discussions, and debates, this is exactly what conference-goers are craving.
Nick St.Nicholas' music career began in Toronto when he first formed a band called the Mynah Birds, a group of unknowns that would begin the careers of the king of funk, Rick James, and Neil Young of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. One year later he would assemble another band called the Sparrow. Using an unknown lead singer, John Kay, as their front man, and little money in their pockets, Nick drove the band from Toronto to the Sunset Strip in search of a record deal. Once in Hollywood, the Sparrow would soon change their name to Steppenwolf and a film that would become an instant classic, Easy Rider, would launch their biker anthem, "Born To Be Wild" into rock and roll history. Nick toured and recorded on many of their gold and platinum albums including Early Steppenwolf, Steppenwolf Live; At Your Birthday Party; and Monster. Some years later, he began his quest to form another band that would appeal to an entire generation. But this time it would not be a group of unknowns, he would instead seek to combine the talents of several of the most prominent musicians, singers and songwriters whose work represented a number of smash, popular chart-topping hits from the greatest bands in the world. The end result of his efforts is the formation of the World Classic Rockers, who are entering their second decade of outstanding performances and along the way have become the ultimate classic rock all-star band.
All great bands must have an exceptional foundation as the backbone behind the music. As one of the elite drummers in music history, Aynsley Dunbar made his mark during the '70s recording on chart-topping hits with David Bowie and Frank Zappa, however he is best known as the original drummer for Journey with whom he recorded and co-wrote four albums including their hugely successful album, Infinity, which featured mega-hits "Wheel In The Sky," "Lights," "Feeling That Way," and "Anytime." As the end of the decade neared, he joined Jefferson Starship where together they recorded the smash hit songs, "Jane" and "Find Your Way Back." And the '80's would prove to be no less successful as he moved on to join Whitesnake in 1985. With Aynsley on drums, they recorded the band's commercial breakthrough album Whitesnake 1987 featuring chart-toppers and MTV video favorites, "Is This Love" and "Here I Go Again."
Representing the South, Lynyrd Skynyrd rocketed to fame during the '70's with Southern rock mega-hits "Sweet Home Alabama"; "Free Bird"; and "Gimme Three Steps." It appeared the band's fast rising star would be cut short when their chartered plane crashed killing several members of the band in 1977. However, Lynyrd Skynyrd regrouped ten years later. Allen Collins who had since been paralyzed in an auto accident hand-picked Randall Hall to replace him in the band. During the next seven years with Randall on guitar and vocals, the band would perform sold out tours throughout the world while recording three hit albums, Southern By the Grace of God, Lynyrd Skynyrd '91, and the Last Rebel achieving one of the most inspiring comebacks in rock history. To date the band has sold over 36 million records.
In the words of Carlos Santana, "Greg Walker's music is a wonderful combination of street and church music; 'street' being raw, sexy, warm and naked; 'church' being spiritual, inspirational soulful and sincere." For more than a decade with Carlos Santana, Greg thrilled audiences worldwide with this dynamic, charismatic style, earning no less than 8 gold and platinum albums with the Santana band. He shares Santana's soulful R&B style which is clearly evident on the Santana hits he recorded including "She's Not There"; "Stormy"; "Open Invitation"; "Dance Sister Dance" and many more as well as live renditions of the classics "Black Magic Woman"; "Oye Como Va," and "Evil Ways." Greg recorded and co-wrote on several albums including Amigos; Moonflower; Inner Secrets; Beyond Appearances; Havana Moon, and Viva Santana.
Vocalist, Fran Cosmo, was initially featured as lead singer on Barry Goudreau's self titled solo album, which served as a prelude to the formation of the band, Orion the Hunter. Together they released the hit single "So You Ran." Soon thereafter, Fran joined the super-group Boston as their lead vocalist on the multi-platinum disc, Walk On. With his sky-high vocals leading the way, the album soared to #7 on the Billboard Charts. Several years later, Boston would release their next album, Corporate America which featured Fran on lead vocals on four of the album's tracks and marked the return of original lead singer, Brad Delp, to the line-up. The band embarked on a national tour that featured both Brad and Fran performing together on stage.
No classic rock band could be complete without the driving sounds of the Vietnam War era, an era that not only defined a generation, but perhaps a country. Nick called on his former band mate, Michael Monarch, an original founding member and lead guitarist of Steppenwolf to provide the World Classic Rockers with the undeniable sound that turned Steppenwolf's mega-hits "Born to Be Wild" and "Magic Carpet Ride" into two songs whose popularity would span three decades and continue to be fan favorites throughout the world. After his career with Steppenwolf, Michael continued to be a successful recording artist, including his memorable work with Janis Joplin on her Kozmic Blues album.
In the early 1980's one band would shock the music world with their stunning series of successful album releases. In 1983, Toto took the Grammy Awards by storm winning 7 major awards in one night, including Album of the Year for Toto IV. Immediately following their success at the Grammy's Fergie Frederiksen joined the band as its lead singer. Together they embarked on a sold-out worldwide stadium tour where Fergie performed the band's many hit songs including "Rosanna," "Hold the Line," and "Africa," each having reached the top 5 on the Billboard charts and where "Africa" climbed all the way to #1. Fergie further contributed to Toto's success by co-writing four songs on the band's Isolation album.
David Coyle and Mark Hoyt
No successful band would be complete without standout back-up support. Nick recruited widely respected musicians David Coyle and Mark Hoyt to the band. As a lead guitarist, Coyle studied at the Juilliard School of Music and has worked with Broadway singers and recorded on a number of soundtracks while developing his unique style on the 6-string. Meanwhile, Hoyt has become a sought after songwriter, session, and live performance musician working with such names as Mike Reno (Loverboy), Mickey Thomas (Starship), and Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) along with many other various well known recording artists. His sizzling keyboard licks along with his uncanny ability to recreate vintage synthesizer and keyboard sounds for live application make him a perfect addition the World Classic Rockers. With all of the pieces in place, the World Classic Rockers have set forth to bring audiences to their feet night after night in a stage performance packed with hit after unforgettable hit. The proof of their success has been evidenced by the incredible audience response. They continue to make an unforgettable impression at corporate events, fairs, festivals, and clubs across America and throughout Europe, the Far East, and Africa. They have indeed become... the ultimate classic rock all-star band.
*In Partnership with the William Morris Agency