A group from Manhattan has rocked its way into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.
Crosswind, a band that was based in Manhattan in the 1970s and 1980s, will be inducted on July 30. The band played to crowds in Manhattan and around the region and still plays reunion shows to people who watched them more than 30 years ago.
“When everybody was going to the glam hair rock, we resisted,” singer Steve Hinrichs said. “It wasn’t who we were and we stayed true to our crowd.”
Tom Wiley, a guitarist for the group, said the late Ron Noe, the original drummer, had asked him in the ‘70s to come to Wamego to see him play and they all started jamming together. Jim Hedman, also a guitarist, said around that time Wiley and original bass player, the late Max Davidson, approached him to see if he would be interested in joining.
“I wasn’t quite used to playing every weekend but I got accustomed to it and we just kept rolling and never looked back,” Hedman said.
Wiley said the group took any opportunity to play and were performing often in any setting they could find.
“We played everything and everywhere we could,” Wiley said.
While glam rock and hair rock dominated the era, Crosswind found a niche playing Southern rock. They traveled the region in the “Big Blue Bus.” Hinrichs, who joined the band in 1981 as the lead singer, said at the time bars in Aggieville were frequented almost exclusively by college students, so Crosswind started playing in other places and found their place playing for others in town.
“They didn’t want the bikers down in Aggieville back then,” Hinrichs said. “They didn’t want the locals down there, it was just college students. They didn’t want the soldiers. So we kind of became the locals’ band. A bar out by the lake called Blue River Pub and whenever we’d play we’d have 1,000 people out there just packed.”
Members said they played almost every weekend for years. They said fans would travel wherever they went to see them play. They would play street dances and local festivals like Lillis, Kansas, Thanksgiving and their own event they called “Independance,” where they would throw up a stage in a field with food and drinks.
“They could literally go anywhere and pull it off,” Dana Brown, a drummer, said. “We showed up out in the middle of a field and probably 3,000 people showed up.”
They opened for multiple other groups including Head East, Black Oak Arkansas and Flash Cadillac.
Brown joined on drums in 1985 after Noe left the group and said he remembered when he realized how lucky he was to be with the group. They were playing the song “Flirting with Disaster,” and Wiley and Hedman began harmonizing with each other on their guitars.
“Tom walks over to Jim and I’m going, ‘Good God, I’m in this band?’” Brown said. “I was just thanking my lucky stars.”
Mike Goodwyn stepped in for Hinrichs on lead vocals in the mid-1980s and said it was a big deal because he was aware of the group and their prominence in the region already. He said all the members, including former members, as well as fans always made him feel welcome.
“They really made us feel we were part of the group,” Goodwyn said. “I was having the time of my life. I was learning every single time we went out to play.”
Hinrichs said the induction means a lot to them as a way to honor the members who have died. Noe, Davidson, and keyboardist Mike McAdams have all passed away.
“It’s nice to be able to recognize them and their families,” Hinrichs said. “It’s important to us they be remembered as some of the founders of what is still going on.”
Crosswind stopped playing together regularly in 1989, but they still play reunion shows. The next is Oct. 15 at RC McGraw’s in Manhattan. Hinrichs said many of the regulars from their shows during their original run still come to shows, even bringing their children and grandchildren. They call their reunion shows “family reunions.”
“The same group of people we saw in the ‘80s, we see them now,” Hinrichs said. “They’re not fans, they’re family.”
Goodwyn started joining the reunion concerts more recently and said he was struck by how the following has continued decades later.
“There were dozens of people I recognized that showed up,” Goodwyn said. “It’s so cool to see so many people still had an interest in it.”
Hedman said in addition to the fans who still turn up, the still play together because they’re all still good friends.
“We run around together when we can, on and off the stage,” Hedman said.
Brown and Goodwyn said if it weren’t for their experience with Crosswind, they likely would not be playing music anymore. Brown said he’s performed with others but nothing has matched up.
“I’ve tried to put bands together, and I was spoiled,” Brown said. “I want this. These guys screwed around and caught lightning in a bottle.”