Nobody is looking forward to 2013 more than Larry Stewart, longtime lead singer of Restless Heart. Next year will kick off a 30th anniversary celebration for the country group that he says will be one to remember, though he joked to Billboard about starting when they were very young.
“That sounds like an unlucky number,” said Stewart. “We were really good when we were young — kind of like the Jackson 5. No, we’ll be celebrating our thirtieth year next year — with the original five guys. We’re having a good time. We’re working on multiple projects for that anniversary, so we’re just trying to figure out how we want to do everything.”
Not that their 2012 hasn’t been busy. The life of a touring band is the one thing that has remained constant, says Stewart.
“The road is not really a lot different. Everything else about the music business has totally changed since then. We’ve been playing and singing together for so long, and there’s not near as much pressure. I think that’s the fun part — it’s all about performing, and making new music — but doing what you want to do instead of what you’re being told to do to get on the radio. You don’t have to play the game as strict. You can branch out… We’re doing about 70-80 shows a year, and that’s perfect for us. [Playing live] doesn’t get old.”
Watch the video for their biggest crossover hit, “When She Cries,” which reached No. 11 on the Hot 100 in 1992.
One of the songs the band does every night on stage is “That Rock Won’t Roll,” their very first number one hit from the fall of 1986. Stewart recalls it was a song that — in the beginning, everyone had the utmost faith in — besides the band themselves.
“Quite frankly, nobody in the band wanted it to be the first single. But, RCA wanted it, so we really didn’t know what was going to happen. We were just starting to hit the road at that time, and it went to the top 20, then the top 10. Then, it hit top five, and we thought that was awesome. It was the first of seven number ones in a row. We didn’t have a clue what we were doing.
We were just making music. At that time, it was a very traditional time with Randy Travis and the Judds hitting, But radio embraced us with open arms.”
Though the business has changed many times over since then, Stewart says some things remain the same. “People still want to hear music and be entertained as much as ever before, and that’s a great thing for all of us. Just a few days ago, Kenny and Tim sold 50,000 tickets at LP Field, and it’s hard to sell tickets in Nashville. We’re just glad to still be out there doing what we love to do, and to celebrate thirty years next year of doing that is a great feeling.”