Kansas drummer Phil Ehart steps down from live performance after heart attack

(Image credit: Kansas)

US prog rockers Kansas have announced that founding member and drummer Phil Ehart is stepping away from live performance as he recovers from a major heart attack.

The band announced the news last night on social media, stating that Ehart's drum tech Eric Holmquist, who has covered for Ehart before, will again fill in. Ehart also acts as the band's manager – a role he has had for 40 years – and will continue to fulfil those duties during his recovery.

In a statement the band say, "Original drummer and band manager, Phil Ehart, is taking time away from touring as drummer for Kansas while he recovers after recently surviving a major heart attack. There is no timetable for his return to the road.

"Eric Holmquist will be on drums for Kansas starting with the March 1, 2024, concert in Richmond, VA. Holmquist has filled in for Ehart on drums when Phil was ill in 2016, during Phil’s arm rehabilitation in 2022-2023, and has been performing the first half of shows during the Kansas 50th Anniversary Tour. Previously, Eric was Phil’s drum tech and protegé for more than 20 years."

The band's label InsideOut Music said, "The whole InsideOutMusic family is wishing Phil a speedy recovery."

The band announced last year that violinist Joe Deninzon, a founding member of the US prog group Stratospheerius, was replacing Dave Ragsdale, who stepped down from his role in the band last May.

Kansas are currently on the road in their native America with their 50th Anniversary Another Fork in The Road tour.

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.