45 Years And Still Having Fun: Our Interview With Lance Hoppen of Orleans

Last updated: September 8, 2017 at 2:14 pm. Posted by in Atlantic City, Atlantic City Shows, Caesars Entertainment, Celebrities, Events, Harrah's Resort Atlantic City. No Comments on 45 Years And Still Having Fun: Our Interview With Lance Hoppen of Orleans.

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To give credit where credit is due, the title of this blog post came from the man himself. Lance Hoppen is the original bassist, and leader of the band Orleans, who scored a few major hits in the mid-1970’s that any classic rock fans are sure to be familiar with. Their first hit “Dance With Me” reached #6 on the charts in 1975, and they followed that up less than a year later with “Still The One” which climbed all the way up to #5.

Orleans will be closing out Soft Rock Month at Harrah’s on September 28th with these smash hits, as well as some of their other tunes that you may recognize, so we took some time to speak with Lance about what it was like to have a hit record, and what to expect from their show in Atlantic City.

 

AC Blog: First of all, congratulations on 45 years of Orleans, that’s a pretty incredible accomplishment!

Lance Hoppen: Who could have predicted that? Probably nobody. I mean, it’s come and gone several times during that time, but the fact that we’ve continued is commendable I think.

 

AC Blog: And we’re glad you are continuing, because you have lots of great songs! Speaking of which, “Dance With Me” and “Still The One” are still awesome, but do you ever get sick of playing them?

Lance Hoppen: Well as long as it’s only once a day! But no, those songs really do stand the test of time and that’s why they’re fun to play. I remember Larry [Hoppen] always saying, “Heaven help us if we had a hit with ‘Disco Duck’…” Because that’s actually the song that kept one of our songs out of number one. But you don’t hear that on radio everyday, and our songs do get played. And that’s kind of a nice legacy to have.

 

AC Blog: What’s life like for Orleans these days, is there a lot of traveling involved?

Lance Hoppen: Well we don’t work as much as we used to, for sure, and a typical year for us is maybe two or three dozen shows, and it’s part and parcel of each of our individual careers, it’s not the only driving force these days. But it’s nice that we can still do these, and that we don’t do too many of them because every time I go and do a gig with Orleans, I’m kind of amazed at how well it’s received and how well we play, so that’s still fresh.

 

AC Blog: Going back to the beginning a little bit, how did Orleans form?

Lance Hoppen: Orleans was initially a trio. John Hall was compelled to create a band for himself, and went through a few different rosters in Woodstock, NY, after he’d left New York City. He recruited Wells Kelly, and Larry, and that was your initial trio, which started in 1972, when I was still in high school. Then by the fall, they were ready to expand, and I got to audition and I got the gig, and we were recording our first album the following summer.

 

AC Blog: Who were some of the influences that kind of inspired the Orleans sound early on?

Lance Hoppen: Our influences were really quite diverse. We were all classically trained in one way or another, so we had those influences, and the big band influences of our parents, the standards of their day. Then you have the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Byrds, the pop music of the 50’s and 60’s, Motown, folk, and we blended it all together, and that’s the influences of Orleans.

 

AC Blog: What was it like when John brought “Still The One” to the group?

Lance Hoppen: He and his wife were prolific songwriters. They wrote lots and lots of songs, and they were really good, and many were actually covered by other acts. But “Still The One” was just a song among many songs, and nobody in our camp knew its potential. It only revealed itself after the fact.

 

AC Blog: Are there any plans on the horizon for a new album or something along those lines?

Lance Hoppen: Our manager proposed an EP which I think is an interesting idea, because we have this song “Beautiful World” that we recorded, but there’s never been a meaningful way to release it, so there’s that. So if we take one or two of my songs, one or two of John’s, and put together half a dozen songs on an EP, it would be fresh.

 

AC Blog: What can fans expect when they come to see Orleans at Harrah’s?

Lance Hoppen: They’re going to hear the hits and they’re going to hear the ones that have stood the test of time that everybody likes. There will be some fresh stuff, and it will be a journey in and of itself. I like to write a set in a way that it encompasses variety. All four of us will end up singing lead at different points. There’s a variety of vocal stuff, there’s a variety of styles, so we keep it moving.

 

AC Blog: So I was going to ask if you’re still having fun after all these years as kind of a play on the lyrics to “Still The One,” but do you ever get sick of hearing that at the end of interviews?

Lance Hoppen: It has sort of become the hook line. When people ask me what they should say to introduce us, I tell them that whatever they say, end it with “45 years and still having fun: Orleans.” So it’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy in a way. And if we’re not having fun, we’ll put it away, but if we’re playing, we’re having fun.

 

Come out to Harrah’s Resort on September 28th to dance with Orleans for the grand finale of Soft Rock Month! Click here to snag your tickets now to what is guaranteed to be a fun show!

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About The Author

Ryan loves burritos, hockey, and long walks on the couch. After graduating from William Paterson University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Production, he fell in love with social media marketing at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, and later became a Social Media Specialist at Caesars Entertainment.

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