Getting to know Doug Banks
When the Soul Train Cruise promises that you’ll get up close and personal with the legends of R&B, they really mean it. Want to sit in the custom-designed studio that radio superstar Doug Banks will host his daily show from? You got it. Laugh out loud or shout amen at his uncanny observations about life, love and late-breaking news? Oh yeah, Banks will hear every bit of it. And he’s gonna love it, too. The 411 recently spoke with Banks about bringing his show to the Soul Train Cruise and what he’s got in store for his live audience aboard the ship.
“When we do our show from the ship, we’ll be right in front of people,” Banks told the 411 last week from his home just before taping his daily broadcast. The award-winning radio personality thrives so much on hearing what his listeners have to say that the Soul Train Cruise is giving him the rare opportunity to run his weekday show in front of a live audience. And he doesn’t want to stop there. If you run into him on the Lido Deck? “Bring it on,” he says with a warm smile. “We’re going to be together for several days … I’ll get to know everyone pretty well by the end of the trip.”
It’s this kind of utter devotion to his audience that has made Banks one of the biggest voices on the radio today. Starting out while still a high school student in Detroit, Banks moved on to radio shows in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Chicago, building an army of loyal listeners along the way. “I wish I could sit here and tell you that I was some radio genius,” Banks laughs as he reflects on his rise to the top. “I will be very honest with you. When I first came to Chicago and was working at WBMX, I was doing mornings, and I remember the first day [legendary radio promotion director] Lee Michaels asked me what my plan was, and I said, ‘I don’t know, I’ll just go on the air and be myself and people will either like what I bring to the table or turn it off.' And I am so blessed that it all worked out, that people liked it.”
It’s that honest approach, that humble philosophy that draws in millions of people around the country to listen to “The Doug Banks Show” every day. Some have been following him since his early years at Los Angeles’ hip-hop powerhouse KDAY, or fell for his no-holds-barred take on the news of the day during his stint at Los Angeles’ talk-radio station KFI. He’s got lots of fans in Las Vegas who remember him well from his show on KLAV, and those folks up in the Bay Area, too, who heard him on KDAI. And just like “Soul Train,” it was in Chicago that Banks made the leap from the local airwaves to the national stage. Don Cornelius had long been an inspiration, and the fact that Cornelius had paved the road Banks was following was not lost on the young radio host.
“Don Cornelius to me was a trendsetter and trailblazer,” explains Banks. “What a lot of people don’t know is that he was doing the news on a local radio show in Chicago and then would go do a half-hour radio show in the afternoon. I grew up in Detroit and would go visit my uncle who worked at Jet magazine in Chicago, and I remember sitting in his apartment in the afternoon watching Channel 26, watching Don Cornelius and “Soul Train.” So it’s a real honor to be where I am today, and it’s a real honor to be on the Soul Train Cruise.”
Banks continued to watch “Soul Train” for years after it moved to Los Angeles and became an international phenomenon. No matter what year it was, the music, the fashion and the culture were as exciting to him as the first times he watched the show. “I go back to the earliest days of the show. I can remember at one point I was in Harper Hospital in Detroit as a kid, and on Saturday morning, all the nurses would finish their rounds as fast as they could and come in my room and watch ‘Soul Train.’” In later years, he would meet his “Soul Train” dream girl, the iconic dancer Cheryl Song, whose moves, spirit, and long, long hair won the hearts of young men across the country. “It was like a family thing, when you sat down and watched the show every week. Those people became a part of your life.” Even after all this time, Banks remains an excited fan, and it’s a bit of an understatement to say that he is looking forward to reconnecting with Song on the Soul Train Cruise.
But there’s more, so much more, that Banks wants to do on board. “There is so much entertainment on this boat that I can only hope that I can see all the artists. Between the performances and the Q&A periods and the meet-and-greets and wine parties …” he trails off, overwhelmed for a moment by the endless possibilities that lie ahead. “I am always up for a Frankie Beverly and Maze show,” he says with anticipation in his voice. “Gladys is always one of my favorites. KC, the Stylistics, The Spinners, Regina … I am looking forward to seeing them all. It’s going to be a wonderful, wonderful time. A great experience. I jumped at the chance to be a part of this.”
Want to catch your favorite R&B superstars in concert just like Doug? Book your cabin aboard the Soul Train Cruise today!
Could this be the official Stuck in the '80s trip for 2016? We'll see.
Themed cruises featuring bands from the '80s aren't new, but there's a new one that has just been announced that will blow your mind.
The '80s Cruise, a 7-day cruise to the Caribbean, will be hosted by original MTV veejays Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman and Alan Hunter and feature music performances by Huey Lewis and the News, Richard Marx, Starship, Kool & The Gang, Modern English, Naked Eyes, Wang Chung and more.
And that's just the start. The TVs in each cabin will feature 24/7 '80s era programming, showing only the best TV shows and movies from the '80s. There will be '80s arcades, featuring only the coolest games from our decade. And each night is a theme night, including a Pajama Jam, Neon Beach Party, '80s Prom, '80s Movie Costume Party and more.
The ship for this '80s adventure is the Holland American Eurodam, which is a high-end brand of cruise ships. And with all the '80s activities, you probably don't care as much about where the ship is going, but here's the itinerary anyway. After leaving Fort Lauderdale, the ship visits Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. I can vouch personally that those are fantastic places to visit.
Here's some fine print. The trip isn't until 2016, giving you plenty of time to plan and save up. The dates are Feb. 28 through March 6, 2016. It's not the cheapest cruise you'll find; rates start at $1,700 per person based on double occupancy cabins. However, given Holland America's level of luxury and the incredible amount of entertainment, I'd say it's about right. And there are payment plans available as well. -- Steve Spears, 10/25/2014, Tampa Bay Times
Book early for the best rates and easiest payment plan to
s-t-r-e-t-c-h out your payments through November '15.
As we continue planning for the January sailing, we have some exciting new events planned for our Artists and Guests, including blackjack tournaments, interactive mixology classes, spa specials and unique excursions.
Blackjack: Imagine sitting at the table playing in a tournament with one of our stars and having a chance to win one of our top three cash prizes. That is exactly what we have planned and will be announcing details in the next few weeks.
Mixology classes: Our bartenders will be holding daily mixology classes where our guests can learn the secrets of making a great cocktail ... but that’s not all. We have several artists that have agreed to take the class with our guests, and you may very well get a chance to make competing cocktails with Ray Benson from Texas legends Asleep at the Wheel or Canada’s own up-and-coming star Brett Kissel, among others.
Spa Specials: Our host Lorianne Crook has been working with us to come up with some great spa packages. Stay tuned to upcoming editions of the CMC Connection for details on how to book your own package.
If you haven't already booked your cabin, you can start your reservation online.
Tony Cornelius Invites You to Join Him On Board the Soul Train Cruise 2015
For fans of classic R&B music, there is no place like the Soul Train Cruise. A place where Artists and Guests alike sail the beautiful Caribbean, hear incredible music by legendary superstars, hang with friends and family, and generally soak in all the Love, Peace and Soul inspired by the iconic TV show. It's like a family reunion for fans of classic R&B music.
For cruise host Tony Cornelius, son of legendary "Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius, this incredible week IS a family reunion. After all, Tony grew up on the “Soul Train” sound-stage, learning from his dad, hanging with many of these legendary Artists and eventually producing the “Soul Train” show himself. We are honored that Tony joins us each year to host the Soul Train Cruise, helping us pay homage to the man — the legend — who inspired us to embark on The Hippest Trip at Sea.
Recently, Tony came into our studios to appear in this special video, inviting you to join him on Soul Train Cruise 2015.
Join the R&B Family Reunion on the Soul Train Cruise 2015
The Soul Train Cruise is THE R&B musical event of the year. Don't miss your chance to join Tony Cornelius and his friends on an experience like no other with over 30 LIVE performances and 25 celebrity-hosted interactive events.
If you have been thinking about this for a while, now is the time to book. We are nearly 75 percent sold, and cabins continue to go quickly. There are still some great cabins available, and there is still time to take advantage of payment plans, but they won't be around forever.
Don’t Miss the Boat!
Cabins start at just $1,975 per person, and great cabins are still available!
Book now and still take advantage of easy and affordable monthly payment plans.
Learn more about our Country Music Cruise host.
October 20, 2014: It’s easy to see why Lorianne Crook is the queen of country music tele-journalists.
And it’s just as easy to see why we were so keen to have her return as the host of The Country Music Cruise 2015. She puts everyone – stars as much as fans – instantly at ease. Her poise, charm, and above all encyclopedic knowledge and unaffected enthusiasm ensure that everyone is eager to sit down and share some time with her.
In the online interviews on The Country Music Cruise website, Lorianne talks a little about herself for a change. And what an interesting story it is. Originally from Kansas, she came to Nashville to study Russian at Vanderbilt and had already been recruited by the CIA when she detoured into television journalism.
Television producer Jim Owens saw Lorianne on Nashville’s ABC affiliate, WKRN-TV, and as he flipped between WKRN and Charlie Chase on Nashville’s NBC affiliate, he realized that the two of them probably had the chemistry to work well together. They teamed up in 1983, and two years later Lorianne married Jim. Everyone who loves country music has caught one of Lorianne and Charlie’s shows. Between 1986 and 1999, they were the mainstays of pioneering cable channel TNN. In 2012, it was a proud moment in Lorianne’s life when she and Jim acquired TNN. They’re working to bring it to more and more cable systems, so keep checking your schedule.
Although her Russian is a little rusty these days, Lorianne is keen to share her stories about mingling with country music royalty and equally keen to share her love of fine cooking. At home, though, when she’s making supper, she usually unwinds with a glass of wine and some of the crooners, like Perry Como, Vic Damone or Tony Bennett, on the stereo. And there are two songs ABOUT Lorianne, both of them hard to find. One is by Mentor Williams, writer of the classic “Drift Away,” and the other is by Bobby Field, who was watching her on Nashville’s Channel 2 when she inspired his song titled "Lorianne," later recorded by Ohio country rockers, McGuffey-Lane.
Lorianne is looking forward to The Country Music Cruise and reuniting with many artists she has interviewed on her show over the years. She spent some time with us reminiscing about some of her favorite memories with our all-star lineup.
If you haven't already booked your cabin on The Country Music Cruise, what are you waiting for? You can start your reservation right now.
Carnival LIVE Tickets can only be purchased after you have placed a deposit for a reservation.
Carnival LIVE tickets for 2015 range from $35 to $60 for general admission, significantly less than land-based concerts.
VIP tickets are available for $125 to $250. VIP ticket holders will receive:
Commemorative concert pass
Meet and Greet with the artist(s) prior to the start of the show
Special VIP seating in the first four rows in the lounge
A souvenir photo with the artist(s)
Little Big Town
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES ANNOUNCES SPRING 2015
MIAMI (October 9, 2014) – Cruising has never sounded so good! Today Carnival Cruise Lines unveiled its new Carnival LIVE Concert Series roster for spring 2015, bringing more of the best live music to sea from some of most popular and highly requested music acts. Coming on board in the first part of next year will be Journey, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, Smokey Robinson, and Styx, back by popular demand for the second season.
The exciting 2015 Carnival LIVE concert lineup continues this one-of-a-kind entertainment option, while building on the success of an inaugural year of high-energy, sold-out on-board performances. In addition to this incredible mix of GRAMMY® Award- and CMA Award-winning artists and nominees, next year the company will announce even more acts scheduled for the latter half of 2015.
Carnival LIVE was created to give guests the opportunity to experience exclusive live entertainment from major music artists, all at a tremendous value and with great convenience. Guests attend shows in the ship’s main theaters – which range in seating capacity from 900 to 1,300 – for an intimate on-board performance where there is never a bad seat in the house.
“Our 2014 Carnival LIVE shows have been tour standouts, so we are thrilled to get on board again to rock the boat next year,” said Tommy Shaw, singer and guitarist for Styx. “The audience of cruisers in a vacation state-of-mind combined with the ship’s theater design creates an incredible energy that’s fun for everyone, including the band.”
Guests will have even more Carnival vessels, homeports and itineraries to choose from with a total of 10 “Fun Ships” departing from six convenient U.S. homeports hosting concerts in spring 2015. Carnival LIVE voyages will originate in Miami, Port Canaveral, Tampa, and Jacksonville, Fla; Charleston, S.C.; and, for the first time, Galveston, Texas, the line’s second largest homeport.
The 2015 Carnival LIVE Concert Series kicks off next March and features one or more major artist each month, performing multiple shows on Carnival vessels docked in one of three ports of call: Cozumel, Nassau and a new port for the program, St. Thomas. Artists board the ship in port, perform in the main show lounge, and then debark following the concert.
• Journey kicks off the 2015 roster with two rock anthem-filled performances on March 18 and 19 in St. Thomas.
• The award-winning Little Big Town brings their unmistakable sound to “Fun Ships” in Nassau for three appearances on (March 30 and 31 and April 1).
• Guests “Cruisin’” to see Smokey Robinson sing timeless classics from his 50-year music career can catch the icon April 21, 22 and 23 in Cozumel.
• In May, country trio Rascal Flatts, one of the top-selling live artists in any genre, will perform a series of three shows for guests in Cozumel (May 5, 6 and 7).
• Rock fans are invited to “Come Sail Away” to see one of four Styx concerts to be performed in Nassau (June 16, 17, 18 and 20).
“We are thrilled to continue our Carnival LIVE Concert Series in 2015 and welcome aboard more fantastic rock, country and R&B artists for our guests to enjoy,” said Mark Tamis, senior vice president of guest operations for Carnival Cruise Lines. “This program has struck a chord with consistently sold-out shows and a tremendous response from past guests and travel agent partners, as well as those who sailed with us for the first time to catch their favorite performers.”
5 new artists scheduled for 2015 concerts.
During a cruise to The Bahamas, Cozumel or Catalina Island, California, you’ll have the unique opportunity to see a band you love rock the ship in a theater venue. Seating is limited, but there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
There’s even a VIP opportunity to meet the band for a photo, plus grab a seat in one of the front rows. To get your Carnival LIVE tickets, first choose your desired sailing date and have us book your cruise for you. You kick back and relax while we take care of all the details. After your cruise is booked, we will then purchase your desired concert tickets and they will be delivered to your stateroom while on board.
Cruising always sounds good…
but it’s never sounded this good.
Just a brief start of a bio synopsis of each artist ...
Chicago: Before the hits started flowing, Chicago had already established a reputation for its powerful live performance. Starting in 1967, Chicago’s members exploded the conventions of what rock music could be. Early fans like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin were impressed and took the group out on tour.
Daughtry: Multi-platinum recording artist Daughtry has scored four No. 1 hits, garnered four Grammy nominations, won four American Music Awards, sold over 7.5 million albums, 17 million singles worldwide and sold out concerts around the world. Daughtry’s self-titled debut was the fastest selling rock debut in Soundscan history.
Foreigner: With ten multi-platinum albums and sixteen Top 30 hits, Foreigner’s musical arsenal and exhilarating performances continue to propel sold-out tours and impressive album sales. The band behind enduring rock anthems like “Juke Box Hero,” “Cold As Ice,” “Feels Like The First Time,” “Urgent” and “Say You Will”
Gavin DeGraw is a talent, who in just a few short years has become one of today’s premier singer-songwriters. He’s done it the old-fashioned way. On the merits of his creative abilities, perseverance and a healthy... read more
Jennifer Holiday: A Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Academy Award-winning actress and best-selling author, Jennifer Hudson is extraordinarily multi-talented. As a young singer from humble beginnings, Hudson sang in a small Chicago church, where week after week she brought the congregation to its feet.
Journey: How many bands grow even more iconic with each passing year? It’s a short list, and on it is Journey. Through all its phases and eras, twists and turns the band sees its music become more popular as the years go on. The roadie who suggested the band name “Journey” truly had a vision. In a career spanning five decades.
Jewel is an acclaimed American singer, songwriter, actress, poet, painter, philanthropist and daughter to an Alaskan cowboy singer-songwriter. From the remote ranch of her Alaskan youth to international stardom, the three-time Grammy nominee, whether alone or fronting a band of ace musicians, has earned the respect...
Kansas, once simply a garage band from Topeka, released their first album in 1974, and it contained this statement: “From the beginning, we considered ourselves and our music different and we hope we will always remain so.” In the 21st century — over 40 years later — it certainly seems likely.
Lady Antebellum: Art is a moving target. Those who do it most successfully find shades of emotion within themselves that change the texture of their work and how they feel about themselves. As a result, a real artist is ever-changing. Since its 2006 inception, Lady Antebellum had risen quickly to become country music's most influential
LeAnn Rimes has sold more than 40 million albums, won two Grammy Awards, three Academy of Country Music Awards and 12 Billboard Music Awards. Rimes is the youngest recipient ever of a Grammy Award, and was also the first country recording artist to win in the Best New Artist category. Rimes has placed 42 singles... read more
Little Big Town: Critically acclaimed Country group, Little Big Town first entered the music scene more than 15 years ago with hits such as Boondocks, Bring It On Home, Good As Gone and Grammy-nominated single Little White Church. The quartet’s fifth studio album Tornado debuted at the top of the Billboard Country Chart where it stayed for five...
Martina McBride is one of the most honored, admired and awarded women in contemporary music… but is not one to rest on her laurels. Even before there were laurels, Martina was singing country classics with father’s country band at age 7. Following a period singing with a rock group in Wichita, Kansas
Olivia Newton-John’s appeal seems to be timeless. Across a career spanning more than four decades, she’s remained a creative individual and humanitarian, adored by fans across the world. Across Olivia’s career, musical honors include four Grammy Awards, numerous Country Music Awards, American Music Awards, and People’s Choice
Rascal Flatts: If any act embodies the place to which country music has evolved in the new century, it is Rascal Flatts. Since their inception a decade ago in 1999, the trio has helped change the face of popular music. Their trademark sound — Gary LeVox's powerfully emotive lead vocals coupled with the soaring harmonies of Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney, set amid world-class arrangements ...
REO Speedwagon: Formed in 1967 in Champaign, Illinois, REO Speedwagon is a band with a never-ending desire to give their all to their fans whenever they step onstage. In their early days, the band hopped from small gigs to even smaller gigs, hoping to get their name out. Fans quickly realized that REO Speedwagon wasn’t just... read more
Smokey Robinson: Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Robinson founded The Miracles while still in high school. The group was Berry Gordy’s first vocal group, and it was at Robinson’s suggestion that Gordy started the Motown Record dynasty. Their single of Robinson’s Shop Around became Motown’s first #1 hit on the R&B singles chart.
Styx: Spawned from a suburban Chicago basement, Styx’s soaring power ballads transformed the arena rock landscape throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. Today, after over a dozen studio albums, two Super Bowl appearances, and chart-topping tours with some of the biggest names in rock… there’s no end in sight for Tommy Shaw
38 Special : After more than three decades together, 38 Special continue to bring their signature blast of Southern Rock to over 100 cities a year. And at each and every show, thousands find themselves amazed by the explosive power of the band’s performance.
Trace Adkins is one of Country music's most accomplished entertainers. His trademark baritone has powered countless hits to the top of the charts and turned albums into Platinum plaques, selling over 10 million albums, cumulatively. The Grammy-nominated member of the Grand Ole Opry is also a television...
Each artist will have a bio listed on their featured page. Check out the newest Class of 2015 line-up.
Don’t Miss Soul Train Cruise 2015 Artist Valerie Simpson’s Special Appearance on Centric’s The Hot 10
As you know, Centric is on board every Soul Train Cruise, sharing in all the Love, Peace and Soul of our journey. We are excited to let everyone know that R&B legend and Soul Train Cruise 2015 Artist Valerie Simpson will appear on Centric’s The Hot 10 show on Friday, Oct. 10, at 6 a.m. EDT and again on Saturday, Oct. 11, at 9 a.m. EDT.
Every week, Centric counts down the hottest 10 videos in R&B, soul and hip-hop, and this week’s show was shot on location at Simpson’s New York restaurant, The Sugar Bar. Simpson will be sharing memories of her award-winning career and discussing her upcoming voyage on the Soul Train Cruise, which travels through the Caribbean from Feb. 22 to March 1, 2015. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy this special program.
It’s Not Too Late to Get On Board the 2015 Sailing of
Passionate about music and passionate about cruising. Put 'em together and I'm in heaven -- you can catch up with me on a themed cruise and, especially, on an Entertainment Cruise!