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Choose-Up Styx, Half 2 – Way of life Media

Whenever you joined Styx in 1999, you had a major following in Canada as a solo artist. Was it a troublesome choice to provide that up for a globally famend band that had an advanced latest historical past?

On the one hand, you’re knocked out and flattered by the consideration of becoming a member of a band with a legacy just like the one Styx has. That half was simple. However, sure, again then I had 4 platinum data, three gold data and a gold single. In Canada, there have been lots of people who mentioned, “Don’t do it,” after I introduced I used to be going to Styx.

However let’s return to 1998. I keep in mind my publicist in England saying, “Right here’s what’s going to occur in your profession. There are such a lot of bands—Genesis, Queen and others—which can be going to want new folks as a way to proceed. It’s the pure evolution of the enterprise.”

At first, I used to be resistant as a result of, in my thoughts, I used to be a solo artist. However she mentioned, “You possibly can nonetheless be that—and likewise be a part of a band.”

So, yearly now I play about 100 Styx reveals—and I nonetheless play 15 to twenty solo reveals after I return residence to Canada. I can steadiness between the 2 in a method that works for me. I really feel lucky that I listened to her.

Was it troublesome so that you can thread the needle between establishing your individual id in Styx and taking up a job {that a} founding member had performed for therefore lengthy?

I actually need to credit score that to J.Y. and Tommy. They by no means as soon as requested me to do any form of “impression” [of Dennis DeYoung]. The phrase “exchange” by no means has been a part of the band’s vocabulary. That period of the band had come to an in depth.

All of the stuff that I do on stage, like my spinning piano, they needed. I feel they needed the spinning piano greater than me, truly. [Gowan laughs.] However it set me very a lot relaxed to know that this was about extending the spirit of Styx.

I’m looking my resort window now on the Mirage in Las Vegas, and there’s the signal for “The Beatles Love” Cirque du Soleil present. The spirit of the Beatles continues to be very a lot alive, and it’s past the 4 members of the band.

After I joined Styx, regardless of the spirit of the band was, it hadn’t been upset [by DeYoung’s departure] to the purpose of being irreparable. It was [just] time for a brand new chapter.

Have you ever ever had a dialog with one other musician who changed an unique band member of a storied band and in contrast notes?

I've noticed bands that needed to undergo transitions with new members. I’ve seen ones that work the most effective and ones that fall flat.

Six years in the past, I noticed The Rolling Stones in live performance. I had nice seats up entrance. That they had a catwalk setup, and Keith Richards walks out first, adopted by Mick Jagger, after which Ronnie Wooden. And I keep in mind pondering, Ronnie Wooden is each bit as a lot a Rolling Stone as the primary two guys who walked previous me. He matches into this band so completely. And, but, he’s the third guitarist in that function. He’s not even the second. However it simply seems like he’s all the time been there.

That’s what I’ve tried to keep in mind. What must survive intact is regardless of the spirit of that band is. The one factor I can use to help my perception is the truth that I’ve been with Styx for 23 years now—and the band simply celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. For a band to outlive that lengthy, they need to’ve made some good choices alongside the best way.

There are a number of bands, like Styx and Journey and REO Speedwagon, who’ve toured persistently and efficiently lengthy after the peak of their unique run. Being so versed on this catalog now, what it's about Styx that connects so strongly in any case these years?

I’ll begin with a J.Y. Younger quote. He all the time says that there’s a humiliation of riches on the subject of the songs. He goes via it each evening attempting to place a set record collectively.

However there’s nonetheless luck concerned. Like, after I joined the band in 1999, Adam Sandler launched the film Huge Daddy—which had Styx’s “Babe” as a part of the soundtrack. That very same yr, Volkswagen did a business that featured the tune “Mr. Roboto.” [Note: A year earlier, the animated TV show South Park did an episode with “Come Sail Away” as a plot point.]

All of the sudden, there’s a renewed consciousness in regards to the band. Previous to that, Styx had gone via an extended lull. So, we [capitalized] on this buzz by touring and getting the identify again on the market. That was the mandate after I joined. Let’s go play 100 reveals a yr and get of us speaking about this band once more.

And other people had been curious. They couldn’t see Led Zeppelin anymore. Queen wasn’t touring on the time. Let’s see what occurring with Styx. They usually’d get hooked. As a result of, when you pull the lid off you notice that it’s a deep properly. And the dwell reveals dwell as much as that.

Just a few years again, Styx opened for Def Leppard shortly after David Bowie died. You probably did a bit of mid-set tribute. Was Bowie an affect on you?

Very a lot so. He had such a large palette. At a sure level, you possibly can go away behind the pop pursuits. Bowie gave us the lengthy arc. How attention-grabbing for folks uncover totally different eras of the artist. His chameleon-like method fascinated me; you had been all the time curious about what he was going to do subsequent. He’d by no means repeat what he did up to now. I additionally cherished the extra cerebral kind of rock that [Bowie could deliver]. We've got comparable pursuits. I really like something that’s conceptually related to house and alien life and strangeness. All these items are very charming to me.

Styx had successful with The Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus,” which was on an album of canopy songs (Huge Bang Concept) in 2005. However there’s extra to that tune’s journey with Styx, going again to your early days, right?

Luckily, method again within the Nineteen Seventies, the band that I had was very adventurous. We’d put uncommon covers into our membership reveals. We carried out “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, which no bar band would dare contact. And that opened the door to classical influences and issues that had nothing to do with the punk and disco period of the instances. “I Am the Walrus,” is likely one of the songs that band discovered.

After I first began with Styx, I’d play “I Am the Walrus” as a part of my warmup. So, flash to 2004. We’re enjoying the Crossroads Pageant [founded by Eric Clapton] in Dallas. The evening earlier than, J.Y. tells me he desires to do “I Am the Walrus” on the pageant. All people was going to be enjoying blues songs; he needed us to play one thing that folks wouldn’t anticipate from Styx.

The subsequent day throughout soundcheck, we discovered strategy it—like with guitars doing the cello elements—we rehearsed the tune, and we determined to provide it a shot that evening.

Billy Preston occurred to be at that efficiency [the keyboardist who famously contributed to several songs on the Beatles’ Let It Be album]. He additionally was enjoying at Crossroads. He watched the entire tune from simply off the stage. After I got here off, he goes, “That was nice! I cherished listening to that once more!”

That pageant was broadcast dwell, and after the present the native radio station was getting requests for the dwell model of “Walrus.” That [buzz] led to Styx doing the Huge Bang Concept album.

Just a few years later, Billy Preston took the stage with Styx. We performed The Beatles’ “Get Again” and Billy’s No. 1 hit, “Will It Go Spherical in Circles”—and it began from the “Walrus” cowl we did in Texas.

Styx/REO in Live performance

When: June 19

The place: iThink Monetary Amphitheatre, West Palm Seaside

What: Styx co-headlines a night of basic rock that features two different bands from the Nineteen Seventies and ’80s with multiplatinum-selling albums—REO Speedwagon and Loverboy.

Tickets: livenation.com

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