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While you joined Styx in 1999, you had an enormous following in Canada as a solo artist. Was it a troublesome determination to present that up for a world-renowned band that had an advanced latest historical past?

On one hand, you are knocked out and flattered by the glory of becoming a member of a gang with a legacy like Styx has. That half was straightforward. However yeah, again then I had 4 platinum information, three gold information, and one gold single. In Canada, there have been lots of people who stated, “Do not do it,” once I introduced that I used to be going to Styx.

However let’s return to 1998. I keep in mind my publicist in England saying, “That is what is going on to occur in your profession. There are such a lot of bands, Genesis, Queen and others, which are going to wish new folks to proceed. It’s the pure evolution of the enterprise.”

At first, I resisted as a result of, in my thoughts, I used to be a solo artist. However she stated, “You may nonetheless be that, and likewise be a part of a band.”

So yearly now I play about 100 Styx reveals, and I nonetheless play 15-20 solo reveals once I get again house to Canada. I can steadiness between the 2 in a approach that works for me. I really feel fortunate to have listened to her.

Was it troublesome so that you can thread the needle between establishing your personal identification at Styx and taking over a job {that a} founding member had held for therefore lengthy?

I actually have to present credit score to JY and Tommy. I used to be by no means requested to do any type of “impression” [of Dennis DeYoung]. The phrase “change” has by no means been a part of the band’s vocabulary. That period of the band had come to an finish.

All of the issues I do on stage, like my rotating piano, they needed. I believe they needed the revolving piano greater than I did, truly. [Gowan laughs.] However I used to be very relieved to know that it was about spreading the spirit of Styx.

Now I am looking the window of my resort on the Mirage in Las Vegas, and there is the poster for Cirque du Soleil’s present “The Beatles Love.” The spirit of the Beatles remains to be very a lot alive and goes past the 4 members of the band.

After I joined Styx, regardless of the spirit of the band was, I 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 member of a historic band and in contrast notes?

I’ve noticed bands that needed to undergo transitions with new members. I’ve seen those that work greatest and those that fail.

Six years in the past, I noticed the Rolling Stones in live performance. I had nice seats within the entrance. That they had a catwalk setup, and Keith Richards comes out first, adopted by Mick Jagger, after which Ronnie Wooden. And I keep in mind considering, Ronnie Wooden is as a lot a Rolling Stone as the primary two guys that walked previous me. He suits completely on this band. And but he’s the third guitarist in that function. He isn’t even the second. However he seems like he is at all times been there.

That is what I’ve tried to bear in mind. What must survive intact is regardless of the spirit of that band is. The one factor I can use to again up my perception is the truth that I have been with Styx for 23 years, and the band simply celebrated their fiftieth anniversary. For a band to outlive this lengthy, they should have made some good selections alongside the way in which.

There are some bands, like Styx and Journey and REO Speedwagon, who’ve toured constantly and efficiently lengthy after the peak of their unique profession. Being so properly versed on this catalog now, what’s it about Styx that connects so strongly in spite of everything these years?

I am going to begin with a quote from JY Younger. He at all times says that there’s a humiliation of riches in the case of songs. He goes by it each evening making an attempt to place collectively a music checklist.

However there may be nonetheless luck concerned. Like, once I joined the band in 1999, Adam Sandler launched the film Massive potato—which had “Babe” by Styx as a part of the soundtrack. That very same yr, Volkswagen made a industrial that included the music “Mr. Robotic.” [Note: A year earlier, the animated TV show South Park did an episode with “Come Sail Away” as a plot point.]

Abruptly there’s a renewed consciousness in regards to the band. Earlier than that, Styx had been by a protracted hiatus. so we [capitalized] on this buzz touring and getting the title again. That was the mandate once I joined. We’ll play 100 reveals a yr and get folks speaking about this band once more.

And other people have been curious. They could not see Led Zeppelin anymore. Queen was not on tour on the time. Let’s examine what occurs with Styx. And they’d be hooked. As a result of, as soon as you’re taking the lid off, you notice it is a deep properly. And the dwell reveals are as much as par.

A number of years in the past, Styx opened for Def Leppard shortly after David Bowie’s loss of life. You probably did just a little tribute in the midst of the set. Was Bowie an affect on you?

A lot. She had such a large palette. At a sure level, you may go away pop pursuits behind. Bowie gave us the longbow. How attention-grabbing that individuals uncover completely different eras of the artist. His chameleon-like type fascinated me; you have been at all times serious about what he was going to do subsequent. He would by no means repeat what he did previously. I additionally liked the extra cerebral type of rock that [Bowie could deliver]. We’ve comparable pursuits. I really like something that’s conceptually linked to area, alien life, and strangeness. All these items are very fascinating to me.

Styx had a success with “I Am the Walrus” by The Beatles, which was on a canopy album (Massive Bang Principle) in 2005. However there’s extra to that music’s journey with Styx, going again to your early days, proper?

Luckily, again within the Nineteen Seventies, the band I had was very adventurous. We’d play uncommon variations at our membership reveals. We carried out Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which no bar band would dare to play. And that opened the door to classical influences and issues that had nothing to do with the punk and disco period of the time. “I Am the Walrus” is among the songs that the band realized.

After I began with Styx, I performed “I Am the Walrus” as a part of my warm-up. So, flash to 2004. We’re enjoying Crossroads Pageant. [founded by Eric Clapton] in Dallas. The evening earlier than, JY tells me that he desires to do “I Am the Walrus” on the competition. Everyone was going to play blues songs; he needed us to play one thing that individuals would not anticipate from Styx.

The subsequent day throughout sound verify we discovered tips on how to method it, like with guitars doing the cello elements, we rehearsed the music and determined to present it a shot that evening.

Billy Preston was at that efficiency [the keyboardist who famously contributed to several songs on the Beatles’ Let It Be album]. He additionally performed in Crossroads. She watched your complete music from offstage. After I got here out, he says, “That was nice! I liked listening to that once more!”

That competition was broadcast dwell, and after the present, the native radio station acquired requests for the dwell model of “Walrus.” That [buzz] led Styx to do the Massive Bang Principle album.

A number of years later, Billy Preston took the stage with Styx. We performed “Get Again” by The Beatles and Billy’s #1 hit “Will It Go Spherical in Circles” and it began with the model of “Walrus” we did in Texas.

Styx/REO in live performance

When: nineteenth of June

The place: iThink Monetary Amphitheatre, West Palm Seashore

What: Styx co-headline a night of traditional rock that features two different bands from the Nineteen Seventies and ’80s with multi-platinum albums: REO Speedwagon and Loverboy.

Tickets: livenation.com

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