February 1, 2001

Transcript of live chat from accessgulfcoast.com

The topic is: Live Chat with JY Young of Styx


[Moderator] With all the lineup changes over the years, what songs have been removed from the setlist? What hits?

[JYYoung] We really don't play Babe anymore. Best of Times we aren't doing.  We do Lady, Come Sail Away, Lorelei. Generally there's more emphasis on Tommy.  Mr. Roboto actually sneaks in once in awhile.

[Moderator] Will we get to hear more JY songs in up-coming shows?

[JYYoung] In the summertime.  We only have a few more shows until we're done, sadly to report not in Pensacola.  But when we go on tour next time, more JY.

[Moderator] Is the animosity really that high between the band and DDY?

[JYYoung] Well I haven't spoken to Dennis since June of 1999 and he's suing us in Federal Court.  So we haven't spent any time in the hot tub together if that's what you're asking.

[Moderator] JY, in the liner notes for the Grand Illusions album, Bob 'Yaz' Jastrzembski is credited with *Equipment & Motorcycle Stunts*. What is the story behind this dedication?

[JYYoung] Well that's only 24 years ago and Yaz who was our drum tech up through 1983 but for the life of me I can't remember what stunts he was capable of.  Those must have been late at night.

[Moderator] Hi JY! Most guitarists use a lot of different guitars during a show. What makes you so faithful to that blue Kramer?

[JYYoung] My counterpart Mr. Tommy Shaw, has picked up almost any stringed instrument, as long as it's not a cello.  I on the other hand play the instrument that's made for me.  Tommy's been encouraging me to pick up more but I haven't had time to search for a new guitar.  The Kramer works the best for me.  But I'm hoping to find something new before the Summer tour begins.  And if I don't I'm going to play that darn Kramer.

[Moderator] nobody asks:  have you guys done any writing for a new album?

[JYYoung] There are a number of songs that Tommy and I put together that didn't get on Brave New World. Glen has a number of great songs.  We just haven't had time to sit down and begin the polishing process. Tommy has said in the past, he has time off and it's overrated.

[Moderator] crookedfingers asks: what kind of new bands out there do you listen to? Any unsigned or mid level stuff?

[JYYoung] I haven't spent a lot of time listening to new bands.  I dabbled in some unsigned/mid-level in the early 90's.  Just being the defensive coordinator in Styx just keeps me too busy to do that.  We watch DVD's on the bus and have been more into films than music I'm sad to admit.

[Moderator] StyxVal asks:   Is there any chance of seeing Heavy Water come back in concert?

[JYYoung] Oh sure. The problem in doing a 90 minute long set with another band is that you're limited.  But Heavy Water will make a return at some point.

[Moderator] michael asks: What bands from the late 70's do you guys feel are kindred spirits?

[JYYoung] We have something in common with Kansas, REO, Survivor, I get a real kick out of Eddie Money, we've had fun with him.  I hope we can get to do some shows with Aerosmith.  Journey is parallel since we've both had some high profile replacements. There's some talk of Heart as well.

[Moderator] redSG asks : Is it true there may be a Styx boxed set on the way?

[JYYoung] It will happen, hopefully for Christmas. We're sort of held up on fine points of settling what the royalties are going to be. We should finalize the sequence of the box set and get it together for Christmas.

[Moderator] kit asks:  which Styx song do you have the most fun playing live?

[JYYoung] I do sort of like playing Renegade I must say.  I can just stumble and run around as much as I choose.

[Moderator] redSG: I have "Raised By Wolves" and dig it.  Is there any way to get a hold of your other solo stuff?

[JYYoung] There was, but not at the moment. Hopefully in a couple months I'll have a link somewhere and people can buy them.
(webmaster's note - actually, yes there is a current link - JY, please call your marketing department!)

[Moderator] StyxFanSheri  Will you be dabbling on the Internet more like Tommy does?

[JYYoung] Sad to report, in the negative sense.

[Moderator] Do you ever get tired of being on the road?

[JYYoung] Right now we've been touring virtually constantly.  We're entering our 20th month in a row. There are times when being on the road is difficult.  When there are family crises, like when I had to fly home for my younger brother. For the most part, I get joy in bringing music to fans around the road.

[Moderator] What was the inspiration for the song Snowblind?

[JYYoung] It was intended to be a subtle anti-cocaine song.  I will admit to trying it a few times.  Being the midwesterner that I am I had to ask, you know I'm awake so much anyway, why should I pay so much money to stay awake any longer?  I never really liked it.

[Moderator] How do you feel knowing that you have so many generations following the band?

[JYYoung] It's an incredible feeling.  There were a couple of young women backstage last Friday who asked Tommy and I to autograph their stomachs.  I was told at the time that I reminded her of her father who had died in his early 30's who was a guitar player who loved to rock and roll.  Then she told me I was a rock legend.  I took that as a compliment.  I embrace all generations.  We had some fans last week who were in their 80's.

[Moderator] Linda asks: How is Chuck's leg healing and have they found the person that hit him?

[JYYoung] They haven't found the guy that hit him.  He's not 100 percent yet but continuing to improve.  He's probably walking as good as Tiger Woods is today, he had his knee hurt yesterday by a fan.

[Moderator] Do you ever recognize fans from other concerts? I know you have a big group that follows the band.

[JYYoung] I recognize many faces, even though I am pretty nearsighted, so I can't see that far into the crowd.  There are many fans that I see out there in the crowd.  It's nice to see familiar faces.

[Moderator] I read somewhere that you have a degree in astrophysics.  Is that true?

[JYYoung] Actually Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, from  Illinois Institute of Technology.

[Moderator] LtlK asks: Do you ever do sessions where you go out and meet your fans?

[JYYoung] Every now and then.

[Moderator] I know that the band performs Gowan's "A Criminal Mind" sometimes and it ROCKS! Is there any chance of any other solo tunes creeping into the 'evening with' set?

[JYYoung] There's always a chance.

[Moderator] Do you still have the same passion for music that you did back in the 80's?

[JYYoung] You betcha!  Show business is my life, particularly now that I'm a legend.

[Moderator] When it's just you and your guitar... what do you like to play?

[JYYoung] I tend to noodle in a very bluesy way, that's kind of how I warm up.  I tend to fall back into playing Hendrix songs or songs by Cream.

[Moderator] Kathie asks: Is Styx going back to outdoor arenas again for most of the summer? Do you prefer the indoor or outdoor shows?

[JYYoung] I believe we'll be pulling the amphitheater circuit.  Big ones, small ones, indoor, outdoor - I love them all.

[Moderator] Do you think VH1's Behind the Music accurately portrays Styx's history?

[JYYoung] I didn't watch it until about 3 months after it aired.  There are some inaccuracies, but given the fact that strangers had to tell a story dating back to the mid-60's, and telling it in 40 minutes, I think they did a reasonably good job.

[Moderator] Any chances of seeing you pick up an acoustic guitar on stage?

[JYYoung] Certainly.  Whenever we have more than 1:45 minutes to play we'll do an unplugged segment.  Tommy is more proficient on the acoustic than I am.  Usually he goes acoustic and I stay with electric to balance it out.

[Moderator] StyxFanSheri: Any truth to the rumors of Styx and Heart summer tour?

[JYYoung] No truth to my knowledge.  I think Heart is doing the all-girl summer thing.  Their own Lilith.

[Moderator] boomer21:  JY, boxers or briefs?

[JYYoung] Depends.

[Moderator] What drove the band to such intensity, sound-wise, and songwriting-wise in the early days?

[JYYoung] Desperate need for attention.

[Moderator] Who wrote the song Paradise and what was the inspiration for it?

[JYYoung] Back to the intensity question. I always loved that kind of music.  I was in the front row when the Who played in 1967 and I was inspired.

[JYYoung] We have a number of songs with Paradise in the Title.  Rockin' in Paradise was written by Tommy and myself.  Return to Paradise was written by Dennis.  I think that question is better posed to him.

[Moderator] On the acoustic issue.... any plans to do MTV Unplugged to A&E's Live By Request?

[JYYoung] If there are enough fans that we win by the A&E Live by Request we'd be honored.  MTV, I think we'd do a fantastic live concert. Should we be asked we're ready and willing.

[Moderator] What do you think about the state of modern pop music?

[JYYoung] I think music TV, in the form of MTV and VH1 have really become the tail that wags the music industry dog.  I think major record companies are driven by the taste of music television.  It's created by Britney Spears and N'Sync and their counterparts and clones.  I think Napster and MP3's, while there are drawbacks, have good points too.

[Moderator] How does it feel to know that you took "the Highway " (as stated on VH1) and your fans rode right along with you?

[JYYoung] For me, what's going on now is just an affirmation of a belief that I've had for decades.  It's not about one man, it's about a collective and about the feeling we create for our fans. The fans are the ones that brought the band back together.  It's an incredible joy for me to think our fans think so highly of us - that they've coined us as legendary status :) Tommy met Van Morrison recently - one of his biggest idols - and one of my biggest idols.  So we know how it feels to meet a legend.

[Moderator] I am going to the show tonight... any chance you can do "Light Up" for me?

[JYYoung] Unfortunately we can't change the line up.  Sorry, not tonight.

[Moderator] How did you guys end up on the Superbowl?

[JYYoung] Our manager, Charlie, is a very smart man.  He tied us into a concert series that people that put on the Superbowl do the week leading up to the Superbowl - putting us on the pathway to opportunity.  By being in town that week, it kept our name in the forefront of producers' minds.  That led to us having a part in that extravaganza.

[Moderator] Although it would be wrong, are you at all worried that you might lose rights to the use of the Styx name?

[JYYoung] I'm not concerned in the least.  Majority rules, this is America

[Moderator] How do you feel about people taking pictures at the shows?  Or recording shows?

[JYYoung] In the old days we used to restrict all that.  It's pretty hard to police it. Right now, I think it's a good thing for us - I feel good about it.

[Moderator] Now that the band's line-up has changed, any chance of you taking over more singing and writing duties?

[JYYoung] There's always a chance.

[Moderator] cashiosux: Is it money or love of music that keeps you going at this time?

[JYYoung] It's really the joy of being on stage that is my highest priority.  The fact that we might be economically rewarded in a nice way is really a secondary thing for me.  Seeing the smiles on peoples faces.  I used to feel the job of being a legend in rock was very self-serving and had no value to society.  I think the opposite now.  People have struggles in just getting by day-to-day.  By playing live concerts, we provide a moment in time where people can come in, forget all their troubles and celebrate the good parts of human existence.  If you focus on the negative all the time, you start believing it. We think there is great hope in human existence and great joy.  That's kind of my purpose - mass psychotherapy.

[Moderator] Are you excited about the future of Styx now that you are enjoying a major rebirth in popularity?

[JYYoung] Big time!

[Moderator] Final thoughts?

[JYYoung] The fans are really what brought us back together.  I owe our fans a lot of thanks for their dedication and loyalty and for saying - we really liked it when you were Styx.  As difficult as 1983 was, the total was greater than the sum of the parts.  We're on to greater glory.

[Moderator] Thank you for joining us on AGC chat.  See you next time!

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