Text-Based Online Chat
Yahoo! Chat
This is a transcription of an online chat conducted with Styx on 12/9/1999 in the Yahoo! chat room.

STYX: Hi everybody, this is James "JY" Young from the group Styx, going online to chat for the first time ever. I'm a virgin in the chat room!

QUESTION: why did it had to take so long to realise a new album
STYX: I presume the question is "why does it take Styx until 1999 from 1983 to create a new studio album, including Tommy Shaw, Dennis DeYoung, and James Young?" There's no simple answer. Good things take time.

QUESTION: What do you think of mp3s being traded for free on the internet? Do you have any objections to people being able to listen to your music whenever they want without paying for it?
STYX: I guess I haven't fully formed an opinion. I can see two sides of the question, and never having done it myself, don't really know. But, I think it's a wonderful thing for new groups that want to get exposure, to be able to put their music out.

QUESTION: What was the writing process like on the new album?
STYX: It was wonderful. Tommy and I hadn't tried to write together, just he and I, since he first joined the band in early 1976. It was difficult for us back then, but we seem, 20 years later, to have really connected.

QUESTION: I know Tommy is working on new songs - have you started any new songs for the next album?
STYX: There are a number of songs that Tommy and I collaborated on, that there wasn't room for on Brave New World, that we think are... you know, we think there are a couple that are absolute guarantees to find their way onto the next record.

QUESTION: Were you glad that the commercial sparked interest in Mr. Roboto again?
STYX: Certainly! JY's watchwords for the new millennium: Flexibility and adaptability.

QUESTION: Who was your greatest influence and did you ever get a chance to play with that band or person?
STYX: Jimi Hendrix died before I had that opportunity.

QUESTION: Where did you come up with the name Styx?
STYX: Styx is the river of death from Greek mythology. And has nothing to do with the Judeo-Christian concept of Heaven and Hell. And furthermore, mythological names were in vogue in 1972, when we changed our name from what it was previously, at the release of our first album.

QUESTION: JY, you wrote Young Man, then redid it on the Day Pass album. Are there any plans to redo any other songs, thus updating them?
STYX: Currently no. But as Tommy said, on one of our previous albums, never say never.

QUESTION: How does this tour compare to the tours of the past? Do you still enjoy touring?
STYX: I love touring more now than I ever did. And the two and a half hours on stage each evening that we perform are like a huge dose of Prozac. And I'm addicted.

QUESTION: Which song is your favorite to perform live, and if you could add another song to the set, what would your choice be?
STYX: I'd like to add "We Will Rock You" by Queen, but I don't think we can legitimately play it.

QUESTION: JY, what inspired Half Penny Two Penny?
STYX: I suppose, on the Paradise Theater album, and the Paradise Theater being an allegory, not so veiled an allegory, for the state of America at the time... concept of justice for money and the other roles that money plays in our capitalist society led me to write that song. And I guess that was predicted on OJ back in 1981.

QUESTION: I just have to ask you JY, are those blue shoes you wore in Colorado the same ones that you wore on the Return to Paradise Theatre Tour?
STYX: Yes. Nobody makes them anymore.

QUESTION: What bands and artists do you admire
STYX: Collective Soul. Sheryl Crow, who I'm actually going to meet tomorrow night in NY. I'm very impressed with her. And I'm still a big fan of Ozzy Osbourne.

QUESTION: Styx has shown a lot of variety in the songs and music produced from album to album. Where do you see Styx music going in the near future? I.E. harder, more like the old stuff, more like Tommy's last solo album, etc.
STYX: Well, always impossible to predict precisely where... But since we paint, sonically, with such a broad palette, it's just a delight to have so few limitations.

QUESTION: Does the audience seem different now than in the 70's and 80's?
STYX: Their eyes are definitely less glazed.

QUESTION: Who came up with "Kilroy was here"?
STYX: Dennis DeYoung.

QUESTION: Where did the idea for Kilroy come from?
STYX: Kilroy is a figure that relates to the Second World War, as American troops advanced through Europe, they would see this little face with a caption under it: Kilroy Was Here. And Dennis adapted it to that whole concept: that Kilroy was some unknown figure that had to play the role. And of course the Kilroy album by Styx related to censorship in modern times, as well as our relationship to the technology that we have surrounded ourselves with.

QUESTION: Any thoughts on putting together a follow up album to Kilroy Was Here? Kind of like a sequel or a prequel?
STYX: George Lucas is working on it. No, actually, not at this time.

QUESTION: If you could play "guest guitar" on stage with any band, who would you choose?
STYX: Well, probably with Muddy Waters. Sadly, Muddy passed away. I was invited to his house for a barbecue and was too busy with Styx recordings to accept the invitation. And it's one of my largest regrets ever in the entertainment business.

QUESTION: What was the inspiration behind "Heavy Water"?
STYX: Tommy and I were writing at his house. And the Pakistanis and the people of the country of India were both testing nuclear weapons independently of one another. And threatening to go to nuclear war over the disputed territory of Kashmir. And "Heavy Water" is ... originally they manufactured products for the hydrogen bomb from heavy water, and now heavy water serves pretty much in every nuclear reactor as the coolant to cool the nuclear fuel rods, so, it's an antinuclear song.

QUESTION: Do you think your song "The Grand Illusion" holds more meaning with the changing times?
STYX: The Grand Illusion, I believe, is a song that has maintained its relevance over the space of the 22 years since The Grand Illusion was recorded. And will probably retain its relevance for a long time to come.

QUESTION: You've been the most quiet about the current member situation... care to comment?

QUESTION: rumors said that you never meant to make the "Come Sail Away" song, is that true?
STYX: No... Come Sail Away was obviously intended.

QUESTION: Why did you start singing>
STYX: Well, guitar playing was my first love, when it came to playing music. And singing just sort of followed. And actually, it's Dennis DeYoung that really, in the beginning of Styx, encouraged me to try and become a lead singer. To work at it. When I didn't think of myself as one.

QUESTION: JY, what's your favourite song to play live?
STYX: The things I'm enjoying most on this recent tour are songs from the new album.

QUESTION: Is it true that Gowan blew you away when he 1st played "A Criminal Mind" during the audition?
STYX: Lawrence Gowan is a man with a large amount of confidence. And he was suitably impressive at the audition.

QUESTION: What's in your CD player and on your bookshelf at the moment?
STYX: In the CD player is the current Lynyrd Skynyrd album. They were managed by the same management as us, and are currently on tour behind that album with ZZ Top. A great bunch of guys. The book is the sort of autobiography of Hillary Clinton. I think Sheehy is the author.

QUESTION: Which album is the "group's" favorite album ever to make?
STYX: Grand Illusion.

QUESTION: How do you feel about the "internet connection" the band has made with the fans?
STYX: Pretty much purely the province of my colleague, Mr. Tommy Shaw. And the fans seem delighted with it. So why shouldn't I be?

QUESTION: I am teaching myself to play guitar. Do you have any advice?
STYX: I think the important thing about music is it's really here for all of our individual and collective enjoyment. And one must be incredibly diligent and patient to really achieve anything on a musical instrument. So by all means, play for fun. But be prepared to spend long hours locked in a room.

QUESTION: How long have you been playing guitar and how long do you practice?
STYX: I don't practice nearly enough. I've been playing since 1964.

QUESTION: Any future plans for another album?
STYX: There will definitely be another Styx album. In the future. The question is: when? I would think soonest would be about a year from now. Although there are plans for a boxed set to come out in the fall of 2000. Thanks for checking in! And we'll see you out on the road in the year 2000.
  Copyright 1995-2001 House of Blues Digital, Inc. All rights reserved. hob.com