This is a transcription of an
online chat conducted with Styx on 12/9/1999 in the Yahoo! chat room.
THIS IS NOT A VERBATIM
IT HAS BEEN EDITED.
|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!|
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.
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
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.
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
QUESTION: Were you glad that the commercial
sparked interest in Mr. Roboto again?
STYX: Certainly! JY's watchwords for the
new millennium: Flexibility and
QUESTION: Who was your greatest
influence and did you ever get a chance to play with that band or
STYX: Jimi Hendrix
died before I had that opportunity.
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.
How does this tour compare to the tours of the past? Do you still
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
QUESTION: JY, what inspired Half Penny Two
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.
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
Nobody makes them anymore.
QUESTION: What bands and
artists do you admire
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,
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
QUESTION: Does the audience seem
different now than in the 70's and 80's?
STYX: Their eyes are definitely less
QUESTION: Who came up with "Kilroy was
QUESTION: Where did the idea for Kilroy
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
QUESTION: Any thoughts on putting together a
follow up album to Kilroy Was Here? Kind of like a sequel or a
STYX: George Lucas
is working on it. No, actually, not at this
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
QUESTION: What was the inspiration behind
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
QUESTION: Do you think your song
"The Grand Illusion" holds more meaning with the changing
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
QUESTION: You've been the most quiet about
the current member situation... care to
QUESTION: rumors said that you never
meant to make the "Come Sail Away" song, is that
STYX: No... Come Sail
Away was obviously intended.
QUESTION: Why did you
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?
The things I'm enjoying most on this recent tour are songs from the
QUESTION: Is it true that Gowan blew you
away when he 1st played "A Criminal Mind" during the
Gowan is a man with a large amount of confidence. And he was
suitably impressive at the audition.
What's in your CD player and on your bookshelf at the
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
QUESTION: Which album is the "group's"
favorite album ever to make?
QUESTION: How do you feel about the
"internet connection" the band has made with the
STYX: Pretty much
purely the province of my colleague, Mr. Tommy Shaw. And the fans
seem delighted with it. So why shouldn't I
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
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?
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.
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