James “JY” – Young Lead vocals, guitars
Tommy Shaw – Lead vocals, guitars
Chuck Panozzo – Bass, vocals
Todd Sucherman – Drums, percussion
Lawrence Gowan – Lead vocals, keyboards
Ricky Phillips – Bass, guitar, vocals
Harmony. Chemistry. Balance. Grit. Dexterity. Determination. Solidarity. Terms that describe a Super Bowl champion? Well, almost. These are words that define the core essence of Styx, the multimegamillion-selling rock band that has forged an indelible legacy both on record and onstage.
The six men comprising Styx have committed to rocking the Paradise together with audiences far and wide by entering their second decade of averaging over 100 shows a year, and each one of them is committed to making the next show better than the last. “Every night, we go on that magic carpet ride together,” observes original bassist Chuck Panozzo, who joins the band on tour as often as he can. “The thing I always like the most is the immediate response we get when playing live,” adds guitarist and vocalist James “JY” Young, an integral force of nature in the band since its 1972 inception and the one who helped steer the band to landing its first recording contract with Wooden Nickel Records. “And this is as good a live band as there is. Someone once told me, ‘I’ve seen Paul McCartney, I’ve seen the Rolling Stones, I’ve seen U2, I’ve seen the Police. But my favorite show last year was Styx.’ I like to say we’re the best-kept secret — but perhaps we’re not anymore.” Notes guitarist, vocalist, and emotional centerpiece Tommy Shaw, “There are so many portals to reach your musical soul, and our live show is like a religious experience where people come to commune and testify. We have a pretty sophisticated audience, and we really respect that. We didn’t used to have people who would come see every show, but now they’re coming back again and again for more. And we owe it to our fans to continually rehearse, prepare, and improve.”
Among the key reasons fans repeatedly return to bask in the live Styx experience is the special energy apparent in each performance. “Something feels fresh with these guys every time I walk out onstage with them,” admits vocalist and keyboard shaman Lawrence Gowan. “It’s not lost on anyone that we’re pretty fortunate to be doing this. I look across the stage and I’m as entertained as much as the audience is as to how strong the band is. There’s not the slightest sliver of doubt that we’re all going to leave everything we can onstage every night.”
Agrees drummer and percussive dynamo Todd Sucherman, “This is a band that never has a bad show. I think our level of professionalism, musicianship, and spirit carries that across every night. The fact that we have so much fun when we’re playing — that’s very contagious. That’s a miraculous feat in and of itself. We never walk off the stage thinking, ‘What happened?’ ” A Styx show’s depth of impact is no accident, explains Ricky Phillips, bassist, background vocalist, and backbone of the backline: “There’s a lot going on up there. It’s a multilayered, multilevel show with a number of elements going on beyond the music itself. I find a symmetry with the give and take and all of the different emotions we touch upon. As many people as I’ve had the privilege to play with, I’ve never had the pleasure of being part of a situation like this one.” And that’s the crux of the unique rock and roll feeling Styx shares with its fans show in and show out.