Merry Time In Merrillville...

JANUARY 29, 2005


Photo: Daniel Wills

Hello Friends,

If you were in Merrillville, Indiana last night you'll know what I'm talking about when I say it was a spiritual blockbuster as STYX concerts go. Moments before we took the stage there was this sudden awareness of more than just a little excitement in the air. It was a homecoming unlike any we've experienced in quite some time. Fans were on their feet before we felt the heat of the spotlights and they stayed there all night long.

We had all given JY the thumbs up to go wherever his heart lead him, being that this more than any other band member, was his stomping grounds and thus his place to guide the flow, and he was ready. The Right Reverend JY was so focused it was impossible not to want to latch on to his energy and ride it like the lightning bolt it was. Before "These Are The Times" JY stopped to salute three people whose presence and significance he felt compelled to acknowledge. Chicago radio legend Greg Solk, who has always been a great supporter and who set "I Am The Walrus" into motion by telling JY he's play it if we got him a copy, his mother Leona, who was beaming from the front row of the balcony and almost needed no additional lighting to be seen, and thirdly, Marie Dixon, widow of Chicago blues legend Willie Dixon, and who JY considers his adoptive Godmother, gave us her blessing to come to 2120 S. Michigan and record last year, a left turn event which has had a completely unexpected ripple effect and continues to expand our horizons in a way we could never have predicted. Marie stepped into the aisle and lit the place up with her smiling face. From there we were like a collective Indy car that had just made a pit stop, refueled with fresh new tires and we hit the ground running again.

The next stop was something we had not discussed, but I felt we should do, so I called Gary Loizzo up from behind the mixing console to sing "Bend Me Shape Me" with us. Gary, who was lead singer of The American Breed and had a #1 hit with that song, sprang into action and we ripped into it as if we'd rehearsed it, which of course we hadn't!

Our tip of the hat to Ray Charles seemed to be running on retro rocket energy, and when we got to "Manic Depression" the band was playing so phat and loose that I kept thinking, "Why didn't we record tonight!?" Then "I Am The Walrus" and "Renegade" put a big fat cherry on top of the whole evening.

It's the day after, 20 hours later and I am still wired from it.

Coach, Jack and all you guys from Cleveland, it was an honor to see you all again. To the Young Clan, we've never been prouder of JY and I'm glad you were there to witness it. To Steve and Kenny, see what your production of our "Walrus" has done? Bravo!
And all of our other wonderful friends and supporters who were there, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. What a night!

Now in a few minutes we head to a local Chicago studio to start whittling our list of final overdubs down as we near the completion of the recording of our new album, still under the current working title of "Big Bang Theory." We are loving this record and think you will too.



Previously published on on or about the date mentioned.