Styx gains popularity

"We're trying to appeal to all people the best we can. We are playing for the audience inclusively." Styx, a popular Chicago rock group performed recently at Downers Grove South High School. Sponsored by the senior class, the concert attracted more than 3,500 rock fans.

Styx, comprised of Dennis DeYoung, vocals and keyboards, James Young, guitar and vocals, Chuck Panozzo, bass and vocals, and John Panozzo, drums, have been together for four years. Along with three other members of the group, DeYoung sang in the Chicago College Choir.

Ten years ago, DeYoung started a group called TW-4, the forerunner to Styx. "We were poor, destitute, TW-4 was just a hobby then. We used everybody else's music, The Who, Led Zepplin, the Beatles," he said. Battling all the other groups in the Chicago area for a place among the real talent, Styx were "as good as could be expected for the times," said John Panozzo. "We did probably as good as any band in the circuit, because we worked every Friday and Saturday night," he added.

Until recently, Styx popularity has been confined to the Chicago area. But since their hit single "Lady" has reached the number seven spot on record charts across the country, Styx has begun receiving national acclaim. "We are pleasantly surprised by our success. Styx has always wanted to sell records at a nationwide level," said James Young. Over 600,000 copies of "Lady" have been sold, bringing Styx close to a gold record for a song that was released in the Chicago area approximately two years ago.

Since their popularity has been on the increase, Styx has been doing their own music. "We're free to just about whatever we please," commented DeYoung. Styx is considering the possibility of releasing a live album. "We do some things live that we've not done on an album" DeYoung said. Even if the possibility of a live album is rejected, Styx will still release a new album in September or October, and the first week of April, a new single will come out. The single has not yet been decided, but "Man of Miracles", "Rock 'n Roll Feeling" and "Best Thing" are being considered.

Along with popularity increases comes the introduction to television. Styx has been offered a spot on the Midnight Special three times, but has turned down all offers. "TV is not a good medium for rock 'n roll," said DeYoung. "Most bands do not come off well."

Showmanship is necessary in promoting a band. According to DeYoung. showmanship takes talent. "People come to a concert not just to listen, they want to see a show. We try to give them that." Those who were present at the February 28 concert at Downers Grove South High School, were aware of the show that Styx put on. Throughout the concert, Styx attempted to entertain the audience with antics on stage, clouds of smoke and unexpected explosions. "We're trying to get the audience to like us," said James Young.

On April 25, Styx will be performing at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago, their first major concert. Styx will again try to entertain the audience. DeYoung commented that there is still a possibility that Styx will again be performing for high school audiences, although they won't be back in the Chicago area until their Auditorium concert.


John Panozzo

Styx 1975



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