Dennis DeYoung


Dennis DeYoung: A Star From Styx

Dennis DeYoung wrote seven of the eight singles that were big hits for his band, Styx, so it’s no surprise that he would want to try his hand at going it alone on a solo album, and Desert Moon is proof that Dennis doesn’t need any help to make hits: This solo flight soars high! (Of course, he does have strong help from an able crew: Chicagoans Tom Dziallo, guitars and bass; Tom Radtke, drums; Dennis Johnson, bass; Steve Eisen, sax and Gary Loizzo on backing vocals with Dennis.)

One strong point with Dennis is that his songs come from the heart. On Desert Moon, for example, “Boys Will Be Boys” is based on his teen years. “Everything in the song really happened to me when I was 17,” he recalls with a laugh. He puts everything into his songs and then lets them speak for themselves. “By the time I’m done writing, arranging, playing, singing and producing these songs,” he explains, “I’ve pretty much had it with them! My real satisfaction comes when the work is done, when I can play the material for people.”

So, readers, why not give him a little satisfaction and listen to him? In this interview, heard on the Rockline radio show, Dennis gives you a bit of background about his life and songs. He speaks fast and with a lot of humor, and you can tell that he enjoys what he’s been doing, ever since he started playing with Styx at the age of 14.

Q. Desert Moon is your first solo album. Is it something you’ve wanted to do for a while?

A. I didn’t think of a solo album, and not to seem flip, but I will seem flip- I didn’t really think of it until August ’83, and when I thought of it, I thought, oh my God, I have to start writing more songs, I have to play more instruments, and I’ll probably have to sweep up the studio at the end of the night!

Q. Which album did you have more fun making, one with Styx, or your new solo album?

A. Hey that’s a pretty good question. Boys just want to have fun, too! I think the album that sticks out in my mind as being the most fun was the Grand Illusion album, because when we were creating the album, we – all of us in Styx – knew that it was a very special record, and it was almost like we were saying, oh, let’s just finish this thing – we know it’s going to be good. I had a few chuckles on my own record, but there were less guys in the studio, so I was laughing to myself a lot! I’d tell a joke and there’d be just me laughing at it. I had a great time.

Q. Where’d you find the guys to play on your album?

A. I found them all behind the studio in a large dumpster! I tipped it over and they came out. No – I found them in Chicago. I auditioned them from demo tapes, and that’s basically how I did it.

Q. Are the song and the video for the song “Desert Moon” based on a personal experience?

A. Not specifically. It’s supposed to make you feel something. It never really happened t me, because I never moved away from home and had to come back, because I still live in Chicago – it’s still a universal feeling of losing innocence, and maybe losing things that were very important to you once and finding them very difficult to get back.

Q. I heard that “She Cares” from Paradise Theater was about your wife, and I knew that “Babe” is, but I didn’t know about this song. Is that true?

A. No, it’s not true at all! I didn’t write that song, so I can honestly tell you it’s not about my wife.

Q. Does your album have a message?

A. Well, if you play it backwards and eat an anchovy pizza…! I don’t know if “message” is the right word, but if not a message…there’s a memo on a couple of the songs!

Q. Is “Mr. Roboto” about man taking refuge behind machines?

A. I wish I knew. “Mr. Roboto” was a character in this story about Kilroy. Robots were Japanese-manufactured robots who guard a prison where rock ‘n’ roll stars have been incarcerated because rock ‘n’ roll is banned.

Q. Is there a Styx fan club people can write to?

A. Well, we used to have a fan club, but now you can write in care of Frontline Management in Los Angeles.


Source Teen Talk – May 1985
Member Dennis DeYoung

from Laurie Muffler
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