Git er done…. Oh wait this is a different kind of Blue Collar Man. The kind whose hard work and determination gained him multi-platinum status as a solo artist, yet still made the gamble of a lifetime 14 years ago by joining the legendary STYX. A gamble that was sure to pay off, as the frontman in the longest running line-up ever for STYX, Lawrence Gowan is living the dream that even the most successful musicians still dream about. Recently, I caught up with Lawrence during a tour stop in San Antonio, TX (just like the famous song), where we spoke about everything from Chuck Panozzo to Children of Bodom. Oh, and don’t worry about having to actually read this time around, just click the play button below, sit back with a frosty one, and enjoy…
For more info on STYX, including Tour Dates visit the band’s official website here. Special thanks go out to Lawrence Gowan for so graciously giving me his time, and to Amanda Cagan at ABC PR for making it all happen.
The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live
Eagle Rock Entertainment
8 out of 10
STYX puts on one hell of a live show. They have more hits than you might think, and when they do a standard ‘greatest hits’ show, you are blown away not only by how many hits they’ve had, but by the sheer musicianship and epic songwriting skills the Chicago Prog Rock band has. Yes I said Prog Rock. They may not be as spacey as Pink Floyd or as intricate as Rush, but they were one of the greatest Prog Rock bands of the 70’s.
The Grand Illusion was released in 1977 and is still their best selling album (according to them). The songwriting on this opus ranges from grandiose and bombastic to sheer brilliance. The opening title track The Grand Illusion shows off their writing skills as much as it does their musicianship and it is one hell of a way to open an album let alone a live show. Flowing right into Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) the crowd is on their feet rocking out and transported back to a time where huge epic songs ruled the airwaves and the charts.
The show starts out with a video screen showing an homage to the Star Wars opening in space with the yellow letters taking us back to 1977. It then cuts to a young man’s bedroom where he is shuffling through his stack of LPs (you remember those right? Vinyl baby, old school!), until he finds The Grand Illusion. He puts it on the turn table, grabs his head phones, and the band kick into the intro to The Grand Illusion.
The hits just keep on coming with Come Sail Away and Miss America. With Castle Walls being an amazing stand out live, you tend to forget what an incredible album The Grand Illusion was from beginning to end until it is right there in your face.
After a short intermission, we go back to the video and the young man putting Pieces Of Eight on. The second half of the concert is really for the old school STYX fans. While Pieces Of Eight has its hits like Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) and the perennial Renegade, the rest of the album may not be as familiar to the radio fans of STYX.
STYX released Pieces Of Eight in 1978 marking a very prolific time in the history of STYX. Once The Grand Illusion took off, it rocketed the band from the clubs, to opening for KANSAS, to headlining Arenas before they took a short break to record and release Pieces Of Eight.
I’ve seen STYX live at least 5 times over as many years, though I missed this particular tour unfortunately. They are consummate musicians and throw a great party when they are on stage. And to take two albums, dust off songs that they have never played live before, and put them out there thirty some odd years later, and be as entertaining as they are is no mean feat.
The music comes across great in this Blu Ray release and the surround sound will give you goose bumps at times when they go into Castle Walls, Renegade, or Miss America. The camera work was a little annoying however, in that every third shot was out of focus! At first I thought I was imagining it, and then I thought maybe they were trying to be artsy with it. Then I realized, the camera men were simply shooting it out of focus most of the time. Other than the video editing and camera work, it is definitely a must have for the hard core STYX fans. And if you are only a radio fan of STYX, this is a great place to start to learn more about them, where their music came from, and why 30 plus years later they are STILL all over Classic Rock stations around the world.
You can purchase STYX: The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live right here.
Legendary rockers STYX–Tommy Shaw, James “JY” Young, Chuck Panozzo, Lawrence Gowan, Ricky Phillips and Todd Sucherman— will be invading the TV airwaves throughout the month of January, perfectly timed with the upcoming DVD release, Styx: The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live, coming January 31.
It all starts Wednesday, January 11 with a performance on “The Rosie Show,” which will air at 7pm ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. For the performance of “Come Sail Away,” host Rosie O’Donnell accompanied the band on her own drum kit. The band’s classic episode of VH1’s “Behind The Music” has been updated—now called “Behind The Music Remastered”–and will be airing on Saturday, January 14 at 9pm ET/PT on VH1 Classic. Next up: NBC will air “Improve-Ice Starring STYX” on Sunday, January 15 at 4pm ET/PT, which was filmed in Greenville, SC at the Bi-Lo Center and features champion figure skaters Johnny Weir, Michael Weiss, Nancy Kerrigan, Jeremy Abbott, Ryan Bradley, Sasha Cohen, Nicole Bobek and Mirai Nagasu performing to various STYX classics. All of their routines were choreographed the day of the show. The HDNet channel will re-broadcast the 2006 concert special, “One with Everything – Styx & The Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland,” on Sunday, January 22 at 9pm ET/PT. STYX joined forces with Cleveland’s Contemporary Youth Orchestra–a 171-piece orchestra and choir composed of students aged 13-19–to perform various STYX classics. Fans should also check local listings for all of the programs.
On the DVD front, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Styx: The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live on DVD, Blu-Ray, and DVD/2CD on January 31. This show was recorded November 9, 2010 at the historic Orpheum Theater in Memphis, on the tour that saw them perform both these albums in their entirety for the first time. The 20-song, two-hour and 11-minute presentation features stunning high-definition visuals accenting the complex musical arrangements recorded in DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1, and LPCM Stereo. The staging of these two multi-platinum albums and the fevered response makes this concert a must for all STYX fans. Styx: The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live also includes the bonus feature “Putting On The Show,” an inside look at the people and equipment needed to stage such a massive spectacle.
Meanwhile, STYX’s entire career has recently been encapsulated within the 16 tracks of REGENERATION, VOLUME I & II, which was released October 4 via Eagle Rock Entertainment. In addition to 13 STYX classics and the new song, “Difference In The World,” the collection also includes interpretations of “High Enough” and “Coming Of Age,” originally recorded by Damn Yankees, which featured Tommy Shaw, along with Night Ranger’s Jack Blades, Ted Nugent and drummer Michael Cartellone.
In touring news, the band’s schedule hasn’t slowed down since their summer tour with Yes last year. Check out STYX at any of the following stops, with more to be added in the coming weeks:
STYX tour dates:
Fri 1/13 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
Sat 1/14 Ft. Worth, TX Billy Bob’s
Wed 1/25 Anaheim, CA The Grove
Thu 1/26 Santa Ynez, CA Chumash Casino
Fri 1/27 Temecula, CA Pechanga Casino
Sat 1/28 Reno, NV Silver Legacy Casino
Wed 2/1 Wenatchee, WA Town Toyota Center
Fri 2/3 Tacoma, WA Emerald Queen Casino
Sat 2/4 Coquitlam, BC. Red Robinson Show Theatre
Fri 2/10 Las Vegas, NV Green Valley Ranch/Grand Events Center
Sat 2/11 Wendover, NV Peppermill Concert Hall
Fri 3/2 Mt. Pleasant, MI Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
Fri 3/9 Miami, FL Magic City Casino Amphitheater
Sat 3/10 Silver Springs, FL Twin Oaks Amphitheatre
For more STYX click here.
Two of the most beloved albums in the Styx catalog are 1977′s The Grand Illusion and 1978′s Pieces Of Eight. Now, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Styx: The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live on DVD, Blu-Ray, and DVD/2CD on January 31. This show was recorded November 9, 2010 at the historic Orpheum Theater in Memphis, Tennessee, on the tour that saw them perform both these albums in their entirety for the first time.
This 20-song two-hour and 11-minute presentation features stunning high-definition visuals accenting the complex musical arrangements recorded in DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1, and LPCM Stereo. The staging of these two multi-platinum albums and the fevered response makes this concert a must for all Styx fans. The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight Live also includes the bonus feature “Putting On The Show,” an inside look at the people and equipment needed to stage such a massive spectacle.
Selling millions of records worldwide since their 1972 Chicago inception, Styx have branded themselves as one of the greatest American progressive rock bands. The current line-up consists of James “J.Y.” Young (vocals, guitars, keyboards); Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitars); Todd Sucherman (drums); Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards); Ricky Phillips (bass, backing vocals) and Chuck Panozzo (bass guitar).
The Grand Illusion
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
Come Sail Away
Man In The Wilderness
The Grand Finale
Great White Hope
Sing For The Day
Lords Of The Ring
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
Queen Of Spades
Pieces Of Eight
Deep Purple + Orchestra Live At Montreux 2011
5 out of 10
For DEEP PURPLE fans there are a ton of great DVDs that have been released over the last couple years that give you a look into the different versions of the band and show you why DEEP PURPLE should rank at the top of everyone’s list for greatest band ever, and most influential band! The fact that the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame continues to snub them is ridiculous and just shows you why it is completely irrelevant and a joke.
The latest DEEP PURPLE offering is a recent live show shot in 2011 in Switzerland at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The hook is that DP was touring with an orchestra and on July 16th they filmed the show for a DVD release.
There have been many hard rock and metal bands that have been performing lately with an Orchestra with varying results. Most notably was the biggest hard rock/metal band in the world, METALLICA performing with the San Francisco Symphony under the direction of Michael Kamen (R.I.P.). The resulting CD/DVD of those two shows are phenomenal and set the standard for what a rock and symphony show should be.
KISS recorded a live show with the Sydney Symphony and it just doesn’t translate well at all. Dennis Deyoung performed STYX songs with a symphony. The point is most of them don’t translate well. METALLICA’s worked because Michael Kamen wrote the music for the symphony that COMPLIMENTED the music of the band, and didn’t just rework the band’s songs for strings, woodwinds, brass, etc. If you listen to the Just Symphony audio track of the DVD S&M you won’t be able to figure out what songs they are playing most of the time because they are not just playing the song the way the band wrote it with different instruments, they are playing all new original pieces that compliment the band’s songs.
DEEP PURPLE has always worked in and around symphonies from time to time with varying success. When John Lord (former keyboardist) wrote Deep Purple: Concerto for Group and Orchestra it worked because it was a symphonic piece and written as thus. It wasn’t a rock song or songs that they had the symphony play on. It was an experiment melding rock and symphony and written as such. That is why it worked.
Their new DVD doesn’t work. Because of the reasons stated above. The symphony is playing along with the band, not playing to compliment the band. They aren’t playing original pieces that work within the framework of classic DEEP PURPLE songs like Highway Star, Woman From Tokyo, Knockin’ At Your Back Door, Lazy, and Smoke On The Water. And it is this reason that the symphony here seems to take the teeth and the edge right out of the songs. Instead of building up the songs the symphony here seems to actually water down the DEEP PURPLE sound. It is unfortunate really because in any band’s music would work well with symphonic treatments it would be DEEP PURPLE’s. But on this show it is simply not the case.
I am always heralding ANY release by DEEP PURPLE because I feel they have never received the respect they deserve as being one of the first to perform Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Yes Black Sabbath is regarded as the Fathers of Heavy Metal but Deep Purple started a year before Sabbath did. They’ve released more albums, and pushed the envelope further than Black Sabbath ever could.
Sadly, I can’t recommend this DVD as it is just not a good representation of DEEP PURPLE and their legacy. But there are plenty more CDs and DVDs out there that are worthy of your time and I strongly suggest you go check them out. You’ll thank me later.
For more DEEP PURPLE click here.
Styx will have its entire career encapsulated within the 16 tracks of Regeneration, Volume I & II on a double-disc to be released via Eagle Rock Entertainment on October 4.
With over 30 million records sold in North America alone, Styx is one of the most beloved rock bands on the planet. Tommy Shaw, James “JY” Young, Chuck Panozzo, Lawrence Gowan, Ricky Phillips and Todd Sucherman have been together longer than any other lineup in the band’s 40-year existence.
In addition to thirteen Styx classics and a brand new song “Difference In The World,” Regeneration, Volume I & II also includes interpretations of “High Enough,” and “Coming Of Age,” originally recorded by Damn Yankees, which featured Shaw, along with Night Ranger’s Jack Blades, Ted Nugent and drummer Michael Cartellone.” The band had originally re-recorded these acclaimed anthems to sell only at their live shows, as they continued to tour the globe and introduce a new generation of fans to their chart-topping hits. Now, for the first time, this music is being made commercially available.
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
Queen Of Spades
Boat on The River
Too Much Time On My Hands
Coming Of Age
For more STYX click here.
Multi-platinum rock band STYX joins forces with the world’s most quintessential prog-rock band YES for a summer tour extravaganza. These two monster rock bands will embark on the 22-city “Progressive U.S. Tour” starting July 4th and concluding August 3rd in Mountain View, CA. Tickets will go on sale starting the weekend of April 8th.
STYX–Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitars), James “JY” Young (vocals, guitars), Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), Todd Sucherman (drums) and Ricky Phillips (bass), along with the occasional surprise appearance by original bassist Chuck Panozzo—has an unmistakable sound all their own, and they continue to prove that they’re one of the hardest working bands in the music world thanks to a vigorous tour schedule that keeps them constantly on the road all across the globe.
YES – The Legendary, Grammy® Award winning prog-rock band that has defined many a generation — will be on tour in support of their new album FLY FROM HERE on Frontiers Records releasing July 12th.
YES features a lineup of guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire, drummer Alan White, and lead singer Benoit David. YES will be reuniting with keyboard player Geoff Downes for this tour.
“When I first heard YES, I knew that the music world was forever changed,” says STYX singer/guitarist Tommy Shaw. “They took progressive rock to a place that had never been expressed in such an impressive yet accessible way. Who among you didn’t make it a point to learn the acoustic guitar intro to ‘Roundabout?’ We’re very excited to tour with them for the very first time.”
STYX is currently putting the finishing touches on REGENERATION, VOLUME 2, the follow-up to 2010’s seven-song EP, REGENERATION, VOLUME 1, which contains six newly re-recorded classics–”Come Sail Away,” “Crystal Ball,” “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),” “Lorelei,” “The Grand Illusion” and “Sing For The Day”—and a brand new track, “Difference In The World.” The track listing for REGENERATION, VOLUME 2 is: “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man,” “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Queen of Spades,” “Coming Of Age” (Damn Yankees), “High Enough” (Damn Yankees), “Snowblind,” “Miss America.” Both volumes will be available for sale at every stop along the tour route.
**Additional dates including details of July 4th kick-off to be announced.**
Tuesday, July 5 PNC Bank Arts Center Holmdel, NJ+
Thursday, July 7 CMAC Performing Arts Center Canandaigua, NY+
Friday, July 8 MGM Grand Theatre at Foxwoods Resort Mashantucket, CT*
Saturday, July 9 Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion Gilford, NH*
Monday, July 11 Nikon @ Jones Beach Theater Wantagh, NY+
Tuesday, July 12 Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Bethel, NY+
Thursday, July 14 Verizon Wireless Amp at Encore Park Alpharetta, GA*
Friday, July 15 Amphitheater at the Wharf Orange Beach, AL+
Saturday, July 16 The Woods at Fontanel Nashville, TN*
Monday, July 18 Starlight Theatre Kansas City, MO*
Tuesday, July 19 Verizon Wireless Music Center Noblesville, IN*
Wednesday, July 20 DTE Energy Music Theatre Clarkston, MI+
Friday, July 22 Winstar Casino Thackerville, OK+
Saturday, July 23 Zoo Amphitheatre Oklahoma City, OK*
Sunday, July 24 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Maryland Heights, MO*
Tuesday, July 26 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison, CO*
Thursday, July 28 Eagle River Pavilion Boise, ID*
Friday, July 29 Chateau Ste. Michelle Woodinville, WA+
Saturday, July 30 Maryhill Winery Goldendale, WA+
Tuesday, August 2 Greek Theatre Los Angeles, CA+
Wednesday, August 3 Shoreline Amphitheater Mountain View, CA*
STYX has launched The Grand Illusion / Pieces Of Eight Tour, which showcases both albums performed in their entirety.
GRAND ILLUSION PIECES OF EIGHT dates:
25 – Salem, VA – Civic Center in Salem, VA
27 – Washington, DC – Warner Theatre
28 – New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
29 – Baltimore, MD – The Hippodrome Theatre
30 – Albany, NY – Palace Theatre
2 – Bangor, ME – Bangor Auditorium
3 – Lowell, MA – Lowell Memorial Auditorium
5 – Erie, PA – Warner Theatre
6 – Toledo, OH – The Stranahan Theater
7 – Louisville, KY – Palace Theatre
9 – Memphis, TN – The Orpheum Theatre
11 – Nashville, TN – The Ryman Auditorium
12 – Biloxi, MS – Hard Rock Live
13 – Atlanta, GA – Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center
14 – Wendover, NV – Peppermill Concert Hall
15 – Reno, NV – Silver Legacy Resort and Casino
16 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
19 – Bakersfield, CA – Majestic Fox Theatre
20 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues
22 – Temecula, CA – Pechanga Resort & Casino
For more STYX click here.
Rock producer and historian Denny Somach today announced the establishment of the Classic Rock Society of America. The organization will be devoted to the preservation, promotion and celebration of classic rock music by the artists, musicians, producers and fans of the most popular musical category of the past fifty years.
Somach is a recognized expert on Classic Rock and considered one of the architect’s of the Classic Rock radio format, which has become dominant in broadcasting and attracts millions of listeners. He has produced over 7500 hours of classic rock programming and maintains one of the largest archives of audio, video and data related to the topic. Somach has also authored numerous articles and books on the subject and appeared as an authority on shows including Today, Larry King , CBS Early Show, Dateline NBC, CNN, CNBC, MTV and others.
“The appeal of classic rock artists like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Doors, Moody Blues, Yes, Grateful Dead, Jethro Tull, Aerosmith, Styx, Deep Purple, Queen, the Allman Brothers and many, many others has never been more popular,” said Somach. “Classic rock has become cross-generational and is the most popular rock music format not just in the US and Canada, but around the world.”
The Classic Rock Society of America (CRSA) is an organization where people from all over the world can experience and commemorate their favorite music. Many colleges and universities have classes about this music and it is being taught everywhere. The CRSA will act as a resource center for students and teachers, enabling them to further enhance their study of classic rock.
CRSA was inspired by the UK’s Classic Rock Society, with a membership of thousands, and Classic Rock magazine, a publisher, recording label and music promoter. Both organizations are dedicated to the growth of all classic rock music. The UK’s Classic Rock Magazine presents a number of live shows, including the recent High Voltage Festival, which featured ZZ Top, Foreigner, Asia, Bachman-Turner, Uriah Heep, Argent and a reformed Emerson, Lake and Palmer to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
Rick Wakeman is the honorary Chairman of the U.K. Classic Rock Society. “When I contacted him about the Classic Rock Society of America we were launching, he immediately lent his support and thought it was about time something like this was established in America.” Subsequently the other founding board members including John Wetton of Asia and Dave Cousins of the Strawbs have publically announced their support.
“I have also spoken to over fifty musicians, producers and managers who are more than happy to not only lend their name but become actively involved in the Classic Rock Society of America,” stated Somach.
The Classic Rock Society of America will debut as an interactive web site and its own radio channel. It will also include marketing and promotion entities. The virtual society will eventually have a physical location where musicians and fans can visit and enjoy the many facets of the musical genre. Somach said, “We have already been contacted by a couple of municipal development organizations about locating a facility in their communities.”
For more CLASSIC ROCK SOCIETY OF AMERICA click here.
STYX - Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitars), James “JY” Young (vocals, guitars), Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), Todd Sucherman (drums) and Ricky Phillips (bass), along with the occasional surprise appearance by original bassist Chuck Panozzo—are getting ready to head out on the U.S. concert trail again this year. However, for this round of dates, the band has an extra-special treat planned – it won’t be a typical STYX show. Along with the classic hits, the band will be performing 1977′s THE GRAND ILLUSION and 1978′s PIECES OF EIGHT in their entirety. Both albums spawned such hit singles and Classic Rock radio standards as “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man” and “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man).”
And as icing on the cake, a seven-song EP, entitled REGENERATION, VOLUME 1, containing six newly re-recorded classics–”Come Sail Away,” “Crystal Ball,” “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),” “Lorelei,” “The Grand Illusion” and “Sing For The Day”—and a brand new track, “Difference In The World,” will be available for sale at every stop along “The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight” October/November tour route.
“This is the most unique STYX concert ever,” says singer/guitarist Tommy Shaw. “It’s a hybrid experience of enjoying the artistry of the vinyl album and the energy and of our live performance. Some songs have never been performed live!”
Spawned from a suburban Chicago basement in the early ‘70s, STYX would eventually transform into the virtual arena rock prototype by the late ’70s and early ’80s, due to a fondness for big rockers and soaring power ballads. Over the course of their 38-year career they’ve released 15 studio albums, 6 best-of compilations and 4 live albums, garnering 8 Top Ten singles. STYX has sold over 30 million albums worldwide.
On the touring front, STYX has performed more shows since ’99 than all of the previous years of its career combined. Two Super-Bowl appearances, Pollstar box office chart-topping tours with Def Leppard, Journey, Boston, REO Speedwagon, Bad Company, Foreigner (to name a few), two more studio albums and no end in sight, STYX continues to conquer the planet, one venue at a time.
Check out the “The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight” at any of the following stops:
Thu 10/14 Evansville, IN The Centre (on-sale 8/13)
Fri 10/15 Merrillville, IN Star Plaza Theatre (on-sale 8/14)
Sat 10/16 Waukegan, IL Genesee Theatre (on-sale /14)
Sun 10/17 Columbus, OH The Palace Theatre (on-sale 8/13)
Tue 10/19 Chattanooga, TN Tivoli Theatre (on-sale 8/20)
Thu 10/21 Melbourne, FL King Center (on-sale 8/20)
Fri 10/22 Ft. Myers, FL Barbara B. Mann Perf Arts Hall (on-sale 8/20)
Sat 10/23 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall (on-sale 8/20)
Mon 10/25 Salem, VA Salem Civic Center (on-sale 8/20)
Wed 10/27 Washington, DC Warner Theatre (on-sale 9/10)
Thu 10/28 New York, NY Beacon Theatre (on-sale 8/6)
Fri 10/29 Baltimore, MD Hippodrome Theatre (on-sale 8/20)
Sat 10/30 Albany, NY Palace Theatre Albany (on-sale 8/19)
Tue 11/2 Bangor, ME Bangor Auditorium (on-sale 8/27)
Wed 11/3 Lowell, MA Lowell Memorial Auditorium (on-sale 8/20)
Fri 11/5 Erie, PA Warner Theatre Erie (on-sale 8/27)
Sat 11/6 Toledo, OH Stranahan Theatre (on-sale 8/27)
Sun 11/7 Louisville, KY Louisville Palace (on-sale 8/27)
Tue 11/9 Memphis, TN The Orpheum Theatre (on-sale 8/27)
Thu 11/11 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium (on-sale 8/27)
Fri 11/12 Biloxi, MS Hard Rock Casino & Resort (on-sale TBA)
Sat 11/13 Atlanta, GA Cobb Energy Center (on-sale 8/27)
For more STYX click here.