Band is ‘Rockin’ the Paradise’ January in L.A.
The hugely successful theatrically tinged rock band Styx formed out of Chicago in 1972. After decades of hit songs like “Lady” and “The Best Of Times” and albums like “Paradise Theatre” and “The Grand Illusion” the band parted ways with lead singer Dennis DeYoung replacing him with Canadian superstar Lawrence Gowan in 1999.
Throughout Gowan’s solo career, the Scottish-born musician, whose influences include Beethoven, The Beatles, Elton John and Freddie Mercury, received numerous Juno Award nominations in the 1980s and early 1990s along with a “Canadian Entertainer of the Year” award in 1987.
After a five-night engagement at the Venetian in Vegas, the band heads to The Rose in Pasadena on January 12th and the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills on January 22nd.
Gowan took time out for this exclusive interview for The Tolucan Times while on tour in Florida.
Why join Styx after your own huge success?
I have a habit of doing most things backwards in my life! (Laughs) When we first met I felt an immediate simpatico with them and was intrigued by the notion. It has been an honor and incredibly fun for the past 18 years. I also perform a handful of solo shows every year, so I still get the best of both worlds.
What is the biggest difference for you being a solo artist vs. band member?
When I’m solo I don’t have a moment to allow myself to be entertained. Not always being the center of attention allows me to be able to see this epic adventure unfolding with the band! When I record on my own, it is a one-on-one relationship with the producer in the studio; with the band it’s a committee that is trying to elevate everyone in the room – a collective mindset.
How is it sharing the bill with other successful acts like Def Leppard and Journey?
It makes the whole evening extremely enjoyable because we all get to see the other bands play and there is a healthy sense of comradery along with a bit of competitiveness; we all want to be our best. Also, a good portion of the audience perhaps wouldn’t necessarily go to see one of the bands on the bill, but because of the multiple lineup people become exposed and become new fans!
Do you miss Scotland?
I love Scotland and vacation there at times, but I grew up in Toronto and I still live there. We recently did three shows in Canada so I get to feel right at home. Styx performs my song “A Criminal Mind” during our shows…we Styxified it!
(Editor’s note: In 1985 “A Criminal Mind” won the Canadian Juno Award for “Best Video.”)
What was it like playing a Super Bowl (Oakland Raiders vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003)?
I remember this surge and intense energy – it was one of my greatest moments with the band. An overwhelming feeling shoots through you in front of a stadium full of 75,000 people!
What are your favorite Styx songs to perform live?
Even though I don’t sing lead on “Renegade” I love observing how emotional the audience gets. We open our shows with “Grand Illusion,” which tends to be a favorite too along with “Rockin’ the Paradise” because of its high energy – I get to bop around the stage and I’m physically drained after!
Styx shows in Los Angeles: The Rose in Pasadena on January 12th and the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills on January 22nd.
Denise Ames is a celebrity columnist who has contributed to Entertainment Today, All Access magazine and CNN HLN Local Edition. She has also hosted TV’s “Focus in the Mix with Denise Ames” and “The Rustam Report.”