Still Rockin Your World!
It's been over thirty
years since TW4, the original incarnation of Styx was born with members Dennis
De Young, Chuck and John Panozzo. Since then, until now, the band has released
twenty-three albums. Among them, seven have gone gold, two platinum, one double
platinum, and three triple platinum, which make them genuine living legends of
the rock genre.
Today the band's
line up is the strongest songwriting team ever with veteran Styx members Tommy
Shaw and James "JY" Young on vocals and guitars; the reappearance
of Glen Burtnick on bass; heavy weight Lawrence Gowan on Keyboards and vocals;
and Todd Sucherman on drums who came on board to replace the late John Panozzo.
Original bassist Chuck Panozzo currently on leave due to his HIV+ condition,
is always in the hearts of the rest of the band and he makes guest appearances
occasionally. "I'm very proud of Chuck for taking the stand publicly with
what was happening. He has a great attitude and it's not easy, you know,"
In their latest CD, Cyclorama, the band evolves steadfast by its roots and personality
but one can't help noticing the new foliage the last season has left them. Cyclorama
is a time machine. The sound of the album took me far back to my high school
days with songs like the opening track "Do Things My Way" and "Waiting
For Our Time To Come," full of their trademark harmonies, just to bring
me right back to the present. Yes, it is like a time machine.
The lyrics are quite an assertive social political synopsis of our times, articulating
the band's reaction to the worldwide crisis we are enduring today, while offering
a well-balanced sense of patriotism. In "Fields Of The Brave," the
band looks intimately at America with an involved and conscious tone. In "These
Are The Times," they touch on a variety of subjects like spiritualism and
death from different angles but not necessarily dark, on the contrary, remarkably
noble and mature.
But the topics are not all on a large scale; they zoom in at a personal level
dealing with the stress that the modern fast paced life imposes on us and on
our relationships from a positive perspective in Together. My favorite, I must
admit is More love for the money, a wonderfully done vintage rock style piece
that follows on the footsteps of The Beatles and Queen. It speaks of that quest
to make oneself happy, which reminds me of the fact that the whole artwork of
the album revolves around carrots. "To me the carrot in the sky is that
thing you long for and work hard for. Something that is never fulfilled, what
keeps you going", says Tommy when asked about it.
With enough tracks filled of that familiar Styx sound, this ever growing band
treats us to little surprises venturing on the rapid waters of mainstream punk
with Kiss your ass goodbye, featuring Tenacious D; Teams up with Billy Bob Thornton
on the short rocker track Burgois pig; and leaves us with the up lifting Japanese
worded closer Genki Desu Ka which includes guests appearances by Jude Cole and
These guys may have been around forever but with this album one can easily see
that they're just as hungry as when they started and the good thing is all those
carrots they see in their future.