“We should do one last tour for the fans,” DeYoung proclaimed during an interview with Rolling Stone. “Let’s go do 80 or 100 shows. Let’s put Moe, Larry and Curly back on the stage.”
He was Styx original singer, founding the band as a teenager alongside his neighbors Chuck and John Panozzo in the early ‘70s. Guitarist Young was brought on shortly after that, with Shaw joining the group in 1975.
DeYoung sang and wrote many of the band’s biggest hits, including “Lady,” “Babe,” “Show Me the Way” and “Come Sail Away.” Following a couple of successful reunion tours, he separated from the group in 1999 while Young and Shaw continued performing under the Styx name. The reason for DeYoung’s dismissal differs depending on whom you ask.
Shaw and Young insist the impetus came from the band’s 1983 concept album Kilroy Was Here. The project, most remembered for the popular but polarizing track “Mr. Roboto,” created severe tension within the group, leading to its initial breakup in 1984. Even though they were able to put lingering issues aside for reunion tours in the ‘90s, Shaw and Young say the Kilroy Was Here experience poisoned any chance at reconciliation with their former frontman.
DeYong, on the other hand, believes his former bandmates use Kilroy as a scapegoat, when their true motive was more about power. “They said in 1999 that the reason they had to replace me was because of something that happened in 1983,” the singer explained. “And we’d just done two successful reunion tours in 1996 and 1997 and we were recording a new album! But if you tell a lie long enough and with enough enthusiasm, people are going to believe it.”
DeYoung adding that Shaw and Young “wanted to assume control.” Despite these feelings, the former frontman still hopes to reunite with Styx.
“Let’s get together and give the fans one more run at this thing, and then I’ll ride off into the sunset,” DeYoung declared while imagining a conversation with his old bandmates. “You’ll keep doing your Styx thing and using the name. I don’t care. I want it one more time for our fans.”
In spite of these comments, the odds of Styx making up with DeYoung appear low. “It was an ugly time, but I’m not bitter about it anymore,” Young noted of DeYong’s tenure during a 2018 interview with Billboard. “It’s clear that moment in time was a huge mistake. We gave [DeYoung] enough rope to hang himself, and us, collectively, and that’s part of Styx history. We killed the golden goose, at least for the time being. It’s taken a long time to resurrect it, and we’ve succeeded, mightily. I’m not mad at [DeYoung] anymore. I’ve forgiven him and I wish the man well and happiness. I just have no desire to work with him.”
One occasion which could theoretically bring the Styx members back together would be a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. The band has been eligible since 1997, and DeYoung clearly feels the honor is overdue. “I want to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame because we deserve to be,” the singer stated. “I’m sickened by the fact that we’re not.”
DeYoung, meanwhile, is prepping 26 East: Volume 1, his first album of original solo material in more than a decade. The LP is due on April 10.