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Exclusive interview with Lawrence Gowan of legendary rock band Styx

Legendary rock band Styx performs in Denver this week at the Paramount
Legendary rock band Styx performs in Denver this week at the Paramount
Photo by Ash Newell

Legendary band Styx first got together in the ‘70s in a Chicago basement. Little did they know that they would evolve into one of the biggest rock 'n roll bands in history. The band’s breakthrough album came in 1977 when they released The Grand Illusion. They are known for hits that are now a part of musical history including “Renegade,” “Come Sail Away,” “Mr. Roboto,” “Don’t Let it End,” “Babe,” and “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights),” just to name a few. In a recent interview with vocalist and keyboardist Lawrence Gowan, he talked about his start in music, landing the gig with Styx, and his own solo music.

Gowan found his passion for music at a young age, and is very well trained. He gives credit to John Lennon as being one of the most influential musicians to him. He studied classical piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Ontario and had early success as a solo artist. Gowan joined Styx in 1999 and he has been an integral part of the band since that time.

At the time Gowan was offered the vocalist position in Styx, he was enjoying a successful solo career. “I was very reluctant to let go of my solo career, but an offer like this comes along once and may never come along again,” he said. Gowan and the rest of the band were a good fit and he remembers liking the band members instantly when he met them.

Styx is one of those few bands who have gained international success on a grand scale. Gowan talked about the band’s secret to success: "The songs are strong and melodically based. We have a lot of young fans now and I believe that the live shows perpetuate the interest in the band. The one thing you can’t download is a live band,” he said.

Gowan is currently working on a new solo album, which he says is about halfway finished. “It’s good to work on solo projects because you can come back to the band feeling refreshed,” he said. In 2010 he released Return of the Strange Animal, which was the 25th anniversary remaster of his classic solo album Strange Animal.

Styx will be performing in Denver Wednesday, January 30 at the Paramount Theater. Gowan is looking forward to stopping through Denver. “Styx gives an epic show every time. My favorite part of the show is when we play “Renegade.” I love seeing the audience react all around the world in the same way when we play that song. It’s a really addictive moment in the show,” he said.

The band recently released an epic DVD, Styx: The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight Live, which was recorded November 9, 2010 at the historic Orpheum Theater in Memphis. The show will air on Friday, February 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on VH1 Classic. A countdown clock to the grand premiere can be seen on the band’s official website at Fans should check local listings for both programs.

For Denver concert information and tickets:

Styx is: Tommy Shaw, James “JY” Young, Todd Sucherman and Ricky Phillips

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