Some rock fans find Styx to be a surprising touring partner for Yes this summer. After all, Yes has a well-honed prog-rock cred and muso appeal, while Styx was known for a run of hits singles in the late ’70s and early ’80s, including “Come Sail Away,” “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),” “Too Much Time on My Hands,” “The Best of Times,” “Babe” and “Mr. Roboto.”
But Styx guitarist and co-founder James Young considers it a perfectly appropriate match.
“Styx was definitely influenced by Yes early on,” says Young, 61. “You can hear it on our early records. It’s there in a song like ‘Lorelei.’ And even though (Yes) seems like they’ve sort of become more esoteric and we’ve sort of become a more broad spectrum of classic rock, if you will, it should be a great pairing, and we’re very excited about.”
Styx, however, has not spent a great deal of time adding to its repertoire since splitting acrimoniously with original keyboardist and primary lead singer Dennis DeYoung in 1999. The group’s last album of original material, “Cyclorama,” came out in 2003, while the covers set “Big Band Theory” followed two years later. Most recently, Styx has taken to re-recording its own material, starting with the 2010 EP “Regeneration: Volume 1” and continuing with a second volume this year, which even includes some of group member Tommy Shaw’s songs with his other band, Damn Yankees — which also included Ted Nugent.
“I love Damn Yankees even though I wasn’t in the band,” Young says. “I thought there was a side of Tommy that Ted kind of brought out. Tommy is an incredible rocker but tends to write softer things for himself to do, so he kind of needs to get pushed to the rock edge.
“So Damn Yankees got a little more of that out of Tommy, so I love playing those songs. And people can get a chance to measure my playing up against Ted’s on these, ’cause I think Ted is a great guitar player and an incredible personality. Maybe one day we’ll even have the right-wing Ted versus the left-wing J.Y. debate.”
Styx performs with Yes at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $25-$75 pavilion and $20 lawn with a $44 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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