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Styx skipping politics and just rocking on summer tour

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Touring with Ted Nugent brings "an interesting and powerful new wrinkle to" the Midwest Rock 'n' Roll Express tour for Styx guitarist James "J.Y." Young -- especially after Nugent was investigated by the FBI earlier this year.

But Young says politics don't necessarily dominate the backstage discourse between his band, Nugent and tourmates REO Speedwagon.

"You know, I don't see any point in that, actually," explains Young, 62, who's the sole remaining full-time founding member in Styx's lineup. "I mean, Ted's made his points very clear. And this is not about politics." More likely, he says, the performers will share their kindred spirit for rock 'n' roll.

"I don't think Ted's done too many of these sort of package tour things. He's pretty much been on his own," Young notes. "Tommy (Shaw) and Ted have their relationship from Damn Yankees, and I've said some really nice things about Ted in all the buildup to this. I think something will certainly happen (on stage), but I dare not predict what it might be. I look forward to being pleasantly surprised and delighted by it all."

The tour also coincides with the 40th anniversary of Styx's self-titled debut album, as well as the 35 years since the release of the triple-platinum "The Grand Illusion" and its enduring hit, "Come Sail Away." But Young says the group isn't planning to dwell on either mark this year.

"There are certain ages that women don't want to admit to that they've reached, and there are certain ages that rock bands don't want to admit to that they've reach, too," he explains with a laugh. "I just sort of said, 'Why remind everybody jsut how long we've been around? Those that know it know it, but there is a whole new, young audience out there...a growing (number) of people at Styx concerts that are under the sage of 25.

"That kind of blows my mind...and I don't want to jeopardize that. It's an interesting mile marker, and...I don't mind people saying it, but I'm not going out of my way to offer it up front."

The Midwest Rock 'n' Roll Express tour, with Ted Nugent, Styx and REO Speedwagon, plays at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 28, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $65 and $35 pavilion, $25 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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