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Dennis DeYoung on Styx’s Exclusion From the Rock Hall: ‘To Each His Own’

Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

Dennis DeYoung knows by now that his work with Styx doesn’t stand much of a chance of ever being recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — just as he knows he’s one of a group of artists who are going to be asked about their continued exclusion every time a new batch of inductees is announced.

DeYoung tried to diplomatically address the issue in a recent Facebook post, pointing out, “Fans of bands like Styx, Journey, Boston, Foreigner and others, are stuck with the fact that the people who decide who is worthy of induction are for the most part the same ones who never liked these bands. Anything said by any of us who were in those groups in defense will sound like sour grapes no matter how valid the statistics, how persuasive the arguments.”

That being said, he also noted, “Music is subjective. As the Romans said, ‘de gustibus non disputandum est,’ which kinda means ‘to each his own, said the lady as she kissed the cow’s ass.’ This is the thing I remember most from four years of high school Latin, that and ‘amo amas amat.'”

DeYoung also pointed out that Styx didn’t do themselves any favors in the beginning, lumping themselves in with the “faceless corporate rock” crowd by following the advice of handlers who recommended avoiding the press entirely.

“Writers are adept at making unknown acts they prefer into a big deal, thus giving them pumped up identities. Styx’s former manager not only distrusted the press and ignored them but went one step further and actively antagonized them,” he recalled. “He and I had many a heated discussion over his policy. My view was simple: As individuals, we had worthy opinions and were not without humor or charm — and we should find those in the press willing to give us a chance.”

Although the band eventually reversed course and hired a PR firm, as DeYoung put it, “by that time the image — or should I say non-image — had been established.”

In the end, he seemed to suggest that if Styx has any hope of following in the footsteps of other once-“uncool” bands who’ve made it past the Rock Hall’s doors, the fans will have to do the heavy lifting. “I heard that Rush‘s fan base and the Kiss Army were instrumental in getting them inducted,” DeYoung mused. “So there are more ways to skin a cat.”

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