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Styx’s Tommy Shaw Says Reunion With Former Singer Dennis DeYoung is Not Realistic

Tommy Shaw
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

The hearts of Styx fans are about to be stomped a little bit by guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw, who says that a fan-desired reunion with former frontman Dennis DeYoung is not in the cards simply because nothing has changed in the relationship between the two camps.

“I don’t think [a reunion] is realistic,” Shaw tells Rolling Stone. “We tried it in 1996 and we realized what was true in 1983 was only more true in 1996. We’d just gone our separate ways. Rather than having a positive effect on each other, we have a very negative effect on each other. You only live once and you should be happy.”

Ouch. That about says it all.

As if that assertion wasn’t firm enough, Shaw assessed the situation further, saying, “We already did it. In retrospect, we weren’t even happy working with each other in our heyday. We’re just different people with different desires and different vision of how things should be. God, it was such an unhappy place. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. We’re crazy, but we’re not insane.” From those statements, it appears that when it comes to DeYoung, that file is closed, somewhat permanently. So Styx fans shouldn’t hold their breath hoping for DeYoung to return or they will be engaging in dangerous behavior.

Styx, who worked out deal with DeYoung in which he could tour as a solo artist while touting himself as ‘”formerly of Styx” while Shaw and the rest of the crew tour as Styx, keep blanketing the globe, playing around 100 shows a year with new frontman Lawrence Gowan.

“In some ways it feels like we don’t play enough,” said Shaw. “There’s just such an appetite for trying to refine this and trying to take it to the next level. I think we all understand what an incredible opportunity it is to have a band with this kind of following and this repertoire of music.”

Styx are currently on the road with fellow progressive rockers Yes and Shaw cops to being a bit of a fanboy for his tourmates. “Some of the defining moments from my teenage years are when I opened those first couple of Yes albums,” he admitted. “They’re imprinted in my brain. It’s a very cool thing for to be walking around backstage and see things with Yes logos on them and see the guys walking around. Steve Howe is such a unique guitarist, and so unyielding in his style – and Chris Squire is just an unapologetic showman. He’s as amazing as ever.”

For this particular tour, Styx’s set list is populated by classics that they’ve been performing for 35 years along with songs that haven’t been played since they were put to tape in the recording sessions! At least that gives fans a chance to remember the DeYoung era, even if he’s not on stage belting out the songs.

You can also read our recent interview with Shaw, in which he discusses his new bluegrass album, and the odds of Ted Nugent and Alison Krauss pairing up for an album together.


Watch this Video of the Production Rehearsal From the Styx/Yes Tour.

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