Dennis DeYoung Comments on Styx Finally Performing ‘Mr. Roboto’
While it’s one of their best-known songs, both the song and the album it comes from, Kilroy Was Here, mark a controversial period in Styx history that led directly to the departure of guitarist Tommy Shaw and, after his return some years later, DeYoung himself leaving the band.
While “Mr. Roboto” had been performed with backing tapes during the cut-short Kilroy tour, and has always been a part of DeYoung’s solo set, its inclusion during the new Styx tour marks the first time they’ve ever performed it as a live band.
In a Facebook post that seemed to veer from suggesting a reunion to emphasizing the distance between DeYoung and his former colleagues, the singer said, "Vindication, redemption, exoneration ... nah I’ve already seen the current spin cycle. It’s just two guys [Shaw and James “JY” Young] finally admitting the obvious. And as always following the money. Can’t imagine how many times the boys were asked the question ‘Hey, how come you ain’t playing Roboto?’ … But no, this song ruined the band. And so now, 35 years later nearly to the day, June 2, 1983, Tommy quit the band onstage in D.C. because of Kilroy and 'Mr. Roboto' and now it’s resurrected. Hallelujah.”
DeYoung described the track, which bore notable differences to anything Styx had ever done before, as “a bad penny or a wooden nickel or simply a damn catchy tune; your choice.” He went on to predict that the band would realize “people will go bananas when it’s played cause they like it, it’s fun.” He also argued that “a whole bunch of Styx fans became so after hearing this song,” and noted that it had been placed in the band’s encore. “Wow that’s a reversal of fortune from derision and ignominy,” he said.
“Good for Ro -- I wish I knew his secret ... secret secret,” DeYoung continued. “Perhaps he’ll share it with me and one last reunion tour will happen. By playing this song after all the vitriol, it’s an admission, but of what? Kids, you tell me. I predict that Roboto will ultimately become Styx’s most popular song over time. Not because it’s one of our best songs, but because it is what it is. Go figure. I never thought it was a hit record when I wrote it and said so then.”