Styx ‘Mr. Roboto’ Revival Won’t Lead to Dennis DeYoung Reunion
Styx guitarist James “J.Y” Young said the band had bowed to fan demands by adding “Mr. Roboto” to their set list, after having ignored the song for decades.
He also noted that, even though the animosity the song represented had faded over the years, there was no chance of a reunion with the band's former singer Dennis DeYoung.
“Mr. Roboto” appeared on Styx's 1983 concept album Kilroy Was Here, a project that created so much tension within the group that it collapsed over the next few years. DeYoung had performed the vocals live at the time, but he sang against backing tapes, meaning that Styx had never actually performed the song onstage – even though it was one of their biggest hits. DeYoung recently commented on the song's addition to the current lineup’s shows, suggesting that some form of reunion might come out of it.
In a new interview, Young told Billboard that the band had listened to the results of an “unsophisticated poll” of fans, who’d expressed their opinions to crew members and at meet-and-greets. “There were young people whose first song they bought was 'Mr. Roboto,' and that sent them back to the previous albums," he said. “While it killed the momentum of the first huge wave of Styx, it actually spawned the next generation of Styx fans.”
But he noted the band had re-engineered the track to become “much more palatable” to him and bandmate Tommy Shaw. “We were looking for something new and a curve ball to throw at the audience," he explained. "I can't say 100 percent of the people love it, but ... we're embracing the fan requests and fulfill a yearning request form a lot of people over the years that we'd turned a deaf ear to."
However, he ruled out any chance of a reconnection with DeYoung. “It was an ugly time, but I'm not bitter about it anymore," Young said. "It's clear that moment in time was a huge mistake. We gave [DeYoung] enough rope to hang himself, and us, collectively, and that's part of Styx history. We killed the golden goose, at least for the time being. It's taken a long time to resurrect it, and we've succeeded, mightily. I'm not mad at [DeYoung] anymore. I've forgiven him and I wish the man well and happiness. I just have no desire to work with him. It doesn't open that door up for me in the least."
Styx are touring North America until Oct. 5.