Spotlight on Styx Song From Kilroy Was Here

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Spotlight on Styx Song From Kilroy Was Here

Post by Guitar Noir on Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:00 am

Blog post focusing on the Styx song Haven't We Been Here Before, from their album Kilroy Was Here.



https://shadesofnoirsite.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/song-spotlight-havent-we-been-here-before-by-styx/
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Re: Spotlight on Styx Song From Kilroy Was Here

Post by MikeInFla on Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:24 pm

Before I read the article I will say Styx has been my favorite all time band since 1980. I have every album, every solo album and have seen the band live 9 or 10 times since 1991. I have interviewed Tommy and Dennis (separately in 1999 right after the last split) and had a chance to talk to JY in 2006 when I saw him after a show. I also introduced them on stage that same night (one of the benefits of my former job as a DJ at a classic rock station).

I have always loved the Kilroy album. Every song (to me) is exceptional. It was actually an album ahead of its time attacking censorship and false accusations of backmasking and "satanic messages". To quote Dennis "we had a hard enough time trying to make the records sound good when played forwards, why would we take the time to put something in backwards?". I always thought that was funny. As a result of the accusations the Kilroy album had a hype sticker that said "Contains a secret backwards message!". One of the "secret messages" on the album was (as I heard it) "believe in yourself is the secret". Another interpretation of the message was "Sparky holds the secret" which is in reference to the Paradise Theatre album cover. On the back cover there is a poster on the theatre that says "Sparky the flying wonder dog". 

So now I am off to read the article.
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Re: Spotlight on Styx Song From Kilroy Was Here

Post by Guitar Noir on Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:41 am

MikeInFla wrote:Before I read the article I will say Styx has been my favorite all time band since 1980. I have every album, every solo album and have seen the band live 9 or 10 times since 1991. I have interviewed Tommy and Dennis (separately in 1999 right after the last split) and had a chance to talk to JY in 2006 when I saw him after a show. I also introduced them on stage that same night (one of the benefits of my former job as a DJ at a classic rock station).

I have always loved the Kilroy album. Every song (to me) is exceptional. It was actually an album ahead of its time attacking censorship and false accusations of backmasking and "satanic messages". To quote Dennis "we had a hard enough time trying to make the records sound good when played forwards, why would we take the time to put something in backwards?". I always thought that was funny. As a result of the accusations the Kilroy album had a hype sticker that said "Contains a secret backwards message!". One of the "secret messages" on the album was (as I heard it) "believe in yourself is the secret". Another interpretation of the message was "Sparky holds the secret" which is in reference to the Paradise Theatre album cover. On the back cover there is a poster on the theatre that says "Sparky the flying wonder dog". 

So now I am off to read the article.

Curious about your assessment of the various Styx member solo albums.  I love what Tommy Shaw did with Damn Yankees.  His solo material is rather dull. Dennis DeYoung's album One Hundred Years From Now was pretty good.  

I have always loved Kilroy Was Here.  It is in my top three favorite Styx albums.
I love Styx, but I am not a diehard.  I have not heard any of their albums prior to Crystal Ball.
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Re: Spotlight on Styx Song From Kilroy Was Here

Post by MikeInFla on Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:44 pm

Will try to find the time tonight when I get back to my hotel to leave a more detailed message. But I will say if you can get on Spotify you need to hear Equinox. An excellent album, their first for A&M Records. I think it is better than Crystal Ball. As for the Wooden Nickel stuff, it is really for die hards only but "Styx II" is a good listen. John & Chuck shine on that album.
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Re: Spotlight on Styx Song From Kilroy Was Here

Post by Guitar Noir on Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:25 pm

I did listen to Equinox, it's a solid album. The Styx sound is not yet fully formed. They were still finding themselves as a band and as songwriters. It is a solid, raw American prog rock album. Thanks for the suggestion, I am glad that I finally heard the album.
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Re: Spotlight on Styx Song From Kilroy Was Here

Post by MikeInFla on Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:04 am

Finally have a little more time to reply. Had been out of town all week on business. I'll discuss the solo albums and give my thoughts on them. The first was "Desert Moon". Dennis always said he was a reluctant solo artist and would have rather had made another Styx album after "Caught In The Act" (which is a somewhat weak live album, their live shows were better before this tour and the "Return To Paradise" album from 1996 is superior). It was time for a break away from each other. Dennis had 2 singles from this record, the title track & "Don't Wait For Heroes". He was planning a tour but hurt his back in the filming of the video. He hurt his back during the "back flip" sequence. When I first played this song for some friends they thought it was a Styx song.



Desert Moon did well as an album. He also had an interesting take and arrangement on Hendrix's song "Fire". Blues based song, either you like it or hate it.



A few months later Tommy would release "Girls With Guns". Some of the songs were intended as Styx songs, others were songs about his time in the band ("Kiss Me Hello"). He chose Mike Stone to produce because it was thought he wanted it to sound like Journey. "Lonely School" was a ballad and the second release. The album did OK but not as well as "Desert Moon". He filmed several concerts for MTV (which might have been for the second album, I am not sure I have not watched those shows in a long time). 

The third solo release came in 1986 from JY called "City Slicker" with Jam Hammer. It has Miami Vice sounding drums and sold poorly but I liked it a lot when it first came out. JY was also communicating with the fans via a newsletter. I looked forward to getting them when they came (about 4 times a year). There were 2 songs on this album that were rejected Syx tunes, one being "Chain Me Down". He filmed one video for the album "Wild Dogs" in the night which got some play on MTV.

By this time John and Chuck were MIA and I think John's drinking became a serious problem. 

Also in 1986 was Dennis's "Back To The World". Slickly produced, it had 2 singles. A ballad "Call Me" and "This Is The Time" for the Karate Kid II movie. 



Over all I liked it a LOT when it first came out but it hasn't aged well. Has some filler tracks that Dennis says he doesn't care for. "Black Wall" was a song about Vietnam and is the stand out track on the record.

Next up was Tommy's "What If". I found it on record and picked it up. Was greatly disappointed in it, it just wasn't good and I think at this time his substance abuse was pretty high. He released a single "What If Remo's Theme" which was tagged over the closing credits of the Remo Williams movie. It is the only memorable track on the album. 

In 1988 JY released "Out On A Day Pass" independantly. He pressed it on white vinyl (which goes for a pretty price these days) and had cassette copies on Maxell cassettes. It was much better than the first and I still like it to this day. One video was filmed for "Top Of The World" which had a Styx sound. John Panozzo plays drums on two tracks on this album. He also re-recorded "Young Man" from the 1974 Styx album "Serpent Is Rising". Stand out songs (which I can't find on YouTube) are "Love Me Tonight" and "Dr. On Call". 

Next was "Ambition" from Tommy on Atlantic Records. He had cleaned up and released a slick produced album by Terry Thomas (Bad Co, Foreigner). JY recorded some backing vocals on two tracks. Some really good songs here but it flopped. "No Such Thing" was an excellent rocker. The woman in the video was his wife at the time, Pam (who was a soap opera star).



He toured with Rush for this album.

Once the album flopped there was discussion of reforming Styx. There are even photos of Tommy, JY, Chuck & John floating around. Dennis was in the process of released his third, "Boomchild" and could not agree to a Styx reunion at the time. DDY's third album had some delays but was eventually released in late 1988 and had one video for the title track. Very ballad heavy album, it has not aged very well. You can search YT for the video, which was considered state of the art at the time.

In 1989 Tommy formed Damn Yankees with Ted, Jack and his solo drummer Michael. This was breakout for them. I still love the 2 albums they released. The first album was released in 1990. Two songs were intended for the failed reformation of Styx, "Runaway" and "Come Again". 

Styx reformed without Tommy and released "Edge Of The Century" (which I still love). 

Next up was the Tommy/Jack album "My Hallucination". Great acoustic type record released on Warner Music. Another good album if you can find it.


Some tracks had Michael on drums, the others had Steve Smith from Journey. Sales were very poor and they were dropped from Warner Brothers.

Around this time JY formed "Raised By Wolves" but that name was already taken so they released it as The James Young Group (see your PM Troy). Excellent rock album released on a small label and had no chance in the grunge era.

Next up was Dennis's "10 On Broadway", all Broadway tunes and excellent if you like that kind of stuff but I don't listen to it any more.  Dennis also released a CD on his own (no label) for the Hunchback. A "show" record for a musical he wrote. Really not for Styx fans at all.

In 1996 they reformed for "Return To Paradise". Man, that was an excellent tour and album!

In 1997 Tommy released "Seven Deadly Zens" which was probably his strongest solo album to date. Some say it is the best of the solo albums. Features a TON of guests including Jack, Ted and Michael. Also features Alison Krause and Kevin Cronin from REO. Todd Sucherman from Styx plays most of the drums.




After this release came "Brave New World" the last Styx album to feature the classic line up. It was a mish-mosh of songs and is considered to be their "White Album" because of such a difference in sound between songs and all of the ghost musicians (it is rumored that Chuck was very ill and did not play on it. Glen Burtnik handled most of the bass, if not all). Won't get into details of the Styx stuff as I am discussing the solo records..... 

Up next was Shaw/Blades "Influence" an album of covers. Another strong release from those two.



I could go on even longer but this sums it up.

If you have time, check out "Serpent Is Rising" and "Man Of Miracles" on Spotify. From Styx II, check out the songs "You Need Love" and "A Day". "A Day" is John Curulewski's stand out track.


And of course 100 Years From Now is really good but a few of those sound like show tunes to me. And his latest double disc/DVD set is also a must have.
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Re: Spotlight on Styx Song From Kilroy Was Here

Post by Guitar Noir on Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:51 pm

Thanks so much for  putting this together, this was awesome and informative. To me the classic lineup of Styx was a band that truly needed each other. They were great together, and overall just so so as solo artists.  

Dennis DeYoung's earlier solo albums are great vocally, but just average musically.  His last album was pretty good, but nowhere near as good as his music with Styx.

Tommy Shaw is a mystery to me.  He wrote some amazing songs with Styx, yet his solo work is so bland. But I love what he did with Damn Yankees.

JY was the weakest vocalist and songwriter in the band, so I really did not have high expectations of his solo work.  

I am a big fan of Edge Of The Century.  Glen Burtnik was a great addition.  Even without Tommy Shaw it sounds and feels like a Styx album.

Brave New World is a solid album, some really good songs here.

I applaud the effort with Cyclorma.  I really bought the album because I was curious about the kind of original material that Lawrence Gowan would bring to the table.  He is far to talented to spend the rest of his career singing someone else's songs.  Overall the album is decent.  However it is missing that Styx sound.  I do want the band to record a new album, they are way overdue.
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Re: Spotlight on Styx Song From Kilroy Was Here

Post by MikeInFla on Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:55 am

No problem, I love discussing Styx with anyone who cares. Be sure to check your private messages, I think you might actually enjoy what I'm sending your way.
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Re: Spotlight on Styx Song From Kilroy Was Here

Post by Guitar Noir on Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:04 am

I am currently listening to Brave New World, it's been awhile since I played the whole cd.  It is a solid album, but that Styx sound and spirit seems to be lacking.  Edge of the Century feels more like a Styx album than Brave New World.
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Re: Spotlight on Styx Song From Kilroy Was Here

Post by Black Rider on Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:08 pm

I'm a casual Styx fan, only have the Anthology nowadays but when they were on they were as good as any rock band out there. I was introduced to them in the sixth grade when I heard Renegade on the radio and went and bought Pieces of Eight on cassette and that led me to check out other stuff.
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Re: Spotlight on Styx Song From Kilroy Was Here

Post by Guitar Noir on Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:27 am

Black Rider wrote:I'm a casual Styx fan, only have the Anthology nowadays but when they were on they were as good as any rock band out there. I was introduced to them in the sixth grade when I heard Renegade on the radio and went and bought Pieces of Eight on cassette and that led me to check out other stuff.

They are an excellent band.  There is talk of the possibility of a new album in the near future.
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