South Okanagan fans of the legendary rock band Styx are in for a night to remember when the band rolls into Penticton’s South Okanagan Events Centre on Sept. 4.
Canadian icons Loverboy will be opening for Styx, who have been touring since the early 1970s.
Guitarist James “J.Y.” Young, an original member of the band, said fans can expect a good mix of songs from their early albums to The Mission, released in 2017.
“Our biggest albums in North America were from 1977 to 1981—Grand Illusion, Pieces of Eight, Cornerstone and Paradise Theatre—so those you’re going to hear a lot of,” said Young. “Maybe one or two from Equinox which had a very good run starting from Quebec and moving west from there. So that’s our kind of era of success.
“But then we have our new album, which is a couple of years old but it’s the first of the new music that we’ve released in a couple of decades. So it will be a mixture of all of those”
The song Mr. Roboto, which Young said was unprecedented for the band because it was “a hard left turn on the wheel stylistically from our previous music when it was released,” will also be performed in Penticton. This is especially noteworthy since the band hasn’t performed the cult classic, which became a part of North American pop culture, in roughly 30 years.
“We had been playing the same songs over and over for 15 years and just needed something to punch it up and sometimes you just have to turn to your fans to listen. The guy that sells our T-shirts has direct connections with our fans every night and gets to hear the positives and the complaints. And Mr. Roboto was the only song that anybody ever asked about like ‘How come they didn’t play it?’” said Young. “And our lighting director is this amazing woman, probably the smartest person in our whole organization, and people kept asking her the same question.
“So we finally gave in to popular demand. I kind of credit that record with sort of cutting our ticket and album sales in half because I think it alienated a lot of our die-hard metal rock fans. But 20 years later the irony is it spawned the next generation of Styx fans.”
And these fans will be overjoyed to learn that will be more new music from the rock legends on the way once they finish up this round of touring. Young couldn’t speak to any specific dates that an album would be released but said it was possible in the next year or two.
For now, they are happy to continue touring and connect with both old and young generations of their fans who appreciate their guitar riffs and vocal harmonies.
For Young, his favourite song to perform as lead guitarist is Renegade.
“We were talking about this last night on the bus. Tommy Shaw came up with the idea for Renegade and it was interesting because we knew it wasn’t going to be a big rock song but more of this brooding sort of Allen Parsons-Pink Floyd kind of a thing,” said Young. “I thought we needed sort of this big rock and roll anthem at the time so I said, ‘Let’s punch this thing up and start it up slow and kick in a big rock song.’ So they laid down the bass track and I put down the guitar because I had some ideas. Tommy said he didn’t want to touch it because he thought it was awesome. And he’s such a great singer and I’m really proud of my guitar in there.”
For more details about the show or to purchase your tickets, visit www.soec.ca.
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