After decades of estrangement and animosity, former Styx singer Dennis DeYoung, the voice behind so many of the bands hits, is pleading with his old band to reunite the original lineup for one last tour.
The group broke ties with DeYoung for good in 1999, after one of several attempts at reuniting the already fractious band. They continued to tour as Styx, while DeYoung billed himself as a solo act “formerly of Styx.”
“After being replaced in Styx, everyone around me encouraged me to try and stop them legally,” he told Rock Candy Magazine. “I just couldn’t. It would have been like suing myself, and I held out hope they’d ask me back. They toured under the Styx name for a year and a half before I initiated legal action. I didn’t sue for money or use of the name. I simply wanted back in the band.“
Despite not speaking to Styx singers and guitarists Tommy Shaw and James Young in nearly two decades, DeYoung is holding out hope. He’s now making the case for another spin at a reunion, not only for himself but also for the fans. “The fans want a reunion, and I’ve wanted one every day since I was replaced,” he said. “I never wanted to be a solo artist. Still don’t. I like being on a team, and that’s what a band is like. It’s us against them, strength in numbers, and sharing the success and failure.”
But the fracture in the band members’ relationships runs deep. Following the band’s huge successes of the ’70s, Shaw and Young were increasingly uncomfortable with the direction in which DeYoung, Styx’s keyboardist and lead singer, was taking the music. They two wanted to continue making rock records, while DeYoung wanted to take the band into a more pop direction with epic storytelling. In 1983, they released Kilroy Was Here, another of the band’s concept albums, this time about a futuristic society that had banned rock ‘n’ roll. Shaw quit the band later that year.
“I became a reluctant solo artist because I was not going to go back and put a new Styx together with somebody else,” DeYoung recalled in 2015. “My contract read that I had the ability to make a solo record for A&M, so I decided I’d make a solo album and wait for Tommy to come to his senses.”
Shaw returned to Styx, but despite a couple attempts at reunions with the full lineup, it wasn’t to be. In 2011, Shaw said “I don’t think [a reunion] is realistic. 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.”
But DeYoung isn’t deterred. “It’s in their hands,” he said. “Imagine one last tour with the original cats. I think there might be some interest.”