Dennis DeYoungVocals, keyboards, accordion1964-1999
Chuck PanozzoBass, vocals
John PanozzoDrums1964-1996
James YoungGuitar, vocals
Tommy ShawGuitar, vocals1975-
Lawerence GowanKeyboards, vocals1999-
John CurulewskiGuitar, vocals1964-1975
Todd SuchermanDrums1996-
Tom NardiniGuitar1963-1969
Ricky PhillipsBass, vocals, guitar2003-
Glen BurtnikGuitar, vocals, bass1990-1992, 1999-2003
  • The Panozzos were twin brothers. John died in 1996 from cirrhosis of the liver, brought on by his chronic alcoholism.
  • Most critics trashed the band, giving every release a good flogging. At one point, they stopped sending out review copies, issuing a statement that read, "The band doesn't enjoy being torn apart in print and we're not going to help them do it."
  • In 2001, Chuck Panozzo announced he was gay. He tested positive for HIV in 1999.
  • DeYoung and the Panozzos formed the band as The Tradewinds. They played local bars while they went to Chicago State University.
  • In 1981, they started recording their album Kilroy Was Here using solar-powered equipment.
  • After having a wisdom tooth pulled in 1997, DeYoung developed a debilitating condition affecting the nerves in his face. Doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with him and he didn't get relief until about 18 month later when he started wearing sunglasses everywhere, as he realized exposure to light was causing problems. Unable to go on the road, he was very upset when the band toured without him in 1999.
  • In 1993, DeYoung took the role of Pontius Pilate in the Broadway production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • From The Tradewinds they changed the name to TW4 before settling on Styx in 1972. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Gene - Hammond, IN
  • The name Styx, which is the mythological river that flows through the underworld, was chosen after TW4 was signed by Wooden Nickel Records, a subsidiary of RCA, who recommended a name change. Hundreds of names were considered. Styx was the only name no one in the group hated.
  • Styx started out with a progressive rock sound, but they broke through with a more mainstream arena rock sound. Unlike many rock terms, "arena rock" was coined by concert promoters rather than radio programmers. Promoters found that they could fill large concert venues with particular metal and progressive bands. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • They had tremendous success in America, but never caught on in the UK, where only one song reached the Top 40: "Babe," which reached #6.
  • For Dennis DeYoung, what matters about a song is how it's received. "What I hope you do is listen to my tale and find yourself in my story, and that's what happens when you get it right," he said in a Songfacts interview. "People think it's about them. It isn't. It's about me. And if any songwriters can say it better than that, I want to know what it is. You own this music."

Comments: 36

  • Tish Bonnell Bergen from South Bend, In.Fascinating. Thanks for sharing these. facts. This song was special for me as I was leaving to go into the Navy back in 1978. Even after being sworn in, I ended up not going as I had met my soon to be husband and we had our son. I always wonder when I hear this song how my life would have changed if I would have gone into the Navy.
  • George from Far Far AwayI was a disciple of John Curulewski's guitar teaching. Lovely, funny guy with immense talent and incredible kindness and patience with his students. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him when I pick up my guitar. I still hear his voice, still see his expressions, mannerisms. He would talk about his son on occasion who was probably around 3 years old at the time. Miss him a lot. May he RIP.
  • Shandroise De Laeken from Davao City, PhilippinesThe Styx's songs which stood the test of time here in Philippines are Babe (one of the songs reputed to signify the downfall of Styx with Dennis deYoung), Best of Times, First Time, Boat on the River, and Mr. Roboto (the downfall as said by many). Although people who love thosw songs aren't as many as what used to be, those songs still receive airplays in radio systems all over my country. Babe is the most played. If for solid Styx fans that song was insignificant, well let me tell you, that song is so well known over here.
  • Mike from Norwalk, CtPatrick, You're missing out bud. Paradise Theater was my favorite album... every song! I loved "Snowblind" and "The Best Of Times" Such GREAT songs!
  • Teri from Kansasville, WiDoes anyone know or remember what year Styx played at Irving Crown High School in Carpentersville, IL?

  • Deethewriter from Saint Petersburg, Russia FederationMembers of the classic rock bands Styx and Journey presented a check for $500,000 Tuesday (November 13, 2003 A.D.) to the New York Port Authority -- the proceeds from two benefit concerts held last month in Atlanta and Dallas to raise funds for victims and heroes of the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
  • Dc from Seattle, WaYes, Dennis should be in the band. Numerous interviews show the only real reason is, as Joanne says here, his "my way or the highway" attitude, plus arrogance. The issue comes up, though, that two distinct camps arose in Styx, and Dennis' tastes are much different than Tommy and JY's. Still, it could work, since it did before. Egos,just like in YES. It took me several months to accept that Jon isn't in YES and probably won't be for a while.

    Styx remains a great band.
  • Legacy User from Seattle, WaYes, I agree that Jon Anderson, of YES, is about the best for vocalists. I happen to really like Tommy Shaw, for vocals, stage presence, banter, and guitar.
  • Eric from Mentor, OhJohn Curulewski quit the band based upon ego and his missing his family. Sadly, he died of a brain anurysm. His voice is rather distinctive and soft compared to the gravelly tones of JY and the high tenor of DeYoung. However, as evidenced on "Krakatoa" he can be "witchy" as well. RIP.
  • Joanne from Virginia Beach, VaDennis DeYoung had a great voice, but from what I have heard over the years his arrogance was the main reason, beginning with the Kilroy Was Here tour, that Styx broke up. Apparently it became the classic "my way or the highway" attitude that many front men get eventually. I hope that they got things worked out over the years. They were too good to have broken up over something like that.
  • Roger from Spartanburg, ScLorelei was my favorite Styx tune.
  • Paladin from Dallas, TxI did an interview with James Young within the last year and asked him about Curulewski. Apparently, he's past away.

    Also, I don't see any reference to Glen Burtnick who made "Love is the Ritual" a hit in the 90's.

  • Allison from Oslo, --Styx is sort of a newer band for me. I've listened to them before and I thought that they were pretty good. A few months ago I got a Styx CD and listened to it. Now they are one of the bands that I listen to a lot. Their voices and instrumentation are amazing and their songs are very deep. I got a "Pieces of Eight" album a month ago and I'm fixing up my dad's turntable so I can listen to it for myself. More people need to discover how good they are
  • Jeff from Rochester, NyThe reason I'm posting this is because I was trying to find out how JC died. From what I can tell, he died of an anurysm. Anyways... Many people who haven't listened to the old Wooden Nickel recordings are missing some of the best Styx material. I recently purchased a two CD set with the all the Wooden Nickel albums. These were Styx, Styx II, Serpent is Rising, and Man of Miracles. DeYoung is not the primary vocalist on these recordings, and I believe it's Curulewski or James Young. (Their voices are very similar) Anyways, If you are a big Styx fan, I strongly suggest these recordings. You won't be disappointed!
  • Randy from Colerain Twp., Oh Sarah, if I'm not mistaken, I have read somewhere that JY has a degree in aerospace engineering, and he also played the saxophone. I am unaware of Dennis and Tommy's education level...never really gave much thought about it. What is really interesting to me is technically Chuck and John were the founders of the band that would eventually become STYX. Dennis first joined THEIR band, then eventually JY and JC joined afterwards. However, both of the Panozzos never contributed to either song writing credits, or lead vocals. What people never gave credit to is John's percussioning. I don't think that he was ever given the recognition that he deserved, probably because he was overshadowed by Dennis, Tommy, and JY.
  • Randy from Colerain Twp., Oh Ben, I will have to agree with you as far as choice for best vocalists, but I would also have to include YES's Jon Anderson and RUSH's Geddy Lee, as well. And I still think Tommy Shaw has a great voice, but he doesn't articulate his as much as Dennis DeYoung. As far as best 'collaberating' vocalists, I'd say that honor belongs to Dennis DeYoung, Tommy Shaw, and JY, and to Queen's Freddie Mercury, Brian May, and Roger Taylor.
  • Sarah from Quincy, IlHeck, I figured out Chuck Panozzo was gay the first time I saw a picture of him. It was "The Grand Illusion" cover and enclosed poster, and I was about 13 at the time.

    I also had a college professor who went to high school with the Panozzo twins. He said they were both dumber than rocks, although of course had musical talent, which is peculiar since DeYoung, Shaw, and Young are all highly intelligent and IIRC, James Young graduated from high school with honors at 16. And we all know that Dennis DeYoung was originally a high school music teacher.

    As for "Mr. Roboto", the one justification for its existence was an MTV show about 10 years ago (back when MTV was about music, of course) where Kennedy interviewed Alanis Morrissette on a hill overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. As the credits rolled, they showed outtakes, and one featured them singing "Mr. Roboto."

  • Randy from Colerain Twp., OhSay what you want about Dennis, but I think the band made a big mistake by ousting him. Sure, they probably wouldn't be as active with him still in it, but I thought 'Cyclerama' was a big disappointment. Ironically, I think that 'Brave New World' was one of their better albums since the 70's, which was the last one Dennis recorded with the band. I really do like Tommy Shaw, but I don't think he can carry the band like he really wants to. And somehow I think that may have lead to Glen Burtnik leaving the band. 'Edge of the Century' did fine with Dennis and Glen, and with no Tommy. No disrespect to Lawrence Gowan, but I think Styx needs to reform with Dennis DeYoung in the lineup. Otherwise, Styx will soon be known as a 'has-been' group who will just continue to play hits from the last 3 decades.
  • Ben from Baltimore, MdDennis DeYoung has got to have one of the greatest voices in music history. Along with Steve Perry, Steve Walsh, Freddie Mercury and anyone I forgot.
  • Frank from Fircrest, WaParadise Theater--Awesome album---I'm snowblind, snowblind, snowblind......
  • Mike from Coventry, RiTommy Shaw lived in/near Montgomery, AL. His commment about being found was that one night he was playing "Crystal Ball" to a bunch of bowlers and the next night he was playing it to 10,000 people.
  • Patrick from Washington Dc, United States5 good songs: Lady, Angry Young Man, Long Nights, Renegade, Mr. Roboto. I love those but I just don't really like their other stuff. Is there anything I'm missing?
  • James from Windsor, CaStyx was by far my favorite band when I was growing up. I'm close to 40 now, and I still own and listen to Styx, much to the chagrin of my poker buddies when I bust out with a Styx album. They secretly love Styx, but don't have the balls to admit it.
  • Chris from Rock City, SdStyx is one of the greatest rock bands in history! I wish people would listen to Styx more today intead of that pop, rap, and hip-hop crap. I listen to Styx, AC/DC, Boston, REO, you know,the good stuff. They are my favorite band and I hope they keep playing untill they can't anymore. Also Curulewski left the band because he didn't think the band was going any where, WRONG!! Then Tommy Shaw came and said "Hi! I'm Tommy Shaw and with my vocals and guitar we will become one of the greatest rock bands in history!!" Or maybe he didn't... But all I'm trying to say is that they are an awsome band and there is no reason for people to critisise them.
  • Dave from Chicago, IlJC left because he wanted to a) be with his family, b)have more creative control, c)because he would've killed dennis if he didn't quit. JC leaving the band was mutual anyway. He was getting a bad attitute and he just quit before getting fired anyway. He told me this in 1979.
  • Dave from Chicago, IlJohn Curulewski(if you spelled it this's correct). I too knew JC quite well as i was a student of his from when he began teaching at the Music Stop in LaGrange, IL. to the time he used his basement in Evergreen Pk. Great guitarist and great man and friend. He did pass away in Feb of 1988 from a brain aneurism. He had recently separated from his wife Janice. I do recall at least 3 times with him in his recording studio over the years where he would just faint, become incontinent, etc. He would then snap out of it after a little while. We knew than he had some neurological disorder. I wish he was still here.
  • Mike from Winnipeg, CanadaThe album 'Kilroy was here,' by the group Styx tells a fictitious story about a world famous rock star named Kilroy. The story is set in the near future, and each song tells a different part of that story and social meaning. The story briefly goes like this: Dr. Everett Righteous, the founder and leader of a group called MMM (Majority for Musical Morality), has his own television channel and 'preaches' about the immorality of rock music. At one of Kilroy's concerts the MMM storms the stage, captures Kilroy, and sends him to jail with other captured rock and roll stars. Also in this time, Robotos (robots) have taken over the meaningless jobs once done by humans, like factory labor, and work in jails. In Kilroy's jail the MMM forced mind controlling propaganda at the rock and roll inmates all day. Meanwhile the leader of the rock and roll resistance, Jonathan, jams the signal and replaced it with an outlawed tape of one of Kilroy's concerts. Kilroy's hope is reborn and he escapes inside one of the 'security guard' robotos. After his escape he leaves the roboto 'mask' on while he searches out Jonathan. When he meets up with Jonathan he can finally escape from his 'mask.'

    This song's literal meaning depicts his escape from jail, but the true meaning of this song is hidden in the words and expresses Dennis DeYoung's (the lead vocalist and writer) thoughts about the average blue-collar worker.
    He first educates the listeners about the workers in their meaningless lives. He sings of how the workers are human on the inside, but on the outside, treated sub-human, as if they only exist for the company's profit.

    My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain I.B.M

    I'm not a robot without emotions-I'm not what you see

    This is a metaphor about how being forced into working in dulldrum factory jobs is dehumanizing. He explains the futility of the workers efforts to get out of this type of work.

    I'm just a man whose circumstances went beyond his control
    Beyond my control-we all need control
    I need control- we all need control

    There is no way for these workers to escape their jobs, except through the use of robotos to do take their place.

    He starts thanking the robots for taking their jobs in the third verse. This might seem contradictory to his entire ideal that robots are bad, but he is merely being facetious and sarcastic. The entire third verse is devoted to thanking the robotos for taking their jobs so they don't have to 'suffer' any more. The irony is explained in the part after the 'thanking' when he states:

    The problem's plain to see: too much technology
    Machines to save our lives. Machines dehumanize.

    He sympathizes with the workers because machines are taking the place of human jobs. This can be good or bad. Good in the sense that now people's intelligence doesn't have to be insulted anymore, but bad because people are losing their jobs. But what if the recently fired worker does not have the education to go out and find another job?

    In short, they are screwed. Mr. Roboto is a song that addresses the issue of class, specifically the lower working class. In a world that technology is advancing so rapidly that robots and other automated machines take over human jobs, it's too easy to overlook how this can affect people on the personal level. In fact the end of this song explains the workers getting 'fed up.' They throw away the mask, so everyone can see who they really are, human beings with feelings.

    'Mr. Roboto' explains what it feels like to lose your job to a machine.
  • Russell from Chicago, Iljohn curulewski went on to teach guitar and became the most celebrated teacher in chicago i know this because i was one of his students he turned out some of the best guitar players chicago had ever seen
    he taught at a place in lagrange illinois called the pick stop jc was a great and wonderful man i weas out of touch when he died i had heard he commited suicide some of the other students had told me thid but but i dont know for sure that is what im researching now
  • Shana from Pembroke, CanadaI love Styx...Come Sail Away, Mr. Roboto, Renegade...awesome songs!
  • Ted from Loveland, CoJames Young who wrote this song has said that it wasn't about a particular "Miss America", but about what happens to each young lady after she has been used and abused for her reigning year..
  • Mike from Chicago, IlAny one know who the song Miss America is about?
  • Brian from Grand Forks, NdJohn Curulewski died of an aneurysm in 1988...
  • Christine from Chicago, IlThe 1979 gallup poll named Styx the most popular with teens 13-18.
  • Greg from Staven, CtI just did a search on Curulewski (correct spelling, BTW) He passed away in 1984.
  • Greg from Staven, CtCurulewski (not sure about the spelling) apparently didn't think the band was going anywhere. He left just before they went out to support the Equinox album. I'm pretty sure they backed up Blue Oyster Cult in 1976. Anyway, the band searched frantically for a replacement. One of the managers (Chuck Beeson, I think) remembered a guy that played in a band called MS Funk. He had seen them in Chicago but from what I remember, the band was tracked down in Alabama. They were playing in a bowling alley (of all places.) Beeson approached the band and asked the guitarist if he would be interested in auditioning for a band called Styx. All he had to do was sing the high background vocals from "Lady." Well, the guitarist flew up to Chicago and amazed everyone with his abilities. He went on to become a driving force in the success of the band, writing and singing such songs as "Crystal Ball", "Fooling Yourself", "Renegade", "Blue Collar Man" and "Too Much Time on My Hands." Tommy Shaw is still the driving force behind the band. The new stuff is phenomonal. I saw them a couple months back (2/04) and they had more energy than most younger bands of today. I wish Dennis DeYoung was still with them but that's how it goes. Curulewski, as far as I know, has not been heard from since his departure from the band.
  • Jeff from Haltom City, TxYeah, but what about John Curulewski? (I hope I spelled that correctly.) As I sit here typing this, there is no mention of this former member on this page. He was on albums by Styx up to and including "Equinox". Can anyone tell me why he left, or where he is now?
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