Young Vs. DeYoung: A Styx Saga
Once America’s most popular sap-rock band, now most remembered for “Mr. Roboto,” Styx is hitting the road with a tour heavy on their hits — as long as they weren’t written by all-around ass Dennis DeYoung. From Page Six:
The ’70s band Styx is so bitter about their former lead singer that on their current tour, they won’t play the songs he made famous. “We’re avoiding the big Dennis DeYoung pop hits,” guitarist James Young tells the Palm Beach Post. Those include “Babe” and “Mr. Roboto.” “He and I are polar opposites … This is a rock band. This is not a band that does show tunes,” says Young. It all goes back to a lawsuit DeYoung once filed against his former band members, charging they used the Styx name without his consent. The suit was settled, but the bad feelings remain.
So, no “Mr. Roboto” for you!
Did anyone even like that song? Did anyone even know what the fuck it was about?
As a Kilroy primer, read this sketch of the dystopian future (sans rock ‘n’ roll!) that the video portrays (from the album insert of Kilroy Was Here):
T H E P A S T: “Dr. Everett Righteous, founder and leader of the MMM (the Majority for Musical Morality) became influential in American politics through the use of his own cable/TV network. He spoke about the evils of Rock ‘N Roll Music and how its permissive attitudes were responsible for the moral and economic decline of America. He was charasmatic, entertaining, and above all, he understood the media. The MMM soon gained enough power to have Rock N Roll banned.”
“Robert Orin Charles Kilroy was a world famous Rock N Roll star. As this new law was passed, Kilroy and his band were finishing a national tour. Their last performance at the Paradise Theater would serve as the test case. On the night of the concert, as Kilroy played to a packed house, the MMM marched in and stormed the stage. When it was over, a MMM protestor was dead. Kilroy was convicted of the murder and sent to a prison ship with other Rock N Roll misfits.”
T H E P R E S E N T: “… is a future where Japanese manufactured robots, designed to work cheaply and endlessly, are the caretakers of society. Mr. Robotos are everywhere, serving as manual labor in jobs that were once held by humans.”
“Dr. Righteous enforces his own morality by holding nightly rallies where crowds hurl Rock N Roll records and electric guitars into huge bonfires. Jonathan Chance, the rebel leader of an underground movement to bring back Rock N Roll, has made Kilroy the symbol of his cause. Meanwhile, Kilroy has spent a number of years in prison. With no hope of release, he is subjected to the humiliation of mind control via the MMM cable network. In an attempt to contact Kilroy, Jonathan jams the airwaves of the MMM network, replacing a mind control session with outlawed footage of a Kilroy concert. Inspired by Jonathan’s message, Kilroy plots his escape. Late one night he makes a daring attempt to free himself by overpowering a Roboto guard. Disguised as a Roboto, Kilroy moves freely throughout the city leaving graffiti coded messages for Jonathan. Jonathan discovers the rock code which leads him to the old Paradise Theater, now the site of Dr. Righteous Museum of Rock Pathology. There he sees the last Kilroy concert mechancially depicted by Kilroy look alike robots as the violent end of Rock N Roll… and there he and Kilroy meet for the first time.”
The irony, of course, is that the Kilroy Was Here tour was what “Mr. Roboto” most feared: devoid of rock (and full of props)! Silly Styx. The tension in the band after that trek (DeYoung wanted more theater, Shaw wanted more rock) led to the pursuit of solo projects and further misguided attempts at relevance (Damn Yankees, anyone?).
FUN FACT: DeYoung left Styx (again) after recording the reunion album Return To Paradise due to a dubious ailment that made him sensitive to stage lights. We could go on, but Behind The Music did a swell overview, so fingers crossed for a repeat if Flavor Flav ever finds love.