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.

Comments (18)
  1. nick  |   Posted on Sep 25th, 2006 0

    i love mr roboto.

    it’s about a robot. it switches narrators though.

  2. dan b  |   Posted on Sep 25th, 2006 0

    so…Dennis DeYoung was afraid of Daft Punk?

  3. I saw a preview of the Kilroy Was Here show at the Berkeley Community Theatre — it was a small-hall workout before heading on to the stadium circuit — and all I can tell you is that it was amazing and unlike anything that’s happened in rock since. Dance numbers that had to be seen to be believed. Somebody has to surface a video of the stage show someday. No, I did not pay; I was an usher.

    Um, I just showed my age, didn’t I.

  4. Blu  |   Posted on Sep 25th, 2006 0

    Well, he’d got a secret, he’d been hiding, under his skin.
    His heart was human, his blood was boiling, his brain IBM…

    Man, that does sound like a show tune.

  5. kevin  |   Posted on Sep 25th, 2006 0

    deyoung claimed on some vh1 show that it was a tribute to his hairdresser, mr. roberto. but now that i know all this stuff about him, deyoung’s probably full of shit.

  6. Alex  |   Posted on Sep 26th, 2006 0

    If I could post images to this comment thread, this would totally be the post where I post a picture of Buster dancing to the song and getting his hook stuck in the stairway-car’s dashboard.

  7. Larry  |   Posted on Sep 26th, 2006 0

    Scary…A friend and I were just singing along to Mr. Roboto Sat. night. I remember watching the Kilroy concert on MTV (back when they showed music related videos and concerts). The concert started out as a movie, which introduced the characters, and then the band came out on stage. Pretty cool. But like the posting, apparently DeYoung was a bit Broadway, baby.

  8. Bummer. Because that means no “Come Sail Away”

    And “Come Sail Away” is awesome no matter how cool you think you are.

    In defense of Dennis DeYoung though, he cannot be held resposible for Tommy Shaw’s jumpsuits or James JY Young’s shoulder pads. And aren’t those worse offenses than a song about a robot?

  9. This video proves Dennis DeYoung is the true genius behind Styx.

  10. where the fuck is my comment?

  11. The Desert Moon video is proof that Dennis DeYoung is the true genius behind Styx.

  12. matt  |   Posted on Sep 27th, 2006 0

    in my opinin, “Babe” is one of the worst “rock” songs of all time, right up there w/ Cheap Trick’s “The Flame.” although the latter was pretty solid for their first 4 albums, only Styx’s “Renegade” did anything for me.

  13. fmfdoc 45  |   Posted on Oct 9th, 2006 +1

    Ive seen Styx 5 times, and just saw Dennis Deyoung on tour. He was the real Talent behind Styx and they wont play his music because they are jealous, and besides that, Gowen cant hit the notes and sing them properly. Alot of rock bands have had big hits with soft songs, Dennis Deyoung doesnt need Styx, they need him.

  14. This is all well and good, but…

  15. mike  |   Posted on Jun 22nd, 2009 -1

    james young is an egomaniacal jerk, spoiled brat, non talented ungrateful hack. And in case he (or anyone) doesn’t know, Dennis never did showtunes in styx, nor would he if he was still in the band and hadn’t been fired by backstabbing young and the other ungrateful bandmembers. He did one showtune CD (hunchback) and has always said that solo projects were purposefully meant to be different from Styx. I am so sick and tired of people saying Dennis is all Babe Roboto and Broadway. Although one might not like every song Dennis wote, his worst are better than anything Young ever wrote. Dennis wrote: Lady, Suite madame blue, grand illusion, Borrowed time, Rockin the paradise, Come sail away, etc. need I go on? Young wrote, what, miss america? isn’t that about it? I mean who does he think he is? Seriously, what the heck has james young ever done? And what have styx done in the ten years since they booted Dennis? one album, a covers album, and what, four or five live albums, I lost track. Check out Dennis’s new CD- it blows styx away and shows he is the true talent of the band. Young and Shaw are the one’s that have destroyed the band- turning it into a hack band that plays the same set over and over in bars and county fairs. And as a side note, if Dennis was so horrible, then why did the band hire a hack to sound like him? Young (and Shaw and the rest of the band) would be nowhere if it weren’t for Dennis. Period. Disgusting ungrateful comments from a disgusting person and show what a true jerk Young is.

    • Well for one Rockin The Paradise was wrote by Dennis, JY and Tommy… Queen Of Spades JY co wrote as well as Snowblind. Do I need to go on?? For one none of the guys are saints.. Dennis, JY nor Tommy not even Chuck… So you need to get your facts straight.. Dennis to me is an ass. Everything I have seen him on its all Me me me me me… Hes a I am me person that thinks of himself.. Its never we could do this or we did that… MIght want to dig a little further..

  16. Kris  |   Posted on Jan 26th, 2010 +1

    Just saw styx at the regency ballroom (moved from the warfield). Ouch, only sold maybe 1500 tickets, and though it would be great being so close to the band. Sound sucked, spinning oragnist voice was shot and the crowd had to cover his notes. DeYoung was genius, the band a great memory, but wow, not enough room to squeeze in any more $7 dollar beers and help soften the pain. Wish I could remember the 70′s, it had to be better than this.

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