Monday, March 23, 2009
Styx : Chicago Crap City
Background:Styx formed in Chicago. Twin brothers Chuck and John Panozzo first got together with their neighbor Dennis DeYoung in 1961 in the Roseland section of the south side of Chicago, eventually taking the band name "The Tradewinds". In 1965, the name "Tradewinds" was changed to TW4 after another band called Trade Winds broke through nationally. In 1969, they added a college buddy, John Curulewski, on guitar after Nardini departed. Guitarist James "J.Y." Young came aboard in 1970 making TW4 a quintet.
In 1972, the band members decided to choose a new name when they signed to Wooden Nickel Records; several suggestions were made and, says DeYoung, Styx was chosen because it was "the only one that none of us hated". - Wikipedia
I never really knew much about Styx. I knew the band was from Chicago and they were really popular during the AM radio craze in the 1970s, but I never really could place their unique sound. Styx's music is kind of like the sound of two teenagers being set on fire, in a kayak, floating down a river filled with cotton candy and pig shit. When a person listens to Styx, a few questions come to mind: Why did anyone decide to make this crap, and what exactly is the point? Did Styx make their music in the hopes of getting laid? You can't really screw to Styx. If there ever was something that induced limpness, it's the soft scream of Dennis DeYoung. I would rather screw to the sound of a lawn mower.
Is Styx some kind of drug-induced, eardrum trance-hell that can only be explained after smoking something dipped in formaldehyde? Is Styx what Chicago sounded like in the 70s? It is quite plausible that Styx captured Chicago in its Polish sausage, Old Style, Blues Brothers, velour pants golden years. It is also plausible that Styx is a rare Chicago anomaly, born out of gallons of shitty beer and Chicago's tendency for incestuous musical inbreeding.
One thing is for sure, the band Styx poses more questions than answers. Something we can be certain of is that Styx introduced the creative phenomenon known as the vanity band name spelling. Without Styx, there would be no Korn, Limp Bizkit,or Boyz II Men. Dennis DeYoung and his band of merry mischief makers didn't just give us creative spelling, they have given us decades worth of Midwestern, operatic, prog-pop that will continue to disgust us far into the future.
If there is a jukebox in Guantanamo Bay, it has "Lady" on its playlist.