by Ross CAT

By Ross Cat

    BLUE COLLAR BAND….Western New Yorkers this is no “Grand Illusion” Memorial Day Weekend is upon us and the Buffalo Sabres are still alive and very well in the playoffs. What’s even more exciting is that the Darien Lake PAC summer concert season will explode with a “Big Bang” as they welcome consummate rockers STYX ( with special guest FOREIGNER.
    The Chicago born band are coming off a most successful year in 2005 with the release of “Big Bang Theory”; a collection of songs reinterpreted by the band to pay homage to the artists that influenced their now vintage sound. With this record they once again invaded the Billboard charts with a cool cover of the BEATLES gem “I ’am the Walrus”. While STYX may have enjoyed their greatest commercial success in the 70’s and 80’s on the strength of timeless records like “Grand Illusion” and “Pieces of Eight”, this current line-up of “Renegade” rockers is relishing in their roll of road warriors.
    NIGHTLIFE had the chance to speak with guitarist JAMES “JY” YOUNG as the band is preparing to embark on their 2006 summer tour.

R.Cat.- Thanks JY for sparing a few moments to prime fans up for your visit this Saturday night.  In looking at your tour schedule you most certainly don’t have too much time on your hands these days.  Did the commercial success of “Big Bang Theory” come as a surprise to the band?

  JY- Thanks we are keeping quite busy these days. It’s really interesting how the music industry has come full circle for STYX. Right now the way for us to get any new material out there is through our live performances.

    A few years back we we’re invited to play the CLAPTON Crossroads festival which was an amazing honor and we jumped at the opportunity. The only problem was we had just played the same venue a few weeks prior so we needed to change up the set on short notice. We decided to add some songs that we just enjoyed jamming, I did some HENDRIX and TOMMY belted out some blues which was right in our wheelhouse. As for “Walrus” I had heard LAWRENCE dabble with it from time to time and thought his voice was perfect for it. We played it and the crowd went wild, so it made its way into the set list the rest of the tour. Back in Chicago some radio friends had requested the song for airplay so as time permitted throughout the summer tour we went into the studio and recorded it. The rest of the album kind of snowballed from there. We really didn’t intend on doing a record of covers but to get the song out there we had to put out a complete album. We weren’t going to release some half baked originals just to get a few songs on the air. We decided to challenge ourselves musically and pick some obscure rock songs something we could really attack as musicians.  The commercial success is nice, but it really turned out to be fulfilling project for all of us.

  R.Cat. – Let’s talk about the current STYX line-up. Yourself and TOMMY SHAW have been core members of the band through thick and thin, tell us about that relationship and how it has evolved over the years?

  JY- Neither TOMMY nor I claim to be EDDIE VAN HALEN or JOE SATRIANI, but I believe we are both excellent rock guitarist. We both have different skill sets musically whether it’s playing, writing lyrics or singing. One thing I can tell you for sure is on stage we make one hell of a blonde guitar player. In all seriousness the respect that we have for each others talent and the music we’ve created together is never taken for granted. We are fortunate to mesh the way that we do for as long as we have.

  R. Cat.- Let’s talk about our neighbor from the north GOWAN as he is respectfully referred to by Canadians and Western New Yorkers. We had the chance to chat with him a few months back as he made a visit home to celebrate his solo career. You can read that interview on the web @, February issue.  What has LAWRENCE brought to STYX since joining in 1999?

  JY- At that point we where a band that was faced with replacing an integral part of the STYX legacy when we parted ways with DENNIE DE YOUNG. We had to make some decisions without compromising ourselves or our music. We most certainly didn’t want to try and replicate what DENNIS brought to the band that could only be compared negatively to the original, no matter how successful. In LAWRENCE we found a unique talent and uniquely bent individual much like ourselves. He had reached the top of the mountain in his solo career at home, yet he has never lost that hunger to break into the states. As a musician he is an amazing showmen he can tantalize a crowd with just his keyboard, in my opinion he can play circles around his predecessor in this band. Although LAWRENCE may sound similar to DENNIS it’s the other musical intangibles that he brings that has allowed this band to move forward and yet visit the past without apprehension.

  R.Cat.- Lastly JY your just getting started this week on the summer tour tell us about the special show this week at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OHIO?

  JY- We are really excited about this show. We will be playing with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland. The show will be recorded and we will be performing some new material that we have written as well as some of the classics. The show will be available later this year on HD NET with all the audio and video bells and whistles, I’m told is pretty cool. It’s also quite possible it will be available on CD and DVD further down the road. For now we look forward to sharing one of summers “Long Nights” with friends and fans in Buffalo this weekend.

    NIGHTLIFE would like to thank JAMES “JY” YOUNG for his valuable time as well as TERRY GIBSON for making the interview possible. Let’s go guys it’s an off night for the Sabres, dip into that playoff ticket money and bring your “Lady” out for an evening of hits this Saturday night at the Darien Lake PAC.
    Opening the evening’s festivities will FOREIGNER. Although the current line-up doesn’t include our friend and Rochester native LOU GRAMM, guitarist MICK JONES has managed to assemble quite an impressive cast of musicians. Vocalist KELLY HANSEN and Supergroup drummer JASON BONHAM will plug in the power to the FOREIGNER Jukebox of hits.  Also touring with the band is Jeff Pilson on bass, Jeff Jacobs on keyboards, and Thom Gimbel(sax, guitar).
    METAL MAYhem….. VH 1 has been hammering down the heavy metal gauntlet this month with several specials. They have saved the best for last with the premiere of the highly anticipated SUPERGROUP series last night. The VH 1 reality show is sure to make the Osborne’s blush.
    The concept is brilliant as five famous metal maniacs from three generations of heavy metal are poured into one pot in an attempt to mold together a metal masterpiece in a span of two weeks. The first episode sets the stage for what promises to be can’t miss television. The participants are all unaware of who they will be working with until they arrive in LAS VEGAS at the plush mansion. The first musician to stampede into town is none other then the Motor City Madman himself TED NUGENT. Need we say more; his spirit is larger then life, and his one liners would fit nicely into a Lenny Bruce set. As TED gets settled into camp the rest of the group begin to arrive, drummer JASON BONHAM,  bassist EVAN SEINFELD (BIOHAZARD), guitarist SCOTT IAN (ANTHRAX), and last but certainly not least Mr. 80’s hair band himself vocalist SEBASTIAN BACH (SKID ROW).  The man who will be over seeing this band of metal misfits is DOC McGHEE. The legendary manager has worked with musical heavyweights the likes of KISS, BON JOVI, and MOTLEY CRUE to name just a few. The question is can he keep this dysfunctional daycare in the middle of Sin City from imploding before they even pick up their instruments. Check your local listings and be sure to tune in as the SUPERGROUP tunes up.
    Also premiering this month Wednesday May 31st at 9pm will be the First Annual “VH1 ROCK HONORS”, hosted by our favorite trailer trash hottie Jamie Pressly (MY NAME IS EARL). This year’s celebration will honor the music and influence of KISS, Queen, Def Leppard, and Judas Priest. The two-hour show will also feature live performances from the Foo Fighters, and The All-American Rejects.
    WAKE UP CALL….. The ALARM ( is back with a new record due in stores on June 13th titled “Under Attack”. The band from WALES enjoyed commercial success in the States back in the 80’s and 90’s on the strength of hit singles like “Sold Me Down the River”, and Spirit of ‘76.
    The band has been slowed over the past decade as vocalist MIKE PETERS has been successfully battling leukemia. PETERS is back with a vengeance and The ALARM are making some noise with this new collection of songs. The first single “Superchannel” is already charted in the U.K. and should be on the U.S. airwaves shortly.  “We are excited and honored to have this album come out in the states, it’s been a long time since we had new music available in America”, says the band’s leader MIKE PETERS. “It’s a chance for us to reconnect with our fans, an audience we used to have a relationship with on a regular basis, and make our presence felt here in a way we’ve been aiming at for some time”.
    The thirteen track disc is not to be overlooked. Even with the lapse in time THE ALARM awakens the magic once again. “Be Still” is an amazing track with raw guitars wrapped around a booming rhythm section. As for PETERS his voice is as strong as ever, his range is almost BONO-esque. He has returned with a pride and passion that swells within the songs.
    Its great news for music fans that PETERS didn’t go down “Without a Fight” and The ALARM is about to sound again in the states. The band was in NEW YORK this weekend performing at the JOEY RAMONE birthday bash and will return home for some summer shows. Hope to see some U.S. dates this fall.
    NIGHTLIFE readers keep an eye out for the June 5th summer guide, it will also feature the CABO WABO Cruise review, and the second slice of the SAMMY HAGAR interview. PEACE……………………

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