by Ross CAT

by Ross CAT

Concert Preview:  STYX
Fallsview Casino Resort
Niagara Falls, CANADA
October 2, 3, 4

    CLASSIC ROCK MY ASS…..That is the credo cheered each night as the blue collar brigade of Renegaderockers STYX continue to “Light Up” hundreds of sold out stages around the world each year over the past quarter century.
    This group of veteran musicians including
“Cornerstonemembers TOMMY SHAW, JAMES “JY” YOUNG and CHUCK PANOZZO have survived the rigors of the Rock ‘n’ Roll road despite numerous obstacles throughout their storied career.  What has enabled
STYX to continue to be a Tour De Force in recent years is the synergetic additions of drummer TODD SUCHERMAN, bassist RICKY PHILLIPS and keyboard mystic LAWRENCE GOWAN.
The “Strange Animal” from north of the border is no stranger to success racking  up an extensive list of accolades as a solo artist throughout the eighties and nineties.  His high energy stage prowess and impassioned vocals are the perfect complement to an already stalwart arsenal that STYX posses.
As always our neighbor from the north was kind enough to give us a few minutes despite his hectic travel schedule to preview this weekends shows at the Fallsview Casino.

    Ross CAT
-Good morning Lawrence, hope all is well, great to speak with you again, hard to believe that 2009 will mark a decade with your tenure in
First off and most importantly how are things coming along with SUSIE YOUNG? I know it’s been a difficult time for JY and the band considering what a tight knit group STYX is.
-Thanks so much for asking ROSS, slowly but surely she is improving.  When dealing with a brain issue like SUSIE'S it’s difficult to put a timetable on it. What I can tell you is that one month out she is regaining her speech as well as mobility on her right side.
    As you mentioned this band is very tight in every sense of the word and incredibly strong,
STYX has had to overcome more then its fair share of adversity over the years and this will be no different.
    Throughout this arduous process JY has shown tremendous strength as a husband and a member of this band. He’s had to make some difficult decisions both personally and professionally, as for the rest of us we’ve been behind him supporting him and SUSIE every step of the way and
will continue to do so.
Ross CAT- I know there were a few shows when SUSIE first became ill that STYX performed as a four-piece for the first time ever in their celebrated history, tell us about those shows?
With the blessing of JY the band decided to fulfill our obligations as a four piece.  We back lit his guitar and microphone on stage as if he had just stepped away for only a moment. TOMMY SHAW addressed the audience asking if it was alright with them to carry on with the show without JY and the response was overwhelming at which point we played our asses off.
    Ross CAT
-Will we see bassist CHUCK PANOZZO ( on this three night stand at the Falls View Casino as he continues to fight his miraculous battle with HIV/AIDS?
CHUCK is doing very well it’s really remarkable what the human body can endure, it seems every year he gets healthier, CHUCK is a tremendous testimonial to anyone suffering from this disease.  He really is an inspiration on so many levels especially helping raise the awareness of this deadly disease through his work with the HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN as well as his book GRAND ILLUSION: Love, Lies and My Life with
As for the upcoming shows at the FALLSVIEW CASINO they are tailor made for an appearance by CHUCK so let’s hope so.

    Ross CAT
made a tour stop stateside a few months back at the SENECA ALLEGANY CASINO with BOSTON and their new vocalist Tommy DeCarlo who was discovered by TOM SCHOLZ on the web.
    What are your thoughts on this new trend of YOU TUBE singers fronting bands like JOURNEY and YES who officially announced
Canadian vocalist Benoit David will be stepping in for the ailing JON ANDERSON?  I know you had the pleasure of working with JON as he lent his celestial voice to one of your solo gems Moonlight Desires”.
 Ironically enough as we are conducting this interview there are reports surfacing that LED ZEPPELIN are rehearsing with an unnamed American singer to replace ROBERT PLANT who has wavered on doing a reunion tour with the band.
GOWAN-If you think about it I might be the worst person in the world to comment on that issue.
    Ross CAT
- If you’re referring to yourself joining
STYX I see no comparison whatsoever. As a true artist you had already been an established musician for several years writing and recording your own award winning body of work, as opposed to singing in tribute bands.
GOWAN-You’re right in the respect that the circumstances where different in my situation.  It varies for every single group; each band has to find what ingredient works best for them at that given moment.
    That being said I can really only comment on my situation;
STYX needed someone who was a musical force to come into the band.  Believe me they had a couple of guys that sounded exactly like DENNIS DeYOUNG, I mean it was almost indistinguishable, but they chose not to take that route.  They wanted someone who could strengthen the band and contribute certain variables needed to move forward musically. I’ve been fortunate enough to fill that role over the last nine years and look forward to continuing to do so.
Ross CAT-With hockey season upon us I noticed on your website ( that you’ve submitted four tracks for the Hockey Night in Canada theme tell us about that? I know lots of Canadians have had a meltdown over the classic theme being unceremoniously dismissed.
GOWAN-Yeah over the course of the summer tour I saw that Hockey Night in
Canada had issued a Hockey Anthem Challenge and I  noticed that RANDY BACHMAN (GUESS WHO, BTO) had made a submission. I figured why not pull a couple of things together and throw it out there; I really love the idea of a Country being united through a musical endeavor .  When I’m on the road I’m in my hotel room playing music virtually all day long anyway, that is when I’m not doing Yoga (laughter).  I really had fun with the whole process asking everyone “does this sound like Hockey to you?” So we shall see what happens.
    Ross CAT
-Speaking of Canadian national treasures you posted a comment on your site about the untimely passing of guitar great JEFF HEALY tell us about some of your fondest memories of JEFF.
GOWAN-It really is a sad thing, this has been a tough year with the loss of JEFF as well as BO DIDDLEY; I was fortunate enough to play with both those amazing artists.  As for JEFF it’s very hard for me to get my head wrapped around that because I absolutely think he’s going to phone me up, it was around this time of year he’d call me to discuss his annual Christmas show. JEFF was a master guitarist and trumpet player but it was his voice that was so captivating to me, I just can’t envision not hearing him again.
    There’s something about JEFF HEALY not being on planet Earth that ties in with the loss of JOHN LENNON and GEORGE HARRISON for me, it just doesn’t seem to make any sense.

    Ross CAT
- The coastal states once again are being bombarded by Hurricane Season; I know that STYX has been instrumental in helping revitalize New Orleans with generous donations of your time and talent.  Are there any plans in the works for any type of benefit shows.
Yeah for sure, as far as STYX goes what ever were asked to do we are all over it when it comes to helping out with others in need.  In all my dealings with these types of disasters the RED CROSS ( seems to have their finger on the pulse of the situation and are the quickest and most effective way to make an impact.
Ross CAT- What does the rest of this year and 2009 have in store for
STYX and LAWRENCE GOWAN as far as new material goes?
As far as
STYX goes obviously priority number one is the recovery of SUSIE YOUNG on the bands agenda at the moment.
    We’re constantly looking for a window of opportunity to get in the studio and make some new music.  The daunting task is coming up with the time needed to make an entire album.  What a great problem to have, we have so many offers to continue to perform live worldwide it’s impossible to string together the proper time needed to put out a quality product.
    I think what we’ve done over the past few years makes more sense for us as a touring band; with the recording of the
“ONE WITH EVERYTHING” CD/DVD we added new songs like “Just Be” and Everything All the Time” which we are all quite proud of.
As for my solo career goes
STYX is my first priority so anything I ever intend to do outside of that always gets run by the guys in the band first.  That being said I have an avalanche of musical ideas which is part of the reason I made the song submissions for the Hockey Night in Canada theme.

    Ross CAT-
Any chance we can coax you to Buffalo for a solo show in the near future when the band takes a break?
That’s something that will always have potential, again a lot of that hinges on SUSIE’S recovery and the
STYX schedule.
    I will say this in some ways this would be a good time as all of my solo material has just been made available on ITUNES this past year; I’m also in the process of putting together a DVD for the “Strange Animal” video’s with a couple of new little twists that I’ve tinkered with in regards to the themes from that record. It’s something that I would certainly consider if everything fell into place and I had the proper rehearsal time.
    You know Ross time is the master, things will happen when they are supposed to happen.  The longer I’ve been in this business the shorter term goals I set for myself; I take things month by month and decide what should be accomplished.
    Right now the focus is to be the best that we can be when we spend the weekend at the Fallsview Casino with our fans and friends. I’m especially looking forward to seeing my family and friends from Southern Ontario and Western New York at the shows.

The Rock Rapport would like to thank our longtime bud LAWRENCE GOWAN for taking time for us to preview the shows this weekend at the Fallsview Casino (
    We would also like to thank Terry Gibson for hooking us up.
    Check out the
STYX website at ( for news and tour information.

**************PEACE & HARMONIES****************

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