Dennis DeYoung Recalls Styx’s Critical Backlash


Despite the massive commercial success Styx achieved thought the 1970's and early-'80s, Dennis DeYoung recalls that critics never failed to brutalize them. DeYoung, who recently released his latest solo set 26 East: Vol. 1, spoke with Goldmine and explained how Styx was faced with an adoring public — but only read about themselves via poisoned pens: "Styx was immensely popular in every imaginable way. And I would read reviews of us and it was like we were the precursors of Covid. What we were feeding people was wrong and a terrible thing. And I used to think, why do all these people like us this much? The rock press and their brutality to us. . .  we were just making music."

DeYoung went on to say, "(Bruce) Springsteen. . . he always did good. We would go into town and sell out the enormo-dome, whatever it was, 15,000 people screaming. And the next day it was the same review in every paper — 'How can bands like Styx play this place, and people like Bruce Springsteen, our hero, is relegated to the local performing arts theatre?' You would read that over and over again. And I would think to myself, what?! There's a disconnect to me. What do these two have to do with each other? Nothing."

DeYoung spelled out the reason why bands move from their garages and basements into teen centers, then clubs — and hopefully, the global concert stage: "The whole joy of everything is thinking strangers will approve of you. That's the deal. I mean, you can present it anyway you want. . . They want people to like them, okay? They want the love that they feel they deserve. Ambitious people are driven to be better than they're perceived to be at least in their own mind. Because they want people to like them. And it's pretty simple. The idea of making records was to be the Beatles. And to be on the radio and hear yourself on a car radio!"

When we last caught up with Dennis DeYoung, he told us that although he and the rest of Styx no longer have contact, he can’t help but still love the creative connection they once shared and be thrilled about what they accomplished together: [“You can’t find anywhere where I’ve ever said anything denigrating about what we created. It doesn’t exist. I just don’t believe it. I think, by and large, we did really good work. We stood for something; we stood for something positive in our music — it’s a joy to do it (live). To know I was part of all that stuff and here I stand and I can still duplicate it, so I think: ‘Hey, no complaints from me!’”] SOUNDCUE (:21 OC: . . . complaints from me)

Dennis DeYoung On His Pride And Love For Styx :