"Big Bang Theory", the title sounds like a concept album, but it wasn't. Unless you want to sell an album with cover versions as a concept. "When we released this record in 2005, it was more an inward than an outward signal," says Tommy Shaw, self-critically of the "The Mission" predecessor. "It was a desire and mood project in which we recorded our favourite songs from Blind Faith, Jethro Tull, Free, Jimi Hendrix or Procol Harum. Somehow everything got the Styx stamp, but out of respect not so much that you don't have to hear 'One Way Out' in the Allman Brothers version anymore, but sung by me. Let me put it this way: After the weak 'Cyclorama' of 2003 in retrospect, it brought us back on the right track."
River of the underworld
45 years ago TW4 decided to change their name to Styx. At that time the Chicago band consisted of the twin brothers John and Chuck Panozzo on drums and bass respectively, keyboardist/singer Dennis DeYoung and guitarists/singers James Young and John Curulewski. Apart from the hit ballad "Lady" by "Styx II" (1973), the band's mixture of melodic hard rock, ballads, art rock and prog only went very slowly up the ladder of success. Only when Tommy Shaw joined Curulewski in 1975, who died in 1988 at the age of 37, did Styx's rise accelerate. "I got into a working band back then, that made it easy for me from the beginning," Shaw said. "Besides, they didn't just want a second guitarist. I should be given the option to write my own songs and act as one of three lead singers. And basically it has remained that way to this day."
One band, three lead singers
When a band with three lead singers is positioned so pleasantly wide, there is always the danger that the moment one breaks out of the structure, a jag is missing in the crown. Dennis DeYoung sees himself as much more than just a jag in the crown. He tours regularly in the USA under the motto "The Music Of Styx". "None of us deny what great songs Dennis has written and sung for Styx. But Styx were also always three front people with a fantastic rhythm crew behind them, who, depending on who had what ideas, developed in one direction or the other. But none of us would want to claim the sole musical leadership role. Dennis, however, wanted to make Styx his backing band again in the eighties and then also in the nineties. No one wanted that then, and no one today."
The tension began at the beginning of the eighties with the concept albums "Paradise Theatre" (1981) and "Kilroy Was Here" (1983), which led to the dissolution of the band in 1984, although both albums are among the most successful Styx works in the world. "We gave the answer to what we consider to be the Styx sound when a few years ago on a tour we first played 'The Grand Illusion' and then 'Pieces Of Eight' one after the other in full length."