Styx, one of the most popular album-oriented rock bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s, will descend upon California’s southland for a couple of concert stops in February, one of them being here in Temecula.
Your chance to hear original members Tommy Shaw and James “J.Y.” Young, plus the rest of this amazing band, belt out their long list of hits such as “Babe,” “Come Sail Away,” and “Too Much Time On My Hands” will be at 8 p.m. on Feb. 8 at Pechanga Resort & Casino.
“Styx is the soundtrack to your misspent youth,” explained bass player Ricky Phillips. “We have so many songs that you know, but don’t realize that it’s a Styx song. Plus, I’ve never seen a band so committed to playing the best show we can, night after night. There’s a lot of depth and uniqueness to Styx.”
Phillips, who joined the group in 2003, is the “new guy” in Styx.
“I’d known the band for years, since my days of being in The Babys with John Waite. Tommy (Shaw) and I have always had a great connectionand when they asked me to join, they told me that they didn’t want to keep adding new people to the band. They wanted someone permanent. So here we are — it’s been 10 years but it feels like five minutes.”
Stepping in for and taking the place of legendary original Styx bass player Chuck Panozzo couldn’t have been an easy task, but Phillips has seamlessly incorporated his playing style into Styx’s signature sound for the last decade.
“When I first joined the band, I tended to be a little bit more heavy-handed. But, while I learned the bass parts note-for-note, I’ve learned to add my John Entwhistle-style flourishes where I can. It’s not only working with Todd (Sucherman, the drummer), with whom I have a great relationship, but fitting in with the two guitarists.”
Those two guitarists — Shaw and Young — have defined Styx’s arena rock sound with their prog rock meets Jimi Hendrix six-string style.
Similar to the Rolling Stones’ twin guitar attack of Keith Richards and Ron Wood, Shaw and Young have a groove all to their own.
“They harmonize together without even knowing it sometimes,” said Phillips. “They don’t seem to always work things out, say, before a gig. They’ve been playing together so long, they just gel.”
And while Styx has now been together for 40 years, Phillips has seen no evidence that the band is slowing down.
“The band is constantly moving forward. Every guy is a dedicated musician and we keep it fresh. The energy is always there and it’s really all about connection.”
Any talk of a new album in 2013? Phillips makes it sound as though anything is possible.
“We’re always chasing at something — the next goal, project, what we can do, etc. But for now, we’re on the road pounding it out.”
Visit www.pechanga.com for more information and concert tickets.
Chris Baptiste is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.