Interview: Lawrence Gowan Of ‘Styx’

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(credit: Skip Bolen/Getty Images)

(credit: Skip Bolen/Getty Images)

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By Cole Premo, WCCO Web Producer

Since vocalist/keyboardist Lawrence Gowan joined Styx in 1999, he’s already played more than 1,200 shows — yes, more than 1,200 — around the world. In late December, the legendary rock group with a 40-year history is stopping in Minnesota.

From the band’s bitter divorce with Dennis DeYoung, his most embarrassing moment on stage, to South Park’s version of “Come Sail Away,” Gowan took some time from a very busy schedule to give talk with WCCO. Check it out below:

You joined the band relatively recently – by relatively, I mean in 1999 – what lead to your addition and what was it like joining such a legendary band?

“Well, they were a band that I obviously heard of because they had a worldwide notoriety. So, there was a very known commodity there. I suppose it should have felt more like a daunting thing at the time, but honestly, I had done a couple shows with the band in 1997, where I opened for them in Montreal, because I’ve had a long solo career in Canada … when I met with the band, when they saw me play in front of 15,000 people and when I saw Styx perform, the notion of how musically simpatico we seemed to be wasn’t lost on me. So, when they called in 1999, two years later, and said they needed someone to play keyboards and sing, instead of it feeling daunting, I thought, ‘well, this makes sense.’”

Looking at the music video for your solo hit Criminal Mind, I can see that you are or were quite theatrical … was that something that Tommy Shaw and other band members really liked about you?

“I think so. I think they knew that there’s that element to Styx. There’s a rock theater that’s part of the lore. I think they needed someone who has something of that in their DNA.”

Other than your obvious vocals and piano skills, you’re known for your on-stage performance and charisma. Where does that come from?

“As I was alluding earlier, I think there’s something in the DNA that kind of proceeds that coming forth … From the time when I first saw bands as a kid, bands had this larger-than-life persona on stage, I was very attracted to that when I saw Hendrix on stage. I was like, ‘wow, this guy’s not just standing there, is he?’ And, in the teenage years, the moment I saw Rick Wakeman (of Yes) with the cape all the way to his waist and that massive mountain of keyboards around him … there was something very superhero about it – I was definitely very attracted to it. I blame everything else that came afterward on that horrible influence.” (Laughs)

For more of the interview, click here!

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