Styx’s Manager Explains Why The Band Won’t Go Back To Dennis DeYoung

Styx’s Manager Explains Why The Band Won’t Go Back To Dennis DeYoung | I Love Classic Rock Videos

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In a revealing conversation on The Bob Lefsetz Podcast, Charlie Brusco, the manager of the renowned rock band Styx, shed light on the departure of Dennis DeYoung, the group’s former lead vocalist until 1999. The split between DeYoung and the band was far from amicable, with profound implications for all involved.

Choosing to Move Forward without Dennis DeYoung

Brusco recalls a critical moment when two key members of Styx, Tommy Shaw and James Young, approached him with a firm decision. They were poised to release a new album and embark on a tour, but DeYoung’s health issues meant he couldn’t join them. The bandmates were adamant about moving forward without him. Brusco shared, “Tommy and J.Y. came to me and said, ‘We got a new album coming out. Dennis can’t tour. We want to go out there without him.’ And I said, ‘Alright, if we do this – it could work, it might not work – but I’m not gonna go backwards. We’re not gonna go do this for six months and then turn around and go back [to DeYoung].'”

The friction within Styx wasn’t solely about DeYoung’s inability to tour. Over time, his relationship with other band members had soured, attributed mainly to differences in attitude and vision. Past pauses in the band’s journey were often due to internal clashes, leading to the difficult decision to let go of their frontman. Brusco, tasked with the unenviable job of informing DeYoung, encountered resistance. DeYoung believed the band would falter without him, a notion Brusco confidently refuted.

DeYoung’s Side of the Story

Following this significant lineup change, Lawrence Gowan stepped in as Styx’s new lead vocalist. This transition marked a complete severance of ties with DeYoung. As Brusco starkly put it, “I’m pretty sure of this: I don’t think me, Tommy or J.Y. have ever spoken to Dennis since I let him go. I don’t think the three of us have ever had a word with [DeYoung]. A good word or a bad word – nothing.”

DeYoung, on his part, spoke with Rock History Music in 2022, offering his perspective on the split. He attributed his departure to the band’s reaction to his hit song “Babe,” which altered Styx’s musical direction, causing tension within the group. “I got kicked out of the band because ‘Babe’ went number one on the album before because I kinda fooled with the style a little bit. And then the record company thought, the first time, it was gonna be another number one record for us. They wanted to release it, and then Tommy threatened to quit the band if it was released. He threatens a lot on that. And then it was a big brouhaha between all of us. I ended up getting kicked out because I couldn’t take any more, you know.”

Despite the fallout, DeYoung harbors no intentions of rejoining Styx. However, he expressed a desire to embark on one final tour with the band, solely for the fans’ sake. Meanwhile, Styx, with Gowan as their vocalist, continues to perform, with upcoming show dates in the United States scheduled for May.