Styx frontman Lawrence Gowan chatted with Montreal Rocks this month and the man is always upbeat and in a great mood.
While waiting in his hotel room in Lewisburg WV to play later in the day at the State Fair, we talked about the new record, Crash of the Crown, their 17th album release.
For an ageing rock band, debuting at #1 on the Billboard Rock Chart is a pretty great feat.
The album was written primarily pre-Covid 19 and the interesting fact is that most songs relate exactly to what has transpired over the past 19 months or so.
I mentioned that when I listened to the album; from my perspective, it seemed to be a bit mellower than other albums in the Styx catalogue.
“Well, I think with this album we tended to go back to the more progressive era of Styx. We jammed a lot of prog elements in there and some of the harder and more rock songs would exist in tracks like To Those, and Common Ground….but it is definitely a prog-rock album and we hit every part of the spectrum from more melodic songs like The Fight of our Lives to songs with great acoustic sections and some really great soloing”
Regarding how most of the songs were written pre-Covid; for some miraculous reason, the theme and lyrics are very fitting and acute with what has gone on in the last year and a half.
“All the tracks I think aside from two were written pre-pandemic, and three months in we started to think that they fit exactly with what was going on at that time and now. The common theme overall seems to be renewal and renewal after some cataclysmic event. We are currently starting out our live shows with The Fight of our Lives followed by Blue Collar Man and it seems to really resonate with the audience quickly and get the show off to a great start.”
One interesting note is the inclusion of famed producer and music industry extraordinaire Will Evankovich who not only produced this one but wrote on almost all of the 15 tracks.
I asked Lawrence if there is anything positive that has come out of being sidelined for a year and a half and he confirmed the fact that he appreciates things now more and is grateful for what he has been doing all his life.
“That is a really great question because I have always kind of taken for granted that for the last 40 years, I really never had to get a regular job; I had somehow escaped it I guess you could say. Being able to write and play my music was always there for me, but I have now had a profound change as to the way I look at my art. I feel blessed now that I realize I am making a difference not only musically, but in a way spiritually to people that come out and see the shows. I have read on social media how devastating it was for people to not be able to go out and socialize and see a live music event. It’s really made me feel that hey, my life on Earth really does have some meaning,” Lawrence said with a chuckle.
So, what did he do during the lockdowns to keep yourself sane and healthy?
“Well, I took up bike riding after probably 25 years. I would ride about 90 minutes a day in the Metro Toronto area to not only keep in shape physically but to keep in shape mentally and not get too engrossed in the media and tough news we were facing daily.”
Styx is currently touring but as of yet, there are no Canadian dates, but they are working on them for 2022. Lawrence did say that anything is possible this year though.
In regard to the current tour, recently Styx were in Buffalo NY and Lawrence says it was tough to know that his fans over the decades were very close in St Catherine’s and Niagara Falls but could not attend.
If you were a Styx fan in the 80’s you will be a Styx fan in these post-apocalyptic times. Crash of the Crown is as true Styx as ever, and once again, thanks to Lawrence for the chat.
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