Dennis DeYoung has a new album out and holding out hope for a reunion tour
On April 11, singer Dennis DeYoung posted a video on YouTube performing the iconic song “Best of Times” in an effort to cheer people up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hey, kids how you doing?” the former Styx singer asked in the video. “I know, I know, me too. What’s a mother to do, I don’t know. I guess follow the guidelines and try to stay out of harm’s way. What else can we do right now? But you’ve been asking me ‘can you sing a song and make us feel better,’ and I don’t know if that’s possible, but I’ll do my best. This goes back to 1981, but it feels appropriate.”
“My fans on Facebook suggested I do it on numerous occasions saying we needed music to get through these times,” he said. “So, I decided to join in the long list of celebrities and do something from my house on a lark. The first day I had thousands of views and suddenly I was trending. It struck a chord with people and I was unprepared for it. But nonetheless, I couldn’t be happier.”
As the lead vocalist of Styx, DeYoung and his golden voice helped propel the band to massive success, with a 30-year catalogue of hits that included “Babe,” “Mr. Roboto,” “Show Me the Way” and “Come Sail Away.”
He helped form Styx as a teenager alongside his neighbors Chuck and John Panozzo in the early ’70s. Guitarist J.Y Young joined shortly after that, with Tommy Shaw coming on board in 1975.
Back then, the band became the first band to release four consecutive albums that went multi-platinum. The combination of DeYoung’s power ballads with the songwriting prowess of Shaw brought Styx to even greater heights in the years that followed—most notably with 1981’s concept album, “Paradise Theater.”
But a falling out between DeYoung and Shaw in 1999 saw the singer go solo and he’s been selling out venues ever since.
The coronavirus crisis caused DeYoung to push back the release of his new record, “26 East, Vol. 1,” his first album of original solo material in more than a decade. The album is now scheduled to come out on May 22, though two tracks—including a collaboration with Julian Lennon—are already available on iTunes.
“You can go to YouTube and there are these two songs and it won’t cost you nothing,” DeYoung said. “I never thought it would happen, but it became a wonderful thing.”
The title refers to 26 E. 101st Place, the Chicago address where DeYoung grew up and from where Styx was formed.
“I trade in nostalgia and I’m not going to make an excuse for it or be ashamed of it,” he said. “People need, now more than ever, to focus on their best days and the coolest times of their life.”
DeYoung admitted, he wasn’t thinking about putting out new music, but some friends convinced him.
“I was reluctant but before I knew it, I had 18 songs,” DeYoung said. “I’m happy they convinced me to do it because it allows me to say goodbye to the fans and people who gave me the most incredible life. It allows me to put the period, exclamation point, wave and say goodbye.”
That makes it sound like this is the end, but the record company took those 18 songs and divided them into two, thus the “Vol. 1” distinction, so “Vol. 2” will be coming out. DeYoung wasn’t crazy about the idea, but reluctantly gave in.
Even though it’s been 20 years since DeYoung has spoken to Shaw or Young, DeYoung revealed that he’s holding out hope for a reunion tour with Styx, something that is sure to get fans excited.
“We know what every Styx fans wants. They want to see Moe, Larry and Curly back on stage together,” DeYoung said. “We have two very successful camps that travel around making a nice living playing the music that people love. But one last time, we should all get up there together and do it for the fans. I don’t want to be in the band. I just want to take a victory lap.”