Todd Sucherman

Todd Sucherman has released his debut solo album

Before COVID-19, the legendary ’80s band Styx was scheduled to play several shows in Virginia and Washington, D.C. this summer, as it does every year about this time.

With lots of time on his hands, the band’s drummer Todd Sucherman, had time to complete his debut solo album, “Last Flight Home,” which was released on his 51st birthday in May. This month, a video for the title song was released, as the song has been beloved by classic rock fans.

“Releasing a solo album was something I always dreamed of doing, but wasn’t sure I could do,” Sucherman said, who for the first time ever, sings lead on all the tunes. He also wrote nine of the album’s 10 songs and naturally does all the drumming. “My buddy has been harassing me for years to do a record with him, and I thought it was cute that he thought I could be a frontman with vocals. But he believed in me when I didn’t, even though the process.”

That friend was J.K. Harrison, and the album was recorded over the last year.

“It was one of those magic times I’ll always remember,” Sucherman said. “It was just lightning going back and forth between the two of us while I was writing the songs. I was intrigued, excited and also very frightened by the notion of doing this.”

As one of the best drummers of his generation, Sucherman had thought about doing an instrumental drum record in the past, but knew that would be a safe way to go. This album, he noted, was “dangerous” and that’s what he wanted to do.

Aside from assisting with some background vocals on some Styx tunes, Sucherman has rarely if ever been out front before.

“I did sing a duet with my wife Taylor Mills on her first record, but aside from that, I have never done something like this of commanding the attention of an entire piece of music, much less a collection of 10 pieces of music,” he said. “All I needed was J.K’s direction and he helped me get things across.”

Sucherman has also made available limited-edition signed and numbered 180-gram vinyl LPs on his official website.

“I did this very much under the cover of darkness; my mother didn’t even know I was doing this record,” he said. “It wasn’t until the vocals were near completion that I started playing it for anyone and I was squirming in my seat, but the reactions were so astonishing to me and overwhelmingly positive, it gave me the shot in the arm to see this through." 

The drummer has spent a lot of time lately learning about the nuances behind making a record a reality.

“I’ve always employed an engineer at my studio because I don’t know how to run anything, so I’ve spent a lot of time becoming a reluctant engineer,” he said. “I have no aspirations for being a singing personality, but I wanted to provide some music that I was proud of.”

With the Styx tour on hold, and his drum master classes and lectures postponed as well, Sucherman’s also enjoyed some downtime with his family and doing things he hasn’t done in years.

“I haven’t spent 80 days at home in a couple of decades, and I’m adjusting to it nicely,” he said. “It’s nice to see my daughter grow up a bit in one shop, rather than the snapshots I would see traveling so much.”

Still, Sucherman admitted he misses his bandmates and really misses being on stage performing live.

“That’s a big part of my life and I hope it’s not too long until we can get back to that,” he said. “We have some dates in 2020 that are being pushed back, so it’s going to be an interesting Jackson Pollock painting of dates through the calendar when the smoke finally clears.”

Because there are so many Styx classics that fans want to hear, he doesn’t think there will be enough time for him to get some of his solo tunes in the set list when they are back, but that’s fine with him.

“The most damage that could happen is they may ask me to sing more background, and I’m fine with that,” he said.

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