An Extraordinary Musician
Interview by Michael Oshust ~ March 9, 2019
Photo Source: ABC-PR
Harmony. Chemistry. Balance. Grit. Dexterity. Determination. Solidarity. These are words that define the core essence of Styx, and Lawrence Gowan brings those elements to the band every day. The six men comprising Styx have committed to rocking the Paradise together with audiences far and wide by entering their second decade of averaging over 100 shows a year.
Talking with Lawrence Gowan was a pleasure, as he is such a great person to talk to. Gowan has been both a solo artist and the current lead vocalist and keyboardist of the band Styx.
In 1997, during Styx's tour, Gowan performed as a supporting act for Styx at Montreal's Molson Centre and Quebec City's Colisée. Tommy Shaw admired his talent and vibrant stage charisma, and called him in May 1999 asking him to tour with them for 53 dates, replacing their lead singer Dennis DeYoung. In May 2017, Styx announced their new album "The Mission."
A Styx live show covers a wide range of songs from their catalog such as "Come Sail Away", and the progressively sweeping "The Grand Illusion", "Lady", and "Blue Collar Man".
From their debut Crystal Ball to their latest album The Mission, Styx performs songs for everyone to smile and say "Wow, What a show!"
Photo Source: ABC-PR
Lawrence Gowan said “We’ve always tried to explain why this is this happening. It’s obviously a multitude of factors, but the main one is that our show is really good! And if it’s really good, they’re going to come to see it again.”
How is the tour going?
Two nights ago we're in Florida and went to the strawberry festival. I love going there and in the month you know in the winter months because I know I'm from Toronto so no break in the weather and the audience was fantastic. And then last night we were in Biloxi which is a place we played quite often because we just do it that just seems to be a great area for us to draw a crowd from you know basically all over the country because it's a very transient area, a lot of people travel there to experience the Gulf and be a little bit close to New Orleans but not quite. It's really great. Two thousand people with big smiles on their faces at the end of the night is a great way to end the day.
Where is your favorite place to play?
That is definitely a moving target. You know honestly when I look at the schedule my eyes pop up when I see London, England, Sweden or if I see Los Angeles or the bigger centers. It's amazing how is your favorite show of the year winds up being your favorite city. It comes down to how night plays out. And usually, those unpredictable places are the ones that can stay with you longer. How tight the band is and did everything go smooth with the lighting and everything so that it all comes together. That's right. That's right. It really comes down to how the whole day plays.
What is your favorite song to play live?
By the time we get to Renegade that's usually my favorite song to play live. I sing a few harmonies, it's a Tommy Shaw song. It's the end of the night and I get to see people's faces. To see the smiles on their faces, it's a peak emotional moment when we get to that song.
How does it feel singing classic songs like Come Sail Away, Renegade and Mr. Roboto? How does it feel seeing the audience members sing along to such great classics?
On the one hand it's kind of fun, and on the other hand, it's a kind of responsibility. It's a funny old relationship you have and the fact that you're delivering a solid rock performance. Performing the songs to their expectations, so that they're so happy at the end of the night it's a WOW moment. That's well put.
Any plans to release a remastered Strange Animal?
We did that in back in 2010. It was the 25th anniversary of Strange Animal with a DVD with a documentary on the making of that record. It was made in Ringo Starr's home and he was there during the making of the record. Ringo bought the house from John Lennon, it's where John recorded Imagine. It's called Return of the Strange Animal.
The Mission album ...
Our intention of making that record was to try to recapture the sound of the late '70s using analog machines in the studio. By the time we were done the record, you could put on Pieces of Eight and The Mission and you didn't feel this great divide of time decades in between. Its been on the Billboard Classic Rock Charts for over a year and were the only classic rock band that survives in that charts for that length of time and it keeps finding a new audience, new ears every night.
Is the band writing new material?
We're always working on new things. It's amazing. I know it was a long period of time between Cyclorama and The Mission, but were constantly coming up with new things and when the time is right we'll release it.
Check for STYX tour dates here to see them play live near you.
Gowan's Return Of The Strange Animal is available here.
Special thank you to Lawrence Gowan & Amanda Cagan.