Throughout Styx's lengthy history, only two men have served as their lead singer and keyboardist: Dennis DeYoung and Lawrence Gowan.

While co-founder DeYoung was responsible for much of their classic material, Gowan has performed more concerts.

By our estimations, compiled from data at Styxtory and Setlist, it's not even close, with Gowan singing at 2,096 shows since taking over in July 1999; DeYoung checks in with 756 concerts in the 27 years before Gowan's arrival.

Still, Styx went on hiatus for six years in 1985, after the infamously polarizing tour in support of Kilroy Was Here, during which guitarist Tommy Shaw quit, and then again from 1992-95. Plus, there were two years, 1974 and 1982, where the band performed less than 10 times.

With Gowan, Styx have toured every year since he joined, and have played more dates. They did more than 90 shows every year between 2000-17, something the DeYoung-led group did only once, in 1981.

DeYoung and Styx parted ways in 1999, when health reasons kept him off the road following the release of Brave New World. They'd met Gowan, a solo star in his native Canada, when he opened for them a year earlier and offered him the job.

“I thought they were going to ask me to open for them," Gowan said. "But they asked me to join the band. I was knocked out! Here’s this legendary band and they want me to be part of this? You know, I really did think that it was quite an honor, but I honestly also thought – and I am not bragging here – I thought that I could see it working."

Even though Gowan has recorded three albums with Styx during his tenure, including 2017's The Mission, he's aware of his place in the band. "I think I’ll always be the 'new guy,'" he told Birmingham Stages with a laugh. "And I don���t mind anything that refers to 'new' at this point in my life."

But he doesn't think that's necessarily a bad thing. He sees a parallel with another latecomer to a famous band as a way of understanding how it's all about maintaining a degree of continuity through the ages.

“Part of me knows that it’s the legacy of the band that they are trying to uphold, the spirit of the band,” he told the Calgary Herald. “That’s a big, big part of it. I saw the Rolling Stones a couple years ago, and during that show it dawned on me heavily that Ron Wood is such an integral part of that band and yet he’s the third guitarist I’ve known in that band. How is that? I know the Brian Jones Rolling Stones and the Mick Taylor Stones and the Ron Wood Stones, and yet they all seem to seamlessly be part of the same thing. I began to realize that, for the most successful transitions in bands that have to get a new member, the spirit of the band has to survive.”

 

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