DENNIS DEYOUNG - Symphonic Ride On The River Styx
by Martin Popoff
Founding Styx member - and lead vocalist and key writer for that legendary '70s act - Dennis DeYoung has found himself with an improbable success on his hands. Taking on the road with him (and his wife of 30+ years) a full rock band and a symphony, the smooth pop crooner has managed to draw enthusiastic crowds for his panoramic retelling of Styx hits.
"I think the best part about it is that I got a new suit," cracks DeYoung, referring to the odd priestly garb that can be seen on the current DVD of the show, but not the accompanying two-CD set. "I had it in my closet for about five years and I had to be on TV, so I just dragged it out. I thought it was kind of cool, and I never wore it again, and when it was time for TV, hell, I had to wear something. The hardest thing about being a rock star over 30 years old is deciding what you should look like. I think there's a legislation being passed in the United States - although I don't know for sure that it's going to be enacted - it's the Jagger/Tyler law, which prohibits any man over 50 from wearing leather pants in public. So it's a tough call."
"Seriously though, what you're going to get with this package is kind of a retrospective on my life as a singer/songwriter, because all those songs are mine. That's essentially the same with the CD. The CD is a little more comprehensive of course, because there are 20 songs on it. What it does - the CD and DVD both - is illustrate how this music could have been, or how the music has been transformed, or and least enhanced, by the use of an orchestra."
And what about the unique challenges of working with an orchestra? How much do they contribute to the creative process?
"No, the orchestra players themselves had nothing to do with it at all. It's essentially Arnie Roth and myself, who was the orchestrator/conductor, sitting down and working through what we were going to do. You know, all those classical pieces, those were all my ideas on how to put those songs together. What you would call me is, in the broadest sense, the conceptualizer/arranger, and he was the actual orchestrator who went in there and did it. You know, those orchestrations are his, for the most part. But the ideas that I think they came from were mine in many ways."
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