Dennis DeYoung still hasn’t gotten over the fact that Styx exists without him fronting the band. DeYoung, who was replaced as the band’s lead singer in 1999 by guitarists Tommy Shaw and J.Y. Young, still holds out hope for a final reunion with Styx. DeYoung recently released his latest — and final — studio set, 26 East, Vol. 2.

During a chat with Classic Rock, DeYoung spoke candidly about his thoughts on being ousted from his frontman position, explaining, “I’ve tried, in vain, to be in that band from the moment they replaced me. In the beginning it was my band, my idea, but now it’s really Tommy Shaw’s band. I’ve said that we should do one last tour together, for those people who made us rich men. They know I’m ready to do it. And recently it was floated as a possibility. But Tommy Shaw was the only one who spoke, and he said no.”

Both Tommy Shaw and J.Y. Young have painted a picture of DeYoung being at times insufferable to work with — something DeYoung maintains is a false narrative: “Let me tell you, all this stuff they said about me was the biggest exaggerated bunch of lies I’ve ever seen in my life. We liked each other. We never had a punch-up. We never screamed at each other. We weren’t those guys. We made music together. So when you cast aspersions — not only on my musical contributions, but also on my character — it’s been the greatest heartbreak in my career.”

As far as the band besmirching their past by ignoring or mocking some of DeYoung’s material, he said, “I can’t think of a band that’s worked harder than Styx at diminishing its own reputation, and to denigrate the music that we created together. And it serves no purpose. Our fans loved us because what we did musically was very uplifting and positive. That’s what we stood for. And to harm that in any way is insane. Not to give the fans one last glimpse of us together on stage, it makes no sense to me. And I know that all Styx fans would want to see that one more time.”

Regarding 26 East, Vol. 2 being DeYoung’s last album, he said, “I’m not retiring. And if the spirit moves me I might write a song from time to time and put it out through Apple or whoever the local robber baron is. But I’m not going to go through the tortuous effort of making a complete album again, because my audience will go: ‘Hey, that’s nice, Dennis,’ pat me on the head and then say: ‘Please play ‘Come ‘Sail Away.’ This is a fact for all classic rockers. The people who still support us are emotionally bound to the music of their youth, which is true of all generations.”|


  • Styx holds the distinction having four consecutive albums certified multi-platinum by the RIAA, 16 Top 40 singles — including eight Top 10 hits — including the 1979 chart-topper, “Babe.”
  • They have been eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — and passed over — since 1997.


  • Dennis DeYoung will always be best remembered for writing and singing such ’70s and ’80s Styx classics “Come Sail Away,” “Lady,” “The Grand Illusion,” “Don’t Let It End,” “Mr. Roboto,” “Babe,” “Rockin’ The Paradise,” “Best Of Times” — along with his solo hit and early-MTV favorite, “Desert Moon.”

CHECK IT OUT: Styx on January 28th, 1978 performing “Come Sail Away” live at Winterland: