Ricky Phillips, who played bass with The Babys and Ted Nugent, will be in town tonight with Styx. The 60-year-old Iowan shared a few thoughts with The News-Gazette about life on the road, his guitar heroes and more:
— On his biggest influences: "Two guys. Paul McCartney for composition. He's playing bass and bopping his head back and forth — look what he's freakin' playing — he disguises it with the moptop. And John Entwistle (of The Who), I've tried to copy his tone and approach. I would reference his 'My Generation' bass solo. I liked his aggressive style and nature."
— On rocker life in 2014: "I've had 11 years with the band, and we spend over 100 days on the road. It's not the recording industry any more, it's the touring industry."
— On being discovered: "I was born in Iowa, and moved to northern California. (After college) I hit the road and ended up with about 20 bucks, borrowed, in my pockets. The Babys saw me perform, and found me a home."
— On playing with right-wing rocker Ted Nugent: "Politically, I'm beyond even understanding where he's at. I know Ted has a rationale. I take him as a wild man; he is a great musician and he's a sweet guy."
— On tonight's show: "We have an unspoken motto, to make tonight's show better than last night's, and to present the Styx catalog as people remember it."
More about Styx
Legendary Chicago band Styx plays with central Illinois' own Head East at 7 tonight at the Virginia Theatre. Expect loudness. Here are a few things you may or may not know about the gentlemen who brought you "Lady."
1. Styx will never die. From its Windy City origins, the band has had many lineup changes. Tommy Shaw, James Young, Lawrence Gowan, Todd Sucherman and Ricky Phillips make up the touring band, with the occasional appearance by original bassist Chuck Panozzo.
Dennis DeYoung, who wrote many of the band's most famous songs, left in 1999. In recent years, he has appeared on "Celebrity Duets."
2. Turning Japanese? Styx has played an immense role in world understanding and language teaching. Millions of Americans learned "domo arigato" ("thanks a lot") from 1983's No. 3 hit "Mr. Roboto." Stan Winston, of "Jurassic Park" fame, designed the Mr. Roboto mask.
3. Styx has played more often live since 1999 than in all of the previous years combined. Tonight kicks off a busy stretch for the band, which is set to play on four consecutive nights (Champaign to Elkhart, Ind., to Wisconsin Dells, Wis., to Mount Pleasant, Mich.). The band will take Sunday off, then do back-to-back shows Monday and Tuesday aboard a Carnival cruise ship in the Bahamas.
4. It's Styx — not Sting, not Stinks. The River Styx divides the land of the living from the domicile of the dead in Greek mythology. The band was originally called The Tradewinds.
5. The band's only No. 1 hit, "Babe," was written by DeYoung. That was in 1979. The current lineup hasn't played it live since DeYoung left the band.