Since May of 1999 he's been the lead singer of Styx. Prior to Styx he enjoyed a successful solo career. So, how do you make the transition? We put that question and more to Mr. Lawrence Gowan, Styx's lead singer.
Q - How does it feel to be the face, and since you're the lead singer of Styx I'm calling you the face, of what Rolling Stone magazine once called "a faceless band"?
A - (laughs) It's very self-effacing. I don't think it's possible to be faceless since everyone's carrying a digital camera now. If a band plays over a hundred shows a year, as Styx does, and there's a few that do that from our era, you can try as hard as you want to remain faceless, but your face is out there whether you want it to be or not. I think what they were referring to back then is that in the '70s, as the genre of the Classic Rock album was being perfected by the bands of that era, the spotlight was being shown on the band as whole and what the band was able to bring to the arena. After all, that's the era when that was kind of perfected, the whole idea of Arena Rock. In the arena back then you were a little, tiny thing on stage making a great big noise. What really mattered was that sound you were making. So, the focus on image was for less an individual thing and much more to do with the band as a whole. What did Styx look like? What did Yes look like? What did Genesis look like? It really came down to what the spirit of that name represented. You could be a different thing to everyone. The little details of the Pop star faces was really not of any significance.
Q - Styx wasn't the only group to be referred to like that. There was Foreigner, Journey, REO.
A - I remember meeting Roger Rodgson one day in Toronto. I'm from Toronto and grew up in Toronto. I remember I met him in the street. I knew what he looked like. I stopped the car 'cause I was playing a Supertramp record. I put the window down. He stuck his head in and said, "I must say you have wonderful taste in music." I knew it was Roger Rodgson, but no one stopped him on the street. Now today, the ubiquitous nature of the Internet, everything's concected to a face. It's a different era. To be one of the faces in a faceless band is quite an irony, isn't it?
Q - You were born in Scotland. How is it you found yourself in Canada? Was your father in the military?
A - My dad was in the British Navy, but that's not how we came to Canada. In the late '50s there was a large influx of particularly British immigrants. We lived in Glasgow, Scotland. My mom and dad just wanted to see... they were actually on their way to America, but on their way they stopped in Toronto, or my did initially. It felt right to him. Something just spoke to him and he decided to stay there. He got a job at I.B.M. That was during the time when you could get a job for thirty-five years, (laughs) and a great pension. That's how he decided Toronto was the right place for us. So we moved from Glasgow, Scotland to Toronto and I grew up there and still live there.
Read more at classicbands.com!
Interview by: Gary James
Photo by: Jason Powell