May 11, 2016: Styx —Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitars), James “JY” Young (vocals, guitars), Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), Todd Sucherman (drums), and Ricky Phillips (bass), along with the occasional surprise appearance by original bassist Chuck Panozzo — and special guest Don Felder (formerly of the Eagles) have chosen not to cancel their concert in Cary, North Carolina on Wednesday, May 18 at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre. They will, however, be donating proceeds from the night to various local charities. Tickets to the show are available at www.boothamphitheatre.com.
While they condemn the law in North Carolina that reinforces discrimination against LGBT citizens — especially because original Styx bassist Chuck Panozzo has been an openly gay man since the late ’90s — they do not want to let down their fans in the state. As part of the event, as it is at most Styx shows, a raffle will be held by the band’s own Rock To The Rescue nonprofit organization for one lucky fan to win a guitar signed by the members of Styx and, in this case, Don Felder. Funds raised as a result of the raffle, as well as ticket sales and donations taken at the venue, will benefit Girls Rock Camp Foundation, and local LGBT charities such as Equality NC (the oldest LGBT rights action group in the U.S.) and The LGBT Center of Raleigh.
As co-founding Styx guitarist/vocalist James “JY” Young explains, “Ever since original bass player Chuck Panozzo let the world know that he was gay at the turn of the century, we’ve been incredibly enlightened in regard to LGBT social issues. Styx’s music has always been inclusive for everyone, and this is just us doing our small part to continue to be a band that excludes no one from our fan base or our concerts. As humbled stewards of the universal language that music is, we intend to project peace, love and non-exclusion as we always have.”
“Our nation was founded on liberty and justice for all and should remain the core essence of freedom for all people,” declares Don Felder. “I look forward to seeing fans from all walks of life, race, religion, and sexual orientation in North Carolina. I am proud that we are able to do our part to contribute to organizations fighting for equality.”
"We're so grateful for the generous support of Styx and Don Felder," says Matt Hirschy, Director of Advancement for Equality NC. "Our work, at the forefront of repealing HB2, simply couldn't be done without continued investment from amazing artists and entertainers from around the country — and their fans right here in North Carolina pitching in to help."
"Over the past six weeks since HB2 passed (in a special one-day session), the LGBT Center of Raleigh has been working diligently to educate and advocate for our community,” continues James Miller, Executive Director of The LGBT Center of Raleigh. “As one of the few direct service organizations in the state serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, we take our job extremely seriously because in many cases, it really is LIFE OR DEATH for our community. We are grateful for the amazing reaction from the music world, helping to elevate awareness about equality and justice."
As noted earlier, tickets to the May 18 show are available at www.boothamphitheatre.com.