Happy holidays news item: A DVD companion to Styx's live in Las Vegas CD is coming.
by Mike Mettler
photo by Jason Powell
Welcome one and all to Styxworld! To celebrate the holiday season, we have exclusive news as a special gift for you: Styx is hard at work on a DVD companion to the Live at The Orleans Arena Las Vegas CD that came out earlier this year. A release date for the DVD has not yet been set since the extra material is still in the production stages, so keep an eye on the News section here for an update as soon as we have one!
Director/videographer Steven A. Jones confirms just what's being filmed: "We’re shooting an in-depth look at what life on the road is like," he told me outside one of the band's dressing rooms after shooting some interview footage backstage at the L.A. Forum in September. "The audience is used to seeing the band onstage, but we’re trying to show them what the band’s life is besides what they do onstage — such as what riding on the bus is like, what happens at the hotel, and what their routine is that no one ever sees."
Notes guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw, who recently shot some behind-the-scenes footage after Styx wrapped its 2015 touring schedule, "We’re always trying to figure out a way to distinguish one live thing from another, other than just the chronological aspect of it: 'Here we are playing on this date at this time at this place.' Nobody really sees what our day is like on the road, especially after a day off. The live show that we did last year was just that day [July 25, 2014, during the Soundtrack of Summer Tour]. The footage is awesome and the performances are really good, but we were just rolling through town that day. Since then, we’ve been figuring out what to do about the extra material."
Adds cofounding guitarist/vocalist James "JY" Young, "The original idea — which was never written down; it was just verbalized — was that it was just going to be about being on the road. Me, I am happy to sit there and be interviewed, which I did do. The beauty for me is I can soliloquize about filling in the blanks about the songs that are going to be on the DVD. I wanted to get into the stories about what went into recording them, and how those songs fit into the current set. But it is also fun seeing that behind-the-scenes stuff. I’m charmed at what Lawrence [Gowan, keyboardist/vocalist] does, and I like it when everybody else talks."
Gowan himself is also excited at the prospect of sharing this new material. "I've seen some of that footage already, and it's quite good," he says. "It's next to impossible to capture what it's really like backstage, but you do get a little of that with what's been filmed, especially from the crew's perspective. I find that interesting myself, and I'm as close to their world as anyone can be. There's still an extra layer, an extra point of view, and an extra camera angle to discover. It's not so much 'behind the scenes' as it is widening the lens on all that goes on in the whole Styx enterprise."
I asked Jones, a lifelong friend of Young's who's also an acclaimed film producer (Mad Dog and Glory, Wild Things), if he saw anything that surprised him while he was shooting. "One of the surprises was when Tommy said that when they stay at these big hotels, he runs up and down the stairs — and usually more than once," Jones says. "He goes and finds where the entrances and exits are, and then he’ll go do them again."
Jones was also impressed by the band's collective fitness regimen and commitment to a common goal. "The thing is, these days, they all seem quite conscious of their health," he reports. "When you ask the bandmembers what their favorite songs are, half of them say, 'All of them.' And when you ask them what their hobbies are, they go, 'No, this is what I do. This is my life, right here.' ”
Like we said at the outset, stay tuned for information on an official release date for the DVD — and, hopefully, a Blu-ray as well — once we get it.
And for those of you new to our site, if you're interested in learning even more about what goes on with the band behind the scenes on a regular basis, you can read my weekly Styxology column every Monday by becoming a Styx Lounge Fan Club member. Just click on the Join header above — or click right here — to find out how to do so. In the meantime, happy holidays and Happy New Year, everyone! See you all out there on the road in 2016!