Palm Springs once drew Styx's Tommy Shaw in like a magnet.

“It’s a hypnotic, mesmerizing place — so different from where I grew up,” says Shaw about Palm Springs. “I was born and raised in Montgomery, Ala., with no mountains of any significance near where I lived. The air had lots of humidity, and no palm trees. So it was a special thing for me to go out to this beautiful place in the desert, surrounded by mountains that changed color, and experience the different picture I would get standing outside as I looked 360 degrees at these beautiful mountains all day long. I loved the way the sun moved, and how the shadows were different every time I would look at them. That’s how I remember Palm Springs. I had so many nice times out there, and met so many nice people.”

The desert still calls out to Shaw, who with Styx will perform Jan. 24 at The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage.

Shaw, the singer/songwriter/guitarist behind such perennial Styx hits as Renegade, Blue Collar Man, Crystal Ball, and Too Much Time on My Hands, recently spoke to Palm Springs Life about his many personal experiences in the Coachella Valley over the years.

Styx has always connected with audiences in a big way, becoming the first band ever to rack up four consecutive multi-platinum-selling albums: The Grand Illusion (1977), Pieces of Eight (1978), Cornerstone (1979), and Paradise Theater (1981). In the wake of all that early success, some Styx band members were looking for a way to escape the big city and music business pressures, and Palm Springs happened to fit that bill.

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Written By: Mike Mettler