Styx are gearing up to hit the road in June with Def Leppard for a summer full of rock ‘n’ roll at outdoor venues across the U.S. The two bands sealed a bond when they previously toured together in 2007 and, as Tommy Shaw tells Ultimate Classic Rock during a rare interview recently, he has fond memories of the trek and can’t wait to do it again.

“We just loved those guys. You know, we didn’t know them,” Shaw admits. “But from day one when we met them, they put our minds at ease and their dressing room doors were always open. They were in our dressing rooms and it was just a very funny, happy place, but very professionally run.”

“Then there was the music, good God, they are so f–king good! My daughter was in her early 20s when we toured with them and she came out and she flipped,” he recalls. “She had no idea they were that good and she became an instant Def Leppard fan and still is.”

The music of the Chicago-bred band has endured for more than four decades and their songs have survived the trends that have come and gone. “We had the insurance policy of being in what became classic rock status,” Shaw says. “We didn’t used to call it classic rock; it was just rock.”

As he looks out into the seats each night, he sees an audience that continues to get younger and younger.

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Photo courtesy of Terry Wyatt, Getty Images