The beauty of a band is that it really is the essence of a combined spirit
Lawrence Gowan of Styx
Cris Cohen: You're ''the new guy” in the band at 22 / 23 years. In that time, how have you been influenced by being immersed in the Styx world? And how have maybe you influenced them coming from your vast experience with your solo career?
Lawrence Gowan: Yes, that's really something that I take stock of every year, Cris. It’s like, how far has the ball moved in each direction? Because being a solo artist, you get used to having to answer every single question. Every aspect of doing your career has to kind of pass through you. And being in a band, it's a shared experience.
And that, I think, was the biggest transition that I had to accomplish, and still do to some degree. Because the beauty of a band is that it really is the essence of a combined spirit. And yet, it is an entity that lives outside the sum of its parts in a way. And you have to kind of fit yourself into that.
The great thing with Styx, of all the bands that I could have joined, I’m so happy it was this one that came along, because they've never really put any shackles on me as far as how to be within the band. There was never any suggestion of trying to mimic or fit into any sort of pre-existing mold. It really was up to me to kind of make my own mold. And it's getting pretty moldy. It's starting to turn out to be a nice cheese.
I think my own influence, if it could be called that, my own personality began to kind of reshape the band with that inclusion right from the very first day. Mainly because, as I say, I wasn't inhibited in any way or expected to fit into any particular pattern, so to speak.
I really just had to kind of play the songs, deliver them as honestly and forthrightly as I could. The lucky thing is that the songs that I sing, I was quickly able to kind of see myself in the picture of the narrative, so to speak, and relate to the lyrics. And I still do. When I get to do these classic songs, that I didn't have any part in writing, they have a great kind of universal appeal, so I can give them my own interpretation.
The stage show, I would say, is where I think I see more evidence of my own direction in the band, I suppose, if we could call it that. There were so many things about their show that I really enjoyed when I first finally got to see them in 1997, when we did a couple of shows together. And I was really impressed with it. I think my own sense of fun on stage, or my own sense of how to approach an audience on stage, has had some ripple effect, as has their approach to the stage had an effect upon me, very much so. So as I say, that give and take is part of what comprises the entity of what the band is.
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