By the time Lawrence Gowan joined Styx he already had six No. 1 songs in Canada as a solo artist.A singer and keyboardist, Gowan was a classically trained pianist at an early age.
“But always with the intention that I wanted to play rock,” said Gowan, who became an associate of The Royal Conservatory of Music in classical piano performance when he was just 19. “There’s a classical influence in rock music, and there has been for some time.”
Just a few weeks ago, Styx played Gowan’s hit “A Criminal Mind” on stage in Vancouver, B.C.
“It was the song that got me into the band to begin with,” said Gowan, who has been with the group since 1999. “When they heard my songs, they enjoyed them. They were musically compatible.”
While Gowan was not part of the popular 1970s Styx lineup, the group has performed more live since Gowan joined the band than all of the previous years combined. The band’s current incarnation performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Clearwater River Casino event center.
“This year, we will play 110 shows in total,” Gowan said.
More recently, Styx made two Super Bowl appearances and toured with bands such as Def Leppard, Journey and REO Speedwagon. The Styx tour life means lots of time on the road for Gowan, Tommy Shaw, James “JY” Young, Todd Sucherman and Ricky Phillips. Sometimes, original bassist Chuck Panozzo joins the troupe.
“A lot of musicians complain about being on the road, I’m not one of them. I’m with guys that embrace that,” Gowan said. “We wake up in a different city every day, we don’t find that off-putting and we enjoy the experience thoroughly.”
“Every time I play is an opportunity to play it better than you have in the past,” Gowan said. “I try to bring some other nuance and detail into every performance. It’s a new audience every night. The lyrics of the song pertaining to that piece of music, you’re discovering it every time you perform it.”
And the band is constantly writing new songs. But because its tour does not allow studio time, and Gowan said Styx already has such a wealth of material, the group doesn’t plan to record albums anytime in the near future.
“We’ve got to keep our eye on the ball,” he said. “There’s so many people that want to see us.
“Just looking at the schedule, we’re just keeping focused on the fact that we’re trying to constantly improve the show and that’s a tall challenge right there,” he added. “We can end every single workday having a bunch of people standing on their feet, obviously having a great time. We thrive on that great existence.”
Treffry can be contacted at (208) 883-4640 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @LindseyTreffry.
->if you go:
WHAT: Styx performs
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Clearwater River Casino event center, 17500 Nez Perce Rd., Lewiston
COST: $25-$75. Tickets can be purchased at the casino box office or through TicketsWest.