| Hi everyone! I've procrastinated long enough.
As a cofounder of Styx, I could write volumes about the group. From pre Styx, all the way to Styx in the then, up to the now.
In 1962, John and I had started a trio. John was on drums. I played rhythm
guitar and a grammar school friend played the accordion. That spring our neighbor, Dennis De Young, replaced our accordion player and all summer we rehearsed as the Tradewinds.
We were a successful band. I defined success by being able to play with two talented
At the time It made me, the odd guy, fit into a world where being different from the rest was difficult. In 1964 I went into the seminary. One year later I returned to the group as the bass player. I developed a style that complimented the unique writers that were emerging.
John, Chuck, Dennis, JC, and JY became Styx in 1972. Styx embarked on a journey that would lead us to another level when Tommy shaw replaced JC in the mid seventies. We went from small gigs to being one of the originators of arena rock, culminating in 1981 with Paradise Theater.
In 1983, the group's focus was lost leading to a break up. It was during this time I had the opportunity to discover who I was.
It took until 1991 that some semblance of the original group would re-form. Glen Burtnik replaced Tommy as singer/song writer. The tour was lack luster. The best part of it was it gave me the opportunity to suggest the lyric line "Show Me the Way" as opposed to "Roll Me Away." The title and verse were inspired when I spent a week with John in rehab. I had also been diagnosed HIV+. This was a spiritual time for me since it also coincided with my total acceptance of being gay.
The group took another hiatus until 1995 when a wonderful thing happened. I was approached with the idea of re-forming the band once again. Only this time Tommy would return and Glen would not. Johnnie's health was deteriorating so Todd became his replacement. In 1996, the Return to Paradise Theatre Tour began. John passed away on 7/16/96. Styx officially had it's new drummer-Todd Sucherman.
There was another tour to follow and in 1998, I was diagnosed with AIDS. During that time, Brave New World was in rehearsal. It was also time for total honesty with the guys. My decision to stop playing was due to my battle with AIDS. Glen was asked once again to join Styx, but this time to take my place on stage. The guys had told me when I was well enough to return, my position was secure. I don't think any of us were quite sure if that would happen.
Against the odds I returned to the stage on 9/11/99 in Las Vegas......as "Special Guest Artist who is AKA the bands original bass player and cofounder of Styx". My health dictated my ability to tour but as I was getting increasingly better, I was able to join Styx as much as I could. Sometimes even surprising the band who also had an occasional surprise for me too.
In the spring I was faced with another health challenge. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. On April 16th I was operated on. The success of the surgery brings me to the year 2004. As most of you know, I've become an AIDS Advocate and have spoken openly about my most personal of journey's which I hope continue for many more years and tours.
|Bio from Styx World|