The original bassist for the U.S. pop-meets-progressive-rock band Styx says he hopes he can be a role model to youths labeled as different.

"I want young kids who are different to understand it's OK," said Chuck Panozzo, who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1998.

Panozzo said he hid his sexuality for years, The Miami Herald reported Monday. Being gay in the 1970s and '80s with an immensely popular band was difficult; no one knew, except his now-deceased twin brother John, until recently.   In his autobiography, "The Grand Illusion: Love, Lies and My Life With Styx," Panozzo writes about growing up gay, his double life in Styx and his HIV diagnosis in 1991.    "I wrote a fairy tale about a fairy who finally grew up to be a man who found his truth," Panozzo told the Herald during an interview in his Wilton Manors home.

Panozzo said touring is tough now, even for younger players. When hie can't tour for health reasons or other commitments, Styx has a replacement.

"I try to represent my own community and (so) any kid who wants to be in popular music doesn't have to hide anymore," Panozzo said.
Original Styx Bassist Chuck Panozzo Opens About Once-Secret Gay Life
UPI News Service 6/4/2007