‘Nonsense from the beginning’: Dennis DeYoung furiously debates whether Styx is ‘corporate rock’

Corporate rock? Who you calling corporate rock? Styx co-founder Dennis DeYoung, speaking to In the Studio, fires back at the old pejorative hurled Styx’s way after they began racking up platinum sales in the late 1970s.

“Styx never took a dime in endorsements from anybody — and we were offered endorsements all the time, for everything,” DeYoung tells radio host Redbeard. “We never took a dime for our tours. We always funded everything we did ourselves. The idea of us being corporate rock was nonsense from the beginning. It was something that was made up in someone else’s mind. The band only ever did what it did best — which was write the best songs they could, record them and play the best shows they knew how.”

Apparently the name calling didn’t dent fans’ enthusiasm for Styx. Beginning with 1977’s The Grand Illusion, Styx reeled off four consecutive million-selling albums. Their Top 10 hits included 1975’s “Lady,” 1977’s “Come Sail Away,” 1979’s chartopping “Babe,” 1981’s “The Best of Times” and “Too Much Time on My Hands” and 1983’s “Mr. Roboto,” among others.

By the end of the 1990s, DeYoung had left the band he co-founded for a solo career. But he still smarts over some of the insults thrown Styx’s way. Ironically, even today, he has never sold one of the band’s songs for a commercial jingle.

“All bands, whether it be Bruce Springsteen or the lowliest band playing in Rockford, Illinois, if they sign a record deal and they get with a record company, marketing takes place,” DeYoung tells In the Studio. “It’s just how the press chooses to perceive the marketing. Styx never took a dime from anybody. I still get offers. I got an offer from Burger King for ‘The Best of Times,’ and I said no. I figured it was going to end up being ‘The Best of Fries.'”

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