Styx Did Something They’ve Never Done Before And Dennis DeYoung’s As Surprised As You Are

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Three decades ago, it nearly ruined Styx. Actually, scratch that – it did ruin Styx.

Now, Styx have brought it back, introducing it into their live shows for the first time in 35 years – and Dennis DeYoung is every bit as surprised as you are.

We’re talking about 1983’s “Mr. Roboto” from Styx’s 11th studio album, Kilroy Was Here. Written by DeYoung, “Mr. Roboto” is a well loved staple of Styx’s catalog, never played live much to the dismay of fans who looked forward to hearing this departure from Styx’s usual sound brought to life on stage. But among Styx, it’s been a major point of contention – one that actually saw Tommy Shaw quit Styx mid-show – which makes the sudden change of heart more than a little surprising.

DeYoung, 71, took to Facebook to issue a lengthy statement regarding Styx and their use of “Mr. Roboto” after all these years. Seeming to ask if Hell had frozen over (“Are the Blackhawks doing skate arounds on the river Styx?”), he wrote:

“Vindication, redemption, exoneration…nah I’ve already seen the current spin cycle. It’s just two guys finally admitting the obvious,” he began, adding, “People like it. Can’t imagine how many times the boys were asked the question “hey how come you ain’t playing Roboto?” Burtnik wanted to play it, Todd and Gowan wanted to play it, and millions of others wanted to hear it.

But no, this song ruined the band. And so now, 35 years later nearly to the day, June 2nd 1983 Tommy quit the band on stage in D.C. because of Kilroy and Mr. Roboto and now it’s resurrected. Hallelujah.”

Credited with writing more Styx songs than any other Styx member as well as the band’s most successful songwriter, DeYoung describes “Mr. Roboto,” wildly different from anything Styx had ever done, as “a bad penny or a wooden nickel or simply a damn catchy tune; your choice.” But despite Styx’s love/hate relationship with DeYoung’s most controversial contribution to the band’s legacy, the song that ruined the band might be the very thing people will remember most about Styx when the dust settles and all is said and done.

“I predict that Roboto will ultimately become Styx’s most popular song over time,” says DeYoung. “Not because it’s one of our best songs, but because it is what it is. Go figure. I never thought it was a hit record when I wrote it and said so then.”

Only time will tell. But until then, fans are looking forward to their chance to hear this classic brought to life on the big stage, and so are we!