Dennis DeYoung Sues Styx

October 12, 2000 -- Styx co-founder Dennis DeYoung was in Chicago Federal Court on Tuesday, attempting to block the remaining band members from touring under the Styx moniker without him.

DeYoung co-founded the band 35 years ago in Chicago with brothers Charles and John Panozzo, as well as Tom Nardini, and wrote and sang most of the group's biggest hits, including the 1979 No. 1 "Babe."

But the singer-keyboard player says the current incarnation of the group, featuring Charles Panozzo, Tommy Shaw, and James Young, is "damaging this beautiful thing that we created" by hitting the concert trail without him. (Gosh, we though Kilroy Was Here had already accomplished that.)

DeYoung claims that the lineup that's been on the road is misusing the Styx trademark. According to the singer, a partnership contract renewed in 1990 by him, Young, Shaw, and the Panozzo brothers, required the agreement of all five apropos of matters concerning the band or the Styx trademark. John Panozzo, however, is off the hook — he died in 1996.

DeYoung played with the band on its 1997 reunion tour, but when it wanted to go out again in summer 1999, he asked them to hold off, because he was sidelined with a nasty case of chronic fatigue syndrome. Instead, Shaw, Young, and Charles Panozzo went ahead without him.

"Now they have taken the band's name and excluded me from the decision-making process," DeYoung complained in Wednesday's Chicago Sun Times. "I have asked for a meeting since July of '98, and the response I've gotten is there is no interest in talking."

Young sees the matter a little differently. "Dennis was not physically up to being on the road last year, and we were required to tour last year from the record company after we released Brave New World," he told Wall of Sound in June.

"Dennis has not let any of us know in any definite way that he is ready, willing, and able to tour with the band. So no, he is not a member right now."

The schism between the two camps existed long before DeYoung, who is seeking unspecified monetary damages (including a share of profits from the tour), brought the matter before the courts. The other members of Styx have been notoriously critical in the past of the histrionic bent of DeYoung's contributions to the band.

DeYoung, who has been touring with an orchestra and recently recorded a new version of "The Grand Illusion" for inclusion in the IMAX masterpiece Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box, remains optimistic about resolving the conflict.

"I have said from the beginning that reconciliation is absolutely the way to go," he told the Sun Times. "I'm still hoping that there will be a happy ending to all this."