STYX drummer Todd Sucherman spoke to Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio about the progress of the writing and recording sessions for the follow-up to "The Mission". Released in June 2017, that disc marked STYX's first new LP in 14 years. It was recorded at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, co-produced and co-written with Will Evankovich, a longtime collaborator of Tommy Shaw's in the SHAW/BLADES band and who also plays with THE GUESS WHO.
Speaking about the musical direction of the new STYX material, Todd said (hear audio below): "It definitely leans to a progressive side with always a big, heavy emphasis on melody and lyrics. There are several songs and several lyrics in there that — I haven't even talked to Tommy about this — that are almost about what's going on in the world right now. It's like a prophecy, some of the bits in the lyrics… There's one song called 'Sound The Alarm' that I damn near stopped playing and burst into tears while rehearsing because it sounds like it was written about what's going on today, like he wrote it today. So next time I talk to Tommy, I've gotta ask him, 'What made you write that four months ago?'"
Regarding when he thinks the new STYX album will be out, Todd said: "You know, I would have to say well into next year, because it might be months until I can record [my drum parts]. They want me to record the drums in Nashville, and they want to all be there, so it's not a situation that I'm gonna record 'em at home and e-mail 'em the tracks. They wanna go into Blackbird, which is a multi-million-dollar, amazing recording studio, and they wanna do it that way. So, I'll do that when it's safe to travel and be on planes and not be wearing a Level 4 hazmat suit."
Sucherman also seemingly agreed with government officials and other experts across the country who don't think big concerts will return to their cities in 2020.
"Sadly, my opinion, based on the things I've read, and I'm not sharing the opinion of my organization, I don't think anything is gonna happen until 2021," Todd said. "Without getting into a whole thing, and I don't feel like arguing with people about numbers and science, but the longer people stay out and think it's okay to return to normal right now, that's only gonna make it longer on the back end, because it's not. Things are still rising. You look at [the U.S.] numbers [of coronavirus cases] versus the numbers of the rest of the world, and we are number one, with no one in second place. So what that really tells me is that this is going to continue for a long time. As it keeps going, people are gonna be more restless or more needy to get back to work, which is gonna make it last even longer. Really, the hope is some sort of medical vaccine [for COVID-19], but, in reality, that might not happen for another year at best. So it's a bit of a dire situation, but you've gotta remain hopeful. We have to get through this; we will get through this. When we do, it's going to be glorious. I'll be sobbing like a baby at the first gig I get to play again. But that's what needs to happen. And also, when music and sporting events come back, the general public has to feel safe about assembling in large groups again, so that's another factor that's on the populace."
In addition to Sucherman and Shaw, STYX's current lineup features James "JY" Young (vocals, guitars), Ricky Phillips (bass) and Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), along with the occasional surprise appearance by original bassist Chuck Panozzo.
Sucherman has just released his debut solo album, "Last Flight Home", via Aqua Pulse Records.