In my quest for picture sleeve 7″ Singles from my favorite artist in the 70/80/90’s, I found this one from Styx. It is the 7″ Single for the song “Mr. Roboto” from the album ‘Kilroy Was Here’, the album that basically killed the band for a short time anyway. This song was released on February 23, 1983 and went all the way to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and selling over 1,000,000 copies.
The album was a concept album which Styx was not unfamiliar with and they still do them today, but this one caused a riff in the band. Dennis DeYoung wanted to really focus on the theatrics and he loved doing the soft ballads, which was against the grain for what James Young and Tommy Shaw wanted to do. It led to a short break-up, if you want to call it that. Tommy left and eventually came back but Dennis was gone by then and still gone today. But this is all for another day, let us get to the song.
The song is about…well…let’s let Wikipedia explain it as they can do a better job than I can…
The song tells part of the story of Robert Orin Charles Kilroy (ROCK), in the rock opera Kilroy Was Here. The song is performed by Kilroy (as played by keyboardist Dennis DeYoung), a rock and roll performer who was placed in a futuristic prison for “rock and roll misfits” by the anti-rock-and-roll group the Majority for Musical Morality (MMM) and its founder Dr. Everett Righteous (played by guitarist James Young). The Roboto is a model of robot which does menial jobs in the prison. Kilroy escapes the prison by overpowering a Roboto prison guard and hiding inside its emptied-out metal shell. When Jonathan Chance (played by guitarist Tommy Shaw) finally meets Kilroy at the very end of the song, Kilroy unmasks and yells “I’m Kilroy! Kilroy!”, ending the song.
Back before Christmas of 2021, it was announced that Loverboy, REO Speedwagon and Styx were coming to Charlotte. Loverboy was one of my wife’s favorites bands back in the day and she wanted to go see the show, so tickets were bought and months were spent waiting until the day finally came on August 6, 2022 at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC. It was a rainy afternoon and evening and this was an outdoor show. I wasn’t worried about the show itself because we had seats undercover, but the walk there was a little wet…but we didn’t care as it kept it cool and was a little fun to get wet.
The show kicked off on time and first up was Loverboy promptly at 7pm. The first thing I noticed was that they were old…I had forgotten that time had passed. I looked around and I noticed the crowd…well, I won’t say they were old too, but Depends did have a booth giving away free samples and Jonathan from Colonial Penn Life Insurance was there selling their $9.95 Plan (let’s see who gets that one). After remembering that people age, I got my mind back in to the show.
Since they were the opening act, they only played 8 songs, but they were a great 8 songs. I will admit my wife was a little underwhelmed at first and so was I as the vocals didn’t sound that great and the playing was a little sloppy at times, but it got better, much better. Mike Reno didn’t move around a ton and neither did Paul Dean. However, Matt Frenette, the drummer, looked exactly the same in that red ball cap and he was still killing it on the drums. He hadn’t aged a bit. When they played “Kid Is Hot Tonite” and “Lovin’ Every Minute of It”, it took me right back to high school and it sounded incredible. I got chills. And when the final two songs came on “Turn Me Loose” and “Working for the Weekend”, the crowd was totally in to it and on their feet. It was a helluva a way to end the show with every one truly loving every minute of it…pun intended. If the whole show would’ve had the energy of those last two songs…they would have blown everyone off the stage that came after.
After the massive success of their previous album, ‘Pump’, the band took a little break in 1992. They started recording the next album in January & February, but stopped for some rest and didn’t return until September of that year to finish up the album. The music environment had significantly changed since 1989’s ‘Pump’ so I believe everyone was curious as to what they would do. And it turns out, they would keep doing what they do best and didn’t change a thing. When most bands faded away around this time, Aerosmith ended up flourishing even more. How did they do it?
First thing was they brought back Bruce Fairbairn as their producer as he has been creating gold with everything they had done…or should I say Platinum since the last album went 7 x’s Platinum. Second, they brought in some friends to help out such as Don Henley and Lenny Kravitz. Third, the record company wanted them to continue using outside writers to help so back was Desmond Child, Jim Vallance, Jack Blades, Tommy Shaw, Richard Supa, Mark Hudson and Taylor Rhodes. Damn, that is a lot of help!!
The line-up was still unchanged with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer. The Boston Boys we ready to take on the world again. The album was released on April 23, 1993 and became the band’s first album to debut at #1 on the Charts. They released 7 singles on the album and selling over 7 million copies again in the U.S. It was the band’s third straight album of over 5 million in sales. If that wasn’t enough, the album won two Grammy’s for Best Rock Vocal Performance for a Duo or Group in both 1993 and 1994. The band was on fire still and the fans were eating it up.
25 Years! Wow! Collective Soul is celebrating 25 years together as a band and as luck would have it, we also get a new record to boot. The band delivers their 10th Studio Album with ‘Blood’ and they prove there is still life in that blood running through their veins.
With the opening track, “Now’s the Time”, you get that classic Collective Soul guitar sound and Ed’s soaring vocals. The song is high energy and welcomes you to the party with open arms. The heavy bass line from Will Turpin opens the next song “Over Me” which keeps the energy level pumped up to 10. The band has a way with catchy riffs and choruses that are simple yet impactful.
“Crushed” is a song that would feel right at home on their 2000 album ‘Blender’. It is a throwback, yet modern. Then comes “Right as Rain” which the band has been playing live for awhile now so it makes you feel right at home.
For My Sunday Song #106, I bring you “Renegade” by the band Styx. The song was released in 1978 off the album ‘Pieces of Eight’. It did pretty well on the charts and reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song for me is much better than that.
The song is about an outlaw (or renegade) who has been arrested for his crimes and is about to be hanged for those said crimes according to the lyrics…”Hangman is comin’ down from the gallows and I don’t have very long”. The lyrics are basically a letter to the renegades mom telling her that he has been caught and is going to die.
There is a dark, ominous feel to the song especially in the opening verse which is just Tommy’s vocals and small kick drum in the first two lines and then a chorus of voices for the next two. It is so eerie that it is wonderful. And don’t forget the scream that kicks the song into overdrive. And damn, that opening line is so impactful…”Oh, Mama, I’m in fear for my life from the long arm of the law”.
What is also great about this song is the music. Whether it is the guitar solo by James “JY” Young, the keyboards by Dennis DeYoung or John Panozzo’s drumming or a combination of all three, it just works. Normally when Tommy write’s a song, he does the guitar solo, but he let JY do it instead and I think that was a good choice so he could focus on the vocal delivery.
We are at the end of another month and what a way to end it. There are so many releases this week I hope there is something you can find and enjoy. My vacation will be ending this week and then back to work next, so I am going to try and do nothing for a couple days except listen to music. My choices are in Blue. Let me know what you are feeling and if I missed anything. Have a great weekend!!
The Wild Feathers – Greetings from the Neon Frontier – (Reprise Records): This is where I will spend most of my time. I really think these guys are great. They are a mixture of Rock, Folk, Country and blend it all together so nicely. It is always a listening pleasure and so much to take in. Give them a try and as this is their third studio release, go back and get the other two.
Guns N Roses – Appetite for Destruction Super Deluxe Edition – (Geffen Records): What can I say about this one. One of the greatest debut albums by any band and now we get the ultimate deluxe edition. I can’t afford the big daddy release as I just bought the Def Leppard Vinyl collection (Volume One) so I will end up settling for one of the lesser expensive releases. Either way, it is nice to have for the collection.