Styx Interview: Ricky Phillips Says There Will ‘Absolutely’ Be Another Styx Album


Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Rick Diamond

Styx bassist Ricky Phillips talks with Anne Erickson about new music, the band’s summer tour and more in this exclusive interview

There are some bands and songs that span generations of fans, and Styx is one of those bands. Anthems such as “Come Said Away,” “Renegade” and “Lady” seem to get bigger and more celebrated as the years progress.

Styx is on the road this month performing at a collection of outdoor summer fair and festivals, as well as some theater gigs. Bass player Ricky Phillips checked in with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink on the road to talk about the current tour, the status of new Styx music and why he believes rock ‘n’ roll has a long life ahead. Read the full interview below, and find Styx online at

Anne Erickson: The guys of Styx are road warriors. You’re always on the road. How crucial is the live show to Styx?

Ricky Phillips: Oh, it’ s everything. Everything revolves around that hour and a half or two hours, and we base everything around the hits. But, there are a lot of Styx songs that might not have been in the Top 40 but got a lot airplay. People spend a lot of money going to concerts, and these days, ticket prices have gone crazy, but it’s what it takes for us to be able to afford to travel and pay for all the things we need to do. So, in turn, we really want to make sure people come and hear what they want to hear.

There’s always going to be someone who wants to hear a deep cut that we don’t do, like “Castle Walls.” We rarely get to do “Castle Walls,” because there are so many songs that people expect to hear, and that’s why they’ve paid their hard-earned cash to come to the shows. But, we do try to change things from what we did last time we were in town so we can give people something new.

Styx is a regular at outdoor summer music festivals, which is largely what you’re playing this summer. What do you enjoy about performing with Styx outside during the warm months?

That’s a special time. It only happens over a few months during the year, so it’s really fun to do. There’s something about the open air and big stage and all the people, but there’s a side of it we really embrace in that at county and state fairs, it’s one place kids can usually get into.

I’ve seen kids that would hold signs up with my name on it, smiling and jumping up and down, and now those kids are having kids of their own. So, it’s cool to reach out and get some semblance of young folks who come out. The looks on their faces and when they sing those words– you realize that you’re still developing additional audience members and fans, and we appreciate them.

It’s been about two years since Styx released your 16th studio album, “The Mission.” I think it’s great that Styx continues to release new music. Why is it important to you guys to continue to write and release new music?

I think we didn’t release new music for 14 years, and then, we realized that we wanted to make a record. We had things to say, and we’re all songwriters, but we looked around and people said, “It doesn’t make sense. Records don’t sell today.” … We thought, what’s the point? After years of that, we went, wait a minute. What did you just play? That’s awesome. Is that a song? And we had all been collecting all these ideas over the years, and it just developed and got bigger and better. Our chemistry in Styx is strong. We see each other more that we see own families, and we have a strong unity among us. It’s all for one, one for all.

Well, that said, have you guys thought about doing a new album yet? Do you know if it’s a go?

I think so! … There are already ideas flowing, and as soon as we find a break — probably towards the end of the year — we’ll really start to formulate those ideas deeper, but it’s in motion.

So, you think that you’ll definitely do another album, and that it’s just a matter of time?


That’s great to hear. It’s really cool that you’ve brought Mr. Roboto back into the set, and a lot of fans are excited about that. What has it been like performing that track live in front of people who haven’t heard it for so long?

It’s fun! … We play it balls-out. It is a full-on rock ‘n’ roll experience when we play the song. We don’t change the song. It’s the same song, and we play the same parts. But, as that song was being developed… Sometimes, you write a piece of music, or I do, I’ll hear something I recorded and go, “Why didn’t I do this or that?” or if I wrote it, I want to rewrite and rearrange it. So, in all fairness, when we play “Roboto,” we’ve had the ability and privilege to present the song– each individual guy, when he plays his part, maybe he’ll play it with more teeth or more aggressively, and it pleasantly represents the song as we think it should be, especially live. It’s the same vocal harmonies and nothing has changed, but this group of guys has a special chemistry, and something happens that is a little bit extra, and I think it’s working. The fans seem to be loving it.

What are your thoughts on the state of rock ‘n’ roll? When you tour the country and the world, do you feel like rock is in a good place?

Wow. That’s an interesting question. I don’t know, would be the most honest answer. I hope so. As long as people realize what rock ‘n ‘roll is and want to carry the torch, I think it’s valid and seems to be continuing to please generations. I look out and see 6-year-old kids holding the band’s name on a sign, and now that same kid is in his 30s having kids of his own, and I know some of these people.

When you see a 6-year-old kid, you’ll toss him a guitar pick, and they keep growing and now bring own kids. It’s something that seems to span more generations than any other music I’ve known. It’s not the biggest music of the day, but I think people still love rock ‘n’ roll.

Anne Erickson
Latest posts by Anne Erickson (see all)
Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Interviews, Music, Rock

Related Posts