Styx's Ricky Phillips talks with Louisville.com in advance of NIBROC Festival in Corbin [Music]

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Louisville.com: That’s great! It would seem to me after all those years it would start to get stale.

Phillips: We all enjoy it. We are always evolving and trying to make it better from our strong melodic prog rooted harmonies to being able to change the color and mood. It’s also funny, but I’ve found some of our songs are huge in Canada but not in the US. The west coast may be more familiar with different songs than the east coast. It’s crazy. Styx has also combined tours with Boston and Yes. Having audiences seeing us for the first time helps us continue to grow our fan base. It makes it worth it when you play a sold out show to sometimes over 140,000 smiling faces.

Louisville.com: Last time you played a show in Louisville Chuck Panozzo made a special appearance. Should the audience in Corbin, KY expect an appearance from Panozzo?

Phillips: Chuck is still much a part of the band and is at over 90% of our shows, but I don’t want to spoil any surprise.

Louisville.com: (laughs) Ok, no secrets spilled. Out of all the places in Kentucky to do a show, what brought you all to the NIBROC Festival in Corbin?

Phillips: To be honest our management handles all of that. I’m not sure. We are on tour 200 days a year and our management tells us where to play.

Louisville.com: You’ve obviously become very successful and made it big. On your website you mention that you quit your senior year at San Francisco State to play music full time.  Looking back was it scary to quit school and move to LA to pursue your dream?

Phillips: It was a hard decision. I was quite against the Vietnam War and my options were go to Vietnam in the draft or stay in school. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Everyone tells you, you gotta get married, gotta get a good job, etc. Deep in my heart and soul I knew I wanted to play music. The burden of the war ended when I was a senior and the threat of being drafted went away. I could suddenly do what I wanted. I had arguments with my family. But my passion was music and when a calling is beckoning you, you have to give it a shot. I went to Hollywood with no money, sleeping on couches, and auditioning for bands. I was hired as the bass player for The Babys and toured the world. That was the start of my career.

Louisville.com: Well you’ve answered all of my questions. Is there anything you’d like to tell readers who will see you in Corbin on Friday?

Phillips: Kentucky audiences are a blast. We see familiar faces. We have fans that appear show to show which is great. I look forward to seeing everyone!

Louisville.com: Well it’s been a pleasure talking to you and I look forward to watching you guys Friday.

Phillips: Thanks!

Photos and images: courtesy of Styx Management

About Anna Blanton
Anna Blanton holds a Bachelors of Arts in Music (violin) and a Minor in Marketing from the University of Louisville. Anna currently plays with the Paducah Symphony, folk rock band- Field of Kings, and fuzz/folk rock band- Jack Holiday and the Westerners. From 9-5 she is the Development Information Manager at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. She is also a Production Assistant for the Beatles festival, Abbey Road on the River.
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