Styx bassist Ricky Phillips has confirmed that the band is far along in the songwriting process for the follow-up to ‘The Mission,’ which was released in 2017 and was the band’s first new LP in 14 years.
In his interview with Audio Ink Radio, Phillips was asked if the band had any plans to release new music. He replied, “We had witnessed our peers – major bands – putting out records that we thought were good, and they were kind of going nowhere. This is what was happening around the time of our last album.” Phillips said that this didn’t deter the band
rong>, “We just pushed through and actually went in and spent the money to make ‘The Mission.’ And when it came out sounding good, and it opened up that question and that is, ‘Let’s do another one.’”
Phillips said that the band have already begun throwing around ideas. “As soon as we find a break — probably more towards the end of the year — we’ll probably start formulating those ideas a little deeper. But, yeah, it’s in motion.” He elaborated further on a possible concept: “Tommy (Shaw) came up with the concept for the mission to Mars that is supposed to happen in the year 2033, and it just developed and developed, and it got bigger and better. And the next thing I know, we’re learning the material and developing it and now we’re in Blackbird Studios in Nashville and we’re recording it, and it sounds pretty damn good.”
Part of the reason for wanting to record new music is staying current. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new band or one that falls under the ‘classic rock’ heading, every band wants to remain relevant. Phillips spoke about this: “We don’t do it for any monetary reason. We record records now because we had things to say, and we’re all songwriters, and we’ve all been collecting all these ideas over the years.”
An aspect that sometimes gets overlooked as far as making sure that everyone is on the same page, is band unity. Phillips spoke positively, saying, “Our chemistry is pretty strong, and we have a really strong unity amongst us.”
This past May, Shaw also confirmed with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Styx was working on a follow-up to ‘The Mission.’ “We went for 14 years without creating a new album because we didn’t think there was a place for it,” he said. “Turns out there was a place for it. There’s no pressure, [but] we want to get it done. I think if we get three more songs we really like that fit, we can move to the next level… We’re pretty far along in the process.”
Styx’s current lineup features founding members, singer-guitarist James “J.Y.” Young and bassist Chuck Panozzo, longtime member Shaw and more recent members, drummer Todd Sucherman, Phillips and keyboardist-singer Lawrence Gowan.