TRAVERSE CITY — When giving interviews, lots of rock-star types don't know what media outlet they're talking with, when they're touring in that area, or even who, exactly, they're talking to.
Not Lawrence Gowan.
The Styx lead singer knew exactly when the band was playing in Traverse City.
"We're playing there June 29th," Gowan said right off the bat, during an interview with the Record-Eagle.
The classic rock act — which boasts 16 top-40 hits in the U.S. — kicks off the National Cherry Festival's Bay Side Music Stage performances Saturday at 9 p.m. Tickets are available in advance (www.cherryfestival.org or 947-4230) and at the door.
Styx is best known for hit songs "Lady" (No. 6, 1975), "Come Sail Away" (No. 8, 1977), "Babe" (No. 1, 1979), "The Best of Times" (No. 3, 1981), "Too Much Time on My Hands" (No. 9, 1981), "Mr. Roboto" (No. 3, 1983), "Show Me the Way" (No. 3, 1990), "Don't Let It End" (No. 6, 1983) and "Renegade" (No. 16, 1978). All those hits were from before Gowan joined the band in 1999, replacing Dennis DeYoung as lead vocalist and keyboardist.
Gowan had a quite successful career of his own prior to joining Styx. He had 13 top 40 hits in Canada, but none were released in the U.S. due to the structure of his record deal with Columbia.
In 1997, he opened up for Styx twice — once in Montreal and again in Quebec.
"I had never seen Styx live," Gowan said. "It went extremely well. It was one of those Hollywood nights where they took note.
"I told them, 'We should do something together again in the future.' I assumed that meant open for them somewhere else in Canada, or maybe even opening for them in the U.S. But then I never heard from them for a couple years. Two years later, they give me a call and say, 'Hey, we want to do some work together. We have some shows booked and we'd like you to play keyboard and sing lead on these songs.'"