Power of Brand…Too Much Time on My Hands

So, I went o see Styx at the Morristown Community Theater last Friday night.  I have to confess…was never a big Styx  fan and I am clearly a Tommy Shaw Styx guy and not Dennis DeYoung.  Renegade vs. Babe.  No contest. So I was pleasantly surprised that they looked and sounded great.  Small venue, Tommy […]

So, I went o see Styx at the Morristown Community Theater last Friday night.  I have to confess…was never a big Styx  fan and I am clearly a Tommy Shaw Styx guy and not Dennis DeYoung.  Renegade vs. Babe.  No contest.

So I was pleasantly surprised that they looked and sounded great.  Small venue, Tommy Shaw looked just like he did in 1985 and his voice was spot on!  The lead guitarist, James Young, also looked and sounded great.  The original bassist from the 70’s and 80’s, Chuck Panazzo, doesn’t tour with this version of Styx but  I guess lives in NJ and he showed up to play on a few songs.  But no original drummer and no Dennis DeYoung.  So this brings up an interesting dilemma …Do they play only Tommy Shaw hits or do they also play the Dennis DeYoung songs that arguably are the most well known (Come Sail Away, Lady, and the worst song of all time, Mr. Roboto).

A few years back I worked for an auto maker that had Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh play at a dealer show in Vegas.  I remember some guy in the audience screaming “Hey Glenn, play Hotel California”…and I cracked up laughing because that was Don Henley’s song.   They were NEVER going to play that… but they also weren’t billing themselves as the Eagles.

So the Styx show goes on and they play mostly Tommy Shaw and James Young songs.  They play Lady and the much younger keyboardist has the Dennis DeYoung voice and sounds pretty good (reference previous blog on Journey for sound alike lead vocalists) and is just as campy as Mr. DeYoung was on Kilroy Was Here.  Ugh.

So the show is ending and they start playing the final song…Come Sail Away, with that iconic piano intro so everyone knows what’s coming.  Just the keyboardist in the lights.   The Styx logo is on the back wall in 20’ letters, right out of the Grand Illusion album.  And the place goes NUTS.  Women are screaming,  Guys are fist bumping their pals and nodding their heads, saying “awlllllright dude!”.  And I find myself laughing  to myself again, just like at the car show.  These folks  are basically going nuts and cheering  for a guy who wasn’t in the band when the band sold out arenas and churned out platinum albums and he didn’t sing that song that we all grew up with.  On this song, the boys in Styx are basically a cover band.

Then I kept smiling because I realized it’s the power of the brand.  The Styx brand.  The audience  knew that the original guys sounded great and had proven themselves to still be a surprisingly good live band, and that if Tommy Shaw  and James Young were ok with this campy guy representing their band and their legacy, it was more than ok for the 2,000 people in the audience.  They bought in because they trusted that 20’ logo on the back wall and all it represents.  And it sounded great.

At Coldwell Banker ®, we realize the strength of our 104 year old legacy and the responsibility that comes with it to continue to earn your trust.  Rock on Tommy Shaw, but please, no more Dennis DeYoung stuff.

BTW, REO Speedwagon is coming in late Sept with Kevin Cronin…

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com page for Styx (the band)

COO for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Ohio born, Jersey raised, NYC, LA and Nashville cultured. Father of three daughters and married to a saint. Undergraduate from Rutgers and MBA from Anderson School at UCLA. After 20 years in the car industry, Mike joined Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC in 2008 where he guided a string of innovations while serving as the CMO. In 2013 Mike was promoted to COO where he oversees the Coldwell Banker brand’s internal operations, learning, talent attraction, international, events and marketing.


  1. Tweets that mention Power of Brand…Too Much Time on My Hands | Coldwell Banker Blue Matter -- Topsy.com
    August 31, 2010

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  2. Molly
    August 31, 2010

    Now that is a serious time capsule.

    Styx was my first “real” concert. I don’t count The Osmonds 9with Donny and Marie) at the fair or Shaun Cassidy-because is that even real music?

  3. agentsteph
    August 31, 2010

    I love rock concerts, I'm not a huge Styx fan either. And I totally agree that Tommy Shaw is better. I did see the tour where Dennis Deyoung toured with them in the late 90's. Return to Paradise I think it was called. I was blown away. One of the best live bands I've ever seen (and that's a lot). They were so good, they could have been lip syncing.

  4. Hal Benz
    September 3, 2010

    Wow…that sounded like a great show! I've seen lots of terrific acts at the Community Theatre through the years…ranging from Marcel Marceau to Meatloaf.

    But I find the comparison between a 70's /80's rock band and a real estate brokerage a bit puzzling. Are you suggesting that "as long as the broker is OK with letting some campy guy represent their brand and their legacy", then consumers will think this is OK?

    Buying or selling a home is the largest and most important financial transaction that most people make in their lifetimes. Our industry still has too many agents that are part-time or woefully unprepared for the task (imho). It's one of the reasons why real estate agents still rank at the bottom of most professional opinion polls (Harris Poll for one).

    I think today's real estate consumers are a LOT more discriminating when they hire a broker than when they're out for a night of entertainment on the town. It's increasingly about the individual agent, not the brand…

  5. Tommy
    December 5, 2010

    Since '99, I've felt Styx is no where near as good w/out Dennis.
    Most of the older fans agree with me on this.
    And I can't help but wonder how he feels about their current
    Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight tour. If it included Dennis, I would've gone.
    Luckily for all of us, he is still touring solo, and what an amazing show it is!
    Dennis was Styx. So, to Mike Fischer, the poster of this article, to hell with you.


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