Cris Cohen: This might seem a little bit of a stretch, but I would even draw a through line thematically from that experience to the recording of “Crash of the Crown”. In the sense of… you guys were moving along with it, the pandemic hits, suddenly everyone is in their own homes, in different countries. And yet, you guys found a way to record together virtually, and get around this obstacle. Like, “Okay, we can't push through this thing, but how can we get this done in other ways?”
Lawrence Gowan of Styx: So that was the challenge for everyone, everyone on planet Earth. How do we navigate our way through this, with a virus that doesn't care what our intentions are? And the disappointing thing for us, I have to say, was that we had made “The Mission” entirely with all of us in the studio together and had that experience like a band would in the 1970s, a band like Styx, where we're in each other's faces, and our phones are all shut off for five seconds, and we can actually embrace that method of the analog world of how to make music as a band and have it sound like it came from that era.
So we figured all that out, and we had to replicate that on the making of “Crash of the Crown”. We had the songs written, all but two of them, and had started the recording process that way, or at least myself and Tommy Shaw and Will Evankovich, who was our co-writer and producer on both of those records.
And suddenly this interruption happens. And like everyone else, we thought, “Well, it's a drag. We'll have to stop for maybe as much as six weeks, maybe even two months, before we can get back to it.” And at the two-month mark, we thought, oh, once again, not following our script. This could be indefinite.
We went back and we listened to the songs. And we felt, “These songs relate so well to what we -- and probably a lot of people on the planet -- are going through psychologically and the challenges that we're facing. The lyrics really fit with this situation. We have to find a way to do this.”
For myself living in Toronto, I couldn't cross the border anyway. So that was a moot point. So we realized, just like you and I are doing this Zoom thing… I didn't know what this was in February of 2020. At the end of March 2020, I was very familiar with it, and this became a new phenomenal tool for communication. You and I are speaking, we could have this conversation over the phone, but there's something about being able to look you in the eye and see you and get some kind of idea of obviously this guy’s into the Stones, and stuff like that. Like knowing these things, it alters the conversation.
Well, I have a great studio in Toronto, with all this analog gear I bought years ago. And I have a great partner there, Russ Mackey, who's a phenomenal engineer and producer. And Tommy and Will were in Nashville, Todd was in Austin, Texas, JY in Chicago, Ricky was also in Austin. We all figured out how we're going to do this. We used this Zoom medium and a thing called Audiomovers. We pushed through and made the record starting from around late August of 2020 right into about November.
In October, I was done with all of my parts. It got so second nature that it really felt exactly as if we were in the studio together.
And that I think speaks volumes to the adaptability and flexibility of human beings when faced with a challenge like that. We still were able to do the record, to tape and to get all the analog juice in there that needed to be there in order to make it qualify or in some way resonate as a classic rock album. And again, the resilience of Styx. This speaks probably to why this band has endured for half a century. It's 50 years old. And that's just another aspect of how they've navigated it.