Sammy Hagar Explains How He Made Tommy Shaw Quit Styx

Sammy Hagar Explains How He Made Tommy Shaw Quit Styx | Society Of Rock Videos

via Sammy Hagar / YouTube

In June 1983, Sammy Hagar shared the story of how he became the catalyst for Tommy Shaw’s decision to leave Styx.

During the annual Texxas Jam, a two-day festival featuring the same lineup in Dallas and Houston, Styx headlined with their recent Kilroy Was Here album. Hagar, performing just before them, did not know the tensions within Styx caused by Kilroy Was Here, which Shaw did not favor as he preferred more impactful tunes.

Hagar vividly recalled his performance at Texxas Jam’s first night, where he showcased a high-energy rock show with elaborate production, including cars on stage and a collaboration with Ted Nugent for an encore. This performance, filled with explosive moments, overshadowed Styx’s set, particularly their futuristic rock opera, including Dennis DeYoung’s introduction of “Mr. Roboto.”

Tommy Shaw’s Final Styx Show

Tommy Shaw, impressed by Sammy Hagar’s dynamic set, approached the Red Rocker after the show. Hagar then recalled:

“[Shaw] comes into my dressing room and said, ‘Dude, I just want to tell you, you just did me the biggest favor in the world.’

“He said, ‘I just quit the band. This is my last show with this band.’ He said, ‘I just want to do what you do.’”

Although Shaw completed the ongoing Styx tour, he left the band shortly afterward to embark on a solo career. Eventually, he joined forces with Ted Nugent in Damn Yankees. Shaw later reunited with Styx in 1995 and has remained an integral part of the group ever since.

Looking back, Hagar acknowledged that he inadvertently played a significant role in helping Shaw decide to leave Styx, describing it as assisting a fellow musician in finding his path.

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