Styx Drummer Now Plays With Band He Grew Up With
Not surprisingly, Todd Sucherman believes his job is one of the best in the world. Of course, what’s not to love about playing the drums for legendary rock band Styx.
Styx, along with REO Speedwagon and Head East, perform Aug. 10 at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.
The band began performing in 1970. Two longtime members, Tommy Shaw and James “JY” Young, still lead the group. Sucherman formally joined Styx after founding member John Panozzo died in 1996. Panozzo’s brother, Chuck, Styx’s original bass player, also performs with the band when possible.
At 44, Sucherman’s still the junior member of the group.
“I grew up with the band myself,” he said during a recent phone interview.
Styx’s many hits include “Come Sail Away,” “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Renegade” and “Babe.”
Sucherman said there’s something unique about the rock music of the 1960s, 70s and even the 80s — that’s why the band can fill venues of all sizes.
“Clearly it resonates with people. There’s something special about that classic rock era that people connect to,” he said, noting that Styx and other bands from those decades get plenty of airplay on the radio and draw new fans all the time.
Sucherman said Styx audiences range from teens and younger to the people who first heard the band in the 1970s.
“It gives you hope for the future and employment,” he said with a laugh.
That’s not likely something Sucherman has to worry about. He’s been playing professionally since age 6, and is considered one of the best drummers in the music industry.
“First off there are tons of amazing drummers … I just do what I do,” he said, shrugging off accolades. But he does acknowledge he’s “groomed myself to be a consummate professional.”
“It’s like any other job,” said Sucherman, who acknowledges putting in tens of thousands of practice hours honing his expertise. He also has plenty of drumming interests outside of Styx.
“Being an employable musician means being reliable on- and off-stage,” he said. “I take my work seriously, and I find most successful musicians following the same.”
That also means taking care of himself. Sucherman, like all of his older counterparts in Styx, keeps fit. He can burn about 4,000 calories a night when performing. The all-night parties following concerts are a thing of the past.
“You can’t continue in that manner, as scores of dead rockers show us,” he said.
Sucherman says there’s never a weak show. Everyone in the band gives 100 percent, whether the show takes place “in a field in Nebraska or the Staples Center in L.A.”
“It looks like we’re having so much fun up on stage … it’s true. You can’t fabricate that fun, that camaraderie,” he said. “It’s like the music is new every night.”