Tommy (not Thomas) Roland Shaw, US Rock Musician

Best known for his work with the band Styx, Tommy Shaw has had a varied career as a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. Shaw was born September 11, 1953, in Montgomery, Alabama, he was the youngest of four children. Young Tommy picked up a guitar for the first time before he was ten years of age, fooling around with one that belonged to his older brother's friend.

His family recognized a budding talent in him and gave Tommy a guitar for his tenth birthday. They joke that this was the last time they saw him. In his teens, Shaw played with several bands and toured the South, including trips to Nashville and club dates in Chicago.

After the album Equinox in 1975, John Curulewski left Styx. Shaw was hired as much for his high, clear singing voice and good grasp of harmony as he was for his guitar talent. His first album with the band was Crystal Ball (1976). In Styx, he shared songwriting duties with Dennis De Young and James Young, and co-wrote songs with both men. He sang harmony and some lead, and of course played guitar.

1984 saw the release of Shaw's solo album, Girls With Guns. The music and playing was quite solid and the title track enjoyed some airplay. He followed it with What If in 1985 and Ambition in 1987. Shaw toured several times in support of these albums.

In 1988, Shaw left Styx to pursue other interests. Along with Ted Nugent and Jack Blades (late of Night Ranger), he formed Damn Yankees. As Damn Yankees, they released two albums, the self-titled Damn Yankees, which was monstrously successful and 1992's Don't Tread, which was less successful. They toured and made several videos until 1994.

In 1995, he and Blades created the Shaw Blades album. Many critics consider the bluesy rock work, clever lyrics and careful vocals on this album to be some of Shaw's most mature work to date. It is rumored that Shaw considers this to be his best work.

Shaw re-joined Styx in 1995 and has worked with them, as well as producing another solo project, Seven Deadly Zens.


References:
Tommy Shaw discography - http://lockgen.com/damnyankees/discography/tommydisc.html
Styxworld online - www.styxworld.com
The Grand Illusion online (Styx site) - www.thegrandillusion.com

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