Styx’s Tommy Shaw On How He Was Introduced To The Guitar

Growing up in Montgomery, Ala., Styx's Tommy Shaw became a rock 'n' roll fan first, then a guitarist.

He tells us that his older brothers were crucial in leading him to the instrument:

"It found me when I was nine years old. I had two older brothers and one of them, a friend left his tenor guitar...a little four-string tenor guitar, and he left this guitar at our house and I had my eye on it. As soon as everybody went to bed I snuck in there and went out on the front porch, the little stoop, and taught myself how to play 'Ghost Riders In The Sky' 'cause that was what was popular at the time. And it was so easy to me; It was like, I was hooked at that moment. My brothers said they never saw me much after that."


Shaw went on to play in bands such as The Smoke Ring and MSFunk and Harmony before joining Styx in December of 1975. He's also been in the band Damn Yankees as well as Shaw Blades with Damn Yankees bandmate and Night Ranger bassist Jack Blades.


Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.