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The grand illusion : love, lies, and my life with Styx
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Author Notes
<p> Chuck Panozzo (Chicago, IL) is the bass player for and a founding member of Styx. Since 2001, Panozzo has been involved in campaigning for AIDS awareness and gay rights. Michele Skettino (New York, NY) is a professional writer. She has worked in the music and entertainment industry since 1989.</p>
Fiction/Biography Profile
Rock musicians
Rock music
Music history
Gay artists
Gay men
Gay culture
Gay youth
Pop culture
Coming out
- United States
Time Period
-- 20th-21st century
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  Publishers Weekly Review

Panozzo was the bass player in Styx, whose mid-'70s hits such as "Mr. Roboto," and "Lady" are staples of classic rock radio, and he is rightfully proud of Styx's accomplishments-"The first rock band ever to sell four consecutive triple platinum albums." Styx's fans will enjoy Panozzo's detailed look at the band's internal conflicts as they rise from small Chicago bars to sold-out arenas. But the heart of Panozzo's autobiography is a sensitive and insightful look at "one gay man's struggle to come to terms with himself" while performing in a rock world where "the things that would make the other guys laugh-a female fan lifting up her skirt, a pair of panties thrown on stage-just didn't do it" for him. The most fascinating sections are accounts of Panozzo's conflicted youthful feelings in his sheltered Catholic neighborhood; his adolescent trips to gay theaters where "skin flicks validated the fact that there were other people out there like me"; his attempts to keep his rock identity secret during furtive dates while on tour where he "treated every excursion like a CIA mission;" and a joyous moment when he publicly comes out and decides to tell his story "to inspire others, gay or straight, to live a proud, truthful life." (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
<p>They are still one of the biggest rock bands of the last three decades. With four consecutive triple-platinum albums and 54 million records sold, their tours continue to sell out and classic songs like "Lady," "Renegade," "Come Sail Away," and "The Grand Illusion" have earned them a whole new generation of fans. At the height of their fame, they were living the ultimate rock 'n' roll fantasy -- an odyssey of groupies, drugs, and music that most musicians only dream of. As a band, Styx seemed invincible. But their founding member and bass player, Chuck Panozzo, was about to hit rock bottom. His seemingly debauched life as the ultimate rocker was a lie -- and the truth was about to catch up with him.</p> <p> The Grand Illusion is a no-holds-barred, backstage pass to the journey of one of the world's most revered bands, and the true story of Chuck Panozzo's 50-year struggle to reconcile his public life as a rock star with his private life as a gay man. Beginning with the birth of Styx in Chicago and their meteoric rise, The Grand Illusion is a revealing look at the triumphs and tragedies that surrounded Panozzo's life. He chronicles life on the road, the break-up of the band, his struggle to help his twin brother and bandmate John Panozzo battle addiction, as well as his split with Dennis De Young, and finally coming to terms with his HIV positive status. Illuminating and unflinching, The Grand Illusion will captivate the band's legions of devoted fans, as well as music lovers everywhere.</p>
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