... and you can still call me Larry.....

.....okay, this record got a few years on it's back now, like all the others of this brilliant musician. But who actually is 
Lawrence Gowan, who's name might have been heard by many of us before, but a few people still don't know where to put it. Yes, of course, for die hard fans of the melodic rock side, this man is truly not an unknown chap. Lawrence, or Larry Gowan or just Gowan  can look back  to a longlasting carrier as a professional musician, including more than half a dozen albums and many credits on other people's records. The scottish born found his home very soon in Toronto, Canada. And not many people know, where his original roots have come from.

Larry: „my parents left Great Britain, when I was very young. And we moved to Canada. But I can still speak the scotts accent a little". 
Most of us over here in Europe have seen the entertainer live on stage for the first time, when he was here with
Styx five years ago. On this occassion the skinny boy  already convinced us with his talent from one second to the other that he belongs certainly to the best showmen in the Rock'n'Roll world. In 1998 two years before,  he replaced  Dennis DeYoung in Styx  . First signing a contract for 53 concert dates, but as you can see, he is still in the band and most probably he will be for a long time to come. He became a true member of Styx. Five years after this first european trip, they came back again last June 2005 to play  German and other stages round the old continent. And both times I've checked them out here in Munich, and  I asked myself afterwards whether this was a Styx show or a Lawrence Gowan show featuring Styx. The best description is: Styx is the dynamite and Gowan is the nuclear bomb. 
The guys in the group share the vocal parts, but Larry draws at least 99% of the attention  to his person, caused by his individual torture methods he practices with his keyboard, his acrobatic jumps and most of all because of his 
aura and the vibe you can honestly feel.

Lawrence Gowan was most impressed after the first stint in Europe . And he left a very personal note on his website to his fans in which he said, that he thought it couldn't get any better than in the states. And that he was pretty much surprised about Germany, the fans and everything else . So he got a bit worried about the return to the states. He visited Betthovens birthplace, went with a boat on the river Rhein, saw his cousin Andrew etc. etc. And most of all he recognised some well known faces from the US over here in Europe in the audiance. His German got better and that his experience  increased.

     Larry Gowan Munich 2000  

So, this next time has just happened. And another time we've been promised by the band. Once again Styx  celebrate  success over here. And Lawrence said: "I've put my solo carrier on ice for now. I mean, I could have put 50% of my energy in my stuff and 50% into Styx, but I rather prefer giving a 100% into one project. And in this case it's Styx. But it doesn't mean, I will never do anything again on my own. In fact, I'll do some dates  with a symphony orchestra in 2006. But apart from that, Styx has got absolute priority." 

 It is very difficult to pull a retrospective about a man, who has done as much in his musical life as
Lawrence Gowan did so far. But I try at least to put down here the most important stations of his life. Music business keeps you young, that's for sure, most of all on Gowan, who still looks  20 something but has surely a few years more on his back. But having the right attitude makes you feel much better, don't ya'?!
Having an education as a classical concert piano player, he played a lot around the Toronto scene in the early seventies and was quickly known for his love for progressive rock music. In 1976 Larry formed  his first band
"Rhinegold". This group 
took their style from acts like Genesis, Supertramp and Queen or the Beatles, who's songs had been taken into the liveset from time to time. The threesome soon belonged to the most wellknown rockbands in Canada next to Triumph and Rush. But the end of the Seventies brought the Discomusic and
Rhinegold died. 

Gowan  played with various artists made his first solo record  'till he got a record deal with CBS Canada in 1982. He recorded several demotapes but wasn't very successful with them. In 1984 Gowan met Jerry Marotta, who opened  some doors and wider options. In Ringo Starr's house at the French rivera the roots for his album "Strange Animals" were laid. It came out in 1985 including the singles „Criminal Mind“, „Guerilla Soldier“ and „Cosmetics“.

In 1986 while Larry was still touring with the Kinks, he got the chance  to support "Tears For Fears"for the first time under his own name. The results were several awards and 300.000 sold units of the album. 1987, one year later "Great Dirty World" came out with the hitsingle  „Moonlight Desires“, on which Jon Anderson of Yes starred in a guest appearance.  Even this record didn't meet the sales figures of the one before, it gave Gowan the possibillity to continue touring on his own. The following years this exeptional musician spent time again  finding himself and developing further. And over all Bob Roper, who soon became his manager, had an eye on him. 

Great Dirty World

 The third album 
„Lost Brotherhood“ was released in 1990 in cooperation with Jerry Marotta. And it was produced by none other than Eddie Schwartz, who is a legend as well on the Canadian rock heaven. On this record you could find a ballad for the very first time. And a rather saucy video clip was shot to improve Larry's image as the everlasting bachelor. 
And again, he pulled out of the scenery to find a new orientation. He took an acoustic guitar instead of his keyboard to write the next songs in Jerry Marrotta's house in Woodstock. The result was spectacular and came out in 1992 named

„But You Can Call Me Larry...“ The reason for the album title was the fact that this artist had changed his name several times in the past - from Lawrence Gowan to just Gowan and back again.The first single „When There’s Time For Love“ got him back into the charts and he went on tour only with a piano and an acoustic guitar. First with the second single „Dancing On My Own Ground“ Gowan put a full band together  to promote this long player.                        

You Can Call Me Larry

The Good Catches Up

In 1995 after Larry had been a member of an allstar band together with Jerry Lewis and Carl Perkins celebrating Ronnie Hawkins birthday (Gowan toured with the Hawkins group in the past) - he released the next album  „Good Catches Up“. This piece of music didn't fetch the stars from the sky,, but it was solid enough to get 3 singles outta it - the  Titeltrack, „Guns And God“ and „I’ll Be There In A Minute“. And again he received several awards including some for his charity work. The year 1995 saw the album  „You Can Call Me Larry“  going gold after beeing rereleased by Sony Canada. Gowan got a Socan awards for the songs „Soul’s Road“, and  „Dancing On My Own Ground“, which belonged to the 10 most played tracks on radio. But sales got less again, and Larry once again showed his talent as a solo artist with a one man show and he supported Burton Cummings on his 97 tour.While touring, he promoted 2 Live albums, which were recorded at the Glenn Gould Theatre in Toronto and in Quebec. Finally in 200 the  „Best of Lawrence Gowan“ CD came out..

Live in Toronto

Live in Quebec

Best of...

Healing Water

 The Track „Healing Water“ was a dedication to  Princess Diana and was released in order by the BBC at the same time as he toured in England shortly after the princess  died. He won a lot of popularity and another Best of... entitled „Homefield“ was released in 1998.
Another studio album was planned in early 1999. Eleven songs were already written and produced and were waiting to get released. But they didn't. The fault was a phone call in May, which made him stop every solo activity, to jump in for
Dennis DeYoung in Styx. Gowan first signed this contract for the  53 gigs (mentioned above). But 'till the very day, he doesn't even know by  himself  how many he's done with the band. And there's no end in sight. He took another conclusion and put it on his website.Larry mentioned the great time he had with Styx so far and hopefully will still  have. The fun in his life he's always receiving through the fans . He confessed to be a Hippie and speaks like one. 

"God bless you or Buddha or Muhammed, Bob Geldorf or whoever you admire or not. It's your right in this pluralistic world, where the gravity keeps you on the ground, or not when you once will watch the whole scenery from a space station. Another year had passed and may the next 12 months be your personal Rock'n'Roll odysee."
More of Larry Gowan's personal notes you can read at               

mit Styx  Munich June 2005

Please click on the image above to watch the video 
clip of Styx version of the Beatles song "I Am The Walruss"

für Styx - activities please go to the   
Official Styx Website 

These words of Gowan, are now almost 5 years old. But he didn't change anything in his life attitude 'till the very day. 
Larry: "I'm a very happy person, who loves doing what I'm doing. Styx are my life right now. And I am 9 out of 12 months on the road with them. But Toronto will always be my home, and wouldn't like to live anywhere else. And I can asure everybody, one day I'm gonna do something on my own again.But for right now, Styx have got absolute priority."

He is a guy standing with his two legs on the ground, and nothing is gonna change that. And Lawrence certainly belongs to the most charming chaps in the business. I can asure you. I've been told, he even got a female fanclub back in the states following the band round the continent to their gigs. 
What's up to his wish for the future, his answer is:
Larry: "on my next day off, I'm gonna rush to a recordstore and get lots of CDs I'm interested in."
And my very last question concerns quantity of his CD collection.....
"yes, it's huge...... very huge ! ...... oh sorry - you mean my CD collection, don't you?!
Whatever he meant by that ?!!!.....                                  


Lawrence Gowan 2005
If you want to listen to the entire interview, 
please click on image (Streaming Audio)

For the concert review of the Styx gig in Munich
  please click

all photos and story by ebl/musicmirror