When Tommy Shaw, just recently estranged then from arena-fillers Styx, brought his Girls With Guns  solo band to a Ft. Worth nightclub in an otherwise empty strip mall on a chilly Sunday November night in 1984, what I expected to see and hear, and what was actually offered up, were two completely different things, providing a real learning moment for me in my career. Standing in the dressing room surrounded by singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Shaw,  Billy Joel saxophonist Richie Cannata, and Paul McCartney and Wings drummer Steve Holley, I expected to hear these three veterans of playing “the big rooms” lament slogging back to the bars as if it was a minor league assignment. Boy, was I wrong. 

What you will hear in this radio interview which Tommy Shaw did with me before the live performance later that night is how big-time professional musicians approach their craft regardless of whether it is a 20,000 seat arena or a nightclub in Ft. Worth. Shaw had just come off the Styx Kilroy Was Here  arena and stadium tour a year earlier, a rock musical which was probably ahead of its time by about fifteen years and most definitely not suited for the stadiums and sports arenas in which Styx had staged it. With his first solo album and tour, Tommy Shaw was hungry to reconnect with the fans on a level where every bead of sweat was counted, and every note played was accountable. You’ll hear “Girls With Guns”, “Come In and Explain”, a live “Man in the Wilderness” with Styx, “The Race is On” with Richie Cannata steaming on sax, and finally the In the Studio  acoustic version of Tommy Shaw’s “Crystal Ball” as performed live on my ROCK 103 radio show in Memphis in 1983. –Redbeard