“I realized I was never going to be a great player like Tommy Shaw, so I guess I’m just a power-chord and single-string lead player now. But I’m pretty good at it!” Styx’s James “J.Y.” Young on his guitar journey

James "J.Y." Young of Styx
(Image credit: R. Diamond/Getty Images)

Where would U.S. melodic rock be without James “J.Y.” Young? Over the years, the Godfather of Styx has helped the Chicago rock institution negotiate the slings and arrows of changing pop-cultural tastes to craft a discography that presents high-concept progressive rock for our every day. 

That surefooted songwriting saw Styx go platinum with late ‘70s and early ‘80s classics such as The Grand Illusion, Paradise Theatre, and the audacious rock opera Kilroy Was Here. Young was also an early adopter of the guitar synth, and is one of the most passionate advocates you'll find for the Sustainiac.

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Joe Matera

Joe Matera is an Australian guitarist and music journalist who has spent the past two decades interviewing a who's who of the rock and metal world and written for Guitar World, Total Guitar, Rolling Stone, Goldmine, Sound On Sound, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and many others. He is also a recording and performing musician and solo artist who has toured Europe on a regular basis and released several well-received albums including instrumental guitar rock outings through various European labels. Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera has called him, "... a great guitarist who knows what an electric guitar should sound like and plays a fluid pleasing style of rock." He's the author of Backstage Pass: The Grit and the Glamour.