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Dennis DeYoung is the former keyboardist and vocalist for Styx, with whom he had five top-ten albums in the 1970s and early 1980s. DeYoung was the writer of some of the band’s most enduring hits, including “Babe,” “Come Sail Away,” “Lady” and “Mr. Roboto.” Since leaving Styx in the mid-1980s, he has released several successful solo albums, and continues to write, record and tour regularly.

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Dennis DeYoung, former lead singer of the rock group Styx, talks about his teaching days before he was a famous singer.

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DY: Teaching

Sting was a schoolteacher. I was. There are three or four of us who were schoolteachers. Like I said, I was married and had a kid before I had a record deal. I came out of college with a degree in education, and I was a music teacher. I would go into my 40 minutes in front of a class, then the next audience would come in. I saw teaching as one of the noblest professions, and it's really undervalued. I don't know about other cultures, but certainly in our culture.

There's nothing more important than education. It's so vital. Knowledge is power. It's a cliché, but it's true. For me, I quit teaching when we got a record deal. We recorded our first album while I taught in the daytime. We recorded at night. Then I quit and went full-time as a musician. In retrospect, my wife went along with it. Some women wouldn't have done that, because we had a kid. It's a road that you cannot see where it's going to go. It's all in fog that road. When you jump on that train and say, “I'm going to be a rock star. I'm going to be a musician,” you don't know where that's going to lead you, because so much of what you do is out of your control.

For instance Lady. I wrote that song, and look at how long it's lasted. It's a pretty important song over the last 30 years, but it could have been just one of those songs that evaporated into thin air. So you don't know what you're going to get, but anything that's worthwhile in life is fraught with risk. That's just it. If it wasn't, everybody would have everything, wouldn't they? If everything of value and importance was easy to get, everybody would have everything. The stuff that's really valuable and important in life to get takes a lot of hard work.

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