Mr. Roboto Goes To Washington

How do you liven up a White House press conference? Get Styx to appear.

The veteran band recently showed up at one of those daily briefings otherwise known as the morning gaggle. Of course, Styx and President Obama share the same hometown, although the Prez was just a boy of 13 when the band’s first big single – “Lady” – charted in 1975.

Photo: AP Photo
Lawrence Gowan, from left, Tommy Shaw, and Todd Sucherman  tour the White House press briefing room.

You can bet the press was excited when the band showed up at the end of the briefing, with some reporters showing off their Styx savvy by singing lines from “Mr. Roboto” and “Come Sail Away.” One member of the president’s communication team was heard to say, “This is why I love working in the White House.”

But not all Styx members hail from Chicago. Or, for that matter, from the U.S.A.

“I voted for [Obama],” said keyboardist and full-time Canadian Lawrence Gowan, adding, “but my vote was rescinded.”

Photo: AP Photo
Tommy Shaw, left, and Todd Sucherman of the rock band Styx tour the basement of the White House press briefing room.

Despite the excitement at what usually is a dry question-and-answer period, no one was quite sure if Obama is a fan. While drummer Todd Sucherman responded with a thumbs-up when asked how he thought the president is doing, he couldn’t definitely count Obama as a Styx connoisseur, though all signs point to the positive.

“Someone had mentioned that we are in his iPod,” Sucherman said. “But I can’t substantiate that claim.”