Lawrence Gowan Biography
Lawrence Henry Gowan is a Scottish-born Canadian musician,born 22 November 1956. Gowan has been both a solo artist and the current lead vocalist and keyboardist of the band Styx since May 1999. His musical style is usually classified in the category of progressive rock.
Lawrence Gowan Career
At the age of 19, he earned an ARCT in classical piano performance from The Royal Conservatory of Music, in Toronto, Ontario. Upon graduation, he enjoyed modest local success with the band Rhinegold in 1976.When the band broke up five years later, Gowan began a solo career under the stage name Gowan, releasing his first album under that name in 1982, which was produced by Rob Freeman and featured Kim Mitchell of Max Webster on guitar. This album contained the singles “Victory”, “Give In” and “Keep Up the Fight”. His 1985 album Strange Animal was his commercial breakthrough in Canada, produced by British producer David Tickle and featuring a more ‘theatrical’ Gowan, backed by Peter Gabriel’s rhythm section players Tony Levin and Jerry Marotta. The album spawned the hit singles “A Criminal Mind”, “(You’re a) Strange Animal”, “Guerilla Soldier” and “Cosmetics”. That year he won a CASBY Award for most promising male artist.
His 1987 follow up Great Dirty World gave him another hit single with “Moonlight Desires,” featuring Jon Anderson (from Yes) on backing vocals, as well as “Dedication”.1990’s Lost Brotherhood, recorded at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, Ontario, had a harder rock sound, and featured such players as Red Rider member Ken Greer, former Coney Hatch guitarist Steve Shelski and Rush’s Alex Lifeson. It produced the singles “Lost Brotherhood”, “All the Lovers in the World”, and “Out of a Deeper Hunger”. This was Gowan’s first album for Anthem Records and his first US release.
Gowan released the more acoustic …but you can call me Larry in 1993 under his full name, returning to the Canadian pop charts with “When There’s Time for Love”, “Soul’s Road” and “Dancing on My Own Ground”. He subsequently released The Good Catches Up in 1995, which featured the single “Guns and God”, which received moderate airplay in Canada. Also that same year, Gowan was part of an all-star lineup at Toronto’s Massey Hall to celebrate Ronnie Hawkins’ 60th birthday, as documented on the album Let It Rock, sharing the stage with veteran rockers Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and The Band. In 1997, Gowan released two live CDs: Sololive – No Kilt Tonight containing a rendition of Ragtime’s classic “King Chanticleer Rag”, and Au Québec with a cover of Harmonium’s “Pour un instant” as well as his first composition in French, “Stéphanie”, for his fan base in Quebec.
In the year 1997, Gowan released “Healing Waters” as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales after her death. “Healing Waters” was officially an unreleased song from Gowan, though it was used in its original form in the 1995 Jeff Wincott movie, When the Bullet Hits the Bone.
In 1998, he was the recipient of the National Achievement Award at the annual SOCAN Awards in Toronto. His song “A Criminal Mind” was covered in 2005 by Canadian hip-hop artist Maestro; Gowan appears in the video and his vocals are sampled on the track. The song was also covered by Canadian gypsy jazz music group The Lost Fingers. The song was sampled in a song performed by Akon and Freck Billionaire.
He also guest-starred on the Canadian animated comedy series Chilly Beach.In February 2006, Gowan did four orchestra-accompanied concerts in London, Ontario and Kitchener, Ontario. Also in 2006, his home was featured on MTV’s Cribs.In March 2010, Gowan released “Return of the Strange Animal”, a remastered version of 1985’s “Strange Animal” plus a making-of documentary and music videos on DVD. In May 2010, Gowan performed two solo shows in support of the 25th anniversary of the “Strange Animal” album.
In May 2012, Gowan re-issued a remastered version of 1987’s “Great Dirty World”.As of 2012, Gowan was recording a new solo album which he hoped to have completed sometime in 2013, but has yet to be released.On 11 October 2012, Gowan appeared on episode 29 of John Wants Answers.On 13 October 2013 Gowan played a solo concert, titled ‘In Kilt Tonight’ at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Canada. All proceeds were donated to McDermott House Canada, a charitable organization.
In the year 1997, during Styx’s tour, Gowan performed as a supporting act for Styx at Montreal’s Molson Centre and Quebec City’s Colisée.Tommy Shaw admired his talent and vibrant stage charisma, and called him in May 1999 asking him to tour with them for 53 dates, replacing their lead singer Dennis DeYoung. Since then, Gowan’s classic hit, “A Criminal Mind”, is often played by Styx.
Styx had long been plagued by differences in artistic inclination. DeYoung’s absence created an opportunity for a more permanent restructuring of Styx. Gowan subsequently became the band’s permanent vocalist.Styx’s 2003 album Cyclorama was Gowan’s first studio album with the band. Gowan sings two songs on Cyclorama, “Fields of the Brave” and “More Love for the Money”, both of which have an easily recognizable Gowan signature. He then continued recording with Styx for their 2005 album, Big Bang Theory.
Gowan continues with Styx to the present and is featured on many live releases from the band. The band released studio recordings of older Styx songs with the new line-up, titled Regeneration (released in two volumes in 2010 and 2011), and Gowan sings lead vocals on several tracks that were originally recorded by Dennis DeYoung.In May of 2017, Styx announced their new album The Mission and revealed the first single “Gone, Gone, Gone” featuring Gowan on lead vocals.
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Lawrence Gowan Awards and nominations
- 1983 – Nominated – “Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year”
- 1985 – Winner – “Best Video” for “A Criminal Mind” with director Rob Quartly animation and direction by Greg Duffell / Lightbox Studios Inc.
- 1985 – Winner – “Best Album Graphics” for Strange Animal (awarded to designers Rob MacIntyre and Dimo Safari)
- 1985 – Nominated – “Male Vocalist of the Year”
- 1985 – Nominated – “Album of the Year” for Strange Animal
- 1985 – Nominated – “Best Selling Single” for “A Criminal Mind”
- 1985 – Nominated – “Best Video” for “You’re a Strange Animal” animation by Greg Duffell / Lightbox Studios Inc.
- 1986 – Nominated – “Best Video” for “Cosmetics” (director: Rob Quartly)
- 1987 – Nominated – “Male Vocalist of the Year”
- 1987 – Nominated – “Album of the Year” for Great Dirty World
- 1987 – Nominated – “Canadian Entertainer of the Year”
- 1991 – Nominated – “Male Vocalist of the Year”
Lawrence Gowan Members
- Lawrence Gowan – lead vocals, keyboards, guitar
- Danny J. Ricardo – guitar (2010–2014)
- Ricky Tillo – guitar (2016)
- Pete Nunn – keyboards (2010–2013)
- Emm Gryner – keyboards, backing vocals (2014)
- Ryan Bovaird – keyboards (2016)
- Terry Gowan – bass, backing vocals
- Todd Sucherman – drums, percussion
- Taylor Mills – backing vocals (2010–2012)
- Divine Brown – backing vocals (2016)
Lawrence Gowan Personal life
Gowan is married to Jan Gowan and has two children.