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John Anthony Panozzo

Born: September 20th, 1948
Deceased: July 16th, 1996
Passed at 48 years old

Last Updated: 12/08/2009 | Viewed 3857 times

John Anthony Panozzo (September 20, 1948 – July 16, 1996) was the drummer for the American rock band Styx.

Panozzo grew up in the Roseland neighborhood, the south side of Chicago, Illinois with his fraternal twin brother, Chuck (born 90 minutes apart). At age 7, the twins took musical lessons from their uncle in which John took an interest in drums and percussion. They attended Catholic school and eventually they were part of a 3-piece accordion band in which John played drums and Chuck played guitar. They would play weddings at age 12 and were paid $15 a piece.

Then, in 1961, John, Chuck, and their neighbor, Dennis DeYoung, formed a band called the Tradewinds in which John played drums, Chuck played guitar, and Dennis played the accordion and sang. They played local rock and roll gigs at bars and began gaining popularity as a garage band on the south side. In 1968, Chuck switched to bass and they added guitarists/vocalists James "J.Y." Young and John Curulewski, changing their name to TW4. The band signed to Wooden Nickel Records and changed their name to Styx.

Years of partying with Styx and excessive drinking began to take a toll on his liver. In the mid-1990s, as Styx was about to embark on its first tour with the classic line-up since 1983, John fell seriously ill and began battling cirrhosis of the liver, eventually dying of gastrointestinal hemorrhaging; he was 47 years old.

The band dedicated their 1996 Return to Paradise tour to him, and Tommy Shaw, who had earlier replaced Curulewski, wrote the song "Dear John" as the band's final tribute to their drummer and friend.

Not much is known about the drum gear he has used, but he was believed to have first used various drums such as Ludwig and Premier and then eventually Tama drums for the rest of his career. He used Zildjian cymbals.

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