James ‘JY’ Young of Styx sees a lot of parallels between the state of the world when his band first broke big in the ’70s and today, and he thinks those similarities help explain why the band’s popularity has endured so strongly.

Granting access to the backstage “inner sanctum” he shares with fellow guitarist Tommy Shaw to Tommy Griffiths of Big 100.3, Young reports the group’s current “Midwest Rock ‘N Roll Express” tour, which also features REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent, is going “phenomenally well.” He goes on to promise fans quite a visual spectacle: “Some people have said this is the best production they’ve ever seen us do.”

Young freely admits that he’s amazed at how the band’s popularity remains so strong over the years. “Each generation that goes by, we think, well, we’re not going to be relevant any more. But there is a growing minority of people under the age 25 that show up at our shows. I think, something about this time is resonating with the ’70s. It was post-Vietnam, and there were questions about a lot of things, you know, and there’s questions about a lot of things these days.”

He also cites 1978′s ‘Blue Collar Man‘ as a song that fits both the times it was written in and our modern-day culture. But don’t expect the band to get too heavy on the political or sociological messages in concert. “You know we are here to give people sanctuary from the difficulties you see on television, and hear at least on news radio, about how difficult life has become in our country, and around the world,” Young explains. “Coming to a concert like this is a chance to leave all this behind and remind yourself what’s good about being an American today.”

Watch James Young’s Interview with Tommy Griffiths of Big 100.3