The Reason Why John Curulewski Left Styx


John Curulewski was an American musician and a member of Styx. Styx was a music group famous for rock music of the 1970s and 1990s. The other members were John Panozzo, Chuck, and Denis DeYoung, who were responsible for drumming, bass, vocals, and keyboards. John Curulewski was the guitarist. However, in 1975, after releasing an album named Equinox, he did the unexpected by surprisingly leaving the group Styx. Several reasons as described below have been adduced as to why he quitted the group.

1. Family

John himself is said to have given the reason for his quitting the group to have ample time with his family. This could have been a well-founded reason considering the group was usually involved in performance tours. The attendance of such tours could have presented challenges in terms of time management. The family was likely to suffer as the performance would usually be conducted away from home late at night. He was only 25 years old, so he could have been unsettled in life and still had strong family attachments.

2. Dissenting

Their performance tour manager described Curulewski as a rebel whose personality made him a pessimist who was always unhappy and seemed to disagree or not appreciate anything in the group. It was also claimed that he was not a team player, a characteristic usually associated with persons who are rebelling negatively. When decisions were being made, and voting was to be done, he was that dissenting voice and usually voted on the losing side. However, although he was seen as a rebel like in the case where he challenged the performance of the recording label (A&M), Dennis DeYoung, the one who seemed to be the leader of the group, would later confirm that he had also been uncomfortable with the performance of the company.

3. Inferiority complex

One member of Styx also thought that Curulewski could be suffering from an inferiority complex. According to, persons with this condition exhibit lack of confidence, unworthiness, coming short of achievements, quitting at the slightest challenge, feeling things might not go well, unsocial behavior, depression, and personalizing criticism. Curulewski has had problems with the recording company(A&M) as he felt they were not doing enough to promote the album. He is also said to have wanted the concert to be postponed because he had a sore throat, which could be a flimsy reason considering the importance of the event. He also chose to quit when he was faced with a slight provocation when the lead performer told him that they would not perform together again. This behavior, therefore, collaborates the argument that he could have been having the problem of inferiority complex.

4. Harboured Ambitions

It is argued that Curulewski was a very creative artist that sometimes suggested how things should be done. Though this could be why he was seen as a rebel, it could also have been a way of expressing his creativity. The group is said to have been only performing to earn a living by the time Curulewski was leaving, which could have made him feel the group did not have a future. This can be affirmed by the fact that he became a guitar teacher in Chicago when he quitted, where he would also appear on the stage with other bands. In fact, he went beyond teaching guitar. He became a role model to upcoming bands where he mentored them and provided support in form performance and recording. He is also said to have sought to be a partner in the organization rather than just being a member in the group.

5. Problems in the Group

Vose brought out another perspective of the group that also could have contributed to the quitting of Curulewski. During the argument between the group leader and Curulewski, he describes a situation where the leader conducted himself with excessive authority. The group could be described to have been in search of identity, and each member had their own priority. This can be observed in the future, where the leader also quit the group due to lifting between him and the other members, including Tommy Shaw, who had replaced Curulewski and left. Suffice to say that in his own words, the leader, Dennis DeYoung, said that these members were not willing to work together with him where he also absolves himself of any wrongdoing and places the burden on his former colleagues. Therefore the quitting of Curulewski could have been an indicator of earlier problems and wrangles within the group. He was taken as the black sheep to cover the issues in the group.

6. Lack of support system

Curulewski is said to have indicated severally that he would quit. However, there was no clear support system in the group or the industry where he sought help. It is stated that even when the other members quit, each seemed to have gone solo, indicating an industry where there was no mechanism to handle issues among members. He had died of cerebral disease, which could have been an underlying problem even when he quit. He was also described as the weakest in the group, yet he was quickly replaced in a day when he talked of quitting.

7. Fierce competition

The industry at the time was involved in a lot of competition, with different groups seeking to be prominent in the country. The group seemed to have struggled to impact the United States of America and only did fairy in countries like Australia and New Zealand. Its success in terms of commercial returns happened in 1977 album becoming number six in USA and Canada. This kind of challenge, considering this was a young group formed in 1972 and having financial constraints before the said breakthrough, could have led to him quitting. Overall, the group is said to have been shallow in content, possibly because of it being young, where some people felt the group was only offering loud beats and impressions.

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