It’s 11 years since he announced he was gay and living with AIDS and it’s led to a massive lifestyle change.
His illness means he’s unable to play with the band full-time – but he insists it’s important to turn up when he can.
Panozzo tells JC Online: “I like to start the tour and end the tour. But usually there’s a 900-mile drive and I have to pass because of my health.
“I had full-on AIDS about ten years ago. I took off work and Tommy Shaw said: ‘I’m afraid I will never see you alive again.’ It was that serious. It was horrible drugs, but you take them because otherwise you will die – you have no choice.
“I take a lot of medication every day, so it’s hard to tell if I’m going to have a bad day. But there’s always something. I had prostate cancer and I’m sure I’ll have hip replacement.”
Panozzo, whose brother played drums with Styx until his death in 1996, reports his health is much better than it’s been in the past, although he admits: “There may be days I don’t feel 100per cent.
But he adds: “What the band has taught me, psychologically, is that I need to go out and be with them as they continue their legacy in the rock’n’roll world.
“How could that not help me in my recovery process? I have a band that is willing to make sure I stay healthy.”
The bassist came out after years of keeping his sexuality a secret. He explains: “As I got into my 20s and 30s I for more frustrated. If I were to say, ‘I’m gay,’ I would not only risk my career, but the careers of four other guys, which would not be fair to them.
“People are willing to express their hate and anxiety towards gay people – but gay kids are being born every day. It’s a generational thing. It will change over time.”
-Classic Rock Magazine