ORIGINAL CONCEPT - June, 1982
Words from Robert Orin Charles Kilroy:
Although my memory is not clear, my parents have told me numerous times of my reaction to Elvis Presley's first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show: How I became mesmerized by his performance and how for weeks afterward I would imitate him for friends and relatives. I suppose that night was responsible for me learning to play guitar, even though years later another Sunday night would truly convince me to become a rock and roll musician. Strange that the Sullivan show should play such an important part in my life. For if Elvis moved my body, the appearance of the Beatles in 1964 captured my heart, my mind, and my imagination. Just three weeks after the Beatles came into my life, my friends Paul Johanson, Billy Roland, Tony, and Sal Fontana and myself formed a group that would someday become one of the most successful American rock and roll bands. We chose the name Kilroy for the group because of the immediate recognition attached to the popular graffiti "Kilroy Was Here" ... We got our first break, in 1974...a record contract with A&M Records, and the release of our first album. We were sure that it was only a matter of time before the whole country would fall at our feet. And we were absolutely right, it was a matter of time. Three years later upon the release of our fourth album, the national recognition finally came. It took longer than planned, but once we had our hand on the golden ring, we never let go. We delivered an unprecedented string of hit albums that spanned the next decade. And by 1986 we were still one of the world's most popular groups.
The original concept was pretty autobiographical for Dennis DeYoung, and was reworked as the project moved forward.
Dr. Everett Righteous, founder and leader of the MMM, (The Majority for Musical Morality) became influential in American politics through the use of his own cable tv network. He spoke about the evils of rock 'n' roll music, and how its permissive attitudes were responsible for the moral and economic decline of America. He was charismatic, entertaining, and above all, he understood the media. The MMM soon gained enough power to have rock 'n' roll banned.
Robert Orin Charles Kilroy was a world famous rock 'n' roll star. As this new law was passed, Kilroy and his band were finishing a national tour. Their last performance, at the Paradise Theatre, would serve as the test case. On the night of the concert, as Kilroy played to a packed house, the MMM marched in and stormed the stage. When it was over, a MMM protester was dead...Kilroy was convicted of murder and sent to a prison ship with other rock 'n' roll misfits....
...is a future where Japanese manufactured robots, designed to work cheaply and endlessly, are the caretakers of society.Mr. Robotos are everywhere,
serving as manual labor in jobs that were once held by humans. Dr. Righteous enforces his own morality by holding nightly rallies where crowds
hurl rock 'n' roll records and electric guitars into huge bonfires...Johnathan Chance, the rebel leader of an underground movement to bring back rock 'n' roll, has made Kilroy the symbol of his cause. Meanwhile, Kilroy has spent a number of years in prison, with no hope of release, he is subjected to the humiliation of mind control via the MMM cable network. In an attempt to contact Kilroy, Johnathan jams the airwaves on the MMM network, replacing a mind control session with outlawed footage of a Kilroy concert. Inspired by Johnathan's message, Kilroy plots his escape. Late one night, he makes a daring attempt to free himself by overpowering a Roboto guard. Disguised as a Roboto Kilroy moves freely throughout the city leaving graffiti coded messages for Johnathan. Johnathan discovers the "rock code" which leads him to the old Paradise Theatre, not the site of Dr. Righteous' Museum of Rock Pathology. There he sees the last Kilroy concert mechanically depicted by Kilroy look-alike robots as the violent end of rock 'n' roll...and there, he and Kilroy meet for the first time.
It was Dennis DeYoung's desire to move the band forward as other bands that had reached the pinnacle of success before Styx: Getting the band on film. At the time music videos were only used as promotional material for the record labels, and MTV did not exist until Styx was ending their North America tour and embarking on a European tour for Paradise Theater. A film was the next logical thing to do.
The final result was a 15 minute mini-movie, that told the backstory of the Kilroy Was Here concept. This movie was shown at the beginning of the concert, which would then be a performance with acting pieces mixed in to tell the rest of the story. The performance was captured as both the Caught in the Act audio and video releases.