Former Styx lead singer Dennis DeYoung has been a White Sox fan "since I was brainwashed by my father at age 5." And with the South Siders in the midst of their best season in years, DeYoung has found himself in high demand.

Do you consider yourself the Ben Affleck of the White Sox?

Well, I don't know Ben, but he's a lifelong fan and I'm a lifelong fan. A lot of people have called me about this, because there are so many celebrities who are Cubs fans but so few for the White Sox. They're dragging the lake now, they've got the FBI out looking for celebrities who are White Sox fans. I think my face has been on a couple of milk cartons lately: 'Have you seen this man, he is a White Sox fan . . . and he sold millions of records.' I just had someone from the [Chicago] Sun-Times calling me, begging me -- listen to this -- begging me to tell her if there were any celebrities who were White Sox fans because she couldn't find any.

How'd you get to be friends with Tony La Russa?

He had just come to Chicago [in 1979], he was the youngest manager in baseball. I had been on the road and someone told me he had been on the local rock radio station saying Styx was his favorite band, so I just took a tour jacket down to 35th Street. And I was gonna just drop it off and say, 'compliments of me,' and they ushered me back to the clubhouse. I was like a kid, I was like 9 years old again. Tony La Russa came out and said, 'Dennis DeYoung!' and I said, 'Tony La Russa!' He took me into his office, we talked for about an hour and we just liked each other. It was just one of those things.

What would a Cardinals-Sox series be like for you?

Tony's already asked me who am I going to root for. I told him [the Cardinals] of course, but between you and me, and now it'll be in the newspaper, I'll just say I'm going to keep that like it's my right to vote. I don't have to divulge that. So when it's over, if the Cardinals win, I'll tell him, 'I was rooting for you the whole time.' Here's what I thought about doing: When Tony won the division championship with the White Sox in 1983, he gave me his jersey. I still have it. So if the White Sox and Cardinals should be in the World Series, I'll go to one of the games with the Tony La Russa jersey on. That's a good solution, isn't it?

A friend of mine who's a big White Sox fan wanted me to ask you whether you'd consider covering 'Let's Go, Go-Go White Sox' by Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers?

If somebody wanted me to sing a song for the White Sox, I'd do it in a second. I just heard on the radio now, there are three parodies, White Sox songs on the radio right now in this city, three! One of them is 'Roxanne.' 'Soxxxxx fan, you don't have to put on a sad face,' or something like that. So there you go. People like to jump on the bandwagon. And that's okay, because for so long the White Sox have been maligned and ignored. So it's nice to have a moment.

What would you do if they won the World Series?

It's like the Boston fans in some ways; after last year, what more could they ask for? They came back, they swept the Yankees out and then they swept the Cardinals. What more could a fan want? . . . I'll just go out, we'll dance around, we'll be really happy, and I'll exhale. Here's the quote: I will finally exhale.

-- Dan Steinberg

DeYOUNG