News

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/mike-portnoy-about-new-prog-bands/
Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy talked about Sons of Apollo – a supergroup he’s part of alongside Derek Sherinian, Billy Sheehan, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and Jeff Scott Soto – singling out showmanship as one of the factors that separate the band from other virtuoso acts. He told Mitch Lafon:

A lot of prog bands… I don’t want to point fingers, but a lot of prog bands are simply boring to watch on stage. They’re just like scientists doing a musical experiment. This band has the energy and excitement of like Van Halen with the musicality of Rush. It’s kind of a great combination.

Mike also noted about the band:

Everybody just fires on all cylinders. It is a five-headed musical spectacle. It’s a beast on stage. And you can see the look on people’s faces. Their jaws are on the ground. Not only the technical abilities, but the showmanship and the performance and the energy.

The drummer then proceeded to sing praises of Bumblefoot and Jeff, saying:

Obviously Derek and I have that connection from Dream Theater, Billy and I have a deep connection playing in The Winery Dogs for so many years, but Bumblefoot and Jeff Scott Soto to me are the unsung heroes and the big shockers that people are walking away from the shows blown away by.

Jeff is such an amazing frontman. He knows how to work the crowd, he’s got energy and enthusiasm. His voice is so melodic and strong.

And then Bumblefoot is the other piece of the puzzle. He is like a mad scientist on guitar. I’ve played with the greatest guitar players in the world, and I gotta say Bumblefoot might be the most eccentric… Like deepest musical knowledge of anybody I’ve played with. He’s got this amazing voice. He’s kind of like the Glenn Hughes of the band in terms of the vocal… He’s like the ace in the hole or whatever. The secret weapon. He’s like the musical genius of the band, to be honest.

During the rest of the interview, Mike dubbed Sons his “fantasy band,” saying:

It was my fantasy band in my head, this was the lineup that I pictured. Derek and I were talking about a band and this was it – Billy Sheehan on bass, Jeff Scott Soto on vocals, Bumblefoot on guitar. That was my dream lineup and here we are.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/mike-portnoy-about-new-prog-bands/

Mike Portnoy talked about Sons of Apollo – a supergroup he’s part of alongside Derek Sherinian, Billy Sheehan, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and Jeff Scott Soto – singling out showmanship as one of the factors that separate the band from other virtuoso acts. He told Mitch Lafon:

A lot of prog bands… I don’t want to point fingers, but a lot of prog bands are simply boring to watch on stage. They’re just like scientists doing a musical experiment. This band has the energy and excitement of like Van Halen with the musicality of Rush. It’s kind of a great combination.

Mike also noted about the band:

Everybody just fires on all cylinders. It is a five-headed musical spectacle. It’s a beast on stage. And you can see the look on people’s faces. Their jaws are on the ground. Not only the technical abilities, but the showmanship and the performance and the energy.

The drummer then proceeded to sing praises of Bumblefoot and Jeff, saying:

Obviously Derek and I have that connection from Dream Theater, Billy and I have a deep connection playing in The Winery Dogs for so many years, but Bumblefoot and Jeff Scott Soto to me are the unsung heroes and the big shockers that people are walking away from the shows blown away by.

Jeff is such an amazing frontman. He knows how to work the crowd, he’s got energy and enthusiasm. His voice is so melodic and strong.

And then Bumblefoot is the other piece of the puzzle. He is like a mad scientist on guitar. I’ve played with the greatest guitar players in the world, and I gotta say Bumblefoot might be the most eccentric… Like deepest musical knowledge of anybody I’ve played with. He’s got this amazing voice. He’s kind of like the Glenn Hughes of the band in terms of the vocal… He’s like the ace in the hole or whatever. The secret weapon. He’s like the musical genius of the band, to be honest.

During the rest of the interview, Mike dubbed Sons his “fantasy band,” saying:

It was my fantasy band in my head, this was the lineup that I pictured. Derek and I were talking about a band and this was it – Billy Sheehan on bass, Jeff Scott Soto on vocals, Bumblefoot on guitar. That was my dream lineup and here we are.

The post MIKE PORTNOY: “A Lot of Prog Bands Are Simply Boring to Watch” appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2018/05/21/sonja-kristina-anthology/

This 2-CD set consists of Sonja Kristina’s career outside of her work with both Curved Air and Mask, containing not just her solo work but various releases that she’s been involved with beyond the two bands, showing that she’s more than just the front woman for one of the U.K.’s finest progressive rock bands to come out of the 1970s. It covers the period after Curved Air split up in 1977, following the release of their sixth studio album, Airborne.

When you listen to this anthology, you can hear elements of theatrical, folky, haunting, and punk-like melodies that go beyond the sound of Curved Air, Sonja herself still spreading her wings to fly further. It contains two new tracks that are on disc one, covers including Frank Mills from the rock musical Hair and the Emerson, Lake and Palmer cover of C’est La Vie.

Full Time Woman is Sonja’s nod to Mott The Hoople and David Bowie’s All The Young Dudes. It has an ascending melodic glam-rock approach and shows the appreciation and accomplishment she brings to her work. There is also the Calypso atmosphere with a folky twist of One To One; she knows her way around the setting of a beautiful sunrise and the description of where the next journey will take her. The mellowing version of Melinda (More Or Less), which comes from Curved Air’s third studio album, Phantasmagoria, released in 1972, has a symphonic jazz-folk approach, somewhere between Dave Brubeck’s Take Five and Renaissance’s Ashes Are Burning.

Sonja dedicates C’est La Vie to the late, great Greg Lake, her smoothing arrangement of the song, from Works, Volume 1, sees her keeping Greg’s legacy alive in a haunting version that takes you to the streets of Paris with its beautiful warmth and relaxing vibes. Frank Mills is a tribute to Sonja’s roots as it was here that she got her start, in the West End production of the musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre 50 years ago. She hasn’t forgotten her background in theatre, it’s like her looking through a scrapbook of the songs of her memories.

The Passion is a symphonic Celtic ballad from Alan Simon’s Excalibur 4: The Dark Age of the Dragon. Alan picked the right woman for his conceptual storyline, and while it has a Gilmour-esque sliding guitar introduction, the song is an operatic orchestral letter to the hero far away, showing the love that still exists between the characters. Devil May Care is a composition with a punch as Kristina reminisces about the song Propositions, from Curved Air’s Air Conditioning album. It’s Sonja having a blast with a folk-prog twist that you can dance to through the night.

She then shows her punk-rock side on two of the tracks from disc two. With Rollercoaster there’s a punky vibe as the bass goes into a reggae rhythm before riding into oblivion as the bar goes up and up in the midsection. It shows that Sonja is more than just a progressive artist, and she’s having a blast on this song, but it’s San Tropez (not the Pink Floyd song from Meddle) where she makes the jump to light speed. She’s the new captain of the USS Enterprise in a nod to the late-’70s era of Space Rock legends Hawkwind and Robert Calvert, between Amazing Sounds, Astounding Music and Quark, Strangeness And Charm. She lands back on Earth in a collaboration with Darryl Way on the dystopian and intensive work of Carl Orff’s O Fortuna, from Carmina Burana, inspired by the 13th Century poem and textures of the piece.

Love Child, recorded during the Air Cut sessions in 1973, brings Sonja in a full cycle with Curved Air. This has a real punch to it as Eddie Jobson and Kirby Gregory duel between electric violin and electric guitar, duking it out as it reaches for the climax with an incredible improvisation.

The 12-page booklet contains liner notes by Sonja herself, along with photos of her in her younger days, including one with Stewart Copeland (Curved Air, The Police), and as she is today. Now I will admit, listening to this anthology set I’m not crazy about her solo career, but she spread her wings to fly from day one.

As we head towards 2020 which will mark the 50th anniversary of Curved Air’s formation, who knows what the future will hold for Kristina, between her time as a solo artist and with Mask and Curved Air, but this set is a must have if you admire her work beyond the Air sounds.

TRACK LISTING
Disc One:
01. Frank Mills (3:05)
02. If This Was Love (3:14)
03. The Passion (3:29)
04. Baby Song (4:59)
05. Full Time Woman (4:27)
06. Man He Colour (3:42)
07. One To One (5:05)
08. Melinda (More Or Less) (3:31)
09. This Is Not A Sanctuary (3:52)
10. Angel (5:43)
11. C’est La Vie (3:57)

Time – 44:12

Disc Two:
01. Devil May Care (4:28)
02. Anna (4:00)
03. Buccaneer (5:04)
04. Rollercoaster (3:26)
05. San Tropez (2:40)
06. I Don’t Believe A Word (4:51)
07. Street Run (3:41)
08. O Fortuna (3:31)
09. Love Child (4:50)
10. Citadel (4:50)

Time –  41:30

Total Time –  85:42

MUSICIANS
Sonja Kristina – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Overtone Chanting, Accordion
Tim Whitaker – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar (disc 1: tracks 2, 7, 8 & 9 | disc 2: tracks 1, 2, 3 & 10)
Simon Whitaker – Drums, Percussion, Honk Bass (disc 1: tracks 2, 7, 8 & 9 | disc 2: tracks 1, 2, 3 & 10)
Honk – Bass Guitar (disc 1: tracks 2, 7, 8 & 9 | disc 2: tracks 1, 2, 3 & 10)
Paul Sax – Violin (disc 1: tracks 2, 7, 8, 9 & 10 | disc 2: tracks 1, 2, 3 & 10)
Ali McKenzie – Cello (disc 1: tracks: 2, 7, 8 & 9 | disc 2: tracks 1, 2, 3 & 10)
Darryl Way – All Instrumentation (disc 2: track 8)
Children from the Corona Stage School – Backing Vocals (disc 2: track 4)
Thomas Charge Burke – Acoustic Guitar (disc 2: track 6)
Liam Genockey – Drums (disc 1: tracks 5 & 6 |  disc 2: tracks 5 & 7)
Steve Byrd – Guitars (disc 1: tracks 5 & 6 | disc 2: tracks 5 & 7)
Colin Towns – Keyboards (disc 1: tracks 5 & 6 | disc 2: tracks 5 & 7)
Tony Henoriks – Drums (disc 2: track 4)
Bob Barnet – Guitar (disc 2: track 4)
David Walker – Keyboards (disc 2: track 4)
Brian Devito – Bass Guitar (disc 2: track 4)
Alfie Agius – Bass Guitar (disc 1: tracks 5 & 6 | disc 2: tracks 5 & 7)
Robert Norton – Synthesizers, Electric Piano, Grand Piano (disc 1: tracks 1, 4 & 9)
Andy Tween – Drums & Percussion (disc 1: tracks 4 & 10)
Paul Hankin – Congas, Hand Percussion (disc 1: tracks 4 & 10)
Graeme Holdaway – Bass Guitar (disc 1: tracks 4 & 10)
Claudio Fossati – Drums (disc 1: track 3)
Massimo Palermo – Bass Guitar (disc 1: track 3)
Paolo Ballardini – Acoustic & Electric Guitars (disc 1: track 3)
Basile Leroux – Acoustic & Electric Guitars (disc 1: track 3)
Alan Simon – Acoustic & Electric Guitars (disc 1: track 3)
Marco Fadda – Percussion (disc 1: track 3)
Marco Canepa – Keyboards (disc 1: track 3)
Konan Mevel – Celtic Flute (disc 1: track 3)
The Prague Bohemian Symphonic Orchestra (disc 1: track 3)
Eddie Jobson – Electric Violin, Keyboards (disc 2: track 9)
Mike Wedgwood – Bass Guitar (disc 2: track 9)
Kirby Gregory – Electric Guitar (disc 2: track 9)
Florian Pilkington-Miksa – Drums (disc 2: track 9)

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Curved Air Records/Cherry Red Records
Catalogue: CRVE SK 001
Date of Release: 6th October 2017

LINKS
Sonja Kristina – Website |Facebook

Arena – Scars

IQ – The Wake (Live)

Twelfth Night – The Poet Sniffs A Flower (Live)

UFO – Doctor Doctor (Live)

Thin Lizzy – Cowboy Song (Live)

Genesis – Behind The Lines (Live)

Kavus Torabi – Slow Movements

Leap Day – Half Man Half Machine

Deep Purple – Stormbringer (Live)

Pharnal – Limbes (Part 1)

Mystery Jets – Radio America

Awooga – Bandit

Babybird – Man’s Tight Vest

Rivers – Goodbye My Friend

 

American avant-garde music legends Cheer-Accident are due to release their newest album, “Fades”, on May 25th. To the delight of fans, the band is also embarking on a tour of the western United States next week, with Free Salamander Exhibit, Faun Fables, and Dead Rider on select dates:

Cheer-Accident has been kind enough to allow Progzilla Radio to debut an exclusive track preview called “Art Land” via Mike Pollack’s annual Progressive Tracks Show coverage of the Seattle Festival of Avant and Progressive Rock (SeaProg 2018), where Cheer-Accident will perform on Saturday June 2nd.

You can also stream the exclusive track, “Art Land”, below:

“Fades” is the 19th unique (although that needn’t be said) addition to the band’s catalog, and is available through Skin Graft Records: https://skingraftrecords.bandcamp.com/album/fades

Special thanks go to Cheer-Accident and Mark Fischer at Skin Graft Records for allowing Progzilla Radio the honor to introduce their amazing work to the world!

This news story was originally published here: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProgNewsProgarchives/~3/CtooIeS2NEc/forum_posts.asp

Originally saw this today on Prog Magazine Readers Facebook Discussion feed, posted from admin at Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum website (where they mentioned a 2nd neurosurgery!):

This is from the admin of Jon Hiseman’s Colloseum page – Jon Hiseman is seriously ill…

Colin Richardson
Admin · 27 mins
Apologies for the ‘radio silence’ for a few days. The reason is that last Monday, Jon Hiseman’s situation changed radically. He had a a brain haemorrhage… an absolute emergency situation with the crash team involved. A second brain surgery was carried out to remove a large blood clot from the left “good” side of the brain . He was returned to Intensive Care and (as I understand it) put into a coma. A CT scan was carried out, which fortunately showed no damage to his brain. He remains in a coma while his team of doctors, surgeons and neuro specialists monitor his condition and decide their next move.
I have no other details at the moment, but will post updates as and when I get more information.

I’d just like to add this:
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” So said Alexander Pope, whose dictum is still as profound as it is poetic. 
Hope is a powerful life force which enables us to face and overcome challenges. The belief one holds during difficult circumstances that things will get better.

but then only afterwards found this, from sometime ago now:

explaining why he needed a 1st neurosurgery to start off with (as if that wasn’t bad enough news in itself at the time)!

Let’s hope for better news soon though!

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2018/05/18/matt-stevens-kev-feazey-the-fierce-and-the-dead/

With their new and most anticipated album to date, the batteringly fine The Euphoric just released, this early summer is something of a crunch time for Rushden’s finest sound warriors, The Fierce And The Dead. Matt Stevens and Kevin Feazey from the band took time out from making pedal boards out of old Vauxhall Viva door panels, or whatever it is musicians do in these circumstances, to answer some inane and some pertinent questions from our man in the diamante-encrusted tutu, Roger Trenwith…


Hi Matt and Kevin, and thanks for sparing us the time from your no doubt busy schedule at this pivotal time for you all. Speaking of which, how have preparations for the album launch gig been going? Nervous?

Kev: I think there’s something wrong if you’re not a little nervous before a show – it’s that adrenaline that gets you through. Over the years we’ve worked pretty hard on presenting our music in a way that is tight but with all the exciting rough edges left in. It’s always a buzz to play live and to play to ‘our’ audience is great. Feels like everyone’s on the same side!

Matt: I just can’t wait to play the new material live to be honest. I’m slightly nervous about playing synths live for the first time.

How and when did the band get together?

Kev: On and off we’ve played together since we were 15 in various configurations. As TFATD it’s been about 8 years now I think. We never planned it, just kind of all started rolling and here we are now!

Matt: Jamming on some stuff I was working on for a solo record then we realised we had a band, it’s a collaborative thing which I really enjoy.

Tell us a bit about the writing process in the band, and how the songs come about.

Kev: We have a nice balance, someone will bring in something barebones – might just be a riff and then everyone works on the arrangement and the bells and whistles. It’s a great way of working as often someone else will see something completely different so it’s always unexpected. Some tracks are unrecognisable from how they started.

Matt: I like that it’s very much about all our influences, all the music we love.

Do you have a personal favourite track or moment on the album?

Matt: I like the title track of The Euphoric, just ’cause it’s so different from what we have done before, more synths.

Kev: The big riff at the end of Verbose is always fun to listen to.

The Fierce and the Dead

Like many who will be reading this, I first saw Matt solo a few years ago now, doing that looping thing with an acoustic guitar. Fantastic stuff, although KT Tunstall is prettier. 🙂
You’ve put that part of your career on hold to concentrate on the band. Since taking up the electric guitar full-time as it were, has your playing developed or changed in any way?

Matt: Thank you! I just felt I’d taken the loops as far as I could and I missed being in a band. I’m really enjoying doing TFATD. I might do a few loop gigs one day. It was a fun time.

Do you have any favourite guitar players, or any that have influenced your style?

Matt: Those influences are so ingrained I don’t really think about them. Recently I like St. Vincent. Always Johnny Marr, McLaughlin, Fripp, East Bay Ray, Bob Mould, Bill Steer from Carcass. It’s all in there.

Kev: we all share a lot of influences, but personally my favourite bass players are those that had a very particular sound or style. Billy Gould, Mike Watt, Rick Danko, James Jamerson and Blackie from Voivod to name a few.

A question for the guitar geeks: Do you have a favoured guitar, and how long does it take to set up your rig?

Matt: I use a Mexican Telecaster with a Bare Knuckles pickup in there and strung drop low C tuning, 52’s. I’ve got a pedal board so set up is pretty quick. Since we played in the U.S. I’ve simplified the rig as it looks like we’ll be doing a lot of gigs that will involve flying in the future.

Kev: We’ve started using different tunings so we’re swapping instruments a lot more. So I have two main stage bass guitars at the minute, a 1976 Guild B1 for the low tunings and I’ve recently acquired a Cardinal bass from a really excellent Miami based company called Pure Salem. They’re good people!

Are you full-time musicians? The seismic upheavals in the fiscal landscape of music making in recent years caused by the arrival of the digital age means that most non-mainstream musicians now find that their music making is little more than an all-consuming hobby. How does this sorry state of affairs make you feel?

Matt: Well I do other stuff than music to make a living, I’m lucky I do work I enjoy. There is a cult following for our band, we can make records and make our money back. We couldn’t afford to do it without them. We really appreciate the Fierce Army.

Kev: It’s a blessing and a curse. More esoteric bands like ourselves would struggle to be heard in the old order of things. The gates were very well guarded, the internet and the DIY community that built up around it really helped us out. Obviously it also meant that money is scarcer but who knows where this will all end up. All I know is that we are getting to do some really interesting things!

The Fierce and the Dead

What is your take on streaming and its grossly unjust payment structure?

Matt: I just really want as many people to hear our music as possible, streaming isn’t going anywhere.

Kev: It’s a funny one this. I think that the cat is out of the bag – this was always going to happen. Now it’s down to the listener to take responsibility for their actions. By all means stream – but if you love something – buy it. I personally have found some of my favourite new bands via streaming services and then chose to attend shows, buy t-shirts and records. As an artist it’s our responsibility to make good art and create a package that is desirable. I guess this may be why vinyl is back, people missed that physical interaction.

Is the rock era nearly over?

Matt: I think that the world has changed. People are now famous to a few thousand or even hundred fans. I don’t think there will be a return of the mega stadium bands coming through, there hasn’t been for a while. It’s a good time to be making weird music though.

Kev: I think music has become so much more fluid and yet simultaneously more niche.

Back to less grim subjects… have you ever considered adding a vocalist to TFATD? By the way, one of my personal bugbears is singers who can’t, and boy, are there enough of those, so I can see why you choose the instrumental route!

Kev: Being an instrumental band is not an ideological stand for us, it never occurred to us when we started up. We grew up listening to a lot of instrumental music so it didn’t seem like a big deal. There’s been a few times when we’ve said “this would sound good with so and so singing on it”, so it’s not out if the question.

Matt: We’ll try vocals in the future most likely, let’s see.

You are blessed with being signed to Bad Elephant Music, a label that is totally in sympatico with the struggling non-mainstream musician. How does it help having a label in these days of DIY?

Matt: Well TFATD is too big to manage alone so we’re very grateful to BEM for their support and hard work. No way could we send out the volume of orders we get for a new TFATD record and rehearse and do press and hold together working and family lives.

Kev: It’s really good to know someone is prepared to back you up and open a few doors. DIY has been very romanticised but the pressure of dealing with distribution and all that business stuff can really get in the way of the art.

Chief Elephant David Elliott is famously prickly when confronted with the undoubted aesthetic superiority of the LP, so I smiled when it was announced that The Euphoric would also be issued in that lovely format. Your album cover features the striking artwork of Mark Buckingham. How did that connection come about?

Matt: Mark is a mate, he likes the band and said he’d do some art. I think he’s a bloody genius. Also he’s a musician as well and I’ve been helping out a bit with his stuff. A lovely and talented man. The vinyl has been really popular.

So, what next for TFATD? More gigs promoting the album?

Matt: We’re supporting Hawkwind on their summer shows then some festivals and a U.K. headline tour for November with Europe and the U.S. to follow. We’ll be busy.

Kev: Definitely. We still feel like a new band and there’s still a lot of avenues left to explore.

Finally… all this has made me hungry… an Indian, an Italian, or a Chinese?

Matt: David from BEM would disown us if we said anything other than curry.

Kev: Sushi.

…and with Kev’s fancy London food choice, we leave the lads to beat back the baying hordes from the tiny stage of The Black Heart in Camden, and wish their new album all the success their unstinting hard work deserves.

The Fierce and the Dead


LINKS
The Fierce And The Dead – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp
Matt Stevens – Website | Facebook
Kevin Feazey – Website | Facebook