30 May 2008

Then came the last days of May...

I've been really quiet of late (loads of stuff happening IRL), the end result of which is that I have been pulled increasingly from posting here.

Without making excuses or getting into any of the reasons, here's some stuff for y'all:

My interview with Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings has now been posted and can be read HERE. A brief excerpt:

BK: Good. You guys are gonna be playing the inaugural Three Rivers Prog Fest, out in Pittsburgh. And I know Pittsburgh is where Inside/Out USA used to be based out of. Is there something special about that festival, you know, the idea that you're gonna be playing at the first one, or is it the fact that you're gonna be able to sort of route shows around it that makes it attractive?

RS: Well, in fact, we were asked to, because obviously we know a couple of people in Pittsburgh, because we had our record company there and we had people that we'd been working with in Pittsburgh for quite a while. So, we were asked to play this festival maybe some...4, 5, 6 months ago, I think.

BK: Long before it was actually announced.

RS: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. And I waited, and one of the reasons was of course that we had to cancel ROSfest. I didn't want that to happen again, you know what I mean. I wanted to be really, really, positively sure that we were gonna play the festival before I said OK. Anyway, so we were asked to do this, and I didn't know what other bands were gonna play, and then they came back to me a couple of weeks ago, and said "this is what the festival is gonna be, these are the other acts," and some of them are not announced yet. But they're really good acts, definitely. So, just looking at the lineup, I said "this looks interesting," and I think we can even attract some of the non-prog audience for this festival. So, that was one of the motivations for playing.

Secondly, my interview with Andy Tillison of The Tangent has also been posted, and you can read it HERE. Again, a brief excerpt:

BK: Is the European scene that much more vital for live progressive music, that a tour like this can happen over there? Here in the States it seems the entire progressive music scene is almost subsidized and supported by three or four festivals over the course of the year. Bands will come over and play one or two shows around the festivals and that's the only chance you get to see them.

AT: Yeah. Well...that's right. It has to be remembered that although the festivals are very impressive in America...we loved when we played ROSfest...it also has to be remembered that America actually has one of the smallest progressive rock markets, so that...you know...I think that for example there are more people into progressive rock in South America than there are in the United States. And there are certainly more people who are into it in Europe than there are who are into it in America. So the problem is the American vastness, it means that we can come over...we can play one of the festivals, but then we have to transport ourselves miles away to the next show to keep from interfering with that festivals bookings and play a gig on the other coast. The problem is...we've already discussed this with other bands who have done the same thing and they find nobody goes to the next gig because they've already gone to the festival! So these big festivals in America are sort of like, everybody goes and you see the same people or core at all festivals. So it is a bit difficult, of course, and the American market is...it's difficult to get over there to start with, and all the instrument hire, and...

So yeah...we can do the festivals, but unfortunately putting a tour together over there is almost impossible. We're not big enough yet...we haven't got enough people who could make a tour pay, and, you know...it is terrible that you have to think of money like this, but...unfortunately we do. We can't come home having to pay for our own performance.

Finally, those of you on the Frank Zappa merch mailing list know that there is a new Zappa DVD being released from the vaults, titled The Torture Never Stops. This is an apt title for a lot of long-suffering Zappaphiles who have been waiting patiently for the ZFT to finally released the long coveted Roxy DVD, which has been announced and promised for many years now (a trailer for this appears on the Baby Snakes DVD).

I am not going to get into the politics of the way releases are being made from the archives...there have been some strange choices, to be sure, but at the same time, several things have come out that are genuinely very interesting (Wazoo, the live Grand Wazoo release...the MOFO project (which has its own share of controversy)...Imaginary Diseases from the Petit Wazoo tour, et cetera).


The Roxy era band has been considered by many to be the peak of the early post-MOI Zappa groups...I mean, how can you complain about this as a band to play with:

Napoleon Murphy Brock – flute, saxophone, tenor saxophone, vocals
George Duke – synthesizer, keyboards, vocals
Bruce Fowler – trombone, dancer
Tom Fowler – bass guitar
Walt Fowler – trumpet, bass trumpet
Don Preston – synthesizer
Jeff Simmons – rhythm guitar, vocals
Chester Thompson – drums
Ruth Underwood – percussion

And yes, we have Baby Snakes on DVD, and The Dub Room Special, and Does Humour Belong in Music?, and now TTNS...but no Roxy.

And we wait.

Just like we've been waiting for...

Dance Me This
The Rage & The Fury
200 Motels (on DVD and/or CD)
A release of Uncle Meat without the 'penalty tracks'

I've long since given up trying to understand how releases get decided upon and scheduled. I'd just like to see Roxy before I die...

28 May 2008

Kansas: Two for the Show reissue/expanded edition info

Thirty years later, TWO FOR THE SHOW: 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION will arrive in stores July 1st on Kirshner/Epic/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT. The double-CD package will be housed in a beautifully designed, environmentally friendly, plastic-free soft pack, containing a 24-page full-color booklet with many unseen photographs, and a new liner notes essay written by Jeb Wright.

"Looking back," Wright reflects, "it is hard to believe that these six long-haired, rough and tumble Midwesterners took only a few years to go from playing local bars to selling out Madison Square Garden...but that is exactly what happened." Wright, a native of Topeka, Kansas - the band's hometown - is the owner/editor of Classic Rock Revisited online music magazine, which can be found at www.classicrockrevisited.com.

Wright also points out the story behind the album cover graphic - the familiar rendering of the two cleaning ladies seated in the empty red velvet orchestra seats after a show, their mops in view, perusing the Kansas playbill. It was based on a Norman Rockwell painting titled "The Charwomen" that originally appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post of April 6, 1946. The 1978 version went on to win an award from the Norman Rockwell Foundation. Today it serves as the homepage of the band's website, with the red curtained stage serving as the backdrop for the site views.

After five RIAA gold, platinum and multi-platinum LPs, the original release of Two For the Show was welcomed in November 1978 by fans of Kansas, a band whose career has always been based on their reputation as live performers. The double-album chronicled their mammoth tours of 1977-78, which built on the breakthrough success of their consecutive Top 5 LPs Leftoverture (1976, with "Carry On Wayward Son") and Point Of Know Return (1977, with "Point Of Know Return" and "Dust In the Wind").

To the delight of Kansas completists around the world, TWO FOR THE SHOW will finally restore the live version of "Closet Chronicles" to the playlist (on disc two). This rarity was first heard on the Point Of Know Return album, and as the B-side of the "Point Of Know Return" single. When the first-generation CD of Two For the Show was issued in 1989, "Closet Chronicles" (which preceded "Magnum Opus" as the next-to-last track on the double-LP) was cut for length reasons.

The live version of "Closet Chronicles" anchors CD two on the new package, whose 10 other live tracks gathered from the 1977-78 tours are previously unreleased. Among them is the closing track, the cover of J.J. Cale's "Bring It Back," which Kansas picked up from Cale's debut LP of 1971, Naturally. The band recorded it (as "Bringing It Back") on their own self-titled debut album of 1974, Kansas, on the Kirshner label, distributed by Epic Associated Labels. It remained their only non-Kansas composition recorded during their entire first decade 1974-83, and their nine studio LPs on Kirshner (before moving to MCA in 1986, when they began to record 'outside' material).

The album, Wright concludes, "is a testament to a great band at the top of their game. A large majority of the track listing is still found in the band's set list today, proving their music remains both majestic and timeless.This album is a true testament to their abilities. So, the time has come for me to Welcome you to Kansas and invite you to sit back, crank up the volume, and enjoy TWO FOR THE SHOW."

TWO FOR THE SHOW: 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (Kirshner/Epic/ Legacy 88697 30836 2, originally issued November 1978, as Kirshner 35660)

Disc One - Selections:
1. Song For America (B)
2. Point Of Know Return (E)
3. Paradox (E)
4. Icarus - Borne On Wings Of Steel (C)
5. Portrait (He Knew) (E)
6. Carry On Wayward Son (D)
7. Journey From Mariabronn (A)
8. Dust In the Wind - acoustic guitar solo (E)
9. Lonely Wind - piano solo (A)
10. Mysteries And Mayhem (C)
11. Excerpt From Lamplight Symphony (B)
12. The Wall (D)
13. Magnum Opus (D).

Disc Two - Selections:
1. Hopelessly Human (E)
2. Child Of Innocence (C)
3. Belexes (A)
4. Cheyenne Anthem (D)
5. Lonely Street (B)
6. Miracles Out Of Nowhere (D)
7. The Spider - drum solo (E)
8. Closet Chronicles (E)
9. Down The Road (B)
10. Sparks Of The Tempest (E)
11. Bringing It Back (A).
(All live tracks previously unreleased except number 10.)

Song originally from studio album:
(A) - Kansas (1974)
(B) - Song For America (1974)
(C) - Masque (1975)
(D) - Leftoverture (1976)
(E) - Point Of Know Return (1977)

27 May 2008

End of May 2008 gnosis2000 top 20

Been a while since I posted this, but...here's the current top 20 rated albums from the gnosis2000 rating site (covering prog/art rock/fusion/jazz/et cetera):

1) Banco del Mutuo Soccorso Darwin! Ita
2) King Crimson In the Court of the Crimson King Eng

3) King Crimson Larks Tongues In Aspic Eng

4) Genesis Selling England By The Pound Eng

5) Premiata Forneria Marconi Per Un Amico Ita

6) Änglagård Hybris Swe

7) Banco del Mutuo Soccorso Io Sono Nato Libero Ita

8) Hatfield and The North Rotter's Club Eng

9) Genesis Foxtrot Eng

10) National Health Of Queues And Cures Eng

11) Yes Close to the Edge Eng

12) Hatfield and The North Hatfield and The North Eng

13) Coltrane, John The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings (box) USA

14) Van der Graaf Generator Pawn Hearts Eng

15) Gentle Giant In A Glass House Eng

16) Premiata Forneria Marconi Storia Di Un Minuto Ita

17) Banco del Mutuo Soccorso Banco del Mutuo Soccorso Ita

18) Jethro Tull Thick as a Brick Eng

19) Davis, Miles Kind of Blue USA

20) Magma Hhai/Live Fra

When I last posted (February 2008), the following were the top 10:

1) King Crimson In the Court of the Crimson King Eng 1969
2) Banco del Mutuo Soccorso Darwin! Ita 1972
3) King Crimson Larks Tongues In Aspic Eng 1973
4) Änglagård Hybris Swe 1992
5) Genesis Selling England By The Pound Eng 1973
6) Hatfield and The North Rotter's Club Eng 1975
7) Premiata Forneria Marconi Per Un Amico Ita 1972
8) Banco del Mutuo Soccorso Io Sono Nato Libero Ita 1973
9) Genesis Foxtrot Eng 1972
10) National Health Of Queues And Cures Eng 1978

So, outside of a reshuffling of titles, the top ten remains consistent.

NEARfest after-show entertainment details

Here is the official rundown on the after-show entertainment at NEARfest X. All happenings will held at the Comfort Suites hotel bar on 3rd Street in Bethlehem and completely open to anyone. First off, Tom Gagliardi and the world-famous Gagliarchives Radio Show will broadcast live from the hotel bar on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Each night will be streamed online at Aural Moon (www.gagliarchives.com, www.auralmoon.com) beginning at 9:00pm ET.

The NJ ProgHouse After Parties will then kick off at 12:00 am. NEARfest attendees have plenty of time to hit the meet-and-greets after the headliners and not miss the performances. The schedule is as follows:

Friday: Laura Meade featuring John Galgano (IZZ)
Saturday: Might Could (
Sunday: Mr. A's Happy Fun Sing-Along and 10th Anniversary Drink-a-Thon

Hope you can join us!

22 May 2008

Mastermind Updates

This is from the band's latest newsletter:

Hello! Hola! Bonjour! Konnichiwa! Ciao! Hallo! Goddag! Ahoj! Hej! Shalom! Geia! Privet! Salut!

Hello everybody! After some time of inactivity Mastermind is rumbling to life again. If you've been by the web site and read the blog you have an idea of what is going on. We'll shed more light on why we took a break in the coming weeks, but it feels like the time is right to get going again. So what's up you ask?

First off, we will be on The Gagliarchives progressive rock radio show this Saturday, May 24, 10pm EDT [*] discussing the past, present & future of Mastermind and spinning some new material for your listening pleasure! The show is broadcast in southern NJ on 88.9FM and is available streaming off the web at

We have a new unreleased album that *will* be available later this year one way or another! We're creating new music again and plan to record brand new music over the coming months. No, we don't have a bass player currently, so no live shows in the foreseeable future. However, if a great opportunity comes up there are people we can call on if need be.

We've made our entire catalog available for digital download on "
mindawn.com". Mindawn is the only music service that offers FLAC audio for full CD quality downloads, and we want you to have full quality! To entice you to visit Mindawn, we've released two live archive recordings in digital format only...

"MASTERMIND LIVE 1995" which is quite a good recording of the original trio line up and what should have been our official live album of the period that has sat on the shelf for over ten years. This includes the only live recording of Tragic Symphony that we're aware of.

"Another Cold & Rainy Night" (Conduit Club Live 2002) features the quartet line up with Tracy McShane performing classic Mastermind material at full throttle. Visit the website for a track listings and visit
mindawn.com to hear both albums. Cover artwork for both albums is also available to download.

We have tons of stuff in the archives from live shows, demos, alternate recordings, unreleased material and video which we plan to offer in the coming weeks & months. It's a mind boggling amount of stuff to sift through, but we're hoping this will rekindle interest in the band and set the stage for a NEW album release, so please help spread the word. Over the years we've developed quite a loyal fanbase, we just need to remind some of you we are still here! We appreciate the great support we've received over the years from the prog rock community and hope to please you again in the near future.

Also as some may know, the brothers Berends have been performing locally as "The Berends Bros Band" revisiting our roots and keeping our chops sharp. We have some material written and recorded for this band and hope to get to that in the near future. For people in the Philly / New York area we have a few live dates coming up over the summer. Check our live shows page for details.


OK that's enough for now. Thanks for your interest in Mastermind!

21 May 2008

Pure Reason Revolution: Live at NEARfest release announced

It is with great excitement that we announce the release of Pure Reason Revolution: Live at NEARfest 2007. The British upstart quartet took the NEARfest stage by storm with their unique combination of hard-driving riffs, Pink Floyd-esque soundscapes and fabulous vocal harmonies. Already known for their powerful live show, Pure Reason Revolution took it to yet another level with this energetic and raw performance. The band was in top form at NEARfest and is captured live for the first time on Live at NEARfest 2007. The album will be release on June 20, 2008, the first day of NEARfest X.


1. Intro/In Aurélia

2. The Borgen's Vor

3. Deus Ex Machina

4. The Bright Ambassadors of Morning

5. Victorious Cupid

6. Voices in Winter

7. The Twyncyn/Trembling Willows

8. Golden Disco

9. Aeropause

10. Apprentice of the Universe

11. Nimos & Tambos

12. Arrival/The Intention Craft


Jon Courtney - Vocals, guitar, keyboards

Chloë Alper - Bass, vocals, keyboards

Jamie Willcox - Guitar, vocals, keyboards

Paul Glover - Drums

Mixed by Adam Whitaker
Recorded and Mastered by Brett Kull

Download MP3 a rough mix of "Deus Ex Machina" at

Catlog Number: NFR0010

NEARfest Records


17 May 2008

FestivAlterNativo 2008 announcement

From their press release:

Thanks to the invaluable support of the Instituto Queretano para la Cultura y las Artes (Culture and Arts Institute of Queretaro), the Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro "through the faculties of Political Sciences and Psychology- the municipality of Queretaro, The Municipality of San Juan del Rio, Luna Negra, S.C. and other private institutions, we have set the 2005, 2006 and 2007 editions of the cultural event FestivAlterNativo.

This event has been the stage for nine bands, national and international, representing a diversity of musical styles which have found a niche in the new music/ alternative scene: MARIONETA (Queretaro), MUSTANG (Queretaro), MANTIS ATEA (Morelia-Mexicali-Queretaro), SAENA featuring Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma & Margarita Botello-(Mexico City), CABEZAS DE CERA (Mexico City), BANDA ELASTICA (Mexico City), COLECTIVO KAOSS (Queretaro), AMAROK (Barcelona) and JORGE CAMPOS KUARTETO (Santiago de Chile- Toronto).

With a firm intention of continuing supporting the contemporary musical scene, both local and international, Luna Negra, S.C. have thought of the Fourth Edition of the FestivAlterNativo, scheduled for June 14th and 15th, 2008.

This year we will have to opportunity to enjoy the following roster of bands:

Saturday, June 14th:
SANTOSOTELOS Stick Duo (Mexico)
feat. Mauricio Sotelo of Cabezas de Cera and Hugo Santos of Saena-1870 (Mexico)

Sunday, June 15th:
SAENA (Mexico) -feat. Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma & Margarita Botelo
CAST (Mexico)
AMAROK (Calalonia, Spain)

16 May 2008

Reviews and more...

I just wanted to post a quick update about a bunch of reviews and stuff that have been posted, or will be posted soon-ish, that may be of some interest to you, Constant Readers.

The following reviews were published on Progscape yesterday:

Matthew Parmenter Horror Express 05/15/2008
Rainwound Shrouded Destiny 05/15/2008
Beardfish Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two 05/15/2008
Rod DeGeorge Cosmic Playground 05/15/2008

The following reviews have just been submitted:

Caamora She (2 CD release)
Caamora She (DVD release)

As soon as they are up, I will be providing links to interviews with the following artists:

Andy Tillison of The Tangent/Parallel or 90 Degrees
Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings/formerly Kaipa, The Tangent, Transatlantic

The following artists have interviews coming up:

Gary Lauzon of The Rebel Wheel
Jason Blake of Aziola Cry


Here's what I'm listening to recently:

Asia - Phoenix (Frontiers Music)
Alberto Rigoni - Something Different (Lion Music)
Nude Black Glass - Nude Black Glass (private release)
Fernwood - Almeria(private release)
Voluntary Mother Earth - Unacceptable Vegetable (private release)

You'll probably be getting links to reviews over the coming week or so.


NEARfest is about one month away now, and I suppose it goes without saying that I will be there. I'll be covering the event for a variety of outlets, and you will more than likely be getting all kinds of links to photo galleries, reviews, interviews and so on. I'll look into Blogger's voice post capabilities to see if there's any way I can push voice posts here as a stop gap over the course of the two days, but in the event that I cannot, I do have a personal blog that does allow for voice posting. I may simply post a link to that blog before the festival and ask that people hit that page over the course of the weekend if they were at all interested in a 'blogging as the festival goes' kind of thing.

Fish's "Clutching at Stars" at NEARfest

In the wake of NEARfest stepping up to sponsor him for his 2008 North American tour, Fish has offered to bring his critically-acclaimed "Clutching at Stars" performance to the NEARfest stage. This encore performance celebrating the 20th anniversary of Marillion's classic Clutching at Straws album, a fan-favorite and the last one featuring Fish, is a NEARfest-exclusive! The Clutching at Stars tour did not reach North American shores in 2007, so this is sure to be a very special show.

Tickets are still available for the show at https://ztickets.lehigh.edu, which is on Friday, June 20th starting at 7:00pm with Synergy as the opening act.

15 May 2008

Spock's Beard live release info

The long-awaited Spock's Beard live DVD and 2 CD set are now available for pre-order...

Release dates are Germany, Austria & Switzerland on June 13, the remainder of Europe on June 16 and North America on June 24, 2008.

Recorded live in Holland in 2007, it Includes:

On A Perfect Day

Mouth of Madness

Crack the Big Sky

The Slow Crash Landing Man

Return to Whatever

Surfing Down the Avalanche

Thoughts (Part 2)

Drum solo

Skeletons At The Feast

Walking On The Wind

Hereafter (Ryo solo)

As Far As The Mind Can See (Dreaming In The Age Of Answers, Here's A Man,They Know We Know, Stream Of Unconsciousness) Rearranged

The Water / Go The Way You Go medley.

The DVD and CD set contain the same songs. Check out the trailer:

UPDATE: New Genesis DVD a Wal-Mart exclusive title...

Following in the footsteps of the Egales and others...

Genesis Release When In Rome 2007 DVD, exclusively at Wal-Mart in the U.S.

When In Rome 2007 is a triple DVD featuring over 5 hours of material, shot during the band's hugely successful first tour in 15 years, Turn It On Again. The European tour ended with a show at Rome's Circo Massimo in front of 500,000 fans, and is captured here in its full glory. The package also includes a spectacular fly-on-the-wall documentary.

Available exclusively at Walmart, SamsClub and Genesis-Music.

Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford - returned after 15 years with one of 2007's most successful tours. After a series of brilliant stadium performances across Europe, the tour ended with a spellbinding grand finale in Rome as the band performed in front of 500,000 fans who filled the historic Circo Massimo for this free, open-air concert. Legendary director David Mallet captured the entire 2 hour and 36 minute spectacle with multiple cameras for When In Rome 2007.

This three-DVD set includes the entire concert, plus photo galleries, deleted scenes and photographic reproductions of tour programs. Additionally, the third disc contains "Come Rain Or Shine," an extraordinary fly-on-the-wall documentary filmed by Anthony Mathile that covers the entire tour from the planning stages in 2006 to the show in Rome. Pre-orders for this massive triple DVD set are now available exclusively at Walmart, SamsClub, and Genesis-Music. The DVD, scheduled for a June 10 release, will be available exclusively at Walmart, SamsClub and Genesis-Music.

Filmed on July 14, 2007, the show spans such Genesis classics as "Land Of Confusion" and "Mama" to older Genesis repertoire "Los Endos," "Carpet Crawlers" and the haunting "Ripples." Each track on the first two discs gives the viewer access to visual extras relating to each song on the DVD. Beautifully packaged in a slipcase, the DVD digi-pak includes a 28-page booklet.

The concert is a showcase for the classic Genesis line-up of Banks, Collins and Rutherford along with longtime sidemen Chester Thompson (drums) and Daryl Stuermer (guitar). The stunning stage production for the Turn It On Again tour included the largest screen ever used at a concert, spanning nearly 210 feet. The set was designed by world famous Mark Fisher and the spectacular lighting show, the work of genius Patrick Woodroffe. During the tour, Genesis played to a staggering 1.4 million fans during 22 European dates before heading to North America in September 2007 to play 25 more dates from Toronto to Los Angeles.

On the third disc, the nearly two-hour documentary, "Come Rain Or Shine," offers an unusually frank and humorous look into the dynamics of life on the road and the mechanics, decisions and presentation of a legendary band on tour for the first time in 15 years. The film charts the band's epic journey, including the very first meeting of the band at a rehearsal studio in New York in September 2006, planning the tour, capturing the real personalities behind Genesis and the pitfalls of planning of a multi-million dollar production.

Visit the When In Rome 2007 page at Genesis-Music.com.

14 May 2008

It's way early, but here are a few albums that have either come out or which are anticipated to come out this year, which have blown me away already, or for which I have great anticipation. As such, this is as much a potential teaser/spoiler for albums which may make my year end top 10 list. I'll look back at these at the end of the year and see how many made it.

Anyway, the list...

Matthew Parmenter - Horror Express
Opeth - Watershed
Beardfish - Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two
The Tangent - Not as Good as the Book
Van der Graaf Generator - Trisector
echolyn - title TBA (poss 2008 release, may be a 2009 release)
Pallas - Moment to Moment
nine inch nails - The Slip
The Red Masque - Fossil Eyes
Frogg Cafe - title TBA (poss 2008 release)
Jade Warrior - Now (poss 2008 release)
Magma - Emehnteht-Re (poss 2008 release)
Guapo - Elixirs

13 May 2008

John Rutsey dead at 55


John Rutsey, a founding member of Toronto rock band Rush, passed away this weekend according to Rush management company Anthem Entertainment. He was 55.

Rutsey was famous for playing on Rush’s 1974 debut album, including the song “In The Mood,” before deciding to leave the group due to health concerns. Rutsey suffered from diabetes and was unable to go on extended tours with the group.

Rutsey was replaced by dummer Neil Peart, which marked a turning point in the band’s sound towards progressive rock.

Rush formed in 1968 in Toronto and was originally composed of guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist Jeff Jones (who shortly thereafter was replaced by Geddy Lee) and Rutsey.

According to a 1989 interview with Alex Lifeson on the Rockline Radio program quoted by Wikipedia.org, Rutsey, “gave up playing (drums) shortly after he left the band and went into bodybuilding. He competed on an amateur level for a while, doing that for a few years.”

As of Monday afternoon, no official statement has been released on a cause of death, nor plans for a memorial service.

Nektar 2008-2009 tour dates

Fri 25th Jul 2008 Rengsdorf (near Bonn) Germany Rock and Blues festival
Sat 26th Jul 2008 Dietikon Switzerland Sounddock 14
Sun 10th Aug 2008 Bochum Germany Open Air - Bochum
Fri 7th Nov 2008 Leverkusen Germany Scala Jazzstage
Tue 11st Nov 2008 Pratteln Switzerland Z 7 Konzertfabrik
Thu 13rd Nov 2008 Lorsch Germany Musiktheater Rex
Sat 15th Nov 2008 Schwerin Germany Der Speicher
Sun 16th Nov 2008 Berlin Germany Frannz Club
Fri 21st Nov 2008 Hannover Germany Musikzentrum
Mon 24th Nov 2008 London UK Borderline
Fri 1st May 2009 Glenside Philadelphia PA USA Keswick Theater (ROSfest 2009)

10 May 2008

Rock in Opposition 2009 announced

Rock In Opposition France Event
April 17th, 18th & 19th 2009

The first edition of the France R.I.O. Festival, held in Carmaux in 2007, confirmed the enthusiasm of a large audience, coming from all over the world to attend this event, that some have labelled "historic".

To keep away from a certain "routine" that could harm the integrity of our musical choices and to secure firm financial and artistic partnerships, we decided that the next instalment of the France R.I.O. would take place in 2009.

So, the R.I.O. now becomes a biennial event. As the preparation of such an event is time-consuming, this frequency should provide us with the distance needed to conceive a programme as demanding and innovative as the first edition.

Once again, the Rock In Opposition 2009 will be an event of international quality. It will be held in the same musical venue that proved to be the perfect setting for listeners to enjoy really innovative music in optimal conditions: the "Maison de la Musique de Cap Découverte".

With an additional feature however: a special Opening Day will also be organised in Albi.

During the Festival, specific locations will be dedicated to record labels, press representatives or any relevant "movement" showing some fighting spirit in the field of contemporary musical expression.

Specific venues will also be provided to facilitate dialogue between the musicians and the audience.

Additional activities, such as artist residences, workshops, conferences, exhibitions and installations will also be organised within the framework of the festival.

The programme will be finalised by the end of September 2008 but the "Artists" section of the website will be regularly updated in order to keep you informed of "work in progress".

Rock is a struggle, a protest against injustice, a way of resisting everything that degrades the human being and his environment… A way of building a world more like us, a world based on self- and mutual respect… With no constraints and no concessions…

More than ever, Rock has to innovate, provoke, confront… More than ever, Rock has to be in opposition…

Roger Trigaux

From: http://www.somnius.com/amn/2008/05/09/rio-2009-festival-announced/

The tentative lineup includes:

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (USA)

Koenjihyakkei (JP)

Daevid Allen/Hugh Hopper/Chris Cutler (Aus/UK/USA)

Univers Zero (B)

Charles Hayward (UK)

Yolk (F)

Peter Brotzmann (D)

Univers Zero updates

Univers Zero at Le Triton November 14 and 15, 2008
These two concerts will be filmed for the DVD release.

Finally an archive CD is coming with live recordings from 1984, 1985 and 1986. It is coming out on Cuneiform Records and will be available (probably) early 2009


from March 31st, 1984 at The Pavillon in Hannover, Germany
PRESAGE (Daniel Denis)
PARADE (Daniel Denis)

from October 9th, 1985 at the Centre culturel de Seraing, Belgium
HEATWAVE (Andy Kirk)

from February 7th, 1986 at the Frankfurt Jazz Festival, Germany
EMANATIONS (Daniel Denis)

and a never recorded piece .....from February 25th, 1984 in Dottignies, Belgium
LIGNE CLAIRE (Daniel Denis)

Some notes:

Booklet with new photos and liner notes by Aymeric Leroy and Renato Moraes will probably make part of this wonderful package!

The piece marked with * used to be presented as the encore and sometimes named as L'ETRANGE MIXTURE DU DOCTEUR SPOCK and it is a more weird-free version over the classic DOCTEUR SCHWARTZ!

Andy Kirk thinks this version of THE FUNERAL PLAIN is the best ever performance of this piece! And if you think PRESAGE is energetic enough on UZED, wait to listen to this live version!

Hold your breath!

More concerts to be announced soon!

09 May 2008

Coming soon to a Bill's Prog Blog near you...

Wow, not a lot of planning on my part today. Sorry, constant readers. I have to admit that I've been spending much of the day working on some transcription of an interview from a few weeks back (I have two to do, and thank dog for friends willing to transcribe as well, or I'd be more than cross-eyed right now). Until my work is done there'll be no real pithy post up here.

But let me give you some teasers of upcoming content:

An interview with Jason Blake of progressive rock trio Aziola Cry (their last EP, Ghost Conversarions, made my 2007 year end top 10)...
An interview with Gary Lauzon, bassist of Quebecois band The Rebel Wheel (debut album now out on 10T records)...
A mid-year look at albums that have been blowing me away (a bit early, but forewarned is forearmed, or something)...

I am working on setting up a few more interviews as well...but you'll get nothing, not even a tease...until they're confirmed.

Until then, sit back, relax, and listen to some Jade Warrior or Enid whilst enjoying a cold frosty drink of your choice!

08 May 2008

Discovering discipline.

(Being the first in a series of slightly less news based, personal observational posts that will be showing up over the next few days...)

Let's turn the clock back, shall we? To a quieter and more innocent time, when yr. obd't blogger thought progressive rock was dead, save for a few still semi-active bands from that long-gone golden era who'd trot out their material on a semi-annual Summer Shed basis.

Yr. Obd't Blogger and his lovely wife were at just such a shed, the now renamed PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel NJ for a progtastic double bill of Emerson Lake and Palmer with Jethro Tull. This was my anniversary present to her, as she was a massive fan of both bands, and I enjoyed both bands equally. Inside the venue itself, there was a table with a banner for a publication called Progression Magazine, purporting to be the 'quarterly journal of progressive rock.' Intrigued, we picked up a card, and decided to order a subscription.

When the first issue arrived, we were shocked to see that not only was progressive rock (sort of) alive and (for the most part) well, there was an incredibly (semi) active underground scene and hundreds of (occasionally) new and unique bands presenting new material. We sat there, going through the magazine for days, and in the end, decided to each pick two bands and order a CD from each of them to see what was out there.

I know my wife picked Spocks Beard and Braindance, and I picked Mastermind and a band out of Michigan called discipline. I picked the later because the name reminded me of King Crimson, and I was hopeful that the hallmarks of what I liked in KC would be evident in this newer band I'd never heard of before.

The album I ordered was called unfolded like staircase. When it arrived, I was surprised to see there were only 4 songs on it...even more surprised when I found out the CD was over 60 minutes long. Cautiously I put it in my CD player and hit play.

I was blown away.

Dark, bits of violin and sax, fluid Howe-like guitars, and a voice unlike any I had ever heard before (this was long before I had heard of a group called Van der Graaf Generator). The lyrics were powerful and full of symbology, and I was hooked. Over the years, the hooks have gotten embedded deeper, rather than letting go.

I was a less tactful person in those distant days; I followed up that order with an order for their debut CD, Push and Profit. When I was accidentally sent a second copy of the new album, I sent it back with a sarcastic note saying I already had a copy, and that if they didn't have the debut in stock anymore, then I wanted my money back. The day after I sent it back, I got a second packet in the mail from their label, with the debut in it, and a handwritten note from Matthew Parmenter apologising for the mistake, and asking me to share the second copy with a friend. I felt like a heel.

Not long after the circle turned a little bit, and I began writing for Progression. One of my first reviews was of the discipline. album, with an ending line that I see quoted often for this album..."No neo-prog effort this, but a progressive statement of epic proportions that rocks."

Time passes. Tempus fugit. I miss seeing the band with the remnants of a relatively recently fractured echolyn in Philly, and before long, discipline. goes into hiatus. In 2002, I attend my first NEARfest, and discover that the Progday festival had several album releases of live performances from their annual fest; several had live discipline. tracks on them. Needless, I grabbed them quickly. Two years later, I get a packet in the mail from Strung Out Records, containing the new Matthew Parmenter solo album astray in it. I didn't order it...someone had it sent to me. Enclosed was another nice little note from MP. At that point, I start e-mailing him, and we develop a close acquaintanceship/I suppose friendship at this point. I start running a mailing list/e-group for him on Yahoo, and it's announced that he'll be doing a solo spotlight at NEARfest 2005.

NF 2005 was a rough one for me on a personal level, yet the highlight was his set. And the fact that I got to go on stage and do his introduction,which to this day amazes me. It was one of the most awesome (in the sense that I was filled with awe and almost unable to speak) things to ever happen to me. I got to spend a decent bit of time with him, talking to him, and so on. He gave me a copy of the re-released discipline. DVD gratis. And, when he found out that someone had taken my jewel cases and trayliners for the two discipline albums (I'd left the discs at home and had him sign the booklets), sent me new copies of both albums, again for free.

Skip forward to 2007. We get to the first day of NEARfest 2007, and co-organiser Rob LaDuca grabs me and says "Bill, I want to talk to you."

Nervous I am, until he tells me that he wanted to tell me first, before anyone else, who the first band signed for NF 2008 was, as I was such a huge fan: the reunited, classic quartet line-up of discipline. Matthew Parmenter, Paul Dzendel, Mathew Kennedy, and Jon Preston Bouda.

I think I squealed like a thirteen year old girl in the Ed Sullivan Theatre in 1964 when the Beatles played.

I then had to keep it secret till they announced it officially that day. At which time everyone that knew me there turned to see my reaction.

Needless, excitement was the theme of the day.

A little less than a year later, I've written a short bio for the NF page (having co-wrote the bio for the 2005 program when Matthew played solo)) and have in my grubby little paws Matthew's latest solo opus, Horror Express. 12 years on, give or take, from when I first saw the name, I am every bit as much a fan as I was when I heard the first notes of "Canto IV," a song that resonated so strongly with me that I took its title as a screen name for many years. My fandom is strengthened by the fact that I've gotten to know Matthew a little bit beyond the albums. It gives me a greater appreciation for the music I enjoy.

NF 2008 is a month and a half away, and something I have looked forward to for over a decade is finally going to happen; I am going to see discipline. live.

And the circle turns again...

07 May 2008



I apologise for the lack of information these past weeks. Andrew's exellent progress suffered a nasty setback in February. We did send out a newsletter to those on our mailing list, appealing for a renewed Hour Candle lighting and you responded in force. It is so heartening. After a tough 4 weeks, he finally rallied and began to stabilise. He was able to come home in late March and, since then, has gone from strength to strength.

We remain optimistic, even moreso now than ever before. It is, however, still a long road to recovery. He still has a number of side effects to deal with, both from the stem cell transplant and from the drugs he must take for the foreseeable future. But he is doing so with dignity and humour, now having fewer down days. They are always made easier by the support he has received from his family, friends, and this global Camel family.

My thanks to those of you who have sent so many kind words of support, many sharing similar experiences and some sharing experiences that did not have the happy outcome we are presently enjoying. Rarely are there words of expression to ease such heartache, and I would not be so bold as to think I could find them. I am honoured to be given such an intimate glimspe into a painful part of people's lives who, despite their loss, continued to wish for our success. That is a very great gift indeed.

In anticipation of some good news to come, I will close asking only that the candles keep burning.

My grateful thanks to you all,

Susan Hoover

Several various updates (Yes, NEARfest Records)


This has been circulating some, but for the benefit of anyone who may not yet have seen it, the following was published by Billboard:

Even as it prepares for its 40th anniversary tour this summer, Yes is working on new material, frontman Jon Anderson has revealed to Billboard.

Anderson says the progressive rock heroes are preparing four new songs of the "opus" variety -- lengthy, multi-movement compositions along the lines of Close to the Edge and Tales From Topographic Oceans.

"They're very, very different," Anderson says. "It'll be interesting when we perform them, because we know that we want to try and perform them in a unique fashion."

But Anderson adds that he's not sure those songs will wind up comprising Yes' first set of new material since 2001's Magnification. "Putting together an album really isn't logical anymore," he notes. "Putting together a large piece of music or something that is really a jump in a musical direction takes a lot of commitment from everybody.... But maybe during the tour we will discuss making some new music."

Anderson says he'd also be amenable to some sort of reunion of the Yes lineup that made the group's triple-platinum 1983 smash 90125 as well as 1987's Big Generator and 1994's Talk. He and Trevor Rabin, the guitarist and co-producer in that incarnation of the band, have been in discussions about "maybe touring some of that '80s-period music, because it was very special." But Anderson says he and Rabin aren't necessarily thinking about resurrecting that version of Yes as a recording entity. "I wouldn't do it, like, Yes," Anderson explains. "I'd do it like me and Trevor aspiring to be the two of us making music and see what we come up with.

The Yes anniversary tour kicks off July 12 at the Festival d'ete de Quebec in Quebec City.

NEARfest Records:

Chad Hutchinson posted the following at ProgressiveEars regarding future releases:

2006 (DVD) is next on the plan, but time permits too much being done at that moment. I'll have plenty of time in my "retirement" to focus on it.

A 2007 DVD is a different animal as neither headliner allowed recording of any kind. We're not sure of the wide-spread appeal of a product from '07 without Magma and Hawkwind on it. Another option though, is to do a combo '06-'07 DVD. We'll see. It depends on the response from '06 bands for the most part, especially Mr. (Keith) Emerson.

2008 is in progress. In theory, I think they'll all agree to it. Recording agreements for both audio and video will be sent out in the next week or so.

My focus, NFR-wise, right now is to get the live PRR (Pure Reason Revolution) CD designed and manufactured in time for NFX. Gonna be tight!

05 May 2008

SPROGfest UK - 3 weeks away!

Thanks to ProgressiveEars for bringing this to my attention:

SPROG '08 is just over 3 weeks away, and Festivals of this kind are getting very hard to find in the UK, so please give the guys all the support they deserve.

Details of the Festival below.

SPROG FEST 08 The second SOMERSET PROGRESSIVE ROCK FESTIVAL will be taking place on Sunday 25th May at the Cheese & Grain in Frome, Somerset, UK.

The big attraction this year is the recently reformed SOLSTICE who are receiving accolades everywhere for their mystical weave of soaring violin, filtering guitar and passionate female voices. EZRA bring all the qualities of classic melodic progressive music from South Wales. We welcome back CRIMSON SKY with a rocking new lineup. THE FAST CAMELS are a new young group from Glasgow who are becoming noticed for their charming 60's influences. GOTHIC CHICKEN play mad, mad music from Dorset.

Tickets available from the Cheese & Grain, £12.00 advance, £15.00 on door.

Website: www.cheeseandgrain.co.uk

The Cheese & Grain is one of the biggest and most popular music venues in the South West. Situated in the town centre of Frome, with lots of free parking. Food, good local beer and merchandise will all be available.

You can also buy tickets online at Ticketweb.co.uk (Keyword 'Sprog') - http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/

03 May 2008

In my listening pile...

This is what I am listening to this weekend:

Matthew Parmenter - Horror Express. I've 'known' Matthew since the last 1990's, when I randomly picked discipline as a band I wanted to check out. Since then., we've corresponded back and forth some, I've started running his Yahoogroup discussion group, and introduced him when he played his solo spotlight set at NEARfest 2005. Horror Express is his new solo album, and as of right now, on first listen...this will make my year-end top 10 list.

And I'm thanked in the credits, too :-)

Asia - Phoenix. Pulled from my review pile. No thoughts yet. Haven't listened once yet.

Rod DeGeorge - Cosmic Playground. Also from my to be reviewed pile. Looking it over, looks like a guitar based instrumental album. Song titles do seem to evoke the possibility of stylistic diversity. And he plays Mozart's "Rondo Alla Turca" (possibly the Brubeck arrangement?) so that might be interesting.

No Machine - A Terrible Thing. A last selection from the review pile. The cover looks...interesting. Songs are shorter. No idea what it sounds like or what I am getting into. Explorative listening with no preconceived thoughts...

02 May 2008

TFK update

From their official MySpace:

Just a quick hello to tell We're alive.

In fact we're alive to the point where we decided to rehearse a bit and to rehearse with two new members of the TFK tribe, 2 ? , yes that's correct.........most of you are already familiar with Erik Hammarstöm who will play drums for TFK but we've decided to bring in yet one more handyman.

Ola Heden will sing, play keyboards, guitar, percussion (dance)......well to augment where our little hands and heads are too busy......or used to be.

We've been working on getting the songs from last album into shape and lift them to a more detailed level even live. I left the rehearsal with a big smile........you'll figure out the rest.


go get CARPE DIEM - Live in USA when released (check your dealers)

also hurry to get tickets to our upcoming shows.

(yes we hope for a few more USA shows last week of August , but no west coast gigs this time, sorry.)

01 May 2008

Bay Area Rock Fest 2008: LTE, Enchant, more

Bay Area Rock Promotions is pleased to announce the 2nd annual Bay Area Rock Festival at the Independent in San Francisco on June 27th and 28th 2008. Liquid Tension Experiment and Jeff Scott Soto will headline the premier west coast festival for progressive and melodic music.

In 1998 and 1999, Liquid Tension Experiment released two instrumental albums that set the prog world on fire. The project featured Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci, virtuoso keyboardist Jordan Rudess and bass legend Tony Levin. After the success of the two albums and the project's undeniable chemistry, Rudess was asked to join Dream Theater full-time and the project was put on the shelf for an indefinite hiatus until now! The quartet has reunited to revisit the magical music they created 10 years ago and tap back into their chemistry for a whole new musical experiment. They are closing out their limited tour on Saturday night as the headliner of the festival.

Jeff Scott Soto headlines the first night of the festival, bringing his talented mix of rock, metal and funk back to San Francisco after recently fronting Journey. Joining him onstage for a special guest appearance will be Dave Meniketti and Phil Kennemore from Y&T, as well as Eric Martin.

Returning to the festival for a 2nd year are Bay Area bands Enchant and Zero Hour. Zero Hour is debuting their new album "The Dark Deceiver" available on Sensory Records. Making their North American debut Saturday night is Netherlands prog metal sensation Sun Caged. The Rocket Scientists with special guest Lana Lane will be appearing on Friday night. Additional bands will be announced at a later date.

Tickets for the festival will be on sale Sunday May 4th at Tickets.com. 2 day discounted festival passes will be available as well as single day tickets. Only 500 tickets will be made available. For more details visit www.bayarearockfest.com or www.independentsf.com

Zappa Plays Zappa updates

From the latest e-mail, some excerpts:

As you may or may not be aware, we here in "Zappaland" are busily preparing for another exciting Zappa Plays Zappa tour filled with new material as well as some old favorites. Before we hit the road again we will be releasing the Zappa Plays Zappa DVD from the 06 inaugural tour. The DVD is available at last in stores now and will be available as a 2 disc set and as a special fan pack that includes both DVD discs plus audio (3) CDs of the same material. A single compilation audio CD will also be available separately. It's in stores now!

But most interestingly...

...as well as One Shot Deal, the Exciting and New (and Official #83) Frank Zappa release available on CD here for the first time anywhere - through the local public television pledge programs' call-in number. (It will also become available on the ZPZ Tour de Frank and eventually online at Barfko-Swill.)