Prog Rock Bands today

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by miko, Sep 16, 2003.

  1. sorry i'm posting so much. i have high speed connection today and it's a blast.

    anyhow -- just wondering what the verdict is these days on "prog" rock. i put prog in quotes because it seems to mean something totally different to a new generation of music lovers than it did when i was into it.

    i'm essentially talking about rock music that's out of the mainstream of rock, and usually a little more musically bloated and harmonically complex than the standard rock/punk fare. some older talkbassers might give it a general definition of "rock or hard rock mixed with western classical music." yes, king crimson, tull, rush, gentle giant, genesis, brand x and happy the man were all clumped into this league at one point back in the day.

    i know there is now kind of a prog metal scene happening, though i haven't actively followed it. i'm hip to some bands like merillion and spock's beard, but i know there are quite a few others.

    so what's the thinking in terms of the likeability/accessibility of this kind of music nowadays? do people like it? do young people like it? is it seen as a dated music form for aging hipsters? i'd love to hear from younger tbers, if at all possible.

    i ask because at one point we were labeling ourselves prog rock, coz we had twenty minute songs, a real fusion feel [rock/jazz, but very heavy], and some of the other trappings of the genre [eg, no discernable chorus/verse or strict song form].

    we've revamped our sound considerably since then, given that i can't pull off terri bozzio/ neil peart/bill bruford licks at every juncture. but i'd say our music is still a little different than most mainstream rock, even if we have written 4 new tunes that are much more straightforward. most of our music is odd meter.

    just wondering what the level of interest in this type of music is these days. i'm always surprised when people clap a lot at our 20-minute number [well, actually it's down to 8 minutes now.]

    i for one pray for the day when the cycles turn and prog becomes big again. i'm not necessarily into the fairydust-and-unicorn aspect of the music anymore, as i still want to rock hard, but i loved the excitement and creativity and musicianship that went into some of those bands. and i still listen to innermounting flame and starless and bible black real loud.


  2. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    This thread should be in Miscellaneous - I'll move it there.

    As for me, I don't know if I count as "young" anymore (I'm 25) but I think anyone who has an interest in music from a musician's point of view should be able to at least appreciate it. Non-musicians, I'm not so sure about.

    My first steps into prog were when I got addicted to old King Crimson stuff at the age of 17. If I'd heard that before I started playing, I wouldn't have liked it.
  3. Most musicians who are into the technical aspects of playing will like it and/or appreciate it. People that don't play an instrument will probably just be bored.
  4. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Some may be bored. Others will probably like it. You just have to find that niche.

    Getting "airtime" in any format is trickier however, because the way that ad time is purchased on radio and TV. A station managers main concern will be the songs' ability to keep and hold an audience for an extended period. If you have a "catchy" song but it is 8-12 minutes long, expect it to be severly edited for either medium.

    Good luck.
  5. I am older (39) and grew up on Yes, ELP, King Crimson, etc.

    There are some people listening - i can think of 2 people right off the top of my head that are into Spock's Beard (one's a sorta bass player, the other is a sound engineer). These are older people, though.

    There is another band from Sweden (I think) called the Flower Kings...that stuff is pretty good.

  6. i heard of the flower kings. their drummer is tremendous. i think they've been around for a rather long time.

    i sometimes tend to think that bands that are liked by other musicians do well. a lot of the grunge bands were into one another, and helped each other gain exposure by default.

    hopefully, i'm not giving the impression our band is a bunch of 70's leftovers dressed up like robin hood. we're really hard rockers in leather jackets and shiny stuff deep down. it's just that much of that music shaped our musical impression. well, 'cept for our bassist :p in reality, people tell us that we sound like sabbath and zep and voivod. and some of our stuff even leans toward the punkish.

    i just wish we lived in an era where musical creativity, expression and experimentation was embraced more, like in the 60s and some of the 70s.

    :meh: m
  7. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Prog rock is IMO alive and well, altho the bands may be nothing like the old bands.

    Tool, Meshuggah, Mudvayne, Porcupine Tree, are some of my favorite new bands, and I would definately consider them progressive.

    Dream Theater, progressive in that it's ultra technical, could also be described as a wank-fest.

    Attention Deficit, DEFINATATELY progressive, perhaps Prog-Fusion? hehe

    For some Reason, the old "original" King Crimson, with Greg Lake on bass,, before Bill Bruford,, doesnt sound that "progressive" to me. Sounds like guitar rock with mellotron and a wanna-be jazz drummer. No real odd time signatures, no real technical playing.

    I would definately consider Mahavishnu Orchestra MUCH more progressive than early King Crimson, they had the odd time signatures, great guitar, great drumming, VIOLIN, Keyboards, bass is mediocre IMO,, BUT STILL.... Return to Forever with Lenny White and Al Dimeola was extremely Progressive,, Jaco was progressive....


    What does Progressive really mean? We could debate this for years.
  8. The Mars Volta is seen by many as a new "Prog-rock" band, and I agree, though not in the classical sense of Prog-rock as in huge symphonic production, but in the sense that there music really is doing something new and interesting, and making themselves into something more than rockstars or road dogs.

    They basically took punk and interspersed Latin and world music, ambience and all manner of other things into their sound. That, along with extremely obtuse but vivid lyrics, puts them head and shoulders above most bands today interms of creativity mixed with musical prowess.
  9. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    "lord Only" cool new prog rock!
  10. misterk73


    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    My guitar player and I were discussing this recently, trying to figure out the differences between prog and fusion, some artists in each genre, and what we as a band are leaning towards. I sent him to these two links:



    He seemed pretty satisfied with the discussion of prog and fusion and was happy to have some bands to check out, but we still have no idea exactly what kind of music we're trying to play.

    As someone already mentioned, neither prog nor fusion is what it used to be 5, 10, or 20 years ago, but it still exists and there's definitely still an audience for challenging music out there...somewhere.
  11. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Could the tongue be in any more deeper?

    The answer is, 'no, none more deeper' :p
  12. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    Ouch, a little lube before you just cram it in please, A kiss or something,dinner, hey just helping someone who deserves It. Anything to help a "Family Member".

    And where I put my tounge is my business :eek: ;) :D
  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    thanks man. the check is in the mail :D
  14. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    Finally, I get a little love. :p

    I hope it's a big check!! :ninja:
  15. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I think prog by it's very definition cannot be what it used to be, otherwise it's not prog. Prog to me is music that pushes a creative envelope, taking music into new, unexplored territory. It doesn't need to be technical at all.

    King Crimson I think is the perfect marriage between technique and musicality. True, the older stuff can sound somewhat dated, but oftentimes it's still light years ahead of what others are still doing. The new stuff is still pushing the creative envelope in a big way.

    New guys carrying the torch? Radiohead, NIN, Squarepusher, Death Cube K, Earl Harvin Trio, etc., could all be considered prog in some way. Is Dream Theatre prog? Not in my mind, because the only thing they really seem to do is play technical stuff, yet not really doing anything "new" with it. Prog is not defined by chops, but by creativity. And hopfully creativity will always have a place in music.
  16. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    i don't have much time but i think the following should be mentioned in this thread:

    spiral architect, gordian knot, cynic, aghora, pain of salvation
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I have nothing to add to the thread, but I was just taken with this phrase - so this is seen as a good thing!!! ???? ;)
  18. misterk73


    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    That caught my eye, too! Nothing like a "musically bloated" composition to lift your spirits and stir the soul!

    I'm sure Miko didn't mean it THAT way .. although I suppose the unfortunate truth is that for many -- if not most -- music consumers, anything longer than 3-1/2 minutes that lacks a central riff and traditional verse-chorus-verse structure is "musically bloated." Guess that's one reason why progressive music doesn't get much radio play these days...
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It brought to mind articles I had read along the lines of :

    The bloated corpse of Prog rock lies festering in 1976!! ;)
  20. i'm happy to know i'm not totally in the minority! looking forward to checking out some of the aforementioned bands, too.

    as to the bloated comment -- that's more from an article i had read, actually, that used that term to describe the music. i agree, some of the older-school stuff can be a bit bombastic, but i guess that's what i loved about it.

    i also agree with the comment that new prog can't be like old prog coz then it's not prog! it's like jazz in a way, i suppose. however, i still find a lot of people will use the term "progressive," and then when i listen to what they're talking about, i find the music very one-dimensional.

    i think part of what makes our band's music feel progressive to me is our gtr and bassist's harmonic sense, and some of the chord voicings the guitarist uses. they're jazz-based, but the way he uses them, in a real heavy context, makes them non-bluesy, and non-metallica-y. we also do the odd-time thing a lot, which some people love and others get uncomfortable with. i just really respond deeply to the music and hope some day others will, too. we'd probably stand a helluva chance in africa!:p

    peace and rock-