Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, Progarchists! Enjoy some Kate Bush.

Long lost RUSH — I’ve Been Runnin’ (Laura Secord Secondary School 1974)

From Radio.com and their interview with Alex Lifeson:

The thing that Rush fans are probably going to be most excited about is the footage from the 1974 show at the Laura Secord Secondary School. What do you remember about that performance? 

Oh my god, that was such a long time ago. I can vaguely remember it, I remember being on the stage in that auditorium in that school, and how all of the kids were sitting in their seats — no one was standing! —  and it was a little uncomfortable. But it’s a good example of the band we were at that time playing bars and high schools.

What goes through your mind when you watch the footage of you and Geddy performing with John Rutsey? 

Um, it’s funny. The things that I really noticed about it — this might be odd — is that we played so fast, all the time. I do recall playing everything quickly. We used to have a mono tape recorder that we used to record some shows. In fact, I might even have some of those old tapes lying around somewhere, from earlier in the ’70s.

Great! Stuff for the next box set!

[Laughs] Of course! But we were 19 years old, 20 years old: how quickly it all goes by.

For decades, Geddy has been the guy to speak to the audience at your shows, but he doesn’t do it a lot. After watching some of the footage from that performance, I realized that addressing the crowd used to be John’s role, and he seemed to enjoy it.

Yeah, very much so. He had a very witty sense of humor, and he had such balls. He would talk to the audience and say stuff; sometimes, I thought he’d get us killed. He was comfortable talking to people, and being that guy, whereas Geddy really wasn’t, and I’m not even sure he is that comfortable with it today. But John, he would tell stories, and tell jokes, he would pick someone from the audience and do running jokes with that person all night. He was really great at that. It was fun: those days were really fun with him. We were with him for six years. You know, John sang one or two songs… I think. He really didn’t have a singing voice, it was like a Bob Dylan-ish monotone. But there were a couple of songs that he sang, and he and I also did some backing vocals. His on-stage mic wasn’t just reserved for talking.

Tell me about the song “I’ve Been Runnin’”; not only had I never heard it, I’d never heard of it.

John wrote the lyrics back then. Geddy and I would generally write the music. Sometimes we would have band rehearsals and it would be all three of us, but it was always difficult to work out songs like that. It was easier for us to work on the music together and then teach it to John and go from there. We still do that with Neil [Peart], in fact. John did write the lyrics in those days for the most part. It was so weird when he didn’t want us to use his lyrics on the first album when we started to record it. It was a very strange time for us, just before he left the band. But to be honest with you, I’d totally forgotten about “I’ve Been Runnin’” until I saw it come up for this box set. That one was really lost to me. But it was a shuffle-y, Delta bluesy kind of song that we were inspired by via Led Zeppelin.

A lot of people think of Rush as a hard rock/progressive rock hybrid. But at that point, Rush was a garage rock band.

I don’t think that our quote-unquote “progressive” influences came in until Neil joined the band. Geddy and I were both leaning towards that kind of music, we loved what Yes was doing, and Jethro Tull, and of course we were big Pink Floyd fans. But John was a strong influence in the band and he was a real basic rocker. That was part of the reason for him leaving. There were other reasons: his health. But really when it came right down to it, he was a sort of Bad Company kind of rocker, and Ged and I want to move into something that was a bit meatier in terms of arrangements and performance.

Do you remember anything about “The Loser”? That’s the other original song from that set that never made it to an album.

I’d have to listen to it again! We did have a song… it was one of the first songs we wrote. It could be that song. If it is that song, we would have wrote it back in 1968. Again, it was very basic and very straight ahead rock.

You guys never really did “box sets,” because you never really had any “unreleased material.” But is there the potential for a collection of early unreleased stuff from the John Rutsey era?

There’s never any extra stuff, we only record what we need for the album. From that early period, there might be some tapes lying around, but I can’t imagine what sort of shape they’re in, 40 plus years later. Now I have them in storage, and I want to review them, but in the past there weren’t any kind of live performances. Actually, there was one from a high school, we recorded on both sides of the reel. Well, y’know, it was mono! And it was basically one mic in the middle of the stage. I remember listening to that over and over; it was probably recorded in 1971. But unfortunately, I don’t know what happened to that tape. We never thought about hanging on to that stuff back then. You think of something new and you say, “Forget about that old crap.”

Charge of the Dad Brigade

Neil McCormick surveys the reality:

“Fans are extremely loyal, and they love hearing new versions of old stuff. In fact, a lot of people would rather listen to that than a new album. Remarkable, really.”

But, let’s face it, an industry with a business model that depends on selling an ageing audience something that they already own is in big trouble. Thankfully, not every veteran is relying on their back catalogue. Neil Young and AC/DC have new albums on the schedules. And in the usual scheme of things Irish rock superstars U2 might have been expected to boost the Christmas sales with their new album, but instead they gave it away free on iTunes. Explaining their motives, Bono said “the charts are broken”. He has a point.

UK album sales have been in decline for most of the 21st century, down last year to a meagre 94 million from a 2004 peak of 163 million. CDs still account for nearly 80 per cent of those sales, although there are kids obsessively listening to music now who wouldn’t know what a CD was if you broke it over their heads.

Meanwhile, streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube are rapidly expanding, claiming worldwide listening numbers in the billions. These are forums where you can access music without actually owning it. To put it in perspective, U2’s 1987 album The Joshua Tree sold more than 25 million copies in the course of its lifetime. But U2’s Songs of Innocence has already been downloaded free more than 26 million times and actually listened to by more than 80 million iTunes users. By most criteria, you would have to call that a hit. But it only reached number six in the UK sales charts.

U2 have effectively opted to put their music where the majority of listeners might actually find it. The bigger point is that just because older fans still want to feel a physical object in their hands, it would be a mistake to think this means that oldies are taking over pop. The truth is, the kids are just having a different kind of conversation in an era of big pop singles, where individual tracks accessed online are all that really matters.

But you can’t put a download or a stream in a Christmas stocking.

Ben Cameron Project

Ben Cameron ProjectWhat’s new with The Ben Cameron Project?

It’s now been just over 5 months since the release of Tipping Point and I’m so thankful for the response it continues to receive. We’ve shipped off albums to over 25 countries around the world and the word just keeps on spreading. There’s also been a bunch more reviews come in recently from various websites, including one over at DPRP.net, as well as a nice video reviewfrom Marcel at Live Prog.

An extremely limited amount of CD’s have just become available for purchase on the Bandcamp site as well if you missed out on the first run, however I’d suggest you act fast as they may not last long. The digital version is of course still available as well on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon & CD Baby.

But what comes next??

Well, as of next month I will be relocating to London to begin working more intensely on album number two, as well as getting a group together to begin what will become the live side of the The Ben Cameron Project. This is a really exciting time for me, as things progress I’ll be sure to post updates to keep you all informed.

Thanks again to everyone for your support, remember that if you enjoy the music don’t be afraid to tell your friends, like, share, retweet, favourite and whatnot, anything at all really to get the word out. All the links are below.



The Ben Cameron Project

Website  Bandcamp  Facebook  Twitter


Here’s progarchy’s take on the first album: http://progarchy.com/2014/07/10/tipping-point-the-excellence-of-the-ben-cameron-project/

A Little Oingo Boingo for Halloween

Oingo Boing, Dead Man's Party, 1985.

Oingo Boing, Dead Man’s Party, 1985.

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing an uber-long post about Oingo Boingo over the past two years.  Obviously, I’ve never actually taken the plunge.  Partly because–as fascinated as I am by the band, the more I read about them, the less I like them.  Yet, for thirty years now, I’ve come back to their music at least once if not twice a year.  So, it might still be a while before I write on how faux 1980s-California psychedelic New Wave grew into pure dark progressive rock by the early 1990s.

Someday, maybe.

But, as we approach All Hallows’ Eve, who can’t resist the following?  Enjoy.

John Bassett is Unstoppable. And, We Couldn’t Be Happier.

ARCADE MESSIAH debut CD released Dec 1st – http://arcademessiah.com/

John Bassett (the singer, songwriter and producer of UK Progressive Rock BandKingBathmatwill release the debut CD of his new Metal project called “Arcade Messiah” on December 1st on Stereohead Records.

Arcade Messiah combines elements of Metal, Stoner, Doom, Prog, Math rock, and ambient post rock into a sonic maelstrom of seven instrumental songs.

John Bassett: “after writing and producing numerous KingBathmat albums and more recently the acoustic solo album “Unearth, I decided I wanted to create my first instrumental album, and I wanted it to be set, audibly and visually in a dark, bleak apocalyptic aura of despair and anger. I wanted to focus on enormous riffs & sorrowful yet powerful musical refrains and place them within a terrain of unusual time signatures interspersed by moments of psychedelic calm.”

You can view, embed and share the video at below link -

Arcade Messiah Website – http://arcademessiah.com/

For further information, press pack, Promo CD for reviews or features, request interviews etc contact – chris@stereohead.co.uk

John Bassett Website
John Bassett Facebook
Stereohead Records

John Bassett Bio
John Bassett is an English multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter and producer from Hastings, East Sussex. Primarily known for writing the music and producing the critically acclaimed albums by Progressive Rock act “KingBathmat”. He has so far released eight albums since 2003, with the last few through the record label Stereohead Records.

The last two album releases “Truth Button” & “Overcoming The Monster” have recieved much acclaim throughout the Progressive & Alternative Rock Communities leading to reviews and features in national magazines such as “Classic Rock Presents Prog”, “Shindig”. Bassett’s songwriting is characterised as being ”endlessly inventive, leaving you guessing what’s going to happen next, with plenty of harmonies and big hooks“.

March 2014 saw Bassett releasing his debut solo album, an acoustic album which exploited his songwriting skills and the production techniques he has acquired over the last ten years.

Recent reviews

One of the most impressive releases I’ve heard this year” – popmatters

There’s something in the sea air in Hastings that has turned prog ingenue John Bassett into one of our scene’s most prolific protagonists” Prog Magazine

“Kingbathmat are one of the most exciting bands that get labelled prog on the scene at the moment, and as this album proves they are so much more than just a prog band.This is an album you need to listen to, on headphones, in one sitting, so you are immersed in its majesty. Faultless.” – Classic Rock Society

one of the very best progressive releases this year, one though completely unique in voice” – Ringmaster Review

If your looking for one of best modern interpretations of classic progressive rock, KingBathmat and Overcoming the Monster is hidden gem.” – Dangerdog Music Reviews

Imagine what Sabbath would have been like if they collaborated with Porcupine Tree, Spock’s Beard and The Mars Volta”, “positively bursting with talent, full of innovation and musical dexterity” – Echos and Dust

This is what KingBathmat do best, inventive prog the leaves you guessing what’s going to happen next, with plenty of harmonies and big hooks” – Powerplay Magazine

If Kingbathmat keeps up with productivity levels and particularly delivering killer songs, there is no telling how much they can achieve” – Infernal Masquerade

imagine the Seattle grunge scene of the early 1990s having gone majorly prog.  A bit of Soundgarten, a bit of Screaming Trees, etc.  This is better.  Much better” -Progarchy

A highlight of 2013” – Musikreviews

It’s an absolute pleasure, and could be construed as ear sex…” – Metalmouth

A beautiful work that should enable the quartet Hastings to be on the list of my favorite albums at the end of the year.” Auxportesdumetal

This is undoubtedly their high water mark; creepy, tense, energetic, psychedelic, thoughtful.  A complex yet triumphant journey that any music fan needs to take.” -Headwarmer

As strange as the name Kingbathmat may be it’s a wonder it’s not bandied about more often in prog rock circles and internet discussion groups. These guys are just as killer – if not more so – as the bands they’re often compared to” , “Sure to make my list as one of the ten best albums of 2013.” – Prognaut

it is a monster of an album” – hallowed

I think that just about any fan of prog rock will find something to like about this album” – Progrocket

Just like its predecessor, Overcoming The Monster (2013) is a very good example that Progressive Rock mixed with more ‘modern’ approaches can be made. Sometimes bands end up copying themselves when it comes to this ‘modern prog’ and all of them sound the same. When it comes to KingBathmat, they’re quite unique in what they do. And you have to respect them for that! Highly recommended.” -Progshine

KingBathmat could well achieve the completely irrelevant rarity of having two of their albums in my top ten this year”, “KingBathmat is a synonym for open-minded creativity. Unlike some prog bands whose seriousness can be overwhelming, this band manages to inject intelligence, humour and levity into their song-writing, thus enabling them to share their music and making it a joy to experience” – Ave Noctum

Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the musical ideas of Bassett and co, it is difficult to predict how the course of musical events develops? Maybe that’s why “Overcoming The Monster” is so addictive and intriguing. 9/10” – Rockarea

A classic in the making!” – Liverpool Sound & Vision

Reflections on Transatlantic’s “KaLIVEascope”

TA4liveA kaleidoscope takes a mishmash of glass bits, pieces of plastic and paper, and combines them into symmetric images. Random elements are jumbled together and reflected into scenes of beautiful harmony and balance. Just like the kaleidoscope’s mirrors create beauty from seemingly incompatible pieces of broken glass, Transatlantic takes four exceedingly talented and strong personalities and combines them in ways that generate some of the most beautiful and powerful music today.

Transatlantic has just released a mammoth live set from their European tour in support of their recent album, Kaleidoscope, and it’s a scorcher. There are several different editions, and the smallest consists of 3 CDs/1 DVD (which is a steal at 23 USD). The CDs document their more than 3-hour-long show at Tilburg, The Netherlands, while the DVD covers their Cologne, Germany concert. The Tilburg show is really something special – Transatlantic and Neal Morse (as a solo artist) have performed there many times, and an obvious bond exists between the band and the audience. The DVD is very nice, because throughout the concert here is a huge screen behind the band with continually evolving kaleidoscopic/fractal patterns that enhance the viewing experience.

Transatlantic have grown tremendously as a group. For the uninitiated, it is a “super-group”, with members coming from some of the most successful prog acts ever: Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard, Flying Colors, solo), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Winery Dogs, Adrenaline Mob, Flying Colors, etc., etc.), Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), and Pete Trewavas (Marillion). Their first couple of albums, SMPTe and Bridge Across Forever were great, but one got the sense that the various members brought their own songs to the projects, and not a lot of collaboration happened. The musical interaction on their third album, The Whirlwind, was excellent, but the music had a sense of familiarity that was getting worrisome.

Fortunately, on Kaleidoscope, Transatlantic have truly come into their own as a group. It’s hard to tell where one member’s influence ends and another’s begins; they have established their own unique sound, and when all the parts lock together and take off, there isn’t another band that can touch them. The DVD documenting the making of Kaleidoscope confirms the collaborative nature of the songs – I had assumed that Neal Morse was the primary creative force, but surprisingly, Mike Portnoy comes across as the main driver of the composing and arranging.

For KaLIVEascope, the boys are supported by multi-instrumentalist Ted Leonard, which frees up Roine to concentrate on his gorgeous lead guitar lines. Mike Portnoy has to be the hardest-working drummer in show business – he is indefatigable through hours and hours of incredibly complex and lengthy songs. Neal Morse is the primary lead vocalist, and in both the Tilburg and Cologne shows he again demonstrates his uncanny ability to reach out and connect with the audience. Finally, both the CD and DVD mixes give bassist Pete Trewavas the prominence he deserves. I’m a sucker for energetic and melodic basslines, and Pete does not disappoint.

Both shows open with “Into the Blue”, off Kaleidoscope. Then comes “My New World” from their debut. Their performance of this song is a revelation, as Roine sounds like a fire’s been lit under him. It’s now one of my favorite songs from their extensive catalog. “Shine” follows, which is one of their most straightforward “pop” songs. There’s a 30 – minute “Whirlwind” medley, then Neal sings a brief “Beyond The Sun” alone. They immediately segue into the epic “Kaleidoscope” which is performed exceptionally well on the Cologne DVD. A highlight is a jazzy section where Neal and Roine bring to mind the classic live work of Jan Hammer and Jeff Beck.

At this point, most bands would call it a night and leave the stage utterly spent, but there’s much more music in store. Neal and Roine perform a beautiful duet on acoustic and electric guitars. Next is the perennial crowd singalong, “We All Need Some Light”, and then the show proper concludes with an electrifying performance of “Black As The Sky”. I’ve seen all of Transatalantic’s live DVDs, and on this song they are at the absolute top of their game. (Video is below)

For encores, the Tilburg and Cologne setlists diverge: Tilburg includes “Nights in White Satin”, and Focus’ “Sylvia/Hocus Pocus”, featuring Thys van Leer himself(!). The evening finally concludes with a rousing medley of “All Of The Above/Stranger In Your Soul”. The Cologne show skips the covers, and goes straight to the medley.

Transatlantic is not a super-group; they are a cohesive unit. They are far greater than the sum of their parts, and it shows in these performances. Even earlier material sounds new; they’ve achieved that mysterious ability of gifted musicians to anticipate each others’ next move, and push themselves to higher and higher levels.


The Banana Splits

ae1a74bd365df14e60f679db40f6eea2Is there such a thing as psychedelic children’s television programming?  Born in 1967, I loved this show and song more than any other as a child.  Is there anyone else in the progarchy audience who watched this as well?

Holy Schnikees, Arjen!

This looks simply amazing.

ayreon schnikees!

Rest in Peace, Jack Bruce


Jack Bruce, Cream’s extraordinarily talented bassist, has died at the age of 71. I have posted the full story below.




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