Ayreon: A Dutch Progger in King Arthur’s Court

ayreonthefinalexperimencr9I often joke with my students that I can still remember the days when listening to progressive rock and watching Dr. Who could get a kid beaten up.  Yes, 1981.  I remember it well.  Seventh grade at Liberty Junior High in Hutchinson, Kansas.  Yet, it’s now 2013, and I’m still listening to Rush and watching Dr. Who.  Obviously, I survived the bullies

But, I can get even nerdier.  Much nerdier.  I was also a huge Dungeons and Dragons guy.  Yes, 1981.  I remember it well.  Yet, it’s now 2013, and I’m still playing DnD.  Now, with my kids.

My love of all things progressive (music; not politics!), science fiction, and fantasy have come together quite nicely in a number of direct ways: Rush, Roswell Six, Rush again, Ayreon, more Rush, Cosmograf, Glass Hammer, The Tangent, Rush, Kansas, Star One, Spock’s Beard, and even more Rush.

Surprisingly, though, only a few rock bands have really explored the Arthurian legends.  Those artists that have–such as Rick Wakeman and Gary Hughes–have gone all out, making nothing less than elaborate rock operas.  While Wakeman’s Arthur seems rather French, Hughes’s remains very Celtic.

The French legends, generally centering on the love affair of Lancelot and Gwenivere, usually reflect the medieval notions of courtship as inherited from the Moors.  The Celtic legends are almost always more mystical, suggesting strong relations between the Celtic gods (a twilight) and the Christian God.  Famously, one Celtic god, Bran the Blessed, even went so far as to sacrifice himself so that the Christian God could reign supreme.  How often does this happen in pagan myth?

Continue reading “Ayreon: A Dutch Progger in King Arthur’s Court”