This is indeed a very depressing time and seemingly steeped in misery. Social and political revolutions taking place around the world, Nature rebelling against the human abuse of the Earth’s natural resources, the widening disparity between rich and poor and the general decay of society. I suppose it was bound to happen eventually given the amount of people walking the Earth.
Like many other elements of life, the music scene as we know it now is suffering too. From X-Factor to inner city buskers, all are feeling the pinch. It is because of such austerity imposed upon us all that it is to say the least, bewildering that a box set of Pink Floyd’s back catalogue retailing at £159 recently hit the various shops and online outlets.
When many bands from all genres of music are cancelling gigs because of poor ticket sales and having their music stolen by illegal downloaders it seems that record company moguls and marketing guru’s still know how to turn a buck. The temptations to spend what is a dwindling disposable income on such items are great. The recent re-release of Emerson, Lake, & Palmers albums on 180g vinyl had my hand reaching for my Barclay card until a sense of reason kicked in and I thought of the many new recordings I would and should purchase instead.
I find myself saluting the many bands out there in Prog land that self-fund their various projects, taking pride over every last detail from the production to the packaging. Many of today’s prog bands are manned by personnel in full time employment working tirelessly at their day jobs and recording and playing in their own time. Many of the other stalwart progster’s have had to diversify and up their game to stay in the grand order of things.
Whilst bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, ELP et al paved the way for the likes of Marillion and IQ, I fear a degree of resting on their laurels has now firmly set in. There are of course notable exceptions like Steve Hackett for whom I have the greatest respect. I find it very frustrating that many tribute bands as good as they are command larger audiences that some original artistes who have spent a copious amount of time and money recording and playing their music.
Indeed some tribute bands have within their ranks talented writers and musicians who put their own projects on hold or on the back burner to make a better living by performing to the nostalgia seekers. No harm at all in this. Being of a certain age I enjoy such evenings though I feel it very important to support the true modern prog bands who are keeping progressive music alive.
I was proud to have bands like Combination Head, Manning and John Hackett play at the Progmeister festival in March and next year I hope to have a full bill of original prog artistes of the highest quality. My worry of course is that in the present economic climate, I fail to sell the required amount of tickets. My view is that any such event should be supported in a bid to keep talented musicians recording and wanting to entertain us all.
In a world where money is slowly being devalued and companies wanting everything from your gold tie pin to your dental fillings are cropping up and advertising everywhere, we should all take solace in the things that we love the most, especially when it comes to music. Talented genius like Peter Gabriel will always have quality products for us to buy and covet, however, there are a myriad of talented bands out there which I would council you apportion some of your budget. As I write I hold in my hand the new Manning album “Margaret’s Children” and a superb album by Also Eden called “Think Of The Children”, both high quality items.
In a time where everything is so damned expensive and the quality of radio, television programming and other media leave a lot to be desired, may I suggest that prog fans return to doing what we did from the outset and escape in the landscapes and musical eccentricity of prog? There is still a lot to discover and enjoy thanks to many die hard prog musicians, it remains our aim to keep you informed about them. Keep the faith!