Sometimes I feel the need to pinch myself. A little over ten years ago I started a website to celebrate Progressive music or Prog Rock if you prefer. I came up with the moniker “The Progmeister” and began reviewing new music purchases and writing a blog. I am constantly surprised and humbled at what is in fact a hobby became such a large feature in my life. In the guise of the Progmeister I have been entrusted by many new bands and artistes as well as established acts. Some of them have even become friends. I was made to reflect on this recently when after a visit from a well-known artist who played me a yet unreleased album then invited me on a photo shoot for the album cover. With this kind of privilege comes responsibility though. Confidentiality, trust and discretion with people’s art.
With the misery of a pandemic and the general state of the globe sometimes all there seems to be is work and sleep, an almost Groundhog Day existence. Imagine then the ability to escape and do something for which I have no formal qualifications to do and be someone I want to be. The man with the steam punk hat, someone without the benefit of a higher education who is simply passionate about music. In recent years I expanded the Progmeister website by diluting the written reviews with that of the spoken word via a radio show. Starting out at ARFM Rock radio I began to earn my spurs learning more and more about an amazing community. Then a little over three years ago I joined the team at Progzilla Radio. Progzilla allowed me to further expand my knowledge and skills to ensure I could blend new music with old favourites.
When covid struck the world, I was presented with another steep learning curve, that of engineering my own show. This had previously been done by a music colleague with the necessary studio skills to both record and edit my shows. Without him I was faced with giving up or teaching myself how to record, edit and upload my shows to the station. Being a complete technophobe, this was never going to be easy. However, I persevered with the help of some great folks at Progzilla whom I must of tested the patience of on more than one occasion and can now perform all of the appropriate tasks needed to keep my show ongoing. Along with the privileges I described above I have also made many friends, not least my fellow presenters and those from other stations. I never kid myself about my status in the music scene. I am an unpaid critic, a hobbyist and a passionate advocate of great music that may not get heard via FM radio audiences.
Does it have a downside? Well yes it does. I have been trolled on numerous occasions and even unfriended on social media by others. A small price to pay for being part of a great community who are as passionate as me. Some folks I have communicated with or met have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre and are a pleasure to be around. To my dissenters please bare in mind that I don’t get paid by any artistes or radio stations, I have no allegiance to any one individual or organisation I am just a man having fun, remember that concept? I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot of people to thank. So, this is me thanking all of the bands and artiste’s for there trust in me and enriching my life in so many ways. I have been Steve Petch for 62 years now and every day throughout my working life and family I am just him, Steve Petch, partner, granda, dad and health professional. To those in the Prog community I am Steve Petch The Progmeister and it’s a great feeling being him.