All elements to explain why many musicians of that era are strong voice on their instrument. And more still, it's just an enjoyable read. My musical tastes are my own, developed not to impress others, but to keep me happy and interested. Ron Hubbard—style cosmic origin story but its own language Kobaïan, which reads like a sequence of Gothic expletives: Nebëhr gudahtt, Köhntarkösz. Frankly, they are more interesting than the bands who know three chords. It implied, and many of its practitioners believed, that prog actually was better than other forms of rock, better than Little Richard or Chuck Berry or Elvis or the Beatles. Oddly, despite its success, Pink Floyd is discussed far less, although that is perhaps because entire books have been written about the band and by its members.
I would need to hear the actual piece of music Weigel was talking about. The same was true of Yes. A great primer on an unfairly-maligned genre. I was surprised at how small it actually was. If you're gonna talk about music, Rudy, at least listen to it first!! The oft-derided sub-genre is defined by its emphasis on virtuosity and experimentation, its love of concept albums, lunatic ambition, and unusual time signatures, but it was also defined by its pioneering and adventurous use of synthesizers and Mellotrons and other early electronic instruments that expanded the sonic possibilities of pop music. The negative reviews say the book starts off well, but the second half falters. Exploration in music, just like the arts, is not something that does not exist in just one pinpoint spot in this world.
These, though, were the exceptions. I think I know very little about prog rock as a genre, and yet I knew enough to understand what I was reading and mostly follow along as the narrative jumped from band to band. There's probably a half dozen or more such albums on my iPod right now. Back in the day I played in a local prog rock band that was heavily influenced by Fates Warning etc. In fact, not much mention of Pink Floyd at all. One of my favorite reads of the last year. A section on the Moog follows, mostly featuring Keith Emerson, followed by Genesis, the evolution of Yes , and then a long chapter on the wild Mike Oldfield, who started out as a bass player for Kevin Ayers' group the Whole World.
His scathing criticisms were clearly an attempt to troll the prog community, as he wrote. This book was fun to read and obviously written with love for the much maligned, prog rock. It just took a back seat, just like Rock did. Weigel illustrates that in its own way, prog rock was rebel music. Another quibble is the poorly selected photos. If you're hip and with-it, you'll immediately leap in the mosh pit for the Ramones, the pioneers of punk.
The irony to me is that it is post-punk stuff that tends be pretentious. Being a progressive rock artist myself, I don't appreciate a lot of the negative comments that people have made over the years about the genre. But it's not always clear which of these acts had the most influence objectively or subjectively on the shape and development of prog. He starts with the leading figures of the early Canterbury Scene, Daevid Allen, Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, along with all the musicians they played with, and continues following them chronologically throughout the whole book. In time, I started drifting into goth and punk and industrial and all manner of other varieties, but never forgot my prog roots.
It is sad to see how high they flew and how hard they crashed. But Bon Jovi, and Aerosmith stepped up to the plate in the late 80s and brought back Rock music to the mainstream. You needed to tell a saber-toothed tiger from a gust of wind. This music was as big as anything, how did it get that way, and why did the tide turn against it? One of the first albums I ever heard was Alice Cooper Killer. And then, like justice, came the Ramones. I was insulted by this book, not once, not twice, but at least three times.
It deserves a great treatment. Books are essential because they satiate curiosity, they expand your knowledge, they make the world at once more wondrous and mysterious and more knowable. So the conflicting attitudes, discordant instrumentation, and jerky rhythms and tempos of prog keep us constantly on edge. Epitomized by such classic, chart-topping bands as Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, and Emerson Lake Palmer, along with such successors as Rush, Marillion, Asia, Styx, and Porcupine Tree, prog sold hundreds of millions of records. I would recommend this to be read and you will enjoy it.
However in casting so wide a net we end up with a pretty shallow book that fails to do much else than package anecdotes and tales in a chronology. Caught up in the midst of the prog rock movement, I also admit I'm one of those who bailed when, by the end of the 1970s, it was derided and ridiculed. Enough time has passed since the chart-topping Nixon- through Carter-era achievements of Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer and Genesis to ensure that any affront to culture or taste have vanished like the smoke bombs at a Gentle Giant concert. However, HighBridge audio really missed an opportunity by not including at least one extra disc of actual music - how cool would that have been? But for someone like me, it didn't help. And so I do recommend the audiobook, since this is something you can listen to without worrying about following the plot; you won't really miss much if you zone out for a bit.
The book is loosely organized, chronologically, and primarily focuses on English prog of the 60s, 70s and 80s. The book has some great stories and quotes from Fripp, Lake, Ayers, Allen, Howe, etc. It also reflects the heavily British source of the musicians. It all depends on your mood. Definitely a must-read if you're a prog fan, and worth reading even if you're just curious.
Yes, Steve Hackett, Rush, have all been making this music all along. His entire thesis is reserved for the book's final pages -- I wish he'd brought that editorial voice into more of the book's body. Ultimately, Weigel defends prog from the enormous derision it has received for a generation, and he reveals the new critical respect and popularity it has achieved in its contemporary resurgence. And he explores the rise of new instruments into the prog mix, such as the synthesizer, flute, mellotron, and—famously—the double-neck guitar. David Weigel purports to be a huge prog rock fan, and one of the goals of his book is to refute the staunch, pretentious reputation that prog rock has in the mainstream culture. Declining record sales and Changes in the music industry led to labels dumping progressive rock bands. It brought into the mainstream concept albums, spaced-out cover art, crazy time signatures, multitrack recording, and stagecraft so bombastic it was spoofed in the classic movie This Is Spinal Tap.