Forum Home Forum Home > Progressive Music Lounges > Prog Bands, Artists and Genres Appreciation
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Phil Shulman's role in Gentle Giant
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Phil Shulman's role in Gentle Giant

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
Borris View Drop Down
Forum Newbie
Forum Newbie


Joined: February 13 2009
Location: New Zealand
Status: Offline
Points: 25
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Borris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Phil Shulman's role in Gentle Giant
    Posted: November 26 2016 at 16:00
Hi There,

I'm interested to know how people regard the contribution of Phil to Gentle Giant. The did 3 great albums after he left with Glass House, Free Hand and Power and The Glory so I guess to many fans it didn't seem like a great loss and might not think about it too much. But I'm intrigued by him, he has got a great singing voice and I understand he may have been the main lyricist for the first 4 albums. I'm assuming he had the appreciation of Rabelais' Giants which could have been the origin of the name. There are 3 good interviews with his son below and they suggest that lyrically he liked the story telling element which is strong in those early albums. There are also a lot of literary allusions on the albums with Phil, that disappeared after he went. I don't get the impression he was vitally important instrumentally. 

So please give me your thoughts on Phil's contribution to Gentle Giant.

Phil Shulman interviews:
Part1:
https://youtu.be/jZ8puqroIas
Part 2:
https://youtu.be/9qp3to1KDIw
Part 3 This one deals with Gentle Giant:
https://youtu.be/yf3T-x4sfnY
Back to Top
zravkapt View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Post/Math Rock Team

Joined: October 12 2010
Location: Canada
Status: Offline
Points: 6441
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zravkapt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 26 2016 at 16:07
They lost a warmth and atmosphere when Phil left; their music became more mechanical and cold...still good just not great like before.
Magma America Great Make Again
Back to Top
Borris View Drop Down
Forum Newbie
Forum Newbie


Joined: February 13 2009
Location: New Zealand
Status: Offline
Points: 25
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Borris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 26 2016 at 22:52
His departure must have changed their live concerts quite a bit too as I understand Kerry Minnear didn't sing lead in concerts so Derek would become their sole live lead vocalist.
Back to Top
Slartibartfast View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: April 29 2006
Location: Atlantais
Status: Offline
Points: 28022
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2016 at 04:51
I got into GG with The Power And The Glory.  It remains a timeless statement about politics.  I was forunate to see them in Atlanta when they had about five tours before they called it quits.  They had made a stab at pop with Giant For A Day which I used to hate, but have come to terms with.  Inside Out from Civilian still gives me the creeps.
Back to Top
zravkapt View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Post/Math Rock Team

Joined: October 12 2010
Location: Canada
Status: Offline
Points: 6441
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zravkapt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2016 at 06:27
^And your opinion of Phil is?.....
Magma America Great Make Again
Back to Top
rogerthat View Drop Down
Collaborator
Collaborator

Crossover Team

Joined: September 03 2006
Location: .
Status: Offline
Points: 7308
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2016 at 07:12
My favourite GG albums are either of Acquiring The Taste, Octopus or Free Hand.  So I like both versions of the band and don't really see this steep slide in quality post-Phil.  I don't think emotional resonance was ever their forte and said as much in an earlier thread.  The music moved closer to funk from a rock/folk blend post-Phil and maybe this is what a lot of the fans of the Phil era didn't like.  Since I like funk anyway, I don't find that to be a problem and imo GG's goofiness works a little better when they lean more towards funk a la Just The Same/Time to Kill.
Back to Top
Magnum Vaeltaja View Drop Down
Collaborator
Collaborator
Avatar
Eclectic Prog Team

Joined: July 01 2015
Location: Ontario
Status: Offline
Points: 5520
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Magnum Vaeltaja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2016 at 17:54
Originally posted by zravkapt zravkapt wrote:

They lost a warmth and atmosphere when Phil left; their music became more mechanical and cold...still good just not great like before.

Preach brotha. The first 4 GG albums had soul, man. 
when i was a kid a doller was worth ten dollers - now a doller couldnt even buy you fifty cents
Back to Top
Mascodagama View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: December 30 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Online
Points: 2425
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mascodagama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2016 at 18:21
Originally posted by Magnum Vaeltaja Magnum Vaeltaja wrote:

Originally posted by zravkapt zravkapt wrote:

They lost a warmth and atmosphere when Phil left; their music became more mechanical and cold...still good just not great like before.


Preach brotha. The first 4 GG albums had soul, man. 


I'm pretty much with you guys. The only post-Phil album I unconditionally love is TPATG.
Back to Top
Dellinger View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: June 18 2009
Location: Mexico
Status: Offline
Points: 7185
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dellinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2016 at 21:32
Originally posted by Mascodagama Mascodagama wrote:

Originally posted by Magnum Vaeltaja Magnum Vaeltaja wrote:

Originally posted by zravkapt zravkapt wrote:

They lost a warmth and atmosphere when Phil left; their music became more mechanical and cold...still good just not great like before.


Preach brotha. The first 4 GG albums had soul, man. 


I'm pretty much with you guys. The only post-Phil album I unconditionally love is TPATG.


The first Gentle Giant album I got was "Playing the Fool" (since I am fond to try live albums first to get an overview of band's careersu up to that point, and that particular album had such great reviews), and it almost led me to not try them out any further, for I just couldn't get much enjoyment out of it (and that reinforced by the fact I had checked out "The Power and the Glory" on Youtube and didn't do much for me either)... but somehow I decided to give their earlier studio albums a chance and, well, I did love their first two albums, and sort of liked the next two also, but they already began to show signs of the elements I didn't like from the albums I had checked before... so, I'm not sure what exactly might have been, but I believe Phil was a very important element for what I liked from GG on their early albums, and perhaps the attempt of the band to shift the sound is what made him leave.
Back to Top
Darious View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: August 30 2014
Location: Poole, UK
Status: Offline
Points: 229
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darious Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 28 2016 at 02:42
Originally posted by Borris Borris wrote:

So please give me your thoughts on Phil's contribution to Gentle Giant.
Excellent interviews. And yes, with Phil's departure from Gentle Giant it was the beginning of the end for the group
Writing about truth is a little bit like getting your dick out in public and hoping no one laughs (Steve Hogarth)
Back to Top
BarryGlibb View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: August 28 2010
Location: Melbourne, Oz
Status: Offline
Points: 961
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BarryGlibb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2016 at 02:19
Originally posted by Darious Darious wrote:

Originally posted by Borris Borris wrote:

So please give me your thoughts on Phil's contribution to Gentle Giant.
Excellent interviews. And yes, with Phil's departure from Gentle Giant it was the beginning of the end for the group


The "beginning of the end" took another 7 years to "kill" the group after Phil left........hardly a quick death, especially when most people on PA, including myself, believe their best albums span from In A Glass House up to and including Free Hand (see top PA 100 albums). Sure their first 3 albums with Phil are great but their next 4 albums, including the live Playing the Fool are IMHO even better.
Back to Top
BaldJean View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: May 28 2005
Location: Germany
Status: Offline
Points: 6890
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BaldJean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2016 at 02:33
the band definitely lost something after Phil's departure. it is hard to pinpoint what exactly it is; it is just some kind of overall atmosphere. the first 4 albums where magic. they still did some good albums after his departure, but this special magic is no longer in them


A shot of me as High Priestess of Gaia during our fall festival. Ceterum censeo pricipiis obsta
Back to Top
Borris View Drop Down
Forum Newbie
Forum Newbie


Joined: February 13 2009
Location: New Zealand
Status: Offline
Points: 25
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Borris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2016 at 02:40
Originally posted by Dellinger Dellinger wrote:

... but somehow I decided to give their earlier studio albums a chance and, well, I did love their first two albums, and sort of liked the next two also, but they already began to show signs of the elements I didn't like from the albums I had checked before... so, I'm not sure what exactly might have been, but I believe Phil was a very important element for what I liked from GG on their early albums, and perhaps the attempt of the band to shift the sound is what made him leave.

I am interested to see so many comments from people who prefer the Phil era material. I have recently listened to all of the albums in order and one of the things that surprised me was just how good the debut album is. It is very much a group effort, Ray and Kerry are fundamental musically, Derek's vocals are important in providing a rock element, but Phil's vocals span the bridge between Derek's and Kerry's ethereal vocals. There is the occasional stab of colour from Phil's trumpet that is missed too, but also the incisiveness of his lyrics. "Isn't it Quiet and Cold?"is a unique gem in their catalogue.
Back to Top
Tom Ozric View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: September 03 2005
Location: Olympus Mons
Status: Offline
Points: 11441
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Ozric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2016 at 03:22
He plays some trumpet and provides back-vocals........
I dunno when it comes GG. I'm sure Phil inserted his twist on the compositions. Probs why I don't love GG albums post-Octopus as much.......

Edited by Tom Ozric - November 29 2016 at 03:24
Back to Top
hellogoodbye View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar
VIP Member

Joined: August 29 2011
Location: Troy
Status: Offline
Points: 6665
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hellogoodbye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2016 at 03:40
I stopped being interested in the group after the third album Confused
Back to Top
mechanicalflattery View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: August 08 2016
Location: Seattle
Status: Offline
Points: 836
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mechanicalflattery Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2016 at 06:13
Octopus and Acquiring The Taste are GG's two best albums, but then I don't care much for Three Friends or the debut. His departure certainly had an impact on the music, but not enough to significant alter its quality. Free Hand, In a Glass House, The Power and the Glory, and even Interview all still have some fantastic and passionate songs. Generally these albums are also more prone to somewhat mechanical filler tracks as well, whereas Acquiring and Octopus present a series of unique, lively, fresh songs with nearly no significant dips in quality. So I'm torn, since I like the two "eras" almost equally, but I understand the arguments either way.  
Back to Top
Borris View Drop Down
Forum Newbie
Forum Newbie


Joined: February 13 2009
Location: New Zealand
Status: Offline
Points: 25
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Borris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2016 at 11:20
Originally posted by Tom Ozric Tom Ozric wrote:

He plays some trumpet and provides back-vocals........
I dunno when it comes GG. I'm sure Phil inserted his twist on the compositions. Probs why I don't love GG albums post-Octopus as much.......

Phil does quite a lot of lead vocals and was probably the primary lyricist, I got this info from Wikipedia haven't checked it except in a few instances where it seemed correct, so if anyone sees errors please say so, I'll have a listen tonight.

These are the songs that Phil sings lead on:

"Funny Ways"  Phil and Derek

"Alucard"  Phil Derek & Kerry Minnear

"Isn't it Quiet and Cold?"  Phil

"Nothing at All"  Phil and Derek


Acquiring the Taste

"Wreck"   Phil & Derek

"Black Cat"  Phil


Three Friends

"Prologue"  Phil

"Schooldays"  Phil & Kerry

"Peel the Paint"  Phil & Derek

"Three Friends"  Phil, Derek & Kerry


Octopus

"The Advent of Panurge" Derek Kerry & Phil

"Knots" Derek Kerry & Phil

"Dog's Life"  Phil

"River"  Phil & Derek

 


Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.01
Copyright ©2001-2014 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.125 seconds.