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The Show That Never Ends

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Progkast View Drop Down
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    Posted: August 01 2017 at 19:57
"The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock" - David Weigel (W.W. Norton and Co.). ***

This book starts out as a horrible wreck, but it does get better.

I've read some of the negative reviews, and I agree with everything they say (not proof read, not expansive enough - only concentrates on a few Prog bands, ect.) with one exception. The negative reviews say the book starts off well, but the second half falters. I disagree, the first half of the book is disorganized, not proof read well, and jumps around bringing in new artists as if we know who he is talking about (albeit, most of us do, but that is a lot of assuming). I cringed at the thought of purchasing this book from a relatively young political writer. I decided to go ahead and take the dive so that I could review it on my Prog Rock Podcast, Progkast, and broadcast Radio Show, Prog Nation. My reservations were totally founded, and the book is just as I imagined it, horribly written, and not that much insight. I give him credit for looking up some of the interviews and doing "some" research, but his knowledge of Prog seems limited to British and some American bands, and there doesn't seem to have been any proofreading at all! He repeats himself with the exact same sentence used in a previous paragraph more than a few times, and in some cases repeats in the next chapter. The writing jumps up a year, and then back without notice. and then up again without notice. Artists' names pop up as if we've already been "introduced". His writing is also very sexist, as he refers to the "guys" who listen to Prog, dismisses his sexism based on the fact that more males listen then females, and then continues his sexism continually referring to "guys", "men", and listeners as "he" as if no female fans or artists exist (Not once does he make any reference to the hugely popular band Renaissance, which has a lead female singer).

He follows the rise of Prog in the 60s and 70s, the fall in the late 70s, the rise in the late 80s, the fall in the 90s.... and leaves us with the death of Keith Emerson. He doesn't cover any bands in between those times. He attributes the so called "fall" of Prog with the rise of Punk Rock. I was there. Punk Rock did not kill Prog (maybe it did in Britain, but not the US where the popularity of Punk was mostly limited to the Coasts and it was never mainstream), Disco did. And in the 80s it was New Wave. In the 90s it was Grunge. Later, Rap. Prog isn't dead, never was. It just took a back seat, just like Rock did. But Bon Jovi, and Aerosmith stepped up to the plate in the late 80s and brought back Rock music to the mainstream. Rock exists and Prog Rock exists... just not on corporate radio, that's all. Yes, Steve Hackett, Rush, have all been making this music all along. Newer bands such as Spock's Beard, Dream Theater, Transatlantic.... have been making it, are making it. I was insulted by this book, not once, not twice, but at least three times. For being a female into Prog (apparently I don't exist), to Prog being dead (what? I'm listening to graveyard music?) to being so "out of it" for this book to inform me of anything. Stick to politics Dave.

On the other hand....as for Prog insight, it would be a good introduction to young people ("people", not just men) who are interested in finding out more about Prog. As a primer, it would be useful, that's about it.


Edited by Progkast - August 01 2017 at 21:42
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2017 at 17:50
Hi,

There are, at the very least, about a dozen folks here at PA that can write something far better, and much more inclusive, than folks that hate the music, and think they can write about it, through a couple of bands that they like, and intentionally ignoring other bands around the world, and simply showing how ethnocentric they are, and how uneducated they are showing themselves to be. 

It's no secret, and you do not have to be a PA person, or fanboy, to know that the whole "progressive" story is not about 3 bands (so to speak) and does not involve just one place, and the ideas of a person that never heard that there was a world out there, and that there are many birds that sing in many other countries, whose names and song, you and I have never heard. Exploration in music, just like the arts, is not something that does not exist in just one pinpoint spot in this world ... it's something that happens everywhere, and it only takes our ability to listen to different things and acceptance for different musics, to appreciate.

As Carlos Castaneda once said, in speaking about a thesis, and I second it a lot for stuff like this ... "...you know what ______ do with paper, right?" My sentiments exactly when I see stuff like this ... just another fanboy of two or three bands, whose musical tastes are doubtful at best!
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the inner art is all about!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Progkast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2017 at 18:07
I can agree that he keeps to a few bands in a few places. It's also a rather small book for a genre that really requires a much larger volume to even begin. I was surprised at how small it actually was. Some readers said they finished it within a half hour, a few hours at most. I'm a slow deliberate reader, took me a bit longer. ;)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2017 at 13:03
Originally posted by Progkast Progkast wrote:

I can agree that he keeps to a few bands in a few places. It's also a rather small book for a genre that really requires a much larger volume to even begin. I was surprised at how small it actually was. Some readers said they finished it within a half hour, a few hours at most. I'm a slow deliberate reader, took me a bit longer. ;)

The best of all these books, and it has an incredible amount of history in it ... from the bands and players themselves ... is undoubtedly "EUROCK" by Archie Patterson. It is mostly the whole collection of his magazines going way back to the first one, and the whole thing is so huge that it took me almost 3 months to read it and then ... how do you review LIFE? 

Sadly, it is not something that most folks in PA seem to appreciate ... a veritable Encyclopedia, though it does not profess, or use the term "progressive" a whole lot, and instead allows for the musicians to speak for themselves. And after you hear from folks that live in at least 30 countries ... you start getting the idea of where the whole thing started ... in everyone's heart, not in London!
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the inner art is all about!
www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ProcolWho? Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 24 2017 at 00:05
Some one  finished that book in 1/2 an hour?  Did they read it or just turn the pages really fast?


I'm about 3/4 through it and while it isn't  an epic review of 40 years of prog, it's entertaining enough

I'd recommend is as a good read .  You have something better , lets hear about it.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Progkast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 24 2017 at 00:12
Jerry Ewing, the editor of Prog Magazine is coming out with a book soon. I guarantee it is better than this one. Smile
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