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If You're New to Prog, Don't Start With Rush

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paganinio View Drop Down
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    Posted: April 06 2018 at 00:18



Mikael and Fredrik disagree about Rush being among ultimate prog greats...

Posted Oct 12, 2016 08:40 PM
12

Discussing best bands to help one get into prog, Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt and Fredrik Akesson disagreed about Rush, with Fredrik singling the Canadians among his all-time favorites, and Mikael politely saying no.

Mikael said: "I wouldn't pick Rush. Even if I love them. [Best bands to get you into prog in my opinion are] Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Pink Floyd, King Crimson.

Sharing his top picks, Fredrik chimed in: "King Crimson, Rush, Pink Floyd, Frank Marino has some prog elements, Jethro Tull, Genesis."

During the rest of the chat, Mikael was asked to name his favorite Yes album, saying:

"I would say a tie between 'Fragile' and 'Close to the Edge,' which basically came out around the same time or with one year in between. They're both really good records."

Back to those prog bands, care to join the discussion with these esteemed gents?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paganinio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 00:20
I copied directly and some of those links don't work anymore.

The video address does work though

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=howTnWZbO1M


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mortte Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 01:10
I started with Pink Floyd, Rush, Kansas, Yes, Procol Harum, Moody Blues & Jethro Tull, very soon become also Genesis and Wigwam. I think it depends your music taste is Rush a good starter to prog. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 01:32
Rush is an excellent gateway prog band: digestible, high-powered, youthful in style.   In fact I've always felt if you're not into them by about twenty-five you probably never will be.  


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."   -- John F. Kennedy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 02:13
I don't care for Rush as much as one would expect (especially if they knew how I write my own music)...but I agree with him on those two Yes choices, of course! Tongue Wink

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ProgMetaller2112 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 02:36
Rush is an excellent first prog band. They are also one of the very best
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 02:43
Originally posted by Atavachron Atavachron wrote:

Rush is an excellent gateway prog band: digestible, high-powered, youthful in style. In fact I've always felt if you're not into them by about twenty-five you probably never will be.

I can definitely relate to that second sentence...I'm just over forty and only barely started to kind of dig Rush in the last year or two, and up until then (and honestly, probably even now after kind of liking them more than ever) I'd still have a kind of `Meh' reaction to them, but I know a whole bunch of people who think they are the most exciting band in the world - cue me kind of scratching my head in confusion!

I think it's the screeching vocals of the Seventies discs that really grates on me...if anything I much prefer to later Seventies/early Eighties albums from them when the vocals calmed down...and I could easily say that pretty much the only album from them I really like is `Grace Under Pressure' from '84...which I'm sure is not a favourite amongst their fans!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stool Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 02:46
If you're new to prog, don't start with just one band, regardless of who they are.

Spend a few hours online trying out all kinds of things, then when you have several names that you feel like exploring in more detail, go ahead.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 02:48
I guess with me, I was into heavy extreme bands like Death and Gorguts from a younger age, so bands like Rush never felt like they were heavy enough or "classic" prog enough to catch my ear. They were smack dab in the middle, and thus didn't register/click with me. If you knew all the bands I love, you'd find it incredibly illogical that I don't listen to Rush, lol. I totally recommend them as a gateway prog band, though, as their do have pop sensibilities that can make it easier to digest and get into.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Squonk19 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 03:32
The 70s vocal style of Geddy definitely stopped most of my school friends getting into Rush as I loaned out my newly bought copy of 'All the World's a Stage' and pushed the band's profile like a zealot! I honestly think if he had gone down the register earlier than the 80s, Rush would have been huge, even more so than their 'biggest cult band in the World' status they subsequently got. I've known people who have just switched off on Rush over the years on that first listen alone, which is such a shame.

I was aware the vocal style was different, and at times even I had to wince (such as the end of Cygnus X-1), but at some point, it just never ever registered that there was an issue. It became an integral part of the band's make-up. I might not like the death growl of many metal bands (and still am not comfortable with the earlier works of Opeth or even the likes of Meshuggah) even though friends say they never think of the vocals as extreme, only another instrumental texture to the music.

I know with hindsight that Rush have been categorised as prog over the years, but I honestly can't remember them being called prog at the time. They were just a heavy rock band - a more intellectual one than others around them who didn't follow the traditional boy meets girl lyric thread or the macho stance - and who had more light and shade to their compositions.

I think Rush would work well as a gateway prog band for younger listeners coming to it from a heavy rock or even a metal background. In fact many prog-metal bands would serve that purpose too (Threshold, Townsend or, dare I mention them....Dream Theater). However, I think if you wanted to introduce prog to someone with broader tastes, then a 'best of' selection of the 'Big Six' would serve even better. Then they could move to the more challenging bands or albums we discuss on the forum. Just a few thoughts....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mortte Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 06:51
I have a friend who deeply hates Geddy Lee voice. But hes never been a prog guy, listens some King Crimson & Floyd, hes huge Lemmy fan so Hawkwind is also his big favourites.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeffro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 07:35
I'd probably point a newb to Yes first. Yes made some easily digestible prog music while still being complex. I remember Roundabout in particular making a huge impression on me as well as almost the entirety of The Yes Album. 
Pink Floyd and Tull are good starter bands. 

As a 35+ year fan of Rush, I wouldn't recommend them to start off with, depending on what era of the band we're talking about. I say that because Rush's music, in Geddy's own words, is weird. It's not always the easiest to digest. I had many friends in high school who simply didn't get Rush. Try playing Caress of Steel for a newb. Most likely it's not going to go over too well. It took me quite a while to get into The Necromancer and Fountain of Lamneth. It was some of the oddest stuff I'd ever heard at that time. Even Cygnus X-1, both parts, are going to likely challenge many prog newbs. Like Squonk says above, Geddy's vocals were often a bone of contention for listeners. I always loved his high pitch screams, even at the end of Cygnus X-1. It's part of what Early Rush is. I never liked the fact that he completely abandoned that style of singing. 

If I was going to start someone off with Rush, it would be with either Permanent Waves, or Moving Pictures. Exit Stage Left would be a good choice as well. Fly By Night wouldn't be bad either. It's got a nice mix of more straight forward rock songs as well as some hints of the weirdness that would come on subsequent albums.




Edited by Jeffro - April 06 2018 at 08:24
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote miamiscot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 07:50
Any Prog band could do the trick depending on the previous listening habits of the "victim." Me personally, I think Yes and Pink Floyd are extremely safe choices but if someone is into heavier music then Rush or King Crimson. If they're more into jazz then perhaps Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return To Forever. For a pop fan maybe start with Collins-era Genesis or Supertramp.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 08:03
I wouldn't recommend starting with Genesis, KC, Zappa, Henry Cow, Return To Forever, Or Emerson Lake and Palmer either. Confused Hey wait, that leaves only Tull and Pink Floyd. Smile Ok, so be it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Junges Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 08:26
I think there isn't any "right" band to start with. Prog is a broad genre and people should experience not only the symphonic bands, but also the more obscure sub-genres. Many people make the mistake of listening only to Symphonic, Neo and Prog-Metal and they stick to it, thinking that this is all prog is.

It would certainly be better to start with stuff that is easy to digest, of course, but don't stop there. Be adventurous. In the end it all depends on what kind of music the person likes the most.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Argo2112 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 08:27
I think if you want to start exploring prog you may want to start with some stuff that's more accessible.
 Something like The Yes Album, Dark Side of the Moon, Trick of the tail....If you go that route something like Moving Pictures would be a good one to check out. I know some would disagree & say go right to something like Topographic Oceans or Thick as a Brick but those can be a little much for someone just starting out. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 09:03
Originally posted by Jeffro Jeffro wrote:

I'd probably point a newb to Yes first. Yes made some easily digestible prog music while still being complex. I remember Roundabout in particular making a huge impression on me as well as almost the entirety of The Yes Album. 
Pink Floyd and Tull are good starter bands. 

As a 35+ year fan of Rush, I wouldn't recommend them to start off with, depending on what era of the band we're talking about. I say that because Rush's music, in Geddy's own words, is weird. It's not always the easiest to digest. I had many friends in high school who simply didn't get Rush. Try playing Caress of Steel for a newb. Most likely it's not going to go over too well. It took me quite a while to get into The Necromancer and Fountain of Lamneth. It was some of the oddest stuff I'd ever heard at that time. Even Cygnus X-1, both parts, are going to likely challenge many prog newbs. Like Squonk says above, Geddy's vocals were often a bone of contention for listeners. I always loved his high pitch screams, even at the end of Cygnus X-1. It's part of what Early Rush is. I never liked the fact that he completely abandoned that style of singing. 

If I was going to start someone off with Rush, it would be with either Permanent Waves, or Moving Pictures. Exit Stage Left would be a good choice as well. Fly By Night wouldn't be bad either. It's got a nice mix of more straight forward rock songs as well as some hints of the weirdness that would come on subsequent albums.



You've been a RUSH fan longer than I've been alive! Tongue LOL Clap

Well said about YES, as well. I think that's also why I find them a great gateway. They were essentially mine, into classic symphonic prog bands, anyhow!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeffro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 09:07
Originally posted by Frenetic Zetetic Frenetic Zetetic wrote:

You've been a RUSH fan longer than I've been alive! Tongue LOL Clap

Is that supposed to make me feel good? Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 09:42
Originally posted by Jeffro Jeffro wrote:

Originally posted by Frenetic Zetetic Frenetic Zetetic wrote:

You've been a RUSH fan longer than I've been alive! Tongue LOL Clap

Is that supposed to make me feel good? Wink

That's entirely up to you, my friend Tongue.

Still, you have more context for prog as it happened than I do. For that, I'm humbled and respectful in all ways possible! I tell my father how envious I am that he saw YES on the CTTE and Relayer tours. YES was my introduction, so I'm probably very biased.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Larkstongue41 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2018 at 09:42
In my experience, it's best to introduce people to prog through highly singular and creative bands. The people I've exposed to traditional symphonic prog i.e. Yes, Genesis, ELP (based on the assumption that these classic bands would not alienate them as much as some other stuff) have all developed an automatic dismissal of anything remotely close to prog rock territory. Not everyone I've suggested to check out King Crimson have become fanatics but in every case their interest for rock music was greatly enhanced and sometimes even born. I think Pink Floyd is the only truly safe choice here and even then...

It obviously depends on the individual and their prior experience with music. Prog is so large that I have to believe that every single hearing person could find at least one prog album they like. You could recommend Soft Machine to a jazz fan, Banco to someone who's into classical music, Rush or Yes for classic rock fans, Kayo Dot for metalheads, Tangerine Dream for people who like ambient, Art  Zoyd for someone into avant-garde and improv, Tortoise for hip-hop and so on. Just find out one thing they generally like and go from there. The key is to find something timeless.

The only time I got someone truly hooked on rock was with Phallus Dei, F#A# and Vision Creation Newsun. He had basically no experience with rock beforehand apart from ACDC, Aerosmith, etc. We still talk music to this day and he never felt the need to listen to more Yes after CttE, more Genesis after SEbtP or more ELP after the debut.
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