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Mountains Come Out of the Sky

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akajazzman View Drop Down
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    Posted: January 15 2011 at 15:10

So Iíve read a lot of Prog books, but was thrilled to see a new one just published, titled ďMountains Come Out of the Sky:   The  History of Prog RockĒ by Will Romano.    

The way its organized is largely into full chapters for important bands.   I was thrilled to see just how close to the mark Romano usually nails it.  Of course he starts off with the Big Six:

1.       Pink Floyd

2.       King Crimson

3.       ELP

4.       Yes

5.       Genesis

6.       Jethro Tull

In that order.  He does a pretty good job covering this well worn territory with a fresh voice and perspective that doesnít sound like youíve read this stuff all before.  Then onto:

7.       Colosseum and Greenslade

8.       Canterbury Scene:  Does a real nice job here focusing on Soft Machine, Caravan, Gong, and then some of the others like Hatfield/North and Kahn

9.       Camel:  This was a real nice surprise to see one of my favorite progsters get a whole chapter

10.   Gentle Giant

11.   Prog Folk: focusing on Strawbs and then several others

12.   Progressivo Italinao:  Of course they call out my favorite PFM as the kings, but possibly try to cover too many bands in this chapter.  PFM, Le Orme, and Banco del Mutuo are really the big three.

13.   German Prog:  they cover several bands here, and sell Can and the whole scene a little short

14.   Kansas/Styx

15.   Mike Oldfield

16.   Rush

17.   U.K.   Thrilled to see a whole chapter on this great band with only two albums

18.   The Return of King Crimson:  The only golden oldie they thought worthy of giving a whole ďlater dayĒ chapter to.  Nice.

19.   Throwing it All Away:  Genesis, Yes and ELP.   This chapter is largely about ďwhat went wrong?Ē

Then it shifts into later day bands, which is fun, because so many of these books act like Prog ended in 1977. 

20.   Marillion

21.   Dream Theater

22.   Progressivity Continues Into the 21st Century, where he covers Spockís Beard, P-Tree, Flower Kings, Mars Volta, IQ, Riverside, Sigur Rose, IQ, Coheed and Cambria

 

Not  bad final chapters, but clearly his focus is on more early Prog, because a band like Mars Volta deserve a chapter on their own.  Same with P-Tree.  Also, thereís so much current stuff that  he doesnít even mention.   Of course what I like about the book, is,  he doesnít try to do a complete overview of Prog, but focus on the big guns, and I suppose itís a little bit harder to say who the big guns are now (hindsight is 20/20 afterall).  Anyway, a fun new book for Prog lovers.

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheOppenheimer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 15 2011 at 15:48
Is it me, or these book tend to forget about all the prog bands that are not neo-prog or dream theater?

 what about post-rock and metal?
what about all the black doom ugly prog bands?
and mainly, what about not known bands?

Anyway, i've read a few chapters, and i really like the focus the writer gives, and how he goes into deep detail.

nice post
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akajazzman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 15 2011 at 17:53
Exactly.  In fact the book just wetted my appetite for a book of post 70s Prog.  This same writer's approach would work very well.   Instead of jamming the last 30 years into a few paragraphs at the end (which beats most other Prog books) on newer music, I think the time has come to start a book on the "new" stuff.
 
You know, a paragraph that sort of covers the Big Six and the other greats and says "look if you're reading this book, you already know most of this golden era stuff, or "read my first book!  "   And then go on and start with:
 
- "what the hell happend? What happend to Genesis?   Yes's ups and downs.   The downfall (but commercial barnstorm) of Pink Floyd.   etc.
 
-  Marillion and the other great neo-Progsters.
 
- a chapter on those that kept the faith, but in an updated way, like Peter Gabriel, Be Bop Delux, King Crimson, Eno, Roger Waters, Robert Wyatt, etc.
 
-  Prog-metal:  Dream Theater  and Queensryche
 
- Back to their roots:  Bands that found their way back (or wouldn't die) like Camel, PFM, Yes, Tull, Hawkwind,  SBB,
 
-  the beginnings of a resurg with stuff like Anglagard, Flower Kings, Spock's Beard
 
- and then Porcupine Tree!  :-)
 
- and then several chapters on the new "silver age" of Prog with everything from Mars Volta, Tool, C&C, Anathema, Riverside, Decemberists, and so many many more.    
 
Really, its time for "that" book.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ClemofNazareth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 15 2011 at 20:56
I bought this book last month with some of my Christmas money Tongue
 
I love all the pictures, and there are some interesting bits of trivia and insight from the many prog musicians and other industry people Romano interviewed over the years it took him to put the book together.  Like the bit about Dave Cousins having to record 'Ghosts' lying on his back in the studio due to treatment for a suspected brain tumor - I didn't know that until I read it in the book.  Or the source of Fish's nickname - hadn't known that before either.  And I love that there is a chapter dedicated to Prog Folk and one to U.S. prog although neither is very comprehensive, and there is virtually no mention of any second- or third-tier prog bands (which are so well-represented here on the Archives).
 
But like others have said there are some serious gaps.  The U.S. chapter includes only Kansas and Styx (arguably Styx are not even a 'real' prog band).  The Kansas section doesn't even get into details about Proto-Kaw or some of the first Kansas band's early prog work that was released a few years ago as 'Early Recordings from Kansas 1971-1973', which is an unforgivable oversight since Kansas' true legacy as a U.S. prog band can't truly be appreciated without understanding those early days.  And there's pretty much nothing about South American, Nordic or former Soviet bloc prog.  Bands like Plastic People of the Universe, Los Jaivas, Los Blops, Os Mutantes all deserved at least a mention.
 
Overall I'm pretty happy having bought it, but I thought about sending Mr. Romano a letter suggessting he should have subtitled the book 'An Illustrated History of Prog Rock' instead of 'The Illustrated History of Prog Rock'.  And also to suggest that he join our site and spend some time expanding the scope of his progressive knowledge. Geek
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anthony H. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 15 2011 at 23:59
This sounds very interesting! I'll have to check it out. Could anybody post an Amazon link?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akajazzman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2011 at 00:02
Originally posted by ClemofNazareth ClemofNazareth wrote:

I bought this book last month with some of my Christmas money Tongue
 
I love all the pictures, and there are some interesting bits of trivia and insight from the many prog musicians and other industry people Romano interviewed over the years it took him to put the book together.  Like the bit about Dave Cousins having to record 'Ghosts' lying on his back in the studio due to treatment for a suspected brain tumor - I didn't know that until I read it in the book.  Or the source of Fish's nickname - hadn't known that before either.  And I love that there is a chapter dedicated to Prog Folk and one to U.S. prog although neither is very comprehensive, and there is virtually no mention of any second- or third-tier prog bands (which are so well-represented here on the Archives).
 
But like others have said there are some serious gaps.  The U.S. chapter includes only Kansas and Styx (arguably Styx are not even a 'real' prog band).  The Kansas section doesn't even get into details about Proto-Kaw or some of the first Kansas band's early prog work that was released a few years ago as 'Early Recordings from Kansas 1971-1973', which is an unforgivable oversight since Kansas' true legacy as a U.S. prog band can't truly be appreciated without understanding those early days.  And there's pretty much nothing about South American, Nordic or former Soviet bloc prog.  Bands like Plastic People of the Universe, Los Jaivas, Los Blops, Os Mutantes all deserved at least a mention.
 
Overall I'm pretty happy having bought it, but I thought about sending Mr. Romano a letter suggessting he should have subtitled the book 'An Illustrated History of Prog Rock' instead of 'The Illustrated History of Prog Rock'.  And also to suggest that he join our site and spend some time expanding the scope of his progressive knowledge. Geek
 
Yeah, I used Christmas money too.  I'd be surprised if Romano wasn't already a member of PA but with some weird name or something.  Maybe not.   I've talked to a couple authors before who "are too busy" to join the obvious site that they really should be on.  Or they think they're too important.   But someone like Romano would benefit from all the information on PA and help him with that second book! 
 
Back to his book.  Not only did I like the pictures but I also liked the texture of the cover pages.  I know that sounds stupid, but it seemed to fit a Prog book!  Cool
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Quiet One Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2011 at 00:52
If I'm not mistaken, I saw this on Borders when I went to San Francisco. It seemed cool with the pictures and all, but since it centered on the most popular stuff that has been discussed in PA billion of times, I didn't think it was worth it. Of course, I may have missed some stuff, but that was my initial thought.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ClemofNazareth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2011 at 07:10
Originally posted by Anthony H. Anthony H. wrote:

This sounds very interesting! I'll have to check it out. Could anybody post an Amazon link?
 
 
 
"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor, starving kids all over the world I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2011 at 09:06
And why do the mountains come out of the sky and just stand there?

Edited by Slartibartfast - January 16 2011 at 09:06
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bucka001 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 20 2011 at 15:10
Apparently there is no coverage of Van der Graaf Generator, which is pretty amazing when you consider how respected they are (Uncut magazine, one of the British glossys that you can buy everywhere in the States even, called them the 'coolest, strangest band in prog'). You can tell the author is American as no British author would leave VdGG out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JeanFrame Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 02 2011 at 09:52
Originally posted by bucka001 bucka001 wrote:

Apparently there is no coverage of Van der Graaf Generator, which is pretty amazing when you consider how respected they are (Uncut magazine, one of the British glossys that you can buy everywhere in the States even, called them the 'coolest, strangest band in prog'). You can tell the author is American as no British author would leave VdGG out.


Agreed. And only the briefest mention of Clouds/1-2-3, despite a section on the history of prog? OK, Clouds was never truly Prog, more Proto-prog, but this after all is the band that had as much to do wth the emergence of The Nice, Yes et al as anyone. This, VDGG and other glaring omissions raise huge question marks about the right of the author to claim his authority over real prog territory. More like Mountains are under the sea.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WMR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 03 2011 at 14:01

Hello, Prog Archives.

 

How are you?

 

I wanted to chime in on the interesting thread thatís evolved based on my book, Mountains Come out of the Sky. Allow me to say that I really enjoyed putting the book together and Iím pleased to see a discussion of it. I'm proud of the work and hope some of your are enjoying the book.

 

Just to let you know, the idea of Mountains was to present a history of the ďgenreĒ through bios of (most of) the main bands that have had an impact on the mainstream psyche.

 
As one poster pointed out, I'm American. I have a certain perspective re: this. Iíve been writing about prog rock for virtually 20 years and, specifically for this book, I spoke with 300 people; 200 people of that group show up in print, raising the flag in one form or another for their respective bands and musical contributions.
 
Some will disagree with the choices that were made (some very tough choices were made FOR me), of course, but I think in large part Iíve succeeded in celebrating the genre. I know what this music has meant to me over the years and, all things considered, Iím happy with the end result.

 

Just to give one example of the types of dilemmas I was dealing with throughout the process: by a PA posterís own admission, Clouds/1-2-3 isnít really categorized as prog, but PROTO-prog. The definition of ďrealĒ prog (whatever this means) seems to change depending on the person whoís speaking/posting. So, it was a lot to think about, logically account for, and contend with during the three years I was putting together this bios-heavy book that, I knew, would contain a limited amount of pages. Having said this, I was more than happy to include a gracious Billy of Clouds in the book. I'm glad I did. I enjoyed corresponding with him. 

 

As is true for most books, a good deal of info was cut from Mountains, including a chapter on VDGG, among other elements. As Iíve said in interviews, itís a near miracle that a major music publisher even decided to back and then publish a book on prog rock. So, Iím grateful for the opportunity to do what I do. Given all the challenges, I loved putting it together. Again, I wanted the book to be a celebration. Iím hoping some of you view it in a similar light.

 

Thanks for giving me a voice on this board and to all the supportive words here. 

 

Be well, PA.

 

 

Will Romano

Author

Mountains Come out of the Sky

Big Boss Man

Incurable Blues

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ClemofNazareth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 03 2011 at 20:42

Will,

Glad you found your way here.  And thanks again for your book - despite the critique I love the book and have learned quite a bit from it.  I've lately even been rediscovering Barclay James Harvest thanks to your book Thumbs Up

And I have to say that if your goal was to give some broader exposure to progressive rock (and it sounds from your post like you did) then I think the fact I saw several copies of this on the shelf at Barnes & Noble when I bought mine is a positive sign.  And that was at our little Barnes & Noble in god-foresaken South Dakota!  I can imagine you got some even better coverage in big markets.

I recently pitched an idea to the ProgArchives owner M@x to add a Prog Books section much like we do for albums.  I think it would be great to get more exposure for some of the great books about progressive music and artists.  Too many of them are under-promoted and practically unknown, even to us proglydites.

Anyway - welcome to the Archives!


"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor, starving kids all over the world I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WMR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 03 2011 at 22:26
 
"Clem",
 
thanks for taking the time to read my book. It means a lot to me, and your feedback is invaluable. Your welcoming tone and note just underscores everything I've ever known about the prog world: it's inclusive.
 
And thanks for passing on the story about your home state. I'm glad to hear it. I'm pretty much out in the sticks and I found the book in the stores here as well. (Good to know the publisher is on the case...)
 
A lot of really good band bios and books on prog rock have been written over the last fifteen years or so. So, I think you've got a great idea about a separate section on PA. (I would say that, though, wouldn't I?) Go gently ... Ha!
 
Cheers!
 
Speak soon.
 
 
W
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bucka001 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2011 at 09:32
Will,
 
Given my avatar you will no doubt detect a bias on my part regarding your book! But congrats are certainly in order that you pushed it through, especially with the way publishers sometimes react to specialty topics... and while MacFarland probably would have went for it, you hopefully got a better deal! Anyway, as the author of the VdGG book, grant me my rant (not to be taken personally by you, just a get-it-off-the-chest rant!)
 
I think my disappointment stems from the fact that "classic" prog is a mostly British phenomenon (even taking into account the scenes in Italy, France, etc...). And I do believe that a British author never would have left VdGG out of an encyclopedia of prog. It would be like leaving Otis Rush out of a blues encyclopedia. (VdGG, while only charting with The Least in England, certainly had a large following in their home country and even appeared on the cover of Melody Maker as 'Britain's Most Fashionable Band' in '71... strange times indeed! And they were certainly very popular in Italy, France, Beligum, and other European countries [and French Canada]). As you know, they were part of that wonderful scene in the late 60's/early 70's when prog (or whatever it was called then) came into being and flourished. They nudged shoulders with Yes at the Marquee and elsewhere (Chris Squire told me he remembered meeting them back then and thought they were great), Fripp was on their albums, and Genesis was their sister act (Peter Gabriel said years later that Hammill was one guy he'd like to base his own career around).
 
It's well known that when prog was vilified by the mainstream press (and, so the legend goes, punks), VdGG and Crimson were the two bands that it was "okay" to like. Because Johnny Rotten, Mark E Smith, Jello Biafra, The Germs, etc, loved VdGG, it was okay to like them whereas it wasn't 'cool' to like Yes, ELP, etc. Not my personal opinion, but pretty much the way it played out for a long time.
 
Since VdGG's reformation in '05, they've gotten astonishing press from several mainstream British rock mags (and newspapers ranging from the London Times, which called them Britain's Velvet Underground in that they didn't sell millions of records, but had an astonishing influence on a wide array of musicians, to The Independent). Mojo has ran several positive pieces on VdGG, Uncut ran a nice long article calling VdGG "the coolest, strangest band in prog,"  Guitar & Bass (which is the British equivalent of America's Guitar Player, which also ran a lengthy Hammill/VdGG article recently) did a nice article, and The Wire (which would probably never do an article on ELP or Gentle Giant)  did a huge piece on PH/VdGG recently. Even Rolling Stone in the U.S. gave Present a good review. There are several others but you get the drift.
 
NPR broadcasted a segment of All Things Considered recently dedicated to Hammill/VdGG where it was stated that VdGG was the one prog band that 'got it right.' I don't agree with that, but...
 
People influenced by the band (and I've interviewed several of these people and have uncovered more to interview for the second VdGG book) include best-selling authors (Ian Rankin, Michel Faber), record producers (Hugh Padgham, Tchad Blake, George Martin [who told me he loved VdGG's version of Theme One], Jack Endino [Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc]), movie directors (Jonathan Demme, Anthony Minghella, Vincent Gallo), and tons of musicians: John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Graham Coxon (Blur), Don Bolles (The Germs), Johnny Rotten, Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Simon Gallup (The Cure), Julian Cope, Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Marc Almond (Soft Cell), Colin Newman (Wire), Gary Lucas (Beefheart's Magic Band), Chris Carter (Throbbing Gristle), Ivan Krall (Patti Smith Group), Jon Langford (Mekons, Waco Brothers), Guy Severs (Univers Zero), Geddy Lee (Rush), Thighpaulsandra (Spiritualized), Stephen Morris (New Order, Joy Division), and These New Puritans. There are tons more
 
Many of these are artists who claim to not like prog, but like VdGG (which I think is good for prog overall; Gary Lucas told me that Pawn Hearts gave credibility to the words 'progressive rock').
 
I flew to Europe several times since '05 to see and hang out with the band. It's astonishing how different it is there from here. The band was playing 1,500 - 3,000 seat arenas and doing well in them (again, it's not the new Dallas stadium but it's respectable enough). And even on their one and only U.S. tour two years ago, they played several shows in front of 400 people or so (and thousands in Canada).
 
So, end of rant! I know your book was done with love and care (and it's an editor who will screw up the titles beneath album covers, which is terminally frustrating, but the book looks great and is certainly well-written; yes, I have seen a copy!), but I thought there were other things that could have been edited out rather than a chapter on one of the most respected (although not 'successful') and highly influential groups of the prog field. Again, a blues encyclopedia sans Otis Rush.
 
(sorry about all of this, but you probably knew that in an 'encyclopedia' of anything, the [fill in the blank] that gets left out is going to have its defenders charge to right the perceived wrong!)
 
By the way, is there any chance of your VdGG chapter even seeing the light of day? I'm looking for quotes from 'real' authors go include in the next book (which will take up from '05 to the present, and also covering stuff from the 70's era that we missed the first time around). You also mentioned that you've written about prog for 20 years. Can I see some of the VdGG pieces/references (assuming you've covered them)?
 
 
jc
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WMR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2011 at 11:34
 
Hello, Jim, right?

 

Thanks for referring to me as a ďrealĒ author. I appreciate it. (Itís my wife whoís usually saddled with the thankless job of having to convince me Ö)

 
I want to let you know that I got your points. I agree with them. VDGG is influential. No doubt. And I can tell you've done your homework. You've got the stuff "down" as they say. (Cheers, Jim.)
 
Allow me to say that when the band regrouped in the 1970s, I believe, they did their best material. I really love the jazz influence (and a lot of other things) heard, particularly, on Still Life. They sound so connected to one another, as if they were operating of one brain. (That's meant to be a complement re: musical cohesiveness, not a dig ...)
 

I did want to clarify a couple of things, too:

While itís frustrating that VDGG donít have their own chapter as the book stands, I did, indeed, reference and make mention of the band and Hammill throughout the book, including providing an original quote from Hugh about the Italian scene (and why he thinks/thought VDGG was supported by Italian fans). VDGG even figures prominently in the discog at the end.

 
These bright spots might satisfy only the casual VDGG fan, but I felt compelled to say that the band was afforded, at least, some ink in this book. They were not totally ripped out of Mountains. Any suggestions to the contrary are inaccurate. (Ha!)
 

Secondly, and maybe this is splitting hairs, but I wouldnít categorize Mountains as an encyclopedia. That certainly wasnn't its original intent. As much as I respect Otis (West Side guitar playing style and all) and realize that his contribution to electric Chicago Blues is immense, the error of omission would have been far greater had Magic Sam, Buddy Guy and even one of Chicago Bluesí acoustic forefathers, Charlie Patton, also been left out.

 

As far as the VDGG chapter seeing the light of day, who knows? I suspect that I might have another crack at this book, but Iíll have to wait and see Ö You have more confidence than I do that I could have found another willing partner to print a book on prog rock Ö Ha!

 

VDGG pieces: Iíve written on VDGG here and there but Iíve done (well, what I consider) a good piece on Guy upcoming in Modern Drummer. Iíll alert you when it gets printed.

 

Thanks for the kind words, Jim. It's good to hear from you.

 
Good luck with all things VDGG.
Stay in touch.

 

W

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bucka001 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2011 at 11:44
Will,
 
You are correct to point out that it's not an encyclopedia and doesn't claim to be. I "misremembered" that! It's an "illustrated history" and there is not as much of an all-encompassing claim with that term.
 
I would definitely love to know when the Guy piece comes out in Modern Drummer (did you talk to him directly? He's a very cool dude). That would certainly help to redress the balance.
 
This isn't the place, but I've got great stories about playing with Otis Rush and Buddy Guy (I'm in a Chicago blues band and Buddy was on our third album... errr, CD). We went on tour with Buddy all over the midwest right after he hit it big with the Silvertone release. Also have performed with Junior Wells, Bo Diddley (several times), Chuck Berry (in front of 15,000 in Long Beach... that was an interesting gig), Lonnie Brooks, and tons of others (and have opened for B.B. King a few times, Koko Taylor, etc etc). That's why I wrote a book on VdGG (...sorry, just had to throw a curve ball in there)
jc
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote resurrection Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2011 at 02:15
WMR: The book sounds good. And do you mean you have contact with Billy Ritchie? From what I know, he is not keen on music contacts. Would be interesting to hear his views. Will definitely check out the book.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JeanFrame Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 10 2011 at 06:22
Originally posted by WMR WMR wrote:

Hello, Prog Archives.

 

How are you?

 

I wanted to chime in on the interesting thread thatís evolved based on my book, Mountains Come out of the Sky. Allow me to say that I really enjoyed putting the book together and Iím pleased to see a discussion of it. I'm proud of the work and hope some of your are enjoying the book.

 

Just to let you know, the idea of Mountains was to present a history of the ďgenreĒ through bios of (most of) the main bands that have had an impact on the mainstream psyche.

 
As one poster pointed out, I'm American. I have a certain perspective re: this. Iíve been writing about prog rock for virtually 20 years and, specifically for this book, I spoke with 300 people; 200 people of that group show up in print, raising the flag in one form or another for their respective bands and musical contributions.
 
Some will disagree with the choices that were made (some very tough choices were made FOR me), of course, but I think in large part Iíve succeeded in celebrating the genre. I know what this music has meant to me over the years and, all things considered, Iím happy with the end result.

 

Just to give one example of the types of dilemmas I was dealing with throughout the process: by a PA posterís own admission, Clouds/1-2-3 isnít really categorized as prog, but PROTO-prog. The definition of ďrealĒ prog (whatever this means) seems to change depending on the person whoís speaking/posting. So, it was a lot to think about, logically account for, and contend with during the three years I was putting together this bios-heavy book that, I knew, would contain a limited amount of pages. Having said this, I was more than happy to include a gracious Billy of Clouds in the book. I'm glad I did. I enjoyed corresponding with him. 

 

As is true for most books, a good deal of info was cut from Mountains, including a chapter on VDGG, among other elements. As Iíve said in interviews, itís a near miracle that a major music publisher even decided to back and then publish a book on prog rock. So, Iím grateful for the opportunity to do what I do. Given all the challenges, I loved putting it together. Again, I wanted the book to be a celebration. Iím hoping some of you view it in a similar light.

 

Thanks for giving me a voice on this board and to all the supportive words here. 

 

Be well, PA.

 

 

Will Romano

Author

Mountains Come out of the Sky

Big Boss Man

Incurable Blues



A writer who comes out from behind the dusty bookshelves to face the wrath as well as the praise? I'm impressed. If you keep this up maybe those Mountains will rise out of the sea after all. But it will take another book to do it. I like this one (your appearance has prompted me to read it again) but it's like the first of a series. And please put Clouds and VDGG in next time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bucka001 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 10 2011 at 09:41
Yes, props to Will for facing the criticism as well as the praise. Speaking of VdGG, in the new issue of Word Magazine (no 97 March 2011) there is a 'prog vs. punk' debate featuring Jello Biafra and Peter Hammill. Should be interesting... Hammill is considered a cornerstone of 'classic'-era prog, but he and VdGG definitely had elements in their music that punks picked up on. And Jello Biafra is a punk legend, but is a fan of Magma and Van der Graaf. In the U.S. the cool British rock mags (which are miles ahead of the U.S. mags) get here about a month later. Have any of you British folk on the forum seen this issue yet?
jc
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