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Big Picture - US band from Chicago area:1993 album

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progrockfreak View Drop Down
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    Posted: April 12 2011 at 18:37
Hardly a new band, but they did just one pretty decent crossover/neo prog self-titled CD in 1993, and I can't see any reason why they shouldn't be included on the site, if it truly is to be the ultimate prog resource.
The band was from the Chicago area (not Canada as suggested in some of these links), and consisted of Scott Pieper (lead vocals, guitar), Steve Mozden (guitar), Mark Pieper (keyboards, vocals), Paul Bivans (drums, percussion), Norm Griffin (bass). Their only (eponymous) album had seven tracks - all over 6 minutes long, and three of them stretched to over 8 minutes. You can read a bit about the CD here: http://www.proggnosis.com/PGRelease.asp?RID=72, and listen to the first track (Shine On) here (Planet Prog Radio): ftp://archive.msoe.edu/WMSE/128k/Sun-Aug-15-2010-210201.mp3 (download link, 84Mb) The track starts 15.34 min into the show, after a slight glitch in the first set of four pieces of music, and lasts for 8 minutes. Fairly lightweight stuff in places, but very melodic, and some decent guitar runs on it too. See what you think...There's some Nektar, Hawkwind, IQ and Anathema in the show too, plus some other quite decent stuff, so it's worth the trouble to download!!
 
PS. If anyone wants to actually buy the CD, it's available from recordheaven.net http://www.recordheaven.net/index.cfm?x=browseArtist&ID=6913&iID=51278&sc=&ob=tl&so=ASC&pp=50&pn=5&sl=false for 127 swedish kronor (about 20 bucks)!!


Edited by progrockfreak - April 22 2011 at 18:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 13 2011 at 05:14
Thanks, will check. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote harmonium.ro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 13 2011 at 06:58
Wow, absolutely no samples on YouTube for these guys. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progrockfreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 13 2011 at 16:56
They seem to be the band that time forgot - if only a handful of people know of their existence now, then maybe it was the same back in 1993. No wonder they threw in the towel after only one album! I'm certainly unfamiliar with their record label - here's a quote from the proggnosis site: "This CD was released on the label Drysdale and is CD 001" -- hardly a prolific label (!!) - Just what might they have achieved if they'd had the right backing and support??
I suppose the fact that there are still a few CD's left to buy 18 years later says it all!


Edited by progrockfreak - April 13 2011 at 17:05
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote b_olariu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 15 2011 at 07:00

I have the album, great, I may have hard times finding anything by them, musicaly samples I mean

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 15 2011 at 18:20
^Sounds good, would you please send me? Big smile

EDIT: Thanks progrockfreak, I've listened to their album completely, and tend to vote for them. Cool


Edited by DamoXt7942 - April 16 2011 at 04:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote harmonium.ro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 21 2011 at 08:33
Thanks for sending samples David! The music is very good, sounds like 80s YES (which I always loved and considered progressive pop-rock), but even more progressive. The track "Fall From Grace" is fantastic.

I think this band can sit in Crossover Prog because of the highly melodic content, I'll alert the team for the evaluation.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progrockfreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 21 2011 at 13:31
Great news, guys - let's get them out in the public eye! 1993 was hardly a great year to start playing this kind of stuff, so it's no great surprise that they went down like a lead balloon back then! Things are different now, & who knows - a couple of decent reviews of the album on here may even spark off enough interest to make them dust off their old mothballed equipment...it's certainly happened before!
 
As an addendum, here's the text of a review by John "Bo Bo" Bollenberg for progressiveworld.net in 2000:  http://www.progressiveworld.net/html/modules.php?name=Reviews&rop=showcontent&id=439
 
"Genesis guitars, Marillion rhythms, Saga changes and a voice which sounds like a combination of Dane Stevens (Druid singer and Jon Anderson clone), Geddy Lee (Rush) and Peter Nicholls (IQ). We are talking about the Canadian sympho machine called Big Picture who with their self-titled album have released a very nice CD indeed. A song like "Fall From Grace" finds itself, where the not so evident use of percussive sounds is concerned, on the same wavelength as Rush. Very accessible but still very original is "Power Of Life ' where I can find a similar style like Galahad. Compared to a lot of projects, a real drummer can be heard here and the amounts of sweat this guy is losing benefits the music. The songs benefit even more from his inventive playing. I love" That's Just The Way It Is "which works exactly like Supertramp: acceptable for" daytime radio "but still OK to be of interest for the album buying public.
Although this kind of music is often disrespectfully categorised as being "neo-progressive" the end result is still important enough to give it a serious spin. Hard work has gone into producing this album which is a thing you can clearly hear, especially in the arrangements. OK, Scott Pieper's voice will not be loved by everyone but what remains is more than worthwhile. A little recognition for the BIG picture should not be too much to ask."
 
There is a footnote on the webpage by the editor to the effect that a follow up was advertised, but (as far as is known) was never released, so there IS material knocking around somewhere (maybe in in somebody's attic!) that could be resurrected if the incentive was there...
 
Mark Krueger, the Planet Prog presenter, apparently knows the keyboard player (Mark Pieper) and I have emailed him for any info he may be able to supply to include in a proper bio of the band.
 
Addendum 2:  Mark Piper is currently still very active and playing in a six piece band called Champions Of Nothing http://www.championsofnothing.com/The_Champions_Of_Nothing_-_Home.html 
Quite an accomplished outfit it seems, since in addition to their many other musical projects, The Champs have taken it upon themselves to rescue Kevin Gilbert's "The Shaming Of The True" from undeserved obscurity, in order to keep the musical legacy of the great man alive for the next generation of fans.
Short lo-fi YouTube edited sequence of this show here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQkifLXdU9g
From the band's website: "Mark gigged regularly for years in the Chicago prog scene, as a founder of the Genesis tribute “Harlequin” and in his original project “Big Picture;” he currently plays with his son Keith in “Syndrome”


Edited by progrockfreak - April 21 2011 at 20:00
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 21 2011 at 20:09
They've been cleared in Neo today. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progrockfreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 21 2011 at 21:07
Thank you Keishiro!! I think we already have enough info for the bio, but if you want to try adding keyboard player Mark Pieper as a Facebook friend, and then message him for the full band story, his page is at http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Pieper/100001323080677?sk=wall
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote harmonium.ro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 22 2011 at 06:00
Originally posted by DamoXt7942 DamoXt7942 wrote:

They've been cleared in Neo today. Thumbs Up


Nice!

Would anyone be upset if I uploaded the track I liked the most on YouTube?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progrockfreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 22 2011 at 08:32
Sounds like a great idea Alex - should have been done years ago imho!! Can't see why anyone would be upset...the only person who might (though I can't think why) would be Mark Pieper. Perhaps you might want to try and contact him via FB or something first to clear it with him?  I really think there should be SOMETHING for people to listen to other than by downloading an 8 month old radio show!! 
 
Update: I have contacted Mark via FB and he has no objections to his old material being uploaded to YouTube. He has asked that we revise our band bio to reflect that it was actually a US band from the Chicago area - Heaven knows where the Canadian references came from on those few sites that I actually found details of the album on!! He also confirmed that a second album WAS intended, but sadly the band stalled during the recording of it. Wouldn't it be great if we could generate enough interest to get this material recorded by him NOW...18 years down the line!!


Edited by progrockfreak - April 22 2011 at 17:42
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progrockfreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 15 2011 at 12:48
Still no sign of this band in the Archive. I did suggest the following on 4th May as a starting point for their bio:
 
"Big Picture were a five piece band from Chicago, Illinois, who produced just one self-titled album in 1993. The line up consisted of Scott Pieper (lead vocals, guitar), Steve Mozden (guitar), Mark Pieper (keyboards, vocals), Paul Bivans (drums, percussion), & Norm Griffin (bass).
Mark Pieper had previously founded Genesis cover band “Harlequin”, and indeed the music of Big Picture certainly suggests Genesis as an influence. But there are also hints of Yes, Rush and Saga here too, and Scott Pieper's vocals are not unlike those of Supertramp's Roger Hodgson in places.
The album was well produced, and the songs are structured, highly melodic neo prog, with excellent musicianship evident in all departments. A second album was planned, but sadly the band stalled during its recording.
Both Mark Pieper and Paul Bivans are still very active musically. Mark is involved with a project called The Champions Of Nothing, a six piece band which, amongst other things, stages a reconstruction of Kevin Gilbert's classic “The Shaming Of The True”, as well as performing with his son in another band called Syndrome.
Paul plays in numerous bands, including Chicago Percussion Quintet, Bunkertown, Archer & Spade, and the Andon Davis Trio, though his mainstay has been Anna Fermin's band Trigger Gospel, of which he has been a member since 1994.
In conclusion “Big Picture” is an album well worth checking out!!"
 
Big picture and their album do appear on http://progfreak.com, but the country of origin is still erroneously stated there as Canada, which was initially wrongly suggested by the few websites that had any info on them. Seems to have got put on the backburner since.
 
Any news?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote harmonium.ro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2011 at 09:50
Thanks for the bio, I'll post a notice for the Neo guys. Addition should come swiftly. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 20 2011 at 02:43
Ah, would you please let us take time?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2011 at 01:54
Thanks for your patience, they've been added. Embarrassed
http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=6529
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