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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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    Posted: November 30 2011 at 16:22

The story of this 'USA cult progrock band' started in 1975 when Kirk Long (guitars, Moog Taurus bass pedals) reacted on an add, placed by Randy Wilson (keyboards and vocal harmonies). Not until 1981 NETHERWORLD released their debut-album entitled "In The Following Half-Light". In 1984 NETHERWORLD disbanded.

The band have a website with contact details. I got in touch with them and Randy Wilson answered my questions.


When and by whom was your band born ? Did any of you, past and present members, play in any other bands before joining up in your band ?

Netherworld was created by me, Randy Wilson and Kirk Long when Kirk responded to an ad I placed looking for a violinist and a cellist for a large rock band. Kirk played neither instrument but had a unique guitar style. He convinced me that with the technology at the day we could create the orchestrated sound we were dreaming of. Eventually the Mellotron, synthesizers and Kirk’s guitar parts created some great orchestrated textures.
Kirk and I both played previously in copy bands where we played the music of bands we admired but didn't compose original music. I had worked with the guitarist Robin Belvin who joined as a second guitarist in Netherworld. Robin also played oboe. Kirk brought in his drummer Dave Kump who was Netherworld's original drummer. We found singer Denny Gorden soon after. Netherworld spent several years with the rotation of different musicians before finding the final group that made the record. The addition of guitarist Scott Stacy, bassist and cellist Pete Yarbrough, and drummer Thayne Boland brought a lot of additional energy to the band and these were most of the musicians who recorded the album released in 1981. 

Why did you choose that name and which bands were you influenced by ?

Kirk thought up the name Netherworld. We meant the title more to invoke a sense of fantasy and wonder rather than the more demonic side that bands who came later might have promoted. 
Our singer Denny had sung in several hard rock bands, but he also enjoyed Yes very much. I had many classical and jazz influences but perhaps my favorite prog-rock band was Gentle Giant. Peter enjoyed many of the innovative English bands like Hatfield and the North, Henry Cow, and Brand X. Kirk had many influences from Pink Floyd to classical. Scott enjoyed Genesis a lot and I guess that's a band that we all agreed was enjoyed by us all-- Genesis.

Your debut album Netherworld (In the Following Half-light) was released in 1981. Please tell us more about this album. How would you describe the music ?

Netherworld worked very hard and had a lot of lineups of different musicians before that album is released in 1981. 

As the years went by and the popularity of progressive rock began to wain, Denny who had been with the band for a long time shifted his musical interests away from progressive rock. He was in the band for years. I don’t blame him for changing. He wanted to move Netherworld into newer styles of music. You can hear some of that influence in Maybe if They Burn Me and Son of Sam. On the album some tunes have that approach, others were more traditional prog-rock, and some are more experimental approaches within the genre like Sargasso. 

How is the availability of this album ?

The album is available through Musea Records in France and also the music is posted on the iTunes store. The availability of the CD and the release on iTunes have promoted a lot of popularity increased interest in the band and led to some very nice reviews and interviews with great progressive sites like yours. The CD would probably not have been re-released without the help and encouragement of Jerry Van Kooten, a lyricist and reviewer for the Dutch Progressive Rock Page.

That's thirty years ago. What have you and the members of your band been up during the last three decades ?

During the last three decades most of us have stayed active with music am going in and out of different original and copy bands. Scott went into psychology. Many of the rest of us who stayed in California became involved in the high tech companies that are in our Silicon Valley area. I went on to help develop small parts of music and digital audio tools  like Pro Tools at Digidesign and the legendary Opcode. We all continue to work on music in one way or another to this day with the exception of Denny. 

Any recordings in the vaults you may release digitally or on an album?

There are some tapes of Netherworld’s final music done after the Netherworld album was released. This is where Netherworld was striking out in new directions and not so much progressive, but really quite innovative and interesting. Certainly those tapes need to restoration and I'm not sure when or if that work will be accomplished. 

Is there any plans to do anything more under the Netherworld name now or is this it? 

I doubt any new music will come out by us under the name Netherworld. But Scott Peter, Kirk and I all continue to work on different music projects. Pete, Kirk, Dave, Thayne and I still get together occasionally to play some Netherworld, but mostly other music. I continue to try to release innovative and original music that often involves a driving beat. I've embraced many new electronic ways of composing and recording music (some of which I’ve help shape and develop) that don't fit into the original progressive genre. They would not be considered traditionally progressive, but I am progressing. 

To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?

I just want to thank the ProgArchives for what you are doing. When the Netherworld album was released long before the internet with no advertising or promotion we still got letters from all over the world telling us how our music had reached folks with completely different lives across cultural borders. That was such a compliment! Now the internet, through sites like yours, allows fans of more unique styles of music to communicate their interests and support the music better. If this method of communication was available to Netherworld, we certainly would have been able to continue longer. So thanks!

Thank you to Randy for this interview

Their PA profile is here and their homepage is here

Randy's more recent work is here and here

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