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Tina Guo (cover story) – in-depth interview with the ubiquitous American cellist who is film score legend Hans Zimmer’s right-hand woman. Tina aspires to branch out from the world of soundtracks and classical performance into symphonic progressive metal with her own recordings/extravagant stage production. Says Guo, “I only recently booked my first formal solo show with full symphony, and I’m bringing my metal band along so they’re playing as well. We’re doing the entire Game On! album plus about 30 minutes of music from my previous albums, which mostly is film and TV music, so it’s in that vein. It’s going to be with orchestra and organ. It’ll be pretty bombastic, kind of like the Hans Zimmer tour.”
Keith Emerson’s unfinished legacy (cover story) – in-depth series of articles addressing unrecorded handwritten sheet music the late keyboard legend left behind, plus details on the forthcoming DVD release from last year’s Emerson tribute concert in Los Angeles. Included are interviews with Emerson friend/fellow keyboardist CJ Vanston, and Marc Bonilla (Keith Emerson Band guitarist/singer) who oversaw the DVD project. Says Vanston, “I haven’t begun to fully assess what’s there. There are songs, there’s some orchestral stuff. It’s so widely varied … from fractured little four-measure jotted-down things to finished 20-page whatever. I’ve got three or four document-sized boxes full of stuff.”
Ayreon – in-depth interview with Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen, in which he discusses his career trajectory thus far. Arjen talks about what drives him creatively and the inspiration behind new album The Source. Says Lucassen, “When I start a project I have no idea what it’s going to be, so everything I do is spur-of-the-moment. I just get some ideas, a few chords, melody or a chord progression, and I record it on a little cassette player. Then I get more ideas and sample all these ideas, still having no plan what the project is going to be.”
The two Yeses – article on the uneasy relationship between Yes and Yes Featuring Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman in the wake of Yes’s recent induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Says Yes bassist/singer Billy Sherwood, “Yes has been filled with all kinds of tumultuous feelings ever since it started and throughout its evolution, and continues to go through those motions. As far as I’m concerned as a big Yes fan, the more Yes music in this day and age the better. One is called Yes, one is called Yes Featuring, so there you go. I’d go see both, personally.”
Allan Holdsworth – tribute to the late guitar icon on what made him special, including a personal essay from guitarist Scott McGill, who was strongly influence by Allan. Says McGill, “I would say that Allan Holdsworth’s impact on modern progressive rock, instrumental rock and metal was/is pervasive, profound, and will be permanent. He was known internationally as a musician’s musician, for all the right reasons.”
Styx – article on the classic band returning to its progressive roots on new album The Mission. Says guitarist/singer Tommy Shaw, “We are rough-edged and badass out on the road, and we know it. But while we were making this record, everyone got very real, dug down deep into unfamiliar territory and gave the performances you hear. Anything we can do to make the songs better, that’s what we do.”
Between the Buried and Me – interview with bassist Dan Briggs including details behind newly released concert recording Coma Ecliptic: Live. Says Briggs, “You feel the structure in the set, you know? Having that flow from song to song makes playing it live feel really good, as opposed to playing random songs from your career and trying to make them flow in some way.”
Fibonacci Sequence – article on the Wisconsin-based progressive band and its new album, Cinema Finis. Says drummer Tom Ford, “There were so many ideas and themes each of us brought to each song, and there’s only so much sonic space you can put these songs into. There is so much competition for space in our music!”
Nick Katona – interview with the owner/operator of prolific label Melodic Revolution Records. Says Katona, “I don’t know if I have a set formula or philosophy about the type of band that is good for Melodic Revolution Records. I love just about all styles of music. That said, first and foremost the artist must create music that moves me one way or another.”
Lonely Robot – article on the project led by well-traveled guitarist/singer John Mitchell, including details on new album The Big Dream. Says Mitchell, “There is a feeling [in progressive rock] that if you invite other people to your project, it invites other fan bases and helps establish the brand. But I wasn’t going to have anyone who was inappropriate or irrelevant.”
Lifesigns – a track-by-track sneak peek into the British group’s forthcoming second studio album, Cardington, courtesy of John Young and his mates.
La Bocca Della Verita – profile on the young Italian group and new album, Avenoth. Says keyboardist/bandleader Massimo Di Paola, “Our love for the bombastic symphonic style explains why we would like to work with a real orchestra someday. For our most epic and lyrical song, ‘Perduto Avenoth,’ we have an arrangement prepared for choir and orchestra.”
Ingranaggi Della Valle – profile on another young Italian group and its latest work, Warm Spaced Blue. Says guitarist/keyboardist Alessandro Di Sciullo, “All seven of us in the band have voracious appetites for music. All of us listen to music all of the time, including different genres ranging from classic prog bands to temporary pop groups. We find that we can draw inspiration from the most diverse sources as long as it’s music written and performed with passion.”
Brand X – update on the classic fusion act’s recent comeback, including the addition of drummer Kenny Grohowski and details on new double-live disc But Wait … There’s More! Says band manager Norman Bedford, “The drummer we’ve got now, in all honesty, is a better drummer. Kenny Grohowski is blowing people’s minds. After shows I’d say half of all [fan] comments were about this drummer. I remember one guy said, ‘Dude, I’ve been playing drums 30 years. I’m going home and burning my kit after seeing that.’ The guy is unbelievable.”
Gungfly – article on Rikard Sjoblom’s primary post-Beardfish vehicle and new album, On Her Journey to the Sun. Says Sjoblom, “With the breakup of Beardfish, all of the prog-related material I wrote needed to go somewhere. Gungfly was ready and able for this step.”
Corciolli – profile of the veteran Brazilian keyboardist with details on his new progressive-oriented album, Ilusia. Says Corciolli, “In many ways, our ‘ordinary’ lives have other, mysterious meanings that – most of the time – we are not aware of in the moment. But, after time passes, they emerge and take on other meanings. This is a very close analogy with the music.”
Pyramaze – keyboardist Jonah Weingarten discusses his role with the internationally based progressive metal act and shares background on new album, Contingent. Says Weingarten, “It portrays a last-ditch effort to save humanity, something I definitely believe we’re facing right now.”
Rites of Spring Festival, 2017– overview of the annual progressive rock festival’s 14th edition, with photos.
Seaprog Festival, 2017– live report on the now-annual event from Seattle, with photos.
Roger Waters – live report from the Pink Floyd kingpin’s U.S. tour.
Jobson/Bonilla – live report on the Eddie Jobson and Marc Bonilla “Fallen Angels” tour.
Riverside – live report from Poland on the group’s recent European tour and plans going forward.
Jean-Michel Jarre –live report from the master synthesist’s first American tour.
Deep Purple – live report from Europe on the classic group’s farewell tour.
Also in this issue – nearly 100 album, DVD and book reviews!