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Jean-Michel Jarre (cover story) – in-depth interview with the French electronic music pioneer who holds world attendance records for his extravagant open-air concerts. Jean-Michel shares his thoughts on many topics including the role of music in sociopolitical activism, concert security, and the future of electronic music. Says Jarre, “Electronic music today no longer has limits or boundaries; it’s everywhere. It ranges from EDM [dance music] based on the kick – the four on the floor and the kick – to electronica, ambient or cinematic types of compositions. I always try to combine a bit of everything.”
Todd Rundgren – in-depth interview with the American art-rock legend, who reflects on his tour stint with last summer’s Yestival and what being “progressive” has meant to him through nearly five decades making music. Says Todd, “If you’re willing to incorporate some interesting changes and mess around with the form a bit, that’s kind of what prog rock is. You can’t say it’s all the same for everybody.”
Ian Anderson – in-depth interview with the legendary Jethro Tull front man looking back on the band’s 50-year history. Ian shares details on upcoming album releases, including plans for a new studio disc in 2019. Says Anderson, “I’d say probably 60 percent of [the next studio disc] is fairly heavy rock, the rest of it is very much in the opposite vein of being rather Spartan acoustic material, I suppose in a way a bit like Aqualung: People remember the louder, more rock tracks in it, but then there’s all these rather whimsical little light pieces and a few pieces that are very acoustic and quite sparse, without drums and bass. So, yes, there’s a fair amount of that.”
NEARfest retrospective – in-depth interviews with organizers Chad Hutchinson and Rob LaDuca, who perfected the progressive music festival concept through 13 editions of the North East Art Rock Festival in Bethlehem, Pa. Says Hutchinson, “I think NEARfest grabbed the torch at a time when progressive rock was struggling to make a return, so to speak. The indie festival movement was started by Progfest [California] and ProgDay [North Carolina
The Tangent – interview with band leader Andy Tillison, who explores the philosophy behind his music plus details on new album, The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery. Says Andy, “The Tangent never was ambitious. Record sales, becoming famous, writing hit songs – these are of no importance to The Tangent. The only thing that is important to us is writing music and hoping as many people as possible hear it.”
Nad Sylvan – interview with the flamboyant singer/Steve Hackett band member about his evolving solo career and new album, The Bride Said No. Says Sylvan, “I know I have some haters out there, but they don’t get me. What I do onstage is something I would very much like to see myself. I want to be entertained. I don’t want to see another prog musician just standing there going through the motions.”
Sons Of Apollo – interviews with drummer Mike Portnoy and keyboardist Derek Sherinian about their new progressive metal supergroup and debut album, Psychotic Symphony. Says Sherinian, “We will go on a worldwide crusade in 2018 to bring Sons of Apollo to as many people as possible. Apollo was the god of music, and we are his mighty offspring!”
Mark Trueack – interview with the singer/composer about his former band, Unitopia, his upcoming new album with United Progressive Fraternity and other projects. Says Mark, “What you’ve got to imagine is I’m also making cameo appearances on a lot of other projects and that keeps holding me up, because I don’t like saying no to people! That’s the problem. I am on five different projects at the moment in which I’m working on sections of songs for people.”
Glass Hammer – interviews with members Steve Babb and Fred Schendel looking back on the independent group’s 25-year run plus information on latest album, Valkyrie. Says Schendel, “We knew we were ‘prog’ but didn’t know there was an audience for it. We thought if people liked to watch films about fantasy and read books about fantasy, surely they must like our music. We both thought prog fans from the ‘70s were no longer there. Then we realized they were still around and waiting for a band just like ours.”
Blackmore’s Night – interview with singer/multi-instrumentalist Candice Night about the first 20 years of her partnership with legendary guitarist/composer Ritchie Blackmore, plus info on the resurrection of Blackmore’s classic act, Rainbow. Says Night, “For every step along the way, just when I would’ve thought it couldn’t get any better, Ritchie comes up with more amazing music that entrances and kind of bewitches you. You find yourself going down another path, coming up with new lyrical ideas and the journey continues.”
Schooltree – candid first-person piece by composer/keyboardist Lainey Schooltree retracing the creative process behind new double-disc concept work, Heterotopia. Says Lainey, “I’ll admit I can be dramatic about the trials of creating. I take it all very seriously. Maybe too seriously, in some odd combination of New England forbearance and art-martyr angst.”
Karibow – interview with singer/composer Oliver Rusing about the concept behind this German group and new album, From Here to the Impossible. Says Oliver, “I’ve learned you have to get used to limitations and work with what you have – accept the ‘quality’ rather than [yearn for] the ‘quantity’ of things. Of course, I’m trying to get better at handling this, but I also know I’m getting older.””
Mark Papagno – interview with the indie prog/fusion guitarist and details behind his newest instrumental work, The Man Whom the Trees Loved. Says Papagno, “Some have likened me to Allan Holdsworth [infused by] an airy quality like Tim Miller. I love the freedom of soloing over those crazy chord progressions.”
Power Quest – interview with keyboardist/composer Steve Williams on the British band’s resurrection after a three-year hiatus and new album, Sixth Dimension. Says Steve, “I’m the main songwriter, financier and manager, so the world is my oyster when it comes to the musical side of things. This means I can bring all my influences to the table without any worry of fitting into a category or pigeonhole.”
Metalite – article on the new Swedish symphonic metal act and album debut, Heroes in Time. Says leader/guitarist Edwin Premberg, “I wanted to create a happy style that has memorable hooks and soaring choruses with a lot of keyboards, together with modern production [incorporating] metal [power dynamics].”
Brian Tarquin – interview with the Florida-based guitarist/producer about his ongoing series of themed tribute albums with all-star lineups, and charitable endeavors. Says Tarquin, “I like having a cause for these records. I don’t want to just release a compilation and let it go to the wind. I try to tie them to some cool cause. I’m very passionate about these things. Luckily, the musicians I use are passionate as well. It’s a very rewarding thing; I’ve built these relationships over the years where I can call people up.”
FB1964 – article on new concept album Stortebeker, by German guitarist/composer Frank Badenhop involving an all-star cast of 41 guest contributors. Says Badenhop, “Yes, it was very difficult to find, arrange and organize all the guest musicians. [But] it was important for me to have a good mixture of known and unknown musicians.”
ProgDay Festival, 2017 – an in-depth first-person perspective on the world’s longest-running progressive music festival by Sonus Umbra bassist Luis Nasser. Says Luis, “ProgDay is a blast, and if you haven’t been there you really ought to give it a shot.”
Progstock Festival, 2017 – overview of the New Jersey progressive music festival’s debut, with photos.
Progtoberfest, 2017 – coverage of the Chicago-based festival’s third annual edition, with photos.
King Crimson – live report from the eight-member classic group’s ongoing world tour.
Renaissance– live report from the legendary symphonic band’s recent orchestral tour.
Dream Theater –live report on the seminal progressive metal act’s Images and Words anniversary tour.
Nik Turner – live report from the Hawkwind legend’s recent tour.
Also in this issue – coverage of developments at the ECM label, the annual Rites of Spring Festival’s upcoming 2018 edition, the annual Cruise to the Edge 2018 lineup, Genesis reunion hopes, in-depth reviews of new recordings by Gentle Giant (compilation) and Steven Wilson, plus more than 100 concert, album and DVD reviews.