Progtopia Archives

You know him mainly from his vocal work with classic rockers Toto, particularly on big hits like "Hold the Line" and "Rosanna," but did you know he's the guy singing backup on the Tubes' "She's a Beauty," or albums from the likes of Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, and Quiet Riot? Bobby Kimball is in his seventh decade but still sounding like a singer half his age, and his latest solo album We're Not in Kansas Anymore has just been released in the US after a November release overseas. AOR listeners everywhere will have plenty to love about this record, and he speaks with host Mark Ashby about his early musical development and cross-racial friendship with a man nicknamed Tanner, his pride in the Grammy Awards Toto garnered with their smash album Toto IV, and how he keeps his vocals in shape after all these years. He's online at www.bobbykimball.com

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Flatline"

"Hey It's Me"

"Good for You" (Toto)

"On My Feet"

"Scam"

"Africa" (Toto)

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Originally posted 02 May 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_110_Hey_Its_Bobby_Kimball.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14pm EDT

He's been called "discomfiting" and "overly whimsical," and while those labels are debatable, there's no denying that UK singer/songwriter Tom Slatter creates the kind of music he wants to, and fans of quirky storytelling and often-progressive music have been finding him. His latest album, Happy People, was released on the 17th of March on Bad Elephant Music, with members of the Rube Goldberg Machine (Episode 093) assisting. With concepts that are reminiscent of dystopian science fiction and riffs that are alternately toe-tapping and impossible to count, Slatter has earned himself a nomination for the Prog Magazine Limelight Award in 2016, though the world will never know why he didn't win. Hear him talk with host Mark Ashby about the literary inspirations he draws on, why bad reviews can sometimes be good, and how being late on a deadline turned into a running joke among his supporters. He's on the web at www.tomslatter.co.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"The Steam Engine Murders and the Trial of Seven Bells John"

"Happy People"

"Some of the Creatures Have Broken the Locks on the Door to Lab 558"

"Even Then We're Scared"

"A Name in a File"

"All of the Dark"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 31 March 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_109_Tom_Slatter_One_of_the_Happy_People.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:22am EDT

We love our female-fronted symphonic rock on this show, but Karnataka transcends such a label with a blend of progressive, metal, and world music that has been entrancing fans for a couple of decades. Frequent guests at festivals like this year's HRH Prog and on their own tours like the current End II End jaunts, the band (Jimmy Pallagrosi [drums], Hayley Griffiths [vocals], Enrico Pinna [guitar], Ian Jones [bass], and Çağri Tozluoğlu [keyboards]) has built a sizeable fan base through their live shows and albums like 2015's Secrets of Angels. With influences and instrumentation that suggest areas of the world from India to Ireland and all points between, they're a must-listen for fans of intelligent yet accessible prog. Jones chats with host Mark Ashby about the early pre-Karnataka years, how the classically-trained Riverdance veteran Griffiths became their singer in 2011, and why they try to play live as much as possible. They're online at www.karnataka.org.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"The Gathering Light"

"Feels Like Home"

"Your World"

"Road to Cairo"

"Forbidden Dreams"

"The Calling"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 17 Mar 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_108_Feels_Like_Home_for_Karnataka.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:22pm EDT

The feeling you get when you hear a truly remarkable voice is a special one, and that's the way many prog fans feel when they find out that Damian Wilson is part of a project. And those projects over the years have been many, whether in his early years with Landmarq through fronting Threshold and Headspace, or on his own solo albums like 2016's Built for Fighting. His versatility in flowing between genres is remarkable, and in this interview with host Mark Ashby, Wilson discusses why he would actually like to be involved in more projects, the pros and cons of performing as Jean Valjean in a touring company of Les Miz, and how fans will be able to hear a piece of him in every song he's written over the years. You can find him online and learn more at www.damianwilson.net.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Can't Heal War"

"Impossible"

"Seek for Adventure" (Wilson & Wakeman)

"Your Life Will Change" (Headspace)

"Fire"

"Road to Supremacy" (Headspace)

"Sex & Vanilla"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 02 March 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_107_Nothing_Is_Impossible_for_Damian_Wilson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22pm EDT

You could call them a jam band, you could call them instrumental prog, but whatever you do, don't called them commercial. California's Djam Karet has been creating their own brand of self-described "self-indulgent" music for over three decades, but a devoted following has managed to find them, anyway. Maybe that's because their excursions into improvised territory don't meander and wander in directions that nobody else can follow. Their approach comes off as focused and highly musical, as evidenced on almost 20 albums including their newest, Sonic Celluloid. Host Mark Ashby talked with founder and multi-instrumentalist Gayle Ellett about why they've never even thought about satisfying anyone but themselves when composing and recording, what allows them to have stayed together for so long, and whether or not he feels they have anything in common with bands like the Grateful Dead or Phish. They're on the web at www.djamkaret.com.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Long Shot"

"The Denouement Device"

"Web of Medea"

"Saul Says So"

"Forced Perspective"

"Lower"

 

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

 

Originally posted 13 February 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_106_Because_Djam_Karet_Says_So.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:37pm EDT

One of progressive music's true Renaissance men, singer and multi-instrumentalist Francis Dunnery will resist any attempt you or anyone else makes to classify him. Having begun his musical career in the eighties with pop-proggers It Bites, Dunnery has done much in the years since he left the band, including moving from the UK to the US and exploring all sorts of genres and endeavors within and outside of the music business. His most recent album Vampires is a collection of re-recorded It Bites tunes, and he'll be performing a few concerts from the 20th to the 22nd of January 2017. In this interview, he talks with host Mark Ashby about wanting to clear the mental clutter of the past, how his in-house concerts evolved and what you can expect if you attend one, and why he chose not to "wear the clown shoes" in his career. Find him online at www.francisdunnery.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Old Man and the Angel"

"Once Around the World"

"Calling All the Heroes"

"Underneath Your Pillow"

"Moonflower"

"Screaming on the Beaches"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 14 Jan 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_105_Once_Around_the_World_with_Francis_Dunnery.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:10am EDT

We like them so much around here, they're back for a third time. Hemina from Sydney, Australia, first appeared on Progtopia in April 2012, and now with their third album Venus, this foursome (seated l. to r. Doug Skene [guitars, keyboards, vocals], Nathan McMahon [drums, vocals], Mitch Coull [guitars, vocals]; standing Jess Martin [bass, vocals]) has created their most well-rounded work to date. With influences ranging from the most technical metal to 80s pop and funk, Venus contains plenty for fans of smart, eclectic progressive music. You'll hear from all four members about McMahon's entry into and role in the band (and which prog metal vocalist took an interest in his setup), the science behind the vocal harmonies that distinguish them from the crowd, and which of them would be most likely to make an embarrassing social media post (among other things). They're at www.hemina.com.au.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Fantasy"

"High Kite Ride"

"Secret's Safe"

"Down Will Come Baby"

"I"

 

Listen to Hemina's previous episodes: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-005-and-now-to-find-hemina

http://progtopia.libsyn.com/progtopia-planetary-premiere-5-august-2014-hemina-nebulae

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

 

Originally posted 19 December 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_104_Down_Will_Come_Hemina.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:14pm EDT

What were you doing in the mid-1960s? Were you even born yet? That's when the story of the Little Rock, Arkansas band Rayburn begins. As teenagers, they honed their craft and gained the attention of Chuck Berry and Levon Helm, among others, even recording demos and signing a recording contract. So what happened? Why are we only just now hearing of Rayburn and their 2016 album The Living End? The story is kind of amazing, with family drama and medical tragedy, and you'll hear the band's keyboardist and driving force Steve Stephens (pictured while recording the new album) discuss the ups and downs that have followed Rayburn for years. You'll even hear an excerpt from one of those early demos along with the band's unique blend of progressive and southern rock elements. Fans of Hammond organs, be sure to tune in! Find them online at www.rayburn.band.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Jealous Mistress"

"Deep in Blue"

"Steam Shuffle" (early demo)

"At the Gate"

"Malachi"

"I Still Believe"

"Not Going Back"

 

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

 

Originally posted 5 December 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_103_Rayburn_Is_Not_Going_Back.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:09pm EDT

Having started over 20 years ago on his prog rock path with Spock's Beard, Nashville's Neal Morse has branched out on several different roads since then -- with Transatlantic, Flying Colors, and with the band named after him. Their newest effort, The Similitude of a Dream, is just out on Morse's Radiant Records, and it's a double-album tour-de-force based on a certain classic work of literature. Morse (center) speaks with host Mark Ashby about his many projects including those with drummer Mike Portnoy (right of Morse in photo), some of the conflict generated during the making of the new album, and how faith informs his art and his life. Find him online at www.nealmorse.com.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Overture"

"Back to the City"

"In the Fire"

"Shine" (Transatlantic)

"The Man in the Iron Cage"

"Breath of Angels"

 

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

 

Originally posted 16 November 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_102_Back_to_the_City_with_Neal_Morse.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:04pm EDT

When you're a well-respected and veteran progressive band like Marillion, perhaps it's not a risk to make one of the words in the title of your 18th album an expletive. But context is everything, as the band's bassist Pete Trewavas explains in the interview you'll hear as the latest Backstage Pass episode of Progtopia. Touring North America and Europe from October through December in support of "F E A R" (or "F*** Everyone and Run"), Marillion still captures an audience as perhaps no other progressive act can these days, as the many fans who travel the country and even the world to follow them can attest. Trewavas talks with host Mark Ashby about the band's friendship and longevity (and whether they've discussed what they would do if one member would say they couldn't continue), the fickle promotional habits of labels past, and that potentially-controversial album title. Check for more tour dates at www.marillion.com

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Eldorado"

"White Paper"

"The Leavers"

"Living in F E A R"

 

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

 

Originally posted 1 November 2016