Progtopia Archives

What would you think if something special to you that had been lost for over 30 years suddenly turned up seemingly unharmed? But then what if, so tantalizingly close to getting this item back, the person who now possessed it decided to lawyer up? That's the scenario that faced Jefferson Starship's guitarist Craig Chaquico and two classic Les Paul instruments that were assumed destroyed in a riot in 1978. The tale of how one of the two was found is almost too perfect to believe, but sadly that guitar isn't back with its rightful owner yet. The courts are involved, and on June 13, 2016, Chaquico will know if he can reunite with his "girlfriend." Host Mark Ashby got the scoop on the whole saga including how the Star Wars Christmas Special figures into it, as well as some insights into his career both solo and with (Jefferson) Starship, including a discussion specifically about that 80s staple "We Built This City." Find him online at www.craigchaquico.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Fast Buck Freddie"

"Find Your Way Back"

"Jane"

"We Built This City"

"El Gato"

"Acoustic Highway"

"Dance with the Dragon"

"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 29 February 2016


If anyone truly deserves to wear the crown of the Metal Queen, Doro Pesch is worthy of the title. From her days fronting Warlock in the 80s through her solo career, she's spent better than 30 years rocking out in front of audiences worldwide and never wavering from her mission of bringing metal to the masses. With a voice that can cut sharper than a samurai sword, Doro will be touring the eastern US this February and March with plans for more dates later in the year, but first a cruise from Miami on the Monsters of Rock cruise alongside the likes of Tesla, Queensryche, and more. Before soaking up some sun, she talked with host Mark Ashby about how she managed to get through the 90s when record labels and fans alike were turning away from metal, new music that's forthcoming this year and next, and how the late Lemmy Kilmister "saved [her] life." Go to www.doropesch.com for information in both English and German.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Take No Prisoner"

"Rock Till Death"

"The Night of the Warlock"

"Freiheit (Human Rights)"

"It Still Hurts" (featuring Lemmy)

"Raise Your Fist in the Air"

"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 18 February 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_087_Rock_Till_Death_with_Doro_Pesch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

Many ideas have begun while two or more friends have drunk an alcoholic beverage of their choice -- some are good, some are not. In the case of the Netherlands' Barstool Philosophers (Bas Hoebink [bass], Martin Kuipers [drums], Peter Van Asselt [vocals], René Kroon [keyboards], and Ivo Poelman [guitar]), it was a very good idea, indeed. They have crafted two albums' worth of songs that lean progressive without going so far that fans of a more classic-rock sound aren't turned off. The most recent album, Crossing Over, features six different singers -- including three tracks with Van Asselt. Host Mark Ashby talked with Kroon about the band's positive philosophy, why they used so many singers on this album after parting ways with their first vocalist, and what concept connects all the songs on Crossing Over. They're online at www.thebarstoolphilosophers.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"'Till We Meet Again"

"Tedious"

"Freeway"

"Beyond the Stars"

"Crossing Over"

"The Scent"

"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 January 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_086_Share_a_Pint_with_The_Barstool_Philosophers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:56am EDT

Don't worry -- your humble host hasn't lost his mind and started talking to himself. Host Mark Ashby tracked down a German prog-metal band also called Ashby, whose debut album Fragmental was released in November 2015. The quintet usually goes only by their first names (Joel [keyboards], Jan [guitar], Sabina [vocals], Chris [bass], and Rik [drums]), and their sound is already an emotional mix of power and vulnerability that feels familiar without being a carbon copy of other similar bands. In this interview, you'll hear more about how they came up with their name, their writing process, and Sabina's time as a contestant on the German version of The Voice. Find the band online at www.ashbyofficial.de.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Aether - A Lunar Year"

"Ashes Decay"

"The Faceless and the Shore"

"Pax"

"Holy Water"

"A Question Never Heard"

"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 January 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_085_Ashby_Interviews_Ashby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:32am EDT

From the northern reaches of Europe to the lower regions of South America, the multi-national project Full Nothing released their debut self-titled album in August and has already gained over 10,000 Facebook followers despite not (yet) having a physical CD version of the album. Conceived by Argentinian musicians Nicolas Marcos (guitars) and Guillermo de Medio (keyboards), several singers collaborated on the 14 tracks, including Finland's Juha Kylmänen, who spoke with host Mark Ashby in this episode. You'll hear about the way he connected with a project begun so far away, what kinds of music he does (and doesn't) listen to, and an exclusive about the second Full Nothing album, on which work has already started. Find them online at www.fullnothing.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"In Nothingness We Trust"

"Sunlight"

"The Claim Forgotten"

"Return"

"Epitaph"

"The Book of Fears"

"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 05 December 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_084_In_Full_Nothing_We_Trust.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:28am EDT

"A metal album with a trombone player" is roughly how brassman Jacob Garchik describes his latest effort Ye Olde. With interweaving Frippian guitars and sometimes-blaring, sometimes-melodic horn work, Garchik and his collaborators have crafted an instrumental tale of an alternate-reality Brooklyn where vinyl siding is the enemy. As if that weren't enough, he's also been a part of the Latin-flavored Banda de los Muertos this year, and he's collaborated with the likes of the Kronos Quartet and Henry Threadgill, among many others. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Garchik about his myriad influences from classical to jazz to prog, why humor is an important part of his approach, and how his nuanced views on religion informed his 2012 work The Heavens: The Atheist Gospel Trombone Album. He's online at www.jacobgarchik.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"The Lady of Duck Island"

"Ye Olde of Flatbush"

"The Problem of Suffering"

"Tu Recuerdo y Yo"

"And Meanwhile"

"Post-Modern Revival"

"The Battle of Brownstone Bulge"

"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 24 November 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_083_And_Meanwhile_Its_Jacob_Garchik.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:26am EDT

Have you ever just known that an underrated band you enjoy is poised for a breakthrough? Melbourne, Australia's Teramaze could very well be that group. Comprised of Nathan Peachey (vocals), Luis Eguren (bass), Dean Kennedy (drums), and Dean Wells (guitar, backing vocals), the band's latest album Her Halo was released in late October to wide acclaim, as was their 2014 effort Esoteric Symbolism. Since their rebirth several years ago, the band's direction has become more progressive and has steadily gained new fans around the world. In this interview with host Mark Ashby, Wells and Peachey talk about the balance in writing challenging music that still contains accessible elements, how they deal with haters, and the support Mascot Label Group has been giving them surrounding Her Halo. Find the band online at www.teramaze.com.au.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Trapeze"

"Out of Subconscious"

"Her Halo"

"An Ordinary Dream (Enla Momento)"

"To Love, a Tyrant"

To hear the first Progtopia episode featuring Teramaze, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-008-through-the-madness-of-teramaze

"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 07 Nov 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_082_Out_of_Teramazes_Subconscious.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:08am EDT

Just another female-fronted prog-metal band? Not exactly. Indianapolis' Chiasma aren't very far into their career, but they're already carving a niche for themselves with a sound that includes the standard symphonic instrumentation and occasional growls, but also vocoders and a willingness to experiment with sound. Members Katie Thompson (vocals and keyboards), Derek Steele (guitar), Ian Inman (guitar), Dan Gugenheim (bass), and Dustin Weddle (drums) have one album, Synthesis, out already and are planning to release their second within the next few months. Host Mark Ashby chats with Thompson and Weddle regarding the piecing-together of the band, what Indiana is like as a progressive destination, and how cats figure into their music-making (or maybe the blocking thereof). Find them online at http://chiasmatheband.bandcamp.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Phajaan"

"Walls"

"Adventure Through Armenia"

"Cry for the Dream"

"Starboard"

"Impetus Lost"

"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 30 Oct 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_081_A_Turn_to_Starboard_with_Chiasma.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:03am EDT

Ask anyone who has been there: The premiere progressive and power metal festival in the United States takes place every September in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2015, ProgPower USA experienced its sixteenth installment, with four days of events with bands from around the world entertaining sold-out crowds at the Center Stage venue. Headliners this year included the likes of Anathema, Falconer, and Angra, but other up-and-comers like Helker and Native Construct were also received well by the ProgPower faithful. Host Mark Ashby attended for the first time, and he brings you interviews with a few festival attendees, Voyager's Alex Canion, and festival promoter Glenn Harveston, who talks about the visa issues that plagued him this year and his team's quick responses to it, how much time he has to watch the bands he books, and what makes ProgPower the festival that sells out its thousand tickets in nine hours (for next year's shows). And you hear Mark's ideal "ProgtopiaPower USA" lineup, four days of shows comprised entirely of past Progtopia guests. Learn more about the festival at www.progpowerusa.com.

"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 12 Oct 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_Backstage_Pass_4_ProgPower_USA_XVI.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:57am EDT

The U8 Touch Guitar is quite the versatile instrument. Creator Markus Reuter uses it as part of the dynamic group Stick Men but also in the avant-garde centrozoon. Another minimalist-style composer who employs the U8 is French-born, Austin-based Cédric Theys. Founder of Mad Ducks Records, Theys has already released two albums this year -- Imagur as part of the duo Dim13nsion (pronounced Dimension 13) and his solo effort Eternity's Antechamber -- and both will appeal to those who enjoy ethereal soundscapes. Host Mark Ashby talked with Theys about his preference of the U8 to the Chapman Stick, his spontaneous composition style, and the other acts on his record label, which you can find at www.madducksrecords.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"We Can't Use the Sun Anymore"

"A Small Stretch of Eternity"

"Atomic Fission"

"Stepping Through Existence"

"Peaceful Plains"

"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 30 Sept 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_080_Stepping_Through_Existence_with_Cedric_Theys.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:52am EDT