Progtopia Archives

New bands aren't all 20-somethings searching for their musical identities. Some recently-formed groups are made up of veterans who have performed with rock heavyweights and even musical theater and have the same attorney as King Crimson. That's the case for New York State's Circuline, comprised of singers Billy Spillane and Natalie Brown with Andrew Colyer on keyboards and vocals, Darin Brannon on drums, Beledo on guitars, and Paul Ranieri on bass. Last month they appeared as part of RoSFest in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as well as releasing their sophomore effort Counterpoint. You'll hear in the interview with host Mark Ashby about how they came together out of some of the members being in a cover band called Downing Grey, their recent nomination for Prog Magazine's Limelight Award, and some insider dirt on each band member, so even you hardcore fans won't want to skip this one! They're online at www.circulinemusic.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Stay (Peter Frankenstan)"
"Forbidden Planet"
"Return"
"Who I Am"
"Nautilus"
"Inception"

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Originally posted 17 June 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_094_On_Circulines_Forbidden_Planet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:58am EDT

His name became synonymous with making simple tasks extremely complicated. Sounds like progressive music at times, too, doesn't it? Well, in the case of the late Rube Goldberg, his name and concepts live on in the UK band The Rube Goldberg Machine (Elliot Coombs: Guitars, keyboards, lead vocals; Dan Bowles: Guitars, keyboards, backing vocals; Jordan Brown: Bass, keyboards, backing vocals). Their debut Fragile Times was released in April on Bad Elephant Music, and if you're a fan of the lighter side of Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson, you have some idea of where the band's prog/pop comes from. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Brown and Coombs about the strong reason behind the band's name (and cover art), the songwriting process and the yin-yang personality types that inform different tracks on the album, and something we'll only refer to as the Mother of Pain. They're online at www.trgmachine.co.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Times Square"
"The Captain's Blackjack"
"Fragile Times"
"In Symmetry"
"Background Noise"
"Little Funerals"

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Originally posted 28 May 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_093_The_Rube_Goldberg_Machine_Is_Not_Background_Noise.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:57am EDT

Progressive rock and metal lend themselves perhaps more than any other genre to the telling of stories across the arc of an album. For Odd Logic, from the state of Washington, that's been the approach from the beginning. With albums like the two-part Legends of Monta, Over the Underworld, and the brand-new Penny for Your Thoughts, Sean Thompson (guitars, keys, vocals) has crafted tales that range through fantasy and science fiction and satisfy on a musical level, as well. After having been a solo project for years, Thompson has now brought on Mike Lee on bass and Pete Hanson on drums to create a true band that has even managed to play some live dates. Host Mark Ashby talked with the trio about the literary approach the band employs, where the unique album ideas come from, and if the Seattle area can support progressive music. Look for them and the new album on their Bandcamp page: http://oddlogicrock.bandcamp.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Secrets"
"Court of Ancient Rulers"
"Not Anymore"
"Life, Lore, and Love"
"Lighthouses"

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Originally posted 09 May 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_092_Life_Lore_and_Odd_Logic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:55am EDT

From Los Angeles comes a blended prog metal band that has been storming through speakers everywhere since 2000 with a series of consistently powerful releases. Led by Nick van Dyk on guitars and with Fates Warning's Ray Alder behind the microphone, Redemption has recently come out with their newest album The Art of Loss, and in it they cover territory ranging from straightforward hard rock to cover tunes and 20-minute-plus epics. Host Mark Ashby spoke by phone with van Dyk about the thematic elements that pervade Redemption's albums, health issues that he and guitarist Bernie Versailles have been facing, and how he looks back on the music he created in the wake of his cancer diagnosis several years ago. They're online at www.redemptionweb.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Slouching Towards Bethlehem"

"Love Kills Us All/Life in One Day"

"Walls"

"The Art of Loss"

"Love Reign O'er Me"

"Hope Dies Last"

"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 published 21 April 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_091_Slouching_Towards_Redemption.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:44pm EDT

St. Petersburg, Russia, is a city known for many things, but don't be surprised if someday it's also known as the home of iamthemorning, who could be called, for lack of a better term, "chamber prog." Singer Marjana Semkina and pianist Gleb Kolyadin compose music that ranges from conservatory-style pieces to guitar-and-drum-driven rockers and all points between. Their new album Lighthouse features the likes of Gavin Harrison, Colin Edwin, and Mariusz Duda as guests on their often ethereal, always interesting tracks. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Semkina about the challenges of being from Russia and trying to get noticed by a label like Kscope, how they are received in live settings that might not be thought at first to suit their style, and who wins in a tournament of four male and four female vocalists between whom she must choose -- sometimes painfully. They're online at http://iamthemorning.com/.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Harmony"

"Clear Clearer"

"To Human Misery"

"Lighthouse"

"Chalk and Coal"

"Post Scriptum"

"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 published 6 April 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_090_The_View_from_the_Lighthouse_with_iamthemorning.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42pm EDT

There's no rule that says a German band can't name themselves after an Italian author. So Augsburg's Dante has spent the past decade or so releasing albums, including their most recent called When We Were Beautiful. Members Alexander Göhs (vocals), Markus Maichel (keyboards), Christian Eichlinger (drums), and Julian Kellner (guitars) are firmly prog metal in style, with long songs and complex time signatures alongside more accessible beats that are - dare we say - danceable? Host Mark Ashby talked with Maichel about the band's origins, how Augsburg rates as a place for their sort of music, and the death of founding member Markus Berger and its aftermath. They're online at www.danteband.de.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Rearrangement of the Gods"

"Let Me Down"

"Finally"

"Ambitious"

"Beautiful Again"

"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 Mar 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_089_Dante_Is_Feeling_Beautiful_Again.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39pm EDT

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