Progtopia Archives

Touch guitarist and composer Markus Reuter has been featured on Progtopia before (Episode 018). But he's been hitting the road recently in support of various projects, on tour with his band Stick Men - alongside King Crimson alumni Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto - as well as for some dates in Japan and Mexico as part of the Crimson ProjecKt. On April 18th, Reuter's orchestral piece Todmorden 513 will have its world premiere by the Colorado Chamber Orchestra in Denver. In this mini-episode, the first of Progtopia's Backstage Pass series, host Mark Ashby (pictured here with Reuter before Stick Men's show at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis, Maryland) asked the versatile multi-instrumentalist about the hour-long composition, how it came to be debuted in Denver, and how fans can help support the project and receive something in return. Learn more about Todmorden 513 and the world premiere at http://www.markusreuter.com/news/.

Featured song excerpts:
"Nude Ascending Staircase" (Stick Men)
"Todmorden 513" - Parts I and V

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs hundreds of bands in the genre, including many featured on Progtopia. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 5 April 2013


The band may have had another person's name in it, but the Alan Parsons Project was just as much the brainchild of Scottish composer, keyboardist, and singer Eric Woolfson as it was that of the famous recording engineer. Described by Arista's Clive Davis in his recent autobiography as composing "haunting, highly atmospheric, literate songs that addressed ambitious, conceptual subjects" over the course of ten studio albums, the APP employed a core band and a rotating cast of vocalists to produce hits such as "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You," "Games People Play," and "Eye in the Sky," all the while guided by Woolfson's creative touch as they sold tens of millions of records. After his time with the band, Woolfson moved on to musical theater, penning works such as Freudiana, Gambler, and Gaudi, which were seen by millions in countries worldwide. Although cancer took Woolfson from this world in 2009, his music continues to live on, exemplified by the recent release of Somewhere in the Audience, an album of his melodies brought forth on March 18, 2013, what would have been his 68th birthday. Progtopia host Mark Ashby spoke with Woolfson's daughter and business manager Sally about Woolfson's legacy, his reluctance to take the spotlight, the reasons why he often chose biography for compositional material, and her own memories of her father. Visit www.ericwoolfsonmusic.com and www.the-alan-parsons-project.com for more information and merchandise.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"I Robot"
"The Ace of Swords"
"The Raven"
"Limelight"
"Silence and I"
"Freudiana"
"Immortal"
"Somewhere in the Audience"
"The Same Old Sun"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs hundreds of bands in the genre, including many featured on Progtopia. Thanks for listening!

Originall posted 29 March 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_027_Eric_Woolfson_Forever_Somewhere_in_the_Audience.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:36pm EST

Unless you've been stricken with selective blindness and deafness, if you're a prog fan, you're familiar with the music of California-based Spock's Beard. Currently comprised of Dave Meros (bass), Ryo Okumoto (keyboards), Ted Leonard (vocals), Jimmy Keegan (drums), and Alan Morse (guitar), the Beard is set to release their eleventh studio album Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep on Inside Out Music on March 25th. Having taken to the fans to cut out the middleman and help the band fund the recording of the album, Spock's Beard has returned to the scene with a powerful effort that will delight new listeners and long-time fans alike. Progtopia host Mark Ashby spoke with Morse, Keegan, Meros, and Okumoto about the new album, the few but important personnel changes the band has weathered, and some insights the band members have about each other (coolness factor, long e-mails, and hyperactive tendencies all included). They'll be touring Europe in May, so check their website at www.spocksbeard.com for date and venue information, as well as how to order all their albums, DVDs, and assorted merchandise.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Hiding Out"
"Goodbye to Yesterday"
"Ghosts of Autumn"
"I Know Your Secret"
"Something Very Strange"
"Waiting for Me"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs hundreds of bands in the genre, including many featured on Progtopia like Spock's Beard. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 17 March 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_026_Something_Very_Strange_Called_Spocks_Beard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21pm EST

It's not often that two musicians who have known each other for many years take more than two decades to finally start writing music together, but that's what happened for Dutch band Gate 6. Guitarist Tony ten Wolde, formerly of Marathon, and keyboardist Jan Koster, who played with Challenge and Isolation, began to compose some songs a few years ago, eventually bringing Symmetry singer Erik Masselink into the group. Between the melodic instincts of Koster and ten Wolde and the powerful metal-infused vocals of Masselink, and helped by bassist Jacques Suurmond and drummer Martin Kuipers, Gate 6 has created quite a prog rock monster, culminating in the release of their outstanding debut album God Machines in October 2012. The album's story recalls elements of films like Blade Runner and The Terminator, centering on the fallout from an Internet so technologically advanced that it becomes, essentially, alive, while also following a man's inner struggle with thoughts of death and despair. How can such a god-like machine be defeated? Host Mark Ashby spoke with the trio about the concept of the album, their collaborative process, and plans for performing at the ProgPower Europe festival in the Netherlands in October. Find Gate 6 on the web at www.gate6.nl.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Killing Me"
"Casualties of War"
"God Machines"
"Man to Be"
"Turn the Page"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs hundreds of bands in the genre, including many featured on Progtopia like Gate 6. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 27 February 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_025_God_in_Gate_6s_Machines.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:13pm EST

Marillion. IQ. Jadis. Twelfth Night. These are some of the bands that came along in the "second wave" of prog rock during the 1980s, but if you haven't already heard of another of those bands - Galahad - now is the time to start stocking up on their back catalog. This UK group got their start in the mid-to-late '80s playing part covers, part originals before releasing their first proper album Nothing Is Written in 1991. In the 15 albums since, they've refined and honed their sound into something that goes beyond the typical neo-prog label so often applied to bands who got their start in that decade. 2012 saw the fivesome (Stuart Nicholson [vocals], Dean Baker [keyboards], Neil Pepper [bass] - now replaced by Mark Spencer, Roy Keyworth [guitar], and Spencer Luckman [drums]) release two albums, Battle Scars and Beyond the Realms of Euphoria. Both have garnered critical acclaim and will be performed this year at several live shows including Baja Prog in Mexico in early April. Progtopia's Mark Ashby talked with Nicholson and Baker about where Galahad fits in the progressive timeline, the effect of the untimely passing of bassist Pepper shortly after the recording sessions for the two 2012 albums, and the benefits that have accrued to them from being independent in a time of shrinking revenue for the music business in general, and much more. Visit Galahad on the Web at www.galahadonline.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Suspended Animation"
"Sleepers"
"Salvation I: Overture/II: Judgement Day?"
"Seize the Day"
"Singularity"
"Guardian Angel"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs hundreds of bands in the genre, including many featured on Progtopia like Galahad. And for video reviews of Battle Scars and Beyond the Realms of Euphoria plus many more prog albums, check out www.liveprog.com. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 30 January 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_024_Galahad_Battle-Scarred_but_Euphoric.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:07pm EST

Many prog bands start as studio projects, but not all make the transition to a live setting. The Cambridge, UK-based Aeon Zen is not one of those. Although multi-instrumentalist Rich Hinks uses a plethora of guest performers on the three AZ albums to date (including the latest, Enigma, coming out 22 January on Nightmare Records), he employs a talented foursome around him when the band performs in concert (Matt Shepherd [guitar], Andi Kravljaca [vocals], Shaz [keyboards], Steve Burton [drums]). The band's eclectic approach ranges from cool to red hot, from saxophones to growls, and has gained a following of fans just by following their muse, musical conventions and expectations be damned. In this interview, host Mark Ashby speaks with four of the band members about the process of picking guest performers, the reasons for their stylistic choices, and who they'd like to share a tour bus with, along with much more. You can visit the band online at www.aeonzen.com, and the Nightmare Records site at www.nightmarerecords.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"The Heart of the Sun"
"Visions"
"The Face of the Unknown"
"Still Human"
"Downfall"
"Into the Infinite"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs hundreds of bands in the genre, including many featured on Progtopia like Aeon Zen. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 16 January 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_023_The_Enigma_of_Aeon_Zen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:27pm EST

Like most of us, NYC-based multi-instrumentalist and composer Geoff Barone was bullied in high school. And like others among us, his parents split up. Such emotional times often induce great bouts of creativity, and that's exactly what happened in his case. His debut album Conversation Pieces was released in October, and in the concept-album style of Pink Floyd and Kevin Gilbert, Barone navigates the treacherous waters of adolescent angst, but in a highly melodic way. With the help of several guest musicians from across the US, Barone's take on a universal theme will be music to the ears of those of us who love story albums. Progtopia host Mark Ashby talks with Barone about his influences (from Devin Townsend to Andrew Lloyd Webber), what parts of his album are drawn from his life, and who would make up his ideal band, among many other topics. Stream the album for free and order it (mp3 download or CD) at http://geoffbarone.bandcamp.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"As a Matter of Fact"
"...if it's too early just let me know.../Blue Sky Glory"
"Are You Still Awake?"
"Unscathed"
"To Who May Come in Dreams"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs hundreds of bands in the genre, including many featured on Progtopia. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 13 December 2012

Direct download: Progtopia_022_A_Conversation_Piece_with_Geoff_Barone.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:01pm EST

It’s not unheard-of for a rock band to take a non-traditional influence and incorporate it into their sound, and Eastern Indian instruments and moods have been part of that scene at least since the Beatles. The New York-based prog band Vajra is carrying on this tradition admirably. Led by songwriter and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Annamaria Pinna, Vajra has carved out a strong place for themselves in the genre with their powerful debut release Pleroma. Joined by Will Dahl on guitars, Doug Wright on bass, and Luke Markham on drums (drums by Blake Fleming on the album), Pinna has channeled her experiences of living in Mumbai into her art, and the result has garnered critical acclaim and television licensing deals. In this episode of Progtopia, host Mark Ashby discusses with Pinna how being perceived as a foreigner colored her outlook on life and creativity, how her condition of synesthesia makes her perceive music in shapes, and whether there is a different standard for women as prime movers in progressive bands as opposed to men, plus much more. Find Vajra on the web at www.thevajratemple.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
“Akkord Pleromy”
"3.14"
“Inside the Flame”
“Erode the Will”
“Blind”
"The Apple"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs hundreds of bands in the genre, including many featured on Progtopia. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 29 November 2012

Direct download: Progtopia_021_Inside_the_Flame_of_Vajra.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:55pm EST

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