Progtopia Archives

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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


When last we heard from Mike Morton, singer for The Gift out of the UK, their acclaimed second album Land of Shadows was relatively new and the band's star was on the rise after a lengthy hiatus following their first album Awake and Dreaming. Now solidified as a six-piece lineup including Morton (vocals, flute and acoustic guitar), David Lloyd (lead and rhythm guitar), Leroy James (guitar), Stefan Dickers (bass), Gabriele Baldocci (keyboards), and Neil Hayman (percussion), their third album Why the Sea Is Salt will be released on 28 October through Bad Elephant Music. You'll get an exclusive first listen on this show to the track "Tuesday's Child," as well as a wide-ranging interview with Morton about the virtuosity now found among his bandmates, the recurring lyrical themes among The Gift's albums, and a game of "Choose the Best Genesis Song" from among eight tracks for this former tribute band vocalist. Find them online at http://thegiftmusic.com.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"At Sea"

"Sweeper of Dreams"

"The Tallest Tree"

"Tuesday's Child"

"All These Things"

 

To listen to the first episode featuring The Gift, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-058-walk-into-the-water-with-the-gift "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 October 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_Planetary_Premiere_17_October_2016_The_Gift_Tuesdays_Child.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:52pm EST

Born out of a love for fantasy literature, Chattanooga, Tennessee's Glass Hammer has survived the ups and downs of the prog landscape since the early 90s with 17 consistently listenable, and occasionally classic, albums. Now with 2016's concept album Valkyrie out there to rave reviews, members Fred Schendel (keyboards, guitars, vocals), Aaron Raulston (drums), Steve Babb (bass, keyboards, vocals), Kamran Alan Shikoh (guitars), and Susie Bogdanowicz (lead vocals) are telling the tale of the horrors of war and dealing with the mental trauma that follows the battle. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Schendel and Babb about the way the band has utilized the many vocalists that have come their way, "epic" prog tracks (which they're no strangers to), and the opportunities their hometown provides despite what outsiders might think. Go to www.glasshammer.com for more information and ordering links.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Fog of War"

"The Fields We Know"

"Bandwagon"

"Golden Days"

"Dead and Gone"

"Valkyrie"

 

"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 7 October 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_101_Glass_Hammer_Smashes_Through_the_Fog_of_War.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:47pm EST

 

With this milestone episode of the show, it's only fitting that we mark it by inviting to the program one of the most innovative musicians of his generation. Thomas Dolby is often pigeonholed by those who haven't delved into his output as a one-hit wonder, new wave technogeek, but when you get past "She Blinded Me with Science," you'll hear an artist who has dabbled in almost every style of popular music there is. Having taken a hiatus from music of nearly two decades to start a tech company and become the music director for the TED talks, he burst back on the scene in 2011 with an album and interactive online game called A Map of the Floating City. Since then he's taken a position as professor in the arts at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University, following in the academic footsteps of his parents and siblings. Host and long-time fan Mark Ashby talks with Dolby about his formative years listening to prog rock bands (and which soon-to-be-famous youthful comrade of his later insisted punk was the real deal), the doors that his most well-known hit opened for him, how he creates his own sense of home away from his actual homebase of East Anglia, and his upcoming memoir The Speed of Sound. You can locate him online at www.thomasdolby.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"I Love You Goodbye"
"Hyperactive!"
"Hot Sauce"
"Nuvogue"
"A Jealous Thing Called Love"
"The Toadlickers"
"Airhead"
"The Key to Her Ferrari"
"She Blinded Me with Science"
"Flying North"
"Neon Sisters"
"Spice Train"
"Oceanea"
"Cloudburst at Shingle Street"

"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 September 2016

 

Direct download: Progtopia_100_Breaking_the_Speed_of_Sound_with_Thomas_Dolby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:11pm EST

 

If you combine "progressive" with "fusion," the resulting word you would come up with would probably be "Profusion." And the band in this episode certainly takes both of those words seriously. Hailing from Siena, Italy, band members Vladimer Sichinava (drums), Gionatan Caradonna (keyboards), Davide Pepi (guitars), Jury Maccianti (bass), and Luca Latini (vocals) combine many styles on their three albums, the most recent of which is 2015's Phersu. With influences including traditional music from Georgia, where Sichinava has roots, Profusion challenges and excites with their brand of Rock Progressivo Italiano. Host Mark Ashby taled with Caradonna about why they enjoy American prog so much, their support of AIMA (the Italian Alzheimer's Disease Association), and how a little bit of alcohol (or maybe a lot) can create some fun in the studio. Visit the band online at www.profusion.it.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Free Fall"

"Vanity Fair"

"Chuta Chani"

"Nomen"

"Forgetful Hero/Wrinkled Maiden"

"Forbidden"

 

"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 4 September 2016

 

Direct download: Progtopia_099_A_Free_Fall_with_Profusion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:02pm EST

 

They've played festivals like RoSfest, although they don't wear their progginess on their sleeves. Dream the Electric Sleep (Matt Page [guitar, vocals], Joey Waters [drums], and Chris Tackett [bass]) has three albums out in the world, including their most recent called Beneath the Dark Wide Sky, and their sound might best be described as falling somewhere on the overlap of the Venn diagram of prog, grunge, and AOR. Perhaps like host Mark Ashby, you'll get so caught up in the hooks in their music that you don't even notice that the songs you're listening to aren't in 4/4. You'll hear from Page about how photographs from the 1930s informed the concepts behind the songs on the newest album, how Tori Amos and other women singers are influential to him, and what it might take for them to become more of a fixture on the touring scene. Find them online at www.dreamtheelectricsleep.com.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Drift"

"Flight"

"Headlights"

"Culling the Herd"

"The Good Night Sky"

 

"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 August 2016

 

 

Direct download: Progtopia_098_Dream_the_Electric_Sleep_Under_the_Good_Night_Sky.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:54pm EST

Maybe it slipped under your radar, too, but Connecticut's Earthside (Frank Sacramone [keyboards], Jamie van Dyck [guitar], Ryan Griffin [bass], and Ben Shanbrom [drums]) released what might have been one of the most powerful albums of 2015, A Dream in Static. In the process, they earned themselves a nomination for Prog magazine's Vanguard award. While they resist the term prog metal in favor of cinematic rock, you'll find plenty to like here if you're into the heavier stuff. Using vocalists from bands like Tesseract and Sevendust as well as the Moscow Studio Symphony Orchestra, they've got a good thing going. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Sacramone about the band members' musical educations, writing for orchestra, and their upcoming tour with Leprous. Check them out online at www.earthsideband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Entering the Light"

"Crater"

"The Closest I've Come"

"Mob Mentality"

"A Dream in Static"

"Skyline"

"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 25 July 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_097_Entering_the_Light_with_Earthside.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:57pm EST

It's a veritable feast of consequences. A couple of blokes who have worked with ex-Marillion frontman Fish, Steve Vantsis (bass) and Dave Stewart (drums), have recently recruited guitarist Paul Humphreys and singer PJ Dourley to create a band called Tilt, in homage to the medieval hero Don Quixote. After having produced an earlier EP with a plethora of guests, they've kept the cameo appearances to a minimum on their debut full-length album Hinterland, just out at the end of June. With all the hallmarks of Fish's best output, you know you're in for a treat with this one. Host Mark Ashby speaks with Stewart and Humphreys about the way the band came together, why this may or may not be a prog album, and how Brexit might affect a band like them -- part English and part Scottish. They're online at www.tiltband.co.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Bloodline"

"No Superman"

"Growing Colder"

"Hinterland"

"Strontium Burning"

"Disassembly"

"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 10 July 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_096_No_Supermen_but_Tilt_Is_a_Super_Band.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:14pm EST

Digital synthesizers are all well and good -- who doesn't love a nice Korg Wavestation, am I right? -- but there's just something warm and reassuring about that old analog sound that we grew to love in the classic 70s prog and electronic music. If you're a fan of that sort of thing, and if you don't already know about Erik Norlander, you'll probably want to check him out after hearing this episode. One-third of the previously-profiled Rocket Scientists (Episode 067), the prolific Norlander has just released his latest solo album, Surreal, and he's here to talk about it. Host Mark Ashby discusses his evolution as a songwriter, why the definition of progressive music might actually mean you can't do a short "prog" song very easily, and what two instruments he might take with him to a magical desert island with electricity. He's on the web in many places, but you can try www.eriknorlander.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"The Party's Overture"

"Unearthly"

"The Galaxy Collectors"

"Surreal"

To hear the Rocket Scientists episode of Progtopia, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-067-refuel-and-regenerate-with-the-rocket-scientists

"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 28 June 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_095_The_Surreal_Soundscapes_of_Erik_Norlander.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:28pm EST

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"

"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 June 2016

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

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"

"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 28 May 2016

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

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"

"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 09 May 2016

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

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

"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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

1