Since I wrote a welcome article, I figured I would do one mainly about myself what prog bands I’m into and what influenced me to start this shindig a bit more in-depth than what i slightly touched on in my first article.
I just turned 30, 3rd year homeowner and getting married at the end of July….hooray adulting. Onto the fun stuff…..I started guitar when I was around 12-13ish. My father got me going 2 years on an acoustic then switched to an electric guitar…..my first gee-tar was a Fender telecaster, a Mexican not the pricy American version. I liked how diverse it was (and still is i love ’em compared to strats yes they have great clarity and very stellar I still think teles are well rounded) and still is. I’d like a killer strat one day but for Fenders i’m always a tele-dude. My first guitar teacher was Mick Hayes. He’s a ridiculous blues/soul/funkish guitarist with a stellar voice who’s made an amazing name for himself. I’ll never forget the immature preteen-teen shit he put up from me and everything he taught me. He was in Atlanta for a bit and moved back to Buffalo for a handful of years now. Words can describe how lucky I was to learn from a local prodigy (who should be arguably playing nationwide in my opinion) although he might disagree. Paul Reed Smith is still by far my favorite company.
My father got me that tele and a fender frontman practice amp being the huge fender fan. My music and guitar/gear obsession only skyrocketed from there. By my late teens to early 20’s I got into Dream Theater and Rush. I only was getting into Rush’s hits before I plunged into the rest of their catalogue. Dream Theater I was browsing their catalogue when they released Systematic Chaos. Some people give that record lots of crap, but honestly I think it’s pretty good…..so bah. I dabbled into King’s X and Symphony X, still do but seldomly….maybe I should change that. Shortly thereafter my prog/experimental journey continued to Mastodon. Loved Blood Mountain with all of my bacon grease filled heart, and found out about them when that was released. Heard the mighty “Blood and Thunder” but not all of Leviathan. The Wolf is Loose caught my ear big time with that sweet rhythm on the verses and that crazy intro by one of my favorite modern prog drummers (not named Blake Richardson or Matt Gartska) Brann Dailor. That dual solo in the middle sent me through the roof.
Only about 5-6 years ago I heard about the almighty King Crimson started with Lark’s Tongues thanks to Dream Theater and that crazy cover of theirs. I also have dabbled into the experimental pre-pop versions of Genesis and Yes as well in the same time fame same for Jethro Tull. Around the same time I picked up a landmark record (of my generation at least) for cheap from that joint Circuit City before they closed….now I read they’re making a comeback? I got COLORS from Between the Buried & Me for like $6 at their closing…..and Alaska for like $10. I heard the title track and since Colors was their latest release I was like why not. Now put into perspective I was into classic metal, I was used to singing and the heaviest voice at that point I heard was Anselmo, Robb Flynn and Jonathon Davis…..so listening to BTBAM even Randy from Lamb of God was super heavy vocally I couldn’t listen to them for long periods of time. But fell in love with BTBAM slowly and kept with it…. now Tommy Rogers is one of my favorite vocalists of modern day music.
The first song I heard from Animals as Leaders was Wave of Babies (definitely my favorite AAL jam along with Tooth & Claw and Kascade) I forgot how I heard of them. Oddly enough, they have some happy and upbeat melodies. I’m a very somber person, and no I’m not depressed I just can’t get into overly excited music generally to me feels like its forced. Maybe that’s why I love minor keys and chords, dissonance and flats compared to sharps…..and dislike the major keys and chords generally. I swear, I’m really not depressed. Same for Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson I don’t remember how I got into him/them and the people that know me I can’t stand pop music and 99% of commercialized stuff……I’ll admit it even on the internet Steven Wilson is a damn near perfect writer and is the one artist I can enjoy even love (tell me “Postcard” from his solo career and “Lazarus” from PT aren’t amazing, I’ll debate you until the day I die!) the poppy and commercial songs he has written in his underrated yet amazing music career. And yes haters, I did enjoy To The Bone. He did not “sell out” he constantly experiments and there were some proggy moments here and there on that album so shaddup. And yes, i can djent with the mighty Meshuggah for hours. All hail the rhythmic masters of modern extended range prog djent metal.
Now time to try not to put too many paragraphs about Opeth. I previously stated Ghost Reveries was my first album I heard, and the Grand Conjuration video got me thinking about Opeth. That was when MTV2 had Headbanger’s Ball and would play music…..think that over for a minute. I loved that Still Life to Ghost Reveries era in terms of their classic element of surprise from switching between singing and growling and all of their mixed styles from one section to another. I love the dissonance of Deliverance my favorite track with about another 30 behind that song. Ironically it’s also my favorite record they have released. And yeah, I love their last 3 albums haters. I love extreme music, but artistically look at it from the fact Mikael has always loved classic rock and prog rock and was in his 40s when Heritage was released. I personally liked Pale Communion and Sorceress as much since they were much easier to get into initially. Opeth was always in for the shock factor the dramatic sound change from Watershed (my second favorite album tied with Ghost reveries) to Heritage. They would play their heavier offerings at rock festivals, and play a few (generally) mellower songs at metal festivals just to throw the crowd off. One vocalist switching from guttural vocals to singing is a total different strain of your voice and when you grow older you are a lot more susceptible to losing and hurting your voice. People act like they don’t play material from that era….on an hour set 8 songs or so about 6 are from that era whether you think his gutturals are half assed they’re still playing the tracks sometimes busting out obscure tracks occasionally from My Arms or Morningrise when they have an almost 2ish hour set (I swear i saw a setlist they posted once that had advent, karma or nectar one of those oddball songs they don’t play from that era thats not demon of the fall). It isn’t like they totally ditched that era and predominately play songs from Heritage, PC and Sorcress. I live, breathe and eat Opeth.
Now onto what motivated me to start this bad boy. As you can tell with my half assed timeline of my 20’s….I gradually got into experimental and prog music as I grew older especially bands that add that awesome death metal element to it ;)….so it was all uphill from there. Now a lot of classic rock and metal bands Priest, Maiden, Megadeth, Sabbath, even Pantera and Slayer are like pop music to me in the sense I have gotten into the deep deep realms of death metal for a handful of years now as well. Some people think those bands are heavy and I can roll with Dying Fetus or Ingested and be like “I’ve heard heavier”. Along with Valhalla Java (yes my favorite coffee is the blend my favorite guitarist stamped his name and approval on it NO IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ZAKK WYLDE its a damn tasty coffee my favorite player happens to endorse so BLAH!) extreme music generally helps get my groggy ass awake in the morning before work or most days. And those bands I mentioned earlier in this paragraph yes I owe a lot to their great catalogs that got me into metal, but as talented as they were and are (to the ones still alive and playing at least) its too simple for my quest on finding technical music and more unusual and original. I can quote a decent amount of those bands lyrics rattle off song titles but honestly can say I haven’t really listened to their songs consistently in years. I listened to that stuff a lot in my teens and early 20’s maybe I got bored with it by my mid 20s maybe? Then Dream Theater and Rush appeared on my plate and started a heavier diet of those 2 then the rest of those bands that got me into metal slowly faded in my music diet. I’ll still listen to them occasionally but not as much as I used to. Progressive music is not meant to be mainstream and is generally very artistic. It doesn’t have a formula it’s also very improvised when they write songs. There really isn’t a method to their madness, generally speaking. Being such a unique genre and pretty much unattractive commercially (especially these days with short attention span who wants to sit through a 15 minute song these days considering your average person) it’s not a real recognizable style of music. I love those obnoxious epics, it’s like 2 or 3 songs in one…..like that insane transition around the 5 minute mark of Opeth’s Hessian Peel (that’s an artistic goal of mine to write a song as odd as that one!). It’s almost better to keep progressive style and experimental bands underground or less popular, as a lot of those casual fans in popular music would kill the greatness of the genre. Maybe prog music is kinda like a cult but not? My quest for the obscure, proggy, and unusual music seems to only grow stronger these days.
Also, I’ve been into crazy fusion artist and instrumentalists…. Al Di Meola, Holdsworth, Frank Marino and another crazy players. Very unusual and a breath of fresh air from the usual Satriani and Vai style instrumentalists as great as those types of players are fusion and experimental prog players are a whole new level. I’ve gotten into older jazz based on the fact i took a history of jazz class in college. I do really like this one modern player Gilad Hekselman don’t be a slouch and listen to his music he’s an absolute jazz animal. Tosin from Animals as Leaders talked about him and I’ve been into his work so much for a few years now. Zakk Wylde took a photo with Al di and looked up who the heck that guy was….then found out quickly. Two of my favorite players introduced me to two players equally as good as them!
Back to my musical talents as I attempt to try to end this babbling post. I had a bunch of music I wrote in a melodic hard rock style for literally 6ish years I tried many lineups nobody committed no matter how hard I worked I had an album plus worth of material. That’s the beauty and beast of the internet….you can be judged immediately when you put stuff on it. I had some friends and session musicians help achieve my goal, thanks to everyone that did I still appreciate it to this day even if these songs died. I have great memories and unfortunately lots of money gone yet I’m fairly proud of what I had written over 10 years ago. I had a vocalist at one point who wasn’t the greatest, so take it easy. I wrote the lyrics melodies and guitar. I had ideas for drums and bass, couldn’t play a decent enough bass yet to record and not that coordinated to drum but had an idea of what I wanted. I either couldn’t find the right artists or dumb drama occurred and couldn’t take my couple bands I had a while ago on the stage because of that kind of crap. Take it easy on me, please….lol
Open Heart Surgery
You can easily tell the typical teenage “i hate women theme” but that main riff is fairly heavy.
Keep My Eyes Open you can tell here the prog was influencing me more and more, yo.
Brick Wall this one has a special place in my life it was the first full song I wrote not just bits and pieces of a song or lyrics.
Betrayal I think this might be my best overall track lyrics energy music guitar work and my buddy Eareckson from Cain kicked ass on drums for me. We had pretty good chemistry, I must say. Amazing drummer, he is.
New Life a short acoustic instrumental i wanted to use as my album opener.
Tribute This wasn’t recorded in a pro studio I had lyrics but didn’t get around to a pro recording. I had lyrics about deceased relatives I missed and the title is obvious it was a, well….tribute.
Star Spangled Banner A Dave with 3 or 4 Heinekens in recording the SSB on a digital portable studio. I remember how frustrated I was with slightly missing the melody being a bit sharp or a bit flat in a few parts and recording it took like 5 hours it was pretty bad. And almost having a 6 pack of Heineken made it a bit more challenging…..
I still have more completed originals, but again….haven’t found the right artists. It happens.
Again, play nice. Enjoy any of my originals or any parts. If not….oh freaking well.
A shoutout to my homies in The Metal who have been posting great slam/death metal and have read some of their stories/interviews that have in turn inspire me to start this. Thank you guys for kicking ass.
A shoutout to Distortion Overload who has a predominate rock following and some metal posts/discussions as well who inspired me to start this in the vein of how clean they keep their page and have tons of in depth discussions without people going down each other’s throats for thinking differently. Lots of respect for these dudes check them out.
I’m out on a mission to spread the prog and experimental music, hopefully showing people more great music and discovering more on the way. Also, hoping at the same time I can keep myself motivated to write more music.
I think I’ve babbled enough for one article hope you’ve enjoyed me ramble on about myself and how I got into the prog world and its countless sub genres.