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Thursday, June 5, 2008

What is Progressive anyway? 4/5 - Discovering Marillion

Part: 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1

Discovering Marillion

When I started to listen to Dream Theatre I actually didn't have a clue about Progressive Rock or Metal. This was just Metal, although being of a different sort. It actually took me a couple years before I started to explore the genre.

What really got me started was Marillion.
For a while I had been seeking new and interesting music. So there I was in the record shop looking at the "special price" CDs and one of them was standing out because of a colorful and interesting cover. "Misplaced Childhood".

The funny thing about this album was that I had actually seen (I can't say that I listened) it before (as vinyl), but at the time I totally dismissed it. I suppose I was too young and too interested in "Top of the Pops". I was introduced to it a few later times, but I stubbornly refused to see its value. So what prompted me this time? I am not sure, maybe I just decided to take a chance, I don't know, but today I am happy that I purchased it.

I brought the CD home, listened to it...and the next evening I had altogether 4 new CDs in my collection. On the third day I went to get more...bought one of the new era Marillion albums (Afraid of the sunlight) and was severely disappointed. Just to say it shortly the new lead singer sucked...badly.

Ok, ok now, I'm too hard on Hogarth (top left), but comparing him to Fish (bottom left) is like comparing apples and oranges. Both are fruit, but of a different kind, and I just happen to like one better than the other. This was around 1995 which is probably why I still didn't have a clue about the term "progressive". I say this, because at that time the Internet was not much to talk about and I couldn't access it to find out more about this genre of music that I had started to like more and more.

In 1996 I got married and 1½ year after I moved to Finland. At work we got free Internet access and it didn't take me long to find out everything about Marillion and put a label on my new and favorite type of music.

Nowadays I hardly never pick up Marillion. They have not become bad. Its just that I have heard those 4 albums so many times that I can sing most of the songs...even the guitar and keyboard solos. There are simply no more surprises left. Instead I look elsewhere, and luckily there is still so much material to put my hands on all the way back from the 70s till now.


guitarsean said...

I have not yet gotten into Marillion. I think I was exposed to post-Fish are first and I didn't like it. I will have to go back to the earlier stuff, especially since my bad is opening for Fish this weekend! And I have come to realize its ok to loose interest in a favorite band and not buy all of their cds. Dream Theater and Yngwie Malmsteen are two examples for me. I can still listen to all the albums that inspired me and I think its good for a band to evolve... well, actually, DT evolved and I lost interest, Malmsteen didn't evolve and I also lost interest. Rush on the other hand, I really like all of their phases. So each band strikes me in a different way.

So you pose and interesting question. Does a band that doesn't change much still get called progressive? I guess I've always thought there was Progressive (capitol P, as a genre label) and progressive, which can be any music in any genre that pushes the expected limits.

MVunit3 said...

1st time for me was the song "The Assassing", seeing it on MTV long time ago (or was it a local Video show here in LA?) ...yet, when I had FINALLY gotten the album(CD) only 4 years ago, I remembered it differently (as if it were a "alternate" version).

I have always loved Fish's "homage" to Gabriel and some fine musicianship from the band. As far as the Hogarth version, I like it too, but I only know his 1st 2 albums. I really need to explore thier catalogue.
This Era was discovered on, of all things, the footage of the Fan Show on Dream Theaters "5 Years in a Livetime" DVD. Hogarth and Steve Rothery join the band and do an AWESOME version of "Easter" (1st time hearing it), Rothery's Guitar Solo and that "Genesis" Sound effect that comes after it with Hogarts "da da doo do do daa DAHHH..." sends shivers up my spine! (Damn the editor that they don't show the whole thing!).
Its almost better than the studio version :)

As I tell in my Essay, "Kansas" was my 1st real Progressive band, (technically, ELO as well with "Out of the Blue") when I got for my Birthday "Point of Know Return", when it was released in 77.

What a nice memory to hear them on LP spinning on the turn-table :)

stringray said...

I discovered Marillion back in the days when they released Script For A Jesters Tear and Misplaced Childhood. I enjoyed listening to those albums, as well as Real To Reel. Those were the times of the dying prog. Though Marillion were successful, Saga and others too, the genre declined, and I was one of those heading towards other genres.
Saga had a big impact on me, Marillion didn't; later I found out that the genre is neo prog (I have been unaware that there was the genre prog at all, it was just good music for me) and I learned that I find it all noodly somehow. Not that I dislike the genre or me being unsupportive, it simply doesn't attract me. I don't understand the sub-genre's title "neo prog", what was neo (=new) or progressive, as everything they played has already been there before. But no, they are good musicians and writers, it is just my taste. In every decade of my live there have been people saying that my taste is so unpredictable, regardless what genre/style.
I am weird, picky, unpredictable, I like Marillion, but never listen to them at my own decision.