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The old guard: a summit, while they still draw breath


dje31

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So, I'm preparing for a business trip, watching the ELP 40th anniversary concert on the DVR from AXS.TV, contemplating the state of music, my own tastes, mortality, life, the universe, and everything ( 42 ) , and all of the losses the professional music industry has endured over the last couple of years...too many to count, let alone drink it all in...I can't help but be more than a little introspective...and being an idea man, what to do about it.

 

At the same time, being a lifelong music fan, and how little has gotten my interest, time, or money over the last decade or so, which is depressing enough in its own right---ain't none of us getting any younger or healthier---maybe it's time to organize a series of summits, by instrument(s), of those who've made a difference on so many of our lives, while they're still drawing breath, active, and viable/

 

I'm, admittedly, a bit prog rock fan, so that's my go-to genre...but there's plenty of options not far removed from that style. But there's plenty of punk, new wave, modern rock, neu-metal, and even the occasional top-40 / pop that's caught my ear over the years, so I'm not a snob about it.

 

So, before all of our past influences assume room temperature, maybe it's time for someone with more contacts, sway, influence, what-not, to get the folks who've molded our lives, entertainment, tastes, and memories, in a room, with no ego, angst, modesty ( false or otherwise ) to open their respective kimonos of past, present, and hopefully future memories, inspirations, what-not, good, bad, ugly, rapturous, divinity-, alcohol, drug-, or otherwordly-inspired moments, captured live or in the studio...maybe with the hope that they might recapture a spark of those moments, with past peers, or those never imagined before ( the "competition" ) while they still have their brains, brawn, chops, muse, or whatever inspiration they call upon now, before it's too late.

 

I look at my favorites over the years: Yes...Rush...Genesis...ELP...Kansas...Asia...Pink Floyd...Marillion...as well as more recent of the genre: Tool, Primus, Porcupine Tree, Death Cab for Cutie, R.E.M., etc.. For that matter, name your R&R genre / time frame, and you can make the same assumptions...less new stuff, let alone memorable stuff that stands the test of time...key members dropping like flies, either to the grim reaper, drug abuse, creative differences, or the ravages of time.

 

I'd love to see someone pull together a summit of those still standing, willing, and able to talk about past, present, and future...I could totally see folks from different bands getting together and explore new stuff, not just going back to the deep, deep catalogs that made them tons of dough.

 

Give them something to do in their golden years, maybe catch a spark from decades ago, in a different setting, time, and place. What's the worst that could happen? Clearly, there's not much income opportunities at present in record / album / single sales, so the money is in touring. So if you get folks together from different bands & eras making something new, viable, and still identifiable, while they still can, what's to lose?

 

Take, for example, Asia, in the early 80s. Who'd have thought that a bunch of prog rock dinosaurs could get so much interest, traction, air play, albums sales, or concert tickets in the early 80's age of new wave, pop, dance, and whatnot? Not me, and I'm a huge prog fan!

 

So, by instrument, I'll take a wag:

 

Keys: Wakeman, Downes,Banks, Kaye, ( fill in the blank)

 

Bass: Lee, Levin, Rutherford, Biggs, Mills, Trewavas, Claypool, Chancellor, Sting, etc.

 

Drums: Peart, White, Bruford (retired), Palmer, Collins, Copeland, Carey, etc.

 

Guitar: Howe, Lifeson, Gilmour, Buck, Adam Jones, etc.

 

I'd love to read / hear their interaction with each other, and welcome the collaborations that could come from these interactions.

 

Thoughts?

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I've seen in several places that Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson were planning to record together. On the one hand, I'm not sure how two keyboardists (particularly those two) would work together. On the other, I would have been open to the idea, just to see what would happen. Sadly, that's not going to happen now.

 

Alan White's not doing well. When I saw Yes (the Howe/White version) in Boone, NC in August, White was only able to play about half the show. Howe's son (can't remember his name at the moment and I don't have the energy to go look it up--I'll be heading to bed as soon as I finish this post) played when White couldn't. Apparently, White had back surgery last winter and has not recovered to the extent they were expecting/hoping.

 

Carl Palmer, on the same ticket, was a powerhouse. He's lost none of his power and very little of his speed since I saw him back in the '70s.

 

I have to wonder what would happen if Palmer were to man the drum kit for Yes...?

 

That said, he's not getting any younger, either.

 

Add Stanley Clarke to the bass list and Al DiMeola to the guitar list. Lenny White to drums. Chick Corea to keys. If Billy Cobham's still around, put him on the drum list. Fusion jazz in general would be a rich source for players.

 

Grey

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

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Thanks for your input, Grey.

 

While it started as being prog-oriented, it needn't be limited to that rock sub-genre. And Rick Wakeman takes it upon himself to do one-on-ones with other rock icons. I enjoyed his interview with Tony Banks.

 

Another venue, not so much a summit or discussion, but actual noodling, is Police drummer Stewart Copeland and his "Sacred Grove" and the videos that catalog and archive those interactions. Look for it on the bluetube.

 

Not saying anything would necessarily come of it...it'd be interesting to hear their respective exploits in writing, playing, recording, touring, etc.

 

At the same time, I'm all for a mashup. I just read that Tool's Danny Carey is teaming up with one of the guys from Mastodon.

 

Dare to dream!

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I know you acknowledged your bias, but, uh... yeah. Let's just say that it's too late for some genres. On the flip side, many would argue that there are plenty of contemporary musicians doing the thing in exciting and innovative ways. Anyway. Don't mean to burst your bubble because you're totally entitled to these kinds of ideas, but I just don't think that it's the case for everyone.
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I know you acknowledged your bias, but, uh... yeah. Let's just say that it's too late for some genres. On the flip side, many would argue that there are plenty of contemporary musicians doing the thing in exciting and innovative ways. Anyway. Don't mean to burst your bubble because you're totally entitled to these kinds of ideas, but I just don't think that it's the case for everyone.

 

I wouldn't say that prog as a genre is over, but prog as a label is. There's plenty of new musicians out there making interesting and ambitious music, it's just that for the most part they're not calling it prog (let alone calling it jazz fusion!) It might be post-rock, post-metal, math-, alt-metal or alt-folk, but there are plenty of them out there, and sometimes their audiences include young people and *whisper it* girls! And in my experience most modern bands that do call themselves "prog" are mostly copying Marillion in the early 80s (who were in turn copying Genesis in the early 70s) and I immediately lose interest. With the exception of Big Big Train, who rip of Genesis so darn well I just can't hate them for it.

 

Anyway, going back to the OP's OP, there are people out there doing it - King Crimson and Steven Wilson immediately spring to mind. Both are lead by seasoned musicians, with seasoned bands, and both have been decidedly forward thinking in their approach to both new material and back catalogs.

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Take, for example, Asia, in the early 80s. Who'd have thought that a bunch of prog rock dinosaurs could get so much interest, traction, air play, albums sales, or concert tickets in the early 80's age of new wave, pop, dance, and whatnot? Not me, and I'm a huge prog fan!

 

Well, Asia was really more of a "Prog Pop" band anyway.

 

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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Your summit is what the RRHoF could have been rather than Jann Wenner's preferred listening room.

There is no legitimacy to the RRHoF. Greg Lake was right, it is parochial to the point of mean spirited. An insult not only to the musicians but also to the millions of fans that bought the product and supported the acts.

MoogFest was a great forum to bring a summit of sorts together, however that fizzled with the passing of Bob Moog.

Unfortunately no one had the sense to record the green room chats with Keith, Rick and Bernie Worrell.

One day someone with a lot of disposable income will just say "eff-It!" and book a studio and pay the rockers to just show up and chat/jam for an hour.

It won't be Jann Wenner (almost glad that fecker screwed the financial pooch!).

Would be a good forum for Dweezil to host since he's dialed-in to the alumni

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Keep in mind - just throwing superstars (of yore) together doesn't mean they will have chemistry or some kind of 'magic' will happen. Remember when Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers got together? Not to throw cold water, but if there's a demand it will happen. And it likely already does happen on a smaller scale in smaller venues.

Some music I've recorded and played over the years with a few different bands

Tommy Rude Soundcloud

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