May 202015
Greatest bass ever?

Greatest bass ever?

I’m sure you heard the news today that Yes bassist Chris Squire had been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia that will knock him off the band’s touring circuit for the first time since 1968. This is sad news simply because Squire is a human, and it’s also sad because this oddly, fantastically talented prog legend seems like a good egg – at least as good an egg as any other prog musician with a low profile that seems characteristic of the genre.

With absolutely no research or empirical data, you know what else seems to be characteristic of the prog genre? Band members’ life expectancy and overall health seem to be better than that of other rock subgenres. How many prog musicians died in their prime, or even as early as their mid-50s? How many prog musicians were junkies? Let’s leave Pink Floyd out of this, because they didn’t play enough triplets to really qualify as prog rockers.

Has anyone died in Yes? Did one early member of Genesis die? Did any of King Crimson’s 43 members OD? E, L, or P? A long time ago Soft Machine’s Robert Wyatt got wasted, fell out of a window, and got paralyzed, but he lived for a long time – perhaps, in fact, to this day. Kevin Ayers – was he in Soft Machine? He died not too long ago, right? He was old enough to have died of natural causes or some expected hazard of old age. Daevid Allen of Gong just died, but he was old.

Do you think the rigors of playing progressive rock keep these musicians in better physical condition than other forms of rock? Do rock musicians of any other style live as long and healthy lives?

Jan 272014

Sounds of the hall in roughly 33 1/3 minutes!

I was originally going to break this spotlight on Passport Records into two episodes: the first covering the ’70s and the second highlighting the ’80s, however that would be far too cruel on the listener. And like Mr. Moderator is fond of saying “I’ve got to think of my audience”.

Enjoy this consolidated version.


[Note: You can add Saturday Night Shut-In episodes to your iTunes by clicking here. The Rock Town Hall feed will enable you to easily download Saturday Night Shut-In episodes to your digital music player.]

Playlist after jump

May 312013


Look at what I just stumbled across! This was the moment leading up to the moment detailed in this old post, which originally ran on March 7, 2007. Listen to how excited the crowd was. Listen to all those Philly kids with their distinctive shouts of “Yeah!” You cannot, however, hear my friends and I scratching our heads as this went on (and on and on).

With the recent buzz over the reunited Police, it took me a few seconds to register the news that Genesis had announced a reunion tour. If you’re not old enough to remember the band that preceded Mike + the Mechanics, check out this quote from the press release:

“Genesis is absolutely one of the world’s most exciting bands of all time,” said Michael Cohl, tour promoter. “They have always been an amazing concert experience and I’m thrilled that fans will be able to see them perform again live for the first time in 15 years.”

Absolutely! Townsman Andyr and I saw Genesis’ Light Show at the band’s commercial peak, in 1983, at Philadelphia’s long-gone JFK Stadium. We went to see the opening acts, Elvis Costello & the Attractions (hot off the release of Imperial Bedroom) and Blondie before them. JFK was enormous – a bare-bones, old-school oval football stadium that held 100,000. The place dwarfed Blondie, but not so much that we couldn’t clearly see an ongoing hissy fit between keyboardist Jimmy Destri and drummer Clem Burke escalate until Burke took off a cymbal and flung it at Destri, Frisbie style!
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May 152013

Hey, I gotta hit and run here, people — seriously, my time is not my own these days. But I do have a question: should I try to like Genesis more?

That’s not a snarky question. Sgt Peppermint Petty suggested I might be able to appreciate Genesis — more than I like Yes, for example. We got to rappin’ about Yes versus Genesis, and things got deep. I heard about penetrating vocals, ringing bass tones, jazz chops and, yes, polished golden orbs. It all sounded kinda mystical to me. I think the Sarge had been hitting the ol’ skull bong in the men’s room or something.

Anyway, he’s a good egg, and I know he meant well. Who knows, he might be right. I might be able to grant Genesis a prog hall pass. When I was 14, I used to like Emerson, Lake & Palmer — and I used to dig my old man’s copy of Lark’s Tongues In Aspic.

So my question is two fold: to those of you who know me — am I capable of liking Genesis? And to the rest of you, and all those who think I might grow to like them, I ask sincerely: where should I start trying? Oh, and one more question: does the fact that I really like this Genesis song set me up for Genesis disappointment?

I look forward to your responses.



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