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Thread: The Future of Progressive Rock

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    The Future of Progressive Rock

    It's been discussed for a long time, but we are in a new time now. Will we ever see an epic return of Progressive Rock into popular culture as significant as the music was to it's former glory days?

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    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    What is Prog?

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    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Purple_Camel View Post
    It's been discussed for a long time, but we are in a new time now.
    Are we? A new time from ?....

    Quote Originally Posted by Purple_Camel View Post
    Will we ever see an epic return of Progressive Rock into popular culture as significant as the music was to it's former glory days?
    No. Because we are in new times.
    Steve F.

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    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  4. #4
    Really, wrong question. Let me reframe it: Will we ever see an epic return of Rock into popular culture as significant as the music was to it's former glory days?
    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

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    No.

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    I was thinking, but probably wrong, that both classical music and jazz were much more popular in the "total music pie" than today. Both those genres seemed imperative to the development and influence on rock music.... that being what would later be coined as "progressive rock".

    Was the term progressive rock used in the late sixties and early seventies?... or was it just all considered rock music?

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    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    C'mon...We need some harder questions than this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    C'mon...We need some harder questions than this.
    It's a simple question, but maybe the answers would be more complicated.

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    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Purple_Camel View Post
    Was the term progressive rock used in the late sixties and early seventies?... or was it just all considered rock music?
    Progressive rock as a term was definitely in general use by 1973/1974, because I was using it by then.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  10. #10
    ^^The same here. I've read posts here saying the term art rock was used in the 70s and the term progressive rock came later. I knew it as the progressive rock in the mid 70s when I first became aware of the genre. It was rarely or never called art rock.

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    I was reading an old music fanzine magazine a while back that was on the coffee table at a party. It was kinda shocking to see the bands that were listed in the top 20 or so. Some of them were rock like Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath and Mott the Hoople, but most of the bands were actually what would later be called progressive rock. I remember Yes, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull,Led Zeppelin, The Who, Deep Purple, ELP all being top 10 albums. I mean more than half of them. David Bowie I remember. This kind of music was really up front in the popular music culture. With that came a lot of dreams and ambition for younger players to build upon with the hope of being a career musician in the creative arts. I'm not sure if a younger musician today could realistically consider carving out a career as a creative musician. I think of the progressive rock music as being creative, but also somewhat virtuostic, so not just playing in a tribute or cover band which seems to be the path most are taking to keep a foot in the active live music scene.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartellb View Post
    ^^The same here. I've read posts here saying the term art rock was used in the 70s and the term progressive rock came later. I knew it as the progressive rock in the mid 70s when I first became aware of the genre. It was rarely or never called art rock.
    Same for me. But some have argued exactly the opposite - that it was always called "Art Rock" and that "progressive" was a later coinage. By the way, I only heard it called "prog" during the last twenty years or so. However, I grew up in northern New Jersey, and I have a suspicion that the term used may be a matter of where you lived back then - that "Art Rock" or "Progressive Rock" or whatever were local terms that all meant roughly the same thing, but didn't travel outside a specific area. It's like the very many names for canvas-and rubber sports/casual shoes, or for ice-cream put in a blender with carbonated water and flavorings, or for flavored carbonated water itself.

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    Skullhead?

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    Estimated Prophet notallwhowander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Purple_Camel View Post
    It's been discussed for a long time, but we are in a new time now. Will we ever see an epic return of Progressive Rock into popular culture as significant as the music was to it's former glory days?
    Well, I can't see the cultural moment recreating itself like it did in progressive rock's emergence. You had this simple style that became insanely popular, and then began absorbing existing influences and adopting new technologies. Rock, and progressive rock, are now one of the existing influences and are no longer insanely popular. The albums of Radiohead and The Decemberists have sold well, even while dipping into the proggy pool, but their cred was established earlier, through different scenes. Prog had its inception in the psychedelic counter-culture of the '60s. It was built by the artistic and aesthetic aspirations of that generation. Sure, folks enamored of those aspirations, such as myself, keep the music going in some small way, but progressive rock isn't representative of my, or any succeeding, generation.

    Also, the methods of mass media distribution are different. Unless some high-octane social media influencer picks up prog as a banner, or Disney decides to include it in their soundtracks, how will the music even reach the ears of the wider youth market?

    On top of this, the cost to create/produce progressive rock is relatively high. You have to be quite good at your instrument, have the imaginative breadth, and have a band of like-minded musicians, to be a good prog rock act. How many collective years of life have to spent before you can start turning out prog anyone would want to listen to? Compare that to hip-hop. Yes, there is still an investment, but it is considerably less. You need a laptop, or phone, a beat track, a microphone, and you. If you are talented, you could garner respect of your peers and the attention of the gender of your choice in two years. Money? Well ambition, energy, and sheer luck factors into that, but that has been true of popular music for a long time.

    That being said, there could be a prog revival in pop culture. Stranger things have happened. But I don't think you could count on anything lasting more than a year or two. Furthermore, money is damn hard to come by in this game. So progressive rock as a business plan isn't bringing in the young blood. My favorite "young" band all have day jobs, cutting records and touring isn't bringing in returns enough to encourage them to make music full time, and this after respectable praise from respectable critics.

    This is my read on it. Or you could say, "No. Because we are in new times."
    Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

  15. #15
    Meet the new times
    Same as the old times

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    By the way, I only heard it called "prog" during the last twenty years or so. However, I grew up in northern New Jersey, and I have a suspicion that the term used may be a matter of where you lived back then - that "Art Rock" or "Progressive Rock" or whatever were local terms that all meant roughly the same thing, but didn't travel outside a specific area.
    I never heard it called "prog" either until I read it on the Internet. Good point about the regional art rock vs progressive rock. I grew up in the Northeast US too and like I said it was always called progressive rock at least by the mid 70s. Most likely in other areas of the country or the world the terms were different.

  17. #17
    I always considered bands like Queen to be Art Rock, and then Bands like Yes were always called progressive Rock. In 1974 I was 13 and knew the term then. Its been around since then at least. I remember a distinct wall between bands like Queen, David Bowie, BOC, Uriah Heep and bands like Yes, ELP and Genesis. I would have even put Rush into the Art Rock camp, though I think their later material - and my judgement over time has clouded that. I have no problem with Art Rock. It was every bit as cool to me as was progressive Rock. It was just "different" - It could have even been the audience that liked each. At Newport HS, we were firmly in the Progressive camp, while our neighboring High schools were more into Queen, Aerosmith,Kiss, Nugent... It was kind of an odd division, come to think of it. We didn't hate that music, just mostly the people who listened to it.
    I got nothin'

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    The Future of Progressive Rock

    There will always be aspiring artists that are going to push the boundaries of the musical norm, there are currently 100's of outstanding artists creating great music, and are virtually unknown. As for the business/commerce model? Well, that is already ancient history/

  19. #19
    I keep sayin' it. Live music is where all the fun is. New recorded music, for the upcoming artist is a bit of a waste. If its not great its ignored. If it is great, it's stolen. There you have it in a nutshell.
    I got nothin'

    ...avoiding any implication that I have ever entertained a cognizant thought.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Yodelgoat View Post
    At Newport HS, we were firmly in the Progressive camp, while our neighboring High schools were more into Queen, Aerosmith,Kiss, Nugent... It was kind of an odd division, come to think of it.
    There were some divisions within my school. I still remember at a party New Year's Eve 1979 the local station was counting down the top albums of the decade. Dark Side of the Moon was number one to which one kid said how cool that was. Another one said screw that it should be Aerosmith Rocks. The first one replied that Rocks was nothing but noise. I remember some Zeppelin fans particularly not liking Genesis. They said they never "kicked ass" to which I replied they must have never heard The Knife. Plenty of people liked it all though - classic rock, progressive rock, hard rock/metal.

  21. #21
    Music will always be. What it is or is not will always be a source of arguments. Eat more pie.
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  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    Skullhead?
    Oh dear... please, no.

    Well, there was no mention of the word “digital”, so maybe not?

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    Skullhead?
    I was thinking the exact same thing. Is it in any way possible that he's joined forces with Svet?! Then perhaps with the untimely return of Rufus they'll launch a full-on Trilogy attack on the premises.
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    Most people have no idea what Progressive Rock is, they have never heard it. If they did, they would say what the hell is that ****?

    The music mainstream has hit bottom but keeps on going, I cant see it changing now.

  25. #25
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    This topic does come up in discussion now and then. But history indicates it doesn't look good...

    Quote Originally Posted by Purple_Camel View Post
    It's been discussed for a long time, but we are in a new time now. Will we ever see an epic return of Progressive Rock into popular culture as significant as the music was to it's former glory days?
    Short answer: NO.

    Long answer: In modern times, you'd be hard pressed to find good examples of music from the past that has a renaissance that is anywhere close to what it was in its heyday. In the case of progressive rock, it already had its revival - on several occasions, each time having less impact/relevance. The first was the 80s with "neo prog" (Marillion, IQ, etc.). The second was the 90s with "The Third Wave" (Spock's, TFK, PTree). Next was music identified as post rock as well as groups like The Mars Volta. There were also indie rock and metal bands like Radiohead and Tool that were being called "progressive rock" by some. Today, we have all kinds of genre blending/bending music.

    With that said, it's actually quite a progressive renaissance out there now. One could say that for the progressive music fan, there is no better time than today in terms of the plethora of excellent recorded music.

    But in terms of popular culture, prog is dead. And when it does emerge in pop culture in the form of groups like Radiohead, GY!BE, and The Mars Volta, most classic prog fans turn their noses up to it. Heck, even most new progressive rock we are familiar with here is only popular with a subset of fans.

    In the end, if progressive rock ever does become popular again, it will likely sound very different, be popular with youth, and alienate most of the 1st wave fans.
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

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