A collection of posts from my original weblog...or the inscrutable rantings of a madman...could be both...

Sunday, September 30, 2001

ORIGINS OF A PROG-ROCK BLOGGER (and that pesky backdrop) (2001)

It was September 22nd of last year that I met with C-Dog at his secret headquarters in CT. and we set up "21st Century Schizoid Man" with his encouragement that I should '..start a blogger site about prog rock..'

We scanned some excellent psych/prog CD booklets (Le Orme's "Uomo Di Pezza", My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless", etc.) which became the original site backdrop--it looked amazing! Little did we know it would disappear three weeks later with no reason why. C-Dog and I haven't been able to restore it yet and that's why I just have a standard Blogger backdrop.

We also created a "Schizoid Man" banner with a purple background and the name of the site in a fancy psychedelic font but that also vanished about two months after the site got underway and has not reappeared. All in good time, people--as M.A.D., my good friend and fellow Cryptonaut, noted: I don't have much in the way of site design. I hope to improve that soon.

It's been an interesting year working on this site, I have discovered bands and artists that I hadn't previously listened to (Third Ear Band, Rory Gallagher, Le Orme to name a few) and bought new records by groups I was already familiar with and also re-issues by many bands that no longer exist.

Originally, the site was to be mainly about progressive music, especially progressive rock of the late 60s to mid-70s English variety, but I felt that was too limiting and I don't just listen to prog rock, contrary to anyone's belief that I'm one of those boomer geeks who hoards pristine copies of every Gentle Giant album under his bed.

I was actually born the same year that Gentle Giant's first record was released, in 1970. I have been collecting music since 1983, when I was a prisoner in a Catholic school (urgh..shudder!) with a few close mates helping to keep me sane. I started out as a New Waver, I only knew who the Beatles were because my parents had the 'Blue' and 'Red' albums on 8-track and played them when I was a very young lad. M.A.D. and a guy named Mike Fusco did form a Beatles Club so that helped my knowledge of The Fabs but my Beatles renaissance actually took place while in high school. Before that, it was strictly The Police, The Cars, Men At Work...and uh, Van Halen (I laugh about that myself now--though I still consider Fair Warning to be a decent album).

I was bored with that stuff and with Top 40 radio in general at around 16 and discovered the local "classic rock" station where I first heard The Doors, Pink Floyd (actually, I first heard The Floyd when I was 14, but it didn't interest me at all), older Talking Heads, ELP..and the list goes on.

A bit more background..my parents were (and still are to a large degree) right-wing, conservative Republican voting squares..they're my folks and I love 'em..but that's where they're at. I didn't have an older brother to say, "hey..don't listen to that lame Eric Clapton song..check this Ramones album out.." so I was on my own as far as turning on to different music. I liked the strange otherworldliness of psychedelia and I liked the way progressive would (to use a very worn phrase) 'take you somewhere'..not as escapism, in my mind anyway, just travelling without moving. I had a Toshiba walkman and I would completely space out to Dark Side Of The Moon or The Yes Album or even American Beauty by The Grateful Dead.

I went to college in the fall of '88 and was solidly into my burgeoning 'hippie' phase on a steady diet of Beatles, Dead, Doors and Floyd. You tend to make friends at college with your own kind, so I made friends with a small hippie contingent and was turned on to Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Traffic and Spirit. These just led to other bands and by the time I moved back home a year and a half later..I was well versed in the psychedelic era ('66-'73). I then moved into psych-folk with The Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention, the I.S.B.'s stuff wasn't yet available on disc so I hunted down vinyl copies of their albums. My fellow Crypters had gone to a different school and explored punk, ska and avant-noise groups like Sonic Youth and Fugazi, so our combined trips to Brass City Records were interesting and they were good about not laughing out loud when I talked about The Soft Machine or Caravan. I respected their direction and even went with the gang to a couple of Fugazi shows. I read a review of Spiritualized's "Pure Phase" album in '95 in which the critic stated that '..this is the kind of record Pink Floyd should be making...' I immediately bought it and was hooked...the same for The Orb's "Orbus Terrarum" and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's collection, "Introducing..." (released in 1996)--more bands followed more bands.

This leads up to last year when C-Dog suggested I start a site to talk about prog and I branched out to talk about the music I like in general...if you've dropped by thinking it was just a King Crimson/Robert Fripp site, or the mad ravings of a genuinely schizophrenic person, sorry to disappoint. If you dropped by and liked what you read and continue to read--then I thank you for reading my mad schizophrenic ravings..har har har..no really, thanks for reading!!