Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Prog Blog

So WAAAAY back in March of last year, I was finishing up my initial promotional push for Interrobang. You know- that’s where I package up and send out a few hundred copies of the album along with some cool-ass promotional materials to magazines, review sites, newspapers, radio stations, promoters… and then they all completely ignore the stuff and I start to work on my next record. (It’s good to have a system…) Anyway- Surprisingly and unexpectedly (which I guess are somewhat the same thing) I was contacted by a gent that runs a periodical called “Progression Magazine”. Now- Progression Magazine is self described as “The Quarterly Journal of Progressive Music”. OK. I’d seen a few issues of ProgMag, and was ASTOUNDED at the sheer number of ads for bands dressed like Hobbits.

Now- let me ‘splain. I am about as big a fan of the music of YES and King Crimson as one is likely to find. I am a COMPLETELY UNAPOLOGETIC FAN of Yes, (eat me- I love Starship Trooper and Heart of the Sunrise JUST as much as Leave It and Arriving UFO and Tempus Fugit and…) plus I consider EVERY NOTE that Crimson has recorded since 1980 to be SACRED CANON. (I know that other fans of Crimson would consider it BLASPHEMY that I don’t LOVE all the pre-1980 material- and a lot of it I DO, but I think that there’s a lot of filler… ANYWAY, different blog entry…) SO I really like those bands and don’t care WHAT they’re labeled as even though for the most part they’re considered “prog” or “old school prog “ or whatever. THAT being said- I CAN’T STAND the VAST majority of the NEW prog bands. Bands like Spock’s Beard and Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree and the like. There of course are exceptions, (I’ve really enjoyed The Mars Volta) and I’ve TRIED to get into these groups- but the thing that’s missing to me is an overall sense of songwriting and MELODY. Band like Yes were listening to Motown and the Beatles as they were writing their epic pieces, so even though they’d go off on these incredible orchestral tangents- there was always a melodic component to eventually latch on to. THE CURRENT bands seem more interested in re-creating vintage TONE and COMPLEX song structures (and their musicianship is undeniable) but lose me with the lack of melodic integrity.

NOW- The reason I bring all of this up is because as I first looked at an issue of Progression Magazine- I realized that for the most part it was (like many magazines) just an excuse for advertising space. No big deal, but the editorial content seemed to be minimal- and the TONS of ADS for bands (most dressed like Hobbits) was overwhelming. Well… wait- I should clarify. You have the wizard prog bands dressed like hobbits, you have the goth metal prog guys dressed in leather and eyeliner, and you have the semi stoner guys dressed in whatever the hell they woke up in that morning. (It’s about the MUSIC maaaan!). Anyway-

Cut back to last March. For some reason I get contacted by the guy that runs the magazine. He tells me that they’re going to review Interrobang, and would I be interested in taking out an ad. (A ha. I see…) Well- I told him that I had limited funding for advertising, and that I wasn’t really interested in shelling out a few hundred bucks to be lost amid an OCEAN of Warlocks, Goths and Flannel. I said that I was appreciative of the review, and wished him the best of luck. FINE.

A few days later he calls back and says that they have a deadline approaching, and if I re-considered taking out an ad, he would give me a discount. At this point I thought two things: ONE- I figured that with the brilliant Sheer Brick Studio in my corner, I could probably produce an ad that would blow away MOST of the other advertisements in the magazine (or AT LEAST look different) and TWO- PERHAPS taking out an ad would affect the overall positive-ness of the supposed upcoming review. (Shocking assumption!). I told him fine, we’ll take out a quarter page ad or whatever. He told me that I needed to send in the money and get the ad to him as soon as possible, seeing as they were going to publish in a few scant weeks.

Donna and I quickly put together a pretty cool ad (the concept was “Prog music even your girlfriend can love”) and sent it in along with a check. Cool.

Well… The spring goes by. Then the summer goes by. The winter starts and STILL NO FREAKIN’ ISSUE. (Good thing we got the money to him fast!)

I finally called the guy around November (seeing as I was re-releasing my first album [sic] and figured that an ad for a previous release should come out BEFORE the current release…grrr!) and- He told me that the issue would be out in three weeks, and he was really sorry for the delay but HIS SISTER HAS CANCER and he’s been taking care of her. He also tells me that I’ll probably be very pleased with the review of Interrobang.

Nice. I was all ready to cause a stink and he tells me he’s been caring for his dying sister and that my record is really good. [sound of balloon deflating]

Well- needless to say I stopped calling, figuring that whenever it comes out, it comes out. FOUR DAYS AGO I got an envelope in the mail from Progression Magazine. Inside was… a special “collectors edition issue” devoted to Emerson Lake and Palmer. No reviews. No ads. No nothing. Just multiple stories about a band that used to like to wear their shirts open WAY too low. Included was a note that said that the next issue (the OFFICIAL issue) is being mailed, and that this was just a “special gift” from the publisher.


I’ll let you know when the thing is out.


Sarah Paige said...

my birthday is in march! (/useless fact)

hope your article comes out soon

I did a review of Interrobang, with the intention of sending it to Jack Mangan's Deadpan Podcast (one of Mike and Evo's friends)

but I'm kinda shy about sending it and I haven't asked you if I could play your music in the background while I'm reviewing you...

(Btw, I'm Sarah, I met you at Dragon*Con, and hugged you to death)

Anyway... I just got the newsletter that you have a blog (I didn't know) ...So I'm checkin' it out... hope all goes well with the review

George Hrab said...


Of course I remember you. I believe that you helped yourself to a handful of man-booty. Sweet. Please feel free to use any of my music in any way you like. I'd LOVE to hear a review. Send 'er on over to Jack!

Hoep all's well- drop me an e-mail.

Happy New Year-