I was born in Rotherham in the early 1970’s, and I’m far too young to be into this Prog nonsense. Apparently.
I first cut my teeth on “prog-lite” in the late 70’s and early 80’s after I became addicted to ELO and Queen.
My first contact with “neo-prog” was thanks to an insurance salesman though – indeed, they do serve a purpose! A life insurance policy I had from being a child came to maturity and he delivered me the cheque at age 18. He also told me about this amazing band he was listening to called IQ. He gave me a tape of two “mystery albums” with no details on, just IQ.
I started listening to the album and became addicted. As any 18 year old would do, I pursued more albums… first visiting my local HMV and finding “The Wake”. It was much darker, harsher sounding, but I loved it.
A trip to the newly built Meadowhall HMV netted me “Ever” and “Tales from the Lush Attic”. “Ever” was more my thing.
Continued searching eventually netted me “Are You Sitting Comfortably?” and “Nomzamo” and my collection was complete. It turned out the two albums I had on that elusive C90 were indeed the Menel-era albums.
I didn’t find the CRS until 1993 though. Searching more similar stuff led me to Pendragon and finding the Masquerade Overture in Circles Records, Rotherham was a true gem. The CD contained a flyer for a gig at the HLC. My first CRS gig! Amazingly, the timing was spot on – the gig was the very night I bought the album!
Upon finding the CRS and joining there and then I fairly quickly saw many new and amazing bands and swelled my CD collection massively. I discovered IQ playing in Bury and made loads of Prog friends in the days before the internet being a big thing.
I was an official for a long time, often running the gigs, and even organising and running (with help) the biggest festival we did – Rotherham Rocks.
When I first joined the CRS I was in a pop band called Joe Lazarus. That split in 1999 and then started the Deadline/Crimes of Passion era. Deadline, amazingly, is the band most CRS people had never heard of and yet we were one of the most performed bands – mostly because I brought some rather unusual tours to the CRS via Sheffield Corporation including Tyketto and Firehouse. Quoth Martin Hudson “Who’s Tickertape?”.
You guys, though, will know me for my stint in Manning between 2008 and 2013. I recorded on a few of Guy’s albums – Number Ten, Charlestown, Margaret’s Children, Akoustik and The Root, The Leaf, and The Bone. Manning started to fall apart in 2012 when my Dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer; and indeed the day after we did the Elsecar Heritage “Steam-Punk” photo shoot for Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine, Dad passed away.
2014 marked the formation of Ethryll, and me joining my covers band Face The Music. Ethryll is a folk band who may be of interest to you.
2018 really marked my return to Prog with a phonecall from a certain Paul O’Neill one stormy night in November. Strangefish was sans-bassist, had a gig booked, and was in a bit of a state really. How could I refuse?
Me at the Spirit
The Spirit happened in March 2019. Just after the CRS Awards Night. A message reached me that the CRS had decided to call it a day. Something that had been in my life for 25 years could not just disappear.
The seeds were planted… I knew the people… I had the knowledge of running a half decent website… I had the friends to help me do it…
Welcome to The Spirit of Progressive Rock.