Prog - - Intro -

Where’s home?

I’ve al­ways lived in the Rhondda Val­leys, right up in the but­tocks of South Wales.

Your ear­li­est prog mem­ory?

I was six and I just loved Life On Mars by David Bowie. I loved the piano play­ing on it, and of course I didn’t re­alise it was Rick Wake­man. That was the song that got me into play­ing piano.

First prog record you bought?

Well, when I was 10 I was bought Tubu­lar Bells for Christ­mas. That and The Sound Of Mu­sic. Both great al­bums in their own way!

First prog gig?

Mike Old­field at Sophia Gar­dens in Cardiff, 1980. It was my very first gig. Eight of us caught the bus down, ran to the front to see Mike and his 11-piece band. It was stun­ning.

Favourite gad­get?

Cur­rently my favourite thing in the stu­dio is a soft­ware ver­sion of the Fairlight [game-chang­ing 1980s sam­pler]. It’s got all the Trevor Horn sounds on there. I can’t stop play­ing with it.

Guilty musical plea­sures?

I love ABBA. I was lis­ten­ing to their al­bum The Visi­tors the other day. Bril­liant song­writ­ers, and their pro­duc­tion was in­cred­i­ble.

What would be your spe­cial­ist sub­ject on Mastermind?

Hammer hor­ror films. I’m ob­sessed with them. My brother and I would do quizzes on them as kids. My favourite has to be The Devil Rides Out.

What’s your big­gest prog ex­trav­a­gance?

I spent 500 quid on a VIP ticket for Kate Bush’s Be­fore The Dawn show at Ham­mer­smith. The VIP bit wasn’t great, but the show was worth ev­ery penny.

Favourite prog venue?

I’ve al­ways loved play­ing The Bor­der­line – the sound’s stun­ning,

the stage, the at­mos­phere, the Lon­don crowd. But to see a band, give me St David’s Hall in Cardiff any day. Great sound, comfy seats, and ice cream at half time.

What do you col­lect?

Cam­era porn! Video cam­eras, lenses and the like. I re­ally en­joy making films and promo videos for the band. That’s my side­line – it’s where all my money goes.

The last prog al­bum you bought?

At the mo­ment I’m ob­sessed with The Blue Nile. I’ve just bought all their back cat­a­logue and am play­ing it to death. Ev­ery song on Hats is a tear­jerker. Paul Buchanan’s voice blows me away.

Last prog gig you saw?

Steve Hack­ett at St David’s

Hall. It was an amaz­ing show. Ob­vi­ously his gui­tar play­ing was in­cred­i­ble, but I thought his singing was par­tic­u­larly good.

Ever had a prog date?

No. Ev­ery fe­male I’ve ever known has hated prog. I only ever met one who liked Tubu­lar Bells, and I ended up mar­ry­ing her!

Your prog hero?

Mike Old­field’s in my soul, but it’s got to be Trevor Horn. As a pro­ducer he’s in­flu­enced all my work. I love the sound of his records – I don’t think he’s made a bad one.

Who do you call in the prog com­mu­nity for a good night out.

[Ma­genta gui­tarist] Chris Fry. But we’re the most un-rock’n’roll band in the world, so we’d go and have a sit down in a tea shop and have tea in china cups with some Dan­ish pas­tries. We’re the Hinge & Bracket of prog.

Most im­por­tant prog song?

Ma­chine Mes­siah, the first track

We’re the most un-rock’n’roll band in the world. We’re the Hinge & Bracket of prog.

from Yes’ Drama. I know a lot of Yes fans hate it but I think it’s their best al­bum. Trevor Horn sang on it. It’s just clas­sic prog – I’ve spent my whole prog ca­reer try­ing to get close to that al­bum.

Who’s the prog muso you’d most like to work with?

I’m des­per­ate to work with Steve Hog­a­rth, by far the best male singer in prog to­day. I can hear it all in my head – his voice in a cine­matic, Celtic set­ting. It would be amaz­ing.

What’s the prog al­bum that gets you in a good mood?

I’m not a huge Rush fan but I love Power Win­dows. It’s a bit more key­board-y, a re­ally up­lift­ing al­bum that al­ways perks me up.

Best prog gig?

De­spite the money, that Kate Bush gig. It was al­most a re­li­gious ex­pe­ri­ence. I never cry at gigs but I was in­con­solable that night. It was per­fect.

Pick us a good proggy read.

Bill Bru­ford’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy.

It’s a bril­liant, bru­tally hon­est anal­y­sis of the mu­sic busi­ness – deal­ing with peo­ple, with egos, making and los­ing money, the in­se­cu­ri­ties. Ev­ery mu­si­cian should read it.

Your favourite prog al­bum cover?

Tubu­lar Bells. It means so much to me. It’s iconic in ev­ery way – it’s just per­fec­tion.

What are you up to at the mo­ment?

Ma­genta’s We Are

Leg­end is out now, so I’m coming back fresh to Sanc­tu­ary, work­ing on Sanc­tu­ary III. Steve Bal­samo and I have just fin­ished a new Chim­pan A al­bum that’s been 10 years in the making, and I’m look­ing for an­other Kom­pendium-style project now. I need to find some­thing big to get stuck into…

See www.robertreed­of­fi­ for more in­for­ma­tion.

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