The great and good of pro­gres­sive mu­sic give us a glimpse into their prog worlds. As told to Grant Moon

Prog - - Contents - See­ for more in­for­ma­tion.

Life­signs’ key­board whizz and singer John Young shares some proggy se­crets, in­clud­ing his love of Eva Cas­sidy and his ex­per­tise in British civil avi­a­tion…

Where’s home?

Leighton Buz­zard in Bed­ford­shire. It’s the un­con­firmed cap­i­tal of prog! Loads of peo­ple live round here – I can see Nick Beggs’ house from mine…

Your first prog mem­ory?

My dad buy­ing me a copy of The Beach Boys’ Good Vi­bra­tions in the mid-60s. That, and Alan ‘Fluff’ Free­man play­ing great stuff on his Satur­day Rock Show, like Edgar Win­ter’s Franken­stein.

First prog gig?

Queen at the Liver­pool Em­pire in 1974. They were still do­ing stuff from Queen II like Ogre Bat­tle, which I loved.

The first prog record you bought?

The Lamb Lies Down On Broad­way by Gen­e­sis. I went to their show at the Liver­pool Em­pire on the Fri­day night [in 1975], bought the al­bum on Satur­day, and went to the show again on the Sun­day, by which time I knew all the words.

Favourite piece of tech­nol­ogy?

My Mac­Book Pro is per­ma­nently at­tached to me. It’s like tak­ing your of­fice with you wher­ever you go.

Any guilty plea­sures in your mu­sic col­lec­tion?

Eva Cas­sidy’s Song­bird. Her ver­sion of Some­where Over The Rain­bow gets me ev­ery time. How did a record com­pany not find her ear­lier? How could you miss a voice like that? It sums up the state of the busi­ness com­pletely.

What would your Mas­ter­mind spe­cial­ist sub­ject be?

British Civil Avi­a­tion from 1945 to 1970.

Your big­gest prog ex­trav­a­gance?

Maybe Cruise To The Edge. We’ve played it our­selves, but it’s a pure joy to go just to see the other bands.

Your favourite venue?

Trad­ing Bound­aries – it’s an ex­cep­tional and unique gig. There should be a fran­chise of them – they do such a great job.

And I do wish

The Mar­quee was still there.

Out­side of prog, what else

are you into?

Out­side of avi­a­tion? Coun­try walks and rid­ing my bike. It’s a bit bor­ing re­ally, isn’t it?!

Who is your prog hero?

Patrick Mo­raz. I loved his cre­ativ­ity, his sense of melody and soul. So much prog is math­e­mat­i­cal, but he brought ro­mance to it, and to Yes.

Are you a col­lec­tor?

Of nerdy avi­a­tion stuff. It’s amaz­ing what peo­ple sell on eBay these days: old man­u­als and things from Im­pe­rial Air­ways and BOAC. There’s a big mar­ket for it – there’s a lot of his­tory tied in there.

What was the last

al­bum you bought?

Card­ing­ton by Life­signs! We needed to check Amazon was work­ing

prop­erly for us, so I bought one. Other than that, Life by Knower, a great pop/jazz/funk band from the US.

What was the last gig you went to?

Cruise To The Edge, in Fe­bru­ary. We were play­ing, but the favourite things I saw were Adrian Belew and Fo­cus. I’m gut­ted I missed Gong.

Eva Cas­sidy’s Some­where Over The Rain­bow

gets me ev­ery time.

Have you ever been on a prog date?

Is there such a thing? My first girl­friend and I used to go to a club in Liver­pool called Le Metro, and once the DJ played all four sides of Tales From To­po­graphic Oceans. He must’ve wanted an easy night.

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

Gen­er­ally it’s the band. We’re all good friends, as well as be­ing in the group to­gether, which is the beauty of it. The lovely thing about prog is you make such good friends through it.

What’s the most im­por­tant prog song for you?

Sound Chaser off Yes’ Re­layer.

I used to sing the open­ing line when I worked at the till at a bank. It didn’t go down well and I didn’t last very long.

Which prog muso would you love to work with?

Kate Bush. I’d hap­pily watch her bake cakes! She’s ge­nius per­son­i­fied, and I’d love her to hear what we do.

Which is the prog al­bum that al­ways gets you in a good mood?

Gar­den Shed by Eng­land. It’s pure English prog joy.

Who is the best prog artist you’ve ever seen live?

Gen­tle Gi­ant. Dave Bain­bridge and I both saw them sep­a­rately dur­ing that Play­ing The Fool tour in 1976. You can hear me scream­ing on that record – they blew me away.

Rec­om­mend us a good proggy read.

Arthur C Clarke’s Child­hood’s End. It’s a beau­ti­ful way of look­ing at the world.

What’s your favourite prog al­bum cover?

I do love the cov­ers that Brett Wilde’s done for us, but I’ll say Frank Zappa’s Ship Ar­riv­ing Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch. It makes me laugh ev­ery time I see it. It’s so clever.

What else are you up to at the mo­ment?

I’m re-re­leas­ing a solo al­bum of mine, Sig­nif­i­cance, we’re reis­su­ing the first Life­signs al­bum and work­ing to­wards the third one, and we’re also play­ing four shows that we’ve got lined up in Septem­ber. We’re keep­ing our hand in…

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