The great and good of progressive music give us a glimpse into their prog worlds. As told to Grant Moon
The ever-delightful Anneke van Giersbergen reveals what goes on in her own prog world.
Eindhoven in Holland. It’s a cool city for rock and turning into a prog city too – we’ve got the Prognosis Festival, The Progressive Alliance. It’s small but there’s a lot going on.
Your first prog memory?
My big brother was into metal and prog early on, and I grew up around him playing records by The Alan Parsons Project, Genesis, Pink Floyd. I felt very at home with prog from a very early age.
The first prog record you bought?
In our village there wasn’t a record store, but the library had a huge selection of records, and we’d rent all the proggy stuff. The first one was Jesus Christ Superstar, which I think is quite prog.
First prog gig?
King Crimson in Utrecht. They toured Holland in the early 90s and I went to all their gigs.
Favourite piece of technology?
I’d be totally lost without my iPhone. I’m into everything: Apple, Spotify, social media, all of it.
Any guilty pleasures in your music collection?
I’m a huge Barbra Streisand fan. The Broadway Album is kind of cheesy but she’s so, so good. She’s got one of the best voices in the world ever, and I love her persona and how she looks.
What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?
I know way too much about Prince.
Your biggest prog extravagance?
I did the Progressive Nation At Sea cruise [in 2014] with Devin Townsend, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I spent a lot at the casino bar every night, so it was pretty extravagant.
Your favourite venue?
The O13 in Tilburg. It’s one of the best
venues in Holland, and we have a lot of them.
Outside of prog, what else are you into?
I love to read – religion, psychology, esoteric things. I love being outside, walking and cycling. And I like comedy and action movies, stuff to make me feel good.
Who is your prog hero?
John Wetton. I love his voice. I had the pleasure to work with him, and I miss him very much.
Are you a collector?
I’ve got all my tour laminates going back to my very early shows. There’s about 1000 of them on the back of one of my doors at home!
The last album you bought?
I bought the last Mastodon album [Emperor Of Sand] on vinyl, and downloaded Leprous’ last one, Malina.
What was the last gig you went to?
Mastodon in Utrecht last year. Whenever they’re in Holland I go, they’re one of my favourite bands in the world.
Ever had a prog date?
Yes. I used to have a boyfriend in the early 90s and we went to see King Crimson, David Sylvian and lots of others. And I go with my husband now. We went to see Stick Men recently, I was one of three women in the audience!
Who do you call in the prog community for a good night out?
Julie Slick, she’s Adrian
Belew’s bass player. I met her on that Progressive Nation cruise and we clicked like sisters. She’s super cool, very funny and great fun to hang out with.
What’s the most important prog song for you?
Starless. John [Wetton] singing on one of prog’s most epic songs. It sums it all up,
I truly love it.
Which prog muso would you most like to work with?
Adrian Belew. Because of his voice, because of his persona.
Which prog album always gets you in a good mood?
Any of Mastodon’s last three albums. Whether you’re vacuum cleaning, driving, whatever, their music always lifts your spirit. They’re totally up my alley.
Who’s the best prog artist you’ve ever seen?
Opeth at Be
Prog! My Friend
Festival in Spain . Their set started with my all-time favourite song of theirs, Cusp Of Eternity.
Recommend us a good proggy read.
My bible is The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Tolle’s not airy-fairy, he’s German and very to the point. It isn’t simple to live in the present, but it will open up a whole universe to you.
What’s your favourite album cover?
Going back to my brother’s collection,
I’m very fond of Alan Parsons’ Tales Of Mystery And Imagination – Edgar Allan Poe. It’s
classically-orientated, but peaceful and with a lot of detail.
What are you up to at the moment?
Next year I’ll be marking 25 years in ‘the business’, so my classical album Symphonized is out, and I’m working on a theatre show – 43 dates in Holland over January, February and March next year. I’ll play music and tell stories from my whole career.
It’ll be fun.
I love to read – religion, psychology, esoteric things.
ADRIAN BELEW: ANNEKE’S DREAMCOLLABORATION.
MASTODON: MUSIC TO LIFT SPIRITS.