Sour Grapes from one who has never tasted the wine..
I Was slightly to the right of here – Genesis’ Stage awaits them at Knebworth in 1978
The Tangent have never had the chance to play some huge outdoor festival as the sun sets over a magnificent rambling country estate in the Home Counties. There have never been traffic jams in the car park to get home after our gigs. A performance by the band has never dramtically increased the number of hitch hikers on British Roads during the weekend of the gig. The band has, to our knowledge, NEVER had airplay on the BBC, NEVER had a review in any of the daily papers. And.. this is where it gets a little more serious.. other than one phone call from Richard Sinclair (Caravan, Hatfield & The North etc).. in 20 years of following in the footsteps of the originators, NOT ONE of the people from the original progressive era has ever been in touch, invited us to do a gig with them, told us they like the album or even deigned to say the words “I’ve heard good things about you”. Not one other.
Richard Sinclair. One in a million apparently
But – that’s not why we do this is it? Of course not! This isn’t all for a pat on the back from Steve Howe or summat. It’d be nice, but hey, it’s not why we’re here. If it was, we’d have given up years ago. But, as the third and fourth wave progressive bands flounder in an apathetic world, we could do with some nice showcase gigs with the older guys. And they seem to have not realised who WE (broad WE) are. Maybe it’s the ego of having once been feted Rock Stars, maybe it’s just apathy, maybe it’s just not realising, not being able to see the wood for the trees. But WE – from Magenta and Big Train.. to Tangent to TFK, from Maschine to Credo – we fulfil a very important role to the bands who came before us.
We Are Their Legacy
Their legacy is not the DVD of some concert they did in Italy to four million people who had to watch the whole thing on a screen. It’s not the 4th crucial digital remaster of their classic album from 73. It’s not the questionable reunion album they made in 2007. Their legacy is made by the people who followed them. I believe it’s time they helped us out, got involved and help us try to keep their amazing ideas alive way into the future.
Imagine what it must be like. For a third generation band, standing on a stage in front of 200 people if they are having a good day, with a line-up of musicians as strong as can be imagined. Knowing, just KNOWING that despite all the music they’ve released over the past 10 years, epics, rockers, love songs, sinfonias, instrumentals and electronica – all they’d have to do is play “Watcher Of The Skies” and they’d bring the house down. If they were to just play a set of Genesis songs they’d more than double their audience overnight. If they did it for a few months they could have nice living wages.
A Good day For the Tangent – London 2014
But we didn’t do that – though sadly there are others who did. There are bands who put their own music on back burners simply because there is so little money in original music. The reason I can’t do that myself (it’s tempting) is that when I put my copy of Foxtrot away, it was to make room for new things in my life, for new music, new songs for new times. And when I hear new progressive music… sure I hear the influences. I hear part of a continually evolving cycle. I am not hearing Genesis. I am hearing their Legacy.
Now, there will be some readers who are thinking “This Is Sour Grapes”. (They are right). What right have a bunch of modern day wannabes got to demand the ear of such lofty legends? But there is a precedent to what I’m asking for… In the world of SPORT. You see, when Wayne Rooney steps onto a football pitch for England, he can do so in the knowledge that the legends of his youth and generations before are totally with him. That the legacy of Charltons, Moores, Bests, Keegans and Scheerers is fully behind him every step of the way. And any would be football star has only to BE REALLY GOOD to succeed. He won’t fall down on his image if he scores goals. If you can run faster than Bolt – you will win. No Simon Cowell in Sport. I envy Sport the purity of its game. I think there’s another article in that later!
Wayne Rooney has always been able to count on the support of people who were successful before he was
If you, dear reader, have reached this point in the story, then there’s already hope. I realise that there’ll possibly be a few replies citing many incidents where Steve Hackett helped such and such a band by appearing on their album, that Rick Wakeman turns up for awards nights and a list of bands who supported Marillion etc. But I don’t think there’s ENOUGH of it!
Last year I was invited to be present at an awards ceremony in London. There were many of us who have taken up the gauntlet that the musicians of the 70s threw down. But, standing next to a certain megastar who was talking to another certain megastar I overheard:
“So who are all this lot then?”
Please Support us. tell people about what we’ve done. And by that I mean The Tangent and all the other newer bands that would turn you on. If you, like me are in late middle age, I hope to convince you that you need a new song in your life. That “Supper’s Ready” was written by teenagers, and it’s time to hear what adults do. It’s about time we ate that Supper and looked forward to something new.
“Let’s engineer a breakdown, let’s get lost on new ground, tell our friends what we found, – searching for the Spark In The Aether” The Tangent. For 2015.