Push the boat out a bit. Then pull it gently back in. This IS a Tangent after all and we don’t know where we’re off next time. Last time we went LARGE. “Le Sacre Du Travail” was an enormous project – the whole Classical Rock Sinfonia thing was something that had been boiling up inside me since I was 17 years old and probably even before that. To look back at our “ancestors” though – they too would switch from the gigantic concept album back to the basic song set. And it’s time for us to do just that.
“Le Sacre” – A personal best.
I am probably happier with “Sacre” than any album I’ve ever made. it was the achievement of a lifelong dream, a big accomplishment for everyone that worked on it. One thing it wasn’t though was FUN. It was never designed to be Fun, either to listen to or to make. Out on the road with the band in 2014 WAS Fun. It had been a while since we’d trodden the boards and the greatest realisation for all of us playing for the two bands Karmakanic and The Tangent was that, “The Tangent is still, at its heart, a Rock & Roll Band”. Doesn’t matter how complex, bonkers, ambitious or pretentious we get (and we do) – what made the Tangent the Tangent was that.
Middle aged bloke having fun in 2014
I was 54 back then, and I’m 55 now. And one thing I know about myself is that I don’t wanna stop that Rock & Roll feeling, even though the days of its dominance are fading into the manuscript of history. I’m around the age of a High Court Judge. I’m older than The Prime Minister of the UK and the President Of The United States. I am eligible to join SAGA (a group for the over 50s). In a few years I’ll be entitled to travel on buses for free. I should be on the board of directors for some company, playing golf at the weekends and I should have a lot more money than I do.
The incredible voyage of my life that has seen me change the side of the stage I play on. This is me (left) in Amsterdam in 1979 with the band “The Vye” I was 19 years old.
F*** all that. Sorry to my kids who are gonna inherit a bonkers record collection a 1990s motorcycle and a few old synths instead of a Jag and a country pad. One thing that I simply can never ever ever regret is the life I have had in music. It has been enormous Fun, it has lasted me a lifetime and I never got sick of it. It started off as some mad chase to be a pop star and trying to “make it”. When these two aims did not come off as intended I realised that failing at something can be infinitely more fun than succeeding at another. So I decided to stay just to annoy everyone.
Progressive Rock was/is for me a pretty burning concern. It is BY NO MEANS the only kind of music I listen to, but it has provided me with a helluvalot of pleasure over the years and I’ve always wanted to partake in the movement that created it. And when in 1994 some new bands appeared to vibe up the scene it was possibly the best thing that could have happened. I happily bought into it, got involved in it and just LOVED it. All over again. SUBJECTIVE OPINION ALERT!!!! It meant that I could, at long last, put away a lot of those “second division” prog albums – the ones that didn’t really move me that much and which I only listened to because it seemed like there was only a finite amount of Prog you could actually hear (which in itself was wrong – but the net wasn’t ready!). I mean, “Foxtrot” as an album is great. Know it back to front. I’ve heard all the puns, all the tunes and can sing it backwards in the bath. And when Spock’s Beard and TFK turned up in the 90s, I could at long last put the damn thing away. I haven’t listened to it since except when a track has made it onto Cliff’s show now and then. Gimme Transatlantic any day of the week. they’re real, and can play concerts without needing a private militia. They actually make good records too.
Advert for 2013 fan release “L’Etagere Du Travail”
There’s a sadness about it all too. Since the formation of Po90 in late 1994 – 20 years ago, despite the many successes, triumphs, failures, disasters, fallouts, new relationships – 20 or so albums, tours in Europe, gigs in America, Canada, Russia and more, the large wedge of the Progressive Rock Community still sees me (and Neal, Roine, Jonas and the rest) as “Johnny Come Latelys”. The story of The Tangent and its formative bands goes back as far as 1980 – that’s 34 years and several of the songs that are part of our repertoire to this day were written in the 1970s which takes us back almost 40 years. I left school in 1977. A year that all fans of Prog know spells Death. Like Stephen Lambe says in the opening line of his book “Citizens Of Hope & Glory – The Story Of Progressive Rock”…
“I Missed It”