Between A Rock And A Prog Place: DEREK SHERINIAN On The Importance Of Organ In Prog

October 6, 2020, 4 months ago

By Greg Prato

feature derek sherinian heavy metal hard rock

Between A Rock And A Prog Place: DEREK SHERINIAN On The Importance Of Organ In Prog

What truly is progressive music? Each month BraveWords will aim to dissect that answer with a thorough overview of the current musical climate that is the prog world. Old and new, borrowed and blue. A musical community without borders. So watch for a steady and spaced-out array of features, current news and a buyer’s guide checklist to enhance the forward-thinking musical mind. So, welcome to BraveWords' monthly column appropriately titled, Between A Rock In A Prog Place

The importance of the swirling sounds of a Hammond organ proved to be a crucial ingredient during the early days of prog…before being rendered obsolete by the ‘80s (when it was entirely usurped by slithering synths), while nowadays, the tap on a computer keyboard or mouse seems oh-so-much convenient. But according to keyboard virtuoso Derek Sherinian, there’s simply no comparison to the real deal…

“I think organ – to me – is a primary color for prog rock, rock, blues, jazz. It’s an amazing instrument that’s timeless. For instance, my C3 downstairs is from 1959, and my B3 is from 1962. Can you imagine how many churches, records, and things that those instruments played on? And there’s a reason why they’ve last so long – it’s a timeless sound. If you listen to the greatest, original, killer prog rock…yes. Emerson Lake and Palmer will answer your own question. And then go to rock, when I heard Jon Lord on ‘Highway Star’ with Deep Purple, to me, that’s the best rock keyboard sound. I’m totally raising the Jon Lord flag to today – with that killer, distorted B3 sound. It surprises me that more keyboard players don’t do it. But I really think that’s the ballsiest, killer sound. Especially if you’re going to go play with heavyweight guitar players. Like, if you’re on stage with Zakk Wylde, and he’s cranking through those Marshalls…or Yngwie, the only way you’re going to keep up with them is through the Hammond. And through Leslies and Marshalls. I drive my Leslie and Marshalls the same way Jon Lord did. I have two of them on stage – and it’s as loud as Zakk is. And it’s the only way to make it rock. If you start using cheesy, computerized ‘video game sounds’ with killer rock guitars, it ruins the sound. I think that happens with 99% of the keyboards that you hear in progressive metal and most rock bands. It’s sad.”

Between A Rock And A Prog Place News Blast

Uriah Heep/Ozzy Osbourne drumming great Lee Kerslake passed away on September 19, after a long battle with cancer. The final studio album from Fish, the double-disc Weltschmerz (the title means ‘a feeling of melancholy and world weariness’ in German), was released on September 25. Steve Hackett has issued a video for “The Cinema Show” in conjunction with the September 25 release of his new live album, Selling England By The Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live At Hammersmith, which was recorded in 2019. Swedish prog-rockers The Flower Kings issued a new video visualizer for the track “From The Ground,” from their recently-released double album, Islands. The Record Collector Guide To Collecting…Prog will hit shops October 8, and can be ordered here. US prog metallists Cryptodira have issued a new music video for the song “Better Left Unsaid,” from their EP of the same name (with an all-new LP titled The Angel of History to follow later this year).

Austrian symphonic metallists Visions Of Atlantis go full-symphony on their new live album/blu-ray/DVD, A Symphonic Journey To Remember, recorded/filmed last year when the band was supported by the orchestral accompaniment of the Bohemian Symphony Orchestra Prague, and released on October 30. Acclaimed Israeli progressive/symphonic metal band Scardust unveiled a new music video for “Addicted”, the second single from their upcoming concept album, Strangers, which is set to be released on October 30. Portuguese goth-proggers Moonspell will perform a socially distanced concert for 300 guests on Halloween, in the South of Portugal in an ancient town named Beja (at the Pax Julia theatre – fans can watch the event live online (and re-watch later). Virtual tickets can be purchased and physical tickets (limited to 300) are available. Dutch symphonic metallists Epica have issued a tenth vlog (which takes you behind the scenes of the recording of their eighth album at Sandlane Recording Facilities in the Netherlands) and also announced rescheduled tour dates for 2021 starting in March. Steven Wilson has offered up a sneak peek of his upcoming album, The Future Bites (set to be released on January 29, 2021), with a new song/video, “Eminent Sleaze”.

October New Prog Albums

October 2nd, 2020:
Amiensus – Abreaction (Transcending)
Dialogia – Nostrum (n/a)
Frankie And The Witch Fingers - Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters... (Reverberation Appreciation Society / Greenway)
King Mothership - The Ritual (3DOT)
Nachtblut - Vanitas (Napalm)

October 9th, 2020:
Gargoyl - Gargoyl (Season Of Mist)

October 16th, 2020:
Skalmold - 10 Year Anniversary: Live In Reykjavik (Napalm) 

October 23rd, 2020:
Big Scenic Nowhere - Lavender Blues EP (Heavy Psych Sounds) 
Devin Townsend - Order Of Magnitude - Empath Live Volume 1 (InsideOut) 
Jakko Jakszyk - Secrets & Lies (InsideOut)
Mors Principium Est. - Seven (AFM Records)

October 30th, 2020:
Fenisia - The Spectator (Eclipse)
The Flower Kings – Islands (InsideOut)
Puscifer - Existential Reckoning (Alchemy/Puscifer)
Them - Return To Hemmersmoor (SPV/Steamhammer)
Visions Of Atlantis - A Symphonic Journey To Remember DVD/CD (Napalm)

Classic Clip

Watch the late/great Lee Kerslake and his Uriah Heep mates perform “Sunrise,” live at the Budokan in Japan, from 1973.

Featured Audio

THE DEAD DAISIES – “Holy Ground (Shake The Memory)” (SPV)

THE DEAD DAISIES – “Holy Ground (Shake The Memory)” (SPV)

Featured Video



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