The Not So Progressive Thread or How I got my butt kicked by all the prog nerds

warthogdbwarthogdb Opening Act
edited March 2009 in History of Rock
Okay, so I watched the Carl Palmer video. He has an amazing talent but after 30 seconds I got bored. I was like watching the national yo-yo playoffs or some circus chick spinning plates on a stick or that one youtube juggler guy or some double dutch competition. I get it. He is freakishly good but I'm not moved emotionally or anything. I'm not any more likely to seek out his music.

Then I went and listened to some ELP and thought, well they do have some decent pop songs there. So I resisted posting. Then I get back on tonight and try to give a listen with an open mind to some 10 minute "prog" song from the German ELP and I immediately realize why they had to invent punk rock.

I've been witness to several arguments in threads of why Band A is better than Band B band because they are more technically "good." Why? If the song is good it doesn't matter. I've had many a tone deaf music snob preach to me about what great musicians Rush are despite never playing a note of music themselves. At some point doesn't simply demonstrating technical merit cease to be artistic expression? Am I the only guy here who feels this way?

I'm not saying musicians don't need to be talented. I love the Beatles but even in their most experimental stages they made great pop songs without having to show off their chops by doing some jazz improv.

Surely I'm not the only one who used to fast forward through all the nonsense in the middle of Roundabout. It seems to me like there are a lot of good three minute pop songs out there that get stretched to three their necessary length with a bunch of music school wanking. It just feels so self indulgent to me.

I guess my view of rock and roll is more akin to three kids trying to bash their way through "Wild Thing" in a sweaty garage than some virtuoso doing demonstrations for a bunch of aspiring virtuosos at some seminar. I think that if Chuck Berry were dead he would be rolling over in his grave to see the music he pioneered with all the excitement and showmanship drift so far away into tedium with 10 minute drum solos, laser shows, and synthesizers.

I know it comes down to personal taste and possibly the fact that I don't use controlled substances but am I the only one on this forum who feels this way?

Comments

  • warthogdbwarthogdb Opening Act
    edited March 2009
    Gowienczyk;2130191 said:
    Just because songs are long or built around a technical (classical or jazz) structure doesn't make them any less artistic or creative, in fact it might make them in some cases more creative. A song does not need to be under five minutes long and focus on a pop structure to be good.
    I don't disagree but the prog movement started because these folks were obviously trained in jazz and classical or whatever but something attracted them to the whole rock and roll idiom. I don't believe that simply adding jazz or classical structures inherently elevates rock music into something more artistic or creative. I'm not saying it can't but I sincerely believe that there is a point where training and technical proficiency overshadow artistic expression and the communication of emotion.
  • GowienczykGowienczyk Pooper of Parties
    edited March 2009
    warthogdb;2130253 said:
    I don't disagree but the prog movement started because these folks were obviously trained in jazz and classical or whatever but something attracted them to the whole rock and roll idiom. I don't believe that simply adding jazz or classical structures inherently elevates rock music into something more artistic or creative. I'm not saying it can't but I sincerely believe that there is a point where training and technical proficiency overshadow artistic expression and the communication of emotion.
    Well, no duh. That's called mindless wankery or "I can't write a song at all so I just play fast and technically for the sake of it."

    But pigeonholing ALL progressive bands in this category is silly.
  • SputnikDXSputnikDX Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    I think what you need to do is get your definitions on "elitism" and "artistry" checked. While it's true there are pretentious works out there trying to be something they're not, the majority of prog-rock stems from actually good musical writing. Most prog musicians don't openly try to shoot for 10 minute tracks and odd time signatures just to be "progressive", they simply remove all borders and simply create the media they enjoy, which can be said of many great artists. Do you think people called Picasso an "elitist" when other people claimed his work to be creative; creating a new wave of glorious art with emotion not seen recently for years?

    Oh, and just to end my point: Listen to Man-Erg by Van Der Graaf Generator http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2K1mUSN-tI

    Needless technicality or emotionally driven music?
  • warthogdbwarthogdb Opening Act
    edited March 2009
    SputnikDX;2130258 said:
    I think what you need to do is get your definitions on "elitism" and "artistry" checked. While it's true there are pretentious works out there trying to be something they're not, the majority of prog-rock stems from actually good musical writing. Most prog musicians don't openly try to shoot for 10 minute tracks and odd time signatures just to be "progressive", they simply remove all borders and simply create the media they enjoy, which can be said of many great artists. Do you think people called Picasso an "elitist" when other people claimed his work to be creative; creating a new wave of glorious art with emotion not seen recently for years?

    Oh, and just to end my point: Listen to Man-Erg by Van Der Graaf Generator http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2K1mUSN-tI

    Needless technicality or emotionally driven music?
    First of all, I will never argue with art for art's sake but I think that if you look back over history, most art was created for and celebrated by the elite class of society. Prodigies were identified and properly educated. Trained art is almost always looked upon as elitist by people at large.

    Folk music, blues, Americana, the building blocks of rock and roll, were lower class expressions of art. Rock and roll originated in the rural south instead of New York or Paris for a reason.

    A couple of weeks ago I was watching a Pink Floyd (who I think many of the folks on this forum refer to as prog) documentary that they always show on VH1 classic . In their own words they clearly were extremely self indulgent and very consciously aware of the need to be progressive and stretch the boundaries because they didn't want to be categorized with the unwashed masses playing blues rock. If that isn't elitism, what is? In my personal experience, I think this attitude is more prevalent than you do, obviously.

    Maybe you need to explain to me what prog is. Because if it is really just people doing their own take on popular music for the sake of artistic expression with no particular musical characteristics then it is a term with no real meaning to argue over.
  • Soror_YZBLSoror_YZBL Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    That's the beauty of rock and roll. i dare anyone to listen to marillion's misplaced childhood and not be moved by it. At the same time, I dare anyone to listen to good charlotte and feel anything. As a musician, I find it hard to be impressed by other musicians' technical wankery (which is why I hate dream theater). There are thousands of skilled and talented musicians out there, but that doesn't mean they should try to be artists. Art is expression, NOT self-indulgent noodling.

    Basically, prog, like every other genre, has its good and its bad.
  • FizzelerFizzeler Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    Coming from one of the biggest Yes fans on the forums how dare you fast forward through Roundabout

    I get what you mean as stated Prog. is more of a style and some people like it others do not not one of my friends will listen to songs like All Of The Above, but to me it is one of my favorite Transatlantic songs.

    As for your comment about being to long listen to this:
    La Villa Strangiato: An Exercise In Self Indulgence
  • SquaretrianglesSquaretriangles Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    warthogdb;2130146 said:
    10 minute drum solos
    I couldn't be bothered to read the rest of your post, so I just kinda skimmed through it and came out with this. Yes, 10 minute drum solos are awesome, we all know.
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    i definitely relate more to minimalist and primitive music, yet not only is there a wealth of progressive music that can touch me emotionally, but i also see lots of value in music that is not purely emotional in nature.
  • Oscar-RioOscar-Rio 0/10
    edited March 2009
    afterstasis;2131039 said:
    i definitely relate more to minimalist and primitive music, yet not only is there a wealth of progressive music that can touch me emotionally, but i also see lots of value in music that is not purely emotional in nature.
    do you like Nest?
  • GowienczykGowienczyk Pooper of Parties
    edited March 2009
    afterstasis;2131039 said:
    i definitely relate more to minimalist and primitive music, yet not only is there a wealth of progressive music that can touch me emotionally, but i also see lots of value in music that is not purely emotional in nature.
    What about the bands that can be somehow minimal and progressive at the same time? (see: math rock bands like Battles, Hella, etc.) Where do they fall into this?
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    Oscar-Rio;2131105 said:
    do you like Nest?
    if you mean the neo-folk nest then yes, i do!
    Gowienczyk;2131175 said:
    What about the bands that can be somehow minimal and progressive at the same time? (see: math rock bands like Battles, Hella, etc.) Where do they fall into this?
    i think they further prove that minimalism and progressiveness are not exclusive.
    also, both bands you listed are fantastic, so perhaps the two approaches should mingle together more often...
  • GowienczykGowienczyk Pooper of Parties
    edited March 2009
    afterstasis;2131220 said:
    if you mean the neo-folk nest then yes, i do!



    i think they further prove that minimalism and progressiveness are not exclusive.
    also, both bands you listed are fantastic, so perhaps the two approaches should mingle together more often...
    Indeed. Though both also incorporate avant-garde influences, so maybe that helps?
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    Gowienczyk;2131321 said:
    Indeed. Though both also incorporate avant-garde influences, so maybe that helps?
    well, it helps most bands doesn't it? :D
  • instantdeath999instantdeath999 Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    Not all Prog is pretentious and longwinded. That was the type of prog that punk rock was responding to.
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    instantdeath999;2131437 said:
    Not all Prog is pretentious and longwinded. That was the type of prog that punk rock was responding to.
    ...and then quite a few punk bands became pretentious and long-winded, and sounded really damn good at that! :)
  • King_NuthinKing_Nuthin Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    I prefer simple straight up 3 and 4 chord rock, songs under 3 minutes and solos with soul instead of shredfests. That certainly doesn't mean I can't enjoy some other stuff, just that the simple stuff is what gets me amped up and ready to go.

    I think I agree with the OP though about being annoyed by people that preach some kind of ranking system where one band is automatically better than another because their guitarist is more skilled, etc. Its the songs that matter. The 80s were littered with guitar gods that couldn't write a catchy tune to save their lives.
  • SputnikDXSputnikDX Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    warthogdb;2130289 said:
    First of all, I will never argue with art for art's sake but I think that if you look back over history, most art was created for and celebrated by the elite class of society. Prodigies were identified and properly educated. Trained art is almost always looked upon as elitist by people at large.

    Folk music, blues, Americana, the building blocks of rock and roll, were lower class expressions of art. Rock and roll originated in the rural south instead of New York or Paris for a reason.

    A couple of weeks ago I was watching a Pink Floyd (who I think many of the folks on this forum refer to as prog) documentary that they always show on VH1 classic . In their own words they clearly were extremely self indulgent and very consciously aware of the need to be progressive and stretch the boundaries because they didn't want to be categorized with the unwashed masses playing blues rock. If that isn't elitism, what is? In my personal experience, I think this attitude is more prevalent than you do, obviously.

    Maybe you need to explain to me what prog is. Because if it is really just people doing their own take on popular music for the sake of artistic expression with no particular musical characteristics then it is a term with no real meaning to argue over.
    I'm just going to point out you're not the only one who dislikes prog in this thread, as you can see. However, I also need to point out you're the most ignorant person in this thread. Either you're just completely blind to the fact that long != pretentious, or you're a very elaborate troll. Either way, I don't feel I need to explain myself, or prog, to you.
  • LolicatLolicat Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    SputnikDX;2131855 said:
    I'm just going to point out you're not the only one who dislikes prog in this thread, as you can see. However, I also need to point out you're the most ignorant person in this thread. Either you're just completely blind to the fact that long != pretentious, or you're a very elaborate troll. Either way, I don't feel I need to explain myself, or prog, to you.
    I'm actually pretty sure that warthogdb is just trying to explain himself badly rather than being ignorant, no need.
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    Lolicat;2131867 said:
    I'm actually pretty sure that warthogdb is just trying to explain himself badly rather than being ignorant, no need.
    yeah, warthog seems like an alright dude.

    it's perfectly fine for an individual to be totally turned off by any musical/artistic style... he's definitely not acting like a jerk about it.
  • LolicatLolicat Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    afterstasis;2132145 said:
    yeah, warthog seems like an alright dude.

    it's perfectly fine for an individual to be totally turned off by any musical/artistic style... he's definitely not acting like a jerk about it.
    Exactly. I mean, personally straight prog kills my boner too, but I guess I don't mind some elements of it now and then.

    I think what warthogdb has a problem with is superfluous instrumentation.
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    i go through phases with prog, personally...

    lately i've only been listening to bands from the RIO/zeuhl side of the genre (with a few exceptions like caravan, comus, and gentle giant), but just a few years ago i was pretty obsessed with stuff like egg, druid, the moody blues, gong, osanna, and so on...
  • warthogdbwarthogdb Opening Act
    edited March 2009
    SputnikDX;2131855 said:
    I'm just going to point out you're not the only one who dislikes prog in this thread, as you can see. However, I also need to point out you're the most ignorant person in this thread. Either you're just completely blind to the fact that long != pretentious, or you're a very elaborate troll. Either way, I don't feel I need to explain myself, or prog, to you.
    Dude, I thought we had a dialog going which is hard to establish here. I still like you and all.

    I'm not saying long always equals pretentious, I'm saying that intentionally making something fancy so people will go, "wow, that is fancy" is not art. I think that bands like Pink Floyd were aware of their press and made an effort to live up to that image and that goes beyond art IMO.

    Ignorance is found in the masses of people who worship Rush because they have been told how amazingly technically gifted they are but could not form their own opinion one way or the other.
  • warthogdbwarthogdb Opening Act
    edited March 2009
    Lolicat;2131867 said:
    I'm actually pretty sure that warthogdb is just trying to explain himself badly rather than being ignorant, no need.
    That's the nicest thing you have ever said to me.
  • SputnikDXSputnikDX Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    warthogdb;2132292 said:
    Dude, I thought we had a dialog going which is hard to establish here. I still like you and all.
    Same. I do agree with what Lolicat said and sort of retract my old post. There's no one I hate on these forums except this one guy, forgot his name. OrdealByFire I think.
    warthogdb;2132292 said:
    I'm not saying long always equals pretentious, I'm saying that intentionally making something fancy so people will go, "wow, that is fancy" is not art. I think that bands like Pink Floyd were aware of their press and made an effort to live up to that image and that goes beyond art IMO.
    That's just Pink Floyd. Like it was said before, there's bad and good members of every genre. You can't judge Prog based on Pink Floyd (Especially since they're not even prog!)
    warthogdb;2132292 said:
    Ignorance is found in the masses of people who worship Rush because they have been told how amazingly technically gifted they are but could not form their own opinion one way or the other.
    Don't you think it's even better that someone with no instrumental experience finds Rush musically talented, rather than someone who knows the ins and outs of instrumentation finding them musically skilled?
  • Insane3Insane3 Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    warthogdb;2130289 said:
    In their own words they clearly were extremely self indulgent and very consciously aware of the need to be progressive and stretch the boundaries because they didn't want to be categorized with the unwashed masses playing blues rock.
    Let me modifiy some words:
    In their own words they clearly were extremely self indulgent and very consciously aware of the need to be punk and stretch the boundaries because they didn't want to be categorized with the unwashed masses playing prog rock.
  • Insane3Insane3 Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    I think the idea of prog was simply to explore new boundaries by for example, trying new time signature. The idea with weird time signatures is not to sound prog but to explore the emotions that can be brought with different timing. Take the pyramid song as an example (not prog, but odd timing). The rythm is truly hypnotizing.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqP0WNpojFM

    I agree with you, though, punk had to happen for this reason. Prog was starting to build it's own rules by breaking them. Punk had to destroy the boundaries again. I think that's how great music movements work. It destroys current social dogmas and then creates new ones.
  • warthogdbwarthogdb Opening Act
    edited March 2009
    Insane3;2132368 said:
    Let me modifiy some words:
    In their own words they clearly were extremely self indulgent and very consciously aware of the need to be punk and stretch the boundaries because they didn't want to be categorized with the unwashed masses playing prog rock.
    You are a clever one. You should just have said "restrict the boundaries" and the "washed" or whatever the opposite of unwashed is in that sense. Every scene has self appointed defenders of the faith. Your point is well taken, and is actually the one argument that I knew was coming but I can do nothing but agree with.

    That is one of the dichotomies of punk rock. It is widely seen as radical but musically is actually quite reactionary. It really comes down to the philosophical debate at the heart of the issue. Do you like raw exciting fall apart at any minute energy or do you want to hear ponderous technical and, for lack of a better word, contrived. For most people, a little bit of both but mostly something in the middle (of the road).
  • Insane3Insane3 Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    warthogdb;2132463 said:
    You should just have said "restrict the boundaries" and the "washed" or whatever the opposite of unwashed is in that sense.
    I am lazy:)

    And I think we agree that there is a just middle that most people prefer. Sometimes, though, nothing beats the raw sound of punk... or the charged sound of prog.
  • warthogdbwarthogdb Opening Act
    edited March 2009
    SputnikDX;2132363 said:
    That's just Pink Floyd. Like it was said before, there's bad and good members of every genre. You can't judge Prog based on Pink Floyd (Especially since they're not even prog!)
    I don't believe that it is just Pink Floyd but I can't argue that all prog is self indulgent. I just don't like the self indulgent prog.
    SputnikDX;2132363 said:

    Don't you think it's even better that someone with no instrumental experience finds Rush musically talented, rather than someone who knows the ins and outs of instrumentation finding them musically skilled?
    Not necessarily. I think people should be able to form their own opinions not repeat what others say like a parrot. If someone likes Rush, that is cool. But often people use Rush's in particular alleged musical prowess to make themselves feel superior to other music fans.

    I think that it is really that kind of fan and not the musicians or music that irritate me more. You and many of the others here do not come across that way. Unfortunately, most of the prog fans that I have known do.
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    warthogdb;2132565 said:

    If someone likes Rush, that is cool. But often people use Rush's in particular alleged musical prowess to make themselves feel superior to other music fans.
    i think the problem is simply people who acquire a sense of superiority because of the bands they like, whether it's due to said bands' musical prowess, level of energy, or number of album sales.
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