Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mike Portnoy's new band Flying Colors announce debut album

Flying Colors, the spectacular new virtuoso prog/pop/rock band, featuring drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) and guitarist Steve Morse (Deep Purple), will release their eponymous debut album in the UK on Monday March 26th, followed by a US release on Tuesday March 27th.

Released by Music Theories Recordings, the debut album includes the talents of Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), Dave LaRue (bass), Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Casey McPherson (lead vocals, guitar), and Steve Morse (lead guitar). "The album has bits and pieces of what you'd expect from each of us,” says Portnoy. “The sum of all its parts led to brand new, unchartered territory for everyone involved." Click here to read the full web press release and download hi res photos -

The formation of Flying Colors began with a simple idea: virtuoso musicians and a pop singer joining together to make new-fashioned music the old fashioned way. Refreshing, classic, old and new, the recordings are saturated with the many styles, tones and hues of the players who, in becoming a band, have delivered a unique fusion of vintage craftsmanship and contemporary music.

Mike Portnoy was the co-founding member and drummer for one of the world’s biggest prog metal bands “Dream Theater”. Neal Morse is the co-founding member of the prog rock band Spock’s Beard and is currently the prog rock supergroup “Transatlantic”. David LaRue plays bass for the Dixie Dregs and has also worked with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Steve Morse has been playing lead guitar for Deep Purple for the last 16 years. Founder and leader of “Alpha Rev”, Casey McPherson, has enjoyed major success in the US with multiple hits including the song “New Morning”.

"It was quite an experience,” recalls Dave LaRue. “The band moved at a fast pace, ideas flying around the room at all times. Sections of tunes were arranged, and then re-arranged. Ideas were tried every which way until we made them work, or, in some cases, discarded them altogether. Just keeping track of everything was a challenge!" The album is filled with trial and triumph. It's been an inspiring challenge melding folk, prog, pop, and metal all into one big recording."

Spain's Progressive Rock Legends Kotebel To Release Highly Anticipated New CD 'Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble'

1/11/2012 - Madrid, Spain - With 5 albums released since 2000, including the highly acclaimed 'Omphalos' (nominated for 'Best Foreign Record' by ProgAwards in 2006) and 'Ouroboros' (Winner – 'Best Foreign Record' by ProgAwards in 2009), Kotebel is one of the main progressive rock acts to emerge from Spain and Latin America. And now, much to the anticipation of prog fans across the globe, Kotebel is preparing to release their 6th album 'Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble'. “The main body of the album is formed by the four movements that comprise the 'Concerto for Piano',” explains keyboardist and founding member Carlos Plaza Vegas. “It is pure music; no reference to extra-musical elements. However, the other four pieces on the album are based on conceptual elements.”

Formed in 2000, Kotebel is an eclectic project, immersed in the mainstream of progressive “art” music. Kotebel's music is an elaborate, yet accessible blend of avant-garde symphonic rock, with a wide range of influences from classical to jazz to world music. The group sites influences as diverse as Genesis, Debussy, YES, ELP, Ravel, Messiaen, Thinking Plague, The Enid, Steve Hackett, Gentle Giant, King Crimson and Chopin. Kotebel has participated in prestigious festivals including BajaProg (Mexico – 2004), Gouveia Art Rock (Portugal – 2007/2010), ProgSud (France – 2007), Madrid Art Music Festival (Spain – 2008/2009), Go Prog (Portugal – 2009), Crescendo (France – 2010), sharing the stage with artists like Robert Fripp, Magma, After Crying, IQ, Allan Holdsworth, Deus Ex Machina, Isildurs Bane, Jerry Marotta, Pat Mastelotto and others.

Here's what the press has said about Kotebel:

“This is one stellar disc of symphonic progressive rock!” - Jerry Lucky – The Progressive Rock Files

“This is a masterwork!” - Vitaly Menshikov – Progressor

“Outstanding symphonic prog!” - César Inca – Progarchives

“One of the great contemporary prog rock bands!” - Nuno – Prognosis

“Kotebel appear to be content on exploring and extending the boundaries of their chosen genre, and are definitely a band to watch out for.” - Dave Sissons –

“The musicianship is top-notch!” - Yves Dube – Sea of Tranquility

Kotebel's current line-up:

Carlos Franco Vivas – drums and percussion
César Garcia Forero – guitars
Jaime Pascual Summers – bass
Adriana Nathalie Plaza Engelke – keyboards
Carlos G. Plaza Vegas – keyboards

Between the years 2000 and 2008 Kotebel went through a number of line-up changes, with Carlos Plaza Vegas remaining as the driving force throughout. Kotebel's configuration as a five piece instrumental ensemble in 2008 quickly became an efficient performance engine, exploring aesthetic grounds that required more complex and demanding skills as individuals and collective performers. Along with releasing an album 'Ouroboros' in 2009, Kotebel toured Japan in the summer of that year and participated in a number of music festivals and performances in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. Between September and December 2011 the ensemble recorded their forthcoming album 'Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble', in which pre-orders are currently being taken. To be released in early 2012, the album will also include a DVD with a full rendition of the recording of the Piano Concerto.

“Since the first Kotebel album back in 2000, one of our goals has been to integrate elements of classical music in a language based in progressive rock,” explains Carlos. “'Ouroboros' (2009) was a further step in that direction (for example, the 'Ouroboros' song is constructed upon a 'Theme and Variations' structure). However, it is in the 'Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble' where this integration has been taken to its greatest extent in our music.”

Finally, Carlos has this to impart to the listening public: “For those still not acquainted with our music, I would invite you to visit our website where we have plenty of fragments from each and every track on our albums. Kotebel's language is very eclectic and appealing to both fans of more traditional prog as well as more adventurous ones.”

To pre-order Kotebel 'Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble' CD:

For more information:

SBB Reveals Artwork To New Album

SBB, a legendary progressive rock band from Poland, return in early April with a brand new studio album simply titled “SBB”. Today the band revealed its cover artwork created by the well-known Polish architect Tomasz Konior.

Józef Skrzek, the leader of the band, recalls the first meeting with Konior: „We had many common things to talk about - we were talking about Krystian Zimerman, the remodeling of the market place in Katowice and so on. I mentioned that he could work on SBB’s new album cover - Tomasz said he has never done anything like this before, but he took on this challenge... We have the same sensibility on beauty – that’s another common thing. For me, the album cover is extremely important, and Tomasz just hit the mark. This is our first but surely not the last project."

The album will be released by Metal Mind Productions on April, 2nd in Europe and June, 5th in USA (via MVD). Skrzek describes the new material as „a new sound - fresh, mature yet spontaneous and full of youthful energy". SBB currently consists of Józef Skrzek and Apostolis "Lakis" Anthimos.
Label: Meal Mind Productions
Cat. No.: MMP CD 0703 DG
Barcode: 5907785037366
Format: CD DG
Genre: jazz / prog-rock
Release date: 02.04.2012 Europe / 05.06.2012 USA
1. Piwnica
2. Niemen
3. 74
4. Bunkry Wiedeńskie
5. Zwątpienie Lakisa
6. Aries
7. Urodziny w Roskilde
8. Rozstanie
9. Ameryka
10. Nowy Wiek
11. Lot nad Chicago
12. Seged
13. Memento
14. Muzy
15. Zaufani
16. Requiem

Van der Graaf Generator Legend Judge Smith Creates A Movie For Your Ears - A New Concept CD 'Orfeas'

2/28/2012 - London, UK - Independent composer and recording artist Judge Smith, who in 1967 co-founded with Peter Hammill the influential underground band ‘Van der Graaf Generator’, has created a movie for your ears – a new concept CD titled 'Orfeas'; a retelling of the ancient myth of Orpheus, the magical musican who travels to the Land of the Dead in search of the lost Eurydice. Since his Van der Graaf Generator days, Judge Smith has been responsible for a wide variety of music projects, including four stage-musicals (with productions at the Edinburgh Traverse, Sheffield Crucible and the Lyric, Hammersmith), opera and cantata libretti, songs for the ‘70s TV show ‘Not The Nine O’clock News’, and songs recorded by Peter Hammill and Lene Lovich. His film ‘The Brass Band’ has won several international awards. Judge Smith's music is complex in structure and often fragmented, but is always tuneful and strangely memorable, with humor never far from the surface. In the course of a twenty-year independent solo career, he has released ten CDs and DVDs.
“My principal interest is in telling stories with words and music,” explains Judge. “Some of my CDs are collections of songs, the usual format for an album, although people say that my songs are unusual and idiosyncratic. However, three of my projects are in a different category. Over many years, I have developed a new way of making extended musical narratives that I call ‘Songstories’, which are more complex than song-cycles or ‘rock operas’. They are not ‘musicals’ either, since they are pretty well un-stageable, and are each intended to be being complete as an ‘audio experience’. The three Songstories are all very different. The first, ‘Curly’s Airships’, a double CD with a running time of two hours and twenty minutes, was completed in 2000 after six years full-time work, and tells the story of the 1930 R-101 Airship disaster. It is probably one the largest and most ambitious pieces of rock music ever recorded. The second, ‘The Climber’, released in 2009, in complete contrast, is performed by me with an unaccompanied Norwegian male voice choir, and a double bass. The third Songstory is ‘Orfeas’, my own interpretation of the Classical myth.”
This Songstory uses wildly contrasting styles of music to tell its story, including instrumental Rock, Mediterranean guitar music, modern classical string sextet music, classical Trance dance music and Death Metal. 'Orfeas' also features a radical, and little-known, technique for transforming recorded speech into melody. “As far as I am aware, I am the only person making work like this, and I think it would be probably fair to say that no one else does what I do,” says Judge.
“Best known for his role in the formation of Van de Graaf Generator, Judge Smith is clearly not an artist with much interest in toeing the line. 'Orfeas', a three-act 'songstory' in which Smith and a host of guest performers re-imagine the titular Greek legend as he headlines at Wembley Arena, is effectively an exercise in schizophrenic musical theatre, replete with rambling soliloquies and plot-revealing dialogue set to avant-garde chamber music, that takes in everything from Jaunty rock radio-jingles and ethereal pop.” Dom Lawson – Classic Rock Presents Prog
In recent news, on November 6, 2011 a performance of Judge Smith's 'The House That Cried' was held in Como, Italy. The show also took place on November 20, 2011 in Chiasso, Switzerland.
For more information visit

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

AFFECTOR Signs Worldwide Deal With InsideOutMusic

InsideOutMusic has announced the signing of the progressive rock/metal band band AFFECTOR to a worldwide deal. The group's debut album, "Harmagedon", was mixed and mastered at The Mouse House in Los Angeles by Rich Mouser (SPOCK'S BEARD, TRANSATLANTIC, NEAL MORSE) and is scheduled for release on May 22 (one day earlier internationally).

AFFECTOR is a highly skilled, new international band consisting of German guitar-player Daniel Fries, Dutch drummer Collin Leijenaar (NEAL MORSE, DILEMMA) as well bass player Mike LePond (SYMPHONY X) and vocalist Ted Leonard (SPOCK'S BEARD, ENCHANT, THOUGHT CHAMBER) — both from the United States.

Commented Leijenaar: "We are thrilled to be signing with InsideOutMusic/Century Media. It is THE home for progressive rock and metal, and it feels very much
home to us! It has always been a personal dream of mine to release
something on this label, and with AFFECTOR this dream has come true! I'm stoked about the future of AFFECTOR, and I hope the audience is too!"

On "Harmagedon", AFFECTOR is joined by four very special guests on keyboards: Alex Argento, Neal Morse (TRANSATLANTIC, FLYING COLORS), Jordan Rudess (DREAM THEATER) and Derek Sherinian (PLANET X, BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION). Also featured on the album is the Polish orchestra Sinfonietta Consonus. This concept album fuses a dark, apocalyptic scenery with themes of
hope and light and features heavy riffs and lightning fast solos, but
also has softer and more fragile moments, where the soulful singing of Ted Leonard opens a wide spectrum of vocal harmonies.

Citing broad musical influences and diverse inspirations between prog and classic as well as modern rock acts, AFFECTOR is like an open marriage between progressive rock/metal and orchestral
minimalism, destined to appeal to everyone into bands ranging from DREAM THEATER, A.C.T., SYMPHONY X, DARKWATER to QUEEN or RUSH.


Daniel Fries - Guitar
Collin Leijenaar - Drums
Mike LePond - Bass
Ted Leonard - Vocals

For more information, visit

February News Bytes

  • Pat Metheny won his 19th Grammy Award for What's It All About

  • Trey Gunn and Markus Reuter will be presenting the Tapping Workshop in Europe from June 18-23, 2012. Trey and Markus will be putting on this six day event and that they have limited space. Get details and reserve your spot by visiting


SHATTERED DESTINY, progressive power/thrash band created by lead singer/songwriter JJ, has released the first webisode featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the upcoming EP, "Fragments". Due on March 20 through all digital music services, the effort was recorded in early 2012 at Rogue Studios by Martin Brändström (DARK TRANQUILLITY) under the supervision of Joacim Cans (HAMMERFALL). Pontus Norgren (HAMMERFALL) mixed the EP, which features original artwork by Niklas Sundin (DARK TRANQUILLITY) and was mastered at Fascination Street by Jens Bogren (AMON AMARTH, OPETH).

"Fragments" track listing:

01. Welcome
02. Deceitful Heart
03. Oblivion
04. Epilogue

"Fragments" recording lineup:

* JJ - Vocals and Keys
* Roman Guryev - Lead Guitar
* Steve S. - Rhythm Guitar
* Lena H. - Bass
* Mark Zonder (FATES WARNING) - Drums
* Johan Aremyr, Pontus Norgren, and Joacim Cans - Additional Backing Vocals

The first track from "Fragments" is available for streaming using the SoundCloud player below.

SHATTERED DESTINY has completed writing the full-length follow-up to "Fragments" and is seeking a label home.

For more information, visit


Monday, February 27, 2012

Wishbone Ash Drummer Joe Crabtree Develops Innovative New Drum and Music Software

2/15/2012 - London, UK - Best known for his drumming with UK classic rock legend Wishbone Ash, Joe Crabtree has developed new and exciting software for the drummer and musician. Crabtree, who has been creating music software for a number of years, is excited to introduce the RhythMachine, OctopuSequencer, Pyramid and PolyNome.

RhythMachine is a tool for generating rhythms and melodies and orchestrating them on the drum kit or pitched instruments. It can be used for ear training, creating vamps to solo over or generating grooves and fills.

“I began work on my first piece of software, the RhythMachine, back in 2008,” Joe explains. “It was inspired by some lessons I took in New York with Robby Ameen. In my lesson with Robby we were playing double drums – both playing a songo groove with a left foot clave. We'd play 3 bars of groove, then Robby would keep the clave going and play a 1 bar melodic fill on the toms. We'd go around the 4 bars again and my challenge was to mimic what he had played. It was challenging and I wanted to develop some software that would replicate that scenario. I wrote RhythMachine to do exactly this."

OctopuSequencer is a tool for creating multi-layered grooves consisting of overlapping time signatures. Its core feature set allows you to easily program and manipulate grooves in order to discover new ones.

"To play the songo groove in RhythMachine I had to build a step sequencer," says Joe. "I built in the ability to chose any subdivision rate between 1 and 32, and to loop at any point in the sequence. Once I'd written the step sequencer I realized that I could stack them, and that having four independent step sequencers would allow me to program some of the kind of grooves that Virgil Donato, Marco Minnemann and Mike Mangini were playing - grooves which are essentially combinations of different time signatures layered over each other. That concept evolved into the OctopuSequencer."

Pyramid is an advanced metronome which allows you to easily program polyrhythms and the rhythmic scale. It includes features which make it easy to learn how unfamiliar rates and polyrhythms sound.

“Someone who'd bought OctopuSequencer asked me how they would use it to program in the rhythmic scale where you work your way up through all the subdivisions between 1 and 16,” Joe explains. “OctopuSequencer wasn't designed to do this, so I spent a few weeks working with that idea and developed The Pyramid. It's much simpler than OctopuSequencer but is an invaluable tool for all musicians (not just drummers) who want to become more familiar with unconventional subdivisions.”

PolyNome is the ultimate metronome for the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.

“Soon after writing Pyramid I met Lucas Ives, a New York-based drummer who used to work for Pixar," says Joe. "He had experience coding for the iPhone so we worked together to develop PolyNome, which is basically the metronome that I wanted to own. It has all the functionality of Pyramid and more. We built in the option to program clicks with bars of rest so you can use it to improve your internal clock which is proving to be a very popular feature among all musicians. So far we've had great feedback from Dave Weckl, Jon Riley, Peter Erskine, Will Lee and others. In the words of Dennis Chambers - it's the s**t!!!”

"Wow! Polynome is a brilliant tool for drummers and any musician! It allows you to understand precisely what subdivisions among bars of time feel like, teaches you the drum rudiments, and so much more. I love 'time check' where it'll leave bars of silence in between bars of click to see if your groove stays in time. One of the best apps for your toolkit, right up there with a good tuner!" - Will Lee - session bass legend (Late Show, Brecker Bros, Bette Midler...)

Joe Crabtree has been teaching drums for 16 years. He has recorded and toured with UK prog-rock ensembles Pendragon and the David Cross Band and has been a member of legendary UK classic rock band Wishbone Ash for the past 5 years. Joe's website features many free lessons and software for drummers. “Joe is a drummer who has it all, he has an unbelievable ability to learn complex songs fast with an accuracy and power that makes it feel as though he has been in the band for years,” says Nick Barrett of Pendragon. “He has an astonishing flair for playing odd time signatures and straight fours with easy flowing technique,” adds David Cross, formerly of King Crimson.

Along with the marketing of his new software, Joe is preparing for a world tour with Wishbone Ash on the heels of their critically acclaimed new CD release 'Elegant Stealth'. For more information visit the official website at Joe also has a regular column in Drumhead Magazine in the US. Finally Joe has this to impart to drummers around the world: “Never forget why you started playing drums in the first place. I've seen so many drummers get caught up in the business side of things and end up hating the instrument. I've always said that if it gets to the stage where I'm not enjoying it I'll get a regular job and keep drumming for fun.”

For more information on RhythMachine, OctopuSequencer, Pyramid and PolyNome

Osada Vida reveal the title and cover artwork of their live DVD

Osada Vida, one of the most interesting Polish bands on the prog-rock scene, reveal the title and cover artwork of their first live DVD. The material entitled “Where The Devils Live” includes the recording of their live appearance at the Wyspianski Theater in Katowice, Poland in November 2011. Selected photos from the show are available at THIS location.
The cover artwork was prepared by Osada Vida’s keyboardist, Rafał Paluszek.
“I wanted the cover to be a summary of a certain period in Osada Vida’s history (at the same time, I didn't want it to be a typical live album cover). This DVD is such a summary, it is the climax, the finale. We played a selection of the best songs from our albums. That's why the artwork features elements taken from all of our three releases. I’ve also added into the mix the pensiveness of an incompletely dressed winged woman with an evident defect of her upper limb, the anxiety of a crying kid, and a pinch of disturbing colors.” - that's how Rafał describes his project.

Osada Vida’s discography includes three demos and three well received official releases - “Three Seats Behind a Triangle” (2006/2007), “The Body Parts Party” (2008), “Uninvited Dreams” (2009). Their albums feature music that draws from the tradition of ambitious rock in the vein of Yes, Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation, and Riverside.

Metal Mind Productions set the release date of “Where The Devils Live” DVD for April/May. Full details to be announced soon.

Legendary Flower Kings Vocalist Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion To Release Second Album

2/17/2012 - Sweden - Much to the excitement of the progressive rock community around the world, legendary Flower Kings vocalist Hasse Fröberg and his group Musical Companion are releasing a new album. 'Powerplay' is the second album by Swedish progrockers Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion. About a year after the release of their critically highly acclaimed debut 'Futurepast' (Sept. 2010), the band entered the studio to cut the backing tracks for 'Powerplay' (April 2012). The line-up of the band is still the same, Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion:
Hasse Fröberg: Lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Anton Lindsjö: Lead guitar, backing vocals
Kjell Haraldsson: Keyboards, backing vocals
Thomsson: Bass, backing vocals
Ola Strandberg: Drums, backing vocals
The debut CD generated gigs in countries such as Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland and Belgium. With the release of 'Powerplay', the band is now confirmed for festivals (“RoSfest”, Gettysburg in USA and “Night of the prog”, Loreley in Germany) as well as gigs on both sides of the Atlantic.
As sound engineer on 'Powerplay', the band has chosen to work with Tomas Bodin. He’s a collegue with Hasse in the established and influential prog band The Flower Kings. The collaboration proved to work out just fine and even if Hasse likes to be in the studio, he prefers the live scene: “Playing live is definitely the right element for us. I really can’t wait to take The Musical Companion and and the songs on 'Powerplay' on the road”.

Release date 23rd of April, 2012

Message to all YES Fans from Benoit David


Dear YES fans,

As you all know, the final three shows of last year's European tour were cancelled due to my ill health. On my return to Canada, I was advised to cease touring, for the foreseeable future, in order to avoid further damage to my voice. Following this extremely disappointing diagnosis, I had no alternative but to inform my fellow band members that I was unable to confirm my availability for, at least, the forthcoming concerts in New Zealand, Australia and Japan.

Although there was no alternative, I did so with a heavy heart as I felt that I was letting everyone down especially those who have supported me since I had the privilege of becoming the band's vocalist in 2008. The band members were all very understanding and asked if I would mind being replaced for the April shows - I immediately agreed that this would be the best way forward and gave them my blessing. I was then pleased to learn that Jon Davison would be my replacement as he is an accomplished musician with a fine voice.

I subsequently learnt, from a band member's interview, that I had officially left Yes and that my departure was permanent. As this is the situation, everyone should know that I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity I was given and very proud to have contributed to more than 200 concerts and to the 'Fly From Here' and 'In The Present Live From Lyon' albums. I would also like to express my appreciation for the support I was given by each member of the band, the fantastic crew, the management and everyone else involved during my time as vocalist in the band. Finally, to the fans who have applauded my efforts and to those I have had the pleasure of meeting - many thanks, my best wishes and please continue with your support of one of the world's greatest bands - YES.

Although I need to take it easy for a while, I fully intend to continue with my music career. In late summer of 2011, I added vocals to Mystery's forthcoming album 'The World Is A Game' - which is at the final stages of mixing and will be available in the near future. This is my third collaboration with Michel St-Pere, and Mystery, following 2007's 'Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face' and 2010's 'One Among The Living'. So I guess I will, hopefully, see you somewhere down the road…


Benoit David

17th February 2012

UK Prog Legends Wally Reunite and Release New Album 'Montpellier'

2/21/2012 – Harrogate, UK - Much to the excitement of progressive rock fans across the globe, UK '70s prog legends Wally have reunited and recorded a new CD titled 'Montpellier'. Comprising of reworked demos from the band's earlier incarnation, along with new material written by founding members Roy Webber and Paul Middleton, the CD is scheduled for release on February 10, 2012 in the UK on Gonzo MultiMedia.

Wally, led by singer/songwriter Roy Webber, originated in Harrogate, Yorkshire in England in the early '70s. In 1973, after playing the northern UK pub rock circuit, the group entered a new act competition organized by English music paper Melody Maker. The band made it to the finals held at London's Roundhouse Theatre, but did not win. They did however catch the eye of one of the judges, “Whispering” Bob Harris, legendary DJ of The Old Grey Whistle Test. The runners-up prize was the opportunity to record a session for Harris's BBC radio show The Monday Program. Taking Wally under his wing, Harris secured a recording contract with Atlantic Records. “I really liked them,” recalls Bob Harris. “I liked the swirling sound they made...acoustic guitar, electric guitar, fiddle, Fender Rhodes piano and pedal steel guitar. I liked their harmonies, the way their voices matched. I liked their influences...David Crosby, Jackson Browne and Neil Young. But most of all I liked Roy Webber's songs.”

The group's eponymous debut album, recorded at Morgan Recording Studios in London, home of Black Sabbath and YES, was released in 1974. It was co-produced by Bob Harris and legendary YES keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who had seen Wally perform at the Roundhouse. “I will never forget the first time I heard Wally,” Rick Wakeman relates. “I was completely bowled over by both the music and enthusiasm of the guys in the band for what they were doing. Whilst singing their praises to all the music industry I came across over the next few weeks, which included my management at the time, and Phil Carson, who was the head of Atlantic Records, was discovering that my great friend Bob Harris was also a massive fan and this culminated in the pair of us having the privilege of producing their first album together.”

After Wally's debut release, now managed by Brian Lane, best known as the manager of YES, embarked on a series of tours through the UK, Japan and US. They even opened for YES at a concert in London at the Alexandra Palace and also made an appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test. “The band recorded sessions for my 'Sounds of the '70s' show on Radio 1 and played on Whistle Test,” says Bob Harris. “They slept on the floor of my London flat, we did big tours together, bought one-legged pedal steel guitars and broke the bar-bill record at Morgan as half of Harrogate arrived to put a drink on our tab, or a tab on our drink...we didn't care. We were having far too much of a good time.” “The great thing about Wally for me was the fact that they were as tremendous on stage as they were in the studio,” adds Rick Wakeman, “so I had no qualms whatsoever when inviting them onto the bill at my 'Journey To The Centre of the Earth' concert at Crystal Palace in the summer of 1974, and as expected, they were tremendous.” Wally released a second album titled 'Valley Gardens', but by that time continual touring had taken its toll and the band eventually parted after Atlantic ended their contract. Wally's members would go their separate ways, only to reunite after a 30 year hiatus!

In 2009, the surviving members of Wally's original line-up (Roy Webber, Paul Middleton, Pete Sage, Roger Narraway and Nick Glennie-Smith, augmented by Frank Mizen on pedal steel and Will Jackson on guitar) reunited and performed to a sell out crowd in their hometown of Harrogate. A DVD of the concert titled 'The Urban Man' was released later that year. Which brings us to the release of the bands first studio release in decades 'Montpellier'. “I've always believed that if music is placed above individuals as regards to importance, then it will live on forever,” says Rick Wakeman about Wally's reunion. “It's a relief to report it still has all the qualities that made this instrumental band special all those years ago,” says Graham Chalmers of the Harrogate Advertiser about Wally's new CD. “Emotional but not sentimental, epic but grounded, warmly melodic but with the emphasis on harmonies and the overall feel than the central riff.” Along with playing another reunion show in April 2011, Wally's track "Your Own Way" from their debut album has been included on the latest The Old Grey Whistle Test country compilation album to be released later this year.

For more information:

NEARfest Apocalypse tickets on sale March 3rd

NEARfest Apocalypse tickets on sale March 3rd
February 27, 2012

Tickets for the NEARfest Apocalypse go on sale Saturday, March 3rd at 10:00am ET. NEARfest Apocalypse will mark the last NEARfest ever to be staged. The event will be held June 22nd through June 24th in Bethlehem, PA at the Zoellner Arts Center on the beautiful campus of Lehigh University. The lineup is one for the ages and will feature headliners Eloy, in their first-ever performance in North America, the revitalized Renaissance, and the ever-enigmatic Van der Graaf Generator. The 3-day lineup is rounded out by other world-class acts such as Änglagård, the Mike Keneally Band, Twelfth Night, Il Tempio delle Clessidre, Gösta Berlings Saga, Helmet of Gnats and Aranis.

More information on the lineup can be viewed at on our website,

Ticket Prices

Tickets for NEARfest will be sold in 2-day and 3-day bundles. The 2-day bundle includes Saturday and Sunday only while the 3-day bundle also includes Friday night's performances.

Ticket prices for NEARfest Apocalypse are as follows:

3-day: $240.00
2-day: $180.00
Friday-only: $60.00

3-day: $220.00
2-day: $165.00
Friday-only: $55.00

3-day: $200.00
2-day: $150.00
Friday-only: $50.00

3-day: $180.00
2-day: $135.00
Friday-only: $45.00

Seating chart:

Friday tickets are initially only available as part of a 3-Day Bundle. Remaining Friday-Only tickets will go on sale Saturday, March 10th, 2012 at 11:00am ET.

There is a 4-ticket per person limit. No single weekend day or single-band passes will be made available.

How to Purchase Tickets

Tickets will be available via three methods:
- Online from Zoellner Arts Center Online Tickets Website,
- By phone at 610-758-2787 ext. 0 using Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover
- Zoellner Arts Center Box Office, 420 East Packer Avenue, Bethlehem, PA

* If you plan to purchase tickets, online it is recommend that you create an account with Zoellner Arts Center's online ticketing system in advance. It will speed up your transaction.

** Tickets are expected to go very quickly. If you secure tickets online, DO NOT return them to the ticket pool. There is a significant chance that you will not be able to get back into the site to purchase different seats before they sell out.

There is more information on our Tickets page at

Good luck on Ticket Day and we hope to see you in June!