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Time to be Thankful

Jerry Lucky Commentary November 2011

Copyright Jerry Lucky © 2010 All Rights Reserved

 

With Canadian Thanksgiving behind us and American Thanksgiving coming up, I was mindful of the need to be

thankful. We live in a part of the world that has so many distractions that sometimes you just go from day to day doing

the things we do without really thinking about the things around us. Itís easy these days when we have so much to start

taking things a little too much for granted. And that probably applies to the musical genre we all enjoy; Progressive Rock.

 

I think back to the late seventies when it was getting harder and harder to find any kind of prog. In fact there were no Canadian prog bands making much noise and anything even remotely prog had to be imported from the UK or Europe. I was doing my radio show and was always looking to stretch the definition so that I might actually have something to play each week. If an album even remotely had a theme I might consider it a concept album or if the tune changed time and tempo slightly Iíd be all over it. Today itís a whole different story. So Iím thankful for the fact that we have so much prog available to us these days.

 

Today the idea that there was a time where there wasnít any prog might strike the younger generation as strange given how easy it is to get your hands on stuff. And for that, Iím thankful for the Internet and the way it has made it so easy for me to find out about and actually hear new bands. Itís as easy as doing a music search and a few clicks later Iíll have more videos or links than I know what to do with. And while there are some who will use the internet for illegal purposes for many fans it has been a god-send. The same might be said for the other side of the equation so Iím also thankful for the fact the internet has given the more entrepreneurial bands the ability to go it independently and be somewhat successful.

 

Iím thankful for the prog festivals that keep springing up here, there and everywhere. Iíve only been to a couple of the Calprog events but they were thoroughly enjoyable. A chance not only to hear and see the bands I enjoy live, but also to get up close and meet them and visit with all sorts of vendors selling books, magazines and CDs. Oh, sure weíve seen the demise of some major events and I suppose thatís inevitable, but some still hang on and new ones come along. My guess is that as long as there are bands to play there will be some brave soul prepared to take on the challenge and headache of running a festival.

 

Iím thankful that the CD and home studio technology has become so affordable. Itís allowed many artists who could never afford the cost of going into a studio the opportunity of producing some spectacular music. The whole structure of the music business has changed radically over the past few years and I suspect there more changes yet to come. Now many bands are choosing not to become beholden to a major label instead taking the home or small studio approach and producing a finished package that allows them to keep control of their music and in the end keep more of the revenue. The great thing is, with the advent of this new technology, these no longer sound like home projects. Instead theyíre every bit as clean as the big studio projects.

 

Even though we have a wealth of news and information available to us online, Iím thankful that we still have some wonderful prog fanzines and some high quality prog magazines available to us. Again with the advent of cheaper home self-publishing software these publications comes off just as polished as what is on the newsstand.

 

Iím thankful at the opportunity I have to purchase DVDs of my favorite bands and play them at home on a stereo system that allows me to not only see the band but also hear them in high-quality 5.1 sound. Thatís a rush.

 

Iím thankful that I now live in Vancouver, a city that is large enough that I can go see prog bands in concert. Bands like Rush, Dream Theater, Opeth, and more. There are many venues of various sizes so thereís a place for not only the established bands but also for the up-and-comers.

 

Oh and one more thingÖand this is an important oneÖIím thankful I still have all my hearing and vision intact to be able to enjoy the things Iím thankful for.

 

Jerry Lucky

(12/2/11)