In Prog We Trust: Five Progressive Rock Bands You Hate, But Shouldn't
There are some forms of music that struggle to find critical acclaim while others are loved by critics but universally dismissed by the public. Then, there is another group that, despite a loyal and sometimes massive cult following, are disliked by critics and everyday music fans alike.
Photo by groovehouse John Myung of Dream Theater is better than your favorite band's bass player.
Meet prog-rock, the Rodney Dangerfield of music.
For more than 40 years, progressive rock music has survived on the adoration of a fiercely loyal group of fans, but languished in the purgatory of critical acclaim. Critics, on the whole, don't like complex music. The simpler and more direct the better. Add in lyrics that have more in common with epic poems than the Rolling Stones and insult is piled on injury.
But in the last 10 years, with the rise of independent music, it seems like there has also been a rise in really noisy rock that often receives praise for the very oddity and complexity that relegates progressive music to the world of Dungeons & Dragons.
I decided to put together a list of five classic prog rock bands and why you shouldn't hate them as much as you do along with a comparison to a modern indie band you probably like that is more similar to these prog rockers than you may think.
Why they are hated: Really complex metal music.
Why they shouldn't be: John Myung and Mike Portnoy
Modern comparison: The Mars Volta
I know it isn't terribly popular to be great at your instrument these days. Most musicians don't even care enough to stick to one instrument in the same band. If I got a buck for every indie band member that switches instruments more than once during a set, I'd be making a decent living.
But the original rhythm section for Dream Theater is a perfect example of honing your craft is a good idea. You don't have to join some neo-classical prog-metal band, but you could if you wanted to, unlike many of your contemporaries.
Why they are hated: Phil Collins
Why they shouldn't be: Peter Gabriel
Modern comparison: Death Cab for Cutie
It's hard to believe the same band that did "Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" churned out the guy that wrote the Tarzan soundtrack tunes, but it's true. However, that band also brought us Peter Gabriel, who has created some of the most interesting and important music of the last 30 years.