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Prog Rock Redux


It has been around 35 years since Punk burst onto the rock scene and drove the complex, shoe-staring indulgence that is prog rock into seeming oblivion with no more than three, probably untuned chords.  Signs are, though, that prog may be on the way back.

First, mainstream media has started to get all retrospective about it — a sure sign of resurgence.  The BBC  ”celebrated” prog — or progressive rock, to give it its proper name — with a nostalgic documentary at the end of 2008.  It has been repeated and triggered coverage of the genre elsewhere.  The Guardian recently pointed to prog’s  new, growing fan base.

progSecond, some of the old prog kings are out and about. Emerson, Lake and Palmer, a kind of prog super-group, got together again for a reunion concert earlier in summer. Roger Waters, of the original Pink Floyd, is playing The Wall, a prog rock masterpiece, on tour. Rick Wakeman (left), once the be-caped keyboard wizard of Yes, has never stopped and is planning to present his 1974 classic “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” in Australia and South America next year.

But the main driver for a return of prog rock probably comes from contemporary music. Groups such as Iceland’s Sigur Ros, France’s Air, Britain’s Radiohead and perhaps even the highly popular Muse all have strong elements of the old, discredited music in them.

Queen of punk Vivienne Westwood rips it up for the climate


FRANCE-FASHION/Wear ribbons of torn cloth as a bikini. Pin a picture of your boyfriend to your sleeve. Dig out your mother’s old clothes.

Vivienne Westwood’s latest advice may sound like a DIY fashion campaign, but it’s actually her contribution towards fighting global warming.

Green Day … more dad rock than punk rock


Fifteen years ago it was common to see parents standing outside Green Day concerts, likely oblivious to the mosh pits their little horrors were stirring up inside as they patiently waited to drive them home afterwards. These days, plenty of parents can be found inside the venues, excitedly dragging along their possibly embarrassed tykes for what may be their first concert.

And those rabid youngsters who propelled the punk-rock trio to their first brush with massive success? They still form Green Day’s core fan base. But the mosh pits and crowd-surfing are largely a thing of the past. After all, the scratches and bruises might be hard to explain to your workmates at the downtown accounting firm the next day.

Reunited rockers Blink-182 back in control


  Plane crashes are usually bad for rock ‘n’ roll careers, as Buddy Holly or Ronnie Van Zant would testify if they could. But a fatal crash last September proved to a blessing for the estranged members of California pop-punk trio Blink-182 who broke up four years ago after a smash chart-topping run.

blinkDrummer Travis Barker was critically injured when his charter plane crashed on takeoff in South Carolina, as was celebrity disc jockey Adam (“DJ AM”) Goldstein. The two pilots and two other passengers perished in the fiery crash, whose cause is still under investigation.
The tragedy was “absolutely” the catalyst for the band members to patch up their differences, said singer/guitarist Tom DeLonge, whose 2005 departure triggered the announcement of an “indefinite hiatus.”
“I never saw us all coming back together because I started a new life and those guys did as well,” he told Reuters at a tour party in Hollywood on Monday night as a Mariachi band played Blink-182 tunes like “Josie” and “Dammit.” 
“But when that happened, I personally wanted to be there when Travis played drums again. I wanted to do it with him. And here we are now.”
DeLonge, Barker and singer/bassist Mark Hoppus will kick off their amphitheater tour on July 24 in Las Vegas. It is scheduled to run through Oct. 3 in Atlantic City. Weezer and Fall Out Boy are also on the lineup. 
DeLonge said Blink-182 has started recording tracks for the band’s first album since a self-titled release in 2003, but the sessions are now taking a back seat to tour preparations. He hoped some new material would come out once the band hits the road.
The threesome ceased all communication during their hiatus, not even sending Christmas cards or emails. “We lost control of the machine (to external business pressures), so we kinda lost control of the communication between the three of us,” DeLonge said.
“When we got together and wanted to complain about whose fault it was was, it was really obvious it was nobody’s fault. Everybody was saying the truth from their perspective. I guess that’s the agony of the whole thing, but also the irony.”
The main difference now is that the members are clearly in charge. “No one can make any decisions unless the three of us get in a room and say, Cool,” he said. 
The threesome may all be family men in their 30s, but they say their teen-oriented musical tales of hijinks still seem relevant.
“I thought it would be funny playing these songs about being a teenager but it really fit fine. As I sing the songs I remember how I felt when I wrote them, and I’m hoping that people remember how they felt when they heard ‘em the first time, hearing them again. So I think it’s going to be good,” DeLonge said.

from Global Investing:

Never Mind The Bankers

Malcolm McLaren, the man who gave us The Sex Pistols, has found the real punks -- bankers. In an interview with Britain's The Observer, he says punk was not just about spiky hair and ripped t-shirts.

"It was all about destruction, and the creative potential within that. It turns out that the bankers may have been the biggest punks of all."