Oktober 24, 2009

In defense of Progressive Rock (4): Peter Hammill / Van der Graaf Generator

Van der Graaf Generator - Theme One (1972)

"That proclivity for cacophony and chaos, as opposed to longevity and commercial reward [...], and an inability to understand the word "compromise" meant that Van der Graaf Generator had a surprising amount in common with the more interesting members of the subsequent punk and post-punk generations. Punk's rejection of musicianship, artistry, and complexity might have appeared diametrically opposed to VdGG's core characteristics, which were the very things the class of '76 supposedly sought to purge. However, something in their aesthetic definitely resonated with figures like Mark E. Smith, Howard Devoto, John Lydon, and Nick Cave, all of whom have expressed admiration for the band. Most famously, during a July 1977 Capitol Radio show, Lydon treated listeners to some of his favorite tunes: alongside surprising inclusions like Captain Beefheart and Tim Buckley, Lydon included a track from Peter Hammill's 1975 solo album Nadir's Big Chance, recorded with Banton, Jackson and Evans." (Originalkontext).

John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten schon wieder (nach Tulls Aqualung) als Prog-Fan? Mochte gar besonders Van der Graaf Generator, die 23minütige Songs namens "A plague of lighthouse keepers" oder Albentitel wie H to He who am the only one aufzuweisen haben, auf dem gleichen Label wie Genesis (Charisma) erschienen und auch den gleichen Cover-Maler benutzten (Paul Whitehead). War das T-Shirt "I hate Pink Floyd" etwa ein Missverständnis? In der Tat hasst jeder "Proggie" der reinen Schule die Post-Syd Barrett-Pink Floyd, die als die Prog-Band schlechthin gelten, dabei allerdings zumeist "traditionellen Blues-Strukturen" verhaftet bleiben. Wie dem auch sei, dass Lydon/Rotten ein Stück vom Album Nadir's Big Chance spielte, mag weniger zu überraschen, wenn man sich den Titeltrack dieses Albums anhört:

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