How Prog Rock Influenced Writers

By Jason Boog Comment

Do you listen to Pink Floyd or Yes or King Crimson for inspiration?

On today’s edition of the Morning Media Menu, we spoke with Rare Bird Lit publisher Tyson Cornell and author Marc Weingarten, the collaborators behind a new anthology about progressive rock. In Yes Is the Answer (And Other Prog Rock Tales), novelists and journalists share their personal experiences with this largely ignored genre of music.

Press play below to listen on SoundCloud. We’ve also included a free prog rock Spotify playlist curated by Weingarten and some excerpts from the interview…

Weingarten explained why some writers are drawn to prog rock:

Prog rock fans are a certain type of fan. They tend to be more cerebral, they tend to get deeper into technique and virtuosity and complexity in music. They maybe want a little bit more from their rock music than just three or four chords (at least when you are a certain kind of 15-year-old rock fan). A lot of our writers feel the same way that we did. They had very fond memories of this music from when they were younger. I don’t think many of them had given it much thought since then, but when they got into their essays and went back, all these memories flooded back.

Cornell concluded:

There is ultimately an atmospheric connection that the writers in this book have with the indulgence of progressive rock music. I think the guitar playing of Steve Howe is very much in line with what Wesley Stace did in this book. It’s shameless. It has a purpose, but it’s also self-exploratory in a lot of ways … it’s not just music criticism. We spent a lot of time trying to pull out the personal stories here. You can hate this music like my wife does and still love this book. You can not know anything about these bands (which a lot of the people in my office are like that) but they still enjoy it.

Progressive Rock Playlist on Spotify

The Nice – America – 2009 Digital Remaster
Yes – Yours Is No Disgrace
Yes – Starship Trooper
Yes – Roundabout
King Crimson – The Court Of The Crimson King – Edit
Soft Machine – Out-Bloody-Rageous
The Soft Machine – Hope For Happiness
Soft Machine – Moon In June
Genesis – Supper’s Ready [New Stereo Mix]
Genesis – The Return Of The Giant Hogweed
Emerson, Lake & Palmer – From The Beginning
Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Still…You Turn Me On

Recommended Songs Not on Spotify
King Crimson
“Larks Tongue in Apsic, Parts 1 and 2”

Pink Floyd

“Astronomy Domine”