Aug 232019
 
Contrary to popular belief, progressive rock didn’t
disappear with the advent of punk, and the lack of media support
didn’t prevent new bands from forming and new music being created,
it just drove it to the margins. It is hard to imagine these days,
with everyone being permanently connected, but there was a time not
long ago when communication was by word of mouth and letter. With no
coverage by much of the media, it was down to fanzines and
independent magazines to spread the word of what was
happening within the progressive rock scene, what was being
released, and who was worth going to see in concert.
Most of these
magazines survived for just a few issues, while others continued for
many years, all having their part to play in spreading the word.
One of the most important during this period was ‘Feedback’.
It initially started as the newsletter of Mensa’s Rock Music
Special Interest Group in 1988, but when Kev Rowland became
secretary in 1990, he determined to turn it into a magazine promoting
music which often wasn’t being written about in the mainstream
press. ‘Feedback’ soon became one of the key promoters of the
progressive scene, and Kev one of the most well-known and popular
reviewers. He also became a contributor to Rock ‘n’ Reel, as
well as writing for the Ghostland website in the early days of prog on
the web. The world had moved on by the time Kev emigrated to New
Zealand in 2006, at which time he stopped
running ‘Feedback’
(which has just celebrated it’s thirtieth anniversary, now renamed
‘Amplified’). It was now possible to discover information about
bands and releases through the internet and the many progressive
rock sites which had been set up, and even the mass media had decided
that maybe there was something in this prog thing after all.
But
the period when Kev was running ‘Feedback’ was very special in
many ways, a time that has now long gone. The books capture Kev’s
reviews which were published in ‘Feedback’ between 1991 and 2006,
with Volume 1 featuring artists A-H, written within the context of
the period by someone who was very close to the scene. Along with
the other two volumes in this series (which will also be available
this year), this shines a spotlight onto a time when there were
very few writing about the music in a constructive manner.
Volume 1
has a foreword by Stu Nicholson (Galahad), and comments on the rear
cover by Greg Spawton (Big Big Train) and Clive Nolan (Arena,
Pendragon).
Finally, it is again possible to discover some great
music from wonderful bands, and this should be used as a guide to
expand collections and understand that prog rock really didn’t die,
it just went underground.

Kev Rowland is a self-confessed
music addict, who has never really been the same since he heard
‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ in 1975. In the Eighties he spent
quite a ridiculous amount of money on all things related to Jethro
Tull and was asked by David Rees to write a piece on Carmen (the
band including John Glascock, not the opera) for the Tull fanzine
‘A New Day’. This simple request was life-changing,
although neither realised that at the time.
Following on from
that, Kev wrote reviews for the Mensa RockSIG newsletter, before
becoming secretary himself in 1990. Over the next 16 years, the
newsletter gained a name, and he put out more than 80 issues, many
of them doubles, in excess of 11,000 pages. When he moved to New
Zealand in 2006, he retired from the music scene, but was
pulled back in – initially kicking and screaming until he
accepted his fate. These days he can be found contributing to many
magazines and websites, is a columnist with the wonderful Gonzo Weekly
magazine and is a special collaborator on www.progarchives.com
which is designed to be the most important and
comprehensive
progressive rock resource on the web. In 2018 he reviewed 850 albums
of multiple genres.
When he isn’t listening to music, writing
about music, or thinking about music, then he can be found on
his lifestyle block in Canterbury with his wonderful and
long-suffering wife Sara, and their 11 cats, 6 dogs, chickens,
sheep, lambs, calves and cattle. Oh, apparently, he has a day job as
well.
Kev is available for interview but asks for initial contact
to be made via email as time zones can be confusing to some people,
and he does live at the end of the world after
all:
feedbackfanzine@hotmail.com
Online:
http://www.progarchives.com/Collaborators.asp?id=5626
Cover
art and design for all three volumes is by Martin Springett,
http://martinspringett.com/

Marc Urselli

www.marcurselli.com
info@marcurselli.com
+1 (917) 470 1170

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Other sites by Marc Urselli:
LIVE MUSIC in NYC: LIVE www.marcurselli.com/live
FOOD AROUND THE WORLD: www.marcurselli.com/food
WIND for KITESURFERS: www.marcurselli.com/wind
EASTSIDE SOUND STUDIOS: www.eastsidesound.com
EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC MAGAZINE: www.chaindlk.com

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