Magazine article Guitar Player

Porcupine Tree Dares to Be Prog

Magazine article Guitar Player

Porcupine Tree Dares to Be Prog

Article excerpt

"Progressive rock is a big part of Porcupine Tree," says the British group's guitarist and vocalist Steven Wilson. "And I think that bands such as the Mars Volta, Radiohead, Sigur Ros, and Tool have made it okay to use the word 'progressive' again. It isn't the kiss of death it might have been a few years ago. Having said that, I prefer to say that our main inspiration is from the golden era of album-oriented music that runs from the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds in 1966, up through the emergence of punk rock in the late '70s. This was an era in which the album was everything, videos had yet to appear, touring was how you built your fan base, and it didn't matter what you looked like."

Porcupine Tree just released its eighth studio album, Deadwing [Lava], an adventurous and cinematic record built from classic rock riffs, complex melodies, multi-part vocal harmonies, and ambient atmospheres. The act began in 1987 as Wilson's home-studio solo project. Over the course of the next 17 years, he transformed Porcupine Tree into a full-fledged group that includes ex-Japan keyboardist Richard Barbieri, bassist Colin Edwin, and drummer Gavin Harrison. For Deadwing, Wilson also brought King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew onboard for two songs.

"It's a fantastic feeling to be respected by your peers, but it's even more amazing to be respected by your influences," says Wilson. "Neil Peart from Rush is a big fan, and he wrote about us in one of his books. And to have Adrian Belew call up and say, 'I really want to work with the band' is astounding. …

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