Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Second Ten Nominess Announced for Prog Hall Infamy!

Here are the second ten bands for you to consider for membership in the inaugural class of the Progressive Rock Hall of Infamy's Permanent Display. First ten bands appear in the list below, with mocking pic and capsule summary/denunciation included. Remember, you can only pick FIVE bands for inclusion in this very first and most ignoble induction, so choose wisely and contact The Curator at his permanenet Email address...


...with your five most loathed Progressive Rock bands from this formidable list. Anouncements to be made soon, when it is clear voting has run its course. Cheers, - The Curator

Rush: Even though they haven’t put out a “progressive” album in almost 30 years, Rush continues to define the pointless meandering and excess that make so many educated people recoil in horror at the very mention of the word “Prog”. Forget the blistering rock of the first five minutes of “2112”; go back and listen to “Hemispheres” and tell me you can stay awake through all of that pseudo-mystical bullshit noodling of Peart, the shrieking of Geddy Lee and the competent-if-befuddled guitar work of poor Alex Lifeson. Or consider every fucking album put out since Rupert Hine got his radio-friendly claws into the band; the very notion of Rush thinking they could crack the singles charts with dreck like you’ll find on “Hold Your Fire” or “Roll the Bones”- an absolutely incredibly bad album- is almost poignant in its comic impossibility. By all accounts, these are decent and kind men who truly care for their fans and put on a game show every time they get on stage; but is continuing to tour and making the pathetic cadre of humanity known as the Rush faithful trot out to Jones Beach twice a year truly what one might call “kind”? Or would a final cyanide Kool-Aid cocktail and a toast to Ayn Rand from their guru Mr. Peart be a more fitting and final send-off to these woeful specimens who still listen to music about the perils of anomie and adolescence...performed by men in their 50’s with yachts and dimpled ass-cheeks? There is no sadder and profligate spending of bathos than the peripatetic Rush parade of shame, and for that reason I ask you to consider allowing them to represent Canadian Prog in all its infamy in the PRHOI.

Machiavel: Another one of those Belgian bands that just absolutely stun me with their worthlessness. Truly annoying vocals, horrible arrangements, mindless cacophony and kvetching on the keyboards and absolutely no depth, nor breadth, in the ideas they explore; this band is the near perfect opposite of Pulsar, almost as if Belgium sets out to say “Well, France is classy and tasteful, let’s see if we can just take a huge steaming shit on vinyl and then just wallow in it for years and years and years.” And wallow they did; “Mechanical Moonbeams” is one of the low moments of Symphonic Prog, but “Jester” is not far behind. And their attempt at a “pop” album- 1981’s “Break Out” is just comical. Right up there with “Ala Carte”, Belgium reaches it’s lowest moment since surrendering to the Nazis in just five days and exposing the French army’s flank to destruction; Machiavel is just one of those annoying bands that I cannot possibly conceive of what people find “entertaining” about them.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer: A moment from pure rock n’ roll glory: the Isle of Wight Festival, 1970, a band in existence for only a few months, the nascent ELP, takes the stage and kicks bloody ass through their entire, brutal and nuanced set. At the end, one Mr. Lake stands on one side of the stage, in front of perhaps 250,000 spectators, and one Mr. Emerson stands on the other; at a signal, they touch off complimenting cannon, which really do fire a charge of black-powder, and an announcement has been made to the world: Franz Liszt is returned, and has brought Wagner and Rachmaninoff for back-up; ELP is here, and virtuoso performance and classically-inspired rock has arrived.

And yet today, looking back on the career of the band, all The Curator can see is one thing: the most colossal waste of talent in the history of music, as if Schubert had written First Empire jingles or Coltrane tooted for a minstrel show. If there is one word which sums this tragedy up, it is, of course, ego; massive, insurmountable, pulverizing and degrading integuments of ego, an obstacle course of self, an impregnable Stalingrad of “look at me”. Almost never after their first, very promising, record did these three play as a band; the low point was reached with the atrocious live album recorded in Montreal in 1978, wherein, essentially, a double album was fabricated from poor-quality whole cloth which consisted of three sides of solos. Bad enough, except to further note that Greg Lake’s Persian Carpeted masturbation session was essentially a bunch of acoustic ballads sung in an unseemly syrupy voice. Sad, wasteful, sub-literate and- above all- intensely boring, the worst of middle brow culture trying to pass for something richer and less finite, ELP’s record catalogue is a total disaster, with two of the entrants- “Love Beach” and the much later “In the Hot Seat” being two of the most vulgar and insulting records ever thrust down the throat of a public all too willing to eat whatever festering cancer corporate rock said was good for them. If the definition of a crime is how far from the acceptable a competent actor has strayed, then Emerson, Lake and Palmer are guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors so vast as to warrant nothing less than the guillotine. Alas, we cannot kill the malicious dwarf Keith Emerson, but we can induct he and his mates in the very first batch of convicts sent to the New South Wales of the Internet, this Gulag myself and DJ Micah like to call the Progressive Rock Hall of Infamy. Choose wisely, but I ask you- at least consider them fit for a spell in this virtual pillory.

The Kaplan Brothers: There is not much more to say here about the Kaplan Brothers, considering that I have devoted a lengthy essay to their brilliance already, and have made sure the almost-surreally inappropriate lounge-Prog of “Nightbird” will forever be known to all those who appreciate music so awful that it is, in fact, compellingly absurd. Mrs. Kaplan’s boys sought to do nothing less than make an album about the entirety of life itself, and succeeded brilliantly; like life, this record is pointless, dispiriting, grossly sentimental and bereft of sincerity, devoid of any true beauty and wretchedly lonely. But, unlike life, you can just go back to your ITunes and play it all over again; to wallow in their beauteous catastrophe over and over again, forever stunned by the maudlin treacle that is “Nightbird”.

Kansas: For career-spanning mediocrity and decades-long drivel, it is tough to beat American grain-belt Progsters Kansas, appropriately named for a flat and boring state filled with cornpone fascists and plain-featured women with unfortunately wide birthing hips, so equipped that the next generation of Westboro Baptist Church members can whoooosh right into the world and hit the ground ready to bash them some queers and deny Evolution. Not strictly Yes-derivative- a unique concept in Ameri-Prog when these clods put out their first record- Kansas instead showed that good old Yankee ingenuity could make a style of Prog fully original and American, and suck the black cock of death all the same with a voraciousness matched by only the most gifted deep-throat uvular contortionist. Low point was probably their comeback, and specifically a cover of Eleanor Rigby so bad that DJ Micah refused to play it on the last Bad Prog radio broadcast. Some bands deserve to die and be left to rot in the era they most sucked in, and it would have been better for all concerned if Kansas had simply gone away now thirty years ago; a pathetic commentary that makes this band more than worthy of your consideration for permanent ignominy in the PRHOI’s inaugural class of the truly wretched. (ADDENDA: Will you just look at the fucking haircuts on these idiots in the photo, above? Mullets, Jerri Curl and a bad perm- and then some dude with sunglasses looking...at what, precisely? You can tell a lot about a band by their promo photos, and this one tells you that Kansas is fucking lame.)

Albatross: Of all the Yes rip-offs to emerge in the 70’s (Starcastle, Cathedral, etc.) this is the one that I found most blatant and that I despised the most. A one-and-done outfit that came out of Rockford, IL and vanished back unto the ether with their Mellotrons and Rickenbackers (they didn’t even try to be original, is what galls me the most), these guys have made the initial induction list on the “strength” of perhaps the most annoying song in the history of Prog- the absolutely insanely bad “Humpback Whales”, which made the cut for one of the Bad Prog radio broadcasts a few months back and celebrates the slaughter of great sea beasts for their blubber and oil. The epitome of symphonic Prog pointlessness, derivative, unjustifiable even as a vanity project, and with vocals so appalling that even Jon Anderson does not suffer in comparison, Albatross is proof that not every song need be sung, and not every dream deserves to live- indeed, most creation is tasteless and jejune, and deserves to mercilessly murdered in its crib. Hear, hear in fucking SPADES for Albatross, and their one record which I defy anyone to say they actually enjoyed. All of this atrociousness makes these guys a strong contender for enshrinement as the honorary Yes stand-in at the PRHOI in this initial round of slander and butchery.

Nessie: The only serious challenge to David Surkamp for the title “Most Miserably Horrible Vocalist in the Entire History of Man” is whoever it is that did the singing on “The Tree”, a mind-numbingly atrocious 1977 symphonic Prog release from- you fucking guessed it- Belgium, home of more bad Prog bands than any other country in the world. It’s not entirely clear who this is singing on the record, since all four band members are given vocals "credit," but perhaps it was simply the typical diffusion of responsibility theory of blame-deflecting, or that no one member of the group had balls enough to stand up and say, “Yeah, that was me responsible for that ghastly, appalling and utterly asinine singing on our shitty record. I’m really proud of filling the world with such evil.” Whomever it was bleating and warbling like a stuck pig makes this faerie-laden trip to the symphonic forest an unforgettable romp of outrage and rapine, the music only slightly more tolerable than the singing, which is- and I stress this- unique in all the world for its ululating gyrations. Surely Belgium must be represented in the first class of inductees here at the Prog Hall; for your consideration, I offer that Nessie makes a fitting representative from that dreadful little country.

U.K. Am I trying to be crafty and sly by including this short-lived supergroup of the late 70’s in this list of potential initial infamous initiates? Maybe, but I would ask any detractors of my methodology to simply go back and give this first album of theirs another listen and tell me this isn’t the most banal of Progish-fusion patter. There is just nothing memorable about this record, despite the fact that we’re talking about Wetton, Bruford, Allan Holdsworth and I can’t remember who else in the band. But it was an all-star line-up, no doubt. And that, really, is why I ask you to consider putting U.K. into the first wave of Prog Hall members. Because I blame them for the whole concept of Prog “supergroups” in the first place; essentially vanity projects, big empty nothings like Asia and GTR and Gordian Knot (HORRIBLE!!!) and you-fucking-name-it all came from the realization that Prog fans will flock to anything their heroes are involved with, and buy it, and then rave for years about what a “classic” it was. Well, U.K. was simply boring, if you ask me, and for all that they allowed to happen in their all-star wake, I say fuck ‘em and ask you to put ‘em in the Hall.

Jethro Tull: Yawwwwnnnnn...oh, excuse me- did somebody say something? What was that, The Tull? Sorry, I was just busy doing something more important than contemplating Ian Anderson- there was some lint in my belly-button that has been bothering me for days, and now I have to go wash my pen-cap. Anyway, Jethro Fucking Tull: Forty years, and one decent album; get your mind around that for a second and tell me how it is Jethro Tull has never been put down by an act of bloody Parliament. A consistent loser since the appallingly over-rated “Thick as a Brick”, (rhymes with something I’d like to tell Ian Anderson when he’s prancing around with that goddamn flute), Tull is boring, trite, repetitive, annoying, maudlin, and cloying, all at once; like Camel, I can honestly say I’ve never woken up and said- “Hey, you know what would make this a perfect day? 'A Crest of a Knave'! I still wake up with an erection, and so long as I’ve got my Tull, I’m too young to die!!!” A band I just can’t tolerate, not even to be polite; you play this shit around me at your peril, because I will say something I will later regret, but that you will never get over. The Tull takes my already blistering rancor and drives it up a notch to pure pathological hate. Fuck these guys, forever, in the bloody heart.

Zodiac: Unknown outside of the former Soviet Union until the groundbreaking work of the PRHOI and its determination to bring every cockroach into the light from pole to pole in the name of purging Prog, The Curator can say with utmost confidence that you didn’t hear about Zodiac until you tuned in to one of the Bad Prog broadcasts on DJ Micah’s inimitable Public Sensory Radio. And while it often feels somewhat cruel picking on Soviet-era bands- after all, these people didn’t even have toilet paper, much less access to exotic Western recording techniques and synthesizer technology- there is only so much room you can yield to pity before the inner Prussian cruelty lurking in every sardonic critic asserts itself and lambastes in great joy the insuperable obstacle called “Lost in Translation”. Something just doesn’t work here, and no manner of cultural exchange could fix it; delightfully goofy electronic songs blur one into the next, and everything is just one beat off, one Looking Glass crystal removed from an identifiable Western Prog context. Yes, it might be akin to picking on the retarded kid in class, but when that subject insists on eating the paste in full view of others, the occasional giggle is going to be the result, and that is what Zodiac has given The Curator- and many others- since they first premiered here months ago. Consider them an initial International entrant, never to be replicated now that the Bolshevik dream lies in rubble and failure. (And dig that craaaazy sleeve art, above, huh? Prog brings out the would-be Roger Deans, and if you can vomit some color onto a canvas and call it "Sci-Fi", you've got a career in Iron Curtain Prog, is my guess.)

So there you have it! No complaints! It's these twenty, and you pick five- that's democracy if I've ever heard it! Send your votes to The Curator, and I'll have the results up in a week or two. - TR

Monday, September 7, 2009

First Twenty Nominees Announced for Permanent Enshrinement to PRHOI!

All right- here are the first ten nominees for band membership in The Progressive Rock Hall of Infamy! Ten more will be posted in the next day or two, but it's important to remember that when you vote, you can only pick FIVE of the twenty for permanent inclusion in the Hall's Rogues Gallery Supreme. Send your picks to The Curator, via his permanent Email address at TReady@gmail.com. Over the next week or so, once it's clear that all the votes that are coming have already arrived, I will tally the results, consult with DJ Micah on the legalities of all voting procedures, and announce the Inaugural Five Members of perhaps the least-coveted award in all of Progressive Rock. As always, thanks for visiting and remember that only you can save Prog from the likes of the idiots below...and consign those fools to the refuse pit where they belong. Cheers, - The Curator

Dream Theater: It’s a lot to say “These guys are the worst Neo-Prog band ever”- since the style is one so suffused with overwrought instrumental masturbation and hideously shrieking hyena lead singers that, really, in a shit-stye so generously stocked to the rafters with faeces, how can one band truly stand out in all of this orgy of brown? But DT manages, and the reasons are legion: James LaBrie sings like every song has a moment where a midget walks into the recording studio and kicks him in the testicles, the guitarist and keyboard player are technically perfect to the point that there is absolutely no life in a single note they play, and of course, the great Mike Portnoy with his three-snare, two-stool (how fitting) drum kit manages to overplay on every song and be completely uninspired at the same time- an awesome feat of prodigious uselessness. I can admit to hearing a lot of talent in Yes, ELP or even Rush- even if I can’t listen to their music- but I hear nothing of value in DT’s oeuvre, not one moment where I wanted to do anything but track this band down one member at a time and eviscerate their individual talentless carcasses and string their guts across the entrance to the Berklee school of music as a warning to others what will happen to anybody who thinks it will be a good idea to do a 25 minute drum solo on a kit so large it has to be transported by it’s own fucking semi-trailer while on tour. What utter and completely maddening fucking trash; how anybody could not vote for DT as an initial entrant and say they know their Bad Prog is beyond me. It’s up to you, as this is a democratic process, but DT comes very close to the coveted (and hotly contested, let me assure you) title “Curator’s Absolute Most Hated Band of All Fucking Times”. If you do decide not to pick them, I sure as fuck would be curious as to what more you could want from a band to make you hate them. I absolutely loathe this band, and all of their defenders, in my opinion, are borderline psychotics who should be incarcerated, de-programmed with massive doses of Fripp and Van der Graaf, and then castrated- just to be safe, so that the gene pool will be rid of at least one deviant element.

Yes: Surely there is nothing more to say about Yes on these pages. “Relayer” remains the single most un-focused and chaotic record by a major Prog act that I’ve ever heard; all of that talent, all of that energy, and the complete lack of discipline and restraint produces an unlistenable monstrosity that I can’t even believe reflexive Yes-heads can defend. And, of course, Jon Anderson- endlessly imitated, never-quite duplicated, the Prince of the strained bowel-movement school of vocals. He literally makes it impossible for me to listen to Yes, even songs where I can appreciate the music. This doesn't even address the later "Rabin Years", when the band- in imitation of so many of their contemporaries- went and got a new producer and tried to write some "hits" to pass their way into a respectable middle age. The results include "Big Generator", a wretched mess and high on any list of "Most Embarrassing Prog Albums by a Major Act". Strong contenders for first round induction, Yes seem to be, at merciful last, retired from the touring circuit now that Jon Anderson's liver is falling out. One can only pray it can't be put back to the point that anyone ever has to hear that damnable voice, ever again; JA ruins Prog for a lot of people, I can assure you, and it's time his terror stops.

Steve Howe: Now wait a minute- if Yes already has an entry, how can Steve Howe merit his very own plaque in the PRHOI? Well, hear me out. Howe’s best work was with Yes, where he very often was the only thing going in the band’s later unfocused ego-trips disguised as records, i.e. the “Going for the One” era, which I can’t even listen to as a joke. But Howe- and this I just can’t understand, because the guy really can play guitar- wasn’t even begun making his way to the infamy I believe he so richly deserves. When Yes split following the catastrophic "Tormato"- maybe the worst album ever made by a major Prog act- Howe took the opportunity of his new found freedom to find fellow original generation Progsters like John Wetton and Carl Palmer and form Asia, an unrelievedly frothy and conspicuously banal arena-Prog act that, almost incredibly, have made something like a dozen albums over the last 25 years, each more insipid and lacking in vitality than the last. But wait, Howe hadn’t finished with his graceless segue to middle-aged Prog popster hucksterism; after Asia’s follow-up record bombed, he dragged poor Steve Hackett into a project called GTR, which I listened to for the first time in 20 years just a few weeks ago. If Asia is a Triscuit, then GTR is a dead, chowder-worthy soda biscuit: white, dry, lifeless and boring, with the kind of inept lyrics that are only possible when someone is trying to say something “deep”, in the manner of a vintage T-shirt or some metaphysical horseshit from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I actually have GTR’s second, unreleased album as well- and there is a goddamn good reason they didn’t release it. Mike + The Mechanics look down their nose at this Santorum-like frothy excrescence. For shame, Mr. Howe- for bloody shame.

Camel: Andy Latimer is a very highly regarded guitarist in Prog circles; I’m mystified by that, completely, but having meditated on this imponderable recently, think I have found a parallel from my own life which might better explain it. I know this girl- she’s very beautiful and elegant and is also unusually kind to me. Rumor has it she used to date a guy with his own plane, then dumped him for a guy with his own airport. So we’re talking that level of beautiful and elegant. But still kind to me. Not nice, but truly kind; like one would treat a blind dog about to be gassed or a terminally-ill child. I’m almost certain that it’s because she’s afraid I’ll kill myself if she’s not nice to me anymore, which, in its own way, is very touching, while at the same time confronting me with the maddening pointlessness of my life. Well, whatever; it doesn’t really matter, as at least I’m not Andy Latimer, and I’ve never made an album like “Nude” that I have to answer for to the Prog gods. Or any of their other boring shit, like the impossibly highly rated “Mirage” or- my pick for most lackluster album of the 70’s- “The Snow Goose”. I’ve literally never listened to Camel and thought afterwards “Gosh, I’m really glad I just listened to Camel.” There is just something so lifeless and- well, what’s the word, pussified- about Camel that they don’t even rise to the level of a useful soporific; they’re just irritating, in an egregiously grating way, like the way Yukio Mishima once described having a grain of sand lodged under his foreskin and him being completely unable to remove the tiny pebble of exquisite discomfort. If that’s not clear enough how much I hate Camel, then I don’t know what to say to you, folks; easily one of my least favorite bands, and of such complete lack of worth that not even the great Richard Sinclair could salvage them when he- for whatever reason- joined up for one sadly ill-advised effort in the late 70’s. Maybe he was just worried Andy Latimer would kill himself if he didn’t.

Triumvirat: Hopefully I have made clear that this is a truly democratic process for initial induction that I have established here; I really am going to count any and all votes that I receive, and abide by the wishes of the masses. So I’m not trying to influence you in any way while you read this but, seriously, this is the worst band in the history of Prog. There, I’ve said it- sure, in the short term, idiots like Chakra or Larry Oliver and the New Age seemingly bent space-time to make an album like “Neptuned” that through any worm hole and in any conceivable Universe would be the absolute most comically inept record imaginable; but that’s only for one short burst of incompetence. Triumvirat sucked for years and years and years, releasing one bloated concept album after another, a dizzying string of failure that must be listened to in one sitting to really understand how ill-advised is every single decision made by this derivative pack of Krauts who did more to undermine Prog that any comparable band from the fabulous 70’s. One after another the turgid and festering concepts crawled from the megalomaniacal brains of Triumvirat, leaving a shameful slime trail in their wake: “Mediterranean Tales”, “Spartacus”, and the preposterous “Pompeii”, featuring cover art so bad (“New Triumvirat Presents: Pompeii!!!!”) that the first time I saw the record I thought it was some kind of joke. But all this was mere overture to the crowning glories of this ineffably horrible band: the back-to-back “sell out” records “Ala Carte” and “Russian Roulette”, the former featuring the single worst song in the history of Prog: “For You”, and whoever this song was for, let us hope they realized what a dubious gift was in the offering. I mean these guys are completely unlistenable and what’s worse is this unconscionable reputation they have as “musician’s musicians”; I despise Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but I’ll be the first to admit what excellent players they are. Often compared to ELP, Triumvirat has never impressed me with any quality save their languid turgidity; boring, bloated arrangements and the strangely irritating vocals of Barry Palmer have made re-visiting these albums some of the most trying work of your humble Curator. There is nothing else to say other than that I hate them, utterly, find nothing positive in any way to say about them other than that they seem to have stopped making music, and that of all the horrible bands on this proposed ballot, none so richly deserves a damned-good whacking than Triumvirat. So you have been advised, Prog seeker.

Saga: Wallowing in the excrement of Bad Prog lo these many months has produced the occasional outburst of true shock amidst this E. Coli-laden sea; for me, that was the moment when DJ Micah reported that he had analyzed the lyrics of Generation 13 and concluded that Saga had, in fact, done nothing less than attempt to “re-make” The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Peter Gabriel’s near-perfect triumph of storytelling when Genesis was just beginning to disintegrate in 1975. I got pretty angry when I thought about that, and realized that DJ Micah doesn’t say something unless he’s rather certain it is so; contemplating the full horror of this presumption on the part of this truly miserable and unlistenable Canadian band, I have pledged what remains of my own bleak life to assail this abortion and baleful simulacrum of true genius at every conceivable opportunity, going so far as to join the Saga international fan website (just imagine the futility and waste of the lives of its contributors- just fucking imagine...) and try to get close to the administrator, perhaps to someday be within striking distance of Michael Sadler and...and let the ellipsis tell in plangent lacunae the full ghastly story of the fate that jack-ass faces a thousand times a day in the torture-garden charnel-house that is my merciless soul. Sadler, I want your liver- and I want it on a stick.

But Saga is so much more, and their failure a veritable encomium to the winsome muse whom draws the pretense from the shadows and beckons on the wistful creator, ever still further to the rocks, all of the half-understood legends and myopically gleamed fables, all of the notions and ideas and philosophies that end up so mangled in the maw of the half-educated being the tombstone cove upon which the flotsam of posturing finally rests, dead. A torrent of albums released over twenty-five ill-spent years is the mighty pile shat from the Saga colon of creation; but to truly reek, must not something actually have to be noticed? I’d never heard of any of these later albums when I decided to investigate yet another catastrophically awful Canadian Prog outfit. Sad, of course, is one word which comes to mind that so much waste has been this band’s creative life; but fitting is a far more accurate summation, as there has probably never been a more lackluster and pointless output than Saga’s for this last quarter century, like an old man’s rancid ejaculate meekly spouting from a tired and wrinkled prepuce and dripping down the ulcerous shaft like clotted urine. Not even their mothers could tell these albums apart, save that there may be an extra treacly ballad or two on one or the other, and not a spark of enthusiasm or sad pip of genius rising above the risible muck that is their late “oeuvre”. Saga may be irrelevant, magically so, to some, but to me they are something else- an epitome, an apex cresting upon a nadir, the absolute best of the absolute worst, a Holocaust of pointless creation and a hecatomb of utterly ignored failure. There are worse bands, I suppose, than Saga; but none more fitting than to be one of the very first enshrined in the hell they so richly deserve, a place where nonsense like “Generation 13” can go and rot; my blessed on-line morgue for failure, the Progressive Rock Hall of Infamy. I beseech you: make them a first ballot loser, for no one deserves it more.

Styx: Impossible to imagine that any list of failed Progressive bands would be complete without the magically incompetent and tuneless stylings of Styx, a wretched band who commands inconceivably fierce devotion from what must be the most deluded and stupefyingly fanatical fan base in all of Prog. Wearing a Styx tour shirt out in public says many things about a person, and none of them are good; wherever a “Paradise Theater” long-sleeved tee lurks, a monster truck rally, under-aged pregnant paramour and a crate of Skoal can’t be far behind. What VFW-hosted trailer park wedding would be complete without an airing of “Babe”, what furtive, under-the-hood I’m-not-really-gay-but-my-asshole-sure-is genital fondling between high school buddies without “Snowblind”? It’s easy to mock “Kilroy Was Here”, because it’s the most unintentionally hilarious Prog album ever made by a man not named Paul Gaffey (q.v.); but the entire career of Styx is one long tuneless overture to pretense, a fugue of grasp exceeded by contrapuntal reach, an insufferable reminder that “good time rock-n-roll” is still to this day three words and three lies; Styx is pathetic, artless, blissfully easy to mock and impossibly difficult to tolerate. In fact, it’s hard to believe they’re not Canadian, as the gaffes committed with such effortless aplomb by these mid-West Proggers rise to a positively Maple Leaf Level of kitsch, ala Triumph, or Saga, or of course the punishingly dumb Aldo Nova. You have to make decisions, I realize, but if Styx doesn’t make it in on the first ballot, I may have to revamp this entire project to remind people of just how lame they are.

Paul Gaffey: A one-and-doner of impossible heft, Australia’s Paul Gaffey made only one Prog record, but what a fucking TITAN of alternative genius Mephistopheles is! A true paragon of the “reality” school of parodic incompetence, Gaffey blows the fucking doors off of “clever” bands who tried to accomplish with guile what he did with the utmost sincerity. Because this one is from the heart, you bastards; Gaffey’s Mephisto is not only the gayest demon to ever bring his tight little buns up from Hell, he is one randy, swinging cat to boot! “Paradise” is a song of such deranged brilliance as to completely invalidate mainstream hacks like Beck or Lily Allen, “clever” piffle which can only hint at the ribald flamboyance that drives Gaffey’s out-and-proud Satanic manifesto like a smooth Thai lad piloting a rickshaw through the molten steam of the open air brothel that is Bangkok, where each boy is merely a pittance of a pound away from buggering by the sly Westerner who just knows the right “contact”. I love this record, and swear by all that is camp that when my time draws near, I will be playing it as I go to wherever it is wicked men like me go, though I can only hope the Devil who greets me will be half the saucy, bitchy queen that Gaffey’s is, because, honey, let me tell you that will be one HELL of a party!

Pavlov’s Dog: I’m not sure if I’ve told this story before, but it’s important so I’ll tell it again. Pavlov’s Dog is what started all of this for me, months and months ago on a cold January night here in Seattle, during one of my endless bouts of insomnia, when I was up late and desperate for something new to listen to. I found a torrent on The Pirate Bay, wherein the helpful uploader talked up the two-Mellotron attack of these St. Louis Progsters, and said- get this- “fans of King Crimson will enjoy this melodic band.” Well, to put it mildly I am a fan of King Crimson; so I downloaded the thing and as luck would have it, someone was seeding very strongly that night. Two hours later, I finished listening to the atrocity that is “Pampered Menial”, convinced I had just heard not only the worst, but the absolute most ridiculous record ever recorded, no matter the genre. I became obsessed, and remembered how when I bartended at a flea-bag joint in Brooklyn many years ago, a strange young man named Micah used to come in, drink a few Heinekens and brood at my bar, and we’d talk about Prog and how absolutely awful most of it was, and how we really hated the vast majority of the music. I got back in touch with Micah, largely because of this record and the ululating madness that is David Surkamp’s completely inimitable vocal delivery, and I’ve pissed away hundreds of hours since tracking down obscure bands from all over the world, trying to find something that can match the ear-splitting horror that is Pavlov’s Dog. I’ve heard a lot- 750 records at last count, all maintained here on my trusty external hard drive- but have yet to find something quite as infuriatingly horrible as the Dog. They really deserve your consideration as an initial entrant to the PRHOI, as without them none of this would ever have happened. Make of that what you will.

Jimmy Hotz: I can’t even think of this chubby sonofabitch without smiling. Jimmy Hotz, as long-time fans of the PRHOI will know, is not merely the king of bad Christian Prog; he is an inventor of a gadget luridly named the “Hotz Box”, which allows the owner to make an entire bad symphonic Prog album all by himself, without even having to go find a bunch of recovering drunks at your local church to praise Jesus with boring, overly-orchestrated drivel like “Beyond the Crystal Sea”. Pudgy, soft as a veal calf and with a voice so shrill and epicene Jimmy Sommerville would call him a faggot, Jimmy Hotz deserves special consideration as the very first Christian entrant to the Progressive Rock Hall of Infamy.

All for today, see you soon with the next batch of ten shitty Prog bands for your consideration! - TR