Top 5 Prog Epics of All Time

Progressive Rock has never been cool. Even when it was cool it wasn’t cool. Like Heavy Metal, anyone who listens to it is a complete pariah on every level. Social misfit, outcast, weirdo. It comes with the territory. That doesn’t stop prog from being great!!! I think fans identify with the genre because it presents an alternative way of thinking and feeling. A pop song can take three minutes to say “I love you,” while a prog song takes ten. Something about that extended length forces more retrospection. The moods and thoughts of the song feel more warmly explored as opposed to coldly calculated. This is why I love this genre. Anyone who knows me is well-aware that I never shut the fuck up about it. It’s just so damn epic! One song can be jam-packed with so many musical and lyrical concepts! What’s not to love?

So I’ve decided to compile a shortlist of the 5 Prog Epic Essentials. I’ll briefly (yeah right) attempt to explain what makes each tune so epic, and maybe provide some amateur insight into the meaning behind them. This list is in no specific order, and is in no way meant to denote any amount of superiority from song to song.

1. Supper’s Ready – Genesis

Don’t even know where to begin with this one. If anyone were to ask me what “Supper’s Ready” is about, I’d tell them it’s the history of the world in a song. 23-minutes of sprawling epicness. This song defined epic. In reality, the song is intended to be a massive meditation on the battle between good and evil, as told in seven different sections. It would come to define what prog was all about: tempo changes, intricate movements, insane solos, excess. It presents 5 musicians, all at the height of their game, playing/singing for their lives. It’s a tune that feels like an experience, as if you’ve just gone on some wild adventure or journey through time and space. It’s absolutely mad in the best of ways, and will have you scratching your head long after it’s over. I don’t feel like I can do it much justice, so just listen to it. Explore it yourself, or miss out!!!

2. Close to the Edge  – Yes

‘A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace.’  This is the opening line to one of the greatest prog epics ever written. Like Genesis on Foxtrot, the 1972 classic record Close to the Edge is Yes at their best. Bruford, Wakeman, Anderson, Howe, Squire. Those names in the same breath is a prog fan’s wet dream. In my opinion, this the definitive Yes record, and definitive Yes song. It’s the best record they ever made, and could be the greatest prog song ever recorded. You’ve just got to hear it. The lyrics are strange, and it’s never really quite clear what they’re about. Anderson has said the following on the subject of the song’s meaning: “It’s all about your higher self eventually bringing you out of your dark world.” The musical passages certainly reflect that sentiment. If I can be a little serious for a moment here, I’d like to comment that Yes has always been a spiritually comforting band for me. Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m one of the most anxious, paranoid people to walk the earth. Yes has been a band that has always been there to remind me that it’s all good. Everything is okay. Things have a way of working themselves out.

This track is in a similar vein as “Supper’s Ready.” It takes you on a spiritual journey that leaves you feeling elated, and oddly comforted. This song has a strange ability to do that for me, and I hope it can do the same for you. The first time I heard it, I was moved to tears. It’s THAT powerful. See if you agree.

3. Thick as a Brick – Jethro Tull

This is another epic I struggle to find words for. In my senior year of college I actually wrote a term paper about this record because I had so much to say about it. Ironically, it was made as a parody of the genre, but was received as a celebration of it. Sick of being labeled as a prog band, Ian Anderson and company decided to make a record that would call out the genre for its excessive and pretentious nature. The plan backfired when prog fans hailed Brick as a champion of the genre. From that point on, Tull would embrace their proggy reputation and go on to work almost exclusively within the genre.

The lyrics to the album’s lone song are supposed to be the work of an 8-year old prodigy with a knack for writing epic poems. That’s right by the way, one fucking song for the entire 45-minute album. I LOVE THAT! I could go on all day about the themes explored in the song, but I already did that in a college paper. If you really want to hear my thoughts on the piece, just ask for the paper. Otherwise, figure it out for yourself. That’s half the fun of it!

4. 2112 – Rush

I feel like this only makes sense as the next step on the list of epics. I think any prog fans reading this most likely knew this was coming. I mean… how could it not be included? I’m not really sure how to explain what 2112 is all about, so let me provide you with this aptly written description of the piece via Wikipedia:

In the year 2062, a galaxy-wide war results in the union of all planets under the rule of the Red Star of the Solar Federation. By 2112, the world is controlled by the “Priests of the Temples of Syrinx,” who determine the content of all reading matter, songs, pictures — every facet of life.

A man discovers an ancient guitar and learns to play his own music. Thinking he has made a wonderful discovery that will be a boon to humanity, he goes to present the guitar to the priests of the Temples, who angrily destroy it and rebuke him for unearthing one of the “silly whims” that caused the collapse of the previous civilization. He goes into hiding and dreams of a world before the Solar Federation. Upon awakening he becomes distraught and commits suicide. As he dies, another planetary battle begins resulting in the ambiguous ending “Attention all planets of the Solar Federation: We have assumed control.”

Do I need to say more?

5. The Invisible Man – Marillion

This choice is a bit more controversial and unexpected than the others, but I’ve thought very carefully about this selection. I assure you that I have not taken it lightly. I’m guessing most of the people who will read this will ask themselves, “Who the fuck is Marillion?” That’s a perfectly normal question to ask! The band rose to fame in the 80s as a prog rock revival act, but just as quickly faded into obscurity as the world politely made it known that they weren’t interested in that sort of revival. That doesn’t mean that Marillion hasn’t contributed some great epics to the genre, and this is one of them. This pick is also the most current of all on the list, coming from the 2004 album Marbles. The band’s sound has changed throughout their 30+ year career, and this song and respective album are a far cry from the band’s early work.

Lead singer Steve Hogarth is a bit more personal with his lyrics, and surely more direct. “Invisible Man” is a meditation on the physical and psychological frustrations that come with…well…being dumped. But of course in classic prog fashion, Hogarth doesn’t just come out and say it, he chooses a more introspective method:

If I close my eyes
I can see where you live
Climb the winding stairs
Up to your apartment
The scent of you preparing
His evening meal
I must watch in dread
When he’s cruel to you
In horrified silence
As you make love
I cannot lift a hand
Lift a hand to stop him
I don’t exist What can I do?
What can I do?

The song builds and builds until it reaches its zenith. A summary of what it means to feel insignificant, ostracized, abandoned. A comprehensive guide to being a lost in another person, while you mean nothing to them. It’s heavy stuff, and the music reflects that. GIVE IT A LISTEN COME ON!

Top 10 Quotes from Noel Gallagher

Uncut Magazine
Uncut Magazine

This list has been done by many online music publications in the past, and for good reason. Noel Gallagher is a polarizing figure in rock and roll. Many praise his genius, and consider his contributions to the songbook of rock to be some of the greatest ever composed. A good amount of people also despise Noel, and consider him to be an overrated hack who has had little to no influence on the genre.

Here at To Be Rock Blog we love Noely G and his BIG MOUTH. Get it? That’s an Oasis joke. Hope you got that lol. Anyway, over the years Noel has said some pretty hilarious shit, and so we’ve decided to dedicate a post to our favorite things he’s said. This list is what we consider to be the definitive collection of Noel’s best quips. We hope you’ll enjoy it too… or fuck off.

On Oasis’s music videos: “I have to say about all these videos: If you needed four guys to walk around in slow motion, we were the best at that.”

On Liam: “Sure I love Liam, but not as much as I love pot noodles!”

On the Moon: “If I ever get to go to the moon, I’ll probably just stand on the Moon and go ‘Hmm… Fair enough… Gotta go home now.”

On music: “All I ever wanted to do was make a record. Here’s what you do: you pick up your guitar, you rip a few people’s tunes off, you swap them round a bit, get your brother in the band, punch his head in every now and again, and it sells. I’m a lucky bastard. I’m probably the single most lucky man in the world — apart from our Liam.”

On money: “Liam got a Rolex. I got a Rolls Royce. Which is brilliant, cos I can’t drive and Liam can’t tell the time.”

On Jack White: “Zorro on donuts.”

On Liam: “He’s rude, arrogant, intimidating and lazy. He’s the angriest man you’ll ever meet. He’s like a man with a fork in a world of soup.”

On King of Limbs: “I heard that fucking Radiohead record and I just go, ‘What?!’ I like to think that what we do, we do fucking well. Them writing a song about a fucking tree? Give me a fucking break! A thousand year old tree? Go fuck yourself! You’d have thought he’d have written a song about a modern tree or one that was planted last week. You know what I mean?”

On Pop Albums: “The music of let’s say Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Rihanna, Beyoncé, fucking Christina Aguilera, all that pop stuff, you’re not meant to listen to 11 songs like that in a row on an album. Quite frankly, you’d commit suicide, wouldn’t you? You’re only supposed to listen to one song at a time in the car on the way to the fucking supermarket. I’m not sure anybody can sit through 50 minutes of that kind of music. Fucking hell. I’d have to take out the entire mall, wouldn’t you? I would.”

On Ecology & Conservation: “Talking about upping the antes, when we get to South America we’re actually gonna set fire to some bastard rain forests, as well man. Fucking trees. Always getting in the way of all them car parks!”

Top 5 Most Bonerific Bass Lines of All Time

Behind every great rock classic is a thumping, funky, bass line. On rare occasions, a bass line will be so groovy that it will actually cause an erection to form in your pants. This goes for both men and women. So you might be wondering what specific songs are most likely to contain bass lines that will produce a boner, and we’re here to help. Stevie and I have compiled a short list of the Top 5 most bonerific bass lines of all time, right here on To Be A Rock, for your convenience. Now let’s get right into this.

1. “Rio” by Duran Duran

Connor: If anyone ever wondered what getting a boner sounded like, this isn’t a bad place to start. As a matter of fact, this is the closest you’ll get to hearing a boner. As if a recording engineer were holding a microphone right up next to a man’s (or woman’s) rising member. John Taylor’s work on this track is brilliant, and certainly bonerific. Just listen to the isolated bass track. Totally wild and erect.

Stevie: *Ding!* Hear that? That’s the sound of my boner hitting my desk after listening to this song. This tune is a bone-zone staple if I’ve ever heard one before. The music video for this song is pretty bonerrific as well with the band sailing around the Caribbean Sea. Whoa! Bonerama, my dudes! Surfs up in Bonetown, USA!

2. “Slow Ride” by Foghat

C: What is there to say about this track? There’s a good chance that Nick Jameson of Foghat actually played this bass part with his erect cock. Now, we have no way of proving that, but it sure sounds like it, right? I once saw Foghat in concert and they played “Slow Ride” for ten minutes straight. Imagine that bass line for ten minutes. I had to do everything within my power to contain my bonestick.

S: You know Connor, this is another tune that could possibly be about – as you previously said and I quote – “torquing the turkey”. Clearly singer “Lonesome” Dave Peverett (aka “The Lone Pervert”) was talking to his hand when he sang “I’m in the mood/The rhythm is right/Move to the music/We can roll all night”. What was he jerking it to? Probably this bassline!

3. “Big Bottom” by Spinal Tap

C: Being a buttman (guy who likes butts a lot) myself, I’ve always held a particular liking for this Tap classic. This bass line is legendary, and certainly one of the most thumpin’ boner bass tracks of all time. The frequencies of the bass could wake any slumbering trouser snake from its deep sleep.

S: This is a double boner right here. A nice throbbing basslines and lyrics about big BUTTS. I’d wager a bet that butts (male or female, its all good) are the source of at least 60% of all boners. The other 40%? Basslines. But what makes this song really special are the three basses simultaneously playing. Ladies and Gents, hold on to your boners because we’re going into triple Boner overtime!

4. “My Generation” by The Who

C: John Entwistle is without question the greatest bass player to ever live. Let’s get that straight first and foremost. His boner was equally tremendous, and let’s not forget his bone-suit he’d frequently wear on stage. Although the studio recording of this track is good enough, this version from the Live at Leeds album with the bass isolated really hits the point home. Enjoy the boner you’ll get from listening to this.

S: This one is an absolute classic. A boner jam for the ages. Nowadays, the average fan of The Who takes ten to fifteen grams of viagra in order to achieve an ideal erection. However, turn up the subwoofer on this tune and they’ll be rocking a meat stick fit to lick!

5. “Juicebox” by The Strokes

C: I’ve always felt like this boner would be chode-like, or resemble a chode in one way or another. A big, thunderous boner. Maybe the boner of a fat guy or something. Who knows. The song’s a Strokes classic.

S: Here’s my normal reaction when I hear this song:

Except the tongue is my penis. It gets nice and long and, sometimes, wet. Basically, I get an erection. A huge erection because this song is an all time classic boner jam! I’ve seen The Strokes a handful of times and ladies and gentlemen from around the world were sporting some rock hard boners during this song!

And there you have it! That’s our list. Keep in mind that this is pertaining to the rock genre only. We’re saving the funk genre and its army of boner-soldier-bass-players for another time, and another list. But for now, enjoy these tunes! And do your best to contain your boner. Or don’t.

Top 5 Songs to put in your Dragon Ball Z AMV

LOOK if you don’t know what an AMV is… Well, I don’t know what to say. It’s an ANIME MUSIC VIDEO, ya dummy! ISN’T THAT OBVIOUS. Just read the list.

Race For The Prize – The Flaming Lips

Race For The Prize could soundtrack any glorious struggle so that covers around 90%-95% of every Dragonball Z episode. Goku creating a spirit bomb for ten episodes? Right here. Vegeta getting the ass beaten out of him for fifteen episodes? Hit that fucking jukebox and play me this tune. Gohan getting pissed off and smashing the shit out of Cell? THIS FUCKING SONG. Just put this on loop non-stop for the entirety of the show.

Spiral Galaxy 28948 – Hawkwind

This is a good choice for the Frieza saga. Space travel and all that kind of shit, right? Just imagine you’re in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and you’re training to fight some crazy shit (before you say anything I KNOW THEY DON’T GO IN BEFORE FIGHTING FRIEZA JUST USE YOUR GODDAMN IMAGINATION). Then you have to go to Namek and fight this crazy, bald alien dude. This would be the soundtrack. This song has been described as being in the “standard Hawkwind traditions of sweeping synthesiser passages contrasting ethereal space with the violence of monotonous bass and rhythm guitar”. SWEEPING SYNTHESISER PASSAGES? MONOTONOUS BASS? SIGN ME UP.

Rydeen – Yellow Magic Orchestra

I love me some Japanese stuff. THIS SONG IS THE SHIT. Yellow Magic Orchestra are like the Japanese Kraftwerk meaning that they made some of the best music EVER and they’re pioneers and innovators and all that good stuff. If this shit doesn’t make you happy, there’s something wrong with you. I don’t know where this would fit into Dragon Ball Z. Maybe some of the filler sagas? The Great Saiyaman Saga. Boom. Perfect. Or maybe that episode where Goku and Piccolo get their drivers licenses. Also perfect. I know tons of you want to make AMVs about those episodes, so you’re welcome.

The Dragon Ball GT Japanese intro (AKA Dan Dan Kokoro Hikareteku by Field of View)

Just listen to it. It’s fucking glorious. This song also works as a great soundtrack to everything. They should have this song fucking blaring out of speakers on every street corner on the planet. Everyone would be happy. There would be instant world peace. Everyone would have all the money and love in the world. We would all live forever and transcend into a state of utter bliss.

Rock The Dragon – Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahehi

This is an obvious one. Here are the lyrics so everyone can singalong:


Dragon Ball Z!

Dragon Ball Z!

[Verse 1]

Dragon, Dragon! Rock the Dragon! Dragon Ball Z!

Dragon, Dragon! Rock the Dragon! Come get me!

Dragon, Dragon! Rock the Dragon! Dragon Ball Z!

Dragon, Dragon! Rock the Dragon! Come get me!

Dragon, Dragon! Rock the Dragon! Dragon Ball Z!

Dragon, Dragon! Rock the Dragon! Come get me!

[Hook – instrumental]

Dragon Ball Z!

[Verse 2]

Dragon, Dragon! Rock the Dragon! Dragon Ball Z! Dragon, Dragon! Rock the Dragon! Come get me!

Dragon, Dragon! Rock the Dragon! Dragon Ball Z!

Dragon, Dragon! Rock the Dragon! Come get me!

[Hook – instrumental]


Dragon Ball Z!

Dragon Ball Z!

Dragon Ball Z!

Dragon Ball Z!

Randy Bachman & Company Takes Care of Their Own ‘Business’

The Gospel of Rock and Roll would tell you that Randy Bachman’s “Takin’ Care of Business” is about a tenacious recording technician who helped out with Guess Who recordings. It’s not. It’s about… well, masturbation. Can I prove this? I’ve only BEEN proving it my entire fucking life!!!

The beginning of the song sets the scene with a typical early-morning commute to work. This guy’s life sure is mundane! He’s getting on some sort of public transportation, taking special notice of all the PRETTY GIRLS. Here’s the first instance of suspicious lyrics. This song is about working your ass off so that you can enjoy the finer things in life, right? WRONG! It’s about torquing the turkey, pulling rank, twistin’ off, yanking and spanking. That’s what this is all about!

The only struggle being defined here is the task of trying to find someone to lay down with you. Finding someone who is willing to actually sleep with you is hard! It’s freakin’ difficult! Even for attractive people! But wait a minute…

And if your train’s on time
You can get to work by nine
And start your slaving job to get your pay
If you ever get annoyed
Look at me I’m self-employed
I love to work at nothing all day

Wait… what? What was that Randy Bachman? Y-you’re… You’re SELF-EMPLOYED?!??!? JESUS CHRIST! Working at NOTHING all day! Slaving at your job to get your pay = trying to find a partner who will lay! But does Randy have to do that? NO! He’s “self-employed.” He’s laying down with himself while you’re working at it trying to score. All Randy Bachman needs is his hand!

And not only is he “takin’ care of business” everyday, but in every way as well. Be thankful those sordid details were omitted from the song! Let’s move on to the next section of lyric.

Get a second-hand guitar
Chances are you’ll go far
If you get in with the right bunch of fellows
People see you having fun
Just a-lying in the sun
Tell them that you like it this way

Seems innocent enough… until you remember what kind of motion guitar players make with their hands up and down the neck of the instrument. Is that what Randy Bachman is insinuating to the “working man” here? Absolutely! Undeniably! And what if we get in with the right bunch of fellows? They’ll join us too? This was BTO hinting at the concept of a circle-jerk! It’s all here, right under our noses in the lyrics to one of the greatest boogie-woogie rock tunes of all time! People will see you having fun, just a-lying in the sun. Just tell them that you like it this way! We all remember how that idea worked out for Pee-Wee Herman. People saw him having fun, he informed them that he liked it that way, and maybe even that he was just attempting to take care of business, and disaster ensued.

In the end, the struggle is real. One of the most real, untouched-upon subjects in rock and roll music. What happens when you just can’t find someone who wants to help you take care of business? Well, you take matters into your own hands… literally. How accurate is this assessment of such a rock classic? I’d say about 100%. Listen to the song again. Think about what I’m trying to say here. It’ll all start to make sense. And don’t forget:

It’s the work that we avoid
And we’re all self-employed

Mercury Records
Mercury Records

Connor Strader – March 26th, 2015