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The Official
No.5 Spring 2002
Another Roger Dean’s cover not only makes this magazine a cute souvenir but also outlines its content: the artist’s classic book was entitled “Views”, and views are exactly what this issue’s about. It’s main theme being December 2001’s event called The Magician’s Birthday Party, the cover asks, “Were you there?” For those who weren’t, retelling doesn’t make much sense yet opinions do. The most insightful and funny, if humorously hazy due to self-admitted booze consumption, account comes from the show’s executive producer Bob Carruthers, while Alexander Kolesnikov, the most famous Russian Heepster, still can’t get over his rapture about getting close to the band and spills superlatives in abundance. That’s understood though too exuberant for the publication which’s target group is fans themselves. Balancing this, easy in slip much shorter notes written by the paticipants from different countries, each adding another precious detail, and, finally, webmaster Dave White’s reminiscences of how it all started from a small party to get bigger through some Heepventions on to such spectacular happenings. Spectacular means there was much to be seen and it’s just little photo bits of the grandeur that made it to the pages, mainly from the HEEP concert featuring former members Ken Hensley and John Lawton, leaving out the latter’s acoustic workshop and the former’s act with John Wetton. All the guests got asked of their impressions too, so the views make complete picture adorned with marginal quotes from the fans summing it up, like “Thursday… I partied, Friday… I partied, Saturday… I partied, Sunday… I dropped”. Rockin’ till you drop is a good perspective which makes the 2002’s party all the more desirable.


Issue 3, winter 2002
Sometimes you feel a magazine must’ve been a colorful: a whole spread dedicated to The Lincoln Binaural Project would look magnificiently be it not in black and white, such good are the photos of Gordon Giltrap, Rick Wakeman and their colleagues who recorded a unique performance that sound exactly as human ears would catch it. Not plenty a detail here – OK, it’s designed to listen rather than look anyway. Dug deeper is a box set fittingly titled “Treasure Chest”, a collection of Wakeman’s rarities, so there’s an interview from maestro himself as well as account of how the project came to life. Another highlight of the issue is a conversation with Peter Giles, once a part of KING CRIMSON but, earlier, one third of GILES, GILES & FRIPP. Now, when Voiceprint released “The Brondesbury Tapes” from the band, an insight is welcome, yet there’s a track to have a taste of on the cover CD sampler. Tease yourselves with music from some of the artists on the label’s roster while reading about them – ALL ABOUT EVE, John Martin or THE ALARM. The rest is mainly annotations and reviews, quite bleak without color (again) and written, understandably, without criticism. Usual treat is an ongoing saga of Voiceprint as told by the label’s mainman, Rob Ayling. Still, this time editing leaves much to be desired: ain’t there too many “which” in “in the box was the legendary Polydor pancake which was the demo piece which got him the deal with Polygram, which is highly soft after in “Record Collector”, which went crazy about it”? “Him” is a madcap called Arthur Brown, maybe that’s the reason.


News from
Spring 2002
What looked more like a greatly designed leaflet at the first approach, now appears to be a cute small magazine, having zoomed out to A5 format. That’s a little catalogue, not an informative publication as such, but an eye-caressing catalogue with Roger Dean works used for many Classic Rock Legends range pieces. Photographs, paintings and short stories about each of the products concepts aren’t the main catch though, the most attraction comes with artwork and tracklisting of couple of releases, such as CDs culled from Ken Hensley and John Wetton concert: not published on the Web before, it’s only herein that the news of two separate albums, not one, breaks for the first time. Small fonts the only drawback, this magazine is a pleasing thing, yet potential buyer shouldn’t be confused on seeing some cover advertising an album which, like URIAH HEEP’s "Future Echoes Of The Past", is out looking differently.


The Official
No.4 Autumn 2001
This time around the publication isn’t up to the self-set mark. On the first glance, it’s beautiful – with advertising now removed from the back page, the whole cover spread makes for a brilliant black-and-white poster of The Magician’s Birthday Party this issue’s dedicated to. At the same time the Classic Rock Legends-produced HEEP catalogue growing, there are no less than four inner spreads given to the products ads. Fourth issue and four spreads while there was only one in the first mag looks like a frightening tendency, doesn’t it?If that’s not the real case, main problem comes with the fact there’s not a lot to read at all. Dave Owen’s “Diary Of A Mercho Man” isn’t that compelling to run across eight pages. Gruelling touring ain’t so much of a fun without really interesting stories, and all the superlatives that found their way back to the magazine feel rather annoying. Heepsters know the band they support are a great one, thus fans’ remarks on the margins are of much appeal.

Press reviews – that’s a good idea, which gives an insight on how HEEP fight to get the good covering and succeed. It’s a little wonder these guys are praised even by critics but what a pleasure reading it! If only the same could be said of “Classic Gigs” feature telling of a “Conquest” tour this time… There are picture of much better quality in existence than those published, and a fan account bears neither revelation nor deep feelings as well.

Still, there’s one thing which brings forth an inspiration – a glimpse into upcoming releases, two DVDs, “Live In Nottingham 1989” and “Live In Moscow 1987”, and the “Remasters” CD. And here’s a pity: no particular details. So place the cover on the wall…


Issue 2 Summer 2001
Voiceprint group of companies responsible for many re-issues and previously unreleased material now has a magazine of their own. Well, maybe not real mag but a kind of newsletter designed to pilot the label’s music into public view. Twelve pages are full of information quite curious while not that alluring as it could be – a whole spread is given to fresh, summer releases titles with only one line to each explaining what’s it all about. Interesting, there’s a John Wetton’s new concert recording mentioned in July part, titled “Live In Stockholm”, which is absent from any other sources: nothing on the Voiceprint site, nor in Wetton’s rounds. No comments on this one, though it’s somehow made up for by the Oliver Wakeman interview, where Rick’s son talks a bit about his “The 3 Ages Of Magick” album and how did Steve Howe get to play on it. A good bit among rather stupid questions regarding influences and the father figure.What might be skipped at all is the reviews section – who does believe them to be objective in a publication of the label that’s behind them? And if Voiceprint’s a specialist label why write, “Santana has demonstrated a facility with the guitar which ranks him alongside such players as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page”? Has Carlos, really? Unbelievable! What a news!

Billy Currie article, which opens the issue, has more to say to do this underestimated musician a justice, than SOFT MACHINE feature completely missing the point with no word of a particular track yet another portion of boasting such as “a unique glimpse of the band’s energy and their daring blending of music forms”. So the most arresting story on offer is a Voiceprint one as told by the label’s “father” Rob Ayling. It’s sincere – that’s the secret.


ROGER DEAN – Preview
Less a regular magazine than a catalogue of artist’s exhibition to be, with the “Views” book long out of print, “Preview” serves as a beautiful artifact to enjoy. Even more so, since there are few of us around who can allow buying any of the master’s works on display – surely, acquiring a thing like the YES logo after it made the walls of the Victoria and Albert museum is not a cheap deal. The print available can rob your account for \\$1400.Presented are three types of images: fine art prints offered in limited quantities with screens destroyed for ever, original drawings and sketches, and paintings – originals too. And they can show interesting things. Fine art print of “The Magician’s Birthday” is said to be a red layer – there were three layers overimposed one onto another – and it has this cat-like creature that’s clearly brushed out off the original painting, as well for sale. The image was reportedly re-worked – what for? Things get complicated further with a notion that the said cat never belonged to the red level but to the multicoloured one, with a main figure – just look into “Views” for reference. An enigma not resolved by brief annotations accompanying every reproduction.

Reproductions, yes – sometimes they confuse width for height, which is not the deal, yet to state the size of “Escapes” painting made for “Yesshows” album as 78 x 40cm, while the scale is nowhere near 2:1, feels strange. Like “Arches (Mist)” that went to YES’ “Keys To Ascention” apparently different from the eponymous painting.

Nevertheless, all these bits and pieces can not distract from the wonder of Dean’s magic. And from some insights, too. Where else one can learn about real butterfly wings attached to “Demons And Wizards” painting (\\$375.000 in case you ask)? – “Views” kept silent about that. Or look how the GREENSLADE Hermit’s hand was supposed to turn into a snake. Terrific! Most of the works are familiar, except for one called “City Springs” URIAH HEEP earmarked for their next masterpiece. Great, the band’s marriage with Roger is now restored. As for vast majority of artwork absent from here – it’s only “Preview”, isn’t it?


The Official
No.3 Summer 2001
To have the magazine cover graced by Roger Dean art is worth the price alone (well, for E-Heep subscribers it’s free), but that’s not the only treat. While the main goal of the mag is keeping the HEEP flame burning – the legend continues, ain’t it? – and the current line-up is totally busy pleasing the fans all around the world, nobody would complain about a new feature arrival, which is “Classic gigs”. There’s an impassioned concert report from the avid fan, who appears to still have his reminiscences as fresh and does justice not only to URIAH, but also to the warm up heroes, equally great, because it were THE HEAVY METAL KIDS, Gary Moore, MANFRED MANN’S EARTH BAND and THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND. A dream team, really, wish we were here. Still, that would be great to have Mr. Box‘s memories published, but let Mick do his own thing.He does. Mick, as usual, found a time to write in a foreword to say ‘welcome’ to the readers. That should have been hard finding time with all the band’s activity this year. The issue comes dedicated to “The Homecoming”, the glorious event in HEEP life, which was sold out London Astoria show. After long years they’ve done it again, and the concert is released now as “Electrically Driven”, or part of the “Sailing The Sea Of Light” package. And here’s the only drawback in the mag, that can lead to much confusion: the “Driven” spread has the gig date as March 9th, yet the “Sailing” page says March 23rd. The latter’s right, if you ask.

Quite insightful for those who never had close encounters with the HEEP musicians appear to be “Heep in store” story and the Dave Owen’s confessions of his heavy load as a merchandise tour operator. That’s beautiful – now the mag grew interesting and broke off the “fans for fans” frames. Thus, as a pleasant reading it’s recommended. The pictures side goes without saying.


Acid Dragon
Issue #29/
Spring 2001

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This is the real fanzine in the terms of forms, and a professional issue when it concerns the subject, which is progressive rock, not psychodelia as the title may suggest. Format appears to be completely simple – strictly interviews and reviews with no frills – because these inevitably are the main features of any music magazine, that’s not as big to afford some big stories off the horse mouth. Still, what is in here is done properly with minor drawbacks.The most striking of all is the interview with the head Flower
King Roine Stolt. The read comes revealing, dealing primarily not with music, which seems plain to see (or hear), but with Stolt’s lyrics. Prog lyrics prove traditionally enigmatic and their deciphering is an interesting task, that’s often explored many years later, so from this point chatting to Roine feels timely. His philosophy, religion and relation to the Jon Anderson‘s writing seize one’s attention well. Talking to SINKADUS may seem less interesting yet it’s concise enough to entertain, contrary to the ZELLO thing. With band’s profile not so high, going into details isn’t for regular reader but for fan. Although approach like this would compliment the ARS NOVA feature, as the female trio from Japan go up with a stride.As for reviews, they are fifty in there and span from such monsters as GENTLE GIANT and QANGO to obscure PERFUME DE MUJER or LOOK, and from five-lines entries that only hint on what we deal with, to horrible pieces by a Russian guy, who goes drooling for more than a page with sentences like that: “I’ll try to reflect on characters of this very interesting album from one of just a few really strong bands of the contemporary German Rock music scene”, or “It reminds me of the years of the golden age of our favourite genre in the first half of the 70’s”.

All the rest suits the magazine conception good and, fortunately, draws on the other genres as well.


iO Pages
Issue no 31/
April 2001
A great mag that no way looks like many fanzines do – it’s a glossy issue with the only drawback: the language is Dutch. But, on the other hand, prog rock in Holland has a huge following so it seems to make sense financially, be “iO Pages” in English, though, it could thrive.The cover is graced by none other than Martin Orford, an omnipresent IQ man, who always finds a new turn for a chat, and Geddy Lee – and that’s quite logical because, while many cite RUSH as their influence, the trio themselves rarely have a full-blown feature nowadays. Here they, or just Geddy, have – an interview concerning not only deep dissection of the latest release (such an article often aims only at die-hards) but some trivia questions that are quite delightful: Jack Bruce an influence on Lee – isn’t that lovely? In Orford’s case two-page spread are given to a conversation of not Q&A kind, and beautiful pictures (Peter Nicholls startingly resembling Mick Jagger). What’s great is that every feature comes augmented by the performer’s discography, which makes it easier for not a fan to find where he belongs to.

Interviews take a huge part of the magazine and that’s understood: the straight talk is a straight talk, not some stranger’s musings on what and how, so it is fine to see there also MOSTLY AUTUMN and a bit less known CLEPSYDRA. “See” is a right word – the illustrations look great, especially the concert ones accompanying live reviews on gigs of JADIS, John Wetton or Fish – Wetton’s cohort John Young seems to be enjoying his act. All these rather standard features appear explored to a good effect and compensate an absence of something specifically unique strictly for “iO Pages”; OK, there’s an article on DVD releases – that sort of stuff has a presentation in big mags, such as “Q”, not in proggers’ reading – and here the editors so wisely go beyond the genre, covering FLEETWOOD MAC’s “The Dance”. Literally covering – there’s a DVD cover – yet the drift is about the medium as such, no reviews applied, look for them – Wakeman’s one in particular – in the reviews section.

But CD reviews are here in abundance, almost half the magazine. They’re not sorted by sub-genres, that’s a deceptive trick as nobody keeps in concrete frames – except, maybe, for some dumb beginners – so the order here is as simple as it is: alphabetical. No ratings, though, marks or stars, just plain text. Excellent, as we have not only popular names – ASIA’s “Aura” and "Not Of This World" from PENDRAGON receive their due – but also a batch of obscure titles: "Kure V Hodinkach" from FLAMENGO, say, or GREENWALL’s "Il Petalo Del Fiore", although Steve Vai’s and Michael Schenker’s albums hardly fit in progressive rock context, the same goes for the FOREIGNER tribute. Alright, why should one make his view narrow? – especially if some artists go crossover, like Kip Winger on his "Songs From The Ocean Floor". And books – maybe, they deserve more space yet, thankfully, they are present at all.

An impressive work of love – and a good stimul for many a proghead to start learning one more language to speak the languahe of music.


Issue #72/
November 2000
Quite an enjoyable reading this magazine is for those who feels passion to all things proggy. As it’s the first time “Background” makes this site, there’s a need to make some overall view on the issue.The mag hails from the Netherlands, the only place in the world where progressive rock feels at home nowadays, so the editors and contributors know their business good and do their best to keep this music alive.

The first thing the reader hooks on is the features presentation. With all the standard “live reports – interviews – reviews” rubrication it’s easy to navigate through the pages because not only the three aforementioned genres intersperse but also the massive reviews blocks bear the titles like “File Under Symfo”, “Neoprog”, “Krautrock” or “Big Names & Legends”. The latter’s the first and it’s understood, isn’t it? ATOMIC ROOSTER, YES and the like are classics many go for. Maybe, it somehow explains the “Retrospective” page dedicated in this issue to 1972, but how many prog listeners out there need to be reminded it was that year when “Thick As A Brick” and “Ziggy Stardust” were out – the facts distracting from really curious notes about ARP synthesizer’s new models produced back then. OK, let it serve a guide for beginners in the field with the mag’s staff being the experts to cast the “Jury’s Verdict” on four albums each. The problem is the reviewers’ names absent from the portraits. Well, the reader may take it as a challenge to guess who’s who as the writing style of each guy differs extremely – some of them really catch the gist where others seem not to accept anything that’s beyond progressive as they see it.

Reviews en masse are competent to do the trick and recommend (or not) what’s essential – although it’s quite strange to see there a collection of Tommy Bolin’s working tapes. Sometines there’s no rating as such – and if, in Bolin’s case, the reason may be his place outside prog, YES’ “House Of Blues” not rated seems strange. What’s irritating it’s almost every review tending to contain the name of every key player on a certain album, even when a band’s rather unknown. It may compliment and encourage each of them while for readers the text becomes difficult to drag through.

Live reports are of brilliance, indeed – you might not follow CAMEL on their trip across Holland and at the same time imagine yourselves being there, as Maurice Dam analyses the band’s live set and all the changes throughout the tour. Report on GENTLE GIANT’s fans’ gathering can prompt readers to dust off the band’s albums for one more spin before joining the appreciators’ ring. And while reviews on ARENA and SPOCK’s BEARD concerts are in abundance elsewhere, don’t miss the opportunity to read more in “Background” and find some fresh thoughts for you to share.

Interviews make a different story. ARENA piece augmenting by conversation with Clive Nolan is an interesting one. That’s the main point for an interview – to be interesting no matter you’re a fan or never heard about the interviewee. And from this point, talk to ACCOMPLICE proves just flat, while WHITE WILLOW’s Jacob Holm-Lupo, in his turn, comes up with some strange terms and comparisons like “very heavy kind of 70’s symphonic doom rock, like BLACK SABBATH meets RAINBOW” – it’s about his side-project. What about “Heaven And Hell” then?

All this doesn’t mar the good impression, but what does is layout odd in places, where you feel amused about what part of the text has to be read next. That’s why the SOLARIS special, great as it is, loses something.

Yet who doesn’t? The one doing nothing, never loses. So keep on losing and go forward – so prog will never be background music.


The Official
No.2 Spring/
Summer 2001
It’s not so well-balanced thing when you see a fanzine though black and white yet crammed with information having changed for amazing colorful glossy bearing not a lot of written stuff. But, with all the high profile of HEEP in the Net, it’s a clever move.The first issue was quite an experiment – and experiment good as people might look deep into the band everyday activity beyond the stage. There were some revelations from the crew, insight in the band members tastes et al. A good outline for the Number One issue could be the fact that I was one of the first lucky readers and it was none other than Mick Box who presented me with the magazine.

OK, the first is the first and it would be strange if there was little effort put into it while the second… The second is magnificient too – in terms of its appearance. It’s a special issue dedicated to major event of year 2000, the recording of HEEP’s unplugged show "Acoustically Driven". What stings you at first is the cover by Roger Dean. The artist responsible for classic “Demons And Wizards” and “The Magician’s Birthday” and late “Sea Of Light” album sleeves gets back to Heepy service to provide the picture for the newest product. And here it is, this picture, combined with enigmatic silhouetto from “Birthday”. Fonts designed by Dean are worthwhile too.

Looking at the back cover, you see the ad for the fresh video from the band. Yes, merchandise is an important part of the story but even this part shows how dear fans are to the band’s hearts – only when the magazine had reached the readers’ houses some of the stuff appeared for sale through the website. Ladies and Heepsters first, y’know. And the presentation on the pages look so appetizing that your hand starts slipping uncounciously into the purse for credit card.

And content? It’s in two parts. The first comes courtesy of fans. They tease, the impressions of the show attended, – while everybody waits in awe for his own copy of "Acoustically Driven" CD/DVD/Video to appear. Good, folks, although superlatives come in host and that’s too much. Ain’t it aimed to the fellow Heepsters? If so – we know the band and we love the band and don’t need to be convinced to love their music more. We got a hold on the mag in the end of the day, didn’t us?

The second part presents two interviews. With the band during the last rehearsal prior to the show and with their guest. The guys shine and joke as ever – what can’t be said in times of the interviewers. What’s the reason for the word “both” in some questions when there are five HEEP answering? And what does it mean “How do you think the fans will react to the unplugged set?” when it was us who always demanded from HEEP to eventually make it? Overall it’s a pleasant reading. Even more interesting is Ian Anderson’s Q&A session though the quiery about TULL’s acoustic set after their “Little Light Music” live album seems not appropriate.

That the pictures are great there’s no reason to talk – they are, you bet.

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