Posted by: joshalmond | May 8, 2010

X Marks The Spot For Spock’s Beard

Okay, so the album X (their tenth studio album) hasn’t come out yet, but it’s on it’s way very shortly.  If you haven’t yet ordered your copy, get yours now!  I’m just gonna tell you how I stumbled upon them.  I may have heard of them somewhere along the way, but never listened to their music until sometime last year, when, looking through a Talkbass forum post on prog music – with people asking for suggestions, I found their myspace and heard the track from the album Spock’s Beard, their ninth studio album, “Skeletons At The Feast”.  I really dug the craziness of it.  It’s an instrumental and in some odd meter.  But when I heard it, I was hooked.  At this point, I went ahead and ordered the album, and subsequently other albums.  Turned out, some guy named Neal Morse used to sing and play keyboards and guitar for them. heh heh!  Within the rest of the year, I explored the rest of their albums and found that I liked Spock’s Beard with and without Neal.  I kinda went back and forth on the timeline of the discs.  At some point I heard an episode of “The Gates Of Delirium“, a podcast by Christopher Ambler on The Dividing Line Broadcast Network where he interviewed Dave.  That got me a bit more into them.  Hearing musicians talk about their craft and life really works for me, which I may be doing myself very soon, for  I really dig Dave Meros gritty bass playing, a growling sound coming out of those speakers.  It meshes well with Ryo Okumoto‘s absafuckinglutely crazy keyboard playing and Nick D’Virgilio’s drums.  After learning that Alan Morse doesn’t use a pick on all those guitar parts, I was further impressed by him.  That’s hard to do!  Not to mention the calluses he must have on his fingertips.  When I was rehearsing regularly every week with my old band, my fingertips felt like plastic, but then again, I played my bass with my fingers, and they were tough, nickel Rotosound strings.  But still, how does he do that?!  

While I could go on and one about which version of Spock’s Beard I like more or less, I won’t.  The point is moot.  I discovered both at the same time.  Neal has moved on, and I enjoy his work (especially Transatlantic).  I’ve probably listened to the albums that they did without him more, simply… because it’s newer, and I like shiny new things.  Octane was the third disc I heard, and I still love listening to it.  She Is Everything is beautiful!! A bunch of the tracks are about a car crash, and what is going through the person’s life at that moment, what life review is happening to him.  It’s really an important thing to do.  To review your life while you are alive.  As we will all make that transition at some point in our lives, and move on, we will all have to make that review.  I think it’s probably better to have done it consciously, while one is still alive than at that last second.  But I digress… NWC is brilliant!  And “As Long As We Ride” makes me want to get on a motorcycle and drive away singing at the top of my breath!  There are also parts in “The Planet’s Hum”, and “Follow Me To Sleep” which are really nice.

I think I heard Snow, which was Neal’s last with the band, but probably my favorite album with him is The Kindness Of Strangers, which I heard more recently.  Flow is quite powerful, and I’d have to agree… it is a real Strange World, and The Good Don’t Last.  The subject matter of Cakewalk On Easy Street is humbling.  Aren’t you glad you have legs?  Haven’t thought about it lately?  Well, you should.  Appreciate what you have in life, and while you’re at it go tell your mom “I love you”.  V’s At The End Of The Day, and The Great Nothing are two of my all time favorites.  Funny enough, aside from the overture, which has a wicked keyboard line, I think my favorite track on Snow is I’m Still Looking For Answers which is sung by NDV! 

All and all, Spock’s Beard is one of my all time favorite bands, and I can’t wait to hear all of the new album when it arrives (maybe real soon…)  Since I’ve already ordered my copy, I think I’m going to go get the 3RP DVD now on which there are live performances of both Neal and Spock’s Beard (not to mention The Flower Kings!).  You can hear a bit of it here on their myspace page.  From what I hear, it sounds fucking awesome!   Fittingly enough, I leave you with At The End Of The Day, filmed at Pound SF in San Francisco, a club I even played at! 

Does Leonard Nimoy listen to Spock’s Beard?


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