A How To on Music Nerdom: Part 1

Hi, everybody! I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Peter Progger, and I sure love progressive rock music. It really is the best music ever, and is clearly better than like, 90 percent of music out there. Not a lot of people realize that fact, and I’m here at Alternative Control to educate people on this very misunderstood genre. Over the next couple of months, I’ll be providing tips and lessons on what it takes to be a fan of truly intelligent music. Because that’s what music should always be about – intelligence…also fairies, spaceships, robots, Greek mythology and apparently guys who dress in red gowns and fox heads. Yep. So let’s get on with it, shall we?

Lesson 1: How to Listen to a Progressive Rock Album

The first and most important aspect of being a prog fan is listening to your prog music appropriately. To do this, you have to focus all of your attention on the particular album you’ve chosen to play. You can’t have any distractions. So, be sure to cancel all those plans you made with the incredible amount of friends you must have, be sure to slurp your hot apple cider quietly, and put your cellphone on vibrate. You don’t want that ringer going off, especially when the girls call. Because, you know, they’re always calling. I don’t know why; it must be because I can recite the entire lyrics to ELP’s Karn Evil 9. Seriously, that song’s a chick magnet.

Anyway, now that you’ve got everything quiet, pull out that dusty vinyl player. You shouldn’t be listening to prog if you aren’t using archaic methods. There are so many essential details that are lost on digital formats. How else are you supposed to pick out all those mixing flaws, awkward needle jumps and washboard solos (aka static interference)? And then there’s the whole authenticity of the experience. You should always use 1970s technology to listen to 1970s music. That way you can sit back, close your eyes and take yourself right back into that time period. Don’t you remember how great it was? Breaking your weed on gatefold sleeves, popping your pimples and listening to the muscle cars of cooler high-schoolers peel past your house? Man, those were the days.

When you set the needle down, plug in your headphones. Make sure they’re big enough to double as a headset used in military aircraft. Then, take an appropriate position on your brown beanbag after cleaning it of old Fritos crumbs. Light up a “cigarette”, twist off a 2-liter of Sierra Mist and let the music take you to outer space, dude. Active, physical responses should be kept to a minimum. But when appropriate, a good air-keyboard solo is always applicable. Play that invisible keyboard like your making magic right up there with Rick Wakeman in his synthesizer fortress. If you do it right, it should look like the fingers of some creepy old man getting aroused over softcore pornography (aka your average Yes fan).

You hear that? Isn’t that the way albums should always sound? The modern music world would be so much better if everything sounded like a Simon Says trying to figure out an algebra problem. Just listen to that half-distorted five minute guitar instrumental – like a blue jay screaming in agonizing pain after getting run over by a ten speed. And how about that incredible wind chime solo? It’s like I’m playing with myself in a Buddhist temple. And don’t even get me started on Jon Anderson’s sublime voice. He’s like a soloist in a youth group church choir, only uglier and probably still virgin.

It’s truly amazing how this incredible genre of rock music has been persecuted by music critics for so long. There’s really just so much to love. And I’m only getting started here, readers. I haven’t even gotten to the obvious extraterrestrial messages embedded in the first four minutes of King Crimson’s Larks Tongues in Aspic Part 1. So stay tuned next month for another Peter Progger tip on how to be a true progressive rock nerd. I’m talking to you, ladies…



  1. Jon Anderson wakes up every morning and calls Geddy Lee to thank him for making Jon sound like Maria Fucking Callas in comparison.

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