A Far Out, Groovy Celebration, one in a series of events sponsored by the UR’s Institute for Popular Music
The far out celebration both transported us back to the days of Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer and made Progressive Rock feel as lively and compelling as ever.
The show was about more than nostalgia. While the audience was tilted towards the 70s generation, there were plenty of interested UR students (some of whom were Prog progeny no doubt) and others who knew music was groovier back in the day.
But who were the Prog Rockers of the 70s? To learn more, I turned to The UR’s John Cavach, director of the Institute, performer, and major Prog Rocker back in the day — and still.
Our plan was that I would conduct some field work research of Brighton High School Yearbooks from 1973 – 1977, looking for students would arguably could fit the profile of a teenage Prog Rocker. While the heyday of Prog Rock was before my time, I knew which types of Brighton students were candidates.
First providing a brief definition of Progressive Rock, John evaluated my findings.
Ultimately, I name J.Miller as a prime PR suspect. (pictured above). John imagines how “J.” might have expressed his Prog Rockerness.
As John defines the genre:
Progressive rock is a style that blends rock with classical music. It is often musically and lyrically ambitious, most often showcasing instrumental virtuosity. It aspires to be pop’s high art.
John thinks the unique group could be prog rock. The motorcyclists probably not:
I agree that the guys standing by the motorcycle are probably not prog rock fans. Maybe Who, Led Zeppelin, or Lynyrd Skynyrd. When I was in high school during the mid 1970s, prog rock fans often thought they were a little more sophisticated than their friends who listened to bands like Led Zeppelin or the Allman Brothers. Prog rockers weren’t hipsters, but they did imagine that they were somehow more refined. The other kids didn’t appreciate this much.
And on J.Miller, John writes:
Makes sense that J. was in the Dance Band. Most prog rock musicians practiced a lot, since virtuosity was a key element to the style. He might also have read books by Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha especially, or others writing that endorsed a countercultural point of view. Prog rockers tended to listen to a lot of music as well, sometimes crossing over into classical and jazz.
MORE ON THE ROCHESTER MUSIC SCENE MID-70s TO EARLY-80s