Why no 'USA' Prog bands made the big 5?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Rufus rag, Mar 5, 2018.

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  1. Rufus rag

    Rufus rag Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Peoples big 5 Prog bands may vary but why didn't the USA produce a band that could challenge Pink Floyd, YES et al?
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  2. scribbs

    scribbs Resident Mockery

    Because the USA was busy feeding its soul to the likes of the Stones and Zeppelin.
  3. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    Well, you say top 5 and give two...

    Hermes likes this.
  4. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    US is the home of the blues. UK is the home of classical.
    Easy huh. :D
  5. ClevelandProg

    ClevelandProg Forum Resident

    Cleveland, OH
    The great Prog bands from England were more exposed to different types of music (specifically classical) that many young American bands weren’t. People like Frank Zappa were the rare exception. So, the virtuosos like Emerson and Wakeman just weren’t here in the USA. And that showmanship was a huge reason why the English bands became so big. Not only was the music enormous, but so was the imagery. Compare that to our most famous USA prog band, Kansas. I mean, I love Kansas, but their stage show was nothing compared to the big English bands. They put on a good show, but there wasn’t that WOW factor
    sherrill50, guppy270, AidanB and 4 others like this.
  6. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    because there wasn't any worthy. : )
    PDK, muffmasterh, stetsonic and 5 others like this.
  7. angelo73

    angelo73 ⬚⿻⬚⿻⬚⿻⬚

    Michigan, USA
    Glass Harp, Captain Beyond, Spirit, and Savage Grace (Detroit) are a few that had the chops, but for whatever reason, not the luck.
  8. SurrealCereal

    SurrealCereal Forum Resident

    Are you asking why more prog bands didn’t come out of the US, or why the bands that did aren’t more acclaimed? To answer the former, most of the rock music coming out of the US during the early 70’s was still feeling the effects of the roots-rock revival that began around 1968. US bands didn’t catch on to prog rock until the UK bands were dying off. To answer the latter question, I think the music speaks for itself. Kansas and Styx were good and all, but do they really come anywhere close to Genesis or Yes? I say not at all, but that’s a matter of personal taste.
  9. coniferouspine

    coniferouspine Forum Resident

    Bill Bruford talks about this in his book. He thinks the British prog rockers were perceived as "other" or exotic and that American young people who were into progressive rock, were not as interested in British repackaging of American blues or funk music, since they grew up with the real deal and wanted something different. But the deeper classical, folk and Celtic/British roots of prog rock were appealing to American audiences, since America was originally a British colony. Add in a bit of escapism, the appeal of the music's novelty and cerebral qualities, and you're getting there.
  10. Gord D

    Gord D Forum Resident

    UK bands cut their teeth on improvisation with American blues and rhythm & blues, while American bands were more into folk music, lyrics and vocal harmonies. I suppose the transition to prog rock was easier for the former.
  11. Frozensoda

    Frozensoda Forum Resident

    The only North American prog band who I felt held their own against their British compatriots were Rush.
    The USA prog bands just bored me.
  12. malco49

    malco49 Forum Resident

    i imagine a lot of musicians in the states who would have gone "prog" ended up playing jazz as well.
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  13. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident


  14. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Yeah, that sounds plausible.
    Rooster_Ties and Izozeles like this.
  15. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    Happy The Man from the mid/late 70's is another one.
  16. boboquisp

    boboquisp Ziggy, my buddy

    NE Ohio
    Crack The Sky is another other one. :agree:
  17. drad dog

    drad dog Forum Resident

    New England
    HTM was one I heard in the day along with the English. But my roommate was from Silver Spring MD. I think he had special knowledge.
  18. x2zero

    x2zero Forum Resident

    Brooklyn USA
    Not enough Tolkien growing up?
  19. ceddy10165

    ceddy10165 My life was saved by rock n roll

    Avon, CT
    Zappa would be in my top prog list.
  20. SurrealCereal

    SurrealCereal Forum Resident

    Another thing is that most North American prog bands were not completely “pure” prog bands. Rush was as much indebted to Led Zeppelin and The Who as they were to Yes; Kansas and Styx were very much Boston-style arena rock bands; Crack the Sky and Frank Zappa were only ever really prog when their Surrealistic art rock happened to overlap with prog styles.
    Mr.Sean, AidanB, ytserush and 2 others like this.
  21. raimiz1991inc

    raimiz1991inc Forum Resident

    La Paz, Bolivia
    In my opinion, it boils down to culture and creativity. I find not only the UK prog bands to be excellent within the genre and better compared to their US counterparts. I can think of Sweden, Italy and France as other greats, which leads me to believe that Europe has a different mentality, approach, creativity and performance overall than the rest, which includes Canada's Rush.
    This is a realization that occured to me when comparing classic prog rock (Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, KC, etc), neo prog (IQ, Marillion, etc) and modern prog (Porcupine Tree, Flower Kings, Dream Theater, etc) from Europe and USA and since the beginning I noticed vast superiority within European bands, not only UK bands.
    To be honest, and at a very personal level, I think what are considered prog bands from the US are good at a certain level, but they can't keep up with the more sophisticated approach from bands like The Moody Blues for example, or Procol Harum.
    Kansas and Styx are my favorite American prog acts, I can't really think of any other that caught my attention than those two but I am overall not impressed. I always considered them more AOR rock, which is where many US bands were headed at the time (I can think of Boston, Meat Load, E Street Band).

    I think the same thing applies to modern prog. I like Dream Theater very much and I absolutely adore Spock's Beard and Neal Morse. DT was definitely a grower and still is, but it's definitely top 3 American prog bands, SB being number one... but when I listen to other modern prog bands like The Flower Kings, Haken, Pain of Salvation there is an undeniable remarkable dynamic and sound, a more concise approach and the musicality and musicianship just goes somewhere beyond to uncharted territories. I know Neal Morse and Spock's Beard have made incredible prog rock, but after a while you recognize a pattern and repetition, even if there are 30mins and 80-minute songs, after a while you know it's prog, but when I think of prog rock it's evolution, change and experimentation. The same thing never happened to me when listening to Porcupine Tree or The Flower Kings and other European bands. It's an attraction I instantly feel (Banco del Mutuo Soccorso's Darwin is a recent example).
    The only exception to the rule I find is Tool's music. For me it's easily number one in US prog history and as good and better than most prog bands in the world. Obviously, all of this is my personal opinion, I like all prog!
    Renz, Roberto899, Sadcafe and 12 others like this.
  22. SurrealCereal

    SurrealCereal Forum Resident

    I like your take on it. The American bands seem to be able to master the idea of prog rock on a technical level, but there does seem to be a sense of romanticism that is missing from the non-European bands. It’s the same sort of lack of total authenticity that a lot of British Blues bands had. I’m not saying this to bash American prog bands (or British Blues bands for that matter), it’s just something I’ve noticed.
    NorthNY Mark, AidanB, tedhead and 6 others like this.
  23. raimiz1991inc

    raimiz1991inc Forum Resident

    La Paz, Bolivia
    Totally spot on on the British Blues theory, I agree same concept could apply. No intention of bashing either, I love most of what America and Europe did with classic rock.
    AidanB, angelo73 and SurrealCereal like this.
  24. RudolphS

    RudolphS Forum Resident

    Rio de Janeiro
    Many defining influences in prog were European. Classical music is the most obvious one (see ELP, Rick Wakeman, Van Der Graaf, Italian prog), the whimsy of british folk another (see Genesis, Jethro Tull, Renaissance, Caravan, etc.).

    As Keith Emerson once explained, "I loved music from the US, but when I started playing I quickly realized two things: I'm not american and I'm not black. So I started exploring my own european roots".

    There were some early US prog influences though, in the form of the Vanilla Fudge and Frank Zappa circa Hot Rats. But most American bands didn't really get to the essence of Prog. Come to think of it, the US also sorta let glam rock pass by without taking much notice.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  25. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Austin, TX, USA
    Prog was too limiting for Zappa.
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