Before they played their last show of the The Incident world tour at the Royal Albert Hall, PORCUPINE TREEe front man Steven Wilson sat down for a chat with Music Radar about his wide reaching listening habits.
“I think you can always tell, and it irritates me, but I think you can always tell when a band have a very limited listening diet.” he muses, saying there are many important albums “outside of the immediate prog genre that I think are just as important if you want to listen too an interesting span. Everything from Captain Beefheart to Frank Zappa to Scott Walker to those classic Beach Boys and Beatles records, even to bands like ABBA! If you listen to ABBA’s music from the ’70s, if you want to understand about how to produce great records, great pop songs, write great pop songs, listen to ABBA….I think people are surprised by that and they kind of smirk when you say it and I’m not joking (laughs). These guys, yes, they wrote cheesy pop music compared to say, the serious music of Frank Zappa and King Crimson, but they did it at the very highest level and you can learn a lot from listening.”
He goes on to talk about the classic prog bands, saying that they’ve tended to be ridiculed for “overreaching themselves, and being pretentious and pompous, which is ironic when you go and see Muse, but anyway… (laughs) And I love Muse, by the way, but I mean that’s a band that are reaching for the stars too and they’re getting there some of the time and that’s when music becomes exciting; when you get musicians that are almost overreaching because there’s nothing duller than a band that are just happy to play by the rules, for me. There’s nothing duller than a band that have chosen to read the blueprint and have stuck to it. I wanna see bands that are reaching beyond, even what they think they’re capable of, and that’s what’s really important.”
Steven also discusses playing the infamous venue, drummer Gavin Harrison’s featuring in the site’s top drummers poll and what he has in the pipeline now that the band are off the road.