It’s always been using an established musical vocabulary. I think sometimes people get obsessed with the idea of innovation, and they’ll point at bands like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin as being incredibly innovative, but of course we look now at those bands with the benefit of hindsight with very rose-tinted spectacles, and forget that Led Zeppelin stole most of their stuff from the Chicago blues guys, and The Beatles stole an awful lot from American rock ‘n roll of course.
His music is complex, has long songs and values musicianship. It’s 2015 now, as musicians we’re all working with a well established musical vocabulary.But Wilson himself is clearly not a fan of the classification. I look back at the history of rock music, and that’s 60, 70 years at most; it’s a very young form of music, really.But still, I think every possible extreme or hybrid has been explored.I haven’t heard anything genuinely fresh and inventive since probably the 90’s.” “There was an explosion in electronic music coming out of the late 80’s and in the 90’s”, he goes on to say.“You had forms of music like IDM, trip hop and all that stuff, and I could see music that was probably innovative at that time, but in the 21 century, I have to say there hasn’t been anything genuinely innovative or progressive.
So I don’t think it’s right to call it progressive, and by the way, none of those bands in the seventies ever called themselves progressive rock.
I’ve worked with some of these bands like King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Yes, and I’ve spoken with guys like Steve Hackett, and I’ve asked ‘Did you ever call yourselves progressive rock? It was something the press sort of came up with, some time around the mid to late seventies, to kind of bundle us all together’.
So I have an issue with it being called ‘progressive’ because it’s not progressive anyway, and it’s certainly not ‘prog’; that’s such an ugly, ugly word.
I call it ‘conceptual rock’ because for me it’s rock music that’s more interested in the album as a musical format, and it’s interested in telling stories.
And I think these are the hallmarks of the kind of music you’re referring to when you say ‘progressive’.
I don’t think my music or anyone’s music is ‘progressive’ in 2015.” When I suggested that the label progressive might apply more to an individual artist’s willingness to change their own sound than to pushing back the genre’s limitations, he still rejected the label. “I have evolved as a musician, but still I wouldn’t say my music was genuinely genre breaking or innovative.