GENTLE GIANT - Sleeping Giant

27. June 2014

Gentle Giant Elton John

GENTLE GIANT - Sleeping Giant

These days "The Power And The Glory" is the first release in a hopefully long series of new editions of Gentle Giant's albums. In recent years there have been numerous, sometimes half-hearted attempts to bring the works back into the consciousness of prog fans. But now Steven Wilson - after King Crimson, Jethro Tull and Yes - has taken care of probably the most complex of all prog legends and made his remix skills available to her. The result is phenomenal. Suddenly you think you can hear every single one of the numerous instruments that make up a Gentle Giant song. eclipsed spoke to frontman Derek Shulman about the eventful career of a band that has gone their own way unperturbed.

eclipsed: When you started in 1966, you called yourself Simon Dupree & The Big Sound and became a pop band..

Derek Shulman: Well, pop isn't quite right, it was also soul and R&B, but yes, it was a band of its time that I had formed with my brothers Phil and Ray. We were kids, I wasn't 20 yet, and Ray is two years younger. But I don't think the band is so bad from today's point of view. We had this one big hit, "Kites", which is still played on British radio today. And when we finally broke up the band, it was still in demand.

eclipsed: But you suddenly decided to make a completely different kind of music: progressive and complex. How did this radical change of direction come about?

Shulman: We come from a very musical family, our father was a professional jazz trumpeter, but he also loved classical music, and during our childhood there was music in the house all day. So we thought about finally making music that would challenge us, but that would also be fun. We had put quite a lot of money aside, because we took almost a year to put the band together. When Kerry Minnear, who had a classical music education, joined, the direction was finally clear. Especially since Ray had enjoyed a classical violin training.

eclipsed: Is it true that Elton John applied to be your singer?

Shulman: No, as a keyboarder. Reg, as he was then called, had played in one of the last line-ups of Simon Dupree & The Big Sound, and he wanted to join Gentle Giant. He had just started working with Bernie Taupin and played us some of her compositions, "Your Song" and "Empty Sky" were among them. And then we told him that they were beautiful songs, but not what we wanted. His lucky we didn't take him. Two years later Reg had become Elton John, and we were playing in some greasy dosshouse and hoping for a breakthrough. (laughs)

Lesen Sie mehr im eclipsed Nr. 162 (Juli/August 2014).