'Shakin' The Tree!'
England's favorite underground art rockers Porcupine Tree are set to hit the road again in America to support critically-acclaimed new album Deadwing. Beginning September 23 in Tampa, Florida, Porcupine Tree will hit even larger venues than the previous almost completely sold out Spring/early Summer tour.
Known for their epic performances, Porcupine Tree plan to give concertgoers in 20 major market an audiophile experience to remember, thanks to technologically superior surround sound and video wall courtesy of tour sponsors DTS and Panasonic.
Deadwing's first single "Shallow," a thundering rock epic, held court on both the Modern Rock and Active Rock charts. As for the critics, they agree that Deadwing is a glimpse of Porcupine Tree and mastermind Steven Wilson in their finest hour.
Porcupine Tree is comprised of Steven Wilson (lead vocals, guitars);
Richard Barbieri (keyboards); Colin Edwin (bass); and Gavin Harrison (drums). Together as a band since 1993, the band is one of the U.K.'s most
respected, pioneering underground forces with a following that spans the globe. Finding themselves consistently at the top of the British indie charts, the band has toured extensively in Europe selling in excess of 350,000 albums worldwide.
Porcupine Tree made their mark across the pond in America with 1998's Signify followed by 1999's Stupid Dream, gaining a significant following through touring and multi-format radio airplay. They made their major label debut on Lava Records in 2002 with critically acclaimed album In Absentia.
Chatting recently with lead singer Steve Wilson, I first wondered how the bands name had come about, but was so not prepared for the answer! "Sorry, this is one question I never answer. Even the rest of the band do not know the origin of the name!"
Was the new CD always to be called DeadWing "No, we changed it a few times, but in the end as it was so closely based on the unmade film script of the same name, it seemed the best title to go with. I actually wanted 'Arriving Somewhere But Not Here,' but it was felt this was too long."
Which of the tracks taken from the new album do you feel encapsulates Porcupine Tree at his finest? "I guess the 'Arriving ...' track. It seems to be the most successful long scale piece we have ever recorded, and contains all of the band's characteristic sounds, mood shifts, harmony vocals, textures, etc."
And, while we're on the subject of revealing things, is it true that the band Porcupine Tree started as a joke between Wilson and a friend about a legendary lost '70s group?! "Yes it is true - the very first PT recordings were made as a kind of musical accompaniment to a fake history of a fake band. I actually intended at one stage to create a whole back catalogue for this band, but very soon I realised that I potentially had something very special with the project so it become more serious!"
Whatever happened to No-Man ... and will there ever be a reunion?! "No-Man have never split up - our last album, Together We're Stranger was released last year and has become our best selling to date. In a way No-Man has become the flip side of PT - as PT has become more "rock", NM has focused more on the ethereal and romantic."
Do you ever get worn down by the phrase that comes attached to the band of 'Underground art rockers'?! "No, I get worn down by the words "Pink Floyd" appearing in the band's press!"
Have you a funny (or inspirational!) story to tell of just one of your musical encounters among the many journey's that you have taken thus far? "Funny no, but I certainly feel that the whole trajectory of the band's career - slow though it's been - could serve as an inspiration to musicians to create a unique sound and to build an audience from scratch, rather than trying to make some kind of generic music to appeal to an existing audience. This may bring quicker success but it usually creates music of little longevity or soul."
Of all the many albums that you have released, which one - to you - would you rank as the one you are least happiest with ... and why? "To be honest, I always tend to like the most recent work. I guess because your current work most closely reflects the person you are at that time. Having said that of course it's possible to enjoy some of the earlier work in a more detached way. Anyway, I'm really pleased with the last two albums - plus I think Signify is a good record too."
OK, what "cheesy" '80s song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "I already did it! I covered Abba's 'The Day Before You Came' last year. Despite the fact it does have a rather cheesy 80's production I felt it was a devastatingly sad-beautiful song. So I was happy to be able to give people the chance to hear it in a totally different way!"
If there were just 3 words that described Porcupine Tree's music, what would they be? "Unique, sophisticated, accessible."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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