In the years after punk and new wave had their moment, it would become fashionable to rag on the so-called “dinosaurs” of progressive rock. The thinking went – or so we were told – that prog artists were pretentious, overblown and detached from the qualities that made rock and roll so visceral and real. Me, I’m not buying it and never really did. I find much to value in progressive rock and in punk and new wave. Appreciation for one does not preclude enjoyment of the other, at least not for me.
Anyway, when assailing prog, many turned their scorn and derision toward one act in particular: Emerson, Lake and Palmer. In retrospect, the trio did have moments one could characterize as pretentious, but with the benefit of hindsight, I’d argue that punk/new wave hero Paul Hewson (that’s Bono Vox or just plain Bono to fans) more than held his own in the overblown, self-important sweepstakes. So there.
I’ve been fortunate to have met each of the men in person, seen each of them live onstage, get their autographs (all on one LP sleeve, though it took years) and interview each of them. Enjoyable experiences all.