UK-based Gentle Giant was one of the most consistently fascinating progressive rock groups of the 1970s. Like — but not part of — the Canterbury Scene (Soft Machine, Caravan et. al.) Gentle Giant managed to combine compelling arrangements and tricky time signatures with whimsy and humor. And they brought an English folk orientation that put them in a rarefied league alongside legendary groups such as Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull.
Like many of their contemporaries, they suffered commercially at the hands of new wave etc. and folded their tent in 1980. My own exposure to the group came rather late; I picked up vinyl copies of the stunning 1975 Free Hand LP and the live set Playing the Fool (titled after a Gentle Giant bootleg of the same name!) right around the time of the group’s breakup.
Now comes the news that Gentle Giant’s catalog (more than a dozen albums) is being prepared for digital release. In conjunction with that effort, the band members are doing a “blog tour.” It works like this: send me (via email or comment) your questions for the band, and then I’ll schedule a time to pose the questions to them. And then I’ll keep the results all to myself…
No, of course I’ll post them here, perhaps with some audio of the interviews as well. Please specify as to which GG member your question(s) should be addressed: Kerry Minnear (multiple instruments), Ray Shulman (bass etc.), John Weathers (drums), Derek Shulman (vocals etc.). This is set to happen in November, which is…pretty soon. So get cracking. Me, I’ll be asking them a thing or two about “We Are the Moles” by, well, The Moles.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4500-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he taught a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.