Robert John Godfrey has been ruffling feathers again. This time, as part of an announcement of his retirement from The Enid, he’s been dismissing Steve Wilson’s music. And parts of the prog interweb have imploded. He has been accused of “talking out of his arse”.
The world of grassroots prog is a small incestuous scene where everyone knows everyone else and the boundaries of artist, critic and fan are sometimes blurred. Over time every band will end up sharing the same festival bill as every other band at some point. It’s the reason we don’t have Oasis vs. Blur style feuds, and there isn’t room for professional gobshites like Noel Gallagher. Even when there is serious bad blood between musicians, they tend to avoid bad-mouthing each other or washing dirty linen in public; they will inevitably have fans in common that they can’t afford to alienate.
Robert John Godfrey is one person who pays no attention to this unwritten rule.
I remember his lofty dismissal of Mostly Autumn during a running order squabble fest over the Prog stage at High Voltage. “Can you imagine them performing with a full choir“, he said. Actually, I can imagine a Mostly Autumn gig backed by a large choir, and the idea has the potential to seriously awesome. I even once suggested that to a member of the band who has a lot of experience singing in choirs, who completely agreed with me.
Mostly Autumn and The Enid have shared the top spots on festival bills on several occasions in recent years, most recently at last year’s HRH Prog in Pwllheli, where both bands delivered superb performances. They are two very different kinds of band, who represent opposing corners of what Progressive Rock means in second decade of the 21st century. Both bands have devoted fanbases, and both bands have their detractors too, but both of them are very good at what they do.