While Marillion may not be a household name, particularly in America, they have quietly and steadfastly carved out one of the most incredible careers and fan-bases of the past 30 years, selling in excess of 14 million albums with 16 studio releases and regular chart position in their native United Kingdom. And theyâ€™ve done all this by serving their artistic muses above all else. Momentary fashion and record industry S.O.P. has never been their way, and increasingly over the years theyâ€™ve become fiercely independent, projects often underwritten by their hardcore fans who are happy to pre-order new albums, invest in Marillion focused weekends and other niceties that have created an intimacy and personal connection with their listeners thatâ€™s rare and marvelous – a striking alternative to the faceless â€œconsumerâ€ mentality all too common in the mainstream (and even amongst many long-lived marquee acts that can often take their audiences for granted). Marillion, in every aspect, has proven a great exception to all the accepted rules, and the result has been a career as fascinating today as when it began.
In musical terms, Marillion is more interesting than ever, a vibrant relative to the work being done by Radiohead, Blur and other more widely celebrated U.K. exports, marking them as the next generation after prime forward thinkers like Pink Floyd and King Crimson. Some of the lack of critical push in the States likely stems from their early days as a prog-rock unit whose name was derived from a J.R.R. Tolkien novel. While that part of their sound is now ancient history only dabbled with occasionally onstage now, Marillionâ€™s soundbite was unfortunately cemented for some lazy writers/listeners in the 80s. Too bad since their last three studio outings – Marbles (2004), Somewhere Else (2007) and Happiness Is the Road (2008) as well as acoustic reinterpretation set Less Is More (2009) â€“ showcased a band with loads to express and a skillful, emotionally lush way of saying it. In pure technical terms, thereâ€™s not many better musicians in the rock game, but unlike many high-end players Marillion has refined their technique into surer, more direct forms in recent years, excelling at pop moves even whilst shredding at a level the average player wonâ€™t ever achieve. The eloquence and strength of what they do is simply dazzling, and it doesn’t hurt that they’ve developed a nice sense of humor over time either. The whole package this lot.
The band returns to the United States for a summer tour in June, their first full band electric shows in the States since 2004. The tour will hit several cities across North America, with two-consecutive-night events planned in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. A few dates have already sold out so it behooves the curious and enthusiastic to jump on tickets asap. You can find dates and details for this tour, which begins June 10 in Washington, D.C., over here.
As longtime veterans of the Marillion live experience, Dirty Impound can assure you that youâ€™ll rarely encounter better performers than these guys, who adapt their complex storytelling into a real experience when the house lights go down. DI has been reliably knocked on its back side since first seeing the band back in the 80s, and even experiencing recent tours via DVDs and official recordings (many to choose from) our respect for what this band does only increases with each passing year, and weâ€™re clutching our ticket to the San Francisco tour ender on June 29th with undisguised impatience.
We fired off DIâ€™s signature questionnaire to Marillionâ€™s drummer Ian Mosley. Hereâ€™s what he had to say along with some choice videos to offer a sampling of what this band is about below his answers.
- 1. Great music rarely happens withoutâ€¦
- Coffee and duct tape.
- 2. The first album I bought wasâ€¦
- With The Beatles
- 3. The last song or album to really flip my wig wasâ€¦
- Steven Wilsonâ€™s Grace For Drowning
- 4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to beâ€¦
- A drummer.
- 5. My favorite sort of gig isâ€¦
- Massive i.e. Rock In Rio
- 6. One thing I wish people knew about me isâ€¦
- â€¦that Iâ€™m a really nice guy!
- 7. I love the sound ofâ€¦
- 8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic asâ€¦
- Dark Side Of The Moon
- 9. The best meal I ever had on tour wasâ€¦
- In France.
- 10. I always find the coolest audiences inâ€¦
- 11. The worst habit I’ve picked up being on the road all the time isâ€¦
- â€¦hanging out with the crew
- 12. Led Zeppelin or Radiohead, which flips your switch the most and why?
- Led Zeppelin because they were fantastic pioneers with a great drummer.
- 13. The craziest thing I ever saw wasâ€¦
- Getting off the tour bus in Holland to find a man dressed up as a giant penis.