|· Can you tell us a little more about the staff of SoT?|
Pete Pardo - Senior Corporate Account Manager for Safari Books Online by day, Publisher for Sea of Tranquility by night. Pete is a long time progressive rock and metal enthusiast whose passion for the music brought him to SoT in late 1999. Starting with his purchase of Kiss-Destroyer back in 1976, Pete grew up on the sounds of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Boston, Kansas, Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Rainbow, E.L.O., Wings, Whitesnake, Robin Trower, Frank Marino, Gary Moore, Thin Lizzy, and Led Zeppelin. His current favorites run from Dream Theater, Symphony X, Opeth, Todd Rundgren, Saga, Gentle Giant, In Flames, Renaissance, Spock's Beard, PFM, Atomic Rooster, Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Black Label Society, Nektar, Arch Enemy, Strapping Young Lad, Dark Tranquility, Meshuggah, Hypocrisy, Nile, and the Moody Blues, to almost anything prog, fusion or metal, underground or mainstream. Other interests includes weightlifting and fitness, cooking, movies, guitars, the NY Mets, and reading. Pete also is a former contributor to ProgNet, and the Gibralter Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock.
Michael Popke - Michael's friends and colleagues call him an oxymoron. By day, he's the mild-mannered, khakis-wearing managing editor of Athletic Business magazine, a business-to-business publication targeting athletic, recreation and fitness professionals. By night, he bangs his head and writes about heavy metal, hard rock and prog for Sea of Tranquility, as well as Goldmine, a magazine for music collectors; Progression, a quarterly journal of progressive music; Powerplay, a rock and metal monthly published in the United Kingdom; and Shepherd Express, Milwaukee's alternative weekly newspaper, where Popke is affectionately known as "the metal guy." Making his home in Wisconsin, Popke has covered the music scene for 15 years. The first album he bought that he's proud to admit was Cheap Trick At Budokan (on eight-track), and his favorite current artists include Spock's Beard, Axel Rudi Pell and Shadow Gallery.
Duncan Glenday - Duncan grew up in the golden era of prog, the 1970s. As a teenager he studied classical piano for 5 years, played guitar, and took classical guitar lessons. Later he had a small cover band and taught guitar to beginners for beer money. In the 1980s he gave up active music in favor of career and family, and his participation in the music world was relegated to observer-status. He is now a family man, and a partner in a systems and management consulting firm. (Very "establishment"!) Duncan's musical tastes range from classical music through the best of the '70s-era symphonic-prog, through to modern genres - including symphonic, third-wave, and even some of the better neo-prog; to the more intelligent genres of metal - I.e. progressive, avant garde MIO (Metal In Opposition), and the more melodic forms of dark metal. Duncan was raised in the British commonwealth, so he talks funny, but he currently resides with his family in Maryland.
Greg Stewart - SoT's talented webmaster, technical guru, and photographer, was born in South Carolina, and luckily raised in a suburb just north of NYC, Greg was rescued from "Barry Mannilow Hell" (his father's obsession) back in the seventh grade when he began dubbing his friends' vinyl collections. This leap into a wonderland of everything from Rush, Queen and Yes, to the Cocteau Twins and Siouxie And The Banshees left him with a bizarrely eclectic taste for music. Now he finds himself breaking computers by day and photographing mountain trails in his off-time, while listening to a strange musical mix including bands and artists like The Wolfe Tones, Clannad, Van Morrison, Queen, Journey, Rush, Def Leppard, The Eagles, Boston, Porcupine Tree, Candlebox, Goats Don't Shave, Jewel, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, and more...
Murat Batmaz - Born and raised in Germany, Murat moved to his homeland, Turkey, in the late 80's. He holds a degree in English literature and works as an instructor of English to elementary, intermeditate and advanced level students at a private university in Istanbul. Murat grew up listening to lots of Hard'N Heavy bands such as White Lion, Skid Row, Guns N'Roses, Giant, Scorpions, Helloween, Queen, Def Leppard, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Queensryche, etc. When he heard Dream Theater's Awake in 1994, however, he became deeply interested in progressive metal and started listening to whatever he could lay his hands on. His greatest enthusiasm is discovering obscure, yet incredibly amazing prog metal bands such as Garden Wall, Evil Wings and Eternity X. His favourite bands run from Savatage, Fates Warning, Devin Townsend, Opeth, Ulver, Porcupine Tree, Shadow Gallery, Ayreon, Pain of Salvation to a million others.
Ken Pierce - "Technical Guy" by day, Metal & Rock Reporter by night. Ken got into music at an early age thanks to his Mother who played lots of Rennaissance, Pink Floyd and David Bowie. Somehow he discovered KISS and heavy music became his passion. He played drums in various metal combos through his young life but never got the "Big Record Deal". Favorite bands include Judas Priest, old Van Halen, Type-O-Negative, Nightwish, H.I.M., Iron Maiden, Beatles and far too many more to list. Other hobbies are cooking, exploring the great city of New York and checking out shows with fun folks. He is also a cat lover, and has two. Ken got started as a metal writer when he became the official New York presence for the website The Metal Circus out of Spain, and is currently the the Editor in Chief of PiercingMetal.com. He is also a big comics, and figures geek, and cant wait to remove some of his collection from his apartment.
Elias Granillo - is a denizen of the Californian desert (a desert where tons of concrete keep popping up every 200 feet). Though two early favorites were Def Leppard and Van Halen, no three groups were as pivotal to the young Elias' formative musical axis as Tangerine Dream, Goblin and Rush. In terms of experimentation, complexity, and energy, these bands were equipped. The mid-1980's came and went, and as the years kept zipping by, Yes, ELP, King Crimson, the Ozric Tentacles, IQ, Djam Karet, Dream Theater and Ars Nova consecutively pulled the proverbial rug from 'neath his feet after every reset. On the Interstate between each off-ramp lurk obsessions with electronic music and a number of its permutations (including e-scores), Bach's works for pipe organ, Santana, and Japanese prog/fusion & alt/psych rock with girl vocals only—no guys! "El É" is also a huge fan of The Shield, Godzilla, Harlan Ellison, Bernie Wrightson, Richard Corben, Alex Niño, and the annual San Diego Con. Oh: he also has a B.A. in Eng Lit—it's a funny-looking piece of parchment with black heiroglyphics all over it—and an inclination for starting short stories and never finishing them.
Butch Jones - Grew up & still lives in the Upstate,Poughkeepsie NY area. An only child and a true Metal head since the age of 8 or 9 years old, Butch's Metal/Hard Rock teeth were helped cut by some of the "big kids" of his neighborhood. Shown at an early age the likes of Thin Lizzy,Yes, Deep Purple,Aerosmith, KISS, Black Sabbath, Angel, Robin Trower, Judas Priest & AC/DC, ELP, Star Castle, Rush and Jean Luc Ponty among others. But his life would change forever after visiting the NYC department store, Korvettes, at the age of 12 years old. On this day Butch's Mom would buy him the 2 albums that would change his Rock development. UFO's live masterpiece, "Strangers In The Night" and Van Halen's guitar text book Van Halen II. This was 1979! The guitar bug had bitten him very badly. And guitar lessons were now MANDATORY! After this the NWOBHM would take over the Metal world and would introduce him to bands like Motorhead, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden,Accept ( I know their German..but close enough!) Saxon, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Raven. After this, bands like Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, Anvil, Savatage, Overkill, King Diamond/ Mercyful Fate, Riot, Metal Church, Armored Saint, WASP and Loudness would become staples on cassettes in the car. Over the past few years, Butch has been into bands like Meshuggah, Soilwork, Clawfinger, Tad Morose, Sevendust, Fear Factory, Skrape, Memento Mori, In Flames, King's X, Injected, BLS, God Forbid, Symphony X, Big Wreck and Cold. And being a guitar player himself lists Edward Van Halen, Gary Moore, John Norum,Pat Travers,Dimebag Darrell, Steve Stevens, Ronni LeTekro, Akira Takasaki, Michael Romeo, Steve Vai, John Sykes, Zakk Wylde, Michael Schenker, Mike Wead among his all time favorites. Butch owns and operates the eBay Metal Memorabilia/Clothing store Butchco: http://stores.ebay.com/Butch-Co
Richard Barnes - Richard fell in love with prog at the age of 15 on hearing Fragile and has the bruises to prove it. After 20 years in the wilderness the internet helped him discover that progressive rock really didn't die in 1976 and has since stopped him from retiring in order to fund his habit. Richard runs two businesses, one providing support on employment issues to personal clients, the other as Managing Director of Culturetracker.com, a business providing employee opinion research services. He writes a regular article for the Classic Rock Society's bi-monthly magazine called Foreign Affairs which focuses on the overseas prog scene and is a regular at the annual Bajaprog festival. After 35 years, Close to the Edge and Way of the Sun (Jade Warrior) are still his favourite albums but he says that these days he finds himself listening more and more to modern prog rather than the old 70s bands. Current preferences are The Mars Volta, Muse, Cabezas de Cera. His tastes range from symphonic prog to jazz fusion and avant-garde but he also enjoys classical music and good pop, folk, blues, West Coast Americana and even Country.
Ryan Sparks - A true Canuck born on the West Coast of Canada in 1968, his family moved to the Montreal area in 1975 where he has lived ever since. American Dog bassist Michael Hannon has recently given him the rather prestigious "Rock Pig of The North" tag which suits Ryan just fine. The gates to his musical universe were opened rather dramatically at the tender age of 8 when he saw Kiss perform on T.V. for Paul Lynde's Halloween Special in 1976. He quickly found other uses for his tennis racket as mock Kiss concerts were soon acted out on a regular basis with his childhood friends. The dream of seeing the band live was fulfilled in 1979 when his Mother took him to see the Dynasty tour, one of the last tours with the original band. A veteran of many concerts, his musical tastes are all over the map but his true love is Classic/ Progressive/ Heavy rock. His first writing assignment was for the now defunct Metal site Electric Basement, after which he moved to the Classic Rock Revisited website where he has been a regular contributor for the past 2 years. Enjoys dreaming of all things music related and spending time with his wife and 2 young children.
Alex Torres - Alex was born in Portugal in 1960 before moving as a small child to live in England, where he has been ever since. He graduated in Physics, then spent 5 years working as a meteorologist for the British Antarctic Survey. Then came a "life sentence" of twenty years working in the civil nuclear power industry before leaving in 2005 to help his wife run her successful boarding kennel business. He got into music at an early age, staring to buy folk and pop records before getting into the "classic British" rock bands of the 70s: his favorites including Barclay James Harvest, Camel, Caravan, Renaissance, Van der Graaf Generator and Hawkwind. Although his musical taste has expanded since then to take in genres as diverse as soul, jazz, blues and opera, his favorite sound remains rooted in classic rock. Contemporary favorites include Mostly Autumn, Steve Wilson (Porcupine Tree, Blackfileld, No-Man), Neal Morse, Steve Thorne, Muse and Riverside.
Jon Neudorf - Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada, Jon has lived in
Saskatoon for most of his life. He is married and has two children – a 20 year
old daughter and 2 year old son (yup, you read that right!) He holds a Bachelor
of Science degree in Biology and when he decided to do something with his life
he earned an education degree and became a science teacher. His musical roots
have been greatly influenced by the seventies (and his older brothers) and grew
up listening to the likes of E.L.O., Pink Floyd, Queen, Supertramp, Alan Parsons
Project, The Who, Sweet, Bowie, Deep Purple, Genesis, Yes, The Beatles, Jethro
Tull, Neil Young, Toto, Led Zeppelin, Manfred Mann, Boston, Chicago, Styx,
Foreigner, City Boy, Camel, Rush, Steely Dan and many others too numerous to
mention. His current exploration of progressive rock includes: Shadow Gallery,
I.Q., Pallas, Pendragon, Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings, Circus Maximus,
Moongarden, Threshold, Wolverine, Frogg Café, Porcupine Tree, Enchant,
Andromeda, Arena, Nightwish, Epica, Opeth, and lots more. One of his favorite
pastimes is searching for that rare find in his favorite record store. He also
writes CD reviews for the websites progressiveears and prog4you.
Scott Ward - I was born a little north of Detroit, Michigan. You can blame my older
brother who bought me Alice Cooper and Cactus albums for my birthday as the main
cause of my rock and roll addiction. He also took me to my first concert, Uriah
Heep only added fuel to the flames. I listen to a variety of music from classic
rock to European metal and progressive groups such as Dream Theater and Demons &
Wizards. My wide taste in music styles may lead anywhere from the blues to
Gravedigger. I am continuously looking for the new and different with the
thought of someday finding the perfect piece of music. It might never happen but
it is a lot of fun looking. I also dabble in the guitar myself and have 9 of
them around the house. My wife and I enjoy music as you can imagine but also
love to travel our great state and see what it has to offer. If I am not in the
front row at a concert, I am usually writing a review or along the shore of one
of the many lakes here in Michigan. I have written over 200 pieces and have a
myspace page devoted to music and the pursuit of new and exciting stuff as my
reviews will demonstrate. I work the midnight shift in the automotive industry
and so my hours are about the same as Dracula. It does give me a chance to
listen to music all night and write about it all day. That is, if the fish
Steven Reid - Friday nights, that's where it began. Hours spent
sitting hushed in my older brother's room hanging on the every word of the
sorely missed legend Tommy Vance. His Radio 1 "Friday Rock Show" introduced me
to every aspect of rock and metal under the sun, from Metallica and Magnum one
week to Marillion and Spider the next. Live sessions from Dio, Kiss and Venom,
interviews with Slayer, Motorhead or Saxon, Friday nights had it all. AC/DC's
"For Those About To Rock" was the first slab of vinyl I bought, closely followed
by anything and everything by Status Quo, before "Lick It Up" introduced me to
Kiss and a lifelong dedication was born. Other bands that influenced my early
years were UFO, Scorpions, Whitesnake (pre 1987), Y&T, Magnum, Dokken, Dio, Iron
Maiden and Saxon along with many more. Then along came Rush and Marillion and a
whole world of prog was opened up to me along with the inspiration to pick up a
pair of drum sticks. Dio were the first band I saw live and even with Denzel The
Dragon making an appearance I was completely hooked on gig going and try to
attend at least 15 concerts a year. I enjoy the huge production values of say a
Kiss gig, but get more of a kick out of seeing a band like It Bites in a tiny
club with another 70 or so punters. As the years have passed my musical taste
has evolved and grown, however I still regularly listen to the music that
inspired me when I was young and have merely added to it. Favourite bands still
include many of the bands from my childhood, however I would also now site
Porcupine Tree (and anything Steven Wilson is involved with), Opeth, The
Wildhearts (and Ginger's many side projects), Kamelot, Thunder, Also Eden,
Arena, The Pineapple Thief, Clutch, Muse, The Feeling, Kip Winger, Bruce
Springsteen, and IQ, along with a bit of 80's rock like Little Angels,
Skin/Jagged Edge, Terrorvision, Bang Tango and so on and will freely admit to
loving AOR and melodic rock. I suppose the main constants through this journey
have been Kiss, Rush and Marillion, both eras along with Fish's solo career.
Recently I have also started contributing at metalperspective.com, however
outside of music my free time is taken up spending time with my family, watching
classic episodes of the best show ever to hit TV screens, Babylon 5, supporting
Dundee Football Club, and unusually for someone from the UK following baseball,
especially the Red Sox. I also was inaugural champion of the UK Dynasty fantasy
baseball league. I read a lot, a good mix of fiction and facts based books and
also enjoy the odd movie.
Dean Pedley - had his first review published in Kerrang! magazine in
1982 when he was twelve years old and over the years has also appeared in the
pages of Record Collector, Classic Rock and Raw. Based in Birmingham, England he
has spent considerable time researching the musical heritage of the area from
the "Brum Beat" bands of the 1960's through the Heavy Metal acts of the 70's and
beyond and is always interested to hear and work with local bands. His first
album purchase was Queen Live Killers and Queen were also the first band he saw
live, subsequent to which he has attended more than 500 gigs. Prior to joining
the team at SoT the majority of his online reviews and interviews appeared at
www.hardrockhouse.com. His favourite
aspect of music journalism is the opportunity to interview musicians and those
involved in the creative process and he feels fortunate to have spoken with
Fish, Danny Vaughn, Bob Catley, Ian Mosley, Ken Hensley, Bernie Torme, Martin
Turner, Les Holroyd, Jeff Glixman, Rodney Matthews, Keith Olsen, Nick Mason,
Biff Byford, Luke Morley and many others. His favourite band of the last twenty
years is Dream Theater and his favourite live act of all time is Bruce
Springsteen and the E Street Band. Happily married to Jenny since 1992 they have
two sons who main interests are Fall Out Boy and WWE and have so far rejected
his determined efforts to introduce them to the delights of Magnum. Desert
Island Discs include Sheer Heart Attack, Darkness On The Edge Of Town, On A
Storyteller's Night, Afraid Of Sunlight and Scenes From A Memory
Jordan Blum – In his early 20s and living in Philadelphia, Jordan was raised on Progressive Rock, discovering gems like Jethro Tull's Thick As A Brick and Genesis' Foxtrot as he began High School. His obsession has only grown since then. Besides writing for SOT, Jordan has been a longtime contributor to Delusions of Adequacy and Examiner.com. He also works on his own music under the guise of Neglected Spoon (combining influences into a melting pot of Mike Oldfield production…check it out on MySpace). Jordan earned a BA in English at Rider University (where he wrote music reviews for the school paper) and is finishing up his MFA Degree (creative writing: fiction) at Rosemont College. He is also a published poet and hopes to teach as a professor. He enjoys video games, fiction (King, Palahniuk and Ellis are favorites) and British comedies like "Peep Show" and Asian films like "Oldboy." Jordan's favorite artists include Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Dream Theater, Devin Townsend, Ayreon, Spock's Beard, Genesis (until 1980), Jethro Tull and Gentle Giant, and he's proudly befriending his idols, such as Gary Green and Arjen Lucassen.
Jeff B- It's not frequent that you find a person Jeff's age as interested in music as he is. Being born in the mid 1990's, finding prog and metal fans in that age group can be quite the challenge. Now an avid music collector and fan of all types of genres, Jeff has a large amount of experience in music, despite whatever his birth certificate may read. Jeff's journey into music was a pretty interesting one. Strangely enough, he began his musical expedition with 50's R&R and British Invasion music. At the young age of 7 and 8, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Who, and Paul McCartney dominated Jeff's world. At this point was when Jeff could officially call himself a music fan. Buying used Beatles LP's and countless Elvis compilations, he was immediately a fan of rock and roll. Over the course of the next couple years, he became increasingly interested in The Beatles' later outputs, specifically Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper's. Jeff then began exploring heavier rock groups from the 60's and 70's, with bands like Led Zeppelin, Iron Butterfly, and The Doors becoming instant favorites. One day while browsing in a thrift shop, a recommendation from his dad prompted him to pick up Genesis' "…And Then There Were Three". Jeff listened to this album almost non-stop for months on end… but Jeff's prog journey wasn't yet completed. After really enjoying "…And Then There Were Three", Jeff's dad gave him a copy of "Selling England by the Pound" – the album that changed his life forever. Jeff could officially be called a prog fan. Selling England was on Jeff's heavy rotation for a very long time. At this point Jeff was off and running. He quickly enjoyed all of the EARLY Genesis albums and began exploring other classic bands like Yes, ELP, King Crimson, Rush, Pink Floyd, and Jethro Tull. After becoming a big prog rock fan, Jeff got into metal, jazz, and many other types of music. Some of his current favorite acts are Pain of Salvation, Genesis, Marillion, Spock's Beard, Dream Theater, Opeth, Death, Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Yes, Iron Maiden, Transatlantic, Neal Morse, The Flower Kings, Savatage, Queensryche, Kevin Gilbert, IQ, and The Beatles. His top five albums (or "desert island discs", if you will) are Pain of Salvation's "The Perfect Element", Dream Theater's "Scenes From A Memory", Genesis' "Foxtrot", Spock's Beard's "Snow", and Edge of Sanity's "Crimson". Jeff plays the keyboards, saxophone, and drums, and enjoys composing music as well. Jeff began his reviewing career at ProgArchives.com and MetalMusicArchives.com, where he still participates as the prog-metal specialist, "J-Man". Outside of music, Jeff is a normal American teenager. He goes to school, plays sports and video games, and hangs out with friends on a regular basis.
Denis Brunelle-Well, looks like the ghost writer has finally come out of the closet! As a model 57, I can say that have quite a long history of a passionate relationship with the music. I grew up with the British invasion and most especially with The Beatles, and later on The Rolling Stones. At the beginning of high school, the likes of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, CCR and The Years After were my idols. As I grew up, still a teenager, a brand new musical world crossed my path: the progressive scene. Then the discoveries seemed endless: Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, ELP,Yes, Frank Zappa and Genesis amongst others. Somewhere along the road, I got familiar with icons like Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Neil Young and the solo work of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. During College, the progressive scene was boiling with great releases. Later on, I was introduced to a strange and fascinating character: Peter Hammill and more fascination from Egg, National Health ,Hatfield and the North Then the 80's came along and although some interesting acts came to life like: The Cure, The Police, Depeche Mode, The Art of Noise, my prog. records were frequently spinning. In the 90's Frank Zappa took a lot of my musical time, although Uncle Frank has always been one of my favorite composer ever since I discovered him in high school.
Now that seems to be pretty far from what you normally see me writing reviews about. In the late 90's a friend of mine introduced me to that mad metal scene. His references were more into the power / prog metal genres. It was not too long before I did my homework and opened up a never ending treasury chest of talented underground acts. At first, it was mostly progressive bands such as: Ayreon and The Flower Kings. Then the Gothic scene with Tristania, only to fall in love with The Kovenant and black metal. With the discoveries of the underground scene, came the metal webzines, so I got a chance to write for a small zine almost ten years ago. With something like 1300 to 1500 reviews under my belt, needless to say that a lot of new and talented bands came across my CD player and my collection grew up constantly. I am a big fan of the black /folk/pagan and Viking European metal scene and more specially music from Germany and, of course, Norway.
On a more musician note, I became more and more possessed by the acoustic guitar. I had a few guitars in the past and played on and off up until four/five years ago. Then I became more serious about playing, and took courses. Late last year, I was looking for a better instrument and was directed towards the Taylor series. I felt instantly in love with the sound of that great instrument, so I took one home with me. The type of music I like playing is not prog or black metal but blues. It came as a revelation to me with the courses I took with a private teacher while frequently asking to learn early Stones compositions. Their vintage work like: Beggars Banquet, Let it Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street is a constant source of inspiration for me. That also re-directed my researches towards the blues scene, its origin and present artists, and it seems that I've just opened up another treasury chest!
Jason Guest-It's all Pink Floyd's fault. Well, maybenot all. Maybe Gary Numan should shoulder some of the burden. Iron Maiden too. Ohyes, Hendrix, him too. And Cream. Deep Purple's 'Black Night' – the firstbass-line learnt. And Primus – Les Claypool'srubber band bass line on 'Tommy the Cat' and 'Jerry Was A Race Car Driver',both mastered after many a midnight hour spanking, slapping, and tapping the fourstring demon. Cliff Burton's hair and distorted bass as well… Faith No More arestill a serious problem, and Mike Patton's Fantomas…erm, who else?… Sepultura, Pantera, Anthrax, Slayer… That's why… It's their fault! All ofit… and now it's anything grotesque and abnormal and stuff that doesn't fit inanywhere… Liberate tutame ex inferis!
Kim Jensen – with a rock-loving father who played theguitar in local rock bands on the Danish rock scene of the 70s and 80s and listened to the likes of The Beatles, TheStones, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Rainbow and whatnot on the family stereo, Kim'sjourney into rock music essentially began at birth, but it was Iron Maiden's Somewhere in Time that sparked off Kim'sinterest in hard rock, metal and progressive music and inspired him to pick upa guitar himself and learn how to play. Kim has worked in academia as aresearcher and teacher in the humanistic sciences for a number of years, buthis main passion is music – be it writing and playing music or listening to andwriting about music. While progressive music and metal in all itsforms remain his favorites, he listens to and enjoys music from many different genres.
Tom De Val-The first band I got into was Queen in the early eighties, soon getting beyond the singles and buying every album before I had anything else! My induction to the world of heavy metal came in the mid eighties at secondary school; someone gave me what sounded like a tenth-hand tape with Saxon's Wheels of Steel on one side and Twisted Sister's Stay Hungry on the other. Despite the awful sound quality, I was hooked, and remained so long after my peers had moved on to the next fad. Prog-wise, I got into this through Marillion's popular singles Kayleigh and Lavender, investigating the albums they came from and then their main inspiration, Genesis, who remain a favourite. Nowadays I like a range of music, from folk to world, blues to classical, but my first loves remain progressive rock and heavy metal (in its many varied forms). I write for the DPRP on the former, and concentrate on heavier material for SoT. Outside of music, I work as a Finance and Resources Manager for a London University, and enjoy long-distance running, hiking, cooking and writing fiction (I'm currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing). I also have a passion for (proper!) beer, although obviously can't indulge myself in this passion 24/7!
Gert Hulshof- In everyday life I am a Supply Chain, Logistics specialist, married for the second time, between us we have 5 kids. My musical life began in the 70's with bands like Queen, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep and Led Zeppelin, but also the hairbands with their bubble gum rock like The Sweet and Gary Glitter, later followed Kiss, and The Tubes. As it has been all my life music was ever present. A regular rough guy for my hometown in my teens, although I am not that rough, I think. People in my hometown simply were not used to "rockers". I live in the nothern part of the Netherlands near the German Border, farming Country. I like to believe I live music, tried to teach myself various instruments when I was young but failed, learning bass now and it seems to work. Next to my too busy everyday working life I have a reasonably busy "hobbylife", writing for SOT and DPRP, attending concerts and acting as official at swimmingcontest as well as being a treasurer for the local swimmingclub.
Simon Bray- hails from the North West of England where he teaches Film and Media in a large FE College. He first got into music in the late 1970s and his initial favourites were the Stranglers, the Undertones and Blondie (bands he still loves to this day.) From there he was introduced to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Southern Rock which is his ultimate passion/obsession. Simon has two children, one of whom shares his passion for metal especially of the power variety. His other son is a dead ringer for Udo Dirkschneider.He wrote for HardRockHouse before joining SoT.
Carl Sederholm--Carl grew up in Long Beach, California and currently lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah. By day, he works as a professor and teaches a variety of classes, including one on American Horror literature and film. He has been a fan of heavy metal music since 1984 when he first heard Def Leppard, Ozzy Osbourne, and Iron Maiden. He discovered Metallica when a record store clerk encouraged him to buy Ride the Lightning instead of Motorhead's No Remorse--he's never been the same. His other favorite bands include Megadeth, Testament, Armored Saint, Dio, Black Sabbath, and Mastodon. He loves all styles of metal, but has a special love for thrash, sludge, and anything influenced by Sabbath. Despite his California roots, he doesn't like glam, so don't ask. He plays the guitar, bass, and the banjo. He is married and has one son.
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