Occidental Explosions

Green Milk from the Planet Orange's progressive bombast.

Fun and progressive rock are two things that have never gone together. Fun was the last thing yer average proghead (the scrawny, humorless, and all too pretentious concert-band dork) was supposed to be having back in ’75 when he—always a he—dropped that needle on The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Table, the sprawling concept album (and short-lived ballet on ice) from Yes keyboardist and composer Rick Wakeman.

It’s for this reason that Dead K, a hard-core Yes fanatic and fiery fret wizard for the Japanese progcore trio Green Milk from the Planet Orange, blows my mind recently when he says from his celly while touring the Lone Star State, “I really want to get progressive rock into the mainstream. People really need to listen to prog rock because it is so dramatic and fun.”

Of course, it’s a Japanese rocker who finds fun in this severe, bombastic music. You see, bands from the Land of the Rising Sun have always turned occidental-bred rock inside out and upside down, radically transforming it into something foreign and unique, which no group in our hemisphere could ever have dreamed of producing.

As the 38-minute epic “A Day in the Planet Orange” (off of last year’s City Calls Revolution) clearly demonstrates, Dead K and his mates A (drums) and T (bass) do retain the massive catalog of finely crafted chops and complex time changes required of any serious prog outfit. At the same time, the music of GMftPO, which Dead K has tagged “the new wave of progressive rock,” bleeds life, shits fire, and bounces wildly about like an overcaffeinated punk pogoing, which is a definite novelty due in part to the fact that these three wild fuckers grew up in the Tokyo grindcore and death-metal scenes. But more importantly, it’s all about a fresh new perspective on things. And whereas ’70s dinosaurs like King Crimson and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer rocked like brooding intellectuals, Dead K and company perform with wild abandon, as if prog is—believe it or not—their sacred path toward passion, liberation, and all-out ecstasy.