Drummer Bob Kurthy of Blow Up Blow—alias Dr. Drummond of the Bolides—is happy to discuss his artwork, his music and his participant's perspective on the past 15 years of local music. However, it's as one of the area's pre-eminent progressive rock music fans that he truly shines.
You're an artist as well as a drummer?
I've done most of the artwork for bands I'm in: the fliers, covers, posters and shirts. I did a comic book with Eric, who's in Blow Up Blow. I always dreamed of doing comics when I was a kid, but that made me realize that I hate to draw the same thing over and over. It doesn't look tedious when you look at it, but it is.
So you're also known as a progressive rock fan.
I like all kinds of different music, but the prog rock thing is something I've loved deeply for over 20 years, and I've always gotten all kinds of shit about it. So I guess I talk about it more because of that. The last couple of years more young kids are getting into that kind of stuff, and there are some bands getting big that I would consider progressive. There's kind of a tide of acceptance. But this will pass.
Who are your favorites?
King Crimson. All eras of King Crimson and early Genesis.
What about later Genesis?
I'm not into the hits. There's stuff on all the later albums that would kind of fit with what I listen to, but not the hits.
How do you like Phil Collins as a solo artist?
I like him as a singer. I don't like the hits as far as the solo career. I do like a few things on his first two solo albums.
Which came first for you, punk or prog?
I listened to punk rock before I got into prog. I was born in 1970, so there was always a little prog rock here and there before I knew it was called that. In sixth grade I saw Devo and the Cars and then got into punk rock, stuff my older brother would bring home. I still like a lot of the punk stuff, but I got a little bit burned out. I started listening to typical classic rock radio. There were songs here and there I would pick out. No one got me into prog rock. I just put things together. I'd go to used record stores. I had no comrades in this. It was a total solo venture.
How do you like the bands that mix prog and punk?
It's always been in the back of my mind playing music, finding some sort of medium there. It's not easy to do. I like NoMeansNo a lot. They found a way to blend prog and punk. It usually takes a lot of dark humor. I'm all for the hybrids. I'm not a purist.
As a prog fan, how do you get music?
In most stores, I don't find what I'm looking for. I listen to a lot of Internet radio. I have 27 progressive rock stations on my iTunes. I used to make lists and go to stores and find one out of 20 things. It's not stores lacking as much as my liking stuff that's not well-liked.
Do you have favorite obscure prog bands?
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Lately I've been getting hold of a lot of old Italian prog bands—Goblin, Osanna, stuff like that. All that sound is based on the original British prog bands. One of my favorite bands is a Swedish band called Anekdoten. They're currently playing. But they're my age, and they work regular jobs in Sweden. They don't get over here that much.
Got any favorite local prog-ish bands?
The Mars Volta is partly local. Bad Dudes. There's a band called Big Muscles. It doesn't seem so trendy to the point where everyone's trying to do it.