Brainstorm 57: Stuart Nicholson

Q1 Galahad formed 30 years ago, in 1985. Where and when was your first show? STUART NICHOLSON: It was at Somerford Community Centre, on August 31. A: Correct.

Q2 In the past 30 years you’ve gone through three drummers. Can you name them in order of service?

SN: We’ve had a few, but the main ones are Paddy O’Callaghan, Steve Pearson and our current drummer, Spencer Luckman.

A: Correct.

Q3 A two-part Spencer question: where was his first gig with the band, and what colour was the kit he played at his audition?

SN: His first gig was at The Academy, Boscombe. And the kit, ooh – was it red?

A: It was. He told us so.

Q4 You did a live cassette album in 1987, One Knight At Mr C’s. Can you name the Genesis and ELP covers that were on there?

SN: The Genesis was Afterglow, and ELP… Fanfare For The Common Man? NO! It was Brain Salad Surgery.

A: Correct.

Q5 Your debut album proper, Nothing Is Written, followed four years later. What’s the longest track on there?

SN: I’d say that was Richelieu’s Prayer, it’s about eight minutes.

A: Eight minutes and ten seconds. Correct.

Q6 Lyrics round: ‘In to the bowl of human celebration, Steps our hero to ecstasy out front and they know it!’ Which song from which album?

SN: One for The Record, from In A Moment Of Complete Madness. Maybe you spotted that it’s about Genesis re-forming at Milton Keynes Bowl?

A: Now you mention it…

Q7 You played Night Of The Prog Festival in Loreley, Gemany back in 2010. Can you name three other bands on the bill?

SN: Marillion, The Enid and Twelfth Night.

A: Yep. Also Pallas, Ars Nova, Three Friends.

Q8 And what connects Galahad with Twelfth Night?

SN: Lots of things, but Roy [Keyworth, guitar] and Dean [Baker, keys] have both played with them.

A: Correct.

Q9 Your recent EP releases include a version of Rammstein’s Mein Herz Brennt. Which one of their albums is that song from, and what year was the album released?

SN: It’s from Mutter. Ooh, the year – two thousand and… one?

A: Richtig!

Q10 You sang backing vocals on Big Big Train’s Goodbye To The Age Of Steam album. But which tune did you sing on?

SN: I think it was Dragon Bone Hill.

A: Full marks, so far…

General Prog

Q11 Where was Robert Fripp born?

SN: Wimborne, Dorset. Four miles from me.

A: Correct.

Q12 What was the final studio album by Genesis?

SN: Calling All Stations.

A: It was.

Q13 Peter Gabriel’s first solo single after he left Genesis was Solsbury Hill. But what was the B-side to that track?

SN: Oooh. Was it Moribund The Burgermeister? I’ve got it, it’s in the attic somewhere.

A: Absolutely right – very good knowledge.

Q14 Which prog guitar legend played the flamenco-style guitar part in Queen’s song Innuendo?

SN: [Immediately] Steve Howe.

A: Correct.

Q15 Which is the only band member to have played on every Pink Floyd album?

SN: Roger Waters. No no, Dave Gilmour.

A: Oh dear. It was Nick Mason.

SN: Argh – of course!

Q16 ‘Rain, sea, surf, sand, clouds and sky/Hush now baby don’t you cry.’ Lyrics from which much-loved Barclay James Harvest song?

SN: [Sings the rest of the verse] Mocking Bird.

A: Very nice.

Q17 Which band’s latest album’s called The Unquiet Sky?

SN: Is that Arena?

A: It is.

Q18 From which album does Rush’s classic The Spirit Of Radio come?

SN: Gah, I know this! I can see it [Long pause]. Permanent Waves.

A: Yes!

Q19 What was Fish’s last album with Marillion?

SN: Clutching At Straws. I actually auditioned for them shortly after.

A: Wow…

Q20 … And for the all time Brainstorm record: who connects The Steven Wilson Band, Asia and The Aristocrats?

SN: It’s not a guitarist is it, Guthrie? Guthrie Govan?

A: Sir, I doff my quizzard’s hat to you. You’re our all-time high scorer.

TOTAL: 1920

Wow, thank you - I’m quite surprised. That Pink Floyd one is annoying me now though. Nick Mason… of course it was!

Grant Moon

A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Prog, Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.