Brainstorm: Gandalf's Fist's Dean Marsh

This month we needle GANDALF’S FIST’S DEAN MARSH

Q1 Back in university, you and bassist Chris Ewen mooted the idea of starting a tribute act playing the music of which hard rock band? DEAN MARSH: [Dourly] That would have to be Motörhead. A: Correct. Apparently you do a great Lemmy impression… Q2 Before becoming a real band, Gandalf’s Fist was just you, a fake Myspace page and fake bandmates. Can you name them and their instruments? DM: Pinto Johnson on flute, Wapnar Dave on harp, Pablo on vocals, Bopper on drums and Admiral Poon on keyboards. A: Full house! DM: God, that came from deep down! Q3 The Dunmail Stones from your Songs From The Solway EP started as a cover of which song by which artist? DM: [Brightening slightly] The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins by Leonard Nimoy. A: Correct. Q4 What was the very first song you sent drummer Stefan Hepe to work on? DM: Cymbaline by Pink Floyd. A: He says he still plays the rough mix in the car from time to time. Q5 What’s the longest song on A Day In The Life Of A Universal Wanderer, and how long is it? DM: The Wanderer Goes South. About nine minutes? A: 8.50, so we’ll give you that. DM: [Borderline cheery] Getting there! Q6 At your festival gig in Cheltenham last December, what did Chris shout out to the crowd in the middle of She Dwelt Among The Untrodden Ways? DM: “Stick a peg leg up your arse!” He’d had his fair share of Newcastle Brown. Q7 What was the working title for the new album A Forest Of Fey? DM: Through The Forest Gate. A: It was. Q8 The album features master pipesman Troy Donockley, but which Nightwish release marked his first appearance for that band? DM: Was it Dark Passion Play? A: From 2007 - well done, sir! DM: Get in there! Q9 ‘Staring at the distance, visions forming in my mind/And the world will stop from turning, I will leave them all behind.’ These are lyrics from which song from which Fist album? DM: There And Back Again from From A Point Of Existence. A: Correct. Q10 Stefan claims you only know one word in German. What is it? DM: Luftkissenboot – it means hovercraft. A: We just wanted to hear you say it. General Prog Q11 Besides the band themselves, can you name any other two contributors to Pink Floyd’s new album The Endless River? DM: Polly Samson wrote some of the lyrics. Apart from that, no. A: Durga McBroom, Youth, Phil Manzanera, Gilad Atzmon, Andy Jackson and Guy Pratt. DM: I thought Guy would count as part of the band? A: Don’t be ridiculous! Q12 Can you name Jethro Tull’s first guitarist? DM: Was it Mick… Abrahams? A: It was. Q13 Which prog classic did Iron Maiden cover on the B-side of their single The Trooper? DM: Was that Cross-Eyed Mary? A: Yes, the classic Jethro Tull tune. Q14 In which year did early-music/prog rockers Gryphon release their self-titled debut album? DM: Would that be 1973? A: It would. Q15 Can you name any other project featuring Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin? DM: No, you’d need a photographic memory for that. A: The list includes Burnt Belief, Henry Fool and Metallic Taste Of Blood. Q16 The 1960s band The Wilde Flowers eventually led to the formation of which two major Canterbury bands? DM: Caravan and [mood darkening]… no. A: And Soft Machine. Q17 Can you name the latest Tool album and the year of release? DM: I haven’t listened to them for years. A: 10,000 Days, in 2006. Q18 Which Prog Award did Arjen Lucassen take away from this year’s ceremony? DM: Some sort of songwriting award? A: It was ‘Virtuoso’. Q19 What was the last album recorded by Queensrÿche before Geoff Tate left the band? DM: Was it American Soldier? I lost interest after that. A: It was actually the next one, Dedicated To Chaos. Q20 In which Curved Air song does Sonja Kristina sing: ‘Yesterday you know it never really happened/Tomorrow you know it never really had.’ DM: Not unless you sing it to me! A: You’d regret it if I did. It was It Happened Today. TOTAL SCORE 1420 “Well that’s better than I thought I’d do – at least I’m not bottom of the pile.”

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.