Brainstorm: Nick Barrett

Q1 Zeus Pendragon formed in Stroud in 1978. Where in the town was the band’s first gig?

NICK BARRETT: The Marshall Rooms.

A: Correct.

Q2 You first supported Marillion in 1983, and you sold cassettes from your merch desk that came in two different colours. Which ones?

NB: [Laughs] One was a light sky blue and the other a very cunning pink!

A: Correct.

Q3 Where and when were your first European shows?

NB: With Marillion again, in 1985 in Holland – the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg in Utrecht.

A: Correct.

Q4 What’s the longest track on your 1985 debut album, Jewel?

NB: I think it’s The Black Knight.

A: At nine minutes and 57 seconds.

Q5 Which was Clive Nolan’s first album with the band?

NB: The World, from ’91.

A: I think it was Kowtow, from ’88…

NB: Yes. I got it wrong.

Q6 Lyrics from which song from which album? ‘Ruled by numbers by figures by facts/To free the self‑made prison.’

NB: Ah, A Man Of Nomadic Traits, from Not Of This World.

A: Correct.

Q7 You played on the 2005 ProgAID single All Around The World…

NB: Did I?!

A: Yes. Can you name any other two guitarists on there?

NB: Chris Fry from Magenta. And [despairing] Jimi Hendrix?!

A: If only. Chris was on there, with Arjen Lucassen, Bruce Soord, Bryan Josh, John Mitchell, Roine Stolt and many more.

Q8 You’ve just played the 10th Night Of The Prog in Loreley. Which group opened proceedings, and in which year did you first play the festival?

NB: I can’t remember the band but we did the festival in 2007.

A: You did. The opening band was Lesoir.

Q9 Your excellent current album The Men Who Climb Mountains was produced by Karl Groom. On which record did he first work with you?

NB: The Window Of Life?

A: In ’93 – he was your engineer.

Q10 Recently you went wild swimming in La Roque-sur-Cèze in France. You passed two strangers on the shore and, quite bizarrely, they were listening to a Pendragon track on their iPad. Which one was it?

NB: It was Breaking The Spell. We were absolutely in the middle of nowhere – it was incredible. How the bloody hell did you know that?!

A: The Quizzard has his ways. That’s such a great story.

General Prog

Q11 One of Camel’s most popular songs, Lady Fantasy, appears on which album?

NB: Camel by Camel.

A: Mirage.

NB: [Genuinely pained] Oooh! Oh well…

Q12 And who wrote the book that inspired their classic album The Snow Goose?

NB: Paul Gallico.

A: Correct.

Q13 Which Genesis album takes its rather unusual name from their shorthand for the early structure of its title track?

NB: I was hoping for some Genesis lyrics! [Thinks hard] Was it… Abacab?

A: It was!

Q14 And which was Steve Hackett’s last studio album with Genesis?

NB: Um… Wind And Wuthering.

A: Correct.

Q15 What was the venue for Pink Floyd’s highly avant-garde 1969 show ‘The Final Lunacy’, featuring gorillas, cannon fire and on-stage carpentry?

NB: I don’t know. I’ll have a guess at Pompeii.

A: The Royal Albert Hall.

Q16 And who co-wrote the title suite from 1970’s Atom Heart Mother album with the band?

NB: Crikey. No idea.

A: Ron Geesin.

Q17 Can you name any two other bands that Marillion’s Pete Trewavas is part of?

NB: Transatlantic, and…

A: Hint: it’s a duo.

NB: Peters & Lee!

A: Correct! Wait, no – it’s actually Edison’s Children.

Q18 And which Marillion album is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year?

NB: Bloody hell. That’s got to be Misplaced Childhood.

A: Sure is.

Q19 Mike Holmes and Martin Orford formed IQ after their first band together split up. What was it called?

NB: The Lens.

A: It was.

Q20 Finally, who played keyboards on Yes’ 1980 album Drama?

NB: Geoff Downes.

A: Well done sir, a solid score.

TOTAL: 14½/20

[Laughs] A bit of guesswork there, but that was fine – great fun!

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.