Have A Cigar: Progzilla

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Cliff Pearson’s road to becoming a podcaster is one oft travelled: he played in a band in the 80s and spent the next 20-odd years working as a mobile DJ. After tiring of spinning trance to stoned hippies, he returned to his first love: prog. His aim? “To do something to help promote new music.”

Cliff Pearson’s road to becoming a podcaster is one oft travelled: he played in a band in the 80s and spent the next 20-odd years working as a mobile DJ. After tiring of spinning trance to stoned hippies, he returned to his first love: prog. His aim? “To do something to help promote new music.”

Progzilla was founded as a monthly podcast in 2009, and in July 2013 it morphed into its current incarnation as a weekly live show. The title reflects its ravenous appetite for musical style and tastes. As it’s gained impetus, Pearson has even welcomed co-hosts such as Knifeworld’s Kavus Torabi and guitarist Matt Stevens. “When each guest chooses their Top 10, I’m quite insistent that they don’t have to just pick prog,” he explains. “Anything goes. Just because they’re a progressive artist doesn’t mean that all of their influences will come from this world. When I interviewed Andy Tillison from The Tangent, I was playing things like Earth, Wind & Fire and Diana Ross. It made for a really refreshing show.”

His ideal co-hosts? “Robert Fripp and Peter Gabriel, although I’m sure neither would ever agree to do it,” he shrugs. “Actually, I nearly ran Robert Fripp over at the Albert Hall last year!

I was leaving the car park after the Steven Wilson show and suddenly there was a little old man in front of me… He turned and waved apologetically at me.” When not mowing down prog royalty, Pearson can mostly be found in his studio, Progzilla Towers – which is the guest bedroom of his Essex bungalow!

Over the years, sourcing the show’s eclectic playlist has become more of a passive activity. In the past, he would spend hours scouring sites like Bandcamp for new music, whereas he’s now inundated with young bands all hoping to get their music heard on his programme. So much so that he’ll soon be launching a second show through progrock.com. “It’s going to be called The Progzilla Files and each show will have a different theme,” he enthuses, practically levitating at all the opportunities progressive music currently affords. In his own words: “Long may it continue.”** **

_Tune in every Wednesday evening at progzilla.com. _