"I do not date prog women!" Roine Stolt's confessions in My Prog

Roine Stolt in a floral jacket

Where’s home?

I live in Uppsala, Sweden. But I’m a touring musician so I travel from Tokyo to LA and beyond.

Earliest prog memory?

I remember hearing Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man on the radio in 1969, and even before that I can remember hearing The Mothers Of Invention, and some tracks from Freak Out! in ’66.

First prog record bought?

I bought Procol Harum’s first album in 1967, in a record store in Uppsala.

First prog gig you attended?

I went to see [jazz prog supergroup] Made In Sweden in the summer of ’69, I was 13.

Favourite piece of technology?

I don’t have one really, but of course the computer makes my life easier, and makes it easier to connect with people and musician friends.

What would your prog Mastermind subject be?

It’d be tricky, but how about obscure bands and their members?

Your biggest prog extravagance?

I don’t own any priceless items, but maybe my Gibson Les Paul Gold Top from 1953. Then there’s a Hammond & Leslie and Mellotron 400 from the early 70s. Or my 1966 Fender Precision Bass, or my Gibson ES175 from 1967. I’ve been lucky with a few items!

Favourite prog venue?

I really do like Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London.

Outside of prog, what are you into?

I don’t really have any hobbies, so I spend time with my family, watch movies, and go to the gym when I find the time.

Any guilty musical pleasures?

No. I’m very open about any kind of music, it helps feeding my brain with music of all sorts. I see no problem liking simple pop music as well as classical, opera, jazz, prog or avant-garde.

Tell us a surprising fact about you that nobody knows.

I wrote all the Beatles songs! No, not really…

Your all-time prog hero?

It’s hard to disregard Frank Zappa – his is a massive body of work.

What do you collect?

Memories. Just memories.

What was the last prog album you bought?

A remix of Yes’ Relayer, and before that King Crimson’s Lizard.

What was the last prog gig you saw?

I saw Zappa Plays Zappa a while ago. But I saw U2 too recently, and that was a very proggy presentation – very innovative and far out. Worthy of Pink Floyd at their peak!

Ever had a prog-related date?

I do not date prog women, but occasionally go to gigs with my wife! She digs Gabriel, Zappa, Yes and Gentle Giant.

Who in the prog fraternity do you call for a good night out?

No-one really. I don’t go to bars or party, except when we’re on tour of course, when the band go out for dinner together.

What’s the most important prog song for you personally?

Impossible to say – all of Topographic Oceans and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway hold a special place in my heart. That was the peak of the era in my opinion.

Which prog musician would you most like to work with?

Well I just worked with Steve Hackett and Jon Anderson, Adrian Belew and Thijs Van Leer – so at this point it’s Peter Gabriel or David Gilmour.

What prog song or album would you play to get you in

a good mood?

Some early Yes, or I’d venture into Vangelis, particularly Mythodea [1993].

Who’s the best prog artist you’ve ever seen live?

Yes back in the 70s I suppose, or maybe Weather Report.

Could you recommend a good proggy read?

No, I’m not a big reader.

Your favourite prog rock album cover?

The Beatles’ Revolver if that counts, or Yes’ Tales Of Topographic Oceans.

What are you up to at the moment?

Invention Of Knowledge is just coming out, the album that Jon Anderson and I created over the last one and a half years. It’s a big concept album with long tracks, symphonic and proggy in style. This is the first full band album Jon’s done since he left Yes. Remarkable times.

Invention Of Knowledge is out June 24 on InsideOut. Visit InsideOut’s website for more information.

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.