“When The Spirit Of Radio came on she sang every word. I knew right then she was the one”: Crown Lands’ Kevin Comeau discovered Rush at 14, forging two marriages made in Heaven

Kevin Comeau and Rush
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kevin Comeau is half of the Canadian duo Crown Lands, providing guitar, bass and keys for their prog-infused rock. In a quickfire round of questions he offers an insight into his musical world, covering his appreciation of Rush, Rick Wakeman, Smashing Pumpkins and even Shania Twain.

Where’s home?

Uxbridge, Ontario: the Trail Capital of Canada.

Your earliest memory of prog?

I uploaded my uncle’s Rush albums onto my iPod Nano when I was 14. The first album I listened to was A Farewell To Kings. Xanadu was the first time I heard Taurus pedals, tubular bells, odd time signatures, Minimoogs. It blasted the prog doors open for me.

What was the first prog album you bought?

As a kid, the only spot I could find records was a flea market in my hometown. I’d go every Sunday with my dad. The first album I bought was Animals by Pink Floyd. And then I bought a first pressing of [Rush’s Hemispheres on red vinyl.

And the latest?

Brass Camel’s debut album, Brass. They’re a very cool prog band from British Columbia, Canada with hints of fusion and funk.

Your first prog gig?

The first concert I ever saw was The Smashing Pumpkins at Massey Hall [in Toronto] in 2008. I always felt the Pumpkins pulled from the prog greats in all the right ways. Jimmy Chamberlin is one of my favourite drummers, it was incredible to see him do his thing live.

And the most recent?

I had the pleasure of seeing Rick Wakeman perform solo in Albany, NY this past March. He’s incredible. He will always be my favourite keyboard player.

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What’s the best prog show you ever saw?

Rush’s final show in Toronto in 2015. I caught both nights but the second night they played Losing It from Signals for the first time. The energy in the room was incredible! It was a poignant moment and one I’m glad I caught.

Your latest prog discovery?

The Chronicles Of Father Robin have captured my imagination lately. Really cool Norwegian supergroup with members from Wobbler – a Jethro Tull-esque mystical folk-prog vibe with something else I can’t quite put into words. Highly recommended.

I played with Alex Lifeson onstage a couple of years ago and we’ve stayed in touch

Guilty musical pleasure?

I love Shania Twain’s Come On Over – 90s country was filled with incredible guitar playing and tones by Brent Mason and Dann Huff. I love Mutt Lange’s production, too.

Outside of music, what are you into?

I’m obsessed with coffee. Whenever we’re on tour I try to find the most interesting locally roasted beans. I love a good natural Ethiopian coffee. I like to do pour overs with my V60 [coffee dripper] at home and on the road I use my Aeropress.

Got a book recommendation for us?

Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig. It’s a special book for so many reasons.

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Ever had a prog-related date?

On one of the first dates I went on with my wife, we showed each other our favourite records. One of mine was [Rush’s] Exit Stage Left. When The Spirit Of Radio came on my wife sang every word. I knew right then that she was the one.

Who’s your prog hero?

Rick Wakeman. If Rick is anything, he is uncompromising. His use of the Minimoog is permanently etched on my brain!

What’s the most important piece of prog music?

Easily Close To The Edge by Yes. Still the greatest prog album of all time for me.

Which prog muso would you most like to work with?

I played with Alex Lifeson onstage at Massey Hall a couple of years ago, for a charity gig, and we have stayed in touch. I’d love to work on some music with him.

What prog album gets you in a good mood?

Apostrophe (’) by Frank Zappa – I love Zappa’s humour and this record showcases it perfectly. It’s one of our go-to albums to listen to in the van on tour as well.

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What’s your favourite prog album cover?

It has to be In The Court Of The Crimson King. There are some incredible covers out there, but none as iconic, in my opinion.

And what are you up to at the moment?

We’re finishing up an instrumental record with Terry Brown and David Barrett, and we have another one we’ve been recording with Justin Meli. We’re writing a new, full-length Crown Lands record too, which picks up from the last one, Fearless. We have about 20 demos – it’s been a productive recording year for us!

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.