Skip to main content

my prog hero

“I’ve gotten to know those guys and it’s been pretty mind-blowing.”

“I found out about Voivod around the time of [1988’s] Dimension Hatröss, which was the album after their breakthrough Killing Technology. I was a metal kid and they were considered a thrash band but had off time signatures and were complicated enough to set them apart from the rest of the crowd.

Denis ‘Piggy’ D’Amour’s guitar playing was stellar and just weird – not your average bumblebee notes but chords I couldn’t figure out. I don’t have the attention span to work out their riffs and I’ve never heard a guy play guitar like that since. There was almost a disregard for structured solos and this was in the 80s when you had to be a dynamo guitar player. Jean-Yves ‘Blacky’ Thériault’s blower bass was crazy too. They had a lot of time signatures that didn’t conform with the other thrash bands of the time.

In Canada, we have this TV station called MuchMusic where they used to play Voivod videos. The first one I saw was Ripping Headaches [from 1986’s Rrröööaaarrr] and

I thought the song title was the best – it’s still in my top 10. _Tribal Convictions was another and Psychic Vacuum_ - they played those videos at four o’clock in the afternoon, which is when their metal show the Power Hour used to play out. There was such a push with their follow-up Nothingface and so [their cover of Pink Floyd’s] Astronomy Domine was played even on the regular shows. Nothingface and Dimension Hatröss were my favourite albums, and still to this day they sound fucked up.

Over the years, I’ve gotten to know the guys and it’s been pretty mind-blowing with each one I’ve met. I had their pictures on my wall as a teenager and now I can say I’m friends with them and it’s nice. Piggy’s passed away now but when I met him, we hung out and he even came to our shows. I met [drummer] Michel ‘Away’ Langevin just by hanging out in Montreal and in 2006, we got him to do two T-shirt designs for us in the Voivod artwork style. They even made it into the book Worlds Away: Voivod & the Art Of Michel Langevin.”

Danko Jones’ new album Fire Music is out viaNew Damage. For more visit www.dankojones.com.

Danko Jones. Photograph by Dustin Rabin

Natasha Scharf
Natasha Scharf

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.