My Prog Hero: Jens Johansson

null

The Stratovarius keyboardist has been following Eddie Jobson throughout his musical career.

“I first came across Eddie Jobson in the 70s when I was about 12 or 13. It would have either been through UK or Frank Zappa. That sort of music wasn’t played on the radio in Sweden, but someone in our gang would buy a record and say: ‘Have you checked this one out? You should listen to this!’

What grabbed my attention was his playing; it was great. I think he’s got a very good melodic sense. Eddie’s played in a lot of other bands and did some solo stuff too and we would soak it up like sponges. When he joined Jethro Tull, we were like, ‘What the fuck? This is amazing.’

Eddie Jobson.

Eddie Jobson.

“Sweden was all about punk in the late 70s, so my circle of friends were the outcasts because we were still listening to hard rock. UK were like lepers because they were creating this complex stuff which was considered completely uncool. I think their music is far superior to a lot of stuff from the 70s but they were too late for the scene. If their debut [UK] had come out in ’74, they would have been prog giants.

I started playing keyboards around the time I discovered UK. I was still at school so it was just a hobby at that point but Eddie Jobson’s approach to playing really inspired me.

If I had to pick one album as my favourite, it would be [UK’s 1979 live album] Night After Night. It includes all the best songs, including Caesar’s Palace Blues, and I could listen to it forever. It would probably be one of my Desert Island Discs. I’ve never seen Eddie play live but I saw the footage of UK’s 2013 Japan reunion shows on YouTube and they were very good. I would’ve liked to have been there.

Although Stratovarius are a rock band, we sometimes try to sneak in more complex things. Our current guitarist Matias Kupiainen is into Dream Theater and Symphony X, who I really like as well. Symphony

X are probably one of my favourite bands; they write really good melodic stuff and I love their new album Underworld. I think it’s amazing.”

Eternal is out now through EARmusic. Stratovarius play 02 Islington Academy on November 3. For more see www.stratovarius.com.