Harrison aimed to avoid ‘cheesy’ big band sound

Porcupine Tree and King Crimson drummer Gavin Harrison says he was careful to avoid sounding cheesy on his upcoming solo album.

Harrison issues Cheating The Polygraph on April 13 via Kscope. It features reimagined, big band versions of eight classic Porcupine Tree songs.

The idea first came about in 2009 when he was asked to take part in a memorial concert for the late drum icon Buddy Rich. Rich’s daughter Cathy planted the seed for what eventually became Cheating The Polygraph.

Harrison tells MusicRadar: “Cathy said to me, ‘You’re welcome to play any of Buddy’s tunes, of course, but what would be really fun is if you did a song from your band.’

“My band’s music isn’t anything like Buddy’s, obviously, so I thought about it, and then I got together with Laurence Cottle, a big band arranger, to see what might work.

“I told Laurence, ‘I don’t want this to be funny. It couldn’t be comedy, cheesy, ‘rock does swing’ or anything like that. I thought it should be serious music. We went with that approach, and it came out great.”

After working together on the first song, Harrison and Cottle set about making an album over the course of five years.

“It was a fascinating process,” Harrison says. “There were actually 10 songs that just wouldn’t work. We started them, wrote an intro or a verse, a middle-eight, but we ultimately decided there wasn’t enough material in certain songs to work with.

“They were more about atmosphere, sound and vibe than strictly chords and melody. So I gave up on those pieces and concentrated on the ones that gave me enough to rearrange.”

Cheating The Polygraph is available to pre-order from Kscope’s online store and iTunes.


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Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.