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Genesis’ Tony Banks & Yes’ Chris Squire to be Honoured at Thursday’s Progressive Music Awards

Founder member of Genesis, Tony Banks, Announced as 2015’s Prog God. Chris Squire Virtuoso Award Named in Honour of Yes Legend.

 Prog Magazine’s, Orange Amplification presents Progressive Music Awards, in association with Currencies.co.uk, is honoured to announce that founder member of Genesis, Tony Banks, will be the recipient of the 2015 Prog God Award, as well as honouring the formidable Chris Squire by naming the Virtuoso Award after him.

The Prog God, presented by Orange Amplification, is an accolade bestowed to music’s innovators, deities without whom the musical landscape would be a much poorer place. Tony Banks could be no more deserving. He has sold in excess of 130 million albums, his career spans almost 50 years, he is a member of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, is one of the most respected songwriters and keyboardists in the world and his body of work, both with Genesis and beyond, is as innovative as it is eclectic. Genesis’ avant-garde style made them one of progressive rock’s founding fathers in the 1970s. They went on to produce music with a greater pop sensibility in the 1980s, becoming one of the biggest selling bands of the decade, playing stadiums throughout the world.

Tony’s solo work continued very much in the same vein. He recently released ‘A Chord Too Far’, an anthology of his work outside of Genesis, including work from his two most recent orchestral albums, Seven: A Suite for Orchestra and SIX Pieces for Orchestra, that were performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra respectively.

Previous recipients are Rick Wakeman, Ian Anderson and Peter Gabriel.

Tony Banks said, “I’m not normally picked out for this sort of recognition. In fact, I have spent my entire career trying not to be noticed. Now, someone has seen through my clever disguise.

“I am obviously really gratified to get this award and it’s nice to know people appreciate the music I’ve helped to create. Being in such rarefied company with the previous winners is also something I’m delighted about. Rick, Ian and Peter are probably the first people you think of when you mention the bands they’re most associated with. But I see myself as representing the backroom boys of prog, who are often overlooked.”

The untimely passing of Chris Squire in June of this year was something that not only shook the prog world, but also music as a whole. To honour undoubtedly one of the greatest bassist of all time, Prog Magazine are re-naming the Virtuoso Award sponsored by Carlin Music, the Chris Squire Virtuoso – which honours the best instrumentalist around.

Chris was as much loved as a personality as he was adored and admired as a musician. His sound and style were unique, forming the sound of Yes and influencing some of the most influential bassists of the past 50 years.

Yes drummer, Alan White, says, “Renaming this award is highly appropriate. Chris did so much to shape the way the bass is played these days, and his impact was incalculable. He was a unique and inspiring musician. Of course, all of us who were privileged to know him will miss him hugely. But the music he did so much to help create is timeless. And this honour will ensure his name will never be forgotten.”

Yes Keyboardist, Geoff Downes, says, “It’s really nice that Prog magazine have done that. From our standpoint, we all want Chris to be remembered in the best possible way, and naming an award after him is a great honour not just for Chris but for the band as well. I think it’s very fitting, and I think in the case of it being a virtuoso of an instrument that’s generally considered to be supportive in the band just shows the extent of what a genius he was, to be able to take that to a virtuoso standard. I think as a pioneer of bass guitar, there’s probably no one who could match him on what he achieved with the instrument. He really had a big influence, not just on the rock scene but all other types of music. There are bass players out there that remember Chris Squire as being the godfather of rock bass guitar.”

Jerry Ewing, editor of Prog Magazine, says, “Classic rock and heavy metal have the guitarist, but for progressive music the keyboard player often fulfills the role of hero. And none come more heroic than Tony Banks. His keyboards have always been the bedrock of the Genesis sound, from their early, exploratory progressive days all the way up to the late 90s when he’d blend more contemporary sounds with longer form pieces that harked back to earlier times. His solo career too has displayed a fine combination for his sense of pomp and grandiosity on the one hand, and delicate musical turn of phrase on the other. Something that informs his recent classical work so well. I can’t think of a more fitting recipient of the Prog God Award.

“As for Chris Squire, never has the progressive world mourned a loss so heavily. A giant in all senses of the word, and man whose presence touched all who came into contact with him, and who was great fun to boot. Renaming our award the Chris Squire Virtuoso Award seemed the least we could do to try and make sure his name and his dedication to forward thinking music lives on.”

Orange Amplification presents Progressive Music Awards in association with currencies.co.uk, take place on September 3, at the Underglobe at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

@ProgMagazineUK / #progawards

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About David Farrell

General Manager and 'THE' competition guy at planetmosh.com. Manager of The Goddanm Electric www.thegde.co.uk, Tour manager for Serpentine, and ex-general Dogsbody at Hammerfest.co.uk. Media partner to numerous bands. Also takes photos, writes reviews and likes classic rock, with a touch of thrash to get the blood flowing.
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