There are not many well-known prog bands from Scotland, but most famous are probably Abel Ganz, Beggar’s Opera, Grand Tour, Comedy Of Erros, Circuline, Bodkin, Preacher, Second Skin, Sunday, Roads To Damascus, Crooked Mouth, Clouds and Pallas.
Three years ago the Scottish band Long Earth released the album The Suite, and now they are back with the sophomore album Once Around The Sun. The new Long Earth album lands March 2020. 66 minutes of melodic prog rock, featuring the epic Once Around The Sun Suite – the story of a relationship in 4 seasons. Two members, Gordon Mackie and Ken Weir have a history as members of Able Ganz. The line-up: Renaldo McKim – Electric, Acoustic, and Ambient Guitars, Gordon Mackie – Bass Guitar, Fretless Bass and Moog Bass Pedals, Ken Weir – Drums and Percussion, Mike Baxter – Piano, Synthesisers and Hammond C3, Martin Haggarty – Lead & Backing Vocals.
Long Earth came together by a series of fortunate but unexpected coincidences. A bunch of musicians who just wanted to create and have fun. They originally just got together to jam and see what came about, things went well and so they realized that they had become a band and needed a name. Mike Baxter was a real fan of Terry Pratchett and suggested the name Long Earth and it stuck. The track Invisible from the debut album The Source,
The Long Earth is the first novel in a collaborative science fiction series by British writers Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.
Mike Baxter was a feature of the Glasgow music scene during the 1970s and 1980s, playing notably with Shoot The Moon, Glas Clas and Identity Crisis amongst many others. It was during Baxter’s time with Identity Crisis that he played with Gordon Mackie. Rehearsing and recording in his houses in Edinburgh and then in Gordon’s basement in Kinghorn.
Gordon Mackie has a background in music spanning more than 40 years. During the ’80’s he provided the bottom end and drive for Cry Wolf and seminal Glasgow prog rock band Abel Ganz. Mackie recorded Gullible’s Travels with Abel Ganz and played a lot of great live gigs including the Venue and the Mayfair and Kelvingrove Festival. The track The Call from the debut album,
Moving into the ’90’s, following a move east to Edinburgh, a chance meeting in a supermarket in Comely Bank saw Gordon Mackie hooking up with Mike Baxter in Identity Crisis.
Ken Weir was the original drummer in Abel Ganz recording Gratuitous Flash and Gullible’s Travels with Hew Montgomery and, on Gullible’s Travels, with Gordon Mackie. 30 years later, the three of them would work together again in Long Earth. Not only Ken Weir but his sister Connie now does Long Earth’s artwork
Renaldo McKim joined Long Earth at the latter stages of the recording of the base tracks of their debut album The Source. McKim has played with many bands over the years, latterly with Suicide Underground and now Long Earth.
Martin Haggarty joined Long Earth in June 2018. Martin formed Glasgow post punk outfit Lost Weekends in 1983 during a Lou Reed/Iggy Pop phase before joining Abel Ganz for a brief spell and 5 or 6 gigs in1985. He joined short-lived proggers Masque in 86 before forming Field Of Vision 1987. After 4 years, Fields Of Vision took a hiatus that lasted until 2013, when the 3 core members reformed to write new music, some of which featured on 2015’s Viccissitudes Of Life EP, and 2016 single The Dagger. Fields Of Vision continue to write and record as a studio-only project, but with a desire to return to live music and a surplus of musical ideas, the opportunity to join a couple of former bandmates in Long Earth was too good to resist!
The final cog in the wheel is Hew Montgomery, Abel Ganz, Comedy Of Errors, Grand Tour who acts as a motivating factor in Long Earth. A semi silent partner almost.