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Marillion at the Royal Oak, 5 Things To Know
Marillion’s is a name spoken in reverential terms by progressive rock fans.
The British quintet has been in motion since 1979, releasing 18 studio albums -- 2015’s “F.E.A.R.” being the most recent -- and like forebears such as Yes, Genesis and King Crimson not only survived a change in frontmen (from Fish to Steve Hogarth in 1989) but thrived in its wake. Marillion also holds the distinction of being a crowdfunding pioneer, partnering with fans to finance its projects since 2001’s “Anoraknophobia.”
Fresh of the Yes-hosted Cruise to the Edge, Marillion is back on terra firma and spreading “F.E.A.R.” and loving on a rare romp through North America...
• Hogarth, 58, says by phone that Marillion doesn’t get to visit the U.S. as much as it would like for a couple of reasons. One is the expense of applying for work visas for the band and its crew -- roughly $1,200 per person -- as well as bringing all of its gear across the Atlantic. In addition, Hogarth adds, “We’re all of a certain age. We’ve got families and children and we’re not prepared to just commit to putting our lives on hold for six months to come and really work (the U.S.) properly. It’s not the kind of country you can tour in a week. So that makes it hard.”
• On this particular tour, Hogarth notes, Marillion is “not touching any of our core sort of hot spots. We’re almost deliberately playing the places we’ve hardly played. For instance we played in Orlando the other night, and we’ve never played in Florida, even. And we played in Atlanta where we’ve been once but not for many years. And they were both really cracking shows, a great response. So whenever we do come here and get through immigration and visas and stuff, we’re always glad we came.”
• Fans can rest assured they’ll hear “Kayleigh,” the 1985 single that remains Marillion’s biggest hit in the U.S. “People are now at an age where they’ve got 22-year-old daughters named Kayleigh, which was a girl’s name that didn’t exist until the band coined it -- which is hard to believe ‘cause there’s so many around now,” Hogarth says. “And we hear, ‘Kayleigh’s my name. I’m coming to the show with my dad and he’s a big fan. Can you please play it?’ and it seems churlish not to do it.”
• Marillion has recently started releasing a series of archival live albums that were originally fan club items. One in particular, “Unplugged At The Walls,” hails from an unexpected acoustic show the group played while recording its “Radiation” album during 1998 in Oswestry near Wales. “We found this really good restaurant in town that happened to be owned by a guy who was quite a music enthusiast,” Hogarth recalls. “We made a deal that if we could eat in his restaurant every night for free we’d do a gig there at the end of it. So we did, and we did. We played an acoustic show in this guy’s restaurant by way of paying for three weeks of dinner and we recorded it. It was very unique.”
• Marillion doesn’t have a firm timeline for its follow up to “F.E.A.R.,” but Hogarth says the process has begun. “We’ve started jamming again in the studio, which is really how the songwriting process works for us,” he says. “It’s weeks and months of jamming around and listening back, grabbing any happy accidents that happen and starting with those as building blocks for the songs. We haven’t had that much time because we haven’t really stopped touring since ‘F.E.A.R.’ came out. But it’s quite nice, really, not to just stay in the studio. It may take a little longer, but it keeps us fresh.”
If You Go:
• Friday, Feb. 16. Doors open at 7 p.m.
• Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St.
• Tickets are $45-$75.
• Call 248-399-2980 or visit royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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