It would be a mistake for one to believe that Greece was too much into punk rock and new wave.
During the 70’s, even in the early 80’s, Greeks really loved prog-rock.
Genesis, Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Pink Floyd, Van Der Graaf Generator and such bands had a vast number of fans.
You could find people singing the lyrics of the whole “The Lamb lies down on Broadway” album in one breath.
The big shots of the rock music press were promoting prog-rock like there was no tomorrow.
On the other hand, they were giving reviews for punk rock records , that now are considered as classics, using poison instead of ink.
Punk rock was shit for abnormals.
Heavy metal was kinky music for football hooligans.
Prog-rock was pure gold for intellectual, well educated people with great taste and long hair.
If a song didn’t have 54 different guitar riffs, a drummer with 4 arms and a complicated structure, it was condemned to the inky Hell of music journalism.
I know you think that was the early 70’s but no, I am talking bout the very late 70’s/early 80’s.
I had a few friends who were into prog-rock.
Of course there was a number of Greek prog-rock bands around such as Pete and Royce, P.L.J. Band, Schmetterling (without an “e”) and Apocalypsis.
Aphrodite’s Child were long gone through the 70’s leaving Demis Rousos the time to sing in front of kings and write books about diets while Vangelis was making his way to the Oscars…
As you realise, all these different “rock” tribes were in a constant fight through debates (and some times…real fist fights).
In 1980, I met one of my prog-rock friends with the debut album of the band Apocalypsis.
He told me “its great”, I told him to “shove it up his ass” but he insisted to make me listen to it.
Apocalypsis were formed by Vasilis Dertilis in 1979 and they started giging around the country.
They had a great singer, Giannis Palamidas, who was immediately attracting the listener.
This self tilted debut album was released through a major label and it featured the songs: “Metempsychosis“, “Threat” and “Expiatory Victim” on the first side while “Lies Mistakes & Closin’ Eyes“, “My Death At A Rugby Game” and “Journey In The Night” on the second side.
“This album has 6 songs you fool, you’ve been robbed…” I told my friend, as I was of the belief that Jethro Tull’s “Thick as a Brick” album – that had one song on both sides – should be sold at half price of a 7″ single.
Apocalypsis were strongly influenced by the early Genesis albums.
You can get an idea on the μουσικη κιβωτος blogspot here
Add some epic elements and the technology of the early 80’s and there you have it.
My friend told me that their singer was using make up on stage, exactly like Peter Gabriel did in the early 70’s.
I said “thanx but I’ll pass”.
Their line up on this album was the following: keyboards – Vassilis Dertilis, vocals – Giannis Palamidas, guitars – Achileas Spyrou, bass – Harris Photopoulos and Stavros Sidiropoulos on the drums.
To be honest, Giannis Palamidas was the shining star of the album and I am sure his voice would be highly admired if he was in some other country.
After this album he left the band to follow a solo carrier in different music styles.
A year later, my friend came to my place (I met him a few times in between)with the second Apocalypsis album, titled “No” (μουσική κιβωτός can help you on that too).
While listening to the album, I gave him the finger.
My friend was speechless as Dertilis decided to change the whole line up of the band and transformed Apocalypsis into a kind of a new wave group (with prog-rock elements.
The new line up was: keyboards – Vassilis Dertilis, guitars – Kostas Stratigopoulos, bass – Lambros Tselentis, drums – Takis Liarmakopoulos and vocals by Kimon Vassilopoulos (who’s voice reminded me of Scorpions’ Klaus Meine).
It wasn’t a bad album, in the sense of 70’s prog-rock but it wasn’t a masterpiece either.
The music style is not clear.
All song titles were beginning with the word “No”: “No Art“, “No Morality“, “No Food (Part One)”, “No Food (Part Two)”, “No Security” on A side and “No Respect (1940 – 1980)”, “No Communication“, “No Trust” and “No Change?” on the B side.
And as times were changing and my friend discovered the Dead Kennedys so Apocalypsis silently faded away.
Here you can find their myspace profile.
Looking back at those days, only a few years after 7 years of dictatorship, I am more flexible.
Greece was changing, trying to catch up with lost years, lost melodies and lost ways of living.
For the history, Vasilis Dertilis became a session musician and formed an electro-pop band called Bang! that represented Greece in Eurovision in the year 1987.
He is still making music but this time, only for commercials.
My old prog-rock friend nowdays has long ears and lives on turnips.