One of the most influential bands I have been involved with over the years is Crimson Fable, a prog-rock group. What I learned during my time with these guys shaped my music and its approach.

The band was formed by combining two groups, New Jerusalem (Dave and I) and Fair Exchange (Marc and Gary). The new lineup consisted of Marc Miller (Bass), Gary Zdenek (Drums, Percussion), Dave Perrigan (Guitar), and myself (Keyboards/Vocals). Dave Perrigan eventually left the group, opening the door for something even more epic.

In 1993, after investing an incredible amount of time and energy into our revamped incarnation of Fair Exchange, we were faced with the difficult prospect of replacing a band member. Marc suggested a friend of his, a guitarist named Art Bromage. We invited Art to come down for a jam at Marc’s converted garage, which served as a great rehearsal and recording space.

Replacing an integral member of a band is never easy, but when Art walked in and started playing, something just felt right. Art didn’t walk in with an ego, and the moment he hit the strings on his guitar, all doubt left the room. He graciously accepted our invitation to join, and we settled on the name Crimson Fable over pizza.

Our newly formed group immediately started working on brand-new tunes, several of which came from improvised jam sessions during a single rehearsal. We played anywhere, anytime, mostly for free. The fact that we were all Christians in the group’s earlier incarnation as Fair Exchange didn’t surface in any negative way, although Art was not a Christian.

Our focus remained on music, and we headed into the studio to put together our first album. We experimented with a more alternative style, which lacked heavy synth keyboards and odd meters but was more organic and approachable.

Unfortunately, being a prog-rock band in the 90s wasn’t the hippest thing, and performing at venues that “just didn’t get our music” began to weigh on all of us. In the middle of our studio recording, Crimson Fable would see its demise. However, the breakup of the band did not break our friendship, and we kept in touch and discussed a reunion from time to time.

Marc and Art would move to Seattle, where Art would answer Jesus’ call to salvation. Seattle would also be where Marc and Art would become some of the most sought-after and respected session players around. Gary and I continued to collaborate on and off, creating some of the finest cover groups in Orange County.

This week’s Flashback Friday features a couple of guys who tried their hand at a prog-rock experiment. It includes a couple of songs that have never been heard outside of the band, the first three in the progressive vein and the last two in a style that just might have taken the band from their prog-rock phase to something a tad more alternative. But we will never know.

  1. Overture Gary Zdenek, Marc Miller, Art Bromage, Ed Melendez 3:33
  2. Prelude Gary Zdenek, Marc Miller, Art Bromage, Ed Melendez 2:26
  3. On The Run Gary Zdenek, Marc Miller, Art Bromage, Ed Melendez 5:36
  4. That’s What I Said Gary Zdenek, Marc Miller, Art Bromage, Ed Melendez 4:59
  5. I Can’t Change Your Mind Gary Zdenek, Marc Miller, Art Bromage, Ed Melendez 7:30

Flashback Fridays

Stepping Back In Time Revisiting Lost And Forgotten Projects

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