April 24th, 2009
Shingai Shoniwa, singer and bassist of pop band The Noisettes, comes out of the prog rock closet:
“She” is Shingai Shoniwa, a 26-year-old Londoner with roots in Zimbabwe and the circus world, and the look of a warrior-princess. She is, by some distance, the most beautiful prog rock fan I’ve encountered in the three-and-a-bit decades since guitar solos were at their longest and oceans their most topographic.
“I really love crazy old English prog,” she says, sipping her pint of real ale. Give me some names, I say, anticipating the usual suspects. “King Crimson, Camel and Greenslade.” (Impressive). “Genesis – the early stuff like Nursery Cryme – Egg and Brainticket.” (Hang on: I thought I was Egg’s only fan. And who the hell were Brainticket?)
“When I left home at 16, my mum gave me a box containing all those wonderful old records,” she continues. “They belonged to my dad, who’d come over here from old Rhodesia. He and my mum split up when I was a baby and he died when I was 11, and I think she wanted to show me another side to this man who was very academic and strict and, when I visited him at weekends, only had books on his shelves. So, of course, I love all these bands now.”
And she drinks real ale!