September 13th, 2012
Chabon: I actually write, frequently, while listening to Yes records: Close to the Edge, Relayer, and Tales from Topographic Oceans. The dynamics are pretty steady, the bass and drums are propulsive, and the lyrics make no sense (to me, at least) and thus do not intrude on my own word-flow. They are just pretty sounds. I listen to vinyl records, unless I’m working on a plane.
Slate: What prog do you listen to now?
Chabon: Over the past decade or so I have gone farther afield, back to some of the more challenging British bands (Soft Machine, Gentle Giant, Stackridge, Camel, Hatfield and the North), through some second-generation outfits like Marillion and Spock’s Beard (whom I adore), up to Porcupine Tree. Tons and tons of Eno. At this point I am pretty much a prog-head.
That said, prog is only one of many streams of modern popular music that is important to me. I loved the Clash and the Buzzcocks and the Ramones from the moment I heard them, madly, without it ever occurring to me for a moment that loving them meant I needed to stop listening to Nursery Crymes or Thick as a Brick.