Selected by Dan Grunebaum
Among the various fanatical audiences in
Japan, fans of progressive rock are some of the most dedicated. Upcoming tours by UK
prog-rock cult legends Camel, their first in over three years, and the more familiar King
Crimson in the fall, should put a smile on the faces of Japanese baby boomers.
Formed in 1972 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Latimer, Camel never achieved
the fame of prog-rock cousins like Yes and King Crimson, but nevertheless managed to
cultivate a loyal following, which has seen them through three decades and countless
changes in lineup.
Releasing their eponymous debut in 1973, Camel didn' break the charts until the issuing
of The Snow Goose in 1975. Like British prog-rock band Jethro Tull, Camel
highlighted that most un-rock-like of instruments, the flute, which Latimer plays with
passion and expertise.
The inevitable series of ego clashes and accidents began to rock the band towards the end
of the '70s, and by the '80s, Camel was more or less a one-man affair. Despite the
onslaught of punk rock and various legal troubles, Latimer forged on, releasing a variety
of concept albums, including 1981's Nude.
After the release of the 1984 live album Pressure Points, Camel entered a long
period of inactivity, which lasted until the '90s. Moving to California in 1988 to found
Camel Productions, Latimer began to work with session musicians, releasing Dust and Dreams
in 1991. Harbour of Tears appeared in 1996, and most recently the
Arabian-influenced Rajaz in 1999.
Camel plays Akasaka
Blitz on 9/6-7. See listings for details.