Friday, November 18, 2011

Nick D'Virgilio leaves Spock's Beard
The time has come.

It is very hard for me to write this, but as all good things come to an end at sometime or another, unfortunately I have to tell you all that my time with Spock’s Beard has come to a close.

As you may or may not know, for almost 2 years now I have been working for Cirque Du Soleil on the touring show TOTEM. Traveling a bit of the globe with my family on an adventure that has been great, but also very tough. Great because I am finally able to fully support my family with this very unstable life I chose as a musician, but also very tough because this job has made it hard to do other things and the main thing is Spock’s Beard.

For the first time in 20 years I had to miss shows when the band played a few festivals this past summer. Needless to say it was very, very strange not being there. I have been trying to land a permanent resident show for next year which would leave me a little more time to tour with SB but that has not happened yet and I don’t know when exactly that will happen. I recently signed for another year with Cirque because I cannot just get up and quit until something else can takes its place. I am sure you all understand that I have to take care of my main responsibility and that is my family. Spock’s Beard has never been the main money maker for me, or any of the other guys in the band. We have always had to do other things to supplement our incomes and for me now the other thing just happens to be Cirque.

The Spock’s guys want to keep moving forward and it is just Murphy’s Law for SB that everyone else is totally available to tour at the moment and I am not. For many years, I was available for anything but we couldn’t tour as much as we wanted because of other schedules. Now with my job it doesn’t look like I am going to be available anytime soon. I totally understand where the guys are coming from, wanting to tour and make new albums and I have too much respect for them and SB to say that they cannot keep going without me. The guys are eager to keep the ball rolling, and as hard as that is to imagine without me I give them my blessing fully and wish them nothing but the best in whatever they do.

I have had the best time and have made some of the best music of my career with Dave, Al, Ryo, and Neal and will take those memories with me for the rest of my life.

This is not to say that I will never play with the guys again. If all of the stars align in future and I can do something I surely will but for now the guys will be going on without me and I humbly ask all of you SB fans that have been nothing short of amazing, to keep the flame burning for them.

SO for my future, even with the crazy schedule of my Cirque job I have still been able to release a new solo EP “PIECES” recently and even did some solo shows. Those things are easier for me to do because I can do those within the areas that I am living at the time and I am planning on many more solo gigs in the future so keep an eye and ear out for those announcements. I will be going back to London at the beginning of 2012 with Cirque and during that time I will be able to get back down to Rob Aubrey’s studio to do some more sessions with the great BIG BIG TRAIN and even try and finish a project that got started a number of years ago now called “PULSE” with Mike Holmes of IQ fame. I am also writing a lot for more solo music of my own.

Thank you to my family. Your support has been my rock for many years now, I know that will always be there and I am so thankful for that.

Thank you to all of the great guys who have crewed for SB over the years and have gone way beyond the call of duty to get us on and off stage. Especially Rob, Olly, and Tommy. I will for sure miss touring with you guys.

Thank you to the promoters and venues that have opened up their stages to us.

Thank you Jimmy Keegan for holding down the fort while I was up front and kickin ass for SB over the years.

Thank you to all of my amazing endorsement companies.

In closing, THANK YOU to all of the Spock’s Beard fans out there who have given us so much amazing and heart felt support over the years. We could not have done it without you all. It has been an amazing journey for me and I will never ever forget the great times we have shared together.

It’s time for a change…


well, I have a few thoughts about this.

a) Nick of course I see maybe 1st and foremost, with his connection to Kevin Gilbert, as a significant personality within the Kevin Gilbert story, history, etc.

b) Spock's Beard since Neal Morse left really hasn't even been close to the same band. My intention in that feeling is not meaning to knock Nick, but I just know my taste, and there has always been a different, special element missing since Neal left. I just don't find Nick

1) Truly working as a frontman
2) Having the lead voice to really work well as a frontman and lead singer. He's always struck me for having a voice that's suited well for harmonies and backup vocals, not leads
3) Having the songwriting chops. As sad and ironic as it seems, given his relationship and exposure to Kevin Gilbert among others (the Genesis guys?), he just has never made anything that got my attention like those who he spent so much time working with. Although to be fair, I've never heard his NDV solo record Karma which I've always wanted to.

That all being said, I do feel for the Spock's Beard fans, although at the same time, it does raise the possibility I may be more interested in their music again. Ted Leonard of Enchant filled-in on vocals over the Summer at some festivals in Europe (at least 1 is on Youtube in fact), and by some chance he would join them, I immediately will be a lot more curious about their next album.

Also this may open the door for Neal Morse to re-join the band, even just for a 1-off record or something.

With those possibilities or others, I think the thing for me comes down to the songwriting. Spock's Beard, especially since Neal left, has come to sound a lot like many of the generic, plastic-y sounding (keyboard-laden) retro-progressive rock bands. They got away with some of it with Neal, because within that recipe of homage to the bands from the 70's, they came up with a lot of memorable melodies and fun sections that didn't seem to be too cheesy, for all that long (if at all).

Since Neal left, they have done similar things, but without those memorable elements that really stand out. They're almost like IQ, in that they do sound like another recipe-prog band. They're still a little better than the dozens of others who seem to mostly sound the same, but regardless, overall that almost soul-less sound I hear still exists.

If the Beard can bring in someone whose highly notice-able, that has a voice that grabs you, their chances of returning to greatness could happen. Ted Leonard, Neal, or someone else? I'm curious now who it may be.