You’ll have to pardon my changing up the Music Milestone premise from a particular release of note to an actual band member anniversary but I have just learned that Mr. Steve Hogarth has been singing for the Neo-Progressive band Marillion for twenty five years now. That’s pretty darn cool for sure.
Now before I say anything else, readers should know that I loved the bands original voice in Fish but I had gotten into them at the time that Fish was already making his departure and while that stuff spoke to me very deeply, I had high hopes for the direction that would be maintained with this “new guy” Steve Hogarth. My friend Rocky owned “Side Street Sounds” at the time and he ordered me a copy of the “Season’s End” album and then “Holidays In Eden” when that one had come out. I had to say that it was rather different from the styles that I had been used to with Fish but I can say that I liked it and found quite a few of the songs growing on me. Steve Hogarth brought a soaring vocal register to the band and quite honestly appeared to have a better range than Fish (no offense of course). The bands material also seemed to be aimed at shorter and more to the direct point songs Since I loved live shows, my friends and I made the plan to catch the band if they ever visited and we would get our chance when they hit The Ritz (when the club was located on 54th Street in the old Studio 54 building). The actual ticket from that show is pictured below for your indulgence and thanks to the powers of Setlist.fm I was able to mentally revisit the set that was performed that night. It was heavy on the classic “Fish Era” stuff but that was probably based on their only having two releases under their belt with the new voice at the time.
“After the split with Fish, the band found Steve Hogarth, the former keyboardist and sometime vocalist of The Europeans. Hogarth stepped into a difficult situation, as the band had already recorded some demos of the next studio album, which eventually would have become Seasons End. Hogarth was a significant contrast with Fish, coming from a New Wave musical background instead of progressive rock. He also had never owned a Marillion album before joining the band. After Fish left the group (taking his lyrics with him), Hogarth set to work crafting new lyrics to existing songs with lyricist and author John Helmer. The demo sessions of the songs from Seasons End with Fish vocals and lyrics can be found on the bonus disc of the remastered version of “Clutching at Straws”, while the lyrics found their way into various Fish solo albums such as his first solo album, “Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors”, some snippets on his second, “Internal Exile” and even a line or two found its way to his third album, “Suits”.
Being relatively new as a fan or the original lineup I felt it would be interesting to see how the progress moved forward with someone from such a different musical background as their own. Of course I had already cited how I enjoyed both “Season’s End” and “Holidays In Eden” so I would be sticking with them and watching them with an interested eye. The next album’s tour I would catch here in NYC would be the one for “This Strange Engine”. Sadly the regional gig for the “Afraid of Sunlight” came through without my even hearing about it and since I really enjoyed that album I was a bit sad. “This Strange Engine” toured Irving Plaza (where I go very frequently these days) and the friends I had asked to join were not receptive of the band so that made the experience a little difficult to enjoy in full. My ticket is below and remember I am no where near being “The PiercingMetal Guy” yet. I didn’t need to be press to know that I liked Hogarth’s voice on the live stage and his very affable presence and mannerisms. With this show I remembered their moving further away from a Fish concentrated set and this made sense with it being Hogarth’s fifth album.
In 2004 I finally was able to use my newly found passion of music journalism for the good of the band and I have been documenting releases and live concert appearances whenever possible since that time. These first couple of shots were snapped with a very vintage Kodak digital camera (my own first) during the band’s “Marbles” tour.
The rest that you see come from my coverage of the group’s “Sounds That Cannot Be Made” tour when they dropped by NYC for two nights in 2012. I went to the second night based on scheduling and its safe to say that Hogarth has not lost a measure of quality in his voice.
Congratulations on your twenty fifth anniversary Mr. Hogarth, here is to the next milestone.
Official Website: http://marillion.com/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarillionOfficial
Hogarth has recorded a massive amount of releases with Marillion over the last twenty five years; I’ve painstakingly searched for as many as I could and presented you with what can be purchased on Amazon.com below.