Neil Peart and Rush – astrological birth charts

Canadian drummer and lyricist Neil Peart passed away in January at the age of 67, following an eighteen month battle with brain cancer. Through his work with the band Rush, he has left an astonishing legacy of world-class drumming, great rock music and a whole library of sophisticated and insightful lyrics across the band’s studio albums since he joined them in 1974. Peart was born on 12th September 1952 in Hamilton, Ontario, time of birth unknown. The perfectionist streak of Sun and Mercury in Virgo showed in his approach to both drumming and writing lyrics. He continually strove to improve his drumming technique, even to the extent of re-inventing his style to incorporate more jazz influences in 1994. The sharp Virgoan analysis features in the words of his songs and no doubt also in the seven non-fiction books that Peart wrote in later life.

Mercury square Mars

One of the closest natal aspects is a square between dynamic Mars in visionary Sagittarius and the perfectionist mentality of Mercury in Virgo. Astrologer Stephen Arroyo has written the following on Mercury-Mars aspects in the chart: “Conscious mind blends with physical energy (possibly good hand-eye coordination), stimulating both powerfully – an energized intellect”. To say Neil Peart had good hand-eye co-ordination and an energized intellect is a major understatement! He has consistently been ranked amongst the top drummers in the world for many years, fourth behind John Bonham, Ginger Baker and Keith Moon in a poll by Rolling Stone magazine in 2016.

With Pluto conjunct Neil Peart’s South Node squared by Jupiter, it’s perhaps no surprise to see that despite his extraordinary success, the hands of fate dealt a tragic blow to Peart. The birth chart doesn’t predict extreme misfortune but it does show tendencies towards certain types of experience. In August 1997, Peart’s first daughter was killed in a car crash and his common-law wife of 23 years, Jacqueline Taylor, died from cancer the following year. In true Plutonian style, Peart eventually rose from the ashes and returned to drumming.

Peart, Lee, Lifeson

All three members of Rush were born with Saturn conjunct Neptune in Libra, aspected in each case by various personal planets in their charts. This shows the potential to work hard at the reality (Saturn) of living the beautiful (Libra) dream (Neptune). Bassist and singer Geddy Lee (Sun in Leo) was born in July 1953, guitarist Alex Lifeson (another Virgo) was born in August 1953, Peart in September 1952. Peart had an additional emphasis on Libran art and beauty due to Venus in Libra. A civilised and humane desire to balance (Libra) ideals (Neptune) and reality (Saturn) is reflected in much of the lyrical content of Rush’s music and also some of the album titles – Grace Under Pressure (Neptune in Libra grace and Saturnian pressure), Counterparts (Libra) and Clockwork Angels (Saturnian clockwork time and Neptunian angels).

Final album Clockwork Angels (2012)

The cover of final album Clockwork Angels is notable for a clock face that looks suspiciously like an astrological chart, even though different symbols with different meanings are featured. Many fans of Rush consider the following lyrics from The Garden some of Neil Peart’s very best, a fitting farewell from a great man.

The Garden

In this one of many possible worlds
All for the best or some bizarre test?
It is what it is and whatever
Time is still the infinite jest
The arrow flies when you dream
The hours tick away, the cells tick away
The Watchmaker keeps to his schemes
The hours tick away, they tick away
The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect
So hard to earn, so easily burned
In the fullness of time
A garden to nurture and protect
In the rise and the set of the sun
‘Til the stars go spinning
Spinning ’round the night
Oh, it is what it is and forever
Each moment a memory in flight
The arrow flies while you breathe
The hours tick away, the cells tick away
The Watchmaker has time up his sleeve
The hours tick away, they tick away
The treasure of a life
Is a measure of love and respect
The way you live, the gifts that you give
In the fullness of time
Is the only return that you expect
The future disappears into memory
With only a moment between
Forever dwells in that moment
Hope is what remains to be seen

 

This is an edited version of an article originally published in IAM Infinity astrological magazine https://infinityastrologicalmagazine.com/

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

Three reviews of Interconnected by Tim Burness

Still reeling from the hugely enjoyable Hove headliner with the band ten days ago, more from that on here soon. Eppyfest (20th July) and Danfest gigs later this year.

Meanwhile, here are three reviews of the new album ‘Interconnected’. Thank you to the reviewers and websites in each case, very much appreciated.

Sea of TranquilityI have come to the conclusion Burness should be a household name in both pop and progressive rock. If you enjoy XTC, The Mute Gods, Cosmograf and intelligent pop music in general with more than the occasional proggy twist you absolutely need to give this a listen.”

Proggnosis “Yet again Tim Burness has given us a very polished and creative album that is sure to please his fans… and hopefully find him some new ones. Steve Hackett’s poppier material does come to mind…”

Honest Music For Dishonest Times “Eight albums later, he’s at the cutting edge of what he terms progressive pop-rock… Throughout Interconnected there’s a seam of commentary that shows Burness’ interests; the health of the planet, society, philosophy and astrology…  On the whole, a strong piece of work; strangely appealing.

Video for Electric Energy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b3WF2LEYzM

Video for Ants https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luxi9-kTXw4&feature=share

Bandcamp free music listening and CD purchase https://timburness.bandcamp.com

Review of Interconnected by Tim Burness

Interconnected is the latest release from Tim Burness, coming hot on the heels of Whose Dream Are You Living?, an album I enjoyed delving into for this newsletter both on its first digital release (2015), and it’s amended re release on cd in 2017. I’m pleased to say that this new collection continues where that album left off, exploring further some of the same themes but also taking an artistic deep dive into darker territory. That darker side is reflected in the album artwork which is a nice sleek black where the previous few releases had all been largely white in their make up, illustrated only very sparsely by a red question mark or a collection of fairly colourless pictures of Tim.  An artier image adorns the front cover of ‘Interconnected’, with a unicorn-headed Burness reading the Financial Times, projecting the image of a being not of this world, trying to make sense of the madness within it. It also hints at some of the political themes within as Tim offers a critique of neo-liberal capitalism and hopes for a better social structure, one where people can rediscover their connection to nature, the earth, our fellow beings and spiritual energy.

Music video for Electric Energy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b3WF2LEYzM

Music video for I Am Afraid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6icbZoFtmc

So, what is ‘Interconnected’ in Tim’s world? Well. Everything is interconnected. The personal, the spiritual, the political. Love, hope and fear. Freedom and power. ‘Everything is interconnected, be the change you wish to see’ sings Tim during the album opener Electric Energy, a deliberately upbeat starting point that positively screams the 1980s in production style and is Tim’s call to arms for us to channel our energy, our consciousness, our love and spirituality to overthrow the oligarchies and the hierarchies that keep us trapped in this capitalist system. For Tim, music is all about positive energy and the way that energy exhilerates and raises awareness of our spirituality. It is a way to inspire whether that be through the rhythms of dance music, the emotion of a guitar solo or the mood and lyrical content of the song. ‘Electric Energy’ is both a description of the energy of love within us to spread and do good for others as well as a creator of that energy within us through its light playfulness and gimmicky effects, its fat, bouncy bass and it’s synthtastic pop hooks and danceable rhythm.

From the upbeat vibe of ‘Electric Energy’ we quickly move deeper into Tim’s psyche where he reveals his very real sense of fear, paranoia and frustration of where neo-liberalism has led us to. I Am Afraid is like the flipside of ‘Electric Energy’ as Tim isn’t blaming anyone other than ourselves for not taking our own responsibility for using our minds, for handing over power to the wrong people, for not realising the power we have. In ‘Electric Energy’ Tim is encouraging us to ‘look to the source of the power inside yourself, conscious love action, build for the future, blow away the hierarchy’ but in ‘I Am Afraid’ Tim is angry that, ‘we are responsible, we’ve put the power in the hands of fools with money’, and frustrated, ‘this joke isn’t funny anymore’, we’d better get going with alternatives, what is this total utter madness’?! That growing desperation is translated musically into an incessant guitar riff that repeats over and over through the song, building in tension. Tim’s calling out of ‘I am afraid, aren’t you?!’ suggests he is feeling alone and isolated and wanting the rest of us to wake up to what is going on around us. We should all be afraid and we should all do our bit to change things.

The parenthesis title of ‘I Am Afraid’, (Saturn Conjunct Pluto) which is, for the non astrologists out there, a reference to the fact that we are two thirds of the way into the cycle of Pluto going into Capricorn. Tim is a dedicated and published astrologer and explains that between 2008 and 2023 we are experiencing a tumultuous period. Capricorn is all about structures organisation, economics and politics and Pluto is about transformation, wiping everything out and starting again, death and rebirth. Tim relates this to the economic crash and all the political upheaval and social division we have had since as well as the huge challenges we face on issues such as global warming. ‘What have we become?, we have reached our limits, can we turn it around?, I am afraid of a loveless world, where nobody cares’, is Tim’s frustration that we need to reevaluate our priorities, move away from the importance of financial status and reconnect with our humanity, with our sense of community, our love and respect for our fellow beings, of nature and of our planet if we are to come out of this situation.

Photo by Rachael Emily for Prog magazine

Freedom explores one of the great philosophical dilemmas; where do you draw the line and strike the balance between personal freedom and an element of social structure to protect your freedom. This is quite a different track for Tim in that he has steered away from straight forward, direct lyrics to something more poetic and ambiguous. These poetic lines float wistfully over an elegant piano melody and lush synth soundscape, with Kate Bush and Genesis influences gently nudging their way in to an inventive track built upon the unusual 5/4 time signature. ‘Freedom’ is the featured track on a Prog Rock Magazine cover CD and one of the undoubted highlights of the album (I find the entire first half to be flawless). Tim deliberately wanted this song to get away from obvious interpretations but I think the key to it is the low in the mix, affected toff voice Tim uses to seemingly mock the concept of freedom, a cynicism that any freedom we may feel we have is mere smoke and mirrors from the elites to fool us and keep us from uprising into any meaningful action.

If that all sounds like a heavy going start of the album I can assure you that it is only really ‘I Am Afraid’ with its swirling, claustrophobic paranoia that is truly heavy to listen to. ‘Electric Energy’ is fun and uplifting with positive encouragement in much the same way as ‘And Set Your Spirit Free’ is on the previous album, and ‘Freedom’ is an atmospheric dreamy epic. Punctuating the heavy themes of the album with a dollop of the renowned Burness humour is Dear Stranger, a tongue in cheek duet of sorts with the computerised voice of Siri (voice actor Susan Bennett, also the voice of Delta Airlines, provided the monotonous, robotic tones for Apple inc). Tim’s use of humour isn’t always appreciated by the stuffier critics of the Prog scene, but if you know Tim you know he has an affable cheeky chappiness about him, and the ability to mix deep thinking with a welcome blend of absurdist and satirical humour, a perfectly natural way for Tim to further express his personality and inner angst. ‘Grass is Greener’ from ‘Whose Dream ….?’ contained elements of Tim’s humour but this is more overtly used in ‘Dear Stranger’, an XTC-ish pop song about internet dating, with goofball backing vocals and ludicrously catchy melody.

This is the Space follows on from ‘Dear Stranger’ and I can’t help feeling it’s sequencing here is because it is also about a relationship. ‘Dear Stranger’ detailed the frustration, albeit comically, of trying to get to know someone who is protected behind the computer screen, what do you trust is real? The information given? The images shared? ‘This is the Space’ takes us back down into the darkness of earlier in the album with my interpretation of the song being about mental health. ‘So dark, so light’, ‘unreachable, I can’t get into your head’, ‘unfathomable’, all expressions of the desire to connect with someone whose mood and personality swings violently from one extreme to the other, rarely settling in the space where a relationship can flourish. That dichotomy of dark and light swings like an emotional pendulum as the song builds in its dark psychosis through to its abrupt end.

Making It Up is notable for a lovely bit of acoustic guitar from Keith Hastings, who provides the bass throughout this and most of Tim’s back catalogue, and is similar in feel to ‘Freedom’, a mid tempo, gently brooding soundscape with Tim perhaps pondering further on the relationship in ‘This is the Space’ and where it is going. Still Mumbling is an update of Mumbling in the House of Commons a song Tim has been playing around with since 1981, with the 1989 single version supposedly the final take! Tim regards this as his ‘hit’, seeing as it received some airplay from Alan Freeman on Radio 1 and this is basically a fun jazz-rock jam from the band with some humorously satirical lyrics on the state of British politics, and ineffective politicians in particular, a situation seemingly unchanged in nearly 40 years!

 
 

Ants is the most challenging song on the record, and Tim’s most satisfying creatively. A reflection of his own existential insecurity and confusion as well as philosophising on the nature of the individual within the collective, comparing our own societies to that of the ants crawling around the Earth. The track isn’t particularly melodic or tuneful, building an oppressive soundscape on top of a 1-2-3 percussive beat with Tim’s use of E-Bow providing a strange electronic tone amongst other effects. Beautiful World is a Floyd-esque epic, containing Tim’s longest lyric, a tortured ballad to our own planet and the very real risk we are posing to it if we don’t change our ways. Such a track would have wrapped this album up perfectly but Tim was keen to end on a more positive note, the album coming full circle after the positive opening of ‘Electric Energy’. One More Time is a fun, almost silly, sing-a-long ditty that works as an uplifiting, light-hearted encore which may just leave you wanting more, whereas ‘Beautiful World’ would have left a greater sense of completion.

Interconnected is the work of an artist who has been developing his craft, his thoughts, his ideas over a number of years finding himself in the fortunate position of being able to capitalise on his creative peak at a time he had resources to put every bit of energy and care into the project. There are many echoes of his previous works as well as Tim borrowing comfortably from his myriad influences, but the album also stretches out into new territory, pushing his own musical instincts, with the encouragement of his producer Julian Tardo, as well as the capabilities of his hugely talented band of Fudge Smith, Keith Hastings and Monty Oxymoron. The strength of Tim’s music is the honesty, the soul baring and humanity of his lyrical content. He is able to project the many facets of his personality, his hopes, his fears, his desires, his anxieties, his humour and his positivity, to be constructive and to help make a difference to change things for the better. He may claim to be afraid as we approach the peak of Pluto’s crossing over into Capricorn, but he is not afraid to explore his darker recesses, just as much as he isn’t afraid to be silly and fun. He’s not afraid to tackle the big subjects of our time but he balances criticism with answers and a positive way forward. Tim’s music is a ‘light in the darkness’ which should give us all food for thought and inspiration through all the madness going on around us and in our own individual lives.

Review by Joe Bridge

Taken from the December 2018 newsletter of Brighton’s Real Music Club

Tim Burness Band videos now up

Electric Energy

I Am Afraid (Saturn Conjunct Pluto)

 

Two videos for tracks from the new Tim Burness album ‘Interconnected’ are now up on my Youtube channel. ‘I Am Afraid (Saturn Conjunct Pluto)’ is the darker and heavier song of the two. Saturn conjunct Pluto refers to an astrological conjunction currently taking place in the sign of Capricorn, which reaches a peak in January 2020. ‘Electric Energy’ is a lighter and more upbeat song, that may have been influenced by the late seventies music of guitarist Steve Hillage. We had a lot of fun making these videos, I hope you enjoy them!

Interconnected

‘Interconnected’ is available on CD and as a digital download from my Bandcamp site where it can be listened to for free. Thank you to Proggnosis for a brief review.

The Tim Burness Band has a few gigs lined up for 2019. We are hoping to expand the band line-up and also add a more theatrical presentation to some of the songs.

The first gig is on Saturday 23rd February, a headliner at The Brunswick in Brighton and Hove, with my old friends the Real Music Club. Other gigs (including two festivals) scheduled so far will take us further afield.

Happy New Year, all!

Interconnected – Tim Burness new CD and track listing

With the help of the usual suspects, I am extremely pleased to have recently finished Interconnected, a new studio album. It will be released on 12th November 2018 as a physical CD and digital download with free listening available at my Bandcamp site. Initially, perhaps permanently, it will not be available on the streaming sites.

Julian Tardo and myself have also made videos for three of the songs, two of them featuring the band. They will gradually be going up on my Youtube channel.

The songs are mostly a continuation of the range of styles and lyrical themes that were explored on 2017’s Whose Dream Are You Living?. The album starts and finishes on an upbeat note but there is a wide range of moods in between. Anyone who doesn’t like the Burness silly side had better pass on a couple of tracks! On the other hand, at least one song brings to mind an old T-shirt that an ex-girlfriend bought me: “Do Not Disturb – Already Disturbed”.

I feel extremely lucky to have been able to make this album, it has been hard work but also a joy and a privilege. Thanks largely to an unexpected inheritance, the last two years has been entirely free of the restrictions and distractions that have often hindered my efforts in the past. I hope I’ve made the most of the opportunity. There is arguably far too much music being made these days, so thank you so much to everyone who has supported or continues to support me. It means a great deal. Cheers.

Interconnected track listing:

  1. Electric Energy
  2. I Am Afraid (Saturn Conjunct Pluto)
  3. Freedom
  4. Dear Stranger
  5. This Is The Space
  6. A Shorter Space
  7. Making It Up
  8. Still Mumbling
  9. Ants
  10. Beautiful World
  11. One More Time    

Tim Burness Interconnected – due for release 12th November 2018

Burness Band – live review

“The main support act this evening was the Tim Burness Band.

The band is made up of four very accomplished musicians, namely the Brighton based Tim Burness (guitar and vocals), drummer Fudge Smith (ex-Pendragon and ex-Steve Hackett), bassist Keith Hastings (Bamboleo) and keyboard maestro Monty Oxymoron (from legendary English punk band The Damned and also of the Sumerian Kyngs).

Prior to their performance, I was having a conversation with Tim and I must say what a very likeable fellow he is. A very down to earth guy and one you could easily go out for a pint with.

When on stage his warmth was still evident as he was having the banter with the punters in between each of his eight song set, whilst tuning his guitar.

Tim has been recording and performing in one guise or another since the 1980’s. Gaining some relative success around Europe on the way as Burnessence. In May last year, he released his seventh album, ‘Whose Dream Are You Living?’ to some great critical acclaim and I must concur with those people as I have the album and it is a fine coming together of musical styles. With each song on the album you hear elements of other artists such as Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel and Peter Gabriel’s Genesis to name just two.

So live as well as on his recorded musical output, the Burness sound features a wide range of musical styles – from progressive rock to pop-rock to ambient electronica. The lyrics cover a range of interconnected themes – from the personal to the political to the spiritual. It’s a summing up of one man’s journey through his life with contrasting themes and ups and downs. It will be interesting to see what the forthcoming ‘Interconnected’ 2018 album will bring.

At The Albert, Tim (and not Desmond, Harold or Roland – injoke!) began his set with a solo number ‘I Don’t Know What’s Good For Me’ and then invited his pals to join him for the further numbers. I noted Keith Hastings bass playing style and it reminded me of the sadly departed Mick Karn from Japan.

The punters were sent on a journey during the set from prog rock to ballad to cosmic. We learnt that ‘Infinite Ocean’ came into being as a result of standing on the end of Brighton Pier. We learnt (if we didn’t already suspect) that there is ‘Mumbling In The House Of Commons’ with little else getting done – which was delivered as a southern version of Mark E. Smith. I learn that the most powerful and outstanding Tim Burness Band track tonight was ‘Walk Through The Darkness’,
which deals with depression as its subject matter and sounds akin to Oasis – nice one!

Tonight’s Tim Burness Band setlist reads:
‘I Don’t Know What’s Good For Me’ (solo) (from ‘Infinite Ocean’ 1997 album),
‘What’s Going On In Your Head?’ (from ‘Whose Dream Are You Living?’ 2017 album),
‘Poppadom Rock’ (from ‘I Am You Are Me’ 1984 album as Burnessence),
‘Infinite Ocean’ (from ‘Infinite Ocean’ 1997 album),
‘Love Is For Giving’ (from ‘Finding New Ways To Love’ 2004 album)
‘Broaden Your Horizons’ (from ‘Vision On’ 2007 album),
‘Walk Through The Darkness’ (from ‘Finding New Ways To Love’ 2004 album),
‘Mumbling In The House Of Commons’ (from ‘Infinite Ocean’ 1997 album),

Tim Burness Band setlist from the Prince Albert gig 31.3.18

Find out more here:

https://timburness.bandcamp.com/

https://www.timburness.com/

https://www.facebook.com/tim.burness.1

Nick Linazasoro

Full review of the night at http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2018/04/01/b-movie-play-brighton-gig-exactly-37-years-to-the-day-after-their-john-peel-session/

Getting the new album out there

The new CD and Digital Album release, ‘Whose Dream Are You Living?’

During the last couple of months, Whose Dream Are You Living? has gradually been getting out there, along with the accompanying video for the track Grass Is Greener. As with previous work, the album features a wide range of musical styles, including progressive rock, pop-rock and touches of electronica and ambient music. It was recorded over the last few years with the help of some great musicians and friends at Church Road Recording Studios in Hove, England. Long-term collaborator and co-producer Julian Tardo also contributed additional guitar and other instruments on some tracks.

Another step on a musical and personal journey. It’s been a long old journey (mostly in relative obscurity) since the late seventies and ‘Whose Dream Are You Living?’ is my seventh album. I like to think I’m finally reaching a certain standard after all the struggling – better late than never! Thank you to everyone who has supported my music over the years and if anything from my latest efforts touches or inspires a few people, I will be a satisfied man. It has often been a great struggle to keep going and I have not made it easy on myself by having badly paid day-jobs – mostly care and support work of various kinds. There has also been an ongoing fight with depressive tendencies and a general sense of personal failure in life. The typical, self-obsessed, “first world”, “tortured artist” syndrome!

Brief thoughts on the music business in 2017.
Speaking to a singer less than half my age in a fairly successful band, we both agreed what a farce the whole thing has become for bands or artists trying to get heard these days. Even if you are gigging on a regular basis (which I’m not, although we hope to do a few things in 2018), it now seems to be largely about uploading “content” to the likes of Spotify, YouTube and Instagram in a desperate struggle for attention. And almost no money in return. In all genres, there is clearly far too much music around and it’s largely lost its ability to make a cultural impact. Still, when I can, someone like me will always keep coming back to making music. As an old friend of mine used to say: “What else are you going to do with your life?”. Cheers!

The Aquarian and Uranian nature of progressive rock

Aquarius

Aquarius

As both a fan and musician, I have had more than a passing interest in progressive rock (prog rock or prog) for the last forty years. As an astrologer for the last thirty years, I noticed some time ago that Aquarian and Uranian themes are very common in the charts of many progressive rock musicians and that the whole musical genre is essentially Aquarian-Uranian in nature. From the often original and experimental nature of the music, to the eccentric musicians themselves, to the frequently intellectual lyrics in search of the truth. Not all Aquarian and Uranian musicians are prog rockers and not all progressive rock musicians have Aquarius or Uranus strong in their charts but the link is there.

Progressive rock gradually evolved out of the late 1960s, beginning with the more experimental sides of the likes of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Beach Boys and others. “Progressive” and “experimental” are of course words that are frequently associated with the astrological symbolism of Aquarius and its ruling planet Uranus, both being concerned with challenging existing conventions and exploring new territory. It has been suggested that Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) by The Beatles was the first progressive rock album and it certainly has many features that have come to be recognised as prog rock trademarks. There is an overall concept, a Progrockcolourful album cover – a piece of art in itself – and an extraordinarily wide range of musical and lyrical influences. Others have suggested that In The Court Of The Crimson King (1969) by King Crimson was the beginning of progressive rock. By the 1970s and the likes of Pink Floyd, Genesis and Yes having established themselves, progressive rock had emerged as a subgenre in its own right. The term “prog”, sometimes used in a jokey or derogatory sense, appeared much later.

 

 

SevenFourUnusual and quirky (Aquarius) time signatures and unconventional song structures are often a feature of progressive rock. Rather than conforming to the more typical 4/4 rock and pop beat, artists such as King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree often use alternatives such as 7/4 or 13/8. Pink Floyd’s Money on Dark Side Of The Moon and Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill are examples of using a 7/4 time signature. Aquarian progrock often breaks the musical rules in all sorts of ways – the traditional verse and chorus structures are frequently avoided in favour of extended instrumental sections or other alternatives. Unpredictability is the name of the day, although critics have observed that this can seem musically pretentious, sometimes appearing to sound different for the sake of being different. Such criticism is of course unlikely to bother a musician with several planets in Aquarius or a strong Uranus in their birth chart, who will follow their own path, regardless.

Dave Gilmour, Sun square Uranus

Dave Gilmour, Sun square Uranus

A quick look at the astrological charts of famous progressive rock musicians confirms the prominence of either Aquarius or many close aspects between Uranus and the personal planets. Guitarist Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd was born a Pisces Sun with a square to Uranus. In a 2014 interview promoting Floyd’s The Endless River album, producer Youth gave a perfect Sun-Uranus description when  commenting on his experience of working with Gilmour:- “It’s funny with David, you think he’s going to be one way and then he goes completely the other. He’s unpredictable like that, and that’s good” (1). Keyboard player Rick Wakeman of Yes has Moon and Jupiter in Aquarius, flautist and singer Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull (a brilliant eccentric if ever there was one!) has Mars conjunct Uranus in 10th house. The extraordinarily gifted and uniquely intelligent guitarist Robert Fripp (King Crimson) was born with a close Venus conjunct Uranus trine Jupiter and another multi-talented guitarist and musician Steve Hillage (originally with the eccentric and sometimes brilliant Gong) was born with a close Mars conjunct Uranus at the apex of a Cardinal T-square. Kate Bush, who made her spectacular live comeback in 2014, has pretty much transcended all genres but the strong prog leanings are there. She has a natal Sun-Uranus conjunction and almost certainly, depending on the time of birth, Moon in Aquarius.

 

Peter Gabriel's Aquarian birth chart

Peter Gabriel’s Aquarian birth chart

At their 1970s peak, Genesis were one of the most interesting and innovative progressive rock bands. A very English group of musicians making clever and eccentric (Aquarius/Uranus) music, fronted by Peter Gabriel’s clever and eccentric theatrical performances.  Although Genesis became more commercially successful after Phil Collins took over as singer, most prog fans consider that the more interesting and original ideas (Aquarius/Uranus) started to run out after first Gabriel and then Steve Hackett left the band. Both Hackett and Gabriel have natal Sun, Venus and Jupiter in Aquarius, being born one day apart on 12th February 1950 and 13th February 1950 respectively. The Aquarian urge for freedom and independence would have played its part in them branching out to pursue extremely successful solo careers, each achieving substantial international recognition for their artistic brilliance across a number of musical genres.

Peter Gabriel - Sun, Venus and Jupiter in Aquarius

Gabriel – Sun, Venus and Jupiter in Aquarius

With his Aquarian Sun and other 7th house Aquarian planets on display to the public, Peter Gabriel is the living embodiment of the most highly evolved Air sign. A major feature of Gabriel’s birth chart (2) is a powerful close opposition between Pluto in Leo on the Ascendant and Jupiter in Aquarius on the Descendant. Gabriel has achieved huge recognition and success as both a Pluto in Leo rock musician and a Jupiter in Aquarius visionary humanitarian. The tension between these two is mediated by a gifted and magical conjunction between Mars and Neptune in Libra, a perfect combination for a socially conscious artist and musician. He has often been years ahead of his time (Aquarius), from his founding of the Womad festival, to his support for world music through his record label and recording studio, to his involvement with one of the first music download services, OD2. Receiving the Prog God award at the annual Progressive Music Awards in London, September 2014 from comedian and prog fan Bill Bailey (there’s a fair bit of Aquarius in his chart too), Gabriel said:- “Despite prog probably being the most derided musical genre of all time there were – as today – a lot of extraordinary musicians trying to break down the barriers to reject the rules of music… We didn’t always get it right, but when it did work we could move people and get some magic happening.” (3)

 

Steve Hogarth and Fish - Mars in Aquarius

Steve Hogarth and Fish – Mars in Aquarius

Mainstream progressive rock was carried into the 1980s by Marillion, who are still going strong today. Both the original Marillion singer Fish and new boy Steve Hogarth (who has actually been with the band since 1990) have a prominent Mars in Aquarius. It has often been said that guitarist Steve Rothery is Marillion’s greatest musical asset, and Rothery was born with an almost exactly stationary Uranus in Leo. (Astrologer Stephen Arroyo recently observed that due to the use of computers, the importance of natal stationary planets is now often over-looked (4), something that contemporary astrologers might want to bear in mind.) Marillion were years ahead of everyone (Aquarius) when they famously first used crowdfunding to raise money for an American tour in 1997. As with many newer and lesser known 21st century prog acts, the Aquarian internet has continued to be essential to the band, enabling them to build a worldwide fanbase whilst remaining largely independent (Aquarius) of the music industry.

Francis Dunnery, Sun trine Uranus

Francis Dunnery – an astrologer with Sun trine Uranus

 

No piece on astrology and prog would be complete without a mention of Francis Dunnery, who is himself an accomplished astrologer. The inspired ex-It Bites and ex-Robert Plant guitarist and songwriter has a close Sun-Uranus aspect and Saturn in Aquarius. Appropriately, he runs his own label called Aquarian Nation.

Although progressive rock has always survived and thrived underground, it was uncool for many years. Since Radiohead’s OK Computer in the late 1990s, prog rock’s influence has become increasingly acceptable in the mainstream again – prog is no longer quite such a dirty word!

Notes

  1. “The Making of The Endless River”, Prog magazine, October 2014, p.44.
  2. Peter Gabriel, born 4.30 pm, 13th February 1950, Woking, England. Time of birth is from memory, according to astro.com databank.
  3. “Peter Gabriel honoured at Prog music awards”, BBC News website, 12th September 2014.
  4. “Experiments and Experience with Astrology: Reflections on Methods and Meaning”, Stephen Arroyo, CRCS Publications, November 2013.

A shorter version of this article is included in “The Book of Music Horoscopes” (2018) published by Flare Publications, UK.

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

Review of “Whose Dream Are You Living?”

Thanks to Joe Bridge of the Real Music Club for this nice album review:-

“Tim Burness is back at the RMC on February 27th and with his seventh album, Whose Dream Are You Living? a work he has been patiently and lovingly crafting for the best part of five years. His previous album Vision On (2007) received strong notices, recognition and international reviews, so Tim had a lot to live up to with its follow up, released in November last year and available via https://timburness.bandcamp.com/

LiveBurnessOpening track Onwards and Upwards starts off with Gregg McKella’s swirling synths and electro beats before the real drums (Fudge Smith: ex Pendragon and Steve Hackett) kick in and drive the song forward, carrying the positive message of the song’s lyrics along with it.

Slowing down with Grass is Greener, this song seems to catch a man at some sort of crossroads contemplating a change in life, with Tim’s wit particularly enjoyable on lines such as “I know that some British folk like to hang out in Turkey, if I get myself out there I might feel slightly more perky. I heard things are quieter in Belgium, unfortunately there is not much that rhymes with Belgium” and “the grass is greener over there, at least I’ve still got most of my hair”!

The album continues to alternate between tempos as Monty Oxymoron (Damned, Sumerian Kyngs) starts up Set Your Spirit Free, another positive-thinking song “release the energy and set your spirit free” before the ambient sounds of Round and Round bring things down into a mellow hypnotic trance with its repetitive acoustic riff and minimal vocal lines punctuating the soundscape.

Moving on with something a bit different, Smith’s thumping percussive beats and Tim’s fiery bursts of guitar create an aggressive atmosphere to colour the assertive lyric of The Messenger, an atmosphere that builds before being punctured by a cough and a completely unexpected (should I have put a spoiler alert in?!) middle section, all Oompah band and megaphone! Another track that takes the album into different territory is the aptly titled Unlike Any Other, which is largely instrumental bar some sparse spoken lines, and carries with it a kind of modern noirish nightmare feel with its theramin-like sounds eerily playing over the stop-start rhythm.

After that midway detour, A Space for Our Love to Grow brings us back to the vibe set by the opening four tracks – a typically spacious, synthesised sound with a yearning chorus. There are again some little musical twists to keep things interesting, such as the nice acoustic / keys outro that just acts as a nice release to the emotion of the main body of the song.

Politics infiltrates the album on Stop Them. Tim’s anti-corporate, anti-capitalist protest is powerful in its passion but done with a light enough touch to not beat you over the head with its message. The music is subtle with vocals to the fore, bringing full attention to the lyrics.

After the relatively heavy Stop Them comes a song with a sprinkling of humour, playing on its name check of Doctor Who in its first line, with repeated use of Dalek-sounding voices. Otherwise What’s Going On In Your Head is one of those Ronseal songs, doing exactly what it says on the tin!

Closing out the album is Cynical World, a track that gives the album a sense of closure and of wrapping things up with the repeated vocal refrain “Our love goes on” sung over Monty Oxymoron’s distinctive backing vocals and some clean, emotive lead guitar work. Tim Burness has produced a mature and engaging work, full of hope, positivity and deep soul searching, always giving something for the mind to think over whether they be the personal, spiritual or political lyrics within, the trippy soundscapes, or the intricate musical twists and turns along the way. Five years of hard graft and personal investment well spent!”