Spock's Beard


Spock's Beard are a progressive rock band formed in 1992 in Los Angeles by brothers Neal and Alan Morse. Neal played keyboards and was the lead vocalist, as well as being the primary songwriter before leaving the band in 2002 to pursue a solo career. Alan plays electric guitar. The pair teamed with fellow musicians Nick D'Virgilio (drums) and Dave Meros (bass) and released their debut album, The Light, in 1995. The quartet were later joined by veteran keyboardist Ryo Okumoto. Neal Morse departed in 2002, with D'Virgilio taking over lead vocals until his departure in 2011. The band currently consists of Alan Morse, Dave Meros, Ryo Okumoto, drummer Jimmy Keegan (who had toured with the band since 2002 as live fill-in for D'Virgilio) and vocalist Ted Leonard. Spock's Beard plays a brand of progressive rock with pop music leanings, drawing much influence from Yes and Genesis. The band is also well known for their intricate multi-part vocal harmonies, such as those found on certain Gentle Giant tracks. They play  progressive rock in the 70s' spirit, full of contrated climates, breaks and complex compositions based on tortuous, audacious and elaborated instrumental developments. They combine strong melodies with intricate arrangements and superb musicianship. 


HISTORY


Alan Morse came up with the name referring to an episode of Star Trek where Spock had a beard. When it came time to choose a name for the band, Alan made a list of over 100 names and threw Spock's Beard at the end as a joke, and the band chose it. This adventurous band has built a solid and loyal following with their first two releases. The Light (1995) received rave reviews across the globe and Beware of Darkness (1996) was the best progressive rock album of the decade. Keyboardist Ryo Okumoto joined the band since this album.

The light

On the edge


Walking on the wind


Thoughts


The next releases, The Kindness Of Strangers (1998), Day For Night (1999) and V (2000) were issued to insatiable fans world wide.

Strange world


Gibberish

Thoughts (part II)


In 2002, the band released the highly acclaimed double-CD concept album Snow, which tells a story of an albino psychic who acquires a messianic following, who spiritually falls and loses the direction of his calling, then to be rescued with new chance to live in harmony. Many listeners and critics have noted the parallels between the storyline of Snow and Neal Morse's own highly-publicized conversion to Christianity.

Devil's got my throat

Second overture


Following the release of Snow, Neal Morse left the band for a solo career. Drummer Nick D'Virgilio took over the lead singing and songwriting role. Their album, Feel Euphoria (2003), has a harder-rocking and more experimental sound than the Neal Morse-led band, relying on Alan Morse's guitar to a greater extent. Feel Euphoria marked a fresh new beginning and a new creative period in the band's career. 


Onomatopoeia


In early 2005, after a long writing and recording process, Spock's Beard released Octane, their second album after the departure of Neal Morse. This was seen by many fans as a return to a more bright and epic sound after the previous songwriting differences in Feel Euphoria.

NWC


Their ninth studio album was released on 21 November 2006, simply entitled Spock's Beard. A live DVD as well as CD (of the same material) recorded live in Holland in 2007, were released in 2008.

Skeletons at the feast


On 23 July 2009, the band's website announced that most of the material for a new album has been written, and that their tenth album was to be released independently rather than through a record label. Adopting an approach similar to that taken by the band Marillion, Spock's Beard have decided to take pre-orders of the CD before entering the recording studio, to support the production costs. The album, X, was released in June 2010. Jimmy Keegan provided some additional vocals on the release and later followed the band on the promotional tour for the new material. The band played at the Sweden Rocks festival in June and at the UK High Voltage Festival on 24 July 2011, with Ted Leonard (of Enchant) filling in for Nick on vocals on both occasions. They were joined at High Voltage by Neal Morse, who reunited with the band for the end of "The Light" and "June."

The Emperor's clothes


Kamikaze

The release of X marked another turning point for the band seeing that the Nick D'Virgilio announced his departure from the band on November 18, 2011 to concentrate on his solo career. On November 21, 2011, it was announced on the bands official website that Enchant's vocalist Ted Leonard and former touring drummer Jimmy Keegan would be the new singer and drummer of the band, respectively. Their 11th studio album, Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep, was released in 2013.


Afterthoughts



DISCOGRAPHY
Studio albums

The Light (1995)
Beware of Darkness (1996)
The Kindness of Strangers (1998)
Day for Night (1999)
V (2000)
Snow (2002)
Feel Euphoria (2003)
Octane (2005)
Spock's Beard (2006)
X (2010)
Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep (2013)


Sources: