“It has been a dream of mine and ours to perform in the United States,” said guitarist German Vergara of the Chilean progressive rock band Aisles as they landed in America for their first tour of the United States, beginning with the recent ProgStock Festival at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway. “It is a big country, a great country, a beautiful country and it has been a childhood dream of mine to play there and it is finally happening.”
Vergara is highly enthusiastic about the band, its music and performing in America. Yet he recognizes the difficulty many progressive rock bands (not named Genesis or Yes) have maintaining airplay and getting their music out to the masses.
Progressive rock, it seems, is a genre that, much like blues music, is constantly under the radar, then seems to resurface, only to fade away again.
“It’s hard everywhere,” he said. “Chile is a very small country of only 17 million people and that makes it harder to reach a larger audience. Progressive rock is a very hard style of music to make appealing, but I think it’s really up to the musicians to make it interesting so that people want to listen, want to come out to see and hear the bands.
“Progressive music is growing in Europe and we are doing well there, as is the case with many other bands, so it’s all a matter of finding the right market. The style gets very little radio play like it did years ago.”
Vergara began playing guitar at the age of 11 and had some classic influences. “I loved Brian May of Queen,” he said, enthusiastically. “Then, as I grew older, Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page, he is awesome. Steve Howe of Yes, I love Steve Howe. I’m not so sure if it affects my style of play today because I never imitate others in any manner; I like to think I’m an innovator (laughs).”
Named after the connecting piece that runs from the back of a theater to the stage, Aisles are still riding high off of their last record, a double album conceptual work titled Hawaii, which was released in 2016. According to Vergara, the band is “very happy with the results and sales to this point” and extremely happy with the reviews it has gotten, as well.
“Yes, we are very pleased with how the album was received,” he said. “There is always pressure on you when you’re creative … so we are very much glad this one has done well. We are just about near the end of the cycle with this one and we are going to go back into the studio once we return to Chile and start work on a new one.”
While on this first U.S. tour, they plan to promote their entire package of material as much as possible, relying on their live performance to seal the deal and win over American audiences.
“We plan on promoting the last CD, so we’ll be playing many tracks from that as well as our other three albums,” Vergara said. “Sometimes the studio can’t capture us as we sound live. We feel we have much more strength and a certain energy playing live that maybe is missing from studio recordings. We come to life onstage, we love to perform and feed off of the crowd’s energy, too.”
Rahway witnessed it first hand and next up is Friday evening at Progtoberfest at Reggies in Chicago, with more U.S. dates to be announced shortly.
But for now, the band is soaking it all in, enjoying their first taste of American audiences.
“We are very excited and look forward to meeting the fans in America,” said Vergara. “Once we get home we have a few more dates in Chile and then we start over (laughs).”
For more about Aisles, visit aislesproject.com.
That’s it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week … ROCK ON!