Van der Graaf Generator


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No progressive rock band could ever be said to be a household name, but Van der Graaf Generator, who celebrated their fiftieth anniversary in 2018, rarely enjoyed that distinction even in the households of many prog fans. VdGG, and the band’s main creative force, Peter Hammill, only really had one foot in prog – the other pivoted between more straight-ahead rock, wild experimentation, and at times, brutal noise. While VdGG’s initial run ended prematurely, the band eventually came full-circle, reforming in 2005 and still going strong. Both Hammill and VdGG have been lauded as musicians’ musicians by such luminaries as Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Julian Cope, Mark E. Smith, and Johnny Rotten. This book will explore what these musicians, and legions of dedicated fans, found so inspiring over the years: all of the VdGG albums, including Pawn Hearts and Godbluff as well as several solo Hammill albums crucial to the VdGG story, are discussed in these pages, including a handful of essential live recordings, experiments, and collaborations. Nothing like this analysis of the band has been published before, and this book will prove an invaluable guide for navigating the Van der Graaf Generator sonic labyrinth.


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