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|A brief history
They are regarded by many as one of the leading, if not THE leading, progressive rock outfit of the new millennium. The Flower Kings are led by progrock icon, guitarist, vocalist, composer, producer Roine Stolt into a world of unlimited musical fantasy and flair. Playing it's first ever live date in August 1994 as a result of the interest in Stolt's solo album "The Flower King", the band quickly became somewhat of a phenomenon in the progressive rock community for everyone that once loved bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Zappa, UK, Utopia, Yes, ELP, King Crimson or Focus.
The band quickly finished the first proper band recording "Back In The World Of Adventures" released 1995 on it's own label "Foxtrot Records" and played shorter tours in Europe the same year, the ball started rolling...just a bit. Building on the success of albums like "Retropolis" & the already classic double CD's "Stardust We Are" and "Flower Power" they toured Europe, Japan & South America and started to build a worldwide following.
Successful tours resulted in the recording of the live album, "Alive On Planet Earth", which was compiled from shows in both the USA and Japan -98 & -99.
It shows the essence of the textural and emotional offering that is now the trademark of The Flower Kings and shows that this is a band that probably has as much in common with Mozart, Debussy, Andrew Lloyd Webber or Miles Davis as with Pink Floyd, Beatles, Bowie or Yes. There is always an element of soulfulness and drama and the richness of moods and inventiveness has to be heard to be believed. Flower Kings signed to German label in 1999.
Roine Stolt is keeping himself busy with numerous sideprojects around the world like TransAtlantic (alongside Mike Portnoy, Neal Morse & Pete Trewavas), plus the reunion of Swedish progrockers KAIPA, his 70's band, Another one is he new highly acclaimed "Tangent" CD featuring Van Der Graaf Generator saxman David Jackson and the obscure "Flying Food Circus" project.
With the albums "Space Revolver" 2000 and "The Rainmaker" released in September 2001 The Flower Kings sound shifted to a more accessible level but maintains all the elements that have established this band as one of those most colourful exponents of progressive rock in the world today.
In November 2002 Flower Kings released yet another astonishing and adventurous musical statement : "Unfold The Future". A double CD containing everything from classic symphonic rock in pure 70's fashion ( read Yes, Crimson, ELP, Genesis) to weird Zappaesque or Miles Davis like early 70's fusion, there's even the odd pop song.
Flower Kings are no simple copycats that merely try to relive the glorious 70's, they rather fuse their sound with a remarkable knowledge of their past but still containing elements contemporary music and of all music history, still looking into the future, always ready to point out new directions and new possibilities, where to take progrock next, always ready to take risks !!! With this comes of course a healthy portion of criticism from the more conservative progfan or prog metal lovers, but Flower Kings still go the way they find most fruitful and rewarding and taylored to stand the test of time, may it be pop or experiment.
Not unlike bands like, Phish or Greatful Dead, by incorporating jamming and new twists to every show Flower Kings have built a devoted fanbase of "Flowerheads"that follow them all over the globe, Europe, USA, Japan, Canada, South America. There even seem to be an element of what is "more than music" a way of life that resound the positive music and thoughtful lyrics. Depending more on the soulful elements Flower Kings have left audiences raving for weeks about what seemed to be a highlight of their concertgoing life, EVER !!!
With a relatively fresh rhythm section of Hungarian prodigy Zoltan Csorsz and bass madman Jonas Reingold and also presenting labelmates "Pain Of Salvation's " Daniel Gildenlow as a keys, guitar, percussion and vocal sideman together with frontline; leadsinger / guitarist Roine Stolt, keyboardist Tomas Bodin and guitarist /leadsinger Hasse Fröberg they did all embark on the initial leg of a European tour in Nov 2002. Since then they have all continued to florish and blossom in the most spectacular ways, doing another USA tour in June 2003, playing a memorable set at the No.1 US progrock festival "Nearfest".
October 2003 saw them embark on the "part 2" of Unfold The Future Tour in conjunction with the release of their first DVD and a Live CD titled "Meet The Flower Kings".
The DVD have done remarkably well for the band and there are already plans for another DVD, focusing on interviews with all bandmembers and live sequences of the non-epic songs.
A new CD, ADAM & EVE is in the finishing stages for release in July 2004, followed by a European tour.
In the meantime everyone in the band keep busy with side projects including a new Tangent CD a new Karmakanic CD "wheel Of Life" and a new project including Roine Stolt and drummer Doane Perry(Jethro Tull), vocalist and bassman Ellis Hall(Tower Of Power/Ray Charles) and keyboardist & LA movie soundtracker Vince DiCola.
A new CD by the group "Swedish Family" led by Tomas Bodin is in the making for release late summer 2004, a record of 70's prog inspired by Swedish folkmusic.
Roine Stolt is also working on 2 new solo projects, a guitar album and a pop/prog album.
In June 2007 they released The Road Back Home, a compilation of remixed songs from 1994 to 2006, plus "Little Deceiver" (a previously unreleased track) and the full version of their cover of Genesis' "The Cinema Show".
Zoltan Csörsz was replaced by new drummer Marcus Liliequist for one album, but returned for the 2007 album, The Sum of No Evil. He was subsequently replaced by Erik Hammarström in 2008. In 2008, Ola Heden, previously of Reingold's side project Karmakanic, joined on guitar, vocals and keyboards.
In November 2008 the band were the opening act of the Ecco Prog Fest in Moscow.
On February 2, 2012 it was announced that the band will release a new album in 2012. Due to be released June 18, it will be featuring new drummer Felix Lehrmann.
Roine Stolt stated about the long break The Flower Kings took: "It was a very positive and productive break - as all comes down to inspiration and being creative. We were running out of steam around 2008 so it was crucial to take a break and recharge batteries. We were going on and on for years making new albums and playing tours and after a while we felt lost without a clue why we kept doing it. I think it is extremely important to make music for the right reason, and money, while important, shall not be the prime reason to go on".
Roine Stolt also talked about the recordings of Banks of Eden: We always record live in the studio nowadays, it gives the music more muscle and an organic elasticity in groove and dynamics that is sorely missing in many modern prog bands production when they use sequencer and build it up around drum- machines. We want it to be like a really good live recording, but of course the old vintage equipment help us to sound less "digital" and one dimensional".
(from: http://www.flowerkings.se/?s=biography) / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flower_Kings