Craig West – Lead Vox, Guitar & Bass

For better or worse, music has always been a part of Craig West.

His parents will tell you that – when in nursery school – he would sit in front of the speaker while classical music was playing looking very much like the little dog in the RCA ads. Craig doesn’t remember this personally, but figures his parents probably wouldn’t lie.

Piano lessons at age four followed with the boy showing little aptitude towards the instrument. When he was eight, he took up the saxophone and played for eight years in school bands before putting it down in favor of the guitar.

This is a decision he regrets, but what’s done is done.

When he was 16 he bought his first bass guitar and – a year later – his first electric guitar. Rock music took hold at this point and he was doomed.

He taught himself by playing along with albums by The Who, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull, and ,in fact, played lead guitar in a Jethro Tull tribute band for a short time in Ottawa.

Craig is that person who collects music: vinyl albums, CDs, memorabilia and instruments often at the expense of bills being paid on time. His wife will tell you this is not his most redeeming quality.

His love of progressive rock took hold when he was given a copy of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. He found this music to be an oasis in the desolate musical landscape of the 1980s. He delved deeper and discovered groups like Genesis, the afore-mentioned Tull, King Crimson and Marillion.

He became a passionate acolyte of progressive music.

And then did next to nothing about it for nearly 20 years.

Like a lot of people, he thought nobody would like his progressive music and so tried to do what he thought people would like. This was a classic case of someone not following their heart and for many years the donkey chased the carrot at the end of the stick.

Yes, sometimes Craig needs someone to slap him on head and yell “IDIOT”!

Sure he would compose progressive suites, make demos on his four-track and write down lofty plans for concept records, but for the most part the bands he played in were rock and folk groups because he lacked the wherewithal to do what he most wanted.

He was the lead guitarist for a singer-songwriter named Chris Belsito for many years, wrote most of the material for Startlefish, a folk-rock group whose second album began to show hints of prog, and – through the borrowing of a drummer – became acquainted with Nick Jackson and would play in IT for a few years.

This was the real turning point. IT were proof that you could follow your heart into progressive rock land and actually get gigs, make friends and influence people.

Machines Dream is the manifestation of his journey from progressive rock, away from it, and then back.

What else do you want to know?

Craig owned and operated a recording studio for a few years, worked in the advertising and transportation industries, and loves dogs, cars, Apple computers and science fiction. He’s roamed the Earth a bit, obtained a degree in English literature, written a lot of words and music, and thinks Peter Capaldi is the best Doctor Who to date.

Is that enough?

He hopes you’ll like Machines Dream, but if you don’t, that’s cool too.