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Mike Johnson: Thinking Plague

March 01, 2017
“I knew that what I was doing was informed by the 20th-century symphonic music, but I was never into the avant-garde.”

To realize Mike Johnson’s musical conceptions, the musicians in his band Thinking Plague—like members of a contemporary music ensemble—read from fully notated scores. Because of its instrumentation and volume, it still sounds somewhat like rock but it is light years away from popular music. In this video presentation by Molly Sheridan, Mike Johnson explains to Frank J. Oteri why he wanted to infuse the world of the Rolling Stones and Yes with the harmonic vocabulary of Shostakovich and William Schuman and describes the ups and downs of Thinking Plague’s now 35-year history.

Read the full story on our own NewMusicBox.

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