CULT HEROES THE ENID STILL DO IT THEIR WAY

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FORMED at the height of the mid-70s punk explosion, symphonic rockers The Enid offered a welcome alternative for the more sophisticated sorts who didn’t want to put a safety pin through their nose or go out wearing a black bin liner.

“We appealed to a different type of audience, people who wanted a bit more substance to their music,” says founding member Robert John Godfrey, ahead of the band’s visit to the Queen’s Hall tomorrow night.

“The Enid’s appeal was in our ability to offer a safe haven for girls and boys who didn’t like punk because of its total lack of musicality - but nevertheless wanted something other than what had gone before.”

The band are often tagged as ‘progressive’, but Godfrey admits he’s never been entirely comfortable with that.

“Most of the modern music that is so-called ‘progressive’ is anything but,” he says. “Most of it is meaningless and unstructured - a mere parody of its origins.

“The great progressive bands for me are the likes of King Crimson, Yes, Queen’s early albums and Tears for Fears,” he continues. “I was one of the first people to work with the combination of orchestra and band, when I started doing the arrangements for an early version of [classic English rock band] Barclay James Harvest.”

In the early 80s, The Enid became the first band to self-fund their recordings with fan contributions paid up front, which led to legendary rock DJ Tommy Vance calling them “the biggest cult band in Europe”.

The Enid still take the DIY approach to music today, with fans now paying £25 a year to join an organisation called The Enidi.

“Our latest album, Journey’s End, took hundreds of creative hours costing thousands,” says Godfrey. “Yet we live in a world where most people don’t want to pay for music anymore, particularly when they can download it for free from the internet.

“The only real opportunity that exists for any band with big ideas is to make a tryst with their fans, because there aren’t any record companies out there who are prepared to spend money on works of art.”

The Enid, Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, tomorrow 7pm, £17.50, 0131-668 2019

GARY FLOCKHART