Docker's Guild

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Docker's Guild
Docker's Guild Live Saluzzo.jpg
Docker's Guild live in Saluzzo, Italy (09 May 2013)
Background information
Origin USA, France, Italy
Genres progressive rock, progressive metal, melodic rock, AOR, heavy metal, hard rock, space rock
Years active 2008-present (in development since 1990)
Labels Lion Music
Associated acts Amaranthe, Area 51, Asia, Avantasia, Biloxi, Blue Murder, Custodie Cautelari, Dirty Secrets, Douglas R. Docker, Docker Nakamura Alliance, Frantic Amber, Hardline, Kamelot, Last40Days, Yngwie Malmsteen, Kee Marcello, Miss Behaviour, Night Ranger, John Norum, Vasco Rossi, David Lee Roth, Rustfield, Shooting Stars, Shy, Tarja Turunen, Therion, TNT, Trillium, Vixen
Website www.dockersguild.com
Members Fiamma Cardani, Douglas R. Docker, Yasi Hofer, Mio Jäger, Roxy Petrucci, Anna Portalupi, Valentina Procopio, Roberta Raschellà, Elize Ryd, Amanda Somerville
Past members Salvatore Amato, Gregg Bissonette, Luca Caracciolo, Göran Edman, Tony Franklin, Guthrie Govan, Magnus Jacobson, Tony Mills, John Payne, Anna Petracca, Andrea Rampa, Davide Ronfetto, Jeff Watson

Docker's Guild is a progressive rock/progressive metal project created by Douglas R. Docker, former keyboardist of melodic rock Biloxi. An American-French keyboardist, singer, songwriter, composer, producer and musicologist best known for his work in the progressive rock/metal, AOR and classical genres. In 2012, Docker's Guild debut album The Mystic Technocracy - Season 1: The Age of Ignorance was release on Lion Music, with a large cast of international special guests, including Tony Franklin, Guthrie Govan, Jeff Watson, Greg Bissonette, Göran Edman, John Payne, Tony Mills and Amanda Somerville. It is described as "a progressive rock space opera".[1]

History[edit]

Project Development before Docker's Guild (1990-1995)[edit]

Douglas R. Docker wrote many of the songs that would become the core of his future space opera Docker's Guild in Italy between 1990 and 1991. The first songs to be completed were "The Mystic Technocracy" and "Legion of Aliens", which would later appear on Docker's Guild's debut album The Mystic Technocracy - Season 1: The Age of Ignorance, "Explorers", a three-movement suite that will appear on Season 5 and "K475 W.A.M.", an instrumental piece that will open Season 2. Shortly after, several other songs were developed, most notably "The Secret of DNA", "Purple Orb", "Black Swans" and a very rough version of "Twilight of the Gods", all of which ended up on Docker's Guild debut album.[2][3][4]

These songs marked a dramatic shift in Docker's songwriting style. Previous songs were modeled on 1980s hard rock and heavy metal sounds and lyrical themes of the day, but Docker had grown increasingly bored with the metal scene. Therefore, he started experimenting with musical structures, being particularly inspired by the music of Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Jean Michel Jarre, David Bowie and Les Rockets. He also started writing much darker, existentialist lyrics with science-fiction, religious and historical themes, being inspired by the lyrical contents of the above mentioned bands, but also by Iron Maiden, horror and science-fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft, 1950s EC Comics, 1970s Marvel Comics, 1930s movie serials, 1950s movies by Hammer Film Productions, Universal Horror and finally 1970s dark science-fiction TV series and movies such as Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion, Doctor Who, Sapphire & Steel, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, The Black Hole, Gerry Anderson's UFO, Space: 1999, etc.[5]

Between 1989 and 1992 Docker played keyboards and sang lead vocals in an Italian progressive rock band called Dirty Secrets. Although they mainly covered Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer material, Docker tested a few of the songs with the band. A very rough and early version of "The Mystic Technocracy" was recorded in the studio of the Scuola di Alto Perfezionamento Musicale in Saluzzo, Italy in the fall of 1991, and both "The Mystic Technocracy" and "Legion of Aliens" were played live on various occasions in 1991-1992.[2]

In 1992 Docker relocated to Hollywood, California, where he recorded the three-track demo Seas of Ignorance as a solo effort. It included the songs "Legion of Aliens", "Black Swans" and the suite "Explorers", with Docker handling keyboards, lead vocals and programming, and featuring Mio Jäger (Frantic Amber) as guest vocalist.[3][6] Shortly after, Docker performed "K475 W.A.M." live with instrumental neoclassical metal band Eishun at the Musicians Institute's 1992 Battle of the Bands. In 1993, Docker set up his own band and "The Mystic Technocracy" was performed at the same event.[4]

Up to this point the songs were unrelated, but Docker soon realized that the lyrics seemed to flow from one to the other as a continuous story in the same fictional world. He then developed and wrote a story based on the lyrics, teaming up again with Mio Jäger who co-wrote "The Secret of DNA" and "The Gem of Love" as well as handling all guitars and lead vocals. At this point there was enough material for one album and in 1994-1995, under the moniker "Docker Nakamura Alliance" (DNA), the duo recorded a demo entitled City of Light at the The Village Recorder in Los Angeles, featuring Tony Franklin on bass. At this point Docker had already started developing ideas for multimedia spin-offs, ranging from comics and videos to games and novels, but he quickly realized that the technology just wasn't there yet to develop the project properly. Additionally, the quality of City of Light was so disappointing that Docker decided to shelve the project until costs and technology had reached acceptable levels.[3][6]

The Mystic Technocracy - Season 1: The Age of Ignorance (2004-2012)[edit]

In 2004 Docker resumed occasional work on the project, mainly developing the story which became long enough to fill two full albums. Several project names were considered, including Integral, Machine Messiah (inspired by the Yes song from the album Drama) and Queller Drive (from TV series Space: 1999). Eventually Docker chose Docker's Guild, inspired by "By Any Means Necessary", an episode of TV sci-fi series Babylon 5.[7]

Originally, Docker's Guild should have been a band with Docker's old band mate Clyde Holly (Biloxi) on lead vocals and production. Sadly, Holly died in 2006,[8] so Docker asked Göran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum) to be the lead vocalist, with Magnus Jacobson (Miss Behaviour) on drums and Marcel Jacob (Europe, Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman) on bass. Jacob however committed suicide in 2009.[9] At this point Docker decided to transform Docker's Guild into a multi-vocalist studio project, so he contacted many international special guests with the final lineup consisting of Greg Bissonette (Vasco Rossi, David Lee Roth) and Magnus Jacobson on drums, Tony Franklin (Blue Murder, Vasco Rossi) on bass, Guthrie Govan (Asia) and Jeff Watson (Night Ranger) on guitars, Göran Edman, John Payne (Asia), Tony Mills (Shy, TNT) and Amanda Somerville (Avantasia, Trillium) on vocals and Donald D. Docker (Douglas R. Docker's father) on sax and clarinet. Docker himself handled production, most of the songwriting, all keyboards, lead and backing vocals. A few additional artists were contacted but were unable to participate due to other commitments. Among these were Karl Groom (Threshold), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple), Ted Poley (Danger Danger) and Clara Moroni (Vasco Rossi). Docker also wanted David Glen Eisley (Giuffria) in the project, but was unable to find him.[1][5]

Starting in 2008, while the special guests team was being assembled, Docker spent one full year at his Planet of Freedom Studio working on preproduction, songwriting and story development. By this time it was clear that the whole story would no longer fit on two albums, so it was expanded to five, which he called "Seasons" as a tribute to sci-fi TV series Babylon 5. The full title of the debut album thus became The Mystic Technocracy - Season 1: The Age of Ignorance.[7]

In September 2009 the special guests started recording their final tracks. The process took a full year and involved fourteen recording studios from all over the world, including Italy, England, Germany, Sweden, Norway and the US. In December 2010 the mixing process began, under the able hands of Simon Hanhart (Asia, Marillion, David Bowie, etc.) in England. The album was then mastered by Mike Lind in Sweden in the summer of 2011, while the artwork was behind developed by Carl-André Beckston, also in Sweden. Alessandro Del Vecchio acted as A&R agent and in December 2012 Docker's Guild was signed to Lion Music. The album was finally released on the 15th of June 2012.[1][10]

The album received a large number of rave reviews, and by the end of 2012 it had won several awards, including best album of the year in several countries (Italy, France, Australia, Romania, Japan, etc.).[citation needed] Docker was also voted Keyboardist of the Year in Sweden (ArtRock).[11][12]

In 2012, Docker's Guild released two promotional videos to support the album: "A Matter of Energy" is a trailer which uses the album artwork and "Darwin's Tears" is an ambitious 11-minute short film, shot entirely in black and white and using the style of German Expressionism of the 1920s. Both videos were produced by Silos Production, the same company the shot Therion's short film 011 - An Adventure with Therion.[13][14]

Special Events (2013)[edit]

In February 2013 Docker's Guild organized an album release party at the Audiodrome Club near Turin, Italy, which included a press conference and the worldwide premiere of the "Darwin's Tears" short film, followed by the band's first live concert ever. Due to the complications of managing the international cast of special guests, Docker opted for a selection of high quality Italian musicians, featuring Salvatore Amato (Rustfield) on drums, Anna Portalupi (Tarja Turunen, Hardline) on bass, Davide Ronfetto (Rustfield) on guitar, Andrea Rampa (Rustfield) and Anna Petracca (Last40Days) on vocals.[15]

In May 2013 Docker opened a music school entirely dedicated to rock music called Black Swan - Rock School of Music, with several branches in the Turin area. To celebrate the event, Docker organized a press conference in the afternoon, followed by an inauguration party in Saluzzo, Italy, with Docker's Guild as headliners. Luca Caracciolo (Kee Marcello) took over on drums for this gig.[16]

The Heisenberg Diaries - Book A: Sounds of Future Past (2013-present)[edit]

Docker is now hard at work on Docker's Guild's second album, which will be called The Heisenberg Diaries - Book A. It is unclear how this transition album will relate to the main story and what its contents will be, but it can be assumed that the Mystic Technocracy saga will comprise more than the five albums originally discussed.[17]

Analysis[edit]

Structure[edit]

The Mystic Technocracy story will unfold through five albums called Seasons, which refer to the way TV series are structured. Each album corresponds to a full sci-fi TV series season, with each song being an episode. The debut album The Mystic Technocracy - Season 1: The Age of Ignorance comprises a trailer, a pilot episode and 13 regular episodes. Each album ends with a cliffhanger which is resolved in the following season.[7]

Docker has stated that he set himself some challenges to make the writing process more interesting, so each album will have two instrumentals and two covers. The covers will be chosen so that their titles, lyrical contents or general mood fit with the story.[3][7]

Between these 5 main albums, Docker's Guild will release 4 transitional albums. The first of these will be called The Heisenberg Diaries - Book A: Sounds of Future Past and according to the Docker's Guild Official Website it will be "A collection of vintage sci-fi movies and TV series soundtracks reworked in the Docker's Guild style. A journey of discovery into the past of Dr. Jack Heisenberg, the main character of The Mystic Technocracy, before the events of Season 1, before the Order of the Swan, before the "God gene", before the dark times..."[18][19]

Artwork[edit]

The artwork, the videos and all future multimedia spin-offs have been consistently designed in black and white with a dark, brooding and unsettling atmosphere. The main influence is the style of 1930s movie serials and in particular the aesthetics of 1920s German Expressionism.[20][21][22]

Characters[edit]

Eternity observes the unfolding of events in the story but does not interfere. She exists above all other planes of existence and appears in the song and the short film "Darwin's Tears".[22][14]

Euterpe (The Muse of Music), Clio (The Muse of History) and Urania (The Muse of Astronomy) consume a sapphic relationship and out their guilt shed three black tears which fall into a basin and give birth to the dark world of 'The Mystic Technocracy'. They exist in a higher plane of existence and appear in the song and the short film "Darwin's Tears".[22][14]

The Cross (Dark Christianity), The Star (Dark Judaism) and The Moon (Dark Islam) are the corrupted personifications of the three Abrahamic religions as created by the Technocrat ZZ-999. They appear in the short film "Darwin's Tears".[22][14]

ZZ-999 (The Technocrat) is the main character of Season 1. A member of a silicon-based, techno-organic alien race called the Mystic Technocracy, he comes to Earth at the dawn of time to destroy all life on the planet. Having failed, he creates religion as a mechanism to induce the human race into extinction through self-destruction. In the artwork he is depicted as a silver skinned humanoid with white eyes made of electronic circuits and dressed in a monk-like black cape. The home world of the Mystic Technocracy is Silix IV, a planet orbiting a black hole somewhere in the Andromeda Galaxy.[22][7][14]

Adam V (The Adamantian) appears in a vision towards the end of Season 1, in the songs "Prophecy" and "Black Swans". Not much is known about this race of aliens. Their bodies are made entirely of blue diamond and they come from the planet Carbonia, which orbits the same black hole as Silix IV. Their motives are still unclear, but they seem to be wanting to help Earth's scientists in defeating the Technocrat and save the planet.[22] [7]

Tith (The Last Dinosaur) appears in the song "Darwin's Tears", where he begs the Technocrat to let him live, to no avail. In the album artwork he is depicted as a Stegosaurus, while in the short film he becomes anthropomorphic.[22][14]

Doctor Jack Heisenberg is never mentioned in Season 1 and almost nothing has been revealed about him, but the next studio album will be titled The Heisenberg Diaries - Book A: Sounds of Future Past. According to the band's official website the new album will be "a journey of discovery into the past of Dr. Jack Heisenberg, the main character of The Mystic Technocracy, before the events of Season 1, before the Order of the Swan, before the "God gene", before the dark times..."[18]

Plot[edit]

Billions of years ago, the Mystic Technocracy, a silicon-based techno-organic alien race from Silix IV, a planet orbiting a black hole in the Andromeda Galaxy, embarks on a mission to destroy all carbon-based life in the universe. However, the Technocrat that is sent to Earth malfunctions and crash lands on the planet. He unsuccessfully tries to eliminate all life from the planet by means of repeated Extinction Level Events. Weakened and damaged, he eventually modifies the genome of all life on the planet and creates religion as a way to eliminate life on Earth through war, violence and self-destruction.

A group of scientists from Project DNA, after years of research, finally discovers that something is wrong with human DNA and begins visiting ancient archaeological sites around the world in search of an answer. Eventually, under Jerusalem, they find the secret base of the Technocrat and his starship, although the Technocrat himself is gone. During their work, they are overwhelmed by a cryptic vision of the future and the Blue Diamonds, another race of aliens made entirely of blue diamonds, appear, form an alliance with the scientists and found the Order of the Swan, a secret organization devoted to stopping the Technocrat and saving the human race from self-destruction.[22][7]

Members[edit]

Pre-Docker's Guild Recordings (1990-1995)[edit]

  • Elmer Michelin-Salomon: drums (1991-1992)
  • Michael Schuman: drum programming, lead and backing vocals, spoken voice (1994-1995)
  • Ezio Portis: bass (1991-1992)
  • Tony Franklin: bass (1994-1995)
  • Enrico Gilli: guitars (1990-1992)
  • Mio Jäger: guitars, lead and backing vocals (1992-1995)
  • Douglas R. Docker: keyboards, programming, lead and backing vocals, main songwriter, producer (1990-1995)
  • Manuela Giraudo: lead vocals (1991)
  • additional backing vocals: Donald-Stephen Atzet, Chrstine Falk, Maria Hamberg, Liz Jenzen, Miko, Barry Richards, Tegan Taylor, Jan Van de Ven (1995)

Pre-Docker's Guild Live (1990-1993)[edit]

  • Elmer Michelin-Salomon: drums (1991-1992)
  • Mats Håxell: drums (1992)
  • Ares Pagnamenta: drums (1993)
  • Ezio Portis: bass (1991-1992)
  • Takumi "Fire" Matsuda: bass (1992)
  • Patrick Greppi: bass (1993)
  • Monica Dahlander: bass (1993)
  • Enrico Gilli: guitars (1990-1992)
  • Eishun Fukui: guitars (1992)
  • Mio Jäger: guitars, lead and backing vocals (1993)
  • Douglas R. Docker: keyboards, lead and backing vocals (1990-1993)
  • Manuela Giraudo: lead and backing vocals (1991)
  • Cinzia Durando: lead and backing vocals (1991-1992)
  • Manuela Sobrero: lead and backing vocals (1991-1992)

The Mystic Technocracy - Season 1: The Age of Ignorance (2012)[edit]

  • Gregg Bissonette: drums
  • Magnus Jacobson: drums
  • Tony Franklin: bass
  • Guthrie Govan: guitars
  • Jeff Watson: guitars
  • Douglas R. Docker: keyboards, lead and backing vocals, spoken voice, main songwriter, producer
  • Donald D. Docker: alto and tenor sax, clarinet, spoken voice
  • John Payne: lead and backing vocals
  • Göran Edman: lead and backing vocals
  • Tony Mills: lead and backing vocals
  • Amanda Somerville: lead and backing vocals
  • additional spoken voices: Silvana Momigliano, Touria Nouri, Andrea Rampa, Janthana Rodjakkhen, Davide Ronfetto

Special Events Live (2012-2013)[edit]

  • Salvatore Amato: drums (December 2012 - February 2013)
  • Luca Caracciolo: drums (April - May 2013)
  • Anna Portalupi: bass (February - May 2013)
  • Davide Ronfetto: guitars, backing vocals (December 2012 – May 2013)
  • Douglas R. Docker: keyboards, lead and backing vocals (December 2012 – May 2013)
  • Andrea Rampa: lead and backing vocals, keyboards (December 2012 – May 2013)
  • Anna Petracca: lead and backing vocals (December 2012 – May 2013)

The Heisenberg Diaries - Book A: Sounds of Future Past (upcoming)[edit]

  • Fiamma Cardani: drums
  • Roxy Petrucci: drums
  • Anna Portalupi: bass
  • Mio Jäger: guitars
  • Roberta Raschellà: guitars
  • Yasi Hofer: guitars
  • Douglas R. Docker: keyboards, lead and backing vocals
  • Amanda Somerville: vocals
  • Elize Ryd: vocals
  • Valentina Procopio: vocals

Discography[edit]

Pre-Docker's Guild Recordings[edit]

  • Douglas R. Docker: Beloit Corporation / Leykam Murztaler - industrial video soundtrack (1990)
  • Douglas R. Docker: Beloit Corporation / PWA IP - industrial video soundtrack (1991)
  • Dirty Secrets: APM Sessions 1991 - demo (1991)
  • Douglas R. Docker: Seas of Ignorance - demo (1993)
  • DNA (aka Docker Nakamura Alliance): City of Light - demo (1995)

Demos[edit]

  • The Mystic Technocracy Demo (2009)

Studio Albums[edit]

  • The Mystic Technocracy - Season 1: The Age of Ignorance (2012)
  • The Heisenberg Diaries - Book A: Sounds of Future Past (upcoming)

Videography[edit]

  • "A Matter of Energy" - trailer (2012)
  • "Darwin's Tears" - short film (2013)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Docker's Guild - The Mystic Technocracy". Lion Music. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Docker, Douglas R. "Featurette 4 - Diabolus in Musica (Part 1)". Docker's Guild Official YouTube Channel. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Docker, Douglas R. "Featurette 5 - Diabolus in Musica (Part 2)". Docker's Guild Official YouTube Channel. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Docker, Douglas R. "K475 W.A.M. Live Video (Los Angeles)". Douglas R. Docker's Official YouTube Channel. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Docker, Douglas R. "About". Docker's Guild Official Facebook Page. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Docker, Douglas R. "DNA Foto Album". Douglas R. Docker's Official Facebook Page. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Docker, Douglas R. "Featurette 3 - The Order of the Universe". Docker's Guild Official YouTube Channel. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Roth, Kaj. "Clyde Holly Of Biloxi Is No Longer With Us". Melodic.net. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Soto, Jeff Scott. "Marcel Jacob". Jeff Scott Soto's Official Site. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Docker's Guild "The Mystic Technocracy - Season 1: The Age of Ignorance" CD booklet. Lion Music. 2012. 
  11. ^ Docker, Douglas R. "Docker's Guild Year 2012 in Review!". Docker's Guild Official Facebook Page. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Docker, Douglas R. "Docker's Guild 2012 Awards". Docker's Guild Official Facebook Page. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  13. ^ Docker, Douglas R. "A Matter of Enrgy Trailer". Docker's Guild Official YouTube Channel. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Darwin's Tears Short Film". Docker's Guild Official YouTube Channel. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Docker’s Guild: "Darwin’s Tears" Short Film Worldwide Premiere & Album Release Party". Audiodrome Rock Club. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "Docker's Guild Live: Inaugurazione Black Swan - Rock School of Music". Metal.it. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Le projet Docker's Guild suspendu". Music Waves. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "The Heisenberg Diaries - Book A: Sounds of Future Past". Docker's Guild Official Website. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  19. ^ "Docker's Guild - Second Album Underway;". Brave Worlds & Bloody Knuckles. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  20. ^ "Line'em Up". Power of Metal. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  21. ^ Skøtt, Tommy. "Hails And Horns Interview With Docker's Guild". The Grim Tower. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Mystic Technocracy - Season 1: The Age of Ignorance". Docker's Guild Official Website. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 

External links[edit]