The Enid are a Symphonic Rock band founded in 1974 by Robert John Godfrey following his previous work as a Charisma Records solo artist and Barclay James Harvest composer. Described as “one of the greatest composers Great Britain has ever produced” by Tommy Vance on Radio 1, Godfrey and the original members – friends from Finchden (a school for naughty boys) in Kent – enjoyed great success in the 1970s for their mythology-inspired instrumental releases with EMI. A progressive band born in the Punk revolution, The Enid won over cynical audiences with their politically incorrect covers including Land of Hope and Glory (Land of Dope and Tory) and a well-spoken version of The Troggs Wild Thing (“Wild thing! You naughty, naughty boy”).
In the 1980s The Enid split from EMI, successfully becoming the first band to survive entirely through crowdfunding – a model now commonly used by music artists such as Marillion and Radiohead. The band’s fan club ‘The Stand’ became so big it had to be investigated by MI5 for the government’s suspicion of it being a dangerous cult entity. Later disproved, the band continued to thrive, pressing its own records, selling out large theatres and storming public opinion polls in music magazines.
Now fronted by a new line-up of collaborative individuals, The Enid’s music and live productions have taken a new direction combining Godfrey’s love for classical music with lead vocalist Joe Payne’s taste for groundbreaking pop artists such as David Bowie, Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel. Still regarded as a progressive outfit, Payne is often described by the Prog community as the next Freddie Mercury, boasting a 5-octave range. Their theatre shows see him perform The Enid’s cinematic, classically influenced rock music in front of a large interactive state-of-the-art LCD screen.
Soon to release their next album ‘Dust’ (coming Fri 1st April), The Enid are currently touring the album ahead of its release. The band enjoyed a lot of success in 2015 for their tour ‘The Bridge Show’ which pushed boundaries in their use of visual art and political and social context. Receiving the underdog nomination for ‘Live Event’ at the 2015 Progressive Music Awards, this year The Enid celebrate a triple success in the Prog Magazine Readers’ Poll, voted ‘Band of the Year’, ‘Best Male Vocalist’ (Joe Payne) and ‘Best Keyboardist’ (Robert John Godfrey). This is Payne’s second year topping this poll.
Godfrey has been acknowledged by the music industry in numerous ways over the last few years, highlighting the contributions he has made to the arts. In 2014 he was presented with the critics choice ‘Visionary Award’ at the Progressive Music Awards. At the event he gave an inspirational speech about the importance of legacy and investing time towards the nurture of new artists, receiving a standing ovation from an audience of high profile guests such as Peter Gabriel, Rick Wakeman, Steve Hackett and Fish. Godfrey was also announced as one of the top 100 composers of all time in the Classic FM Hall of Fame, 2012-14.