Magellan is a progressive rock project from the San Francisco Bay area, formed by the two brothers Trent Gardner and Wayne Gardner in 1985 with Hal ‘Stringfellow’ Imbrie (bass) performing on the first two albums. Wayne passed away in 2014 and Trent continues the project with an ever growing list of guest musicians.
Given their embrace of technology — endless layers of keyboards and drums — they insist on the “rock” side of things, with big churning guitars and bass lines. Lyrically, their themes are of the classic human condition and the irony of living in the 21st century. There are spiritual battles, emotional conflicts,levels of battle with darkness, and more, all of it dealt with passionately. And that is the other difference between Magellan and their contemporaries: there is no academic distance between their compositions and their performance of them. Irony is black and biting, romance is lush and sincere, and struggle is paramount — it is not detached. There is true high conceptualism, but that is for the listener to discover. Magellan will challenge and delight anyone who encounters them with an open mind.
Trent Gardner, the main songwriter is also known for Explorers Club, a project headed by the Gardner brothers of Magellan featuring, among others, James LaBrie, John Petrucci of Dream Theater, Billy Sheehan (bassist of UFO, Mr. Big and Steve Vai fame), Terry Bozzio (Missing Persons-Frank Zappa), Steve Howe of Yes, and Steve Walsh from Kansas (Trent Gardner co-wrote and co-produced Walsh’s solo effort Glossolalia). More recently Trent also wrote songs with Robert Lamm from the iconic band Chicago for Lamm’s solo effort, Living Proof as well as several horn arrangements/performances on the most recent Chicago album, “NOW” Chicago XXXVI.
Trent is also responsible for composing, “Leonardo The Absolute Man”, a rock opera based upon the life of Leonardo da Vinci. Though entered as a contender during the 44th Grammy awards, the work narrowly missed being selected during the nomination round.