RICK Wakeman is the personification of what can be described as ‘the pomp of prog rock’.

Not only is that true but he can also play the piano to such a high level he has appeared as a session musician on songs like Morning has Broken by Cats Stevens and on David Bowie’s album Hunky Dory and played on such classic tracks as Life on Mars?.

But for all his skills as a pianist he doesn’t wear a T shirt which says ‘look at me, how clever I am!’. I know he doesn’t wear the T shirt as he told me and laughed.

I told him he should as the audience would just applaud louder, he laughter.

There is a definite warmth, charm and joie de voir about Rick Wakeman. When he answers questions he answers them as fully as he he can and then some more.

He can honestly say being a musician has not changed him as a person.

Rick said: “I can honestly say no and that is down to my dad, Cyril.

“He died in 1980, so he saw my career grow when I was with Yes, The Strawbs and my solo success.

"I remember he told me one piece of advice when he said now you are becoming famous you are two people.

“I said really? he said yes. He said you are the Rick Wakeman who goes on stage and appears in front of a crowd and you are the Rick Wakeman off stage. You should be the same as you are now as the Rick Wakeman off stage.

“When you go on stage you can behave differently but not off. I saw the same thing in David Bowie.

"He created characters on stage but off stage he was normal. He is the other person who adhered to my dad’s advice.”

When going through the history of music and the 1970s, the one genre which Rick is synonymous with is ‘Prog Rock’.

He was and still is a member of Yes and his solo career produced albums including The Six Wives of Henry V111 and The Myths and Legend of King Arthur and the Round Table.

Prog Rock or progressive rock is something which people sneer at as it is deemed to be self indulgent, full of grand emotions and gave those who played it a chance to play and sing what they wanted for as long as they wanted.

But for Rick Wakeman prog rock is a badge of honour not just for what he created but its legacy which he feels still resonates today.

He said: “When I started getting involved in prog rock it was an interesting time.

"When you listened to the radio be it national or local, it was all formatted.

“The songs were formatted of an intro, verse, chorus, verse chorus. When prog rock started we were saying we do not want to do that, that is not our music.

"What happened was the public got it and albums were outselling singles.

“Now it is interesting listening to the radio where the format has been broken and this is down to prog rock.

"There is no format. If you don’t want to have an intro you don’t have to. If prog rock has done anything to music it has given musicians the chance to do what they want.”

When I spoke to Rick it was 9am, not a rock ‘n’ roll time I thought but Rick is an early bird.

He explained he had already been up since 5.30pm and this getting up early went back to his teenage days when he had a newspaper round.

It also stems from when he was a session musician and had to be at the first job at 9am so had to be up at 5.30am.

One of the things he cherishes from his youth is his skill as a pianist. It is something he said he was very fortunate to have and one which he could tap into thanks to the people around him like his parents and his piano teacher.

He said: “Being a pianist has given me the chance to express myself. Some can do it in words, some in art but I do it through songs.

"Now when I play pieces I wrote years ago I still have an emotional connection to them as it comes back via the song.”

You can get emotionally connected to songs if you go and see Rick Wakeman’:Piano Odyssey Tour at Westlands in Yeovil on Friday, September 28.

The show will feature even more classic tracks given Rick’s unique piano treatment.

Tickets £31- £36.50.

Buy online at westlandsyeovil.co.uk or call box office on 01935 422884.