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Rumored GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman may look like a square--but his slicked-over salt-and-pepper hairdo belies the progressive rock demigod within. In a must-read profile, Politico's Ben Smith and Kasie Hunt reach back to 1978, the year Huntsman dropped out of high school to jam with his bandmates for five hours a day in a "converted radio station at the edge of town." In those days, the former Utah governor sported long, flowing hair, an open shirt and tight pants. His band was called Wizard and he helmed the Hammond organ and Moog synthesizer. Often times his bandmates would sneak off to smoke weed in their cars but no one ever saw Huntsman "inhale," assures a former bandmate.

In any case, the profile explores a side of Huntsman he continues to be proud of today--his devotion to prog-rock. Scanning the profile and other statements he's made over the years, we compiled a playlist of bands he's professed his love for. They're not all prog rock, but he definitely doesn't shy away from the heavy stuff:

REO Speedwagon

Playing cover songs with Wizard, Huntsman was best known for his organ solo on REO Speedwagon's "Roll with the Changes."

Dream Theater

Even as Utah governor, he wore his devotion to prog rock on his sleeve, signing a proclamation creating "Dream Theater Day" in honor of the progressive metal band of the same name.


At Utah's 2005 State Fair, Hunstman jammed with Chicago prog-rock outfit Styx.

Led Zeppelin

One of Wizard's key influences was the prog-rock progenitor Led Zeppelin:

The Foo Fighters

Huntsman still keeps in touch his former bandmates, once paging his friend who had become a doctor. "It's not a medical emergency but it's a rock and roll emergency ... The Foo Fighters are coming to town and we have got to get tickets."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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