In the early '80s, the new British band Silmarillion put out an instrumental demo echoing the introspection and epic themes of the band's namesake novel. The act had changed lineups -- adding multi-talented frontman Fish -- and shortened its name to Marillion by the time it released the full-length Script for a Jester's Tear in 1983. That album continued the ambient adventures worthy of Tolkien, but with its stylized sound, catchy compositions and lavish instrumentations, it also became an archetype for the progressive subgenre dubbed "neo-prog." And that archetype endures today, despite Marillion's receiving little mainstream attention over the past two decades. The band's potent poetry -- often depicting private pain, including Fish's struggle with addiction that precipitated his 1987 departure -- create a special intimacy with fans, who prove that quality beats quantity. In 1997, for example, when the group announced it had insufficient funds for an American tour, Marillion faithful around the world rallied and raised over $60,000 to finance the performances. Add your support to the current quest, or just see what makes Marillion worthy of such devotion, at the Fox Theatre this Thursday, September 30.