Announcer: The Superstars' Radio Network is pleased to present a one-hour music special, "On Tour With Emerson, Lake and Palmer."
<"Tarkus" plays in background>
A: Featured on tonight's program, a track from "Works, Volume 2;" also, an unreleased version of "Bolero," recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Some good music and very good conversation - "On Tour With Emerson, Lake and Palmer," a one-hour music special from the Superstars' Radio Network, will begin right after this.
A: Greetings! Welcome to the Superstars' Radio Network. I'm Sonny Fox, and we're speaking from the Marco Studios in Montreal. Denny Somak (?), our research director is with us, along with Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Let's begin, just briefly, for the people who are just turning on to you. Keith, you started out - we'll briefly cover your history - with a group called Nice, who backed up P.P. Arnold, is that correct?
KE: Mm-hmm, P.P. Armpit, yes...and the Nice. <laughter>
SF: And, in there, was Lee Jackson? And Greg, of course, was with King Crimson, and was also with Giles, Giles, and Fripp.
CP: Miles, Miles, and Fripp...<laughs>
GL: Sounds like a bunch of solicitors.
<laughter all around>
KE: We sound like that!
SF: In that group was Robert Fripp, of course, who's now with Peter Gabriel, the Giles brothers, and Ian McDonald, who's with Foreigner now. Ian was on what, keyboards? Reeds?
SF: Just about everything.
SF: And, Pete Sinfield, who just had a solo album come out six months ago. He's doing okay.
SF: And you went on to join up with Keith in 'Frisco, at the time.
GL: That's right.
SF: And meanwhile, Carl was lighting up Arthur Brown's headset!
CP: It's not true! I was at one stage, but at the time when this group was formed, I was in a group called Atomic Rooster prior to joining "E - L."
GL: Tommy Brewster <laughing>
CP: Tommy Brewster, yeah.
SF: With Vincent Crane, right?
CP: That's correct, yeah, and a chap called Mick Grail (?)
GL: Got a few quick stories, doesn't it?
SF: Tell us some stories.
CP: Yeah, I've got many stories about our band...
GL: The one with the phone and strippers, then.
CP: There was one case when we checked into a hotel in Florida or somewhere, and, he used to have a leather bowler hat, Arthur Brown...
GL: You are gonna tell one! <snickers>
CP: I am! I am! You asked, right! He dropped his luggage in the hallway, walked out to the swimming pool and dived off the top board, or whatever it was, the springboard, with all of his clothes on into the lake, came up with one tooth missing. Walked into the lobby, signed in, and went up to his room and they couldn't believe it. If you can imagine how a hotel would have reacted to a situation like that, it was like hilarious, because everybody watched him do it. He made sure they did.
SF: You must have been very influenced by all the theatrics
CP: I wasn't influenced by anything that happened in that band. <laughter> I was a level-headed young man!
SF: You were quite young at the time.
SF: <to KE> How'd you come to find, bump into Carl when you went back to England?
SF: How did that come about when you and Greg...
KE: We got him through Gardener's Weekly, actually...
CP: Gardener's Weekly, yes...
GL: He was begging to join! But we said, "No, no, no..."
CP: "Get him out..." Actually it was Keith's manager that I think got hold of me...
KE: He liked the look of Carl....<laughs loudly>
CP: <laughing> This is very true!
KE: Well if you've got to have a drummer get a good-looking one!
GL: Drummers are actually bummers.
<drum roll and gong plays>
SF: Did you, at any point, think of having additional members or you just wanted to have a three-piece unit?
CP: No; I would say no, from the beginning of the band, we realized...there's a few rumors that have gone around, people saying that yes, there was something in the air, but, basically the band as you see it, it's the way we intended it to be. Well, in my story it is!
SF: "My story," referring to Keith?
KE: Well you see, I started off by writing this piano concerto, on a train between London and Brighton, got it down, suggested it to the rest of the guys, and they thought, "Yeah, it's a good idea." We went along with it.
SF: This stage - who designed that stage?
CP: I think it was an amalgamation of people
GL: It was, it was an amalgamation of people who did that.
CP: You have lighting people, sound people you know, a lot of people who were involved. It would be very difficult to pin it down to one particular man - I mean, individual members of the band who were involved, and that's saying what would be necessary.
GL: It was the production company, really - they used consultants, and that was it, wasn't it.
CP: Also the size and shape is governed by the amount of people on it. Really the only design one could really talk about is the stairs leading up, where they're located and stuff, and the amplifiers being sunk below stage level. So apart from that there's not an awful lot of design there, it's like a basic setup.
SF: Of course, there's obviously not a great profit margin involved.
GL: No, there's a great loss margin, actually I mean, it's so expensive, that if we sell out every night, and everybody comes to see the show, basically we lose money at this point. You have to decide on priorities, you know? For us, it wouldn't have made it to have retired after that last tour. We'd have just vegetated somewhere in the country, you know? We wanted to break new barriers and do new things. So, for us, we were compelled to do it.
SF: Who is the person behind the concept of the last album, the four sides - three solo?
KE: I think basically it was Greg's concept of putting all of our sides together, because we were at the time thinking of releasing solo albums. Greg suggested the idea of putting them all together as a double album.
SF: I understand there is a "Works, Volume 2" coming out. What's to be included in that?
KE: It's basically a single album, involving individual sides and collective sides. I don't know what the release date is as yet.
GL: We can't really tell until we've been out on tour and measured the reaction to this album that we've just now released. Obviously we want to bring out "Works, Volume 2" as fast as possible - once you've made something, it's good to get it out. The important thing is, is to establish the identity of this new album with this tour.
<"Fanfare for the Common Man" plays>
SF: Recording on this tour - live recording?
GL: Yes, I think we'll record the live show, at some point. It would be a shame not to, as we're doing Pictures At An Exhibition, orchestrated - which we've never done before. I think that's a valid thing to record, even though we recorded it once live as a three piece. It's a totally different concept, now. We'll make a fabulous live recording.
CP: There could even be a chance of actually filming some of the concerts as well.
SF: We're talking to Emerson, Lake and Palmer on the Superstars' Network. Do you have your own recording facilities in any of your private residences at all? Do you work outside of the studio?
GL: We don't record in England because of the tax situation.
SF: Where are you holding out, now?
GL: Well, we really move where we have to be, to work with.
CP: Yeah, nomads, really.
GL: Switzerland, Paris, Montreal king of the road, really, aren't we? <chuckling> We're really tax exiles, basically, but it's convenient, because you know, we're recording in good environments. We had a good time recording in Paris with the Opera de Paris orchestra; we spent some time in Switzerland recording. It's been OK - it's been a good place for us here in Montreal to prepare this tour, because we're using a lot of production people from the Royal Canadian Ballet. It was good for us to do it here because they've got all their facilities here, and it's all so close to America.
SF: We're going to go into a piece of music, perhaps, right now called "Bolero."
KE: "De-dum de-daa, de-da-da da dum-de-daaa " <GL joins in>
SF: It's the drums!
CP: Carl isn't doing this - Carl is not doing any of these noises! <laughter> [Click HERE to listen to the sound bite!]
SF: Now this record was not released of course, it was done with the London
GL: London Philharmonic.
KE: London Philharmonic Orchestra, yeah, after fifty two takes!
SF: On Tour With Emerson, Lake and Palmer will continue when the Superstars' Radio Network returns, right after this.
<"Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression, Part II" (Live) plays>
<"Pirates" plays in background>
SF: Can you give us some glimpse as to what may be happening on the show visually? What do you have planned as far as lights. I noticed a few cannons going off during rehearsal.
GL: It worked better after that, I think
KE: Quiet[ed] down <all laugh> Rather than for me to talk about what's going to happen, I prefer that people come along and see for themselves what's going to happen.
SF: But they will get a rush out of it?
KE: I think they'll get a terrific rush out of it, yeah.
GL: We certainly have! <laughter> Daily!
CP: Minute by minute!
SF: Who designs your album covers? I understand the, uh
CP: It's usually a different person every time, you know. Different photographer, whatever
SF: Have you been happy with all of them?
CP: Ummm at the time you are, until years hence, you know you look back and think, 'Why did I choose that?' Who's to know? I mean, I could say that about a couple of album sleeves personally, myself. You're happy at the time, and that's the most important thing. Constant stages you're going through so you're obviously influenced by various things, and you choose certain pictures or you choose certain people to design things for you. As the years go by you think, 'Ooh, why the hell did I do that?'
<"Hoedown" plays in background>
SF: How long will this tour have to go on before you'll be able to realize it's not a financial burden to you; any idea?
<chuckles from all>
KE: About one gig!
GL: We're gonna have to revise this situation on a sort of monthly basis or something, you know. Each month we're gonna have to look at, and see if we can afford to continue to do it, I suppose. <KE laughs> Because I mean, we're obviously going to run out of money unless we get support from the people of America, or our record company, or somebody, because we've only got so much to invest into it. We believe in it, and we've put everything that we've got into it. We'll continue to do it until we run out of cash, and then, if need be, we'll find Plan B.
SF: You've been in rehearsal for about what, three months up here.
GL: It takes a lot of time to put this together, you know? We've known a lot of these people for a long time, so it's not a new thing we've whipped up all of a sudden. It's been an organic thing.
CP: Some of the people that are working for us now worked with us like in, '73 - '74. These are people that have known us for some time; know exactly what we want. Believe it or not there are a lot of people who are from Montreal, that are working with us that have worked with us in the past as well. It seemed quite natural to come here, and sort of set up home or whatever, and try to get it together.
SF: Greg, what do you like to do when you're not all alone with the music, what do you get into? Anything in particular?
GL: Yeah, I've got a river; well, I'm into fishing. I put fish in it and I plant things along it. I'm interested in conservation <laughter and unintelligible comments from the others> and organic <to KE> don't laugh organic gardening I belong to
SF: The smile on your face! Are you being honest?
GL: I am being honest, yeah!
SF: Is this on your property?
SF: Where is this?
GL: I've got a farm in England. I mean, if you're asking me what do I do with my brains, when I'm not thinking, focusing my attention on music, that's what I do.
CP: Where he gets his hiiiighhh <laughter>
SF: You just go there and lay around and make sure everything's balanced?
GL: Yeah, well you know you write letters home and telling them what to do and where to put it, and they send pictures back on what's being done, and you send back saying 'This is wrong,' and they send it back corrected. It's like that away from home. Because we're tax exiles, we're not allowed to go back there for more than, I don't know - I've used up my days already - so you can't go back there, you see. So you have to do it all by Polaroid picture or postcard.
CP: It's sixty-four days in each year. You know we still have houses there, but we're not in England for more than two months. Over two months, I believe, you're subject to UK tax.
SF: Where do you pick up your mail?
CP: Where do I pick up my mail you don't, do you, really? You have it flown out to you by whoever's coming out to see you from the office, or your wife, or girlfriend, or whatever the case may be.
SF: Speaking of Carl Palmer right now, you're into karate, we mentioned earlier?
SF: And what belt do you hold?
CP: I have a blue belt, which isn't a very high rank. It's about halfway through the curriculum which one has to go through. I'll be taking a teacher with me on the road, and possibly, I'll be promoted.
SF: During the tour?
CP: Yes, during the tour. One would hope, if I can actually put the time in.
SF: How is that decided? What do they decide, to promote you? Your excellence, or what?
CP: Yeah, you just have to learn various kicks and punches and canters, offense and defense situations. It would be very difficult for me to explain without demonstrating, and as you know, they never have jugglers on the radio, so <laughter> I doubt if they'll have anyone who's into karate on the radio.
SF: This obviously helps you with your drumming, of course.
CP: A little bit, but not a lot. I've actually done it for health more than anything. Really I haven't done it to be violent in any way. I just got into exercising and just keeping fit. I got bored with just doing push-ups and sit-ups and whatever. I kind of figured I needed something for my brain, and besides the karate is very interesting. It's all medically worked out - it's very accurate.
SF: What's been happening with everybody, between the time of the last LP and this LP? It's been such a span of years, about three years.
GL: Searching for rare fish. <to KE & CP> What did you do?
KE: I became a bug exterminator in East Springstead.
CP: I spent a lot of money on phone calls trying to find out where they all were. <all laugh>
SF: Have you designed your own bass guitar, Greg?
GL: Oh, many of them, many of them <laughter> I can tell you I've made some disasters
SF: You've actually made a few?
GL: Oh yeah well, I didn't, you know, actually get the drill out and start sawing things, but I mean, I
GL: Yeah, I delegated a few instructions. I remember making one double-necked guitar, which is a brilliant idea; it was great. I had a bass guitar here, and a six-string there - endless gadgets all over it. And then I couldn't lift the bloody thing up - it was too heavy! <chuckles> <KE laughs loud> So that went out of the window, that one then. No, I've got this new and exciting eight-string bass guitar, which twangs loudly and is very resonant.
KE: A modern sound!
GL: Very modern sound, very dark, very foreign
CP: He's gonna get them all out quick because he knows I'm gonna say finishing my <loud laugh>
SF: Very "in."
CP: Individual actually; very stylistic, the sound is <KE laughs>
SF: It's not a Hagstrom, is it?
GL: No, it's not a Hagstrom, it's an Alembic.
CP: Yeah, it's a Gregwake "Greg Lake" <giggles>
GL: "Gregwake?" <laughs>
CP: He calls them The Ripper, I think
GL: No, no, that was days gone by.
SF: Oh, is it?
CP: He always has little labels made
GL: Yeah I'll tell you now, you know the status symbol is really, is when you get your name printed inside the rolls of gaffer tape they used to stick it, you know, and now they make an ELP gaffer tape, specially made for ELP, it's on the inside of the reel. I was really pleased to see that!
CP: We're the only ones buying it.
SF: You've made it!
GL: Yeah, that's it, you know you're home and dry, you know?
KE: Your own gaffer tape.
GL: When you own your gaffer tape. <laughs>
SF: Well, speaking of instruments being custom made, I guess the fellow who steals the show as far as knowing, comprehending what he's playing, is Keith Emerson, with all the...that's the same stack
KE: <very softly> I don't steal the show.
SF: Well, I shouldn't say 'steal the show,' but you certainly draw a lot of attention because of the amount of
GL: He just stole the show!
SF: Your instrument: last time we saw it, probably, a lot of people, in concert, it sprouted wings, and turned around and blew up.
KE: <laughs> I sprouted wings and turned around and blew up.
CP: That's because he's a very modern-thinking person.
KE: No, there's a part of the synthesizer called a ribbon controller, which, underneath it, I have various things attached which fire out explosives, and it got jammed on one occasion and blew up in my hand and ripped off my fingernail. Is that what you're on about?
SF: Yes, was it at the end of the set?
KE: No, it was at the beginning, actually! <laughs>
SF: You continued, of course?
KE: Yes, I had to continue, yes - bravely. Yes, I plodded through it's because we're British, you see.
KE: <chuckling> If you're British, you're expected to carry on
GL: Tally-ho, squadron leader!
KE: Yes, tally-ho! Bung-ho! <more laughter>
SF: Any attempt to videotape something for television in the U.S.?
GL: We're gonna film the concert here, in the U.S. We're gonna film it. The thing about video and television is that the budgets for these programs are so low, that again, you run into an expense problem, you know? They can't afford to film it because it'll take too many, and too much cameras that's your problem again, you see. For us, we have a limited medium, you know? Because our records are long in content, so it restricts our airplay, and we find it hard to use the television media because of the budgets. So really, live concerts are very, very important to us for communicating our music to the mass of the people.
SF: On the tour, how much of the stuff from the previous albums will you be doing, anything at all?
GL: Yes, we're gonna do a selection of material from some of the past albums. We're gonna do Pictures At An Exhibition. We're obviously doing Pirates and the Piano Concerto; the Prokofiev piece of Kastje with (unintelligible), and Tank
CP: Which also is from the first album
GL: From the first album
SF: I take it there's no opening act on this tour.
CP: No, but there will be an interval in the show.
SF: An intermission; have you tried that before?
CP: No, we haven't; but there are quite a few people who are actually doing that now.
GL: I think principally we're gonna do it on our own; it's too much it's too vast a concert to have something else going on as well. I think it just would be difficult to do that. We may have to eat our words you know, if we get a festival situation, obviously we will want to play with other people, because it will be more of an event, an open-air event. I suppose people will want more media's music, but certainly for our shows, we can try and take an interval in the middle rather than use a support act just for technical reasons.
SF: Here's a track now from the forthcoming album, Emerson, Lake and Palmer's "Works, Volume 2," and "Tiger in a Spotlight" - ELP.
<"Tiger in a Spotlight" plays>
SF: How would you explain, if possible, the basic changes you're going through from the old - playing with Tea Garden and Van Winkle in Michigan you've been together some years now.
GL: It's very difficult to answer that question. The real answer to it is, in the broadest sense, that we've matured. It sounds an obvious thing to say, but that is what's taken place. We're searching ourselves out a deeper future: Keith as a composer, me as a singer, and Carl as a percussionist. We're doing that by incorporating our music into a symphonic and orchestral sense. That's the final extreme, really, that you can go to musically.
SF: Are you very, very serious about what you're doing?
GL: We're excited about touring, you know, after all this time. It's a very exciting thing to go and play to them like this. It's not that we've got too serious about it, we're still looking forward to exciting shows. We became conscious that, had we gone on, repeating more and more electronic albums, and gone further on and thought that, really we wouldn't be achieving a lot. For us there had to be a change, you know, in what we did. It would have been an easy thing, it would have been very easy for us to make another electronic album, do another tour, play some more festivals
CP: We played for like, six years, I think, anyways.
GL: We did play for a long time without a break.
CP: Six albums, lots of tours - so it was time for a break and a complete re-think of what should go down.
SF: Do you think Emerson, Lake and Palmer as the three people you are, will be able to collectively satisfy all of your individual urges you're going through?
CP: I think we have on record, we just have to do the satisfying on a day-to-day gig process, as far as touring, as long as all of us can get what we want from performing in front of people. Whatever we get individually, we're gonna get as a group. This is like the full stop, and I'm sure we'll all be satisfied. We'll all be fulfilled.
GL: Satisfied up to date, you know? The way things have gone, and the sound.
SF: It's a thrill to see it go down. It'll be a thrill for the show, too if Keith doesn't blow his hand off, again.
SF: I want to thank Emerson, Lake and Palmer for being with us, in Montreal. On behalf of Denny Somak and myself, Sonny Fox, thank you, guys, and good luck to you on the tour.
ELP: Thank you.
<Sonny Fox voiceover> We hope you've enjoyed On Tour With Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and we hope you will join us in the future for more radio specials and concerts on the Superstars' Radio Network. Good evening.