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Emerson, Lake And Palmer recently completed a comprehensive tour of North America. Beetle cornered keyboardmeister Emerson and asked a few hostile questions. Keith was unperturbed, although this might have contributed to his already paranoic wariness of the press. Beetle bites into Brain Salad.


by Robert Bowman


In December, during Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s North American Tour, I had the pleasure of talking to a certain piano, organ, moog-generally keyboard whiz, Mr. Keith Emerson. Emerson, Lake and Palmer being in the midst of the aforementioned tour, using a quadrophonic system for the first time and having just released “Brain Salad Surgery” on their new label, Manticore had plenty to talk about. Our talk centered around four areas: 1) “Brain Salad Surgery”, 2) Emerson, Lake and Palmer Live, 3) from the formation of “Emerson, Lake and Palmer” to “Trilogy”, and 4) Manticore solo albums and the future. I found Keith to be a very talkative individual with an apt sense of humour but one who guards himself about what he says, especially about the future. He seems to be very distrustful of the press as a result of a few previous experiences he told me about.

“Brain Salad Surgery” seems to be a return to the path that Emerson, Lake and Palmer embarked on with the first album and “Tarkus.” “Pictures at an Exhibition” and “Trilogy” seem to be unimportant side trips in relation to the development of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The album is a thematic unit. The title, “Brain Salad Surgery”, sums up the whole of the album.

“If you look at the album very closely, you can see why it’s called “Brain Salad Surgery”. It’s an expression. a very heavy expression. The title of the album wraps up everything that was in the album.”

Even the cover ties in very much with the whole concept of the album. The back of it has a very placid, austere painting of a princess-like figure with closed eyes. The more you look at it, the more you see. On top of this is a painting of a skull held in position by some type of mechanical device. The middle, where the skulls mouth and the central part of the mechanical device would be, is cut away, showing the mouth, nose and chin of the princess. The whole effect is quite striking. It was painted by one H.R. Gijer [sic].

“If you start rushing things out, then you are really cheating your audience. Every album that I bring out to me is a milestone.”

“We were in Europe, ‘round about January or February touring around Germany and Denmark. It was in Switzerland we came across this artist. He’s a surrealist artist, a very sort of freaky cat. We just dug his work so much. His whole house is painted with this freaky art work just like the cover.”

Over half of “Brain Salad Surgery” is taken up by a piece called “Karn Evil 9”. Written by Emerson (words by Greg Lake with the help of Pete Sinfield), “Karn Evil 9” comes in three impressions. What the song is about is best left up to Keith to explain.

“There’s a lot of ideas really. The actual name itself, “Karn Evil 9” is fictitious. To me it forms the impression of a place or a situation one could find oneself in. It could be referred to as another planet but it is better expressed as a situation. I really think it is the opposite to utopia. There’s three impressions. In the first impression there is a statement. The statement tells of a loss of human value through man’s so-called progress. This is in the first lines where Greg sings “Cold and misty morning, I heard a warning borne in the air/About an age of power where no one had an hour to spare.” It’s a very strong statement all the way through. Then there’s a reaction to the statement. The reaction, I think, is very typical of what the people feel today when they read the news. The situation becomes almost laughable. People now are laughing about the Watergate thing: “Ha ha, Nixon’s alright really.” We've had the Irish thing in England and people are so bored with people being blown up and shot. It happens everyday and before you know it, it becomes old news. There’s this whole impersonal thing. That is the reaction in the first impression.”

“So then there is the second impression. It is a piano work which I wrote. I had originally written it for a piano concerto and it seemed to fit the way this whole thing was going. We structured it and used it as a second impression. Really what that is is a series of abstracts dealing mainly with time and travel, producing a disorienting feeling. That’s sort of like because we are affected by travel as people, we travel so much. This alters the whole consciousness, I think of people today. They lose their identity.”

“The third impression is rather like being in the future and looking back at what we’ve come through. A retrospective look back from a position we’re not in right now but we will find ourselves in. It deals with the evolution of creativity starting with the Stone Age working through to Ion Stop. The first lines go “Man alone; born of stone;/Will stamp the dust of time etc.” It goes right through, it continues up to where we are right now with computers. Now the world starts to turn full circle. The computer starts to make things. And then again begins the Stone Age created by a different source and man has lost contact with what he has created. Now this could either be a computer or it could be referring to the morals or principles man has set himself and is trying to get out of. The two things are over-running each other so there is like a battle sequence in this third impression. Man is trying to get back his original identity. It ends with the computer having the last word but it is left in the air who has succeeded or what actually has happened.”

From what I learned from Keith, there is absolutely no improvisations in the studio. Everything is arranged and set down note for note, passage for passage before they go in. Usually Keith’s music comes first and then Greg writes lyrics to suit the music. On songs totally composed by Lake, such as “From The Beginning” and “Still You Turn Me On”, the lyrics come first and then the music is written, arranged and adapted to the words. The rest of the album is made up of a hymn-like song with lyrics by Blake, music by Perry, called “Jerusalem”, an adaption of Ginastera’s first Piano Concerto, 4th movement, called “Toccata”, an acoustic ballad written by Lake, called. “Still...You Turn Me On”, a non-descript rocker entitled, “Benny the Bouncer”. I wondered why there was such a time lag between “Trilogy” and “Brain Salad Surgery.”

“When the group started we went out on the road with our first album in the can and were almost through our second album. In fact, we stated doing “Pictures”. So, we were well ahead and we had always got something in the can. So consequently, it came bang-bang-bang-bang like that because we were one jump ahead. Sure enough, after awhile we caught up with ourselves, not for a lack of inspiration - of course every band goes through a period of thinking, “What do we do now?”, not to change for the sake of being different but for the sake of pleasing yourself. Because of this there was a longer time between “Trilogy” and “Brain Salad Surgery”. I think most bands now manage to get out an album every year as it’s become pretty well a standard thing. If you start rushing things out, then you are really cheating your audience. Every album that I bring out, to me is a milestone. It’s got to stand the test of time.”

With “Brain Salad Surgery”, Emerson, Lake and Palmer deliberately made more use of the three individuals in the band. Mentioning this, Keith started to expound on their live show, and the difficulty of performing some of their material as it is on the album due to limitations inherent in a three-man lineup.

“Each of us have a hell of a lot to do onstage. We play for about two and a half hours. It’s a hell a lot of material to get through and a hell of a lot of work. Occasionally I take over the bass on one of my songs and I'm playing the organ as well.  This allows Greg to get more electric guitar, sort of making a bigger stage sound. We have had problems in the past with such things as “Abaddon’s Bolero”, from “Trilogy.” We found ways of performing that with Greg playing Mellotron and mini-moog. I was playing two moogs and Carl was doing something else. We managed to split the whole of that orchestration up between the three of us. But it was really confusing, there were so many things that had to be tuned up at the beginning, and it was getting impossible to do it. If something went out of tune, I mean my moogs still go out of tune during performance and I

“Nothing is taped, everything we do on stage is done right that moment, at that particular time. The tape is the leader, you have to follow that or else you get out of time.”

am constantly changing over, but doing that with Greg’s instruments as well, it became a bit too much.

This album we have now, is the first from which we are performing every track. We tried doing “Still...You Turn Me On”, as per arrangement but it sounds better if Greg does it on its own on his acoustic twelve-string. He is going to buy an electric twelve string and then we can probably arrange it a bit more like the album.

“A hell of a lot of material to get through” is no exaggeration. An Emerson, Lake and Palmer concert could not let down any ELP fan. They perform in entirety, “Tarkus”, “Pictures at an Exhibition”, and “Karn Evil 9”. Add to this, from the first album. “Emerson, Lake and Palmer”, “Lucky Man”, and “Take a Pebble”, from “Trilogy”, the show’s opener, Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown” and the rest of “Brain Salad Surgery”, “Jerusalem”, “Toccata”, “Still...You Turn Me On”, and “Benny the Bouncer”. They also performed the King Crimson song, “Epitaph” much to everyone’s amazement. There are only a handful of bands that play for two and a half hours, and of these none, that I know of, play tracks from everything they have ever released, including four extended works of the magnitude of “Take a Pebble”, “Tarkus”, “Pictures at an Exhibition”, and “Karn Evil 9”.

Keith and I talked a bit about their live show, gradually coming around to their use of a quadrophonic system. It is a Mavis Desk system, utilizing JBL speakers and Crown Amplifiers. It is best described as two stereo systems back to back.

“We don’t really make that much use of quadrophonic. It’s an experiment, this is the first time we have used it. It just generally seems to expand sound and make those people who have good seats hear a bit better. There’s a slight delay between the two speakers. This sometimes helps to cope with very echoey halls.”

I asked Keith what he thought of the use of tapes in performance. Many bands are using them these days, such as The Who and Todd Rundgren.

“No tapes, except right when we finish playing there is music for people to walk out to. Nothing is taped. everything we do on stage is done right that moment at that particular time. Tape restricts you, it ties you down to doing it the same way every night. That’s the trouble with tapes. The tape is the leader, you have to follow that or else you get out of time.”

Another interesting area that ELP has always been headed for is the use of an electronic drum kit. At the moment, Carl Palmer is using something he calls a percussion synthesizer. It is used on “Brain Salad Surgery” and he has been using it on stage during ELP’s last tour. It is basically a percussion control sound unit. When you hit a certain drum it triggers a certain sound. There are some amazing possibilities one could get into with something like that. ELP’s stage show still involves a lot of antics of one sort or another. Some of the highlights are lightning-like flashes, a revolving drum kit, with fluorescent dragons on the back of two gongs and a synthesizer about eight feet tall that moves in a circle, blipping and bleeping as it goes along. Keith, of course, still attacks his organs with wild abandon and he is still wearing leather pants and jacket.

From here, our conversation turned to the formation of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and followed ELP’s development to the present, occasionally stopping and branching out in certain areas such as synthesizer and classical music. Obviously, Emerson and Lake had planned to work together before the breakup of The Nice and King Crimson. I asked Keith when he and Greg met and when they came up with the idea of forming a band.

“We were both playing at the same gig in America at San Francisco. I was doing a sound check playing the piano and Greg was doing a sound check playing with his band. I hadn’t seen him but I heard this bass playing away and I thought, “that sounds nice”, so I jammed along with it, and I thought, “that’s a pretty good bass

“There’s a lot more freedom with three people, less people to relate to.  I can’t see how another instrument could possibly fit in, there’s just no room."

player.” Later on, I met him, but I didn’t really know he was in a situation of getting out of King Crimson until later on. I learned through my manager that this was the case and then we went to talk about it, went back to England, and found Carl.”

Why did the Nice fall apart?

“I didn’t like the way it broke up at all. It’s very hard to do that after you’ve been working with someone for four years. It had to be done, that’s all there is to it. The problem was musical. Everything we were doing. I wasn’t happy with the way it was sounding, with those musicians. I seemed to be restricted. I was really writing down to them, rather than writing for them. It was like, “Oh, No, really can’t do that” because they would never be able to handle that stuff. Therefore I would have to change it all around and simplify it. It held me back, it was a bit of a restriction. They got to understand it and possibly they weren’t liking it anyway. They were finding it hard going - it’s kind of a drag when you say to someone, sing this and they go . . .(high and indecipherable noise) . . . “I can’t sing that, mate.”

Keith feels badly about the breakup and the fact that the other members of the Nice, David O'List, Brian Davison and Lee Jackson, all faded into relative obscurity while he went on to superstardom. We talked a little about them, what happened to them, and what they are doing now.

“They went through the process of individually forming bands, and they all broke up. Now Brian Davison and Lee Jackson are back together again. They’ve found another pianist and they are due to go out for their first gigs. Patrick Moraz is their new pianist. I met him in Switzerland, he’s a good pianist and a nice guy. I don’t know what they are doing, apparently they called themselves Refugee, I only hope it gets them on their feet, because they’ve had some pretty rough times, especially the drummer. He went to pieces, literally, so if he handles it well it could be a good chance for him to get back on his feet again.”

At the time of ELP’s formation, Carl Palmer seemed very unlikely as a drumming prospect. After quitting the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and going back to England, he formed Atomic Rooster with ex-Crazy World of Arthur Brown keyboardist, Vincent Crane. It was the first time Palmer had ever had his own band, and with one album under their belts (it was never released in North America) it seemed unlikely he would be willing to leave. Also, the music Carl was used to playing was nowhere near the complexity of the material Keith and Greg had been into.

“At the time, obviously, I was looking for a drummer, and I was asking a lot of people. I asked my manager at the time, Tony Stratton-Smith, who were good drummers and he said “Carl Palmer is pretty good and he looks pretty as well.” “Who is this cat?” He got me an album and I listened to it and I wasn’t too knocked out by what he played on the album. It was the first Atomic Rooster album, the one with the bird with the tears on the cover. We had a jam together and it was really incredible. We said, “Look, you’ve got to join” and he said “Oh, I’d dig to but I like playing rock and roll” and then he went back and we auditioned a few more because he didn’t seem like he wanted to join. Finally we just had to persuade him. There were a lot of hassles with the management he was with. The things that had to be sorted out there, the 10 percent to somebody, the 10 percent to somebody else.

ELP immediately had two problems at the outset; 1) Keith was entirely in the spotlight as he had the biggest name of the three and 2) they were constantly being referred to as the new “Nice.” Both infuriated them.

“That’s why we named ourselves Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Then there would have to be recognition and I was quite confident that there would be, I just couldn't go through a thing where it's so and so out of this, and so and so out of that. If you get known you should get known for your name and what it really is and that is what I was into.”

“Yeah, they went through the Nice things mainly because the British

“Tarkus was like a testing ground for us, I think, mainly because of the time changes and key changes.”

people hate changes. Very conservative, us British, very nostalgic as well. We were completely different from the Nice but obviously people liked things the way they were. They hate changes and obviously it was tricky to start off with. Of course, even now ELP are together, people come up and say, “Oh, I much preferred your first album,” and so it goes. They are always one step behind.”

A three man band with a keyboard player is always a rarity. There had been a few three man bands before, such as Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but these bands were aligned in the standard bass, guitar, drums, formation. If Emerson, Lake and Palmer had a bass player or guitarist, Greg would be free to concentrate on one or the other and ELP would have another constant lead player, besides Keith (this is somewhat alleviated by Keith playing piano, organ and moog).

“I tried working with other people and it just doesn’t work out. It’s just one more personality to handle. There’s a lot more freedom with three people, less people to relate to. I can’t see how another instrument could possibly fit in, there’s just no room. We simply manage to handle everything, mainly because now I'm using one of the moogs to play bass and that is allowing Greg to play guitar and he is as good of a guitar player as he is a bass player. Now he plays about three guitars.”

ELP immediately met with success as both their first album and the single from it, “Lucky Man”, sold well. “Lucky Man” was an unlikely single for two reasons; 1) it is very unrepresentative of ELP, and at least at the outset, a band wants a representative single released, and, 2) it contained the moog break. Previous to that, as far as I know, no single had been released with a moog on it, rather than a solo which sounded like a totally bizarre combination of electric bagpipes, and an organ gone berzerk. Things worked in reverse; the moog sold “Lucky Man” and “Lucky Man" sold the album.

“Atlantic records decided to release it in America. We were in England at the time before we knew about it. I wasn’t too pleased about it, but the way it goes the records are usually handed out to the DJ’s and they play the ones they like and they use the shortest ones. It’s quite a commercial song to an extent and it’s possibly from that point of view that it was used. It’s quite easy to relate to. It was never released in England. We've just altered and, as “Jerusalem” is being released off of  “Brain Salad Surgery”, it is quite possible that it will be released in North America. On the B side there is a different thing that is not on the album. So you get an extra song if you buy the single - subtle, aren’t we?”

“I didn’t have any pre-conceived ideas about it doing that well. Something like “Knife's Edge” [sic] would have been a bit more representative at the time. That was right at the beginning, we had no choice. I hadn’t even met the people from Atlantic, because we were still in England. It was only after I got to America that I realized that it had been out and that it had done this and it had done that. Atlantic were pleased because it was selling the album. A lot of people liked it, they were obviously buying it. It was really the people’s choice. It is a shame that we really can’t perform it the same way it is on the album. There’s a lot of doubletracked vocals. Greg’s playing electric, bass and acoustic guitar on it. If we had really thought about it, and we ourselves, had wanted to release it as a single, then we would have considered these points, and possibly re-arranged it so we could have done it some way on stage. Now we come out and people want to hear it. Greg performs it as an acoustic piece and I guess its rather dissappointing [sic] to some people because they want to hear the recorded version. There we were, in the position of it having been released and us not knowing that people want to hear it, and the way it was done on the album being impossible for us to do on stage. It’s a throwin’ thing.”

The obvious thing to talk about next was the moog. Keith was the first rock performer ever to get involved with it (way back in the Nice) and he has continued making progress with it to the point where today he is one of the few rock performers to truly master it and use it as an “authentic” instrument. Many artists use it as their major instrument but none with the imagination and technical mastery that Keith exhibits.

“Soundwise, the moog can only stretch things. I used it for the first time with an orchestra; that was with the Nice and the London Philharmonic. That was one of the first ones that arrived in England and I had a guy sit down behind it, tuning the damn thing up as I was playing it. At the start of ELP I got a hold of Bob (Moog) and told him what I wanted to do. He made up a model, the first of

About the breakup of The Nice: “I was writing down to them, rather than writing for them. It had to be done, that’s all there is to it.”

its kind. I don’t think they ever made anymore. This one was made up, and I brought it back to England and worked on it.

“There were lots of teething problems to start with but there were great possibilities. For me, it enabled me to expand my musical ideas and make far more things possible for me to do musically, live and in the studio.”

“Another thing that made me happy about it was that you could imitate, to a certain extent standard instruments and, apart from that you could create new and fresh sounds. I had already been trying to get different sounds out of the Hammond organ, I had exhausted all those possibilities. Not only do I view music from a harmonic sense, I view it as a noise source as well and at that particular point it was all welded into one thing. There was an instrument which could do all of that and more; it had endless possibilities. As I said, there were lots of problems taking it around on tour. The first oscillators were a little weird. The problem in tuning is not so great now. The instrument I have is not designed to take on the road. It was originally designed for studio use. It’s been toughened up and it’s been customized and dealt with; huge power supplies and things have all been changed to cope with whatever problems we’ve come up with.”

“Tarkus” is the name of the second album. The album, musically, lyrically, and artistically is centered around the piece “Tarkus”. Tarkus is part Armadillo, part tank, part geodesic dome. Apparently, they had written the music and played it for a friend of theirs, named William Neal. Neal is the type of artist who can translate what he feels into visual forms. He drew the creature, and Keith named it Tarkus. The creature represented everything. From there, Greg wrote the lyrics and Tarkus became a fantasy. Neal, besides doing the front cover told the story in pictures on the inside.

“Tarkus was like a testing ground for us, I think, mainly because of the time changes and key changes. I think it was a good start for us to get into doing something that was really experimental. To that extent it means a lot to me.”

In the same breath Keith started talking about musical education.

“Carl proved that he was more than a rock’n’roll drummer. He loves jazz. He’d been to music school wherereas I hadn’t. Everyone seems to think have. I think it’s about time I just said that I did not go to Music School. It was some big rumor. The funny thing was that I had all this bullshit written about every organist that came out after that - Oh, he’s been to London College of Music, he’s got a diploma. It was like an advertisement you had to have. That’s ridiculous. Errol Gardner doesn’t read music. I read music but only because my music teacher at the time taught me to.”

“Pictures at an Exhibition” was the next album for ELP. Keith had some very interesting things to say about it. “Pictures” was a temporary interlude for the band. But first of all Keith talked about when he first found his love for the classics.

“I realized I liked the classics after really liking jazz. I realized there was a similarity between the two - all jazz pianists were listening to the classics. People like Bill Evans and Dave Brubeck were obviously listening to the classics, with their counterpoint themes, and adaptations of Bach. So l started going back to my old Bach books after that, and working them out myself.”

Of all the wealth of classical music available, what made “Pictures” stick out enough in Keith's mind for him to do a full blown adaptation of it?

“I liked it. I just liked the tune and I wanted to play it. It's as simple as that. I have a love for classical music and I like jazz as well. There aren’t many rock bands I listen to. I spend about six months writing a piece of music of my own. So it's kind of refreshing to me to play something else written by someone else, something which I like. I first heard “Pictures at an Exhibition” at the Royal Festival Hall performed by an orchestra and I came out of the concert thinking it was far out, I’ve got to play that.”

Learning to play it was fun. In fact, it was the first thing Emerson, Lake and Palmer ever played together. Gradually the fun turned to sourness and they delayed releasing it for quite some time. When it did come out, it was looked upon by a lot of people as a landmark in rock when in a lot of ways it was an immense disappoinment. Keith explained what happened to it.

“We had our first album out. When we first went out on the road we were doing “Pictures at an Exhibition.” When we first started playing new audiences there was that similarity between ELP and the Nice: “Oh. Its just the “New” Nice.” We got very dejected by this, and we thought that possibly the reason people were thinking this was because we were doing adaptations of classical music and people really got carried away by this. They thought that was all we were doing, that was our only output. We were the band that did classical music: we knew they had got it wrong because we were writing our own pieces of music. We didn’t want to release “Pictures At An Exhibition” mainly because we knew what people were going to say about it. (“It looks like it’s the old Nice, they’re doing classical music.”) Also, it would have taken up a whole album and left us no room to do anything of our own, so we purposely delayed it. We purposely

“There aren’t many rock bands that I listen to.”

put “Tarkus ”out as a second album to show that we could write our own things, and to try to let the whole classical thing die away. When we did release it, we released it at a reduced price, as if to say ‘get rid of it’. There was a big demand for it, so we brought it out. We recorded it live, somewhere in Newcastle and we just sort of got it out of the way. Sure enough, they did the bit there.”

Not being a band, and not wishing merely to play a classical work, note by note, from the score, ELP added a few of their own songs / movements to Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”.

“Even though they were written by us, they were inspired by Mussorgsky’s original piece. “The Blues Variation” is really one of the phases of one of the movements in “Pictures” called the “Old Castle”. The actual thing goes very slow and mournful, so I just made it into a shuffle so there was a blues variation on that particular thing. Then Greg had the idea of the minstrel singing underneath the castle, which was “The Sage”. So it all related to that. We had to sort of put our own thing into that as well. We put some of our own “Pictures at an Exhibition” into Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”.

Keith and I next proceeded to talk about the idea of working with an orchestra and the hassles involved. Keith has had plenty of experience. The Nice played with The London Symphony, The London Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Symphony. Keith, instead of adapting another classical work, would like to write his own, and do it with an orchestra, but his experience with the Nice has led him to be very cynical, in fact, maybe even bitter toward orchestral musicians.

“I’ve thought of writing something like that myself, but as I’ve said, I’ve had so many hassles with orchestras and working with musicians’ unions, and trying to get the whole thing together. I haven’t yet come across an orchestra which is that helpful. If  I can do it all myself, then I’ll do it, I’ll get the instruments to make the biggest sound I can, and do it that way. There’s a conductor who’s a great friend of mine and who’s into doing something like this with me in the future. He has the capabilities of getting an orchestra together that I would like to work with. I shall wait until that happens.

An orchestra, itself, should be used as an orchestra, there’s a lot in 100 people all playing together, it’s a lovely sound. It’s just all the hassles that come with it. I’ve done it on lots of occasions. Each time there have been problems with the union. You don’t get time to rehearse it or anything. It costs an awful lot. For a start, the musician has to finance it himself. We could handle it now, but at the time that I did it with the Nice, I couldn’t afford it. I had to go to the Art Council to ask them to finance it. It’s a joke when you see them turning up. They don’t bother to ask for their music. They sit there with the newspaper on their stand, they really do. They’re like kids, they muck about. The conductor we had was really trying to get them working. They just wouldn’t cooperate.”

Notice Keith wouldn’t reveal who the conductor friend of his was. That is one of Keith’s well-kept secrets. His experience with the press - in particular Rolling Stone - has also made him very wary. He had a lot to say about that, that is better left unprinted. A lot of it was directed at their reviews of  “Trilogy”. He feels “Trilogy” is a much better album than most North American critics gave credit. Criticisms that it is unoriginal seem ridiculous. The only cover they do on the album is Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown” which is one of the better tracks on the album.

“Brain Salad Surgery”, as I mentioned earlier, came a year and a half later. In between, “EPL” [sic] had formed their own label, Manticore. Besides the record company, there is Manticore Music Ltd., a music publishing company. The obvious questions were, Why was Manticore formed? Is it going to grow like Apple did, or is it going to stay small with only ELP albums, as Rolling Stones records did?

“We have a lot of groups sending us tapes and things, and some of them we liked. We had so many good bands and we thought “people have got to hear them.” We just organized the right situation so that people could hear them. We have PFM, Stray Dog, Pete Sinfield, Hanson, that’s about all. We’re not into a situation where we could handle anymore. I think record companies should be handled by musicians because they know how a musician likes to be handled. It’s no big deal. I don’t think it will grow much larger than it already is. It’s a lot to handle. With a band like us, we like an awful lot of time off to write. There’s a long period of stagnation, there’s a lot of road managers to give wages to, equipment to pay for, studio time to pay for. You’ve got to have something apart from just playing gigs and receiving record royalties to exist. If ELP is to live it has got to look to other areas for financing itself.”

“I've been trying to get a solo album for ages and ages. For about a year I've got about five tracks done, in bits and pieces which I like, and I think that will continue. Whenever I like something, I want it for ELP, because that is my prime objective. It's not really that important to me because I am doing what I want to do. Usually, solo albums are done because the cat is not being allowed to do what he really wants to do. All of us do whatever he wants on stage, and on record, so there is no real hurry."

I also found out that ELP will be working on a film in the future. This was another one of Keith’s well-kept secrets. He didn't even want to say that they were thinking of doing one, let alone talk about what it would be like. So, at the moment, ELP have their own label in Manticore, a magnificent new album out in “Brain Salad Surgery”, a single “Jerusalem” with a previously unreleased B side coming out, the possibility of a Keith Emerson solo project, and the possibility of a film. All that should keep any Emerson, Lake and Palmer fan happy.

(Webmistress' note:  special thanks to my Assistant for his help with this article.)