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ECLIPSED Greg Lake Interview

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Article Source:

Eclipsed Magazine

September 2005


Walter Sehrer/Michael Fuchs-Gambock

Contributed by:

Peter Hoscheidt and Gudrun Friederich


Greg Lake

Greg Lake - The Calmness of Age

Here we are: (Intro)

Greg Lake was the singer, writer (quite often together with Peter Sinfield), bass player and guitar player as well as producer of most of the ELP discs. Therefore, despite the massive attention Keith Emerson got for his show talent, his composing and his excellent keyboard playing, Greg Lake was something like the centre/heart of ELP. With his extraordinary voice and his smooth ballads he balanced the ambitious but sometimes out-of-hand pieces from Emerson. Without Greg Lake's qualities ELP would never had reached its lyrical strength.

This year, Lake will tour with his new band. When actually confronted with his old rivalries with Emerson or the well-known criticism of music journalists, Lake seems very relaxed. Together the band nowadays manages the legacy of ELP.

Q: You've had a long history with ELP. How did you feel during the reunion for the Black Moon disc in the nineties?

A: You know, basically it is the same as if you were in the family in which you grew up. One did learn to understand each other. You know the "language" of the others. All of this was not as spectacular as some people might think. (He laughs at this point)

Q: What do you say to the rumours that ELP were never close friends but saw themselves more or less as creative partners?

A: Yes, that's right. And it's okay. As close friends we never would have reached musically, what we did as a project: The pioneers of a synthesis between classical and rock. Under these circumstances it is clear that ELP could not last forever. We always have been quite different characters. But by the way, there is a lot of positive in the fact that Keith, Carl and I weren't close friends. Even now we know each other's telephone numbers and from time to time we call each other. Together we manage our common musical output. All of this is very nice. If we would have been friends probably today we would be some kind of deadly enemies, because all of us are very hotheaded people.

Q: In the former days ELP sometimes was confronted with heavy criticism. What do you think about this?

A: Well, music has always been a question of taste. And that's okay. Of course this did not rob my sleep. The reactions of our fans always encouraged me. In the end I did not play for journalists. Although I do have a lot of respect towards them when they criticised us because of our music and not because of the theatric moments we have created in our shows.

A: What do you see as the historical achievement of ELP?

Q: It's a fact that between 1970 to 1978 we made no compromises at all with our work. We always intended to reach perfect and self-convincing results. And when we thought we had to play with a 70-piece orchestra to create a perfect sound, we engaged one. We never set any limits for ourselves. Of course there were some people thinking that some of our decisions came close to megalomania.

Q: Is there any of ELP's music that you like most?

A: Yes, Pictures at an Exhibition. Even after 35 years of recording it, for me, it's still the perfect synthesis between classical and rock.

Q: Why did ELP break up anyway?

A: Well it was a combination of lots of reasons. Musical differences as well as personal. You can't really separate these reasons. The music business had changed. Mainstream and industrially manipulated music became more and more important. But I don't want to talk a lot about this, for every important and creative group has struggled with this. Who wants to talk about these negative things anyway? I don't want to quarrel with Keith, that's nonsense. In the meanwhile we all are grown up.

Q: Last question for all the old and new ELP fans: Is there any chance of a new reunion?

A: No, I don't believe that. I'm not a person that lives in the past but always in the present. Of course the record companies, for business reasons, they always want to produce something new. I think it's better that we parted. We were worn out; and by the way, I think it's quite normal if you want to do something different. Right now I do have my own band, my own project which I feel totally committed to. I can't do both, but that does not mean that I will never play with Keith and Carl again. Maybe in the future there will be a good reason to play together again, but not yet, I assure you. To some extent I'm really proud of my musical biography. Well maybe not Love Beach; we should not have done it. Right now I'm very eager to write some new chapters in my biography and therefore I do need some fresh blood. That's the way it is in life and in the music business as well.

View article in original German

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