CARL PALMER OF EMERSON, LAKE & ...
mentally so very much together
HIT PARADER: Has the emphasis on personal technical achievement and advancement in any way hampered the collective progress of Emerson, Lake and Palmer?
CARL PALMER: I thought it might have and at the beginning that might have been the case. But it didnt really hamper the band too much. Its no good having a good technique if youve got absolutely no feeling. That defeats the end.
True technique can dominate a band but weve never come up against anything that would lose the feel of the music. If a thing has to be basically funky then we play it that way.
The thing I like is that mentally Emerson, Lake and Palmer are so very much together.
HP: Do you feel that you have all subconsciously exerted an influence on each others playing?
CARL: Yes... most definitely. I personally feel that Keith has changed the most because he now plays funkier than he ever did before. Actually I didnt believe hed do anything like that until very recently.
For another thing I think theres a lot of humor and laughter in this band which you can hear for yourself on Are You Ready Eddy? Its a thing that I feel we couldnt have got away with on the first album but could do on Tarkus.
HP: In what way have you been influenced by the other two thirds of ELP?
CARL: Ive started to collaborate with Keith on some of the writing. We work together both in and out of the studio in a very simple manner. Ill suddenly play a particular rhythm pattern for Keith, well go into the studio and hell work it out on the piano - then it develops from there.
Weve got a very percussive thing going within the framework of the band, for Greg is also into a very rhythmic thing as well as melody...which is quite exceptional in that he can get both those things so together. Greg and Keith are classically oriented while I stem from a soul and jazz background.
Together we can draw from all these diverse sources.
HP: With the birth of ELP, do you feel that the individual reputations of each member distracted from the group concept?
CARL: At first we were lumbered with that Superstar trip and we had to fight very hard to overcome it. I know that from the beginning we were given a very good break but I can tell you we really had to prove ourselves. Thankfully it seems as if weve been accepted but it doesnt stop there.
Once youve been accepted you cant slow down. Thats the time youve really got to work harder simply because theres so much more to fight for. Nowadays youve really got to stay on the ball, especially with all these new guys coming along.
HP: ELP are well known for their use of electronic gadgetry - have you considered using any of these devices on your drums?
CARL: Ive tried an electronic drum kit and for what its worth its just not worth bothering with. Im not too mad on freaking out my drums on stage - I prefer a natural drum sound.
As far as the electronic thing is concerned, I think our next step will be to put the guitar through a Moog. In fact there is a Moog being developed specially for the guitar. That will be great - having two Moogs on stage. Im certain that bands in the future will all incorporate a Moog in their line up - you wont be able to get a gig without one. Theyll become equally as important as a transit van!
HP: With so much electronics, dont you find it difficult when trying to reproduce a diversity of effects before an audience?
CARL: Yes. There are problems in creating our arrangements on stage. As far as the complexity of our music is concerned, it would be very easy for us to advance this on stage, but naturally we couldnt get the effects arrived at from overdubbing in the studio.
However Keith has sussed out how to play his Moog and piano at the same time on gigs and quite probably we could overcome eventually many other barriers. But at the moment we are having considerable difficulty in finding a rehearsal hall.
HP: Have you started working on a future album?
CARL: Yes, I think it will prove to be quite interesting because at the moment it appears to be quite countrified. We intend to use a lot of banjo and harmonica.
HP: What are your observations concerning your American tours?
CARL: For one thing our first American trip was a lot better than an earlier European tour, in particular Germany. The audiences there were very unsubtle, to say the least.
And as it was our first U. S. trip we werent headliners. Acually we didnt mind being second on the bill because truthfully its good to be at the other end - it makes you work harder. But on the next trip we topped the bill.
All the bands we played with freaked over our stereo PA system - Procol Harum, James Gang, T. Rex. In fact, that first trip we were going to leave it over in England and hire one in America.
As a point of interest we were the first band to use our own stereo system at the Fillmore and it was so nice because Bill Graham was ever so helpful towards us and gave us his full cooperation.
As you can expect you cant go to the States without getting involved in some kind of incident. Ours was in New Jersey. We were playing a show with Hog Heaven who used to be Tommy James old group, the Shondells. We were about 20 minutes into Tarkus when Greg wanders over to me and says somebody has thrown a Mace gas bomb into the dressing room and injured our roadie Alan.
But this is the amazing thing. The cop who saw the guy throw the bomb wouldnt jump the barrier and chase the guy. . .His reason being that he had a new pair of $20 trousers on and wouldnt risk messing them up for anything.
HP: Whats your personal view of Tarkus which has become a runaway success for ELP in both America and in England?
CARL: I prefer to think of it as being the first album that we cut as a band. We were so much together on those sessions and playing without any pressures whereas our first album was more or less a proving point to initially show what we were capable of doing.
On Tarkus we did it. ~ ROY CARR