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At Home With the Rock Legend, Greg Lake

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Article Source:

OK! Magazine

Oct. 11, 2005

Interview by:

Emma Gunavardhana

Contributed by:

Mark Lockey


The Lakes at Home

Greg with his wife Regina and daughter Natasha.

Greg in his studio

Greg Lake toured the world as one third of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, the band known for such hits as "Footprints in the Snow." Greg is now about to embark on a nationwide tour with a handpicked band and a new show.

Mr. and Mrs. Lake

Greg cuddles up to Regina.

The RD Crusaders

Greg performs with The RD Crusaders, including The Who frontman Roger Daltrey and OK! and Express Newspapers chairman Richard Desmond, for a charity concert.

Regina's sculpture of Greg

The couple with a bust of Greg!

Greg and Regina at home

Greg is making the most of his time with Regina in their Surrey home before he goes on tour.

Greg and his treasures

Greg keeps a lot of music memorabilia from his 40-year music career.

Family pets

Greg and his wife relax with their beloved dogs Astor and Daisy.

Greg and daughter

Greg with his daughter Natasha.

The Emerson, Lake & Palmer star tells his amazing rags to riches story

Greg Lake sold millions of albums and toured the world many times over as one third of supergroup Emerson Lake & Palmer. But veteran rocker Greg, 57, who has enjoyed an outstanding 40-year musical career, both as a musician and behind the scenes as a producer, shows no signs of slowing down and starts a 20-date nationwide tour on October 22.

With a star-studded band, hand-picked by Greg, fans, both new and old, won't be disappointed by the rock legend's new show. Just before setting off on his tour, Greg invited OK! into his home in Kingston, Surrey, to meet his wife Regina and daughter Natasha. Here Greg reveals the hard work that goes into being on the road, why he isn't a fan of The X Factor, and what makes life as a rock star so great.

Was life as a rock star in the '60s and '70s as fantastic as history would have us believe?

Yes! Simple. It was an extraordinary feeling to be a 20 year old walking out in front of 600,000 people, having performed in clubs and bars. After a while you do become desensitised to it. You go on every night to a screaming 20,000 audience and you become used to it. I had a very poor childhood - relative poverty - and all of a sudden I was a millionaire at 18 years old, which is an extraordinary experience.

You're on tour throughout October and November. What sort of preparation goes into that?

It's very intense. Even though I'm pretty familiar with all the material we're playing, one always tries

'I had a very poor childhood and all of a sudden I was a millionaire at 18'

something new with it and that's the challenge. I'm going to play electric guitar instead of bass which is what I normally play. So when you get a blank moment, which all artists do, my mind automatically changes to the bass part, but we're a fabulous band with all great musicians.

The Emerson Lake & Palmer shows were quite fantastic spectacles - is that what fans can expect?

I doubt it, not on that scale because we are playing theatres - but the main focus is on the music. But we will have a production. However, I don't like gratuitous productions, I don't like doing things just for the sake of a look. To be honest, these days, people become so desensitised by flash productions, that it's something I really steer away from.

'I can honestly say to anyone who doesn't have money it doesn't bring happiness'

What can people expect from the tour?

We are playing a whole retrospective thing of all the material from my past history, plus a few extra things. I've tried to do material that in some cases Emerson, Lake & Palmer never played live on stage so it's different for people to hear, but of course if you don't play the hits and you don't play the things people want to hear, well that's wrong as well. It's a balance of playing what people want to hear and different things.

How do you manage to keep in touch with all of your fans across the world?

I've got a website which I've built up over the years. It's a very interesting site because there's an archive of the history, so it's not just about me. It's also about the period, which is fascinating. The Internet has brought about a global family. I know a lot of the fans by name. I go all over the world, and people come up to me and introduce themselves, and you feel like you know them from the messages they've put up on the message board on the website.

And you've played with the charity supergroup, The RD Crusaders...

I was at a wedding of a friend of mine and [OK! and Express Newspapers chairman] Richard Desmond came up to me and asked me to play bass in The RD Crusaders for an event in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust, which was something I was happy to do. A nice thing about doing an event for charity is that there's always a great atmosphere about it. Plus you've got the gratification of seeing the reality of people being helped and you walk away with a good feeling.

'Individuality is frowned upon. Back then music was a language'

The RD Crusaders raise an extraordinary amount of money each time they play...

I said to Richard one day: 'Imagine if this was a situation where people were collecting money, with each person putting in ten or 20 pence, how long would it take and how much effort would it take to raise this money?' I think it's important for people like us to do that because it's just a few days of your time and a hell of a lot of good is being done.

Did all your money and fame bring happiness?

I can honestly say to anyone who doesn't have the money, it doesn't bring happiness. If you're below a certain level of financial well-being life gets hard, but beyond that it doesn't matter how many billions you have, it won't buy happiness. You become more spiritual, funnily enough. You start to realise the unimportance of wealth.

What are your thoughts on current music?

I think there are two types of music - music which has a cultural value which has a spiritual base and there's music which is just made for pop, fashion and marketing. I think the era has passed when music has any cultural importance.

What do you feel is the biggest difference, between music now and music 30 years ago?

In my day you could hear any band and you would know within the first five seconds who that was because it was so identifiable and different. Now if I were to listen to a record, I wouldn't know who I was listening to. The accent has been upon copying what's successful and individuality is now almost frowned upon. Back then music was a language and a vehicle for cultural expression. The Rolling Stones, The Beatles were the voice of that cultural movement. There is no cultural movement now.

Do you think there any bands out there now that your music may have influenced?

There's a lot. Funnily enough I hear from them. Two bands which come to mind, who contacted me personally, are Red Hot Chili Peppers and Smashing Pumpkins. You take a certain amount of influence from the people who went before and you hopefully impregnate that with some of your own personality. Music is just music.

Are there any bands out there you would like to work with?

I like playing with any committed and dedicated musician. I don't like working with people who are in it for fame and fortune.

What about shows like The X Factor and Pop Idol?

They are disgusting. I don't enjoy it and don't watch it. There's no value there in the concept of music and I don't like the concept of someone trying their best and other people poking fun at them.

For details of Greg's tour, visit:
Interview by:
Emma Gunavardhana
Photographs by:
Alan Olley
Hair and make-up by:
James @ Minx
©2005 OK! Magazine. All rights reserved.