Emerson, Lake & Palmer

ARTICLE ABOUT Greg Lake (ELP) FROM SOUNDS, May 25, 1974

Here where I am we celebrate Christmas Day today. Nice food and packages for all. I live in an extremely nice country where most people don`t know anything about starving, about war or suffering. My generation won the lottery in regards to where we were born. Time to reflect on that when it is Christmas!
This article had a title that made it sort of natural to post on this day. I am not a Christian, but I respect that people need religion in their life, whether it is for comfort or other reasons that they may have to believe in a God. What is funny is this: What makes people think that their religion is the “right” one among hundreds of religions? Why is YOUR story the right one? Besides, if there is a God, I wouldn`t like to have anything to do with an almighty entity that allows suffering in the world on the scale that we see. Making babies die of AIDS? How can that be anyone`s will? I am sorry. I don`t understand that at all, but you believe in whatever you want to, and I hope that all of you will have the best Christmas ever.
Merry X-mas wherever you are and thank you for reading my blog!

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Star over Jerusalem

And did those feet in ancient time, walk upon England`s mountains green? Well maybe they did, but they`re more often seen firmly planted on stage up to the ankles in Persian rug these days. However, ELP recorded “Jerusalem” on their last album, so Tony Jasper and Greg Lake trod the green slopes outside Liverpool Cathedral to pursue the theme of God v. Rock and Roll.

The two kingdoms of Downtown and God recently met in Liverpool. The latter finds itself in two massive Cathedrals, one, the rather new and spacey Roman Catholic edifice and the second, a large dramatic, red-brick Anglican building. The Downtown kingdom is earthy to its core, well almost. For one thing it`s a travelling circus and this particular occasion represented in the massive musical and electronic armoury called Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
ELP`s 36 tons of equipment was busily searching for breathing space for Liverpool doesn`t really have a hall big enough to cope with what some say is the largest rock show on earth. Greg Lake, singer and lyricist, had escaped from the problems confronting sweating roadies, left the group`s 134-pound church bell, and found refuge on the vaguely green slopes tumbling down in-front of the Anglican Cathedral.
The religious optimist who hopes for a religious rash to break out amongst yer rock brigade might conceivably have the inkling that Mr. Greg Lake was on the verge of shaking hands with the other kingdom. After all perusal of ELP albums suggests Lake not only moves lyrically in a surrealistic vein but does attempt some spiritual songs.
So what are the chances of both kingdoms coming together in Greg Lake? “I can only remember going to Church once in my life, maybe twice. I recall receiving one of those cards on which they put stars to record attendance. Trouble was my first visit saw me beaten up by a mob, not the best of introductions!
“What I`ve done since is brush up every now and then with religion. We`re not buried into the religious thing too much, yet you know it`s something which has always upset me to a degree.

“We recently recorded `Jerusalem` and put it on as the first track of `Brain Salad Surgery`. I mean it`s a beautiful song and it`s one everyone knows and some people might have got some wrong ideas from our recording it. I mean to us it was simple, it hadn`t been recorded by anyone for a long time and we like it and it did give a rounded quality to the album.
“It was in keeping with the kind of majestic atmosphere of the album. As a single it was released before we realised it was out. We didn`t really watch it and it was only a few weeks after that it hit me for it seemed to be getting a lot of airplay. Its release had nothing to do with the fact of other religious type songs having made the hit-parade in the last year or so. As I said to us it was a beautiful song and that`s it.
Lake says it doesn`t matter to him anymore, the organised religious scene, yet paradoxically in our conversation he kept returning to what he considers its world to be about and often linking it with his own writing, for there have been those songs like “Take A Pebble”, “Black Mass” and “From The Beginning”, let alone the references made in the three “Impression Suites” on “Brain Salad Surgery”.
The “fear,” those continually came to the fore for later he almost harps back to his early unfortunate experience of Church, “When you`re small you`re indoctrinated with the thought if you don`t believe in the Almighty you believe there is a terrible penalty to pay. At the age when I could think things for myself I found the Church lacking, what I found myself believing is expressed in my song, `Black Mass`. As to individuals within the Church, their sincerity and honesty, I can`t really comment. I can`t really say every man is a hypocrite, it`s just the organisation.
“It may be changing and adapting to the times, present needs but I think it`s still saying the same thing, if you don`t believe, then you know what.

“I don`t believe it, I don`t subscribe to it. I wish there was something. I think if I did have blind faith then it would make me much happier giving me this security and feeling that whatever happened to me it would be alright.
“There is the line I use on “Brain Salad Surgery” about people pulling Jesus out of the hat and then another one about three bishops` heads in jars!
“When I started serious writing, which I suppose was in the days of King Crimson, my lyrics were very brutal. We were busily observing all the things wrong in the world and the Church was one. I think in a way I have grown out of it. I`ve become more introvert and instead of looking around at the world I tend to look in at myself and see what`s wrong with me.”
Such indeed may be the general feeling of Greg Lake yet there still exists the paradox of his writing lyrics in “Brain Salad Surgery” making overt reference to current bad things in our world, the difference lies in his tendency, as compared to the extreme of Crimson days, to observe and describe suffering rather than build up lines like, `Cat`s foot, iron claw, neuro-surgeons scream for more at paranoia`s poison door` which express a more personal identification with what`s happening.
Lake however does not agree with this analysis, “You may express the feeling of my separation from what I`m describing but I`m not sure if I see it that way. I think the viewpoint is different. I`m not waiting to express myself, the viewpoint can be twofold, it can be me observing everything and me feeling. I am getting more into the latter.
“Sometimes I think what you write is said to somebody and other times it`s just said. Some things are just simple statements and others are meant to communicate.

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“I`m not asking for any long-lasting belief from our people, though some fans do read way beyond what we intend. I mean you take this Jerusalem song. People read way ahead of what I write.
“They come up with most incredible interpretations, there was one going the rounds saying it had to do with the Arab-Jewish situation! I can`t think of anything further from our minds.
“People on the rock scene are these days coming out with songs loaded with often involved lyrics. You have a song like `Give Ireland Back To The Irish` and you wouldn`t have had that kind of thing in the mid-late Fifties. Some of these present-day lyrics can be very good but there are many I`m not too sure about.
“We find, particularly, in America, a lot of fans coming backstage and they know our songs, they are familiar with every word of all that I write and they have their ideas as to what those lyrics mean. What they may think may be far from my intent. I don`t think I can sit around and pencil down all the possible permutations a certain line may or may not have in meaning before I decide to write or issue the respective lyrics.
“Years back, songs said very little, other than giving expression to the familiar boy-girl kind of song. Fifties pop was pretty bare, the songs were not very good and I don`t think we want to return to that era, it would be a retrograde step. I`m slightly amused by the sudden implanting of sacredness upon much of the early stuff.”
So, if you like, for some ELP fans there is a kind of holy lore, the unauthorised scriptures compiled by Greg Lake, printed and given free of charge with several of the million selling ELP albums.
And if you ask whether ELP like other major groups have a kind of cult following, albeit modern day music disciples of the downtown kingdom, then Lake will only say it`s obvious the trio have enormous following, that they find no difficulty in filling their show.
And if you suggest ELP could be a travelling show with lots of gear, lights, sound effects and big star treatment but not much else you are liable to receive a baleful stare from Greg Lake. Well, he will admit the show aspect, “Remember what I said earlier about the Church having its show. Whatever else I might say its show is a good one, otherwise it wouldn`t have lasted so long! I mean it`s got a good bag of tricks. I think our format has some similarities, plenty of colour and content, that last word is important.

“One thing though, we draw totally different audiences! When we do a show it`s almost entirely a two-way communication. It may sound strange but this may be found more in playing in-front of the large festival audience. They seem more together, part of a sharing event.”
Lake however doesn`t take too kindly continual ELP features which concentrate on the surface pomp and splendour. It seems one reason why the group members give only rare interviews. He has a basic mis-trust for much of the musical press and feels considerable sympathy for someone like Jethro Tull, a group which received a considerable pasting a few years back.
So ELP have been to Liverpool these past few weeks. They didn`t play the Cathedral but remembering the Dean was a few years back a Soft Machine addict and possessing a considerable knowledge of the current rock machine could we see the two kingdoms shaking hands by an away visit from ELP in a Cathedral concert?
“We have played one church, at least I think so! I don`t think they are the places for us to play. I think they`re the wrong environment for us. I mean acoustically, they`re great for organs and church choirs but not electronic equipment. Much of the sound would go straight up, it wouldn`t travel.”
Not too bright a prospect – a conceivable coming together, though the Cathedral could certainly house the 36 tons of equipment! And I suppose those Lake lyrics have little sympathy for the things of God, to sing them within Cathedral confines might awake the same kind of criticism which greeted the once possible appearance of dear Tony Blackburn on Songs of Praise. After all “Black Mass” has some harsh things to say about organised religion but then it`s doubtful if ELP is whiter than white.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Goldie Zelkowitz, Curtis Knight, Simon Alexander, Steely Dan, Chris Stainton, Ronnie Lane, Elliott Murphy, Loudon Wainwright, Tim Buckley, Steve Miller, Beach Boys, Tommy Vance, Jim Simpson, Stefan Grossman, Lynsey de Paul, Mott the Hoople, Kevin Ayers, Dave Cousins.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Carl Palmer (ELP) FROM SOUNDS, January 26, 1974

This very influential drummer has played for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Asia, and has really made his mark as one of the most influential drummers in the world. Reading this article you can understand why when you take into account his serious approach to his profession. This is not someone in it just for the fame, fortune and easy access to girls. A good read.

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Carl: Doing it first

Exclusive by Pete Erskine

Cracking the Manticore complex is something like breaking and entering Fort Knox with a butter knife and a pair of plastic specs. Manticore is E.L.P.`s record company. It performs the usual record company functions but with an air of dense but organised chaos and a careful screening process – on all levels – maintains a frustratingly efficient protective role.
It is, of course, only another extension of the band`s “positive” philosophy – of permitting only the good, constructive things to actually break through and reach them. It is also a part of their policy of total co-ordination and, apparently, total control – a theme that passes through almost everything they seem to be involved with from press relations to promotion to marketing to management and so on right through to the music and all the facets of touring and stage production. They are undeniably slick and undeniably it works and that`s probably what puts people off; it intimidates them, it makes them suspicious, it makes them jealous.
People I know are resentful that an operation of these proportions always wins through in terms of constant sales and popularity above lesser known, looser, but maybe just as talented outfits. The music may not be to everyone`s taste but the band`s attitude and commitment to the same is surely worthy of respect. You can write it off as ego and a lust for supremacy but there is a genuine desire to experiment and, individually, for the musicians to further their personal musical boundaries.
All of which sounds like preaching and the usual press cant, but talking to Carl Palmer earlier in the week one begins to realise the validity of the band`s approach to their work and their heavy investment in the musical ideal; being bigger and better than the competition may be good for one`s self, but it also means that the public is getting a better deal too.

“I think we got a little more showy on the American tour,” says Palmer, inspecting a tube of ointment. He has a growth on the palm of his right hand. “But it added rather than detracted from what we were doing. I mean I think visuals are really effective if they relate to what you`re doing… and not just there for their own sake, like with some of the things Alice Cooper uses.”
Contemporary ELP visuals, aside from overall group lighting and individual footlights, comprise a white baby grand, upon which Emerson rises and revolves whilst playing Chopin`s “Revolutionary”, a computer, programmed to repeat a section of “Karn Evil 9” with increasing rapidity until it dissolves with a thundercrack and belch of smoke, a revolving drum rostrum and… in a way, Carl`s custom-built stainless steel drum set. The piano is merely a humorous device, to provide contrast and to poke fun at the whole concept of gimmickry, the computer, according to Emerson, is a counter to those accusations of ELP as a “mechanical band”, in that it becomes obvious that Emerson`s rendition of the particular phrase and the computer`s are separated totally by the factor of human touch and feeling and human expression. It also is relevant to the theme, both directly lyrical, and indirectly musical, of “Karn Evil 9”. The revolving rostrum is almost purely visual, but has its practical side too – in that Carl is elevated to eye level with the other two, and, in circular stadiums, where part of the audience might be looking down on the band from the back, they, too, get a chance to see what`s going on.
“The drums were made in London,” explains Palmer, “and no drum companies were involved – mostly because they`d look at it from a commercial mass-production point of view, whereas I`m looking at it from a purely personal view, almost eliminating most of the practical aspects.
“A metalworking firm made the stainless steel shell, which is about quarter of an inch thick and this means that the total weight approaches something like two and a half tons. The thing is that it`s such a true sound, unlike a wooden shell.

“I`ve been experimenting for quite a while and I`ve found that most wooden drums were okay a few years ago but they just didn`t give that constant sound. With stainless steel, for me personally, the drums project a lot more. They have more top frequencies. I have them tuned quite tightly, unlike the heavy rock and roll drummers who go for the fat flabby sound.
“The idea for the engravings came from a hunting rifle I saw one day with a couple of foxes jumping over a fence and I thought it would make it more personalised. I left most of the actual drawings to an engraver. He drew them first and we went over them together. It adds a touch of quality. It`s very bizarre and it`s very extravagant but it is something that I`ve always wanted.
“I`ve been playing 13 years this coming March and I`ve always wanted to build my own kit. I know exactly what I want and I have the money now to afford it, so I figure why not have the Rolls-Royce drum kit?
“The biggest innovation with this kit, though is that it`s part-electric. I`ve been working on that for such a long time and was sort of let down so many times – well, not so much let down, more that the people helping me didn`t have time to take it any further. Bob Moog was very busy at the time. He gave me a prototype drum. On the floor it had five buttons which you pushed to change the sound. That was okay, but say you wanted to play all those sounds really quickly in succession you`d have to be a tap dancer.
“What I did was to transfer all the sounds I wanted to each individual drum. I`ve therefore managed to get five electronic drum sounds that are pure electronic rhythmic impulses… another drum plays a sequence, a series of 14 notes that repeat on the 14th and I managed to produce two counters. One counter plays a long bass note when you strike it while the other plays a pattern that`s a little more complicated. The whole thing operates through a simple on-off button.

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“It has to be done doesn`t it? I mean, people have left drums alone for so long. My main thing has always been to be a musical drummer; I`ve always preferred a musical approach to the basic heavy rock rhythmic playing. I can`t slate those kind of players because they`re good for what they do but I`ve always thought maybe I should use gongs and tubular bells and timps onstage… and I thought to myself that if I was going to take that approach I should have a very futuristic approach as well as developing the instrument I play.
“It just seems like a logical progression. My reason for doing it also lies with the fact that I wanted to be the first to record something on an electric drum set – which I did on `Brain Salad Surgery`.
“I don`t believe in it totally because I believe more in symphonic drumming – tuned percussion. I just have this thing in me that I like to do things first whether I believe in them 100 per cent or not. I believe in the product, but as far as drumming becoming electronic in the future, well I don`t believe that will happen; I believe it`ll be used only as an effect.
“The main thing about English drummers – they`re changing now, and I hope it`s through something I might`ve done – up to about two years ago the fact was that they`d be using, perhaps, two bass drums and a couple of small tomtoms or maybe one bass drum and a tomtom in front and one on the floor and I always thought this had to be wrong in today`s music; there can`t be enough colour there. When you think of how many notes the piano`s got and how many notes you can reproduce on the guitar yet the drummer`s got next to nothing, it doesn`t add up.
“That`s when I decided to introduce these concert tomtoms which range from a drum that`s six inches in diameter to a drum that`s 18 inches. It goes 6, 8, 10, 12 inches, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18 inches. They provide an awful lot of scope which is something that was missed over here.

“The idea originated after hearing Elvis, who I really dig. He`s got an amazing rock and roll band – true rock and roll musicians you know, with that guitarist James…”
“Burton?”
“Yes, James Burton, and an amazing drummer and I heard these, these concert tomtoms, being played on a record of his and it just freaked me out… and `Hawaii Five-O`, that series, that`s got them too. Lots of people are using them now and it`s a good thing because as a drummer I`m into being an instrument rather than a rhythmic device… hence you have to develop your instrument further and have more of it around you; my attitude to playing in this band is as a percussionist in an orchestra; that`s how I think of myself. I try and do the job of four percussionists. I`m not just into the funky stuff and I`m not just into the technical thing that I`ve always been labelled with – I`m really into the whole spectrum.
“So many drummers are into the funky thing and the technical thing but they don`t quite make the musical approach which is warranted these days…”
In fact, having seen Palmer in action at Madison Square Garden one of the first things that seemed obvious was his seeming ability to tackle an enormous range of styles and feels with equal ease. There were sections, apart from the previously recorded material – In “Tarkus” and “Take A Pebble” where the band hit into piano-orientated sections touching on old George Shearing material and Carl would tap out that fast swing… and there`s the barrelhousing “Benny The Bouncer” where he`d employ fast brushwork… and there were even odd little blues/jazz sections reminiscent of the Nice where he`d strike up a harder more funky approach. His timing and edge are both immaculate, and effortless.

“That technical thing kills me, though,” he continues, “okay it`s partly true you know. If people want to say am I a fast drummer, have I got a great technique, then, yes, it is true, right, and I don`t mind saying it, but some people have said that I`m not funky and that`s unbelievably wrong. What I`ve done, and what people haven`t seen, is to try and open up more than just being a funky drummer or just being a technical drummer. I`ve tried to push it forward and especially on this album – percussion as more of an intricate instrument rather than the knocking nails in routine.
“Like Jimi Hendrix – the reason why he made the guitar so famous was that he wasn`t simply putting it through a straight stack, he was putting it through a fuzz box and wah-wah and he`d got certain things specially made up and so on. He was trying to better the instrument and so am I – technically and in terms of playing.
“Tuition,” he adds, “has been incredibly beneficial”. I had wondered whether on the contrary, it could lead a person into thinking only along set lines, rather than broadening his experience. Palmer has two a week one at the Guild Hall and one privately round at his tutor`s house.
“It`s given me more scope musically and furthered my musical ability,” he adds. “It hasn`t inhibited me at all in anything I`ve done. Personally I think it`s a very valid thing for people not just to have classical tuition, because there are so many things you can learn that you couldn`t possibly pick up yourself, and I`ve reached the point now where I can switch on and play something musical… or anything really. I never close myself off; I try to get the most out of the things I learn and apply them at the right time. It depends on what I`m playing, but the way I`m playing at any given moment is the way I`m thinking. The minute you close yourself off to anything, you`re burning your bridges.
“The nature of my instrument tells me that to be a percussionist I need to be able to play all forms of music – to know I can back anybody at a minute`s notice… unlike people who play pianos and other kinds of instrument who probably tend to lean more on one particular line.
“Quite honestly, too, I want to be greedy about it. I want to be the best jazz drummer, the best technician, the best rock drummer and the best musical drummer.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bob Dylan, Status Quo, Ralph McTell, Incredible String Band, Kiki Dee, Marc Bolan, Jethro Tull, Pointer Sisters.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Keith Emerson (ELP) FROM SOUNDS, December 29, 1973

Certain parts of the rock community and classical music have always had a close relation, and this article proves it when it comes to the the music of ELP who were being led by the musical genius that was Keith Emerson. There was speculation that he took his own life because he worried that he wouldn`t be able to play as good as the fans deserved because of an illness that troubled him late in life. You could call that “high ambition” but you could also call it “depression” and “Mental illness”. I believe the latter is true. Still, at 71, he outlived the composer, Ginastera, who is mentioned in the article. Alberto Evaristo Ginastera was an Argentine composer of classical music. He is considered one of the most important 20th-century classical composers of the Americas. Born in Buenos Aires in 1916 to a Spanish father and an Italian mother, he often used traditional Argentine musical elements in his compositions. He left behind a huge production when he died in Geneva at the age of 67.

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Silent nights in America

Pete Erskine talks to Keith Emerson

Having spent the best part of a week hustling upwards of a dozen people for an interview with either Keith Emerson or Greg Lake, and having secured an audience with the former, shock and horror, but what should happen but your reporter`s tape machine blows out. Hence this interview was conducted, as a repeat, in adverse conditions, on the plane home.

Who is Alberto Ginastera?

About four years ago I was in Los Angeles doing one of these spectacular Hollywood Television productions which was being organised by Jack Good – it was about the time that mixed media was all the rage and everyone was getting into the thing that rock groups and classical orchestras were all the thing, let`s do a television spectacular on it.
Whilst I was over there I met Zeuben Maiter, Daniel Barenbaum and Jaqueline Duprez and lots of other people. This particular piece was being played by the pianist who did the world premier Ginastera`s first piano concerto and I happened to just grab the last part of it and afterwards I spoke with the pianist and it was very interesting to look at the part.
When I got back to England I managed to get hold of the piano music and I just worked on it in my own leisure time, not really intending to do it – it was just sort of something to play. Carl had always wanted to do a percussion piece which was well arranged and it wasn`t until we were getting this new album together that I realised that this was the ideal number because it`s percussive anyway – in the original there`s lots of pounding piano – it`s a very hairy piece of music so I rang him up and played it to him on the telephone and he liked it quite a lot and at rehearsals I played it on the organ and everyone was well into it. So I talked about arranging it, making strict observations on how Ginastera himself had written it and the rules that he had laid down for this particular piece of music were very strict.

So it had to meet with his approval before you could actually play it or record it?

Well, the thing that came across to me was that it can only be performed with the tympany set up here and the pianos were set up here and everything was laid out on this chart. The actual movement which I was arranging was well laid out to the number of bars and the whole thing was in `Rondo` form so in arranging this I had to adhere strictly to the rules. I didn`t want to adulterate his music in any way.

Is the version you`ve arranged very different to his own version?

There are reasons why all of it has not been used. There are various repeats which I`ve missed out and in some cases I`ve done repeats where he hasn`t. This was done because for the stage version I would be playing it on the organ and for various things to be audible I had to do this. There was a hassle there because he`s written it for piano and the piano has a far greater octave range than the organ so things had to be altered that way round.
Eventually we got the whole thing together as I`d done with Aaron Copland`s “Hoe-Down” I sent a tape to Copland (I`d not met him personally because I was out of the country) this time I wrote a letter to Ginastera and sent it care of Boosey and Hawkes the Publishers. They read the letter and said that they understood that I wanted it doing very quickly and they thought it would be much quicker for me to go and see him.
The next day I was off the plane with Stewart Young, armed with a tape recording and met Ginastera and I was quite nervous about meeting the guy face to face and playing his music to him. I had dinner with him and he was quite familiar with this electronic equipment because he`d worked in Argentina on these things and after dinner we got him to play the music. He couldn`t quite believe his ears at the start of it and then listening to it the second time through he said that it was fantastic, you captured the essence of my music.
I flew back to England and I was over the moon and I told the rest of the guys what had happened and they were knocked out. In the early days of the band we were sometimes referred to as a classical rock band and my reasons playing classical music are that when I write a piece of music (and it can take six months to do it) it`s a refreshing change to play a different piece of music. I have a liking for classical music as much as I have a liking for jazz but it is refreshing to play something that somebody else has written and in my experience people have usually related that to earlier recordings.
As far as my own writing is concerned I think I can modestly say that it`s completely my own without any direct link or even a snatch from anything else which is classical. One example which made me slightly up tight was that when we were in America I heard one of our Baleros played over the radio at the end of which the D.J. said that it was Ravel`s Balero assuming that because I happened to call this piece of music a Balero he assumed that it was Ravel`s Balero. But on reference, if you compere the two there`s a different harmonic structure with mine and different time, signature, everything is totally different.

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Is the band wholly satisfying for you?

Yes, they are. My musical education has been such I started off playing by ear, long before I had piano lessons. My first recollection I have is of an old upright piano being shipped into the house and my father played it and I used to imitate him and pick out my own tunes. When my father saw me trying to busk he asked me if I wanted to be taught and the next thing I knew (I was about eight at the time) this old dear of about 80 came round and started giving me lessons. It was a bit of a drag but I went along with it because it went along with my schooling.
I took it up to the age of about 14 – I played a bit of guitar and then I realised that because I could only play a few basic chords I couldn`t really entertain people. I realised that I could do a lot more at the piano because to me it was really more of a solo instrument so I went back to it but I really still wasn`t turned on to classical music. My first liking for the piano was hearing the jazz pianists and mixing with other local jazz musicians and developing my taste accordingly. Nothing at that stage on the pop scene interested me at all.

Does anything on the pop scene interest you today?

Nothing at all. My record collection at home doesn`t really consist of anything that interests me or turns me on except something like Steeleye Span which I think are really original, plus a bit of Frank Zappa. I`ve heard Weather Report, Joe Zawinul is great, I`ve got recordings of him when he played with Cannonball Adderley – I dug him then, he`s capable of a lot more and on this Weather Report album I`ve got he doesn`t do a lot.

Do you think that this is part of the trend today away from heavy instrumental dexterity back to a simplicity of feel?

Yes, you can`t rule out the fact that this is an overall sound effect. I think that when you listen to something of Miles Davis, you`ve got to listen to the overall effect not just analyse this bit or that bit. Possibly what Miles Davis is asking for is a new look, an overall look at everything, be patient and wait for something to happen – maybe I`ll give it to you and maybe I won`t. Which is possibly the way music should be. It`s usually a very spontaneous thing and as Eric Dolphy once said, music once it`s played, it`s gone, it`s gone through the air and you can never capture it again. I think that it`s a very valid point – it`s there for the moment, it`s not a lasting thing.
I mixed with a lot of jazz musicians and my earliest influences came from them. I started playing with local bands, and trios in some of the sleazy places. At least we could play the music that we wanted to play. Very gradually, pop music began to take on to me what you might pretentiously call, a culture. Studying people like Muddy Waters, Memphis Slim, it was getting more interesting as blues was being brought into pop music and suddenly I took an interest and I started getting into it. But my early days were such that I wasn`t really playing what I wanted to play and I don`t think any bands those days could play what they wanted to play.

Are you really playing now what you want to play?

Well, I`ll get round to that. It was in those early days that I`d go off and play the piano and there`d always be people there who were listening and they`d say why don`t you play that on stage? And my excuse would be, you`ve got to be kidding… but then when I formed the Nice I thought well, why can`t I play that on stage? I`m cheating myself, I`ve really got to do this and Pete Jackson was with me and we both had the same idea. So the Nice was formed with that policy and it`s stuck with me ever since.
We did our first gigs and they were really hell, we played the Soul Clubs where the D.J. would do his bit and the band would come on and then the D.J. would come back again. But having made that policy I`ve stuck to it rigidly and anything that I`ve liked I`ve played and I think possibly the audience have broadened their tastes. This broadening of audience acceptance started to be brought about by people like the Beatles, George Harrison`s association with interesting Indian Music.

Do you think that the things done with rock bands and classical music ever worked?

John Lord`s concerto and the “Five Bridges” thing were both done round about the same period and I really admired John Lord`s writing on that concerto. I thought that he scored that orchestra beautifully and I told him… and he slung a bouquet of flowers back at me and said he liked the “Five Bridges” thing… I did it on lots of occasions… I did it in Los Angeles with Zeuben Maiter, as I`ve already said I did it twice in England, once we recorded it live and then once I did it with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall but on both occasions there were so many hassles mainly because we were dealing with the musicians union which is tough. They`re unco-operative about getting rehearsals together. Even when we were called back for an encore some of the guys were looking at their watches and leaving the stage. The second time we did it the orchestra refused to come back on to do an encore and we had to come back on just on our own and improvise something to keep people happy.
All this just put me off from working with them again – I may well do but it`s got to be under a different situation. At the time I wasn`t really that concerned about whether it worked or not. I looked on it as the establishment against the anti-establishment. Here was a loud rock band battling hell out of these old conservatives in their penguin suits. There was a slight balancing problem with the orchestra – I`m quite happy with how the recorded version turned out. What really made it so enjoyable, you could get these guys to do almost anything – we were doing a piece from “2001” and I got them to all stand up on their seats throw their music up in the air and play each others instruments and they completely freaked out for just one minute.

I get the impression that this current tour has been incredibly carefully worked out in every respect…

It has to be. The lighting has to be pretty well together mainly `cos they can`t improvise. There were just a few minor changes that had to be made at the beginning of the tour. Like originally the piece with the moog at the end finished with it panning the theme from the third movement of “Karn Evil” and we left the stage, but people didn`t understand it. We needed some sort of finality to the set, to make the point. Another thing was that one of the numbers had to be transposed down a tone or so because Greg got laryngitis or broke his vocal chords trying to sing the number. I still like the improvisation parts… they differ from night to night.

Having just played a string of concerts, though, is the attraction still there?

Oh yes. It`s going to take me some time to relax. I could play another concert tonight. I don`t feel as if I`ve just worked six weeks…

Has this stage act got across better than the last one?

We`ve experimented an awful lot you know and tried various things, some of which have worked and some haven`t, but, as I was saying this morning, like a lot of bands around at the moment I would consider “safe” bands, but we`ve done an awful lot and risked a lot of things, like on the European tour with that praesenium and lugging around 70 roadies.

Do you risk things musically as well?

Sometimes. At Madison Square we went on and we did those things with the choir and a whole bunch of other sections without rehearsing them.

We were saying about “Karn Evil 9”. Do you think it`s come across as you intended it to?

Well, as we said, there`s only been a slight change in that to provide the people who`ll only have seen it once all year with a strong impression. The stage ending doesn`t take away from the meaning of the piece but it was very necessary to do this for the live performance; on the actual recording it was left as an unanswered question, because obviously with the subject we`re handling there is no answer…

How does it feel when the audience reacts to the effects in the show sometimes to a greater degree than some of the finer more subtle instrumental solos?

It`s important for me to put the point across of the difference between a machine playing the theme in relation to what we play and trying to drive the point across to the audience that it`s computors and things which are making them redundant. And I purposely programmed the synthesiser to play the theme that we just played to make the effect more pronounced. We also wanted to counter, in a way, accusations in the past that ELP are “Mechanical” in their music. I can base what I`m talking about on fact as, like when I left school I worked on IBM equipment and I was going to learn to become a programmer for these things, but, man, it was so boring. I purposely used to put faults in the machine to brighten up a dull day.

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Some very interesting bands in small locations on the menu…

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Leo Sayer, Tim Bogert, Gallagher&Lyle, The Who, Deep Purple, Magma.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Carl Palmer FROM SOUNDS, November 27, 1971

This “Cat” has been active since 1964 and is still going strong in 2018. He has played with a lot of acts – among them is The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Asia, 3, Qango and his own Carl Palmer Band.
Very influenced by jazz and eager to play riffs in 10/8, but not a stranger to playing more basic rock`n`roll, he is someone that many people would like to have in a band. One of the great drummers in modern rock music and prog, he is now a “household” name for many. Enjoy this great interview from way back.

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Emerson, Lake and Palmer were shortly to Jumbo jet across to North America for a nationwide tour, but drummer Carl Palmer was having problems closer to home. The GPO seemed reluctant to install a telephone in the new house he has just bought near London. Could his manager send a letter stressing how important it was for a rock star to have a telephone? He could. That pleased the drummer. Now he could relax to examine the character of the rock triangle of which he has been one side since the sneer days of a “second Nice” to their recent triumph in sweeping up awards in the SOUNDS poll.

Interview: Dick Meadows
Pictures: Spud Murphy

Can we talk first about your new cut-price album “Pictures At An Exhibition” which will be released here while the group is on tour in America. It was originally made in conjunction with a film, but there have been delays and problems I believe?

As you know, that was going to be released very cheaply. But the film and everything was so bad, and the soundtrack on the film was so bad that we just had to re-record it. That`s what held “Pictures” up, which was a shame. It was due to come out about two to three months ago. Anyway, we had to re-record it because the soundtrack was no good at all, and we did this in Newcastle City Hall which has an amazing atmosphere.
The album has a nice sleeve which is very interesting. The different pieces of music in “Pictures” have their own names and the different paintings on the sleeve refer to these movements. The sleeve opens up and on the inside the pictures are complete but on the outside the pictures aren`t quite finished. So it`s quite freaky, and they are actual paintings because I have bought one!

Why do you think the sound-track was so bad?

Well, we never had Eddy Offord, our engineer, there, and he is a great cat. For me it could have been much better than it was. I think there was something wrong with the organs too. It was recorded live at the Lyceum and didn`t come off anything like as well as the second time at Newcastle. So this is why there have been delays and why the price is not as cheap as we wanted it to be. We had hoped to get it out for about 99p instead of £1.49 which is what the price is now.
As far as the film of Emerson, Lake and Palmer is concerned, because a friend of ours is doing it, that is the only reason we have let him release it. The film, in my opinion, is shocking. It is a sort of 1959 rock and roll film, because the modern filming technique put into it was nil. There are lots of basic shots of the band; it is sort of nothing, as if someone has filmed a band live on stage and that`s it.
We had a lot of ideas about modern filming techniques which we wanted to see done, but instead the person who did it – who is a friend of mine anyway and I won`t mention his name – didn`t do it exactly how I wanted it done anyway. It was done as a straight film, it could have been like an early Beatles film, it was so straight you know.
I believe the film has been shown so far at the Lyceum and various other places. There`s not a lot we can do about it now. I mean, we will make money out of it but I don`t really like making money from a product that I`m not happy with. The original soundtrack has in fact gone out with the film; it could have been changed but the people didn`t want to spend any more money on doing it. So we said, “Okay, we can`t release an album like that, so we will spend more money, we`ll pay for it ourselves and we`ll get a unit up to Newcastle with all the tape recorders and things and our own engineer, and we`ll do it as best as we can.” And that is of course what we did. We got to Newcastle at 10 o`clock in the morning and ran through things for several hours. And I think we got a live recording that is worthy to go out as a “live” album. I think most “live” albums, even if people have been very careful, are really a glorified bootleg, do you know what I mean, just a professional bootleg.

Does the original soundtrack sound like a “professional bootleg” to you then?

No, no, but the general feel of the thing was done a lot better the second time. There was a lot of pressure put on us at the Lyceum that day because of the film, so the music didn`t hit it off. It wasn`t that bad, but it was bad to us in the group to release as a “live” album. That was why we held back, and we got a lot of letters and we were slagged for that but it was for the good of everyone you know. We wanted a good product on the market, and we thought that if we released the original soundtrack we would have been slagged on top of being slagged for keeping people waiting. I hope now that everyone is happy. We have done a good job on the album sleeve. But there you go, it`s just one of those things.

Did you take “Pictures” as seriously as the album which you are recording now, or can it be classed as more of a fun album?

Well, we took the music seriously, but we didn`t take it seriously in terms of the direction which the band is going. It has been released because everyone wanted it. That`s why we are selling it cheap and slipping it out, and not making a big issue out of it. Who knows, it could still be a No. 1! We were in a strange predicament with “Pictures” because we didn`t want to rob people of having it.
Originally it was going to be a double album, with “Pictures” and the new album we have just started. But because we kept people waiting so long we just had to release it. There has been pressure as well from the record companies because they wanted it. It is only going to be released in England. The album we have just started to record should be released in this country in about February.

How much progress have you made with this album?

We have been recording now for about two or three weeks. We have two completed things – music and words – and one instrumental that we think we will have to do again. We have a lot of different stuff, you know. One number is like the music to a Hammer horror film, sort of very kind of frightening. Another is like a Western, we`ve got a gun-shot on it. The words are about this cat who doesn`t want to get shot, it`s quite a comedy number. The other one is just a funky thing, so we have three things done and that`s about all so far.
We will do the rest of the recording when we get back from America in January for a February release, according to how the recording goes. You see, we are trying not to push it at all, but just let it flow along. Not taking too much time but taking it easier. On the American tour we are going to try out the three numbers that we have already recorded, and if any changes occur within a number then we will record it again. We have found that numbers develop so much more on stage.

You talk about letting the recording “flow along”. But the band put the last album “Tarkus” down very quickly indeed. How did you manage to do that?

It took, like, two weeks that album. We were really in the studio every day. The thing is that “Tarkus” took  that amount of time, it didn`t take any longer because it was completely arranged and set out by Keith (Emerson). We didn`t rush the “Tarkus” album, it just took two weeks. But the album we are now recording – because it is going to be totally different – will take longer. A third album to any band is so important, and that is not including “Pictures” which you can`t count as a third album.

What do you mean by “totally different”?

Well, what we went into before were highly arranged things and we never really got to jam a lot on an album. On this album we are leaving room for that, but not too much, just enough so you get time to fill out. “Tarkus” was a set thing and it sounds pretty much the same every night but these new numbers, these three numbers I have mentioned, will vary so much. We have two other numbers and numerous ideas but whether they justify themselves to be used or not remains to be seen. We have a lot of ideas and we are being extra-cautious, being very careful, and that is why we are taking more time out to do it.
I do think that the third album of a band does set up the life of the band. The first one is the initial effort of a band, with the second one, people know what you are into, and with the third one you have got to be into what you are into! Do you know what I mean?
What we are trying to do with the new album is get the arrangement thing in there which we are known for, but never lose any of the basic funk which at times I think we did on “Tarkus”. On the actual recording I think it could have been funkier in places. But now we have been together that bit longer you would be surprised how much that has helped. We are a lot tighter now, and having had more time to think about it, I think this album will be the better one of the three.
I`m not dissatisfied with “Tarkus”. I just know that if we recorded it now it would be better, because the album has got an American and an English tour behind it, and things come together on stage so much more. At the time “Tarkus” was recorded I thought I was playing great and so did everyone else.
After the new album is released I think we shall start recording the next one in August or October. Oh yes, we have already planned that, planned when we should record and allowed two months off to record it. I don`t know about material yet, but after the present one is finished and we have played it on the road we shall have more idea about future recording.

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What is more important to ELP, gigging or recording?

They are equally important. You must never give up live appearances you know. We belong on stage, and we belong in the recording studio; it is basically a very hard-working band. I couldn`t just record, nor could Keith or Greg (Lake), but on the other hand I couldn`t just do gigs because I need the satisfaction of being in the studio and hearing your own sound played back.

You`ve just got a new drum kit. Will you be using it on the tour of the States?

Yes, I fly out in a few days time before the other fellahs, just to get used to sitting behind the new drum kit! This is very important to me, because there is a whole scene behind it. I shall spend the first night just looking at it in my hotel room where I shall set it up, getting used to all the heights and sizes. It`s like a toy. After that the band will be rehearsing in the Fillmore East, New York.
The audiences in America, as far as taking solos within numbers are concerned, are beautiful. They just know when to clap, it`s as if you have rehearsed them in the afternoon and got all these cats together and said, “All right, clap now”. For that part, people are unbelieveable, but for the general living part in America – the food and the actual environment – doesn`t suit me personally. Some parts of the States are better than others, Detroit and Chicago I`m not too keen to walk about in. I just get in a cab as soon as I can. I would never live in America, I thought I would a few years ago, but not now. I would rather live in the country in England.
In America everyone hustles furiously and doesn`t get that much done, but in England everyone hustles but they are cool about it and get things done. It`s done slightly slower but slightly better and with more taste. If I was to record in America I wouldn`t feel as relaxed as I do here. I would pick up strange vibes the minute I walked into the studio – there`s that hustle there – and there would be an American engineer saying, “Okay you cats, what are you into” and all that kind of scene. That would put me really up-tight.
I don`t let America get on top of me on tour because I take about 12 drum books, my text books, my guitar, my cassette, so that if I have a night off I don`t get hung up. I can play, practise, listen to the cassette or even watch the television. There`s only New York City that you can ever do anything in. When we had nights off in other towns I tried to get a local paper and there was nothing on, just local bands. Probably the local bands are good, I`ve got nothing against them, but you really don`t want to go out to a rock club to hear them after you have just done ten clubs yourself.

At the moment the band is right at the top. You swept the board in the SOUNDS poll awards for instance. Where do you go from here?

That is hard to say. I think we will get into as many other things as we can, we might even try our record label, or a business venture together. We would also like to get into a proper film of ELP, a documentary film and a live thing joined together which we have always wanted but could never get. It`s very, very hard `cos once a band gets to a certain level you must keep the interest together within the band. I think we will probably all make solo albums but not giving any indication that there is a split because there would never be one.
We can all play together for long periods but we all must do that little thing of our own at some time. If you can combine the two without having to make a split then I think it is a sensible way to go. I would personally love to make my own album. What I would like to see is ELP do a big London gig somewhere, and everyone come on, me with my band, Keith with his and Greg with his. Then at the end it is ELP together, that to me would be one of the biggest musical outlets I could imagine. It would have to be really well worked out, that is one of the next musical steps we could try and do. I think we are big enough for the people to accept it.

You sound confident that ELP has a long life ahead of it, that the band won`t split up.

I think, now, that the band has got a long life. I had my doubts at the beginning, but now I think, yes, it has. For two reasons. One, we know now that individuals must do their own thing like solo albums. If you admit that then you are half-way there, because that`s why groups break up; they want to do different things but won`t talk about it. See, we talk about it. And two, as yet, as far as I`m concerned and I think I can speak for Greg and for Keith as well, there has never been any musical conflict at all. I think about these two things and they to me are the ingredients for a band that lasts a long while.

Why did you have doubts at the beginning?

I was worried at first about people calling ELP a supergroup. I wasn`t really known then and I thought if I am going to make a name for myself I want to start off without having any labels put on me at all. That was the only doubt I had. As it happened we came through all that shit quite well, about us being a second Nice, that sort of thing. I must confess that bugged me more than Keith or Greg `cos I just couldn`t take it. I was against doing “Rondo” you know, we do it, but I realised it was such a great number that I would want to do it anyway even if the Nice hadn`t made it famous. I really believe that. Yes, it was the deal with the Nice that bugged me at the beginning but we have all got over that.
At the beginning there were a few people putting us down, I could even name a reporter, but I won`t because it ain`t worth it, who said this, that and the other. And that doesn`t help a band trying to get something together. You really do need people, who although they are not totally in agreement with what you are doing, to say “Yes fellahs I really believe what you are into and I like it”. It just gives you that bit of encouragement, but instead we weren`t getting that. What we were getting was the supergroup thing and “Is it a second Nice?”
I didn`t want to be associated with Brian Davison because I don`t play anything like him. I just didn`t want to be labelled. At times I thought “Oh no”. But it never got to the stage where I thought the band definitely wouldn`t last because I managed to bale myself out of this frame of mind. I got over that period which lasted for about the first couple of months, and then when I picked up the music papers and read what people were saying and how they were slagging Keith I just laughed at it. If only they knew what a musician Keith was, they would never have said those things.

There have also been accusations that Greg and yourself live under Keith`s shadow on stage.

I`ve heard this before. Musically we don`t and stage-wise I don`t think we do either. To me, if ever a musical policy was split three ways it is with ELP. Not only musically but visually as well; Keith still does the same few things that he did with the Nice because they`re good and they`re Keith Emerson. I`ve been taking my tee-shirt off for years on stage, it started when I was with Chris Farlowe, and I still do it because I dig doing it. Even though Ian Wallace from King Crimson does it now which is a bit annoying, but if that is what the cat wants to do then let him do it. I think Greg, truthfully speaking, has had more opportunity with ELP than with what he ever had with Crimson. With Crimson he never got to play his acoustic guitar which I think he plays beautifully, and he never got to sing as much as he does now. I also think that for the production of Crimson, Greg`s say in the matter wasn`t as big as it should have been. For us he is a quite amazing producer.

Do you consider you were getting sufficient credit in Atomic Rooster where you were doing a lot of arranging?

Well, Vincent (Crane) wrote the songs you see, and I got the bread for it but my name wasn`t put down. That didn`t really bug me because I was experimenting with arrangements like Vincent was, but because he wrote the words and the actual melody and I used to arrange it, even though the arrangement is as worthy as the song, he took the credit. It didn`t really matter to me though. Vincent was on a bit of an ego trip, which, if he wanted to, was okay with me. It didn`t bug me, I let it go, as long as I got the money for it which is what you want in the end. The fame and the extra fortune will always come, and I`ve got what I wanted in the end, recognition as a drummer.

What was your reaction when you were asked to join ELP?

When I was originally called up and asked if I would join, I said no. That was because Rooster was the first band I had ever formed – jointly with Vincent after we had left Arthur Brown – and I wanted to go a bit further with it. The band had a promising single which I thought would do something, but as it happened it didn`t. I realised that the first album was trash but I thought I must give it longer.
So I did, but a couple of weeks later Greg called up and suggested I had a blow with them. I did and they both thought it was great, I enjoyed it, and then Greg called me and asked me what I was going to do. I said, “I don`t know, I have got to think about it”. He said he would phone me up the next day and I must give him an answer. But then he called up the same night and suggested another blow tomorrow. So we had another blow and I went back home. He wanted an answer and was putting on the pressure. In the end I said no again but then he laid it on the line about what we thought the band was going to be and it clicked with me. I had been very worried about the Nice situation. Finally I said yes and we went straight into rehearsals. I was doing five gigs a week with Rooster and I was playing three afternoons a week with ELP, and I did that for about two months solid. I found Vincent a drummer and settled all the outstanding business matters. I helped Rooster as best I could and I spoke to Vincent the other day and we are the best of friends. Me leaving Rooster was the most mutual split ever, and who knows, I might even play with Vincent again.

Did you get fulfilment as a drummer before ELP with bands like Rooster, Arthur Brown and Chris Farlowe`s Thunderbirds?

I wasn`t doing as many things as I wanted to. But then the way I play now I never dreamt of playing like that then because the people I was playing with weren`t that way inclined. When I suggested anything a bit freaky then, people were a bit funny. I had a 10/8 riff when I was sixteen which people didn`t want to know about because they thought it was hard. And of course that 10/8 riff is applied to “Tarkus”. I was labelled as a rock and roll drummer and I couldn`t get out of it. With Rooster I got out of it a bit and with ELP I am fulfilled.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Redbone, Frank Zappa, Redwing, Elton John, B.B. King, Bill Williams, Alice Stuart, Fanny, Robbie Robertson, Lesley Duncan, Dave Burland.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.