The Keith Emerson Interview
By Shawn Perry
The image is unforgettable. There I was, sitting about 100 yards or more away, 14-years-old, my mind already blown by Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. The headliner of the California Jam was a band I knew only by name — Emerson, Lake and Palmer. For some reason, I confused them with Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds, a soft-rock trio I had little interest in. But when ELP hit the stage, any and all comparisons fell by the wayside. My head was transported to another dimension by the handy keyboard work of Keith Emerson, the rich and vibrant vocals (with excellent bass and guitar accompaniment) of Greg Lake, and the mind-numbing, precision-guided drumming of Carl Palmer. This was it, I surmised, this was music the way it was supposed to be played. As if the playing wasn't enough, I, like so many impressionable teenage boys, was also captivated by the visuals. Unlike Kiss though, these guys were master musicians who would incorporate their playing into the props. Well, at least that’s what Keith Emerson did when he strapped himself to a revolving piano and played an array of haunting notes for five minutes or so.
When it comes right down to it, Emerson is really what set ELP apart from the crowded arena floor of super groups. Having Greg Lake on vocals and Carl Palmer just made the whole thing that much more palatable. Lake surely held sway when it came to ELP’s commercial appeal, but Emerson broke new ground for the keyboards by taking a far more prominent role in the sound and formation of classic rock music. Unfortunately, I witnessed the tail-end of ELP’s majestic rise at the California Jam. After this gig, they virtually disappeared for three years. By that time, their days were numbered any way. A change in tastes and trends had turned ELP and their ilk into pariahs and targets of repugnance by the press, the punks, and the popsters. Internal strife and little potential to sustain the masses eventually split the group in 1979.
In the 80s, Keith Emerson made a little noise with a few inconspicuous soundtracks before teaming up with Lake and Cozy Powell for ELP Mach II. While it was short-lived, Emerson, as always, was at the top of his game and ready to take it further. He formed 3, a new spin on the power trio featuring Carl Palmer and virtually unknown American vocalist and bassist Robert Berry. Unfortunately, grunge made sure bands like 3 had no place on the rooster. The one and only 3 album is currently out of print.
No matter as the 90s spurred on the first wave of reunions by many groups, and ELP stepped up and belted one out of the park. While not quite up to the standards of old, 1992’s Black Moon and the tour behind it nevertheless resurrected the magical bond that sizzled amongst Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer. But another six years of rigorous touring and little progress, coupled with the clash of egos and disagreements, ended the band for, what many speculate, good — depending on who you ask and how you ask it.
Keith Emerson hasn’t stopped working since ELP ended in 1998. He still dabbles with soundtrack work when it suits him. He’s made a couple of solo albums, and released a backlog of material and compilations to boot. He has his own band, has toured here and there, and is currently recording a new album of original music with guitarist Marc Bonilla as his foil. In the truest sense of the word, Emerson has a new lease of life, and is squeezing it for all it’s worth. And whatever happens in the future, on his own or back with ELP, is cool by him.
For my part, I’ve wanted to talk to the man since I first saw him flying high over the crowd at the Ontario Motor Speedway. To finally get the opportunity to interview him, after watching him on stage and listening to his records so many times, is something I never thought possible. Fortunately, the maestro was in a sprite mood, fresh from a holiday in the Far East, and willing to delve into whatever nonsense I could conjure up. I hope he enjoyed it as much as I did.
I understand you just returned from Japan.
Yeah, it was a holiday..
So you didn’t play over there?
No, I didn’t play. Every other time I’ve been there, it’s been hotel rooms and gigs. It was a nice opportunity to discover the real Japan. It was fantastic.
So now you’re back in the States. I understand you’re making a record with Marc Bonilla.
Yes. It’s something that started at the beginning of the year. It’s all basically (new and) original material, and kind of follows a Trilogy/Brain Salad Surgery type of direction. There’s one quite lengthy conceptual piece, which incorporates vocals as well. Marc Bonilla does a brilliant job of providing the vocals. It’s about a 20-minute piece. The rest of it follows the same sort of format, which I think was successful in the 70s for ELP. There are other shorter pieces which I suppose you could call lighthearted — if you can call “Benny The Bouncer” and “The Sheriff” lighthearted. That adds a fine element to it. And then, of course, there is a classical adaptation, again another Ginastera piece, which I think works very, very well.
Which Ginastera piece are you recording?
I’m going to keep that secret because there are certain people who would say, “I know which piece this is” (laughs).
So is this an Emerson/Bonilla album or a Keith Emerson Band album?
It’s the Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla.
I see that you and Marc are featured on the new Moogfest 2006 Live DVD that just came out.
I haven’t watched that yet.
I know you been heavily involved with the Moogfests.
Not this year, but I was at the one last year, of course. And I was at the first one.
Of course, it is well known that Bob Moog was a great friend of yours and a major component to your sound.
I think Bob was as in awe of his invention as those of us who got to play it and incorporate it into our music. We all had different styles and ways of making it work for us. I had what I like to call the world’s most dangerous synth and it wasn’t the most reliable.
You started using the Moog back in around 1968, right?
Yeah, and during that time, it didn’t seriously let me down.
I would think they’d be a little more reliable these days.
Well, no you still need to have rocket scientists to fix it up.
So you haven’t upgraded your Moog?
No, I still stick with the old stuff. All these vintage keys need to be checked over prior to a tour, and of course, after any transportation, they need to have a good checking over. And there’s certain things you can add to the workings to increase their reliability. Certain things like larger power generators, things like that. There are so many contacts involved in the Moog modular system that it needs to be really consistently clean. If you have one bad contact, then you kind of lose the whole thing.
When you first put the Keith Emerson Band together, you had Dave Kilminster on guitar. I know he’s presently on the road with Roger Waters, but do you have any plans to work with Dave in the future?
I’d love to work with Dave again, but as what normally happens when players go off with other people and you get other ideas and start working on a project, it’s very difficult to drop things, particular if they’re going very well. I’m sure that Dave and I will find some opportunity to play together again. I saw Dave play with Roger Waters and it looked like he was having a great time. He’s certainly well looked after by Roger Waters; he can afford to pay him more than I can (laughs).
You’ve been working with guitar players, in addition to bass players and drummers, for the last few years. Does the idea of a three-piece no longer hold any appeal to you?
I like the augmentation of a guitarist, but I also like the freedom of a trio. Marc’s way of working is that he realizes that. A lot of times, he stays out of certain things if he doesn’t feel the addition of the guitar is going to add anything then he won’t just put it in for the sake of putting it in. Unless it’s something that merits his orchestral techniques. He thinks very orchestrally when we work together, kind in the same way I do. So just because there’s a guitar there, doesn’t mean we have to use it.
Would you say you’ve developed a sort of give and take methodology of playing off each other?
We reserve that excitement for when we’re on stage. The great thing about live music is, although you’ve got the map, which is the main score that you’ve written and recorded, you still reserve the right to go in any particular direction that you want to go in, judging by how the audience is and how the acoustics are.
I’ve amassed a large collection of your solo recordings and soundtrack work. One that I really love is Emerson Plays Emerson.
Would you consider making another record in that vein?
I find the piano is always the main instrument that I compose at. Everything from Tarkus to Trilogy to Brain Salad Surgery — they were all written at the piano. Then I orchestrated them with maybe a GX-1 Yamaha or Hammond organs or any of the other polyphonic synths that might have been available. But it came from the piano. So it’s a quicker way to get an idea down and put across. It was actually EMI Classics that presented the idea to me to just do a solo piano album. I suppose in a way, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but after a while, I got a bit bloody lonely (laughs).
Are you more comfortable in a band setting?
Yes, I am. I’m the sort of guy that likes to go on stage with a whole band. They’re all around and once you get warmed up and you’re playing for the audience, I don’t mind if they leave the stage for me to do a couple of piano solos. But to walk onto a stage straight off, it concerns me somewhat (laughs).
How about going on stage with an orchestra?
I don’t mind that. I’ve done that quite a few times.
Another thing you were involved with a few years ago was the Reworks CD, where ELP music was radically sampled. What are your thoughts on sampling?
We did that back when everyone was jumping on the bandwagon with sampling and remixes. It’s OK, but it’s improved. For instance, my son Aaron Emerson is working in Brighton with a guy named Steve. They work on doing remixes by Jamiroquai. He’s on remixes of 10cc, and some of them have been very successful. I think it’s a good way to introduce a younger generation to the music, in much the same way as when I started introducing classical themes in the Nice’s repertoire. And everyone said, “What’s that? You should do some more of that.” And then when ELP got together, I suppose our first classical adaptation was Pictures At An Exhibition. It re-stimulated many classical orchestras into utilizing it into part of their standard repertoire, in exactly the same way they started using Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown” and ‘Fanfare For The Common Man” after ELP had success with their versions.
So, you not only introduced those classical pieces to rock audiences, you also revitalized those classical pieces for the classical audiences.
That’s right. For me, it’s very gratifying to learn that various school teachers, when introducing classical music to a young class, will play an ELP version and then they’ll analyze it against the original classical piece. Even Marc Bonilla will probably tell you that when he was in school, the teacher would play Pictures At An Exhibition, and then would play ELP’s rock version. And that helped inspire Marc to become a musician.
It’s true. I didn’t know about Pictures At An Exhibition or Aaron Copland until I heard ELP. And I did seek out orchestral versions out after hearing your versions.
That’s great. I’ve had so many prominent musicians who are working today — I’m not going to go through all their names — but it’s quite mind blowing for me to learn that some of them grew up listening to those particular pieces and it was a big influence for them.
It’s always been amazing to me how original, innovative and successful ELP were, especially when compared to today where everything is so formulated and contrived.
It’s very extraordinary to me because when you look at that particular era, 1970 or late 1969, there was a great degree of experimentation going on, particularly in England. With radio stations, one minute they’d play a big band version of something, and then maybe you’d have the Beatles, or straight to the Yardbirds or the Rolling Stones, and then maybe a piece of classical music. There was absolutely no formatting, as it’s formatted today.
These days, if you go to FM 88.1, you know you’re gonna hear jazz, and you know what period you’re going to listen to — normally 50s and 60s. They rarely get into later avant-garde style of jazz and it won’t precede it by playing a lot of New Orleans stuff, although they do. You pretty much know that when you tune into that station, that’s what you’re gonna get. I think they are radio stations now that are mixing it a bit. You get a bit of punk, some country, and you know it’s mixed it. That’s the way the radio used to be back the 70s. I think with the Beatles coming up with Sgt. Pepper and the Beach Boys coming up with Pet Sounds — everything was kind of thrown into the pot, so to speak. It didn’t really matter — you didn’t have to come up with a three-minute hit song back then. Everyone just wanted to kick back and listen to a 20-minute piece of music.
So when you were with the Nice, it wasn’t uncommon to play a venue like the Fillmore, squeezed in between a jazz combo and a folk singer.
Yes, one of them I remember — I think it was 1969 with Bill Graham at the Fillmore West and we were on the bill with the Who and also Cannonball Adderley. You didn’t really know what was going to happen at a Bill Graham gig.
Speaking of the Nice, you reunited with them back in 2002. What prompted that reunion?
It was an idea by Harvey Goldsmith, a very famous promoter in England. ELP was as indecisive as it’s always been, and I had always wanted to get my own unit together. But to be quite honest, I don’t think I really had the incentive. My idea was to just get completely away from forming another band. I was doing OK writing film scores — sitting back and writing music and publishing it. That was a direction I was looking at. But Dave Kilminster came along and encouraged me. I met him with a band called Qango. Carl Palmer was with them and they were playing at the Astoria, so I gate-crashed their last gig and “Fanfare” was their last number. Dave Kilminster was a member and later communicated with me and said, “I’d like to work with you.”
Around about the same time, Harvey Goldsmith called me to his office and said, “What do you want to do in the future? Obviously I don’t see ELP getting back together, do you?” And I said, “No, I don’t see that. I’m always going to keep the cards open for it.” He said, “Well, what do you want to do?” And I said, “I’d like to get my own band together.” He wasn’t too intrigued. I guess he didn’t think my name on its own wouldn’t hold any ground at all. He said, “You need a band name. Why don’t you resurrect the Nice?” So, I said to Harvey, “Well, if I do that, I’m going to have to use the original members. I don’t have to because I own the name — whatever owning a name entails — but I’m very loyal to Lee Jackson and Brian Davison. If I was going to have a band called the Nice, they’d have to be involved.” And Harvey said, “That’s a great idea. Everyone remembers the Nice from the 60s. It was before ELP.” So I said, “If I did that, I’d have to augment it.” And that’s when Dave Kilminster came back into the picture. I said, “Dave, how do you feel about becoming part of the Nice?” And that’s exactly what we did — we made a record and we toured as Keith Emerson and the Nice. We did one tour and it was working so well with Dave Kilminster, (bassist) Phil Williams and (drummer) Pete Riley. After that, Harvey Goldsmith said, ‘You don’t really need to call yourself the Nice.” And that was it — we went on as the Keith Emerson Band.
And Lee and Brian were OK with that?
Yeah, they were OK with it. They were pretty thankful to be out again. I’m sure it could be done again should the time arise. It’s just that you get tight with other musicians and you lock in a bit. My style of writing has graduated a little bit and it’s gone onto new areas. I don’t know how Lee and Brian would fare with dealing with that. It’s still one of those ideas I keep on the back burner, so to speak. In the same token that I keep ELP on the back burner if something comes up.
Do you think an ELP reunion is inevitable?
Well, Carl (Palmer) has clearly stated in lots of interviews that it won’t ever happen.
I interviewed him and he didn’t sound very positive about it.
Although he did say he could see you guys getting back together for a on-off, like Live 8 or some big event like that. Knowing your affiliation with Atlantic Records, it would have been great to see you on the bill for the Ahmet Ertegan Tribute.
That was an idea that Stewart Young, who handles ELP’s affairs, did come up with. I was for it, I don’t know if Greg was for it or not. Carl felt to be on the same bill as Led Zeppelin would completely take the light away from ELP. He thought that if there was to be a reunion, we should be on our own.
Well, no one can deny your impact. I always marveled at how you transformed what someone could do with a keyboard — stabbing your Hammond with knives, riding it like a bucking bronco, and at the California Jam strapping yourself in behind a twirling piano. Could you have taken it any further?
(laughs) Every show, you’d look at the environment and think about how that could be utilized in order to have the music visually expanded. I’m sure we could have chosen a lot of different ideas. One great thing that I like about Charles Ives is that one of his pieces, it starts with a trumpet in the back of the audience, so the moment they turned their heads around, they wonder, “Where is this coming from.” Then the stage answers that back. I looked at maybe having keyboards in different areas of the building, and the audience wouldn’t have known where the next thing was coming from.
ELP used quadraphonic sound, which was kind of impractical because in a lot of venues we played, we were blocking fire exits, so on some occasions, we couldn’t use full quadraphonic, which is a little upsetting particularly if the audience has seen the show the night before and they were going, “I sat in the middle and these synthesizers were whirling all around from behind, swooping over us.” And if you told your friends about that and the next gig you go to it’s just stereo on stage, and they go, “Oh it wasn’t anything like that.”
There’s been a lot of ELP compilations coming out lately — DVDs and box sets, including a new 5-disc set called From The Beginning. I thought The Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults sets were by far the most creative. Who came up with that idea?
The person that needs to be congratulated on that one is Carl Palmer. Every place that we went to, he’d normally be the one going down to the record shop and he’d search for bootlegs. It is known that there are a lot of bootlegs in Japan and I didn’t actually seek to go down to Tower Records and check out to see if there were any ELP bootlegs, but Carl Palmer is notorious for doing that — Japan, Germany, Italy or where ever. Carl will bravely walk into a shop, get the bootlegs out, and announce himself to the manager, and say, “These are bootlegs” and he will just walk out of the store with them. Of course, there was nothing they could do about that. And he had quite a collection.
So you took what he had and put it out?
Yeah. We have people that can get rid of all the scratches and the hisses. In certain cases, a lot of these were recorded in the audience and there’s background talking. But with the use of Pro Tools, you go through it and eliminate that. Carl is a monster when it comes to that stuff. He’ll count every penny made at a gig. He won’t allow a promoter to get away with one penny. I can’t be bothered with that.
You're also selling a lot of specialty items through the ELP site, as well as your own personal site. I picked up the Emerson, Lake and Powell discs. Was there any possibility of taking that particular group any further?
Our original deal was with Polygram. Prior to that, I’d been offered a record deal by Geffen Records. They gave me $10,000 to come up with ten demos, and I worked with a whole bunch of people. I worked with Jack Bruce, Jim Diamond, Steve Hackett, Ian Wallace, Simon Philips. I did actually come up with ten demos, which I thought were really good, and then Polygram got to hear these demos and they said, “What would make these sound a whole lot better would be to have Greg Lake do the vocals.” Apparently, they had already spoken with Greg, and Greg was very interested in coming in on this. And I said, “Well. I’ve been given ten-thousand by Geffen.” And Polygram said, “Don’t worry, we’ll pay them off and then we can use your demos.” I fell for it. I was actually in the process, even then, of getting my own band together. But then again, I got distracted. Polygram did present a very attractive offer, so Greg and I were working and Carl, as the story goes, was busy working with Asia. Cozy Powell, who was a very old friend of mine, called up and said, “If you need a drummer, I’d love to do it.” So Cozy came down to my studio and we started working on this album. And then we realized, “Oh my goodness, you have the same initials, it’s ELP again.”
So were you only going to do the one record?
No, we had a two-album deal with Polygram. And as things normally go, there was just so much money spent on the first album, and most of the advance and the budget had been used up to get us on the road and tour. So by the time it came to making a second album, there wasn’t any money left. And Greg said, “Well, if there isn’t any money left, and Polygram isn’t interested in putting any more money up, I’m not interested.” And, of course, Cozy was being offered jobs and he got fed up with the indecisions and said, “I’m leaving.”
And it just sort of fizzled out from there?
Let me switch gears and see if you can clear up a few rumors, stories, wise tales and other such nonsense I've heard about you over the years..
(laughs) Sure, go ahead.
Is it true that you and Mitch Mitchell almost formed a new band with Jimi Hendrix?
Back in early 1970, Greg and I — we’d met originally in San Francisco when Greg was in King Crimson and I had the Nice. Back in London, around about early 1970, we were looking for a drummer and it was always my intention to carry on the trio format because I liked the freedom of that. The added attraction of working with Greg was that he wasn’t only a bass player, but a guitarist, so we could really stir things around. So, we were looking for a drummer and Mitch was an obvious choice. Mitch came to Greg’s place and we didn’t actually get to play together, but Mitch, during that conversation, suggested that if he joined Greg and myself that he could possibly persuade Jimi to come in with us. Anyway, for some reason, there was some mention of guns that Mitch brought in, and Greg thought that was a little too much over the top. So, he had second thoughts about working with Mitch because he had, at that time, a couple of heavy guys always with him. Whether or not this was Mitch’s paranoia, I don’t know. Greg didn’t feel comfortable about it, so that kind of fell through.
Did you ever jam with Hendrix?
Yes, I jammed with him on what they called a package tour, back in 68 or 69 — Pink Floyd, the Move, and the Nice. And then later after that package tour, Jimi wanted the Nice to support him at the Marquee Club. So, yeah, we did get to play, but mainly at sound checks. There’s a biography about Jimi written by John McDermott, and when he was interviewing Chas Chandler, he came up with a surprise — a surprise for me, at least — that Jimi was considering using me on Axis: Bold As Love. But it was around Christmas time when the record company wanted to get the record done, and I was off touring, so that never came about.
To be really honest, Jimi was such a powerhouse on his own, and I was young enough and pretentious enough to say, “I want to be heard.” I’m afraid with Jimi, it would have been an interesting competition (laughs). And of course, what happened was after we found Carl Palmer and it was ELP, the media somehow got the story and they knew that Jimi could have been involved, and if he would have been involved, it would have been called HELP. That appealed to the media.
Another one I heard was that you and Rick Wakeman talked about going on the road together as sort of the dynamic duo of keyboards.
We actually spoke about it the first time at the first Moogfest. I think it was Rick’s fiftieth birthday and I played “Happy Birthday” to him — a very loud version of it on a Moog synthesizer, which was kind of fun. After the show, Rick came into the dressing room and he said he had a lot of financiers who would love to put that (a Wakeman/Emerson tour) together, and I said, “Yeah, that would be a good idea.” The idea was that I would play some of Rick’s stuff and Rick would play some of my stuff. And then we would come up something completely new together. I presented the idea to my manager Stewart Young and promoters like Harvey Goldsmith, and for some reason, they didn’t come up with the sort of money Rick was expecting. I didn’t hear anything more after that.
Is it true that before ELP broke up in 1998, you were talking about doing a large-scale conceptual piece?
Yes, I was working in California at that time on a whole lengthy conceptual piece, much along the lines of Brain Salad Surgery, Trilogy, that sort of direction. At the end of that tour, I sent off some CDs to Greg and Carl, beckoning them, and Carl immediately got back to me and said, “This is great. This is the direction that I want to go in.” On that tour, I had played for both Greg and Carl little ideas, thematic ideas, which I felt could be made into great vocals. A lot of times, during sound checks, Carl would come up and say, “What is that? That is great.” I had about 30 minutes of music, and, like I said, Carl got back to me, and I didn’t hear anything back from Greg. Except he said, “If we’re going to make another album, I want to be the producer.” And I said to Greg, “Well, let’s at least start recording. You can’t start putting in credits now, because who knows who’s going to finish writing the music, maybe the music I’ve written might not work for us, we might utilize some of yours.” You don’t start worrying about credits until you’re pretty much completed, and you know, well, “OK, this guy’s been the producer, he’s done a lot more work." You may have set out with the intention of that guy being the producer. But you’ve got to keep your options open. I think it gives everybody involved the incentive to want to excel so they can come up higher in the credit list. You can’t make those decisions until you’ve actually done it. Greg insisted that he was the producer, and he wasn’t going anywhere near a studio until that was sealed and done. He wanted a certain percentage; he wanted payment up front. All his requests were ridiculous. And after speaking with Carl and Stewart Young, we said this can’t be. Greg took the very unnecessary step of making it public that he was resigning from the band.
With ELP no longer an active and working band, do you listen to any of the new progressive rock bands out and about today?
I’m a big fan of Jordan Rudess. I went to see Dream Theater at the Universal Amphitheater, and I thought they were bloody loud. Jordan, God bless him, got us some fantastic seats right in front. If I suffered from constipation when I went in, I definitely didn’t when I came out. It was phenomenally loud, but it was good. Very high energy. And I think the Universal Amphitheater allows them that spaciousness their music needs. I think Jordan has done a lot to promote keyboards in the way that he’s got this revolving keyboard set-up. I was very jealous of that.
In order for progressive music to excel and have a new generation of listeners, I think the melodic, thematic development of which ever piece is used as the main vehicle has to be distinctive and memorable. It’s all well and good to be technical and fast all the time, but I think a lot of it after a while just washes over you. It’s the same with the new generation of jazz players. Some that you listen to are unbelievable technical geniuses. But that’s all it is — it's just technique. You come out of a gig and there’s nothing you can remember, there’s no distinctive hook. You say, “That was played very well, but for the life of me I have no idea how it goes. It was just very fast.”
I think you’ll find on the new album which I’m doing, there are distinctive melodies you can actually sing. Apart from the fun that we have with different modulations and chord progressions, going through the whole background is a distinctive melody. I think people will always want melody above technique. It reminds me of my father’s advice in my formative years when I was playing the piano and writing. He would say, “You’ll never make any money playing music that people can’t sing.” And I’ve always kept that in mind. As much as I suppose things like Tarkus are not easy to sing, there’s always a moment, where you go, “Ah, this is the melody.” You’ve got to appeal to everybody in advancing progressive music.
Is the new record you’re working on strictly adhering to that sort of formula?
I think so, yes. The great formula with ELP was as much as you go through the bombastic and the grandiose, there was always a moment when it calms down and you’ll have this beautiful ballad. There’s so obviously a difference between what a male likes to listen to. The male is always going to go for the aggressive, fast, technical stuff, where it just kind of washes over the females.
So, the guys like “Karn Evil 9” and the girls like “Lucky Man.”
That’s basically it. We always found with ELP’s audiences that the guys would bring their girlfriends or wives along reluctantly. We could see it from the stage. You’d look down in the audience and all the guys are like “Wow!” They’ve got their jaws open and their girlfriend, wife or whatever, is just sitting there with their head down, completely bored.
Looking around the Internet, with web sites like Ladies of the Lake, there seems to be a few women out there who like ELP.
I happen to have one with me at the moment (laughs).
When do you plan on releasing the new record?
We had hoped to have it released by September, so it would have caught up with the Christmas sales. Anybody in the record industry, or what ever is remaining of it, will tell you it’s not a good time to bring out new product if you don’t have it ready by September. You might as well wait for the new year. So I’m looking at a March release and then (we'll) do a tour behind it.
So, you won’t be playing out until the new record is released?
I’ve done so many tours with my band playing the ELP repertoire with the occasional introduction of something new. You know, we’ll squeeze in a new piece here. The thing is there’s two other guys who are doing the same thing. Carl Palmer’s band is going out, although he doesn’t have a keyboard player, he’s got a guitarist and he’s still playing the same repertoire that I’m playing. And Greg Lake has been known to have done that in the past. So when you got three people out there playing the same thing, obviously people are going to keep saying, “Well, if they’re doing this individually, why can’t they play together?” As I said, I’m up for it, but you got to move on.
Is there any way that fans can track the progress of the new record?
We’ve already shot an awful lot of footage of work in progress in the studio. I’ve got one complete piece, which will go up on YouTube in the next month or so. There will be a My Space and YouTube coming up very soon, of which I’ll be making an announcement on my web site (keithemerson.com). Yeah, there’s some great stuff of Marc and I recording together, personal interviews with Marc and myself, and a lot of interesting things. I just want to put these out periodically on My Space and YouTube and get the excitement going.