ANNOUNCEMENT (02 April 2010): Emerson Lake & Palmer – A Time And A Place Featuring 4 Discs with Never Before Released Live Tracks! Newly Remastered! Experience ELP live through the decades with this 4-CD box set. Read more
Die-hard and part-time music fans may not realize that 70's progressive rock superstars Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, and Carl Palmer are very much active in the music business; marketing and leasing their trademark E.L.P. sound on DVD and CD, and continue to tour and release new material with their respective bands.
Let's take a look behind the legacy of Emerson, Lake and Palmer with a man who has been working with all three members of the original supergroup since 1998 and plays a crucial role in maintaining the legacy with his important archival work.
Thank you so much, Tony. I know you're an incredibly busy guy!
I find your answers extremely interesting, I was literally hanging on every word... This will be good news for progressive rock fans, to hear that the band members actively support and encourage the archival work. Let's hear it from your point of view:
1. In 1992, you say that you “began a friendship with ELP”. How exactly did you get to know them?
TONY ORTIZ, ELP BAND ARCHIVIST:
Well it all began on July 25, 1992 when a friend of mine who worked for A&M records was able to get me backstage passes for the show at Jones Beach in Long Island, New York.
I had seen 'Emerson Lake & Powell' and '3' in concert but this would be the first time I would see all three members performing together. After the concert at the meet and greet, I think my friend and I were the only people with ELP records to get autographed, so the band were happy to see us. I also had tickets for the next night at the Garden State Arts Center in New Jersey.
After that show I went to the entrance to where the meet and greet was and was able to get a pass from a fan that was leaving. So when I handed Greg some old concert programs to autograph he recognized me and said "You were at the show last night!"
I told him “I had been waiting 14 years for this."
When I was leaving, I met a fan that gave me tickets for the next show at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. So a friend and I went.
After the show we walked around the back of the venue and were able to buy a set of passes off a fan that was leaving the meet and greet.
We met Greg, who was kind of shocked to see me again. On this night I got some old magazines and CD’s autographed one of the CD’s just said ‘Greg Lake Live In Concert’ on it.
Greg looked at me confused and asked what it was. I told him it was a bootleg recording of one of his solo concerts with Gary Moore. I could see in his eyes that he wanted it, so I offered it to him and he hesitated and said no, but I insisted that he take it.
He then called the tour manager over and introduced us and told him to give us anything we wanted, I asked Greg if he could get us tickets and passes for the next five shows, he said "You guys don’t work?"
I told him that was up to him, he turned to the tour manager and told him to make sure that we were on the guest list for the next five shows, by the end of the tour we exchanged e-mail addresses and became good friends.
2. You are a man with many hats. In what capacity do you support ELP (roadie, archivist, gopher, lighting, drum kit setup, etc.?)
I first started working with them on their last tour in 1998 by helping them with the load in at some of the venues. I had some input on the greglake.com web site.
Just recently I’ve been given the carlpalmer.com web site to update, for which I have two people working on, as we speak.
I’m also working some tentative Carl Palmer related CD’s and DVD’s
I did a lot of research for the Emerson Lake & Palmer 'Beyond the Beginning' DVD, and I worked on the 2006 Carl Palmer band US east coast tour.
I’ve been working with Carl quite a lot recently on the US east coast ASIA tours with merchandise, load in, as a driver, setting up the drums, running the autograph sessions, etc.
I really do a little of everything, but what I mostly do is search for unpublished photos and video footage of the three members of the band.
3. What company do you work for now?
I work with Bruce Pilato of Pilato Entertainment on all Carl Palmer related merchandise and web site. Bruce is also the Director of Marketing & Public Relations for ASIA, and also Carl Palmer’s manager.
4. What and where are the ELP Archives? You list yourself as a curator – what does this entail?
Well, there’s an archive in London that consist of some old film footage that needs to be restored as well as some photos, and Keith and Carl have some 8 mm footage, some of which appears on the ‘Beyond The Beginning’ DVD.
But unfortunately, there really isn’t much archival material in the hands of the band as far as audio, video and photos, which is true with most bands from the early 70’s. The archive that I started began sometime in 2003, about a year before the making of the ‘Beyond the Beginning’ DVD.
Greg had contacted me and asked me to gather as much memorabilia as I could like photos, newspaper clipping, posters, tour memorabilia, audio/video for possible inclusion on the DVD.
I never stopped searching for the past six years, so I’ve been searching for anything and everything ELP.
The archive I possess consists of over 3,000 photos, 2,000 pieces comprising news clippings, posters, press releases, etc., and over 200 hours of video/film and over 300 audio recordings, some of which has made it onto the following products:
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER - Beyond The Beginning DVD
EMERSON LAKE & POWELL - The Sprocket Sessions CD
EMERSON LAKE & POWELL - Live in Concert CD
GREG LAKE - From The Underground Vol. II Deeper Into The Mine CD
KEITH EMERSON BAND, Featuring Marc Bonilla CD / DVD
Basically the archives are a massive collection of photos, news paper/magazine clippings, as well as audio and video that have been donated by fans from all over the world who also receive credit for anything that we use.
5. Let me ask you some personal questions about ELP. Whatever happened to Greg Lake’s Persian rug, and how many did he have?
He only had one Persian rug, and he walks on it every day. It’s in his living room in his house in London.
6. In your humble opinion, what is the most valuable item in the archive?
It’s hard to say, Keith still uses his Modular Moog in concert and Carl still has his bell that he used on the Brain Salad Surgery tour and Greg has the carpet. It would have to be one of those.
As far as the archives that I have it would have to be some of the rare video and 8 mm footage and maybe some of the concert file documents. My archives have more of a historic value that documents the band’s career more than anything.
7. How long will the ELP Legacy go on?
Hopefully until the end of time…unfortunately we can’t count on the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame to keep ELP’s legacy going, or for that matter, any other Progressive rock band.
Ten years ago it was cool to be inducted, but seeing some of the bands that have been inducted in the last few years ahead of ELP and Yes is just ridiculous.
The Hall is a great thing but it’s just not the same... but life’s about change, right? So why can’t the Hall change back to when it was all about Rock and Roll not disco and punk.
8. Are any of the members of ELP showing signs of slowing down? Keith had problems with the nerves in his hands some time ago… has he recovered?
Yes, Keith recovered years ago, and has just finished recording a new album with Marc Bonilla that will be released in Japan on August 20th (see cover art below) and will include a DVD with some live footage from his 2006 tour. The CD release will be backed by a 2008 Tour with dates in Russia and Japan already booked.
As for Carl, he’s playing faster then ever, and has played over sixty five shows already this year between ASIA and The Carl Palmer Band. He also made the cover of the latest issue of Classic Drummer magazine, and has just started production on his next CD release “Working LIVE Vol. 3” that will coincide with a 2009 US Tour.
Greg is singing like a bird, he was a special guest on the last night of the 40th Anniversary Jethro Tull European Tour at the Royal Festival Hall in London on May 28.
He’s also been a special guest the last two years at some of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concerts in the US.
Just last month (June 2008) he launched a new web site to help stop the human cruelty towards animals on the island of Seychelles, off the east coast of Africa, seychellesrescue.org.
9. Does Carl ever use a revolving drum set anymore?
Carl’s really not into that big production stuff any more. As a matter of fact he doesn’t like to play on a riser, he prefers to have his drums on the stage. The only thing Carl revolves on nowadays is his jet ski, he loves jet skiing.
10. Aren’t these guys getting sick of touring?
I honestly don’t know, every time I’ve been with them they seem to enjoy it. But I can honestly say that being on the road can be very boring sometimes.
11. Should the ELP ‘purists’ pay attention to the ‘spin-offs’: Emerson, Lake, and Powell – and “3” (Emerson, Berry, Palmer)?
Absolutely, there is some very good material on those two LP’s. Both Cozy Powell and Robert Berry played some great concerts. We recently released two Emerson Lake & Powell CD’s that are only available in the ELP gift shop; one is a recording of them rehearsing in the studio for the tour and the other is a concert recording from the One and Only tour.
12. Keith has a son involved with music. How about Greg and Carl?
Keith has two sons I believe only one is into music, the other, I’m not sure. Greg has a daughter who is into painting, and Carl has a daughter that’s in college.
13. From your interview answers so far, it sounds like Keith, Greg, and Carl are all busy touring with their own bands yet on friendly terms with each other, while not currently a band themselves.
Yes, they’re all on speaking terms. What most fans don’t know is, from the very beginning they were only together when they were recording or performing. Once the recording sessions and tours were over they all went their separate ways until the next project came up.
Music is the only thing they have in common. But it’s like a family, sometimes you disagree, but at the end of the day they all respect each other. Right now they’re more interested in their solo projects and are focusing all their attention on that.
14. Do they maintain all the rights and royalties to the music and the name Emerson Lake & Palmer?
Yes they own all the rights to their music as well as the name. As a matter of fact their catalog was just up for bid in 2007, and is now handled by Shout Factory.
Andy Pearce from Masterpiece Media in London remastered the first nine LP’s (except the Brain Salad Surgery), as well as their 1992 release, Black Moon. I must say that Andy and Derek Dressler from Shout Factory did a great job with these reissues.
15. In your opinion, and from what the individual band members tell you - is ELP likely to tour together at some point? You may be the one consistent point of contact between the three of them.
That would be the ultimate question… at least it would be comforting to know that they're open to the possibility of reforming for a tour or album, or doing a special event (like Live8), at the very least. A ray of hope!
I never thought that I might be the most consistent contact between the three. Regarding a reunion, Keith recently said that they all met up in early June in London (2008). I don’t know if they talked about reforming or not; I honesty don’t know.
If they were, I don’t see it happening any time soon because Keith has his new LP and tour this year, and Carl will be touring Europe with ASIA and The Carl Palmer Band into the next year (tour dates).
My opinion is, I’m hoping they will get together in late 2009. I think this is the earliest they could get together, but who knows? However, if their solo careers continue to grow, they may never play together again.
16. I was wondering if you've heard any of Keith's new album (featuring Marc Bonilla).
Martin Kornick said that Keith played it for him (he's doing the cover art) in his van, and that in his opinion this is the best thing he’s done since Brain Salad Surgery.
Keith could be making a big comeback... that's more exciting to me personally than having ELP reunite. I would like some fresh material from the old vein, so to speak.
No, I haven't heard it. Martin is a good friend, and a great guy. He had just finished creating artwork for a further release that I’m working on, when one of Keith’s people saw his MySpace page on my friend's list and contacted me, saying they liked his work and asked if I thought he was capable to do the job. As you can see (below), he’s more than capable.
Cover art: Martin Kornick
Next, I contacted Martin Kornick, who designed the cover for Keith's new CD and DVD.
Note: read about the significance of the cover artwork for KEITH EMERSON BAND featuring MARC BONILLA and why you should consider owning the limited edition vinyl release: 'An inside look with Man in the Mountain' (Martin Kornick)
17. Martin, as a prog-rock follower myself, I was most intrigued by your comment that Keith's new album of prog is his best album since BSS (you actually heard it with him!).
How true is this - are you sticking to your original reaction?
MARTIN KORNICK, GRAPHIC ARTIST:
It's been a few months now since I heard Keith's album (and have not heard it again), so I have to go on my original reaction. The music definitely was of the same progressive style of Trilogy, with some BSS type pieces as well. It had that real vintage ELP sound, with plenty of wailing B3, pipe organs and Moogs. Plus there’s a lot of very ballsy guitar work from Marc Bonilla mixed in, that gave it a new, and much heavier sound at times.
It was very cool! So, it wasn’t just retro, it very much came into it’s own as the Keith Emerson Band. I also didn't hear any attempts at writing radio hits... this music was far more conceptual and epic in nature (with a 35 minute suite), and features Keith doing what Keith does best. Fans will be pleased! But man, I’m dying to get my hands on a copy too, so I can hear it again!
I’m actually more excited about a new KE Band tour, than a ELP reunion with them playing of the same old stuff we've heard forever. This new material needs to be played live in full. And that's exactly what I told Keith after hearing his new album.
* * *
You can have your tea and crumpets; you have have your tasty plates, but if you want Emerson, Lake and Palmer you'll just have to make a date!
In other words; it's out there, it's readily available, and fresh material is being added and archived..
If you have memorabilia that you would like to add to the E.L.P. archive, please contact Tony Ortiz (myspace.com/tonylortiz or ELPTony at msn.com)
And finally, to get all the latest news first go to Tony’s MySpace blog.
7 August 2008