Greg Lake is best known for his work with King Crimson and Emerson, Lake &, Palmer. Greg has recently released an autobiography titled “Lucky Man” and is currently on tour speaking about and performing songs from his vast musical catalog. Media Mikes caught up with Greg recently to discuss his book and the current tour.
Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the re-release of the Emerson, Lake &, Palmer catalog?
Greg Lake: To be honest I didn’t have a lot to do with the re-release. I did approve them and I know they have gone through a lot of trouble to make this a really top class thing. They have re-mastered everything in 5.1 sound as well as including a number of out-takes from the original sessions. They have also done a tremendous job on the packaging. It’s a first class reissue but I think the main reason I don’t take a lot of interest in re-issues is that I get very tired of seeing the same album released over and over again with very minimal changes. These are a genuine upgrade and they dug into the vaults to find new bits and pieces of material.
AL: Can you tell us about your current tour which is being billed as “The Songs of a LifetimeTour”?
GL: During the time I was writing my autobiography “Lucky Man” certain songs popped up as being important or influential to my career. At the end of it all I realized what the songs were and what they represented. It was journey the audience I have shared over many years.
AL: What has been the biggest challenge of putting on a show like this?Music is a backdrop to every one’s life. I thought it would be nice to relive that journey with the audience. From my point of view each of the songs has a story. This tour gives me a chance to tell those stories as well as hear the audiences own stories about the songs. The audience and I get to interact with one another and relive our journeys. I didn’t want this to be me sitting on a stool with a guitar boring everybody. I designed a very dynamic show that combines a number of different elements. There is humor, warmth and emotion. It really is quite an entertaining night which is what I wanted. The audience leaves having had a wonderful time. That’s the most important thing.
GL: Every night that I go out on the stage it doesn’t feel like a concert. It feels like walking into a family living room. We are all connected in some sort of way and everyone knows it. When one person tells a story other people get it. There is a feeling of bonding. It’s a very strange concept as I don’t think there is anything else quite like it. I took elements from the original recordings of these classic songs and produced new sections specifically for this show. I have something from the original records, something new and of course the live portion of things. All the stories provide an ensemble of experiences. I think this is why it’s been received so well.
AL: What are the upcoming plans for the tour?
GL: We are just finishing up our first U.S. and Canadian run. From there I will be going to Europe and Japan. Hopefully next year I will be back in the United States for another run as the shows have been very successful. This has been beyond my wildest imagination. I just can’t believe how well it’s been received. I worked on production for this tour for over a year and things have just really paid off. The greatest gratification you can have as an artist is to know that your music has gone from soul to soul. Knowing that my music has helped or changed someone for the better is really great.
AL: What made you decide to write an autobiography?
GL: I never really wanted to write an autobiography. It was something that I never had any sort of craving to do. I suppose all musicians have a lot of stories to tell and sometimes when I sit and have dinner with someone I will tell some of these stories. I have been told for years that I should write a book. My manager called me one day and told me that if I didn’t write these stories down that someday they will just disappear. I ended up writing this book which is told from behind the scenes. Everyone has already seen or knows what happened at all of the shows so I tried to write from the perspective that people didn’t see. This is not a kiss and tell book by any means nor is it about all the drugs I used to take. The book is I hope an interesting story from behind the scenes during some incredible years in music. I thought that I had a good perspective on how and why things happened the way they did during certain periods of music history. I had and still do have a privileged view on the subject. I consider myself very lucky hence the book’s title “Lucky Man”. I grew up very poor so from every since of it the title is very fitting.
AL: Will we be seeing a new solo or live album from you anytime soon?
GL: I will certainly issue a CD from this tour as we have a wealth of good stuff. This summer I plan to record a new solo album. This tour has really given me an added inspiration to do a new album. It is just a phenomenal thing to see how deep my music has penetrated people lives. This is really gratifying and worth way more than the notoriety and money. To realize the music you made has touched someone and been a real value is just so gratifying.