Perhaps no other classic and progressive rock group is more revered than Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The trio was often known for launching into 20 or 30-minute masterpieces that took people on a vibrant musical journey. Classic rock enthusiasts no doubt hear Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s song, “Lucky Man” with some amount of frequency, and now you’ll have that cool song stuck in your head all day.
Two of the founding members, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake both passed away in 2016, leaving drummer, Carl Palmer (who also co-founded 80s supergroup, Asia), to continue playing and interpreting the Emerson, Lake and Palmer songs for new generations. Carl Palmer ELP Legacy is coming to Celebrity Theatre as part of Yestival, with group Yes and musician Todd Rundgren on Friday, Aug. 25.
The Songs of Carl Palmer ELP Legacy
Scottsdale.com recently caught up with Carl Palmer and learned that he is just as busy as ever. Palmer says, “I’m on the Yestival tour with Todd Rundgren, Yes, and ELP Legacy. We are playing roughly only half an hour… But we’ve got a program of pieces from quite a stretch across the Emerson, Lake and Palmer catalogue. We’re playing “Hoedown,” which was off the “Tarkus” album. That was a piece of music written by Aaron Copland, and it’s from the Rodeo Suite. There’s another piece of music which is an original called “Welcome Back my Friends” from “The Show That Never Ends” written by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, followed by “Knife Edge” which was on the very first ELP album in the 70s--the very first album to be released here in the U.S.”
“That is followed by a single, which was the first single by ELP, called ‘Lucky Man.’ That’s probably one of the reasons why I’m still here today,” Palmer adds with a small laugh. “Then we end up with a piece of music by Aaron Copland called ‘Fanfare for the Common Man.’”
Creating a New Sound
Palmer created ELP Legacy back in 2001. “We have played all over the world, from Japan to Mexico to America and all over Europe,” notes Palmer. In years past, both Keith Emerson and Greg Lake had seen ELP Legacy perform and approved. Now, Paul Bielatowicz plays lead guitar, Simon Fitzpatrick performs on six string bass, and he also plays the Chapman stick, a 10-stringed instrument, with Carl Palmer pounding out beats on the skins.
When putting together the musicians for this current group, it was important to Palmer to get the sound the way he wanted it, and not necessarily try to duplicate the ELP sound as it was back in the 1970s. He has also incorporated guitars into ELP Legacy. “Obviously, we’re not trying to sound like ELP,” states Palmer. “I’m trying to bring ELP’s music to a different generation and just show the versatility of the music… not only the original pieces that we wrote, but also the classical adaptations.”
“I think if ELP could have found a guitar player in the very beginning, in the 70s when we started, we possibly would have been a four-piece band,” Palmer explains. “But, there were never any guitar players ever good enough. If you roll forward 30 to 40 years, you know more great guitar players than you do keyboard players now. It seemed a logical move to use guitars. That was the premise. That was the idea I had… to make this music belong to another generation as well as an older generation that is there every night. I’ve definitely crossed the bridge and I’m very happy with that.”
Celebrity Theatre is located at 440 N. 32nd St., Phoenix, AZ. To purchase tickets to the Friday, Aug. 25 Yestival show with Carl Palmer ELP Legacy, Yes and Todd Rundrgren, CLICK HERE. For additional information about Carl Palmer’s music, visit www.carlpalmer.com. For information on Carl Palmer’s art, including pieces dedicated to his late bandmates and collaborators Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and John Wetton, visit www.carlpalmerart.com.