Prog rock fans are still buzzing about Emerson, Lake & Palmer‘s reunion for the 2010 High Voltage Festival, the trio’s first show together since 1998. But even with a new catalog reissue deal with Razor & Tie just beginning for North America, Greg Lake doesn’t expect a repeat performance anytime soon.
“I would never say never, you know, but… working with the band was a little difficult because everybody’s a bit old in the tooth now,” the singer, guitarist and bassist tells Billboard.com. “My own philosophy of music has always been that I’m only here because a lot of people were good enough to buy my records and the records of ELP. In a way, I feel a sense of duty to play or perform that music for those people. That is my personal view. I don’t think Keith (Emerson) and Carl (Palmer) feel the same way, and I don’t think they are particularly keen on touring with ELP again. But you never know; people change their minds, and one day they may. And if they do, then I would be more than happy to play with them and tour with ELP purely because I think people would enjoy hearing the music.”
It’s that appetite that’s sending Lake out on the road by himself this year. He starts a 28-date North American solo trek titled Songs Of A Lifetime on Wednesday (April 11) in Quebec City, wrapping up May 26 in La Quinta, Calif. And if it works as well as Lake is expecting, he’ll be expanding the tour around the globe.
“It is a quiet journey the ELP audience and myself have shared over the years,” he explains, “and so I thought it would be a great thing to put these songs into a concert and do it in a sort of intimate setting, where I could tell stories about how they worked, why there were important to me, how they came about, and the audience could contribute what they meant to them.” Lake — who’s also logged time in King Crimson and, briefly, in Asia and Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band — says the shows will feature some surprise selections from his own catalog and those of other artists, and he also expects it to be “entertaining” as well as illuminating.
“It isn’t just me sitting on a stool strumming acoustic guitar and playing folks songs and telling stories about being a legend in my own lifetime,” Lake says with a chuckle. “It’s not that. It will be quite a well-produced show. There will be elements in it which will be quite surprising and quite entertaining, I hope.”
Lake is also stashing his memories into an upcoming autobiography, to be titled “Lucky Man,” after the seminal ELP hit. He says it will come out as three audio volumes followed by a printed hardback book, and Lake promises “a very personal account” — though he stresses that “it’s not a muckraking book. I have no interest in that sort of thing. And it’s certainly not one of those kiss-and-tell things. It is truthful, and I won’t skirt around things that are honest. But I’m not one of those guys who enjoys mauling people. It’s not a vengeance book.”
On tap as well is a new Lake solo album, his first set of new material since “Manoeuvres” in 1983. He plans to finish it this summer and release it later this year or in early 2013, but he’s keeping details under wraps at the moment.