Greg Lake is an outstanding figure in the history of progressive rock: the singer, bassist, guitarist, songwriter and producer from Poole in the South of England joined The Gods in the late 60s, then King Crimson, and finally Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer brought Emerson, Lake & Palmer to life. In his rare interviews he now gives the executor of the ELP inheritance. The 68-year-old tries to explain why the unique sounds of his old band are still relevant. Why the suicide of his creative partner deeply shocked him. And why ELP, in whatever constellation, are not only history through the death of Emerson.
eclipsed: Are you happy or are you even proud that the complete ELP back catalogue is coming onto the market?
Greg Lake: This is a great honor for me! In my eyes this means that the music we recorded a long time ago is obviously still relevant. I was convinced that our sound was special. That it was timeless, though, I wasn't sure about that circumstance. I am now.
eclipsed: Anyway, ELP have clearly left their scent mark in rock history...
Lake: I can't judge that objectively, after all I was part of this band. But I'm sure we were a daring group. When we were founded, we were committed to "doing something completely new, previously unheard of, exciting". We made a pact that we wouldn't let anyone dissuade us from this course, especially not our record company. And even if the sales figures were in the basement - just no adaptation to anything and anyone!
eclipsed: The press has celebrated your music as "innovative and groundbreaking" on the one hand, and as "controversial" and "megalomaniac" on the other. How do you deal with it?
Lake: I keep it there with the English proverb: You can't fry an omelette if you don't break a few eggs first. Which means you can't create a new product unless you make a few unpleasant sacrifices first. ELP were on a path no one had taken before. That we got lost in our adventure from time to time should be checked. Most of the paths we explored, however, were exciting - for us as well as for the outsider. What I still blame the media for today is the fact that we were quickly referred to as a supergroup. It sounds like old sacks with their best time behind them. We were only in our mid-20s then. You want to break down barriers, cross boundaries. But for God's sake, it can't be established. And as far as the term "megalomania" is concerned - we were never megalomaniac musically, at most financially. In the course of our career we have sold more than 40 million albums and thus earned a lot. For a while, we spent all our money on the most nonsensical things. We have to put up with this accusation.