Британский музыкант Грегори Лейк скончался в возрасте 69 лет. Об этом в четверг, 8 декабря, сообщил на официальном сайте музыканта его продюсер Стюарт Янг.
Исполнитель умер 7 декабря после продолжительной борьбы с раком. (c)
Это будет первое Рождество без Greg Lake... вот уж не знаю, любили ли где еще в мире Emerson Lake & Palmer так, как в СССР - уж слишком контрастную картину они собой являли. Даже прозвище было свое - Эмерсон Лёг и Помер, а таких привилегий удостаивались в совдепии только избранные. В голове не укладывается, что в один год мы потеряли сразу и Кита и Грега, и даже умирают они в том же порядке, как и назывались. Для ансамбля из трёх человек, пусть и давно не существующего, это чересчур. Для поклонников - тоже.
Музыка была абсолютно авангардной. Уверен, что первые пять альбомов группы, от дебютного Emerson, Lake & Palmer и до Brain Salad Surgery, опередили своё время. Музыка была настолько сложной, что для облегчения её восприятия вводились элементы классического (сейчас) ледзепеллиновского шоу, тут Эмерсону тоже равных не было... у натур попроще Кит до сих пор ассоциируется с горящим пианино и с ножами в клавиатуре.
Я до сих поражаюсь глубинной, мощной свежести этих альбомов, их сверхсовременному звучанию, сложным гармониям, изысканным текстам, кажущейся легкости подачи материала. За этим стоит адский труд.
Мало кто знает, но группа ELP изначальна планировала называться HELP - Hendrix, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, но Джими не суждено было к ним присоединиться.
Лэйк был известен своим непростым характером, и был человеком, умевшим принимать сложные решения - кто бы отважился уйти из набиравшего популярность King Crimson, будучи соучредителем группы и одноклассником Фриппа?
После распада ELP Лэйк ещё раз удивил всех, кардинально уйдя в гитарный рок - его сотрудничество с Гари Муром вылилось в два студийных альбома и прекрасный концертник в Hammersmith Odeon.
Его баллады о любви были, есть и остаются образчиком
Greg Lake opened up about the joy of music in emotional last interview
ICONIC bass player Greg Lake died on Thursday. In his last interview a year ago, he told Martin Townsend about why he was keeping his cancer secret and the joy of playing with some of the biggest bands of the 1970s, plus his memorable Christmas song.
He walked using a highly decorative stick he’d found on eBay. He had lost so much weight he was barely recognisable as the powerfully built bass player who had once led one of the world’s biggest rock bands.
But in the almost-deserted dining room of the Petersham Hotel in Richmond, Surrey, just over a year ago, Greg Lake – formerly of Emerson, Lake & Palmer – was in defiant mood.
The cancer he had been fighting for a few years, that had left his body shattered and his hands – as he put it – “broken” so he could no longer play his beloved guitar, was not going to be beaten by drugs. So he had decided he wouldn’t have any more chemotherapy.
“I’m not frightened of dying,” he said, “but I don’t like the idea of leaving so many people that I love behind, and I want to enjoy this time with them. I don’t want to be feeling sick and tired from the drugs.”
He had no bitterness: “I have had a brilliant life. I’ve done everything I’ve ever dreamed of, fulfilled every ambition, and these things happen.” But he did not want to go public. “If I announce that I’m ill it’ll be all over the internet and, I know it sounds awful, but I don’t want all the sympathy that will bring. I don’t want to have,” he said, with a chuckle, “a Facebook death.”
Greg had given the interview exclusively to the Sunday Express having had some of his most enjoyable times in recent years playing with Express proprietor and drummer Richard Desmond in the RD Crusaders. Alongside the likes of Roger Daltrey, Russ Ballard, Robert Plant and Zoot Money, he had helped raise many millions for charity. “I like Richard very much and I love the feeling of playing guitar in a band.”
“After Emerson, Lake And Palmer broke up [in 1979] I felt very disorientated because you’re still part of them. My first instinct was to try to recreate ELP – find a keyboard player, get all those sounds – but it was never going to be as good. Also it would have been my third go. I’d had King Crimson and Emerson, Lake And Palmer... how lucky can anyone be?
“So after a while, and after a lot of soul searching, I realised that it was all about guitars for me. My life started with a guitar, my joy was a guitar, so I thought, ‘I’ll play guitar and I’ll make guitar music’.”
As well as The Crusaders, he played alongside Gary Moore and with Ringo Starr in his All Starr Band. “I’d played to a million people with ELP. We’d sold out Madison Square Garden. I’d done everything any musical artist could want to do as well as playing the pubs and clubs. So suddenly music for me was not anything to do with ambition or success, I did it when I enjoyed it and if I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t bother.”
Greg Lake was born on November 10, 1947, in the Parkstone area of Poole in Dorset, to Pearl and Harry, an engineer-turned time and motion manager. He learned to play guitar at the age of 12 from a teacher named Don Strike, a professional banjo player, who also instructed Andy Summers of The Police and folk-rock singer Al Stewart of Year Of The Cat fame.
“I would always try to play by ear,” Greg recalled, “and if I didn’t play it right Don would have this ruler and he’d bring it down – bap! – across my hand. ‘The notes, Greg, play the notes!’”
The lessons paid off and after various teenage and early groups he found himself, along with fellow Strike pupil Robert Fripp, as singer and bass player in the avant-garde rockers King Crimson.
“King Crimson defined, for me, a style that was not based on American music,” he said. “It was European rock ’n’ roll, with vocals in an English accent, not trying to be mid-Atlantic, you know? And though we wanted to be recognised and successful it wasn’t in a sense that we were designing the music to sell.
“That wasn’t the motivating character. The idea was to be good, to be different, to be quality. We just assumed that if people really liked it, they’d buy it.” King Crimson achieved cult status and Lake carried the same uncompromising attitudes into ELP, formed in April 1970. Playing alongside flamboyant keyboard player Keith Emerson and powerhouse drummer Carl Palmer, Greg achieved huge success with grandiose exercises in extended, often orchestrated, playing.
With albums such as Trilogy, Tarkus and Brain Salad Surgery and Works, which cost $1million to record, the band embarked on 18-week tours that featured Emerson throwing knives on stage and “riding” his Hammond organ. At their peak the band’s equipment filled 11 tractor trailers “and one of them,” laughed Greg, “was just for the spares. It never got opened!”
It added up to a “colourful and dynamic” show that left the band in a category of their own in 1973 and 1974. “We used to have a saying,” laughed Greg, “and it probably sounds a bit arrogant but it was kind of true, ‘After ELP, all that’s left is paper cups’, because no one could follow us on stage. Our act was so climactic.”
The band earned Greg millions and he bought his mother and father a house. “But strangely,” he said, “that backfired. We didn’t talk for a number of years. They lost respect for themselves or, I think, in a way my mother lost respect for my father and in a strange way they held me accountable.”
It left him with mixed feelings about being wealthy, particularly after finding himself living in a 15-room castle in Ascot with stables and a showjumping arena. “I was born very poor, in an asbestos prefab, so there was always this thing of wanting to know how the other half lived. But once you get the dough you realise that material things don’t count for much. What matters is the love in your life, your conscience and your health.”
Ironically the song that Greg is best known for was already playing on the radio last week as news of his death, aged 69, was announced: I Believe In Father Christmas. “I had this guitar tune that I liked and I sat down with my friend Pete Sinfield one day and I said, ‘I’ve got this line and the only thing going around in my head is jingle bells, jingle bells’, and he just said, ‘That’s it. A Christmas song’. And off we went.
“It’s funny because people say ‘It must be your pension’. I think they have this image of me on Boxing Day and someone coming in with a big wheelbarrow full of money!
“It’s not quite like that but it has become an evergreen and that’s great because I have always really loved Christmas.”