Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Keith Emerson - 6 years gone now.


jerrythek
 Share

Recommended Posts

It's always a tough day for the fans or friends of Keith Emerson. But I'm happy to say that Future Music/Music Radar has brought back a good chunk of the tribute article I did for Keyboard Magazine after he passed. There's so many wonderful remembrances from his friends and band mates. I hope you enjoy.

 

clonk

 

Jerry

  • Like 11
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites



Thanks for the music & memories Keith... RIP.

 

Was REALLY SAD to hear how/why he passed.........................

 

Old No7

 

oqPXMFo.jpg

  • Like 1

Yamaha MODX6 * Hammond SK Pro 73 * Roland RD-88 * Crumar Mojo Pedals * Mackie Thump 12As * Tascam DP-24SD * JBL 305 MkIIs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grinned from ear to ear for a week after I saw him do "Piano Improvisations" as part of the "Brain Salad Surgery" tour. I've had many great influences, but its still a wicked pleasure to call that up on YouTube and watch someone who knows zip about him or ELP (or especially prog as a whole) have to push their dropped jaws back into place. Its the signature live piece that left the most indelible mark on me. :keys:

The internet has devolved into five giant websites,
  each filled with screenshots of the other four.
     ~  Cory Doctorow

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After years of arguing with myself, I finally concluded that Emerson was probably better than Wakeman, technically, but that I preferred Wakeman stylistically. That said, and being extremely selfish, I wanted both, dammit!

 

Then word came that Emerson was gone and it just broke my heart, because surely there was something he could still offer--blogging, teaching, telling tales (a la Wakeman), composing (if Beethoven could compose while deaf, surely Emerson could work around his problem). Anything. Just be there. Don't go away.

 

But he went away, anyway.

 

I saw somewhere that he was being harassed by trolls and that took a toll on him emotionally. I can say that I was the moderator on a board for a while and that trolls were the bane of my existence, eventually leading to me leaving that site entirely. If what I read was true, and that they drove him to his emotional limit, then I propose that the trolls be charged with...I dunno...manslaughter? Could we make that stick? Wasn't there a girl who got convicted for encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide? Let's use whatever law(s) were used in that case against those who destroyed Emerson. The man was a giant and now he's gone and that's a loss for us all.

 

Grey

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, GRollins said:

 

 

I saw somewhere that he was being harassed by trolls and that took a toll on him emotionally. I can say that I was the moderator on a board for a while and that trolls were the bane of my existence, eventually leading to me leaving that site entirely. If what I read was true, and that they drove him to his emotional limit, then I propose that the trolls be charged with...I dunno...manslaughter? Could we make that stick? Wasn't there a girl who got convicted for encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide? Let's use whatever law(s) were used in that case against those who destroyed Emerson. The man was a giant and now he's gone and that's a loss for us all.

 

Grey

Emerson was one of my heroes when I was younger, and the statement above is just ridiculous. If his state of mind was so fragile that people discussing him on a forum caused him to commit suicide, there is no way that would be considered to be manslaughter. There were other factors that likely contributed to it, I read that his girlfriend was cheating on him with a younger rock singer and she tried to blame his critical fans instead, also Emerson had substance abuse problems. The problem with his arm where he couldn’t play any longer was also a factor, but he could have become a producer, composer, mentor, writer, consultant, artist, or just go fishing and enjoy life, instead of taking his own life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like many of us, I met him through a professional event, and he was as gracious and generous to this fanboy as he could possibly have been. 

 

Just before he passed, I happened to see a recent performance of his, and I couldn’t help but notice that his pinky and ring finer of his right hand kept curling under as he played, and I thought “uh oh”. A few weeks later he was gone.

 

I know that when someone pours their entire life and being into the pursuit of a discipline, losing that ability can be (as in this case) tragic. I wish someone could have communicated to him that life is so much more than what you cannot do. The foibles of a human mind, I guess.

 

 

"For instance" is not proof.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ELP was my very first rock concert in the early 70’s while in high school. Floor seats a few rows back from the front. I was in awe, and it’s an evening I will never forget.

 

And while internet trolls did not cause his suicide, they were certainly complicit and are reprehensible human beings.
 

RIP Keith. 

I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has anyone actually seen firsthand this supposed trolling? It would still be a stretch to say they are complicit, but I’d like to also see the source that states he expressly commented on it. I’m not accusing anyone of disseminating false info…I just would like to see first sources.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was very disappointed seeing them live at High Voltage festival, their last ever show. In addition to technical difficulties their playing and entire stage presence was really not what it used to be. I remember commenting about this on the live album release. I don't think I'm a troll.

 

I did order the tribute concert DVD that came out recently. That is some next level stuff, amazing musicianship and a general joyfulness of music and community filling the stage at every moment. Y'all should see it. The vocals are all terribly autotuned though.

Life is subtractive.
Genres: Jazz, funk, pop, Christian worship, BebHop
Wishlist: 80s-ish (synth)pop, symph pop, prog rock, fusion, musical theatre
Gear: NS2 + JUNO-G. KingKORG. SP6 at church.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw him the year before he took his life  - his playing was amazing, how on Earth he managed to convince himself he was a shadow of his former self we'll never know.
We mere mortals would love to have a 10th of his ability.

Luckily in the UK we have a very talented Tom Szakaly who is a tribute to Keith, travels with a Moog Modular in a van and keeps the spirit alive.

Yamaha CP70B;Roland XP30/AXSynth/Fantom/FA76/XR;Hammond XK3C SK2; Korg Kronos 73;ProSoloist Rack+; ARP ProSoloist; Mellotron M4000D; GEM Promega2; Hohner Pianet N, Roland V-Grand,Voyager XL, RMI
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...

I still feel that Emerson could have, should have started an online instructional course. His approach to music was sufficiently different from other keyboard players that I'm sure he'd have had a small tsunami of students signing up overnight.

 

And there's always the possibility that some clever lad or lass will devise a cure for his malady, thus hypothetically restoring his ability to play. Should a cure be announced tomorrow, it would be so tragic. (Wasn't there a Star Trek episode where Bones's father had an incurable disease and Bones euthanized him...only to learn that a cure had been discovered the following week?)

 

Grey

  • Like 1

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't think of a single other keyboardist other than Keith Jarrett, who can seamlessly pass between jazz, classical, folk, rock, and soul/r&b (even reggae), and sound equally gifted in each genre as well as being able to quickly transition between them in the same piece. Emerson's "Honky Tonk" album is one of my favorites, and "Nighthawks". I don't think anyone has had a bigger influence on my keyboard parts than Keith has.

  • Like 1

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/12/2022 at 2:51 PM, GRollins said:

After years of arguing with myself, I finally concluded that Emerson was probably better than Wakeman, technically, but that I preferred Wakeman stylistically. That said, and being extremely selfish, I wanted both, dammit!

 

Grey

Sorry to resurrect an older comment, Grey, but I was notified someone reacted to my comment and then I re-read this. My view (and Rick W has said this as well) is that Keith had the better left hand. But Rick probably is the better technically overall - certainly his right hand is beyond compare. So if we could graft them together we would have had the most formidable keyboardist ever! But as a composer and improviser I think Keith stands tall over Rick. That said, I also love them both.

 

Jerry

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/14/2022 at 9:26 AM, Losendoskeys said:

Luckily in the UK we have a very talented Tom Szakaly who is a tribute to Keith, travels with a Moog Modular in a van and keeps the spirit alive.

Yes you/we are. Tom has devoted his musical life to carrying on Keith's music, and he had a very close relationship with him. When I was writing the Keyboard Magazine tribute to Keith, Tom sent me a long remembrance of their relationship. Here it is (unedited - it was never printed in this long form before):

 

The first time I met Keith was in 1987… on the drive outside his house.

 

I’d never ever been to an ELP concert or a Nice concert, I’d led quite a sheltered youth, although I had been playing his pieces or trying to, since the age of about 14 yrs. Then one day I decided that Keith was someone I would like to chat to, give him some of my bands recordings, and possible buy him a beer if the opportunity arose. So I decided to search him out. This might seem a little strange to you, but to me it was an obvious step that I had to take in my musical life!

After a lot of sleuthing I got an address. So with my cassette tape and a few band photos in my pocket, I went there, knocked on the door, and his mother, Dorothy answered. She told me to call back the next evening, as Keith was away not in.

 

The next evening as I was walking up the drive to ‘Stonehill’ I heard a car behind me on the gravel. It was Emo. He got out and asked me what I wanted. I gave him the tape and photos and told him that I played keyboards and was a fan and would like to buy him a beer if he had the time. He asked me if I knew the ‘Six Bells’ and said he’d meet me there the day after. The next day we sat in the ‘Bells’ with a bottle of wine for a few hours chatting.

 

I explained my background, and that I played his stuff. I gave him a tape of the band I was in at the time and he was genuinely intrigued. We also talked about keyboards, and it emerged that his gear was in need of some maintenance. He mentioned that someone who used to fix his gear seemed to have “disappeared off the face of the earth”. So I sent him copies of all my Hammond organ service manuals. We corresponded by letter and then later, phone calls.  I used to work the ELP numbers out by ear, and it happened quite a few times that I would just call him and ask about specific details if I was stuck.

 

I would also call him to ask if he’d be around because: “I’d be popping down there this weekend”.  A lot of the time he’d be away – but when he was home he would always suggest meeting up some place. “Do you know this pub, or that pub..?” “No, but we’ll find it!” On one occasion a friend and I called to say: “We’re here…” and Aaron answered the phone. He told me that: “Dad was out shopping, but he said for you to come round and wait. He won’t be long” We went round and when they returned Elinor made coffee, and we sat listening to some newly recorded Black Moon tracks, “Close To Home” and “Blade Of Grass”. Emo asked me which one I thought should be on the album!  Then we played on a baby grand he had there. He told me it was the piano he’d learned on. I played him “The Score” (Emerson, Lake and Powell) and it wasn’t quite right. So he went and got some manuscript paper and wrote it out for me there and then.

 

I happened to mention my rather extensive scrapbook collection and he was very interested in possibly using them to help promote the ‘Black Moon’ album and reunion. I told him that next time I would bring them all with me and leave them with him to peruse at his leisure.  He ended up having them all photocopied – his ‘instructions’ are still written all over the box for his management office in London from where I eventually went to pick them up.

 

Then there were a couple of birthday presents I sent him. The first one was a large engraved sign saying: “Stonehill House” mounted on a varnished wooded backing. He put that up on the wall of his barn next to the rear garden entrance. I’d noticed that there wasn’t any sign when I first went to find which door to knock on, so I thought I’d fix that for him! The second was a rather large model of his Morgan sports car.  It was the same green colour, almost an exact replica – but I wanted it spot on. I remember calling and Elinor answering. I told her my plan and she told me that Keith was actually out picking the car up from being serviced. I asked her if she could please make a note of the registration number for his surprise present and let me know without Keith finding out?  And she did. I then added miniature number plates front and rear to the model and sent it to him. The next time I was down there I saw it on display in his house!

 

Another time we met in the ‘Six Bells’ and Keith had Lee Jackson with him. He introduced me to Lee but I corrected him and told him ‘Lee’ was actually also a ‘Keith’ – to which Lee commented that I knew more about them than they did! Emo had a copy of his Christmas CD for me, and a photocopy of his hand written sheet music notes for ‘Fanfare’. He told me that on the video he’d seen, I hadn’t been playing it quite right and that this would help me sort it,

The video in question was one I sent to Chris Newman – of “Intermanual Rescue”… who were then organising the selling of his equipment. Apparently Chris had played it to Keith and after watching it Keith told Chris to send me some leather stage-gear pants, which were laying around in the inventory that Chris was sorting. These pants appear to be the ones he wore on the Montreal’77 video and photographs!

 

My band Noddy’s Puncture had been playing at the ‘Six Bells’ each Bank Holiday weekend for a few years. I always called Emo to remind him that we were doing it, but he never came: he was always busy or away. Aaron and his friends used to come and see us a lot. Elinor and Lee Jackson came to see us one year, along with Keith’s mother Dorothy. But Keith was always doing something else. One year when Aaron and his friends came, after the gig we were packing away – which always took a while – when Aaron he told me his parents were away and that back home he invited me was having a bit of a party and that I was welcome to go. I told him I’d be a while here finishing off but I’d pop in on my way back to where I was staying. When I got there Aaron took me on a tour of the house. I remember seeing Emo’s old ELP stage-gear pinned to the walls here and there!

 

He also took me to the barn. In what seemed like a small maze of corridors, we passed stacked up equipment on top of extremely large flight cases. Aaron commented that those were the GX-1’s. It was unreal. Inside the main barn studio were two pianos back-to-back. I played on both while Aaron waited and listened. On top of the pianos were two jackets. One was Emo’s old shiny blue fish scale jacket from the ‘Pictures’ video, and I put it on. It was a little tight but I played ‘Take a Pebble’ and other stuff with it digging into my shoulders. The other was a ‘Hammond-Goff’ jacket. Aaron told me I could have that one, so I took it with me but when I got home after the weekend I thought: “Shit! Emo doesn’t even know I have this!” So I called him and explained. I told him I could bring it back with me next time, but he told me it was OK, and that I could keep it.

 

I went to America twice (in ’92 and in ’96) to follow ELP around on tour. Emo always sorted me out with tickets and backstage passes while I was there. These trips were quite some adventure for me. Sometimes I’d end up in the dressing room after a show and if there was a piano in there we’d have a tinkle and I would ask him to show me details of particular pieces. He didn’t mind at all.

 

Soon after my return from the USA in ‘92, ELP also came to the UK to play some dates. It was a late on a Friday night when the telephone rang and it was Keith calling from Amsterdam. He told me he was playing Manchester on Sunday and his L100 was really badly broken and needed attention. Could I help him sort it? I told him I would be there with a spare Hammond just in case and also a friend who services organs for a living. I couldn’t really rely on myself alone being able to sort his out… it was important, as he needed to continue the tour after Sunday. In the end we got his running but my Hammond was behind the curtains throughout the gig just in case.

After ending up at the after-show party at the ‘Albert Hall’ in ’92 – which was being videotaped - one day, in the weeks following, Keith phoned my house but I wasn’t in and he spoke to my mother. She later told me he’d ask her to: “Please tell Tom he’s on my bloody video!” And I am!

 

I once emailed Keith and asked him about the fingering for “Hoedown”. He wrote it all out and emailed it back to me! He did the same with the notes for the “Karn Evil 9” end sequence.

 

In 2005 at one of our yearly gigs at the ‘Six Bells’, Keith turned up with his family. I didn’t know he had actually arrived until he stood next to me onstage and basically took over in “Tarkus”. The rest of the show was a big jam with Emo jumping up as and whenever he fancied the fancy took him. And he was clearly enjoying every second! We were recording the gig and later Emo okayed  approved the idea of  our releasing a CD of the night, which we could sell. In fact he suggested the title, and also helped in the design of the cover, hiring a ‘Lone Ranger’ costume and having photographs taken especially. Yes, he was a ‘Lone Ranger’ fan as well! He used to sign off on his emails as: ‘The Lone Arranger’ - that always brought a smile to my face.

 

In 2009 I had quite a serious motorcycle accident. Just weeks before, I’d had an email from Keith telling me that he was asked to play in London with Spinal Tap as he had recently played on a track on their new album. He asked if I could provide a Hammond L100 for him to use – and trash – onstage. I set about sorting one out for him, and then I had the accident. I was in hospital for a few weeks during which time Keith called me on my mobile to ask how I was. He didn’t even mention the L100 – he was only concerned about my foot. Luckily I got out of the hospital in time as was able to help Keith with the gig.  He and Mari also sent me present which arrived at the hospital ward – a massive “History of the BEANO” book. We used to laugh about those old Beano characters and we were both fans of the comic. Once out of hospital I had one week left before Emo’s London appearance for which he was relying on me. Doctor’s orders would have been not to go… but I went anyway, and still in plaster! I needed help of course but I did supervise the whole thing. After getting to Wembley Arena on the day Keith called me to say he and Mari were nearly there and if I could check if he had a ‘pass’ waiting? I had to sort his ‘pass’ out then as well. I did feel really important that day, I can tell you!

 

Keith would also help me out if I wanted to get ‘special treatment’ at other times, like when YES played in Manchester. I impressed a couple of my mates with tickets and passes waiting for us at the box office. I asked and Emo sorted it out for me after making a few enquiries to his friends in management!

 

In 2010 I got the call again. ELP were reuniting for their 40th anniversary at the ‘High Voltage’ festival. With my trusty L100 in tow, I went down to London to leave it with ELP for rehearsals for three weeks. On my way home I had a call from Emo: “Is this L100 heavier than it should have been?” I told him “No, it’s the same one as you used last year.” He laughed and said, “OK, it must be me getting old then!” I went down to the ‘High Voltage’ concert early as we were also playing in London that weekend. On the Thursday I spent the day watching ELP rehearse – during which time his keyboard tech told me there was a problem… the L100 was always playing at full volume. Luckily I had brought a complete service kit with me and I just had to change the bulb in the foot pedal assembly to fix it. It was a scary moment though… it was on me to get this sorted, no pressure then, eh..?

 

During one of our telephone conversations I mentioned that it would be nice if he could come up with a ‘message of endorsement’ for Noddy’s Puncture. He told me to leave it with him, he’ll think about it, and in that same conversation he gave me a really big compliment. He told me that he ‘admired me’ because I can ‘work stuff out’ by ear, and also mentioned that my ‘attention to detail’ didn’t go unnoticed! A couple of years ago during a set of gigs we had booked Emo actually called me while I was in the hotel before a gig, wishing me luck for that night and complimenting the band on a video he had just seen of us playing our “Pathetique/Rondo” medley.

 

In the summer of 2014 when he was in the UK, I called Keith asking him if we could meet up for a curry or something. He told me he had some friends who actually had a ‘Curry Club’ where they sampled a different curry house each time they arranged to go out met, and that there was one coming up. He said I would be was welcome to join them. So I arranged to go down with a friend and when we got there Emo took us to meet his ‘partners-in-curry’ at a local pub. When we got there they had decided not to bother so Emo said it would just be the three of us. His friends recommended a place and we went there. During the meal Keith said he had a present for me, and he took out of his bag a really old copy of the ‘Beano’ comic, which he had bought for me. I then told him I had something for him. Ever since he let us and helped us produce that live ‘Six Bells’ CD I had been keeping his share safe and had always been looking for the opportunity to hand it to him someday. So this time I took the money with me, and it was a fair amount. Emo straight away told me he couldn’t take it, but I insisted, saying I wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I told him: “iIf you don’t want it they why not treat Mari to something with it?” Keith then accepted it, but immediately excused himself, and with a tear in his eye he went to the toilet. I was worried I had upset him but on reflection I think he was just touched by the gesture.… I sure do hope that’s what it was! Later on, on our way back to the car he was telling us jokes. And he proposed that we were going to go back to that place. We all said we should agreed, because it was an excellent choice.

 

Unfortunately it was not to be. Keith left us in March 2016. It has hit everybody so very hard. A week before his funeral I had a message from Aaron’s wife, Jo, asking if I could make a better copy of the opened out ‘Pictures’ album cover she had. She sent me a very low-resolution image of it and was wondering if I could possibly photograph mine. I instantly knew what it was for and I told her I’d do better than that, I’ll scan my vinyl cover. I did that in five different parts, as the album is much too large to fit in a scanner. I then assembled the five pieces using my painting programme and sent it back to her. So the copy of the ‘Pictures At An Exhibition’ album I’d bought when I was 15 years old ended up also being the cover for Keith’s order of service booklet! This leaves me with both a warm, almost comforting feeling inside, but also starts me crying every time I think about it.

 

Farewell Kemosabe, I shall never forget you.

 

God Bless,Tomto.

  • Like 3
  • Love 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/17/2022 at 10:13 AM, Moonglow said:

Thank you for sharing that Jerry! What a wonderful relationship he had with our hero.

 

+1 to that -- WOW, what a neat relationship Tom & Keith developed.

 

Old No7

  • Like 2

Yamaha MODX6 * Hammond SK Pro 73 * Roland RD-88 * Crumar Mojo Pedals * Mackie Thump 12As * Tascam DP-24SD * JBL 305 MkIIs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...