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Interview:
Carl Palmer at the Token Lounge, 3 Things to Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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After the deaths of Keith Emerson and Greg Lake two years ago, Carl Palmer remains the last man standing in one of progressive rock's greatest groups -- and a man with a mission.



Palmer tours these days with his ELP Legacy, keeping the music and memory of his bandmates alive, albeit in a different way, replacing Emerson's keyboards with guitar and Chapman stick. It's a new look at a well-loved catalog, and it's documented on a pair of recent releases -- a "Live in the USA" album and a new DVD featuring guest appearances from former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, the Vanilla Fudge's Mark Stein and others.



Palmer, 68, has other creative concerns, including membership in the band Asia and painting -- including recent canvases of Emerson, Lake and late Asia mate John Wetton. But he's riding herd over ELP's legacy and has even started planning for the group's upcoming 50th anniversary...



Palmer says by phone that as the last member of ELP still alive he's "personally paying my own tribute" to his late bandmates with the ELP Legacy shows. "I feel it's worth keeping it going because there was a lot of quality there, if I do say so myself. It was a bit difficult at the very beginning for people to understand it. You had three guys, the singer sounded like a choir boy, we were playing classical (music) adaptations and we used keyboards and very little guitar. Because it's not rock or blues it stood out like a sore thumb. We got labeled progressive rock but really were more eclectic than that. But this music has stood the test of time. It appeals to a wide range of people and hit a lot of people in a lot of different areas. I want to make sure people keep hearing it."



2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of ELP's formation, and Palmer says he's "just putting together" a commemoration of the landmark that will include a documentary and perhaps a special live event to go with it. "We're looking right now at putting a show together with some A listers; I can't tell you who they are, but in principle as a project it looks like it's going to go through, probably here in America. It'll be a great way to celebrate it."



Asia, meanwhile, has been quiet since last year, after Yes bassist Billy Sherwood replaced Wetton, but Palmer says the group is not over. "There's nothing planned at the moment, but we will look at that situation. Geoff (Downes, keyboardist) and I don't want to bury it completely; Depending on how meetings go, Asia might even be touring next summer. I'm going to link my own band, ELP Legacy and Asia into the same tour, maybe. I'm not sure how that's going to happen. We'll make some proposals and see what people thing. It'll be a lot of work, but I like doing double dipping."



Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy performs Sunday, Oct. 28 at the Token Lounge, 28949 Joy Road, Westland. Doors at 7 p.m. $25-$65. 734-513-5030 or tokenlounge.com.

Web Site: www.tokenlounge.com

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