On the eve of his tour of the US, Carl Palmer, legendary drummer of ELP, spoke to Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo about the recent goings on with his solo career, the tour, and updates on Asia and ELP.
Read on for the complete interview!
Sea of Tranquility: How's it going Carl? Are you calling from the UK tonight?
Carl Palmer: Yes, calling from the UK here, just outside of London, which is where I live.
SoT: Can you fill us in on what is up with Carl Palmer these days?
Carl: Well, the Carl Palmer Band is getting ready to tour and coming to America for 5 ½ weeks starting late May, covering the East Coast then making our way around to the West Coast then finishing up in Canada, probably about 33 concerts in all. I have a couple of albums out on the Sanctuary label, which is the same label as ELP, that include Carl Palmer Working Live Volumes 1 and 2, and an Anthology. We've been touring extensively in the UK, Germany, Italy, Holland, Belgium, and been as far as Mexico. We even recorded a DVD late last year made up of footage from Romania, Hungary, basically an hour and a half of the band playing various prog festivals throughout Europe. This DVD should be released around late summer of this year. So we have been quite busy!
SoT: Have you been contacted to play any prog festivals here in the US this year?
Carl: I'm not playing any prog festivals in the US on this particular tour, but that's not to say that I wouldn't do them in the future. I've decided to concentrate on a club tour, a small theater or art-center tour so to speak.
SoT: What can the fans expect on this tour?
Carl: It's going to be basically a 2 hour show featuring 3-4 original ELP pieces, including sections of "Tarkus", "Trilogy", "Tank", as well as a piece called "LA Knights" that I wrote with Joe Walsh. Also there's an original composition I wrote called "Bullfrog", and the other pieces of music are classical adaptations like "Hoedown", "Fanfare for the Common Man", "Romeo and Juliet", and even a piece called 'The Enemy Gods" among others, as well as various solo sections.
SoT: So who are the players in your band these days?
Carl: On guitar is a chap called Paul who is a very young guy of about 27 and is one of the principle guitar teachers at the Brighton Institute of Music on the south coast of England here. The bass player is Stuart who has written four books for Sanctuary, the label for my solo career as well as the ELP catalog, so he's quite a well known writer here as well as teaches privately.
SoT: Are there going to be any Asia songs covered on the tour?
Carl: No Asia songs on this tour. All the songs we are going to play are instrumental and most are based on classical interpretations and adaptations, so the more song based format of Asia won't really transfer to this tour, although I will be working with Asia later this year.
SoT: So basically this tour sounds like what the hardcore prog rock fans have really been looking forward to from you?
Carl: I would think so. This is a trio using guitar instead of keyboards, mainly because guitars now that that unbelievable advantage of being technically advanced, even more advanced than keyboards. There's no way I could have played this material 30 years ago because the guitar players then just couldn't match up with the know-how that they have now. I think the fans will realize the rawness and "rock & roll" excitement that these songs will bring forth with guitars instead of keyboards.
SoT: So, back to the Asia thing, you are planning on something with them for later this year?
Carl: Yeah, we are looking at some live dates for later this year in the US.
SoT: Any talks of getting back with ELP?
Carl: Well, we are working on some DVD releases together, but we have no plans at all to record or tour together. I'm sure if something huge came around we'd consider it, but otherwise we have no plans to get together at this point.
SoT: Well , thanks a lot Carl, hopefully I will see you at the NYC show in June with the Carl Palmer Band.
Carl: Thank you Peter, yes, let's try and get together!