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MURRAY LERNER'S INTERVIEW WITH GARY LAKE CONTINUES IN LAKE'S HOME RECORDING STUDIO.
CU OF GREG LAKE'S HANDS ON NECK OF ACOUSTIC GUITAR
CU OF MONTANA GOLD LABEL ON GUITAR
Murray Lerner 0:34
You were talking about Jimmy and the first time him
Greg Lake 0:37
Yeah, the the first time I ever saw Jimi Hendrix play was I was in a band called The gods. And we were playing at Brighton University. And we were supporting the Jimi Hendrix Experience. No one had ever seen them before. They hadn't played in in England. And we thought it was a soul band, you know, saxophones, dad up to data. So we played we went down, okay, cleared our gear off the stage. When there was an upstairs, they converted this gymnasium into a bar. And then went up we went and we had a drink. And we were waiting to see the soul band Come on. Anyway, half an hour passed. And still no Jimi Hendrix Experience, you know, the, the crowd started to become angry and stomp their feet and everything. Eventually, a truck rolls up Avis Higher Truck outfall, a couple of these dirty roadies and start loading this gear up on the stage. And it's the first time I ever saw Marshall stacks, you know, amplifier stacks, and drumkit to stack some martial either side. And then in cane these three guys with these huge Afro hair cuts. And you didn't really know whether I laugh or Yeah, because it just looked theatrical. And only three of them. Right. So it looked a bit flimsy. And and the audience I think immediately just saw it as a sort of site where they say, Well, these guys look look like a bit of a comedy. And there's only three of them. So Jimmy gets up on the stage Knoll and Mitch and Jimmy starts tune in his guitar, you know, and now they're booing, they've been waiting a half an hour and they're booing. And they're building so loud II can't you know. So it goes up to the microphone. And he says, Look, I said I've rushed here all the way from the airport to come and play for you, you know, you're gonna let me tune up for what you know, then they really weren't. And then they booed twice as loud. And he started with a feedback, which was foxy lady, right. And I literally watched from this balcony. It's as if you know, when you shake a blanket, and the ripple of the wave friends, it was like that the impact was so great on this audience, that there was a wave, it literally knocked over. And it was phenomenal. For nominal. And I remember going home that night in the van. And there was silence in the van. And of course, we all realized that the game, whatever we knew up until that time, is just about to change. Or all bets were off. Everything changed, because there was a whole new musical force had arrived. And it was Jimi Hendrix. And there was it was almost depressing. You know, because everything you'd swap it up and you'd learn all your little guitar licks. Forget it, you know. And there was a new governor in town and it was Jimmy and it was fantastic experience I'll never forget it.
Murray Lerner 3:56
Fantastic Yes. Imagine let me ask you another about another performing you toured with Daltrey. I'm just curious how that worked out.
Greg Lake 4:06
Well, I do these Teenage Cancer Trust shows with Roger. And I did record the other day with the who I did the last single with them. Which was great. You know, the WHO ARE THE who you know, and yeah, no. Pleasure, very Pete's very talented, stunningly talented guy. Um, Roger, again, very talented, very sweet man. So a joy really, I love playing all the whose songs you know, and he's such, you know, I went through most of my career playing about 25 songs, you know, because people always want to hear the hits. They always want to hear what you're famous for. And of course, every time you turn up at a show, that's what you have to play. So it's really nice to play with other people. and play their music. I did a tour the other day with Ringo, same thing. Very nice. Just to play all the other other people's songs, you know, other other musical influences
Murray Lerner 5:12
was a who and influence on you at all
Greg Lake 5:15
You know they weren't really I have to say they weren't. Although when I look back on it, I have to ask myself quite why that was because the tremendous writing I think really because, well, in King Crimson, we'd gone off on this totally unique path, really. And there almost was no influence in in King Crimson. And in ELP, we were drawing so much from the classical world that I think the who wasn't really so relevant to us. But now I look back on that their music is certainly fantastic. And you can see why I mean, it when you work with Pete and Rog, you see immediately why they were as successful as they are in a it's no accident in a Pinball Wizard and fabulous writing
Murray Lerner 6:21
Did they get along during this session that you were with
Greg Lake 6:25
you couldn't, I wouldn't put it so strongly as get Yes, they do. Yes, they do. But you can see it's a relationship which is 40, over 40 years old, you know. And they like, like most of the bands, they've got their inner turmoils, and their personal niggles and so forth. But equally, they're like a family. It's like a family courses only. Pete And Roger really there but there's this feeling that they're from the same family?
Murray Lerner 7:00
Did you ever get booed on the stage? Do you ever have that same experience?
Greg Lake 7:04
Not for? Not Not for any musical reason? There's been, you know, we've been in the middle of quite a lot of riots and so forth. But that's mainly to do with people trying to crash the doors in, and then the promoters not letting them and, you know, trouble developing in that way. I've been tear gassed a few times, and all of that, but no, you know, everywhere that we played, we will have to really I have to say, very lucky. I was lucky ELP was a good band. And and, you know, it wasn't about, you know, we gave our best we gave everything we had. And I think when it when people see that, they just respond to it. You know, it's a giving thing.
Murray Lerner 7:57
Well, thank you. That's good for giving this to me.
Greg Lake 8:02
Wish I could have done better for you. But
Murray Lerner 8:03
you did. Okay. Don't worry about it. Because we there's a deadline, and edit
LERNER AND LAKE CONTINUE TALKING WHILE CAMERA ZOOMS IN ON LAKE'S HANDS PLAYING GUITAR. SLOW PAN TO OTHER GUITARS IN THE STUDIO. THEY TALK ABOUT AN INJURY THAT LAKE HAS.
Greg Lake 8:09
So is Johnny coming to do his thing.
Murray Lerner 8:16
I think he's here. Is this the longest it's taken for your hands to heal
Greg Lake 8:29
it's, well, it's usually the same. It really it's, you know what, if you come back in a week, it may be that it's healed enough with what it is. It's not the cut, I don't care about the It's the feeling here is completely dead. So you don't know when you've touched it. Or when you haven't, you think it's down? It's not you. It's down when it shouldn't be? You know, that's the horror of it all
Murray Lerner 8:52
It's starting to come back?
Greg Lake 8:53
It starts. But at the moment, I've got this brace thing that I wear, which straightens it out. And I can't do it. Because every time I do it, I bust this open and so it would have been much better had it not got septic.
Murray Lerner 9:08
Yeah. Yeah, it was an invasive procedure. I mean, today, is it a knife or is it something else that
Greg Lake 9:14
they Oh, no, it's a knife. They just open up from there. Right up to there. Open it right up, pull out the tendon, slice it up, very back, seal it up. Funny story the surgeon told me said during the during your operation. He said I got to the top of the cut here. And he said some of this stuff that builds up a tangled itself around the nerve. And he said yeah, it's not really a problem you can get off but his microscopic. So he said I had the special bifocal operating glasses on and he said I'm working in minute detail. He said every time I operate I have four students with with me and he said they watched me operate He said, so I get to this delicate moment and one of the students says, is that the thing that he uses to play guitar when he said, I looked up and all I said was, fuck off. You imagine is that the finger he uses to play guitar with?
Murray Lerner 10:18
Very good. Okay, fellas. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, yeah. I'll be right, my face will be close to the camera. Good. This side might have been better at the beginning
PART 2 - MURRAY LERNER INTERVIEWS JOHN GAYDON
Murray Lerner 10:43
Anyway, John. Your relationship to ELP was what
John Gaydon 10:51
I first got involved with ELP when I formed a company with my partner, David Enthoven in 1969. And we managed a band called King Crimson. The lead singer was Greg lake. And after their first American tour in 1969, the band decided to break up the drummer and the keyboard player wanted to stay at home rather than go on the road. And so the band broke up. Greg wanted to find some more musicians and form his own band. And he I believe he interviewed or taught to Jimi Hendrix about joining the band. And the end he ended up with, obviously, Keith Ellison Carl Palmer. Carl Palmer was signed at the time to a band called atomic rooster. That was managed by Robert Stigwood. So we had to do a deal with Robert to get Carl out of atomic rooster to get to play with ELP
Murray Lerner 11:58
Oh, well, what about the other one?
John Gaydon 12:02
Which one? Emmerson. Well, he was signed to them. He was he was in the band the nice. Keith was in the nice, but the nice, I think had finished at that stage and he was on the loose. So I think Greg I had obviously met Keith on the road at one of the King Crimson gigs and had decided probably early on that. He was the right man for Emerson Lake and Palmer.
Murray Lerner 12:32
I think they met at the Fillmore
Unknown Speaker 12:35
Fillmore east or west. King Crimson. We played both the Fillmore East and the Fillmore West. And that was probably where he met Keith Emerson.
Murray Lerner 12:47
They were on the same bill.
John Gaydon 12:50
They could have easily been on the same bill. Yes. At the Fillmore east or the west.
Murray Lerner 12:57
But what did you think of the you know the exit of by the way, make the move continuous. You make a jerky, stopping and starting? Very good. Okay. But anyway, what did you think of that change as a manager?
John Gaydon 13:14
The change from what The King Crimson? Well, King Crimson, with a very different kind of band. And King Crimson was very much led by Bob Fripp the guitarist ELP had a different approach which to begin with, I thought it was awful. But soon we realized it was something very special. And obviously, you know, the lineup of the band was different King Crimson was made up of Mellotron bass, and vocalist, which was obviously Greg, a keyboard player Ian McDonald who played flute and sax and keyboards.
Murray Lerner 14:05
when starting from there, yeah. The beginning
John Gaydon 14:12
Okay, I can tell you, I can tell you where I was
Murray Lerner 14:16
you gotta watch that somehow. I don't know how you because it's a few times. If I'm so clear, you have to have something to line your eye up on. Alright, so I was asking you about how you to change from King Crimson to ELP when you said awful by those I was curious of what you meant at first and then why you change your opinion.
John Gaydon 14:38
So King Crimson, we're a five piece band playing very much sort of Mellotron bass saxophone, flute drums, bass guitar with Greg obviously, playing bass and singing ELP because it was a three piece band was very different. Under its makeup without a league guitar. A great player, they need the base. Other than I think he played acoustic guitar and a couple of the numbers. And in the early rehearsal time of ELP, I remember going up to the rehearsal hall in Shepherds Bush near shepherds, Bush. And I must say, the start with the the mixture of classical, you know, keys, classical music and the music they were playing was quite difficult to stomach to begin with, I for me anyway. But very soon with Greg's influence, there was more of a sort of melodic input from Greg Keith was a brilliant classical pianist. And I think obviously, a lot of that influence came into the LP, whereas with King Crimson, it was melodic, as well as being schizophrenic as well as being mad melodic, etc, etc. losing the plot here,
Murray Lerner 16:09
don't you think he LP became mad enough?
John Gaydon 16:12
I ELP definitely became mader as the album's went on. And as the excesses went on, and, you know, the person carpets on the stage came on, and all sorts of other things came on, but in the early days of ELP, and I was only there for the first couple of albums, I guess. And by that time, and after that, I left the company, and had nothing more to do with them for the next 36 years until today.
Murray Lerner 16:44
Oh, wow. But let's take the positive side, how did you feel as a manager manager feels? You know that the money is there and worth it? How did you feel as a manager that they would do?
John Gaydon 16:58
Well as a manager when we started eg management in 1969, and we borrowed the money from Barclays Bank in the Gloucester road to make in the quarter Crimson King, which immediately sold bucket loads, band broke up, ELP were formed, and they sold bucket loads of records. And then we signed Tyrannosaurus Rex. And over a period of a year or two, we can get them to change their names T Rex, and they had number one records and so bucket loads of records. All I really remember was the bucket loads of drugs and champagne and nights in tramps that we did get through, and really, as a manager, because we were, you know, we were young 20 24 year olds coming from public school. Suddenly, were managing, you know, three of the biggest bands in Britain at the time. It was unreal, and quite hard to relate it to anything else we've ever experienced, because we haven't experienced anything like that.
Murray Lerner 18:07
Well when you approached the to the Isle of Wight, but when you approached, going to the Isle of Wight, how did you first you know, you know, it was big, I think and I don't know if you had any premonition of the tensions there. But how did you feel about the forthcoming gig?
John Gaydon 18:22
Well, we'd, we'd planned it with the band that they'd play. One warm up gig before the Isle of Wight. We knew the Isle of Wight was going to be a major festival, not that there'll be many festivals at that time, but we knew it'd been a major event. And they played a warm up gig. I think it was in Plymouth, probably a couple of weeks before, something like that. So when we went to the Isle of Wight, we knew it was going to be a mega event. There was so much press the MP on the Isle of Wight, whose daughter actually married one of my best friends was trying to ban the concert I believe. I don't know much about the history of it. But I certainly when we got down there and we saw the hundreds of 1000s of people there. It was mind boggling. The little I remember of the day, I know ELP were rehearsing in the back of pantechnicon truck in the grounds. I've got an old photograph with them standing in there, warming up. My partner David Enthoven and his wife, his girlfriend, sorry, sorry, Dave and his wife, my partner David Enthoven and his girlfriend, Carolyn, who later married Roger Waters. They both decided to shave all their hair off, and she did as well. And the irony was that they actually got more press on the next day than any of the bands did. And certainly any more than certainly more than I was like parameter at the time because their picture was all over. The news of the world with their bald heads.
Murray Lerner 20:03
But did you have any other as they were rehearsing in the big crowd? Was it what did you feel might be the outcome of their appearance.
John Gaydon 20:13
We felt on the day because of the size of the audience and an Andy, the artists that were on the show that this would be something that could possibly go down in history. We were more preoccupied at the time and trying to get our money out of the far brothers. I think that's what they were called. And we never actually get paid. To this day, as far as I know, I certainly not never saw the money. And we were also preoccupied because we'd arranged in the band wanted these cannons put on the side of the stage, we'd put in our rider with the fire brothers that the band had to go on stage at sunset, or these when it was going dark at the magic hour. And I believe it was you probably correct me but I think Steppenwolf might have been on just before us and or they were coming on next. And because it was running late, we said no, we've got to go on before Steppenwolf, because it's in our rider, otherwise, were leaving the site. And ELP will not perform anyway. And we managed to get on stage. And but we had a huge argument, I guess was Steppenwolf's manager at the time.
Murray Lerner 21:29
Well, now, but then,
John Gaydon 21:31
you know than I do Murray, you know more than I do about all that.
Murray Lerner 21:35
I just know you I don't know, your feelings.
John Gaydon 21:38
Murray Lerner 21:40
No about the potential success of that.
John Gaydon 21:45
To be honest with you, we were not aware about what their performance would mean. Subsequent to that, because when you're managing an act like that, where, you know, the self confidence, the belief in the music and in the band. And of course, everything we'd done before with King Crimson had been successful. We were probably somewhat arrogant about the expectations of the result of that concert. And I don't think we were particularly conscious of any having any expectations prior to the show.
Murray Lerner 22:26
Well, were you surprised by the reaction after the show, which evidently, according to the others, you know, Emerson Lake upon made them at least worldwide, known as worldwide, well known worldwide as stars.
John Gaydon 22:42
We weren't aware that the impact of the concert would make them worldwide stars, I must say. We went home and probably dropped another tab of acid, to be honest with you. And then you don't want to know that really do you?
Murray Lerner 22:57
Yeah, I do. I don't mind. I want to ask you about stuff like that. But what did you think about? Well, at some point, you knew they were extraordinarily successful and well known because of the Isle of Wight
John Gaydon 23:11
we knew that the impact of the Isle of Wight subsequently because of the press and the, you know, the impact publicly to the, to that gathering of so many people, resonated throughout the world. So instantly, this band had become a major act, really, as the result of one show. One major event. And as a result, I guess that was a great decision of ours or our agents, or whoever, but it's one of those things, that magic moments that make make the careers of artists.
Murray Lerner 23:53
And how did you feel about when you realize that it was as a manager that it was a magic moment?
John Gaydon 23:59
I don't think I've ever realized it was a magic moment until today, to be honest with you as a manager. No, I think maybe magic moments. Every day was a magic moment in 1969 in 1970, working having this company eg it was nonstop. You know, it was constant. We were in the Kings Road Chelsea. We had women we had Rolls Royces. We had everything going on around us. And you know, this was the swinging 60s.
Murray Lerner 24:34
What was what did you think about the value or influence of drugs in relationship to the actual ability to play? Did they play okay on drugs? In other words?
John Gaydon 24:52
Did the band play okay on drugs? I'm not sure the band were on drugs. I think the managers were on drugs. And that's
Murray Lerner 25:08
Sure. The question is, and what did you think about the performance at the Isle of Wight? Had you hadn't seen anything like that before?
John Gaydon 25:18
The performance at the Isle of Wight o be honest, we were so wrapped up as managers in arguing the case for the band to, to get on stage at the right time, that the gear you know, you're, you're so you know, hyped up and tense about the, the actual moment that they're going on stage. And then you as a manager, have done your job. Now it's up to them. And I think, once they're on stage, and the cannons went off, and the whole thing began, it was a huge relief, and a huge moment of elation, because, you know, there are 120,000 people, I'm not sure how many people are well, but there are hundreds of 1000s of people out there. And we just stood at the side of the stage. I imagined with our mouths open, because that was the sort of impact you get when you're standing there. You know, Keith and Greg, and Carl, your heading the first notes and the cannons are going off. It was amazing.
Murray Lerner 26:20
Well, did you like their theatrical excesses? No. Never did get them to stop it. Do you think it would be commercially Good?
John Gaydon 26:34
Did I like that? Theatrical excesses? I felt that. Certainly Keith Emerson and his theatrics and his dagger and throwing the Hammond organ around. It was fantastic showmanship. Yeah, it was great. And I think that part of the the fact that a three piece band could make that much noise and put on a show like that was incredible. And I have to admit, I didn't like their music, but as a show band, as an entertainment entity. They were magnificent.
Murray Lerner 27:12
He didn't like the use of classical music.
John Gaydon 27:17
I love classical music. But I found I love classical music. But I did find that their choice of the classical music that they played, and maybe my, my taste in classical music at that stage, and probably now was far more conservative than Keith.
Murray Lerner 27:39
And I see that's interesting. And after the festival took place, you got involved with a lot of negotiations because of their success. I imagined then you got a lot of requests for their appearances.
John Gaydon 27:54
Yes. We you know, after the Isle of Wight, you know, the, the itinerary the dates that flowed in. The money that was flying in was fantastic. I must say I was, to some extent more preoccupied with you know, my relationship with my partner, and other things that were going on. And the fact that we were being pressured by the band to invest a lot of money in equipment, and, you know, so that they could tour in the sort of way that they felt that they should tour, which in some people's mind might be excessive.
Murray Lerner 28:45
But on the other hand, it did work.
John Gaydon 28:49
Yeah, it did work.
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