The Nice : Keith Emerson
Welcome back my friends . . .

Jump to page:  

cc: Thinking of your past then; you've got your autobiography out soon and unusually you really have written it yourself. Did the writing experience help you make sense of who Keith Emerson is today?

KE: Actually I hope my book doesn't just reflect on me totally, I hope it reflects on the period of music I was involved in. I hope it gives a certain feeling of what it was like back then with the touring and so on. Although it's my autobiography I wanted it to be a reflection of the times - it was pretty wild with the groupies and everything else, but it's got nothing on Mötley Crüe, I can tell you!

cc: What sort of stuff do you read - who influenced your style?

KE: I was very much inspired by Clive James, Bill Bryson, Terry Pratchett . . . that style of writing.

cc: You go for the dry humour then? I can't normally get into the fantasy genre but what Terry Pratchett does makes it quite accessible - it doesn't take itself too seriously, like some of them.

KE: Yeah, that's why I like it! I don't claim to aspire to any of these great authors but they were an influence in the way that I approached the writing of my book.

cc: So how did you get into writing it, what gave you the idea?

KE: Really what started it off was my mother who had kept all these scrap-books of my career in her loft. She said 'did you know I kept all these' and I went 'wow!' No I didn't. I spent ages looking through them, and I thought if anyone's going to write a book about me, I should be the one. You know, I think its very sad that someone like Eric Clapton has had so many biographies written, but he's never done it for himself. I thought it would be great if he'd written his own - and if Hendrix was still alive for him to have written up his own memoirs . . .

cc: Are you planning to write anything else, like maybe try your hand at some comedy fiction like Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden? You've done the groundwork - that thing in your book about the fox wrecking an office and your studio is pretty funny stuff!

KE: And that's absolutely true, but one of the tamer incidents! I don't know about writing novels, but I'd certainly like to write a sequel to my book. I'll probably start on that next year some time.

cc: Sticking with the comedy connection; I understand Jim Davidson is a big ELP fan. Are you a Jim Davidson fan?

KE: He's a great mate. I'm not saying that just because he likes my music! I was introduced to him in a club in London by one of his earlier wives. I wasn't living in England at the time, I was in the Bahamas and really didn't have any idea of who Jim was. I'd seen a clip of something he did on one of these talent shows before he was discovered and I thought he was very funny. He came up to me and said he was a real fan, and after that we used to hang out an awful lot together. He invited me to one of his stand-up comedy shows, I just laughed my head off.

cc: Didn't he use some of your music for one of his programmes?

KE: Yeah, he wanted to use something for one of his pantomimes, and I said "Jim, you can't use that you're gonna scare the children." He said: [affects cockney accent] "No mate its really gonna work, trust me."

cc: What did he use?

KE: Oh, stuff from The Score and Emerson, Lake & Powell - and of course when he did The Generation Game, ELP recorded Welcome Back My Friends for that.

cc: He puts himself about a bit - he does a lot of Forces work.

KE: Yeah, he's a very generous guy - not that I'd want to approach him on that level. But I just hope he takes care of his finances - he's got four wives to support!

And with that I left Keith Emerson to enjoy his breakfast in the Californian sunshine.

:: Tom Alford

Go to 3 : The Nice to ELPGo to top of pageJump to page:  
Latest articles

Alone in the dark: Buffy The Vampire Slayer bows out in style with the Season Seven DVD Collection.

Johnny Knoxville plays him in the movie Grand Theft Parsons, but counterculture speaks to the man himself: Phil Kaufman interviewed.