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Direct Link To This Post Topic: KEITH EMERSON - Pictures Of An Exhibition
    Posted: January 02 2006 at 10:42

KEITH EMERSON - Pictures Of An Exhibitionist

Reviewed by Hugues Chantraine

 

 

Keith’s memoirs are sure as hell aptly titled and unashamedly so. It was always evident that Emerson had an over-dimensioned ego that only his colleague Greg Lake was able to match, but this book is flabbergasting in openness and narcissism.

Emerson’s writing style is a rather odd and clumsy telling of his adventures  - some are hilarious, others are rather appalling (how could anyone open his sordid thoughts to readers) others would demand confirmation from the others involved. It took me incredible drive to get through the first four chapters of his book, before I started feeling more at ease with his writing style, but I suspect that it did get easier because he started talking about The Nice and the subject actually interested me quite a bit. Actually the book gets interesting because of the many funny touring incidents and twisted On-The-Road tales until their album BSS. We get all of the sordid details such as how many times Emo had the clap from accepting favours from groupies, how they blew other groups from the stage, etc. But the real embarrassing stuff, he passes under silence: Emo (as he likes to call himself in his book) once did a twenty minute solo with his Hammond organ and when Palmer was so furious at this lengthy indulgence, he sent an ultimatum to have it “stop or else he would quit” through Lake’s roadie, but once the roadie got to the tilted organ, he saw Emerson yelling at him to finally help him lift the bloody instrument as he could not do it himself for his belt buckle had been caught right from the start as he had tipped the Hammond, so he was completely unable to straighten it up again with nobody aware of the problem. No you will not read that in here!!!

I was quite pleased to read about David O’List and Emerson spends a good deal talking about him in a very open and correct manner. One always thought that he got sacked for ego reasons, but such was not the case. Most of the ego problems he had in The Nice were with his singing bassist Lee Jackson, who was a sharp dresser, a lady’s man, correct bassist but awful singer.

One has a feeling that outside Emo’s ego, he is an individual that gasps for attention/spotlight (both his bassists were also attention grabbers too and he was often at odds with them) , good or bad – although he prefers good as he is still sick of Bernstein’s attitude towards him – but one gets a feeling that a good deal of the book is aimed at sniping towards Greg Lake - which was the prime reason I bought the book, hoping he would dig the dirt. It is a wonder how those two got along right from the first meeting onwards. Many shots are fired but none were lethal or below the belt, but we can be sure Lake will be writing his own book soon just to get a few things straight. Sounds like a good soap opera starting up.

I must say that the book started to bore me as the story moves on with their decline from the Works until Love Beach albums – the book stops at that period and we will not know anything (or one page’s worth) of the 80’s or 90’s reformations. I must say I was fairly glad it did stop then, for Emo’s writing style had gotten the best of me, and I am not sure I would’ve read it at all. I am not so sure Emerson gained anything by writing this book, as the saying goes: better be thought bad of, than open your mouth and prove it. For absolute fans not fearing to lose respect for their hero. I only got confirmation of what I had already suspected.



Edited by Easy Livin
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 02 2006 at 11:04

Emerson his writing style is like his keyboard play and his extravert and sturdy behaviour, this book contains a lot of sex in comparison to other progrock books! And I didn't know that Keith knew Jimi Hendrix so well, it almost led to musical collaborations ship, even earlier than the HELP story.

I agree with Hugues that the final part is a bit boring but in general this book is worth reading for me as an ELP and Keith Emerson fan. But there are plenty better progrock books ...

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2006 at 07:05

Thanks Erik,

Always nice to get confirmation of someone as knowledgeable asyou. Great minds think alike!!!

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2006 at 14:41
I picked this up in a local cut price bookshop a couple of months ago, and while I'm not the world's biggest ELP fan I found it pretty interesting, though I don't think that Keith Emerson comes across particularly well. It would be interesting to read Lake's side of the story, and even more so to read Palmer's - he comes across as the only sympathetic character out of the trio.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2006 at 22:29
Great review Hugues ... was that Lee Jackson, and not David Jackson you meant though?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2006 at 04:19

Originally posted by Trotsky Trotsky wrote:

Great review Hugues ... was that Lee Jackson, and not David Jackson you meant though?

OOOOOOOOOOOOpppppppppppppppsssssssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!.......................

 

I'll get Bob to fix that!!

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2006 at 04:48
I thought it was a pretty entertaining read, though as Hugues says, it does start to pall once you get to their decline. The writing style is not the greatest but its acceptable and at least he seems to have written it himself, and not relied on ghost writers. Some good stories in there like the one about the fox which I thought was well told.

I believe he has some money problems, which may have been the reason for the book?

OK so he does have a large ego (as does Greg Lake I think?) but I guessed that already, so there were no surprises for me there!! 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2006 at 13:19
keith
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2006 at 13:59

I didn`t know that Emerson has a big Ego!

I have not seeing live videos of ELP, except their bit in the Isle of Wight Festival Film, firing the cannons!

But I have read an interview done with Lake in Guitar Magazine (I think that was the name of the magazine) in 1998. He was asked his opinion about several guitarists`styles. He said about Steve Howe: "He doesn`t mean a sh**t to me". Maybe this was one of the reasons he wasn`t  member of Asia for a long time.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2006 at 19:42
At least it was open and honest, Emerson is a musician not a writer (except music). I found it very informative and some of the stories were hilarious, sad, and downright sordid, but at least honest.

Edited by spacecraft - July 16 2006 at 19:29
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 04 2007 at 20:00
I would recommend this book to anyone and especially ELP fans! I was a little scared at first because I thought it would make me hate Emerson and think of him as an egotistical loser. Not So.
Great book!
I've read it 3 times and I keep finding new hilarious things I missed the first time!
I could have stood a bit more information about studio and touring time but it was very good.
I Recommend it!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 18 2007 at 15:18
Originally posted by Syzygy Syzygy wrote:

I picked this up in a local cut price bookshop a couple of months ago, and while I'm not the world's biggest ELP fan I found it pretty interesting, though I don't think that Keith Emerson comes across particularly well. It would be interesting to read Lake's side of the story, and even more so to read Palmer's - he comes across as the only sympathetic character out of the trio.
 
 
I read this book last year. There are some parts of it interesting. I remember when this book came out. On Greg Lake Forum at the time, around june or july 2004, we were talking about this book and the way Keith was talking about Greg. Somebody on the board was asking why Greg was not defending himself, or saying something about it. We always wanted to defend him all the time actually. What a surprise one morning. ,on the board. Greg wrote something about this matter on the Forum. He did not feel the purpose or the necessity to defend himself, or to give his point of view. For him, it was not worthing it. By the way, Keith was not so harsh on him on his book.
 
Carl read it, and for most part, he did not recongnise the things or the stories ( not the same point of view). Finally, it appears that Carl is currently preparing to write or writhin his own biography. I am very anxious to read this.
 
  
 
C'est la vie
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2007 at 07:40
Excellent read for anyone liking prog/ELP and funny anecdotes aplenty
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 23 2007 at 04:06
Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

Excellent read for anyone liking prog/ELP and funny anecdotes aplenty
 
Richard, there is one he forgot to tell, though!!Pig
 
One day, Lake was getting upset at Emo's 20 mins solo - he was playing from the back of his organ laying on top of him - and ordered the roadie to see if he was about finished, so they could return to the stage.
 
When the roadie to got Emo, Keith started yelling "help me get this frigging thing back up, I can't by myself, my beltbuckle is stuck into it".
 
 
So the professional he was, had kept on playing for some 15 minutes before somene actually cared to notice that something might be wrong. It turns out nobody had, just that Lake's ego was getting ruffledLOL
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 07 2007 at 03:57
Originally posted by Sean Trane Sean Trane wrote:

Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

Excellent read for anyone liking prog/ELP and funny anecdotes aplenty
 
Richard, there is one he forgot to tell, though!!Pig
 
One day, Lake was getting upset at Emo's 20 mins solo - he was playing from the back of his organ laying on top of him - and ordered the roadie to see if he was about finished, so they could return to the stage.
 
When the roadie to got Emo, Keith started yelling "help me get this frigging thing back up, I can't by myself, my beltbuckle is stuck into it".
 
 
So the professional he was, had kept on playing for some 15 minutes before somene actually cared to notice that something might be wrong. It turns out nobody had, just that Lake's ego was getting ruffledLOL
 
brilliant LOL
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 07 2007 at 04:51
Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

Originally posted by Sean Trane Sean Trane wrote:

Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

Excellent read for anyone liking prog/ELP and funny anecdotes aplenty
 
Richard, there is one he forgot to tell, though!!Pig
 
One day, Lake was getting upset at Emo's 20 mins solo - he was playing from the back of his organ laying on top of him - and ordered the roadie to see if he was about finished, so they could return to the stage.
 
When the roadie to got Emo, Keith started yelling "help me get this frigging thing back up, I can't by myself, my beltbuckle is stuck into it".
 
 
So the professional he was, had kept on playing for some 15 minutes before somene actually cared to notice that something might be wrong. It turns out nobody had, just that Lake's ego was getting ruffledLOL
 
brilliant LOL
 
 
The roadie ended the story , by saying that they do their job for the love of the music, not be around egocentric idiots, but they just live for stories like this one.
 
Almost their "raison d'ętre"
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 13 2007 at 09:05
I remember reading a variation on this story in the old Musicians Only newspaper (anyone remember that?). They interviewed ELP's old roadie Rocky and it went something like this...

During a show Rocky was at the side of a stage and looked up to see Emerson grinning at him, so he smiled and waved back. Moving behind the stage to get on with his work he became aware that Emmo had been playing the same chord on his Hammond for an unusually long time. Going back to the side of the stage to see what was happening there was Emerson still grinning and still holding down the chord.
 
He then noticed that a wire from a generator had worked loose and somehow hooked itself into with Emerson's trousers with the result that he was getting several thousand volts shoved through his belt. Apparently the audience loved it and thought it was part of the act..

Not sure how much artistic licence Rocky used with this story but it made me laugh!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 29 2007 at 01:29
Great Book!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 18 2008 at 19:53
I enjoyed the book, and some of the revelations in it. Writing style? who cares as long as it is a good read. Certainly a nit picking reveiw, but that should not take away from the fact that at least Emerson wrote it himself. Emo? where is the problem with that, very petty me thinks.
 
A harsh and in my opinion a poor review of Emersons own thoughts.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 19 2008 at 13:29
Originally posted by the_id the_id wrote:

I enjoyed the book, and some of the revelations in it. Writing style? who cares as long as it is a good read. Certainly a nit picking reveiw, but that should not take away from the fact that at least Emerson wrote it himself. Emo? where is the problem with that, very petty me thinks.
 
A harsh and in my opinion a poor review of Emersons own thoughts.


ahhahah.. and what does that make you, you numbnut.. one who nitpicks a 'nitpicking' review.LOL Then calls it harsh and poor.

ahh... do we have an answer... yes Micky we do.. from the peanut gallery.. the stoned looking kid with acne wearing the Dream Theater t-shirt..


ahhhh...  that would make him...an asshole...

CORRECT!!!! LOL Give that man a Battiato album.
[QUOTE=Nogbad_The_Bad]Christ you talk a lot of crap.[/QUOTE]
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