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Dan Pinto's
Official Website


   Familiar with Dan Pinto's early background in studying ELP's playing, Lydia Defretos, writer for the Aquarian   
Weekly Music Newspaper, asked if he would like to chime in on the following interview held at the Parker   
Meridian Hotel in New York City on
June 10th, 1992. We thought that you might like to read what was said. :)   
Coordinated by Sarah McMullin on behalf of   
Emerson & Carl Palmer in promotion of ELP's "Black Moon" tour.   

To learn more about the composer Dan Pinto, please visit the HOMEPAGE.

CARL PALMER INTERVIEW:                                                                  Click HERE for KEITH EMERSON'S INTERVIEW
                                                                      Scroll to mid section of this page for an amusing story about Greg Lake.


Lydia Defretos:
Congratulations on your new album, We heard you a little bit on the radio coming in.

Carl Palmer: Thank you, WNEW?

Lydia Defretos: Yes. Have you expected the reaction that you've gotten to the album?

Carl Palmer: No, it's really unexpected, completely. Obviously we knew that we had a certain amount of presence here in America, because the music is still played on classic rock stations unlike in Europe were it doesn't get played very much because we don't have that radio format. But the reception that the band is receiving physically and the reaction to the record so far has been fantastic. It's something that you don't know after 12 years to be honest with you. You don't know what to expect. It started out as a project for a soundtrack for film that Phil Carson presented to us who we've known for 20 years. He led the A & R department of Atlantic records in Europe, thats how we first met him. There were a couple of things that he had film wise that he was looking into for himself, because he was after everything for his label. And he knows that it was something that we never did as a band. We played with an orchestra, we did solo projects, we made group albums, we made videos and all of that stuff but we never did a film score together and he knows that it was something that was always in the back of our minds that we should have done. But we never got to do it! And so he said, look, I've got this idea so how about some film music? And we said great. So he said basically I haven't really got anything yet but if you just write something, it almost like you can do the music and they'll put something around it. So we went into a rehearsal complex. We selected ourselves a nice room and we set up in there for 3 weeks. We had about 10 or 15 minutes worth of music that we thought was good. I was free cause I had just finished the Asia album, Keith had just come back from Japan, and so there was no problem in actually working something out. So when Phil came back to London to see us a second time, we said look, it's pointless in doing film music at the moment with the stuff that we've got, this is a group album. We might as well just make an album now, we're in, we've started. And that was it! Nobody could have pushed us into a corner and said make a group album because it really wouldn't have worked. This had to be a sort of natural almost organic thing.

Dan Pinto: At one point there was a piece of music that was to be used for film which was "Pirates".

Carl Palmer: Yes, it was going to be.

Dan Pinto: What ever came of that?

Carl Palmer: Well, in actual fact, it was the same situation. People were interested in using our music for a film. And Pirates was a conceptual piece. I think at the end of the day, we never really thought that there was anything there that was really good enough so we never pursued it any further. We decided to exploit the band further musically and thats when we brought in the orchestra. We decided to tour with it which we did for 3 and a half weeks.

Dan Pinto: And was it that the orchestra became too expensive to continue the tour with?

Carl Palmer: Not that it was expensive so much because we budgeted for all of that, you know, we worked that out. The real problem was is that it was almost too soon. It was good for major cities like Detroit and New York, but we took it into secondary markets, and it was almost like it bewildered people to a certain degree. We should have gone there as Emerson, Lake & Palmer. So we decided we would do 3 weeks of major markets. We were on tour for 6 weeks and 3 and a half weeks of that were major markets and thats were we used them.

Lydia Defretos: I recently read an article saying that you were so surprised that after all this time that the chemistry was still there after so long with all the dynamics that are involved.

Carl Palmer: It's an interesting thing because, there's obviously a certain chemistry when certain musicians play together. I don't really understand what it is, I don't think anybody knows. It's just something that happens. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. And sometimes it doesn't work with Emerson, Lake & Palmer. When it does work, it's on a high, high level, you know. And I guess we didn't understand it at the very beginning. You know back when we first started in 1970. We were all too young to really realize what it was because we just kept on going. We recognize that more now, we understand what it is and it's quite a powerful vehicle really. I think we understand each other that much more. Coming back together and playing in a room after being apart for 12 years and then playing solid for like a 3 or 4 week period wasn't as if we went through a relearning process. It was like we just carried off. After 10 years, it was nothing. It was really like 10 minutes.

Dan Pinto: It goes beyond just the musical point.

Carl Palmer: Yeah, it's very funny, you know? And it's not as if we're out every night. We don't socialize big time, we never have. Yeah, sure we meet up on Birthdays and things like that and we meet each other in town sometimes for lunch but it's not like we go out drinking every night. It's never been like that. It's just that when we're actually working there's a certain element of enjoyment which makes it sort of competitive eternally. It doesn't feel like work to us. It's extremely fruitful, it's vibrant when we're in there. We rehearsed for 3 months solid going in with this recording shoot and we played for 5, 6 days a week! Thats quite alot. And every other day, there was a new idea of something fresh. I mean we've got stuff ready for a second studio album. We have bits and pieces ready. What we plan on doing is, that this goes right through to September in America. Starts in July in Philadelphia around about the 24th. We go through America and record at certain places, we not too sure yet. Record in Europe and we're playing in a place called Verona in Italy which is historically significant so we want to film that and we want to record there. So we'll have a live album which we won't release straight away. We're going to Japan too, and we're going to film it all. We've already put together some footage of a documentary with archive & new material. The making of the video "Black Moon", the making of the album. We'll film on tour. We might even play a concert with an orchestra at some stage.


Carl Palmer(left) with Dan Pinto(Right) in 1992 at the private promotional party for the release of the Black Moon LP.

Greg Lake was to be interviewed during this session but time had run short and eventhough he did show up, we were already in the process of leaving. One very funny thing that happened with him on the way out of the building was that we couldn't get out of the building! :) Keith and Carl had already left and we were leaving with Greg and Sarah, the interview coordinator. We all entered the elevator and found that it wouldn't budge. The door kept on opening up on the same floor. We tried up and we tried down and still no luck. So after about 10 minutes of this, Greg decides that he's going to call down to the concierge desk from the telephone located in the hall on the floor that we were stuck on. He's telling them that we can't get off the floor. It was hilarious! If Greg wasn't such a great musician, his second calling in life could have been a comedian. He says to them, "Well what am I suppose to do, pitch a tent!?"He was motioning to pull the fire alarm on the wall and all of us were like, Greg! No! It was very comical. Other people came along and got on the same elevator after we got off, and Greg was yelling to them... "There's no point going in there! Your not going anywhere!" Well, ultimately the elevator did go down and Greg said, "See, my phone call worked!" Though the interview was not performed, the time that we did spend with Greg was priceless!

Visit Brain-Salad.com for in depth information on Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP Digest)

Dan Pinto: Do you feel more prepared now working with the orchestra?

Carl Palmer: Not more prepared, what we want to go out and show them because we sound so big now.

Dan Pinto: As a 3 piece you mean.

Carl Palmer: As a band, yeah because of MIDI. I mean we've got MIDI on the bass guitar, the drums, everything, my grandmother, you know it's like(Laughing). The band sounds huge! I mean so the orchestra is just for the hell of it. We don't actually need them but it's just for a little spice. I mean when you think about it, the Atlantic years, rock documentary, the live album and we have some studio material ready, we've entered into it really as part 2 of the life of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. We just had to stop for 10 years.(smiles)

Lydia Defretos: Im sure people have asked you, are you going to stay together, I mean this is not just, you know...

Carl Palmer: Yeah, I have finished my commitments with Asia. I recorded the album, it's just been number 1 in Japan. I was actually doing the 2 albums at the same time and when they wanted to tour, I couldn't tour so they've now got a new drummer. Steve Howe will be playing guitar.

Dan Pinto: Who is the new drummer for Asia?

Carl Palmer: Trevor Thornton, he's from a band called "Second Nation", they're like a disco rock band. Quite good. John Wetton is out again, he's left again. They've got a guy named John Payne on Bass.

Dan Pinto: What happened with John Wetton?

Carl Palmer: I think he just wanted to concentrate on writing.

Dan Pinto: It was his choice?

Carl Palmer: Yeah, really.

Dan Pinto: What became of Robert Berry from "3"

Carl Palmer: Basically after that tour we did, Keith didn't really want to pursue that project any further. Robert is self-sufficient anyway, he has a studio in San Jose and he makes an incredible living writing ad works for radio and local people.

Dan Pinto: Emerson and Berry, did they get along well?

Carl Palmer: Oh, yeah, well they're both keyboard players you see. Robert's father has got one of the biggest piano shops in San Jose, something like 400 pianos just for rental, that kind of place, you know. But they hit it off big time.

Dan Pinto: You keep in touch with Robert?

Carl Palmer: I spoke to Robert about 3 months ago. He called me up to tell me that he just bought a new Ferrari if you want to know(Laughing)

Dan Pinto: I know back in 1977 you would keep yourself in shape with Karate. Now with this new tour, what are you doing to keep yourself in shape?

Carl Palmer: Kind of laying in bed longer(Laughing). Im 42 now, so it's hard really to, you know. The Karate thing is OK, because I have a license to teach. I never went for the second degree. I could have done it, I just never bothered. The last time I did some teaching was about 3 years ago. I cracked my toe across the joint on a big one and it kind of hurt me for a while and my finger popped out again. Basically I can't really participate in any sort of like club tournaments.

Dan Pinto: You've got a Black belt though

Carl Palmer: I've got my first degree, I got that at Tokyo university, that was no problem. But I just couldn't pursue it to a level that I wanted to. I started to when I was like 24. And I've just got too much to lose, I really enjoy playing. And I've got a little bit of pain, a bit of rheumatism. What happens is that it's the ones like the Brown belts that they don't pull punches and they hit you, they kick you and your done. That's it. You don't get hurt by someone thats the same level as you. There's the first degree and second degree Black belt. It's the ones under that have got something to prove, you know, so your the one that catches it. So, I can't do that. What I'm into now and have been very successful at it for 2 years that I've been doing it, I Fence.

Dan Pinto: Really?!

Carl Palmer: Yeah. And I got a Bronze for the Nationals in Spain. I got a Bronze medal. To enter into it, qualifying as it were. Then you have to go against the whole of Spain, I just went for the bottom half(Laughing)

Dan Pinto: What got you into Fencing?

Carl Palmer: I've always wanted to do that to tell you the truth. I went to an exhibition once and saw these Hungarians. They're great saber fighters and I said I have to have a go at that. I like anything one on one. You know, I'm not an aggressive person, don't get me wrong but I enjoy that, you know. Because it's just like chess, you know. My reflexes are quick and I manage to obtain a high sort of level of skill very quickly.

Lydia Defretos: I'm not surprised with the drumming.

Carl Palmer: It's kind of surprising because there's another guy who's really, really good, Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden. He's big time.

Lydia Defretos: He's a fencer? Is that what you call it?(laughs)

Carl Palmer: Yeah, He Fences. He does foil, the small one, very dainty. He goes off to Germany and he stays in hotels for 2 or 3 months training with the local people. It's a great sport. It's very, very English, you know. I don't think that there's a fencing school in New York. I don't know, maybe. I know there's one in California, I went to one there.

Dan Pinto: How's the equipment changed from the old ELP in terms to what your doing today. Obviously MIDI is a big part of it.

Carl Palmer: Well I'm using a unit with a 10 megabyte memory. I've got 2 of those. I use one as a backup.Ive got roughly twelve programs that I got through in a set.

Dan Pinto: Are these special effects programs?

Carl Palmer: They're complete programs, like for Black Moon, thats a complete drum program where like the bass drum is 3 sampled sounds together.

Dan Pinto: Are you combining acoustic sounds and electronic sounds?

Carl Palmer: There all electronic sounds, but some of them are acoustic sounds but they're samples. And then I layer them in with electronic sounds. My attitude is that I've tried to approach this situation as if I'd never stopped with Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Because we've always rode the bull by the horns with technology and just kept it on the edge all the time. So basically, I just bought myself whatever it was, I think it was 25,000 dollars worth of equipment, the best. I've got all of the channels that automatically change and the EQ is reset on every program. I've got a Midigator foot pedal that goes up and down through MIDI so that every time I change a channel, all of the EQ's are automatically reset. So what I send them out front is exactly what they need to hear. It's all taken from the record. Once the record was mixed, I then took all the samples again of how they were affected for the snare and for the toms and for the bass drum.

Dan Pinto: Now in the studio, that's one way, but when your playing in a venue, each venue changes the sound. Is that a problem?  

Carl Palmer: No, it's not. Because basically what I will send is something that is very, very close and then he's just got to adjust it to the building. The overall sort of sonic sound that he's picking up will be quite different, and every sampleI have is with and effect and without an effect. So I can actually like build a sound into the hall and it wouldn't be a problem.

Dan Pinto: On the acoustic drums themselves, obviously you have an acoustic set.

Carl Palmer: Yes

Dan Pinto: What are you using for triggers to trigger the electronics?

Carl Palmer: There's a couple of things at the moment. I been using the old, we call them trixters, I think over hear you call them "Drastic Plastic". It's like Mickey Mouse really, a little thing you silicon onto the drum head.

Dan Pinto: Like a little Radio Shack part.

Carl Palmer: Yeah. Then there's the new Yamaha one, I'm using that at the moment and that's OK, but then the Scandinavians the D Drum People, they put out another new one. I just saw it down here in Sam Ash. I just sent a fax to the chap that does my equipment, I said you better get this for me to have a look at. Since I made the album, there's been a development within the technology for the electric percussion. I got these what they call ME 35T's right, and this is what this does, this enables you to hit the drum and trigger any sound you want. I mean anything! And not just a drum sound. It's fantastic. And I bought 4 of these thinking well, I need 2 and I have 2 spare. You never know, right?(Laughs) And like about a week ago, Yamaha brought out this DTs 70 or whatever the name and it's got all these extra parameters on it, it's this, it's that.

Dan Pinto: I know how it is with the equipment's technology that changes so fast and nowadays it's like every week!

Carl Palmer: It's frightening. I know that when I'm on tour, something else will come and I just won't have the time to update, you know? Thats the problem. But as long as I can produce the sound that we've created on record. And to tell you the truth, I have two people now. I can't set them up anyway.(Laughing) I'm no good at that.

Lydia Defretos: No good with kid's toys either?(Laughing)

Carl Palmer: I'm OK with doll's houses, I've had a bit of practice with that. With my daughter, you know. I know what every machine does, but I just can't sit there and bang the drum and you know. I just got a guy, a programmer full time. I tell him what I want. I say "This is wrong, we've got to get that sample sorted out, da, da, da" Here's the list, I'll be back tomorrow(Laughs). Because otherwise, what you do is you lose sight of the real thing, the music. And that's why Mark Mancina produces the albums. We had to have someone. Not just for me, but for all three of us. The relationship with him is as follows... We heard a piece of music called "Burning Bridges" which is a great piece of music, we said, we have to meet this chap. He's European, right? Lives in California, well we all make mistakes(laughing), we'll still meet him anyway. Wonderful guy. Really understanding and extremely knowledgeable about Emerson, Lake & Palmer music and what we've done. He's a great keyboard player, a great programmer. He worked with Yes on the last couple of albums programming some tracks and did some singing, a good singer. We're like, Where has he been all of our lives, you know, we need him. Fit like a glove. So we said look, would you like to produce the album? So he took care of the day to day sort of dirty jobs as it were in the studio. We were completely freed up so as to keep the creativity up really high. I personally still take an active part in the business, knowing what we're doing and how we're doing. I'm very interested in that because I learned alot through the Asia years. But in the studio, I just want to play, I don't want to know, I mean I'll read the manual and know what the gadget can do, but you can work it. I know what to ask for but I don't want to sit there and do button pushing.

Dan Pinto: Alot of musicians now are coming in with all this new stuff to learn and it's taking it's toll on the music.

Carl Palmer: It's hard. Do you know what the problem is? Over the ages we lost, I personally think, it happened with Asia too, we lost a certain amount of identity. Because most groups sounded the same, manufactured. Most records got to sound too corporate. Like in the 80's you couldn't really put on the radio and hear bands like a new band lets say like a Jethro Tull or a new band like a Led Zeppelin, you know what I mean because the identity had been smoothed out. It was hard and I think that was alot to do with technology. I think that in the 90s there's a new trend of actually playing the stuff. As well as using. But we don't use any sequences. It's all played and I think that's important really. And I think there's a new level now of people who can really play. That know how to use the stuff but don't want to be controlled by it. (Keith Emerson walks into the room) And here he is(laughs) and I'll leave you with Keith.
                                                                                                   (Click HERE for Keith Emerson's Interview)


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