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Dan Pinto's
Official Website


   Familiar with Dan Pinto's early background in studying Emerson'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

KEITH EMERSON INTERVIEW:                                            Click HERE for CARL PALMER'S INTERVIEW
                                                                    & scroll half way down on that page for an amusing story on Greg Lake.


Lydia Defretos:
Dan has seen you guys a number of times, I've never seen you perform. Congradulations on your new record.

Keith Emerson: Thank you

Lydia Defretos: It's almost like you've been holding your breath to find out the reaction.

Keith Emerson: I've always been aware through mail what ELP means to a vast number of people and it's almost like an obligation. I personally felt to at least sort of like get it back on the road. I felt are we capable of doing it musically. I mean we're getting on a bit now. Do we have the stamina to do it? All these questions. The other thing of course is the British press has always been, Oh God, ELP, you mention the name ELP and you want to know what you've done to upset them you know. I mean they really are very, very vicious. So all of that together was like, if we do it, what's going to happen. I think the only thing that made us go in and do it was that we just had fun playing the music. It got to a certain thing and the whole ball started growing and even then we weren't sure how we were going to be accepted.

Lydia Defretos: Well your pretty sure now, aren't you?

Keith Emerson: Not really. I don't think that we should really rest on our laurels here at all. I think that we can honestly say that we're, I mean I'm certainly pretty nervous about doing the whole thing.

Lydia Defretos: You are selling out venues though.

Keith Emerson: It seems to be that way, yeah. It's either that or stay at home and sort of watch the television.(Laughs)

Lydia Defretos: All 3 of you have mentioned in Contemporary Keyboard magazine that you've matured and how that maturation was very important to this record.

Keith Emerson: Well I suppose that maturity comes naturally anyway. What I like about this new record is that you actually listen to a theme and you can actually stay with it and you can hear that theme develop. And I think that's a sign of maturity in writing. When I listen back to the earlier ELP things, quite a few of those ideas were just ideas that we came up with and just scraped upon. They didn't go into any development. It was like, Oh hang on, we've got another idea which is completely different then the one that you just heard one second ago. And so you were constantly thrown around, you know. It made for good fun but I don't think it made musical sense really. I think this album makes musical sense.

Lydia Defretos: Do you think a big part of that is due to the fact that Mark Mancina kind of freed you up in the studio?

Keith Emerson: I think he got the best out of us. When I met with Mark, and I'd never met him before, he was like an ELP fan. He was a keyboard player. A very good keyboard player. So we went out for dinner and I said now this is what's going to happen. Your gonna have a problem on this side, your going to have this here, can you deal with this? And he said, yeah, I can do that. And I said also, if you feel if there is anything about my playing that is not up to scratch, I want you to tell me. I don't want you to come in on a fan level because that won't work. And he appreciated that and he found that most of my predictions about the whole thing became exactly true. I told him all the little odds and ends about the band. It worked out very well. There was teething troubles to start off with like a pecking order thing. It was strange, we'd be playing away and he'd say, hang on a second and we'd be, who s that guy(laughs). Oh right, he's the producer!(laughing) He's supposed to tell us that and we did tell him to do that and that's what we hired him for and we should pay attention. Right, you know.

Lydia Defretos: Do you think with the next record, I understand that you've got quite a bit of material left over, that you would use him again?

Keith Emerson: Oh I definitely liked him.

Lydia Defretos: Do you think he'll ever be able to do his own record?

Keith Emerson: This business is very, very difficult. Once your known as a producer, that's it. I don't think he'd get a record deal if he said, well now I'm doing my own thing. It doesn't work that way. I don't know of any producers that have made it. I've seen it the other way around. Jeff Lynn. He's been in the business and now he's become a producer.

Lydia Defretos: Has Mark produced other people?

Keith Emerson: No, it's the first time that he's actually produced. It was a long shot, it really was. He sent us a bunch of stuff. The first song was "Burning Bridges". And I felt well, that's good, it sounds like an ELP tune, right. And I felt that we needed something. I didn't feel that the direction we were going in was very commercial. Whatever that means. I felt that we needed something to fit in to get radio play. Cause I've never been really in love with doing singles, you know.

Dan Pinto: On this particular album, did you feel at all that you held back a little bit or were conservative with your playing or your writing in relation to trying to make it semi accessible or commercial?

Keith Emerson: No. Commerciality has never really been any concern of mine from the beginning. As long as it sounds good, I'd play anywhere. I bear no reference to how many records it takes to make a Gold album, I have no idea. "Changing States" for instance, I wrote that all down on manuscript to get a good overall view of the construction of how all the things are going to work and how the counting was going to interact with each other. And I kept working at it until I was satisfied that it did make good sense.

Dan Pinto: But it made good sense for you.

Keith Emerson: Absolutely for me, yeah. But I like to feel that other people do because I know that people analyze ELP's music alot, usually colleges do. So I like to actually be able to say if they were to ask me serious questions about I did that because of this reason, you know. And that's the fugue that starts off there and it's a fugue because, the first light comes in there and the other light comes in on a 4th low and develops that way, you know.

Lydia Defretos: Romeo and Juliet, it's really interesting how you took it and learned it the right way and then put that aside and then did your own version.

Keith Emerson: Yeah, I always liked the themes and I wondered well, could I get the piano transcription of this and there was one available. It sort of fitted right in. I did it the first time in California with a bunch of Californian musicians. But all I did was just the main theme and it only lasted about a minute and a half and it was just left at that. When I saw the possibilities with it, I brought Greg and Carl together and said, what do you think of this and they said it's got ELP written all over it and I said well that's what I thought. I said if we do it, I'd like to extend the arrangement It's much too short. We played it at rehearsals and we worked it and it almost didn't go on the album. It was like, well that's OK, we do really need to put his on there because we've got one heavy number, "Black Moon" and the Prokofiev thing is kind of the same sort of tempo. And I just sat back and said well let's let the record company decide really if they want it. So we'd finished doing the whole of the album and we came back to the Prokofiev piece and I think our manager said, maybe you can use it as a "B" side. So I said all right, fine. So we got into the mixing thing and added a few little bits on it and it really took off. The next thing I knew the manager's saying "that's not a bad "B" side". I said, "B" side?! That things going on the bloody album! Thats not a "B" side! He said OK, fine, put it on the album. I stay out of decisions like that you know. :)

Dan Pinto: It's a dynamite piece. The arrangements are really...

Keith Emerson: Well it screams. I mean the solo made me almost laugh, I thought my God, don't play this to six year old children, it will give them nightmares.

Dan Pinto: The melody line on that piece, I mean I'd found that I listened to it 5 or 6 times and it takes several times to listen to it before you can determine where the melody drops on the octaves. It makes it very interesting to listen to.

Keith Emerson: (Laughs) That octave jump by the way was a freak.

Dan Pinto: Really?

Keith Emerson: Yeah, it wasn't meant to be like that. The octave switched on the thing as I played it.(Laughs)

Dan Pinto: It worked great!(Laughing)

Keith Emerson: Ah, Yeah(Laughing), I'm glad you like it! We kept it. I said Oh shit, the thing's gone out of the octave range and it went "Weeeeohhhh" I love accidents.

Dan Pinto: That was great, it was so unpredictable.

Keith Emerson: I know, that's what it was! It was so unpredictable, I didn't predict it.

Dan Pinto: A great piece though. Is that going to be the show piece for the concert?

Keith Emerson: I have no idea.

Dan Pinto: I can see that like a "Mars, the bringer of War" type thing on stage.

Keith Emerson: Perhaps so. Alot of this stuff is very, very difficult to do on stage. I mean I'm all over the place. Hardly time to look up and look around, you know.


in depth
information on
Emerson Lake & Palmer
(ELP Digest)

Click over to read
Carl Palmer's
interview with
Dan Pinto

Photo of Dan Pinto & Keith Emerson taken in New York City in 1992 at a private promotional party for the release of the Black Moon LP. "Years later after meeting up with Keith again, I showed him this photo. He almost fell over with laughter and thought it fitting to inscribe the picture"... "After all these years".
For another cool photo of Keith & Dan, check out the HOMEPAGE

Dan Pinto: Thats actually something I meant to ask you about the equipment. Do you think that it was more complicated and more to deal with then or now with more chance for errors and problems.

Keith Emerson: Yes, I mean although that MIDI enlarges the whole scope of the band, and we don't have to worry about to keep staying in tune, you can link one to another, and then you go, well what else can we do, but then suddenly you find yourself with your hands full again. It doesn't make it any easier. It really doesn't.

Dan Pinto: It's actually much more basic back in the 70's.

Keith Emerson: It was very basic. The fact with the Moog is that we never knew if it was going to work or stay in tune or what. It kept you on your toes and if it didn't work, you had all the knobs up there and you could screw it up anyway and say, "Hey, I meant to do it like that"(Laughs) I mean sometimes we did Hoedown and it would just go "Breeaaahhh"

Dan Pinto: Was that a mistake too, that Hoedown thing that went and shot up like that?

Keith Emerson: That was, but when we recorded that stayed in tune and it also stayed in tune when we did it on the road but there was one time when it did it that one of the oscillators really screwed up and did a "dooooeeeeaaarrrr", sort of like a yodel(Laughs), which got laughs, you know.

Dan Pinto: Thats one of those contacts when those Moog's notes just take off.

Keith Emerson: Yeah, that's right.

Dan Pinto: How did you feel during the '77 tour the first time that you had gotten the response at the Garden to the playing of the Piano Concerto? The second night.

Keith Emerson: Amazing!

Dan Pinto: You looked as if you we're just shaking your head in disbelief.

Keith Emerson: Yeah. Yeah.

Dan Pinto: What a feeling that must have been.

Keith Emerson: It was the second night, that was the one. That was the killer.

Dan Pinto: Second night, right. I was there.

Keith Emerson: Yeah? I mean I expected applause but it just went on, I was like c'mon(Laughing)

Dan Pinto: Lake came over and shook your hand with his arm around you. That was pretty cool.

Keith Emerson: Yeah, that just blew me away. It was just another number on the set list, you know.

Dan Pinto: Not to other people.

Lydia Defretos: I understand that you were talking to "Keyboard Magazine" about doing classical pieces. I was wondering if you would ever think of doing an album of covers, just in general.

Keith Emerson: I wouldn't mind actually. What I would like to do really would be a piano solo album. Just piano, nothing else. No synths, no strings, just piano. Yeah, that would be good. Ive got a whole load of piano ballads which I wrote.

Dan Pinto: Trilogy was never performed live. What about today?

Keith Emerson: I don't know, umm. Well, the reason was I think that we just got cold feet about it. We played it in Germany. But we did do Trilogy.

Dan Pinto: It wasn't in America.

Keith Emerson: No, we did it in England. We definitely toured in England with it and we toured in Germany with it. When we got to America, I think we tried it in the first two nights and it just fell flat. So we took it out.

Dan Pinto: Really? I can't understand why. That was a fabulous piece.

Keith Emerson: We just got cold feet. All the other pieces took off just(snapping fingers) like that.

Dan Pinto: With today's technology, you should really be able to pull it off.

Keith Emerson: Yeah. Yeah.

Lydia Defretos: Speaking of technology, I haven't seen it, but from what I've read about this video, it's pretty wild. This new concept that your using is pretty amazing.

Keith Emerson: Well the only thing amazing about it was that we used these little tiny remote control helicopters.(Speaking of the miniature video cameras that were installed on the remotes)

Lydia Defretos: Thats right up your alley with flying airplanes.

Keith Emerson: Yeah, that's right. But I don't think I'd be very good at doing a remote control airplane. These guys are really skilled. I asked him, I said, "How long have you been doing this?" He said just over a year. I said, "Any accidents?"(Laughing) He said "Not yet" and said well, "good"(Laughs). I said well "what happens if you know", He said well "If you hear the engine drop, duck!"(Laughs)

Dan Pinto: That could be dangerous.

Keith Emerson: Well yeah, it's about the size of this table(referring to coffee table about 4 feet in length) with a little camera strapped to it. And they came at speed about 40 miles an hour. I was playing up on this mountain and I could see this tiny thing coming at me. And your meant to not look at it, you know. Out of the corner of my eye I could see this thing "Weeeeeeeee" skinning past my head like this(gesture's with his hand), you know.

Lydia Defretos: The places that you are playing at least around here are smaller obviously compared to the Garden. Venues that you are used to playing.

Keith Emerson: Yeah.

Lydia Defretos: Are you going to have to trim down your vision of what your stage show is?

Keith Emerson: No, the stage set is being designed by Patrick Woodroffe. He knows about all the venues that we're playing. And obviously we didn't have really big plans. I mean we wanted to do the spinning piano and everything, but when we looked at the size of the venues, there were only about 2 or 3 that we could do it in. So the stage set had to be designed so that we could do all of them. I think that we do have a facility a bit later on that should we yet do that then it can be sorted out.

Dan Pinto: That flying piano thing that you did, you got hurt doing that one time, didn't you?

Keith Emerson: Yeah. I broke my nose.

Dan Pinto: What happened, it just jammed up?

Keith Emerson: Well it spun around very quickly and I was leaning back and they had fireworks and I couldn't see. "OK, you can stop now." My voice must have sounded like this.. Wah wah wah(fading in and out). I think he said Stop. So the guys put the breaks like, Bang! He didn't slow it down, he went boom, like that. And I went "whoa". So my face went into the piano. Your straight back and suddenly that momentum stops, you know. I continued playing with the blood coming.

Lydia Defretos: Are you still flying?

Keith Emerson: Yes.

Dan Pinto: Did you ever fly the band around?

Keith Emerson: No, they wouldn't come up with me.(Laughing) They get very nervous. We used to have a private airplane. We had a lear jet. I used to sit up front, well in fact the band wouldn't let me go up front with the pilot. They thought I was going to do things like barrel rolls.(Laughing) One day when we landed, we dropped Greg and Carl off and the manager and everybody else and I had some spare time. And the pilot said "You want to take it?" I said, yeah, OK! And I'd never flown a lear jet before. He was kind of like here are the controls. It's, pretty much the same. He said, "just like give it all that"(motioning with his hands), and it was like "Whoooaa", this is like, terrific! I mean it just easy, you just pull back and go straight up. Incredible! We did a few spins in it and barrel rolls.

Dan Pinto: What kind of a plane do you have now?

Keith Emerson: Well, I don't own a plane. I have a Cessna, well I hire a Cessna. 152.

Lydia Defretos: So, are you ready for this lengthy tour? Are you excited?

Keith Emerson: Yeah, I'm excited.

Lydia Defretos: Well we wish you good luck

Keith Emerson: Thanks.
(Click HERE for Carl Palmer's Interview)


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