By Carol Anne Szel
Carl Palmer truly embodies the show that never ends. This legendary Asia and ELP drummer is heading out on tour this October and November in what is billed as “Carl Palmer & His Band – Celebrates The Music of Emerson Lake & Palmer.” Bringing some of the classic instrumental ELP sounds arranged with what his website calls a "bold" new stance, Carl Palmer will present a musical trio, sans vocalist, of guitarist Paul Bielatowicz and bassist Simon Fitzpatrick on his first big solo tour in four years.
A while back I had the chance to catch up with Carl Palmer to ask him his thoughts about the past, present, and future of music.
How has the music industry changed over the years?
Carl Palmer: I think the media has completely changed. Radio is completely different in this country. If you want music, you can go straight to the Internet and download tunes or whatever you want. So the whole thing has changed rapidly.
What is live performance like today as opposed to back then?
CP: I think live performance is different now for most artists. I think people of our demographic like to be in a place where they can actually see the band instead of watching videos. So we have that to deal with. And then on the younger side, I'm sure there's still a reasonable amount of people interested in bands playing big stadiums, who can watch a show for a couple of hours. It just seems to have changed radically, though, because there's not as much of that happening as there used to be. I think for live performance and recording, the media has just changed. The media being sort of the governing body of it all. What gets played on the radio is very important, of course. Radio is still very strong, but it's not as varied as it used to be. So we haven't got that vehicle intact as much as we'd like anymore.
It seems as if an artist has to already have a hit to even be played on mainstream radio these days.
CP: That's it, really. It is like that, and that's very, very difficult. By the time it is a hit and people go out and play and do whatever they've got to do, they've not really perfected their craft. And their shows really aren't that good. They have to have the smoke screen and the dancers. So there's not the training ground there used to be. It's all very quick. Careers come and go in a flash, and that's the way it is.
Do you feel image plays a big role?
CP: Absolutely. Even CDs don't have the impact from an art point of view. CDs are small; you don't get the same kickback from it as if you were sitting looking at an album sleeve, which is fairly big and you can enjoy. We've now got videos. But where there's a plus there's a minus, and that's the way it goes.
ELP were groundbreakers with their live show. You really set the bar high.
CP: I think we crossed a lot of boundaries at the time. Obviously we were trying to sort of play music that was new. We tried to involve technology as much as possible. We crossed all of that over with eventually going out with an orchestra and expressing the music that way. I think we were always trying. I think the art, the musicality that we produced, the standard remained high.
CP: We still have three tracks in the FM rock radio, however you want to call it, the Top 500, we still have three tracks there that are played on a regular basis. So that's quite good. The music is still played and still heard, so it's really good.
THE CARL PALMER BAND - ON TOUR - 2010
Tue 10/12/10 Hamilton, ON Canada Studio At Hamilton Place
Wed 10/13/10 Toronto, ON Canada Lula Lounge
Thu 10/14/10 Montreal, QC Canada Gesu Theatre
Fri 10/15/10 Londonderry, NH Tupelo Music Hall
Sat 10/16/10 Foxboro, MA Showcase Live
Sun 10/17/10 Lakewood, NJ Strand Center For The Arts
Tue 10/19/10 New York, NY B.B. King Blues Club
Wed 10/20/10 Glenside, PA Keswick Theatre
Thu 10/21/10 Annapolis, MD Rams Head On Stage
Fri 10/22/10 Rockville, MD Robert Parillia Performing Arts Ctr
Sat 10/23/10 Cleveland, OH Beachland Ballroom & Tavern
Sun 10/24/10 Detroit, MI Jazz Cafe at Music Hall
Tue 10/26/10 Indianapolis, IN Slippery Noodle Inn
Wed 10/27/10 Chicago, IL Reggie's Live
Thu 10/28/10 Milwaukee, WI Shank Hall
Fri 10/29/10 St. Charles, IL Arcadia Theatre
Sat 10/30/10 Iowa City, IA Englert Theatre
Tue 11/02/10 Denver, CO Soiled Dove Underground
Thu 11/04/10 Park City, UT The Star Bar
Sat 11/06/10 Petaluma, CA McNears Mystic Theatre
Tue 11/09/10 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
Thu 11/11/10 Agoura Hills, CA Canyon Club
Fri 11/12/10 Santa Ana, CA Galaxy Concert Theatre
Sat 11/13/10 Las Vegas, NV Cannery Casino Hotel
Sun 11/14/10 Phoenix, AZ The Compound Grill
For related items that you may enjoy in our Goldmine store:
• Get the invaluable record collector's resource: Goldmine® Record Album Price Guide, 6th Edition
• Check out "The Everything Music Composition Book with CD, A step-by-step guide to writing music• Read the informative "The Everything Rock Drums Book: From basic rock beats and syncopation to fills and drum solos—all you need to perform like a pro" (with CD)