sabato 15 giugno 2019

Aaron and Ethan Emerson tell each other, awaiting the Zoagli event, on June 27th

On June 27, in Zoagli (GE), the 2nd ART IN PROGRESS EVENT will be proposed in memory of Greg Lake. All information (in italian) at the following link:

The event, which presents an evident fragrance of ELP, will have important and welcome guests:

REGINA LAKE (wife of Greg Lake of the ELP)
ELIONOR EMERSON (wife of Keith Emerson of the ELPs)
ETHAN EMERSON, who dedicates a piano concert to his grandfather Keith Emerson and the ELPs

I tried to ask a few questions to Aaron Emerson, one of Keith's two sons, and to young Ethan, who will perform on the occasion.

Some questions for Aaron

Premise: I saw ELP live when I was 17 (1973) and a few years ago I interviewed your father, as happened with Greg Lake, whom I met personally… just to say that I have a strong connection with that music and with those legendary musicians who have marked my life. I have some curiosity four you...

How was your family life having such an important father? Has it influenced you so much in your choices?
Growing up, my dad was on the road a lot of the time and my mum looked after myself and my brother Damon, but when he did come home I got to listen to a lot of music at a young age that, I guess, not a lot of 4 or 5 year olds got to listen to. Not a lot of kids at that age would listen to Prog Rock, but I was also listening to a lot of Classical music, and Jazz Artists and whatever he would play around the house. There are some songs that still stick with me to this day that he played when I was a kid, one of those was ‘Mountain Dance’ by Dave Grusin, also some very eclectic tunes that are out there, Chick Corea, Oscar Peterson, Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff. So I got to listen to a lot of music at that age through dad. I would be listening to other music at school from my friends who were probably raised on more contemporary music, but I got introduced to a lot of different styles.

Have you continued your musical activity over time or have you chosen other paths?
I have continued to play music. I’ve had some bands over the years, Buzztonic was one of them and that was the first record deal I had. Now I am doing some session work, and writing with Steve Mac, Russell Small and Dino Psaras, who are world league artists/producers.

What do you think about Ethan's passion for music? Did you somehow push it in that direction or was it all natural?
We never pushed Ethan into playing the piano. I think he’s got a great gift. It’s his choice and we’ll see how it goes! I can guide him, but he has to choose his own path. He started playing dad’s music, I’m not expecting him to be playing dad’s music forever. I’d like him to try and find his own style, and do whatever he feels he wants to play. Whatever it is artistically, or any type of art or music, whatever he enjoys to do, I will support.

Do you have a memory, an anecdote of when you were a child and you had the chance to live and see up close the most important rock musicians?
I got to meet some amazing musicians over the years, Jeff Beck, Roger Daltrey, Ray Mansarek, Robbie Krieger, Jack Bruce to name a few. I remember when I was a kid, opening the door to Roger Daltrey who had come to do a session with dad in the barn at Stonehill where I grew up, and we went fishing at his house. Of course, Jim Davidson was always a good friend to my dad too and spent a lot of time with us at Stonehill.

A friend of mine, always remembers how he became a keyboard player after meeting Keith, when you were in his parents' school in Switzerland: do you remember him?
I was very young when we lived in Switzerland, so I’m sorry but I don’t remember much about that time. The only thing I remember is we lived next door to David Bowie because I used to play in the garden with his son!

… and  for Ethan

Your love for music seems obvious, given the atmosphere you've always breathed at home, but I'd like to know if you already have clear ideas about what you would like to do when you grow up...
I would like to continue playing music, and I’m excited to see where that takes me. I am starting my exams in music at school so that will have to put a focus on that over the next few years.

It is quite difficult to imagine a boy your age listening to progressive music: do you know ELP albums? Is there one in particular that you like best?
My favourite album of my grandfathers is ‘Emerson Plays Emerson’ because I love the classical compositions that he wrote. As for ELP, I think ‘Trilogy’ has to be my favourite.

How do you reconcile music with school?
It’s not too bad, as we have a piano in our house so I can practice and have lessons at home. I am studying music at school as well, along with all my other subjects.

I saw a video in which you play with an orchestra: I would like to know what you felt and if, looking to the future, you think more about playing inside a band or solo performance.
I was incredibly excited and nervous to play with the orchestra. At the time of that performance at the Birmingham Tribute Show, I was only 11 years old, but the conductor Terje Mikkleson made me feel very comfortable, and it was an amazing feeling after the performance! Looking to the future, who knows?!

Your performance is scheduled for June 27th, in Italy: are you happy with this new experience?
I am so excited and so honoured to be asked to play. I am playing in memory of two incredible artists, Greg Lake and Keith Emerson, and honouring their memory and making them proud is very important to me.

One last thing: what memories do you have of grandpa? Is there an anecdote you want to share with those who will come to listen to you at Zoagli?
My grandfather used to give me piano lessons at his house, just him and me. This is a very special memory for me. He was always very funny too.