Emerson’s girlfriend believes she knows why the artist committed suicide


Plagued for years with problems in right hand and arm, Keith Emerson’s apparent suicide was due in part to fears over his ability to perform live. So says his girlfriend Mari Kawaguchi, who found Emerson dead in their apartment last Friday.

“He didn’t want to let down his fans. He was a perfectionist and the thought he wouldn’t play perfectly made him depressed, nervous and anxious,” she told the Daily Mail (via the Telegraph).

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‘His right hand and arm had given him problems for years. He had an operation a few years ago to take out a bad muscle but the pain and nerve issues in his right hand were getting worse,” she said. “He had concerts coming up in Japan and even though they hired a back-up keyboard player to support him, Keith was worried.

“He read all the criticism online and was a sensitive soul. Last year he played concerts and people posted mean comments such as, ‘I wish he would stop playing’,” she added.

The Telegraph dubs Emerson “The Jimi Hendrix of Keyboards.” One of the founding members of the prog rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer, “Emerson would get inside his piano, hitting and plucking strings with his hands,” writes Neil McCormick.

“He wedged down keys with knives. He was the first musician to tour with a Moog synthesiser, in an age when they were giant banks of electronic circuit boards, the connections had to be patched in by hand, and wonky oscillators were forever heating up and going out of tune. From all of this, Emerson conjured up sounds that had never been heard before, the kind of space-age bleeps and bloops that have become part of the common lexicon of electronic and dance music. It is not such a giant leap from ELP to Daft Punk.”

As recently as January, Emerson reflected on the loss of another rock great: David Bowie.

“I first met David one afternoon in the mid ’60’s at London’s Marque Club which was then in Wardour Street.

I was in the lobby getting ready for a sound check. David had a band called “The Buzz’ and used to play there Sundays.

I’d never met him before but he came right up and started chatting like we’d known each other for years.

“I’ve just come back from Paris having lessons with French Mime actor Marcel Marceau.”

My first thought was “why would he want to do that” but I was intrigued at the depth he was willing to go to discover art in all forms. Fashion, Film, Comedy etc. would inspire him and he’d use it all in his extraordinary abilities. In the 70’s, we both enjoyed fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto’s designs.

In the late ’70’s we met again in Montreaux, Switzerland. ELP were recording and living there briefly. David walked in and it was as if it was only yesterday that we had last met. His son, then named Zowie (now named Duncan) would play with my son Aaron, as they were both the same age.

The world now says “Goodbye” and “Hello” to the spiritual form of a true genius. David Bowie.”

Emerson’s now made similar journey. Goodbye and hello. Fare thee well, Mr. Emerson.

[RELATED: See Greg Lake’s thoughts on Emerson’s suicide here]

Photo credit: By Carl Lender, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5913770

4 comments to “Emerson’s girlfriend believes she knows why the artist committed suicide”
  1. Pingback: Greg Lake Opens Up About Keith Emerson’s Suicide | Rocknuts

  2. Pingback: Greg Lake passes away at age 69 | Rocknuts

  3. Pingback: Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer dead at 71 | Rocknuts

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