Greg Lake opens up about Keith Emerson’s suicide


Sadly, Greg Lake wasn’t entirely surprised that his bandmate of 46 years took his own life last week. In an interview with The Express (via NME), Lake said Emerson displayed signs of depression as early as 1977. That was seven years after the English prog rock supergroup formed in London, and around the time of their brief hiatus.

“I have to be honest and say his death didn’t come as a shock to me,” Lake said. … “It’s very difficult to describe what depression is. We all know what it looks like. People’s moods become very black. But it’s more complicated. It changes someone’s personality.

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“If anyone does have feelings of being so desperate that they think it’s better off not to wake up tomorrow, please talk to somebody. The doctor, your friend, anybody.

“Talk to them and tell them what state you’re in. If Keith had taken that path, he might still be here today.”

Emerson’s girlfriend, Mari Kawaguchi, said earlier this week that she believed Emerson’s suicide was related to physical problems that generated anxiety over his ability to play live shows. Lake says that might have been one component of it, but he believes Emerson was deeply depressed.

“He lived, in the end, this very lonely existence of someone who was deeply troubled. I saw someone who became increasingly confused, desperate and depressed.”

Emerson started playing the Hammond organ in his mid-teens. After school, he took a job at Lloyds Bank Registrars. During lunch, he’d slip away to play the piano in the bar. By night, he played in a host of bands before forming ELP in 1970.

Many years ago, Gary James asked Emerson why other bands didn’t follow in their footsteps. “There are so many fine musicians around today capable of far more complexities,” Emerson said. “Combining complexity with listenable, agreeable music is another dimension. I’ve seen so many keyboard players that overstep the mark with super fast technique. It’s very impressive to see, but after about ten minutes it becomes boring. There’s no melodic value. It’s an art to combine simplicity with complexity in order to appeal to a wide range of tastes. In order to do this, you have to be sympathetic to all musical forms. Whether or not these forms can be made up of the same chemistry as ELP is another matter, but I’m sure they could follow or even go further.”

[RELATED: Emerson’s girlfriend believes she knows why the artist committed suicide]

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4 comments on “Greg Lake opens up about Keith Emerson’s suicide
  1. Pingback: Greg Lake passes away at age 69 | Rocknuts

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

  3. Pingback: Emerson’s girlfriend believes she knows why the artist committed suicide | Rocknuts

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