Flashback to Oct 31, 1969, Tea Party Boston:
My friend Brenda Bennett* recalls seeing Greg Lake onstage with King Crimson during their first US tour: 'It was nothing like we had ever experienced before - their music was so different, so innovative, so incredibly cool. I remember seeing Greg stride onstage - with that powerful voice of his, the whole performance was unforgettable.'
I listen and nod jealously wishing I'd been there, too. I was a high school freshman on Long Island back then, too young for Woodstock and too young to drive. But I remember Emerson, Lake & Palmer's earliest days, as one of their many legions of fans. Before the label "Prog" became both famous and infamous. For me, it was my first intro to a fusion of classical and rock, extended album cuts and conceptual themes blending mythology, fantasy and futuristic visions. ( I was totally smitten with their music, and still have a high school art project ELP album cover I designed.)
In all the techno-synthesized sonic mastery of ELP, instrumentals could often feel dark and ponderous as well…but then there was Greg, with a simple guitar and a pure voice to guide us home. Despite the darkness of the world and the darkness within, Greg was the light. The Voice.
Many years have passed since “Prog” had its heyday. But Greg Lake - like Brenda said - was unforgettable.
In the world of this Moonchild, he was the magic. I want to escape into my art to honor his legacy. At the close of this dismal year, when we have all lost so many we loved, it feels dark and sad and empty without him.
Confession: I prayed for him every night for months, hoping he would survive whatever he was facing. For his family, too. After losing Keith earlier this year, it seems so tragically sad for the ELP family. I have so many half-finished artworks of Greg in my studio, I plan to get back to work on them right after the holidays.
*Brenda Bennett worked with Prince, appearing in the movie Purple Rain, touring as part of Vanity 6 and Appollonia 6, and is a beautiful singer/songwriter on her own these days. edit 1/28/2018: She has a "Go Fund Me" for her long awaited album here! And some wonderful support from her Prince "family". You can visit her on Facebook here, too. Brenda, once again!