Tag Archives: King Crimson

Progressive Rock Icon John Wetton Dies at 67

Acclaimed rock musician John Wetton passed away this morning, Tuesday, January 31st, 2017, after a long battle against colon cancer.

John Wetton was born on June 12, 1949 in Willington, Derbyshire. He became famous as vocalist and bassist of pioneering progressive rock band King Crimson in the early 1970s. John wetton rec orded three albums with King Crimson: Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (1973), Starless and Bible Black (1974), and Red (1974)]

At the end of the 1970s, Wetton formed progressive rock supergroup UK together with Eddie Jobson (Curved Air, Roxy Music and Frank Zappa), Allan Holdsworth (Tempest, Soft Machine, The New Tony Williams Lifetime and Gong) and Bill Bruford (Yes and King Crimson). UK released two now classic progressive rock albums, UK (1978) and Danger Money (1979).

In the early 1980s, John Wetton was one of the founders of the highly successful FM-radio oriented rock group Asia. The group released the hit song ‘Heat of the Moment’ in 1982.

John Wetton also enjoyed a fruitful solo career, including the album Battle Lines, and formed iCon with Asia bandmate Geoff Downes. In 2006 the original line-up of Asia got together again and toured the world several times to promote four new studio albums.

John Wetton had been planning to tour with Asia for the band’s upcoming US arena tour with rock band Journey and, after the success of his solo Studio Recordings Anthology, continue working on the ongoing re-issue program of his solo albums through his own Primary Purpose label.

Drumer Carl Palmer released the following statement: “With the passing of my good friend and musical collaborator, John Wetton, the world loses yet another musical giant.

John was a gentle person who created some of the most lasting melodies and lyrics in modern popular music. As a musician, he was both brave and innovative, with a voice that took the music of ASIA to the top of the charts around the world. His ability to triumph over alcohol abuse made him an inspiration to many who have also fought that battle.

For those of us who knew him and worked with him, his valiant struggle against cancer was a further inspiration. I will miss his talent, his sense of humor and his infectious smile.

May you ride easy, my old friend.”

John is survived by his recently wed wife Lisa and 18 year old son Dylan, brother Robert and mother Peggy.

The very last studio song of John Wetton’s career was the closing track on the Asia album “Gravitas” and included the lyrics “Think the best of me, till we meet again.”

headline photo: John Wetton – photo by Mike Inns

Progressive Rock Star Greg Lake Dies at 69

Greg Lake

 

Acclaimed vocalist, guitarist, songwriter and composer Greg Lake passed away on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. He was a founding member of pioneering progressive rock bands King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Gregory Stuart Lake was born on November 10, 1947 in Parkstone, Dorset, England. He started playing guitar at 12 and wrote his first song, “Lucky Man”, at the same age. He developed into a full-time musician at 17, playing in several rock bands until his colleague from Dorset, Robert Fripp invited him to join King Crimson as their vocalist and bassist.

Fripp and Lake got to know each other when they shared the same Dorset guitar teacher who taught them a wide range of music including classical pieces by Paganini and post WWII classics. Lake also listened to early American rock and roll and was inspired by Copeland and Prokofiev.

Greg Lake participated in two of King Crimson’s seminal albums, In the Court of The Crimson King (1969) and In The Wake Of Poseidon (1970).

Greg met keyboard maestro Keith Emerson during a North American tour in which Emerson’s band, The Nice shared the bill with King Crimson. Greg and Keith had a lot in common: diverse musical influences and a yearning to reinterpret classical works while creating new classics in a new musical genre.

After returning to England, Greg and Keith were introduced to Atomic Rooster drummer Carl Palmer, by Robert Stigwood, and subsequently they formed Emerson Lake and Palmer (ELP). This was essentially the first progressive rock superband. Emerson Lake and Palmer achieved immediate fame with their debut at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.

 

Emerson Lake and Palmer

 

Emerson Lake and Palmer’s self-titled first album went platinum. It was produced by Greg Lake and included Lake’s song that he had written while still in school: “Lucky Man.” This now classic song became a popular part of the band’s repertoire and was played frequently on FM radio.

 

 

With ELP,  Greg Lake recorded six platinum albums between 1970 and 1977, including “Emerson, Lake & Palmer,” “Tarkus,” “Trilogy,” “Brain Salad Surgery,” the triple live album “Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends” and “Works Vol. 1“. They topped the bill at the colossal 1974 festival California Jam, playing to an audience of over 500,000 spectators.

Greg Lake was in the process of finishing his autobiography titled “Lucky Man” that is scheduled for release in 2017.

Yesterday, December 7th, I lost my best friend to a long and stubborn battle with cancer,” said Greg Lake’s manager and friend Stewart Young. “Greg Lake will stay in my heart forever, as he has always been. Despite his illness which he knew to be terminal he always took the view about his life, career and family that he was indeed a lucky man… His family would be grateful for privacy during this time of their grief. Many thanks.”

Greg Lake discography:

Solo recordings:

Too Old to Go ‘Way Little Girl/Dreams Don’t Bother Me, with The Shame (1967)
Reputation / Love, with Shy Limbs (1968)
I Believe In Father Christmas / Humbug (1975)
Greg Lake (1981)
Manoeuvres (1983)
In Concert on The King Biscuit Flower Hour (1995)
From The Beginning: The Greg Lake Retrospective (1997)
From The Underground: The Official Bootleg (1998)
From The Underground II – Deeper Into The Mine: An Official Greg Lake Bootleg (2003)
Keith Emerson and Greg Lake Live From Manticore Hall (Manticore Records, 2014)
Greg Lake / Manoeuvres (Creative Musical Arts, 2015), remastered

With King Crimson:

In The Court of The Crimson King (1969)
In The Wake of Poseidon (1970)
Epitaph (1997)
Live at the Marquee Club, 1969 (Discipline Records, 1998)

With Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Emerson, Lake and Palmer (1971)
Tarkus (1971);
Pictures At An Exhibition (1972)
Trilogy (1972)
Brain Salad Surgery (1973)
Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends… (1974)
Works, Volume 1 (1977)
Works, Volume 2 (1977)
Love Beach (1978)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer In Concert (1979)
The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1980)
The Atlantic Years (1992)
Black Moon (1992)
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (1993)
Return Of The Manticore (1993)
Works Live (1993)
In The Hot Seat (1994)
Brain Salad Surgery – Special Edition (1996)
Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival (1997)
ELP Live On The King Biscuit Flower Hour (1997)
Then And Now (1998)
Fanfare For The Common Man – 2 CD The Anthology (Sanctuary Records, 2001)
The Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 1 (Sanctuary Records, 2001)
The Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 2 (Sanctuary Records, 2001)
ELP Live in Poland, The Original Bootleg Series, From The Manticore Vaults (Sanctuary Records, 2003)
ELP Best of the Bootlegs The Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults, 2 CD Disc Set (Sanctuary Records, 2003)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer remixed by Steven Wilson (2012)
Tarkus remixed by Steven Wilson (2012)
Trilogy remixed by Jakko Jakszyk (2013)
Brain Salad Surgery remixed by Jakko Jakszyk (2013)
Emerson Lake & Palmer The Anthology (BMG, 2016)

With Emerson, Lake & Powell:

Emerson, Lake & Powell (1986)
Live In Concert (2003)
The Sprocket Sessions (2003)

John Wetton’s Official Live Bootlegs Reissued

John Wetton – “Official Bootleg Archive Vol 1” (Primary Purpose, 2016)

Iconic vocalist and bassist John Wetton was a member of two of the most memorable progressive rock bands of all time, King Crimson and UK. Now you can enjoy his live performances on this mammoth 6-CD boxed set that brings together three of Wetton’s previously released “Official Bootlegs.”

The collection includes three separate live performances. Discs 1 and 2 feature Live in Argentina in 1996, featuring John Wetton on lead vocals, bass and acoustic guitar; Thomas Lang on drums; Billy Liesegang on guitar; and Martin Orford on keyboards and vocals.

The second set, Discs 3 and 4, is Live in Osaka 1997 with John Wetton on lead vocals, bass and acoustic guitar; Thomas Lang on drums; Billy Liesegang on guitar; and John Young on keyboards and vocals.

The final set, Discs 5 and 6, features Live at the Sun Plaza Tokyo 1999 with John Wetton on lead vocals, bass and acoustic guitar; Steve Cristey om drums and percussion; David Kilminster on guitar and vocals; and Martin Orford on keyboards and vocals.

Stylistically, you’ll find a mix of genres. The highlights are, naturally, the superb progressive rock songs from Wetton’s King Crimson and UK era, including the famous and cult-like King Crimson song “Starless.”

For fans of Asia and Wetton’s most commercial side, there are versions of the hit song “Heat of the Moment” and other catchy songs.

Buy Official Bootleg Archive Vol 1 in the Americas

Buy Official Bootleg Archive Vol 1 in Europe

Stick Men’s Forward Thinking Progressive Rock

Stick Men+ featuring David Cross – Midori, Live at Billboard, Tokyo, 10 April 2015 (Moonjune Records, 2016)

This fabulous special limited edition 2-CD set contains two live performances by Stick Men+ with a guest appearance by former King Crimson violist David Cross. Midori demonstrates that progressive rock and electronics are perfect companions. The album features a mix of ambient pieces and soundscapes, improvisatory progressive rock and classic symphonic progressive rock.

King Crimson is one of the essential progressive rock bands that never sold out to pop and AOR. Midori features three musicians who have been involved with one of King Crimson’s multiple versions: Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and David Cross.

Throughout Midori there are spectacular jams, mesmerizing soundscapes, violin and stick solos, and structured compositions showcasing the talent of the three musicians.

King Crimson fans will recognize some of the musical pieces such as the classic Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part 2 (from Larks’ Tongues in Aspic), Industry (from Three of a Perfect Pair), The Talking Drum (from Larks’ Tongues in Aspic), Breathless (from Robert Fripp’s 1979 album Exposure), and “Sartori in Tangier” (from the album Beat). Additionally, disc 2 includes a version of Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite.” The rest of the pieces are improvisations and new pieces composed by Stick Men.

Stick Men with David Cross
Stick Men with David Cross

This project came about in April of 2015. Stick Men performed four historic concerts in Japan, with special guest, iconic King Crimson violinist David Cross. Moonjune Records’ Leonardo Pavkovic coordinated the project. The live recording of the 2 Tokyo concerts was released as a double CD in Japan only, and now is available as well through MoonJune in a limited edition of 2500 copies, available only on MoonJune’s BandCamp and on Stick Men’s 2016 live shows.

The album lineup includes: Tony Levin on stick and voice; Pat Mastelotto on acoustic and electronic drums and percussion; Markus Reuter on Touch Guitars AU8, soundscaping and keyboards; and David Cross on violin and keyboard.

Midori, Live at Billboard, Tokyo, 10 April 2015 is an outstanding set of forward thinking progressive rock by one the finest acts in the current progressive music scene.

Buy the album from Moonjune’s Bandcamp website.

record stores or online

Peter Gabriel Classics Reconstructed

Security Project – Live 1 (7D Media, 2016)

The Security Project is a superband featuring members of King Crimson, Shriekback and Peter Gabriel band musicians. They have just released a live album titled Live 1 that recreates iconic Peter Gabriel songs. Once he left Genesis, Peter Gabriel drifted away from progressive rock so his solo work was primarily pop and mainstream rock songs. Security Project transforms Gabriel’s songs and delivers a mix of modern pop and progressive rock-infused arrangements.

When you hear the vocals on Live 1, you will immediately think of Peter Gabriel. Brian Cummins sounds remarkably similar Peter Gabriel. He’s a member of one of the best Genesis tribute bands called Carpet Crawlers. On the other hand, the instrumentalists are some of the finest rock virtuoso musicians in the world.

The first six songs are the most pop-oriented tracks. Well performed, but I lost interest in pop a long time ago. Naturally, I gravitated towards the songs that have a closer connection to progressive rock, which includes several of the pieces in the second half of the album. In addition to Brian Cummins’ captivating vocals, the guitarists and keyboardist deliver memorable, although brief, instrumental moments.

Peter was always great at setting the table for us as musicians. He always got us started with great ideas,” says drummer and vocalist Jerry Marotta. “As we were creating Security we had no idea we were making something so unique… I’m proud that with Security Project we’re able to deliver the deepest of those songs, and do it with real conviction — playing them live.

Highlights include the outstanding vocal performances of Cummins and the backing vocals in “The Rhythm of the Heat”; the beautiful keyboard and guitar work in “San Jacinto”; the fabulous transition of “Games Without Frontiers” into “Of These, Hope” which is full blown state of the art progressive rock; the epic version of “Here Comes The Flood”; progressive-era Genesis song “Back in N.Y.C.” (from the remarkable The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway album).

 

 

The lineup includes Jerry Marotta on drums and percussion, backing vocals, and lead vocal on Back in NYC; Trey Gunn on touch guitar, backing vocals; Brian Cummins on lead vocals; Michael Cozzi on guitar, backing vocals; and David Jameson on keyboards, Eigenharp.

Buy Security Project – Live 1 in north America

Buy Live 1 in Europe