Greg Lake passed away yesterday, after a battle with cancer. A lucky man, indeed, he was a founding member of two great ensembles, but while Lake’s musicianship and voice overshadowed his other contributions to KING CRIMSON and ELP, Greg’s most important part there was his personality – never self-consciously mysterious but always warm, even in fantasy settings. “When you play an instrument, you are passing your feelings through it; when you sing, it is really a direct connection. I mean your voice is an instrument but in reality, your feeling is being expressed directly. And I think that in that way it’s easier to be more emotional to express feelings better,” – he said to me during a very intense interview.
Yes, Lake could easily evoke both a childhood dream, as he did in “Lucky Man,” and a harsh reality, like “Daddy” showed; Greg knew how to deliver a seasonal hope to make “I Believe In Father Christmas” a perennial, and how to rock wild on the likes of “Retribution Drive” in the company of Gary Moore. He could finish a Bob Dylan song and inhabit a piece of ASIA; to be grandiose in a Mussorgsky’s classic or “21st Century Schizoid Man” and down-to-earth in his “Songs Of A Lifetime” presentation. Now, Greg Lake has joined Keith Emerson up there and, since he used to be in THE GODS, the gods will attend that gig. Rest in peace.