2005 - Dave's On Tour (an interview by Dave Iozzia) - USA
DAVE'S ON TOUR :
When davesontour.com caught up with Keith Emerson Group's Dave Kilminster, he was sitting on a big red sofa at his home in sunny Buckinghamshire, mid way through recording his impending solo album "Scarlet."
DI: Happy New Year Dave. I'd like to thank you for letting me conduct this interview. The Keith Emerson Band just completed a U.S. tour with you playing lead guitar and singing lead vocals. The band opened shows in U.S. arenas supporting The Scorpions on their "Unbreakable" tour. It was your first time touring the United States. I hope my beloved country left a good impression?
DAVE K: You have an AMAZING country. Within a week I just felt completely at home! My girlfriend flew over for the last couple of shows, and we stayed an extra few days after the tour finished We were driving around L.A. in an open top car, down the Sunset Strip, and I just thought "I could so easily live here!!"
DI: What is the biggest difference playing between U.S. and European concerts? What is most similar?
DAVE K: That's impossible to answer really.Audiences vary so much, even within areas of the same country, and certainly all of Europe is totally different!! For example, in Finland, you probably won't get on stage before 12:30am!!! By which time of course, the whole audience is off their face!!!!!!
DI: The Keith Emerson Group performed classic E.L.P. progressive music in front of hard rock and metal music fans. In a lot of cities never toured by E.L.P. How was Keith's music received by the Texas audiences? By Scorpions fans?
DAVE K: Well, to be honest with you, when I first heard we were touring with the Scorpions I had similar reservations. But I guess the thing we have in common with the Scorpions is that we're a rock band!! We put on a show!!! There's flashing lights, people running around screaming (well, OK me!), distorted guitar chords, the only real difference is that it's a little more difficult to tap your foot to in places, that's all!!! And playing Texas was very cool... although some of those shows were when UFO joined the bill, which meant we were on at 6:00pm.
DI: What feedback did you receive from long time E.L.P. fans?
DAVE K: Well everyone that I spoke to was very, very positive, especially about my voice, which I was surprised at!! But I guess if they thought I was rubbish then they probably wouldn't come up and talk to me, would they?!!
DI: What was your favorite E.L.P. song to play guitar on? To sing?
DAVE K: Tarkus is sooo much fun to play! I've always loved that tune... Singing wise they're all fun so far!! I'd really love to sing Karn Evil 9 someday too...
DI: A lot of bands have told me how well The Scorpions treated them as opening acts. What were they like to tour with?
DAVE K: They're such a great bunch of guys. Very friendly and down to earth... also all their crew are great too!! One of their guys, Malte, helped fix my computer, and another one lent me one of the Scorps expensive wireless systems when my cheap one wasn't working properly!! This isn't like the Oscars, by the way, where you have to say how much you like all the people you've worked with!!! These guys are GREAT!!!!!
DI: As a long time E.L.P. fan, it was great to see Keith play with a lead guitarist. And I loved the new arrangements on the classic material performed. What's the next step for the Keith Emerson Group? Into the studio to record new material or touring in 2005?
DAVE K: We're coming back to the States soon, hopefully in the next few weeks to play B.B. Kings in New York City, and some 'House of Blues' venues on the East coast. It'll be really great to play there again, and we're headlining, so we get to play a full set too! I so desperately want to get in the studio and record an album with these guys too, though... I'll make it happpen...
DI: What songwriting process will you and Keith use for new material?
DAVE K: Well, Keith and I live in different countries, so it does make the process a little more difficult! Basically I'm gonna be sending him CD's of ideas, and he's gonna be writing back saying "That's rubbish!"!!!
DI: Everybody knows Keith Emerson, tell me more about bassist Phil Williams and drummer Pete Riley?
DAVE K: Pete Riley is the best drummer I've ever played with... he's so musical, he really plays the songs!! He can play pretty much any style, has great feel and timing, and is the easiest person in the world to get along with. Pete's played with Republica, Ritchie Kotzen, and with me in Ken Hensley's band (Sorry Pete)
Phil Williams is the best bassist I've ever played with... again he's very musical, but with a funk edge that makes everything groove. He's also got a great voice, and I want to use that in future for harmonies and stuff. He's also probably the funniest person I've toured with, which always helps on the road. Phil's played with Tony Hadley, Go West, Limahl and Rick Wakeman!!!
DI: Let's talk about your solo material. You released a newly mixed, remastered version of "Playing With Fire." Tell us about that album and what other musicians played on it?
DAVE K: It was 1996, and I'd just returned from a holiday, where I'd taken my classical guitar and written a whole bunch of stuff on it while I was away. I didn't really know what to do with the tunes, but I played them to one of my students, Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith, and he really loved it, so I started writing harmony parts and we played the tunes together. It was really magical. I thought, this is just too good to waste, so I paid for us to go into the studio for two days and record it. It was just the two of us, playing classical guitars together, living in the studio. Anyway, apparently Craig David heard the album and really loved it too. He was talking about it with his manager one day, who looked at the cover and said 'Oh, I know Fraser', so Fras got the gig. From there, Fraser made TONS of money playing with Craig David, and I'm still having to teach!!! Oh well.
DI: What's the latest on your long awaited new album "Scarlet?"
DAVE K: I have all the rhythm parts down (courtesy of Phil and Pete), so it's just up to me to finish putting my stuff on it... Part of the problem is the fact that singing is such a new thing for me, and everytime I do it I get better!!! So by the time I'm singing the fourth song, I look back and think 'I can do that first one better', so I go back and re-record it!!! It's a nightmare!!! But I have set myself a deadline of the next American tour to finish it by, so we'll see what happens.
DI: What's the musical direction and are you planning any solo shows to support it?
DAVE K: Musical direction? Umm... I listen to such a variety of music, that there's a whole bunch of different influences in there... I'm actually intrigued as to how it'll turn out myself!!! And as for solo shows, if I finish the album before we hit the States then i'm going to stay out for a couple of extra weeks after the tour, and try to get some gigs!!
DI: You played in a band called Qango, with bassist John Wetton, keyboardist John Young, and drummer Carl Palmer. How did that come to pass?
DAVE K: It was supposed to be an Asia reunion, but without Steve Howe as no one liked him!! So John, Carl and Geoff Downs asked if I'd do it. I was of course very honoured by the invitation, and agreed immediately!! But somewhere down the line Geoff pulled out (for reasons unknown) and so it was left with John, Carl and I wondering what to do. John Wetton loves JYs (John Young) songwriting, so he was asked to join and Qango were born!! It was more 'Asia' than Asia really, as we had half the original members, plus JY, who'd played with a later lineup, but Geoff owns the name!!!
DI: Why were there no U.S. tour dates and will we hear from Qango again?
DAVE K: I'd love to tell you the REAL story of why there were no American dates!!! Maybe it'll come out one day.... but there definitely won't be any more Qango stuff though. Not with me involved anyway...
DI: Have you seen Carl Palmer's new band play live? They've yet to play in the United States.
DAVE K: I saw them play, and they're all very proficient at what they do... it didn't move me though....
DI: Keith tells a story about meeting you the night he surprised Carl at a Qango gig. The night he took the stage unannounced for the encore and destroyed John Young's keyboard? An old expression is that there are two sides to every story, with the truth somewhere in between. John Young tells me that Keith never apologized and never paid the bill for the repair. You where there, what happened then and what's happened since?
DAVE K: Hmmm... I don't know if I like being the middle of this!!! Both Keith and JY are lovely people, in fact JY lives next door to me!!!! But I'm sure Keith would be mortified if he knew that John never got any money for the keyboard repairs... Can I get back on the fence now!!!!
DI: Who is the first band and who is the last band that you saw perform in concert? Where and when?
DAVE K: The first band I ever saw were 'Lone Star' (supported by 'Stranger' I think) in Bristol... I don't remember a whole bunch about it though!! And the last band I saw was Glenn Hughes, last week at the Mean Fiddler in London. That's actually the first gig I've been to in ages!!!
DI: What are your future plans outside the Keith Emerson Band?
DAVE K: I really don't plan much... I'm always gonna be writing and recording my own stuff, and hopefully I'll be successful at that. I just love being part of a great band though. I'm not really interested in being a Ritchie Blackmoore type character!!!
DI: What is the one question you've always wanted an interviewer to ask you? How would you answer that question?
DAVE K: No idea.
DI: At this point of the interview, would you like to trade places and ask me a question?
DAVE K: What got you into music? Do you play any instruments?
DI: I've always been a music fan, as well as a huge E.L.P. fan. I was hooked the first time I heard "Endless Enigma." I play a bit of electric guitar, very poorly I must admit. My nine-year-old daughter Diana plays acoustic guitar and is starting to write poems and songs. Her four and a half-year-old brother, Wild Mick, is our band leader. He plays electric guitar and drums. He calls his band "The Rockets."
DI: Which band should put all their issues behind them, reform, record an album, and do one last tour? What band should hang it up and just go away?
DAVE K: Well I was always a huge Van Halen fan, and if I thought they could capture some of their former glory then they'd get my vote!!! But I think, as with most things, there's a time and a place. There's loads of old bands out there still slogging it, some because they still love it, most of them for the money, but I wouldn't really want to tell anyone to stop. Maybe because I could be doing exactly the same in a few years. "Dave K? Is he STILL touring?!! I thought he was dead!!!!!!"
DI: What is the one album that defines rock and roll? What band defines how rock and roll should be played?
DAVE K: Another difficult one!! Probably 'Black In Black' by AC/DC, although I much prefer their previous singer Bon Scott. But I think AC/DC are probably the ultimate Rock and Roll band... No egos, just rhythm, groove and attitude.
DI: What is the first guitar and the last guitar that you purchased? What guitarist has been most influential on your playing style?
DAVE K: The first guitar was a cheapo classical guitar which I bought from school. About three weeks ago I spent all the money I made on the last tour and bought a 1973 black Fender Telecaster!! I guess the guitarist that had the most influence on me was Eddie Van Halen, although I haven't listened to him for about nine years.
DI: What's worse, a 12 hour bus ride or a six hour plane ride?
DAVE K: That's easy, a plane ride is far worse. Screaming kids, cramped conditions, and loads of waiting around. The bus we used on the last tour had TVs and videos in each bunk!!
DI: Your choice, a night with Paris Hilton or a week in Paris, France?
DAVE K: Another easy one... Paris, France! Although the south of France is nicer.
DI: What would be better, headlining a sold-out club tour, or being the opening act on an arena tour?
DAVE K: A sold out club tour. Arenas are great, but you have much better communication with an audience in a smaller venue and also you get to play for longer!!!
DI: What new artist has impressed you the most?
DAVE K: I don't mean to sound negative, but I haven't heard anything new that's moved me for years!!! Probably not since Jeff Buckley, who was totally incredible.
DI: What CD's are you currently listening to?
DAVE K: There's a new live Sonny Landreth album that I bought recently... An old album by Imogen Heap (Fru Fru) that I found on Ebay... Terence Trent Darbys new album... And a great new version of Barbers Adagio for Strings that I found.... A pretty bizarre mix!!
DI: Are there any other thoughts you'd like to share with music fans?
DAVE K: Yes... buy my album!!!
DI: Thanks so much for the interview, Dave K. Feel free to comment on, or promote anything I failed to cover.
DAVE K: I think you've pretty much covered everything at the moment!!!