ELP bassist urges others to seek help with depression
By David Sands
March 17, 2016
As fans the world over mourn the death of Keith Emerson, bandmate Greg Lake has been reflecting on the passing of his friend.
Emerson, former keyboardist for Emerson, Lake & Palmer died on March 10 in Santa Monica, California from what authorities have determined was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. In its report, the L.A. County coroner’s office noted the acclaimed musician had been suffering from “chronic depression.”
The late musician is widely considered one of the great keyboard virtuosos of prog-rock. Lake who sang and played bass with him ELP, shared his thoughts on Emerson’s tragic death in a March 12 statement.
“As you know Keith and I spent many of the best years of our lives together and to witness his life coming to an end in the way that it has is painful, both to myself and to all who knew him. As sad and tragic as Keith’s death is, I would not want this to be the lasting memory people take away with them. What I will always remember about Keith Emerson was his remarkable talent as a musician and composer and his gift and passion to entertain. Music was his life and despite some of the difficulties he encountered I am sure that the music he created will live on forever.”
Prior to his passing, Emerson had reportedly been suffering from a degenerative nerve tissue problem that affected his ability to play music. In an interview with NME, Lake acknowledged that that illness could have contributed to his death, but added that there was more to the situation to take into account.
According to the bassist, Emerson had been struggling with episodes of depression since the late 1970s and had become “increasingly confused, desperate and depressed” in the latter part of his life.
In light of this, Lake said the death “didn’t come as a shock” to him and urged others suffering from depression to seek out assistance.
“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,” he said. “Talk to them and tell them what state you’re in. If Keith had taken that path, he might still be here today.
ELP drummer Carl Palmer intends to honor Emerson with a tribute show, which he hopes to schedule for June of this year.
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