Saturday, April 30, 2011

Asia drummer Carl Palmer discusses focusing on present, not past, and recording in the digital age

Thursday, April 28, 2011
By MElinda Rizzo
The Express-Times
In 1982, four English progressive rock musicians formed Asia, touted as a musical super group because of the formidable pedigree of its members.

Members of the original Asia lineup were drawn from '70s progressive rock bands Yes, King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Today, Asia continues to tour and is planning to head back into the recording studio to produce the follow-up to 2010's "Omega."

"We have lots of ideas and just need time to come together and sit down in a room and work them out," says drummer Carl Palmer.

The band -- Palmer, bassist and vocalist John Wetton, keyboardist Geoff Downes and guitarist Steve Howe -- performs tonight at the State Theatre in Easton.

The band will stick to a playlist that includes enduring Asia hits such as "Heat of the Moment" "Only Time Will Tell" and "Sole Survivor."

What's missing from this tour is a selection of works from each band member's individual rock 'n' roll past, according to Palmer. Previous tours showcased hits such as Yes' "Roundabout," "Fanfare" by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, King Crimson's "In The Court of the Crimson King" and "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles.

In addition to Asia hits, audiences will hear work from recent Asia recordings "Phoenix" and "Omega'.

"We've stopped doing the retro stuff from those previous years, and we're playing these shows with our own music together now," Palmer says.

Palmer says what's different about recording and performing today is what people want to hear, but the key to enduring work remains.

"The secret is in the (song) writing," Palmer says.

Selling new material has changed since Palmer and his fellow band members began working in the industry more than 35 years ago, when vinyl recordings reigned supreme.

Palmer says he enjoys being able to record in an age where editing and correcting tracks is seamless.

"Making a recording today is a lot different," Palmer says. "You don't have to redo everything because you want to make a change."

Being played on the commuting "drive time" circuit, when radio stations give bands airtime, has changed, too.

"It's just not the same," Palmer says. "Selling new material is different, so is releasing it into the (marketplace). Touring has become very important to us."

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