Carl Palmer (UK)
#Asia, Carl Palmer Band, E.L.P.
Paiste Artist Since Dec 1970
5" 2002 Cup Chime
13" Signature Heavy Hi-Hat
6" 2002 Cup Chime
18" Signature Power Crash
20" Signature Heavy Bell Ride
20" Signature Power Crash
13" 2002 Sound Edge Hi-Hat
6" 2002 Bell Chime
22" 2002 China
Carl Frederick Kendall Palmer is credited as one of the most respected and influential rock drummers to emerge from the 1960s. Born in Birmingham, England from the beginning it was clear that music was in the stars for the young Carl Palmer. His grandfather played the drums, his grandmother was a symphony violinist, his mother played an assortment of instruments, and his father sang, danced and played the guitar and drums as a semi-professional entertainer. In a musical family where even his brothers picked up the guitar and drums, Carl’s fascination with music began early and classical violin studies followed.
His earliest influences were Krupa and drum legend Buddy Rich who would later become a close personal friend of Carl’s. For his eleventh birthday he received a new drum set and immediately began to study the instrument. Over the next three years he studied with local instructor Tommy Cunliffe, played in a radio orchestra (the Midland Light Orchestra) and performed with his father’s dance band.
At age 14 Carl Palmer joined his first professional band, a six-month stint with The Mecca Dance Band, for which he was paid a whopping 23 pounds a week. At 15, Palmer enlisted in the Motown influenced King Bees along with Richard King on guitar, Len Cox on bass and Geoff Brown on lead vocals. The band would later be known as The Craig. Already a respected working drummer by 16, Palmer moved on to join Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds which also featured guitar great Albert Lee (later with Eric Clapton, Albert Lee & Hogan's Heroes, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Bill Wyman & the Rhythm Kings) and keyboardist Dave Greenslade (later in Colosseum). Pete Solley would eventually replace Greenslade in the band. With Palmer in the band the Thunderbirds enjoyed moderate success with the single "My Way of Giving” but it was the Rolling Stones cover “Out Of Time” which propelled Farlowe to the top of the UK charts.
At the age of 18, Carl Palmer joined up with The Crazy World of Arthur Brown at the absolute peak of their success following the smash single “Fire” (“I am the God of Hellfire…”). It was with Atomic Rooster that Carl Palmer enjoyed his first real success as a founding member of a band. Media and fans alike immediately embraced Crane, Palmer and bassist/vocalist Nick Graham as the late 60’s progressive rock scene was thriving. Their debut album, Atomic Rooster, hit number 49 in the U.K. All the while, fueled by his brilliant drum solos, Palmer’s reputation grew as a drummer with phenomenal skill and dizzying speed.
In the spring of 1970, Carl Palmer received a phone call that changed his life forever. Keyboard virtuoso Keith Emerson, himself enjoying Top 10 U.K. success with The Nice, was forming a new band with King Crimson founder Greg Lake who had also just experienced real success with his band’s legendary “In The Court Of The Crimson King”. After trying out several drummers, including Mitch Mitchell, the two wanted Palmer to audition for a spot in the new trio but Palmer was uncertain if he wanted to leave the growing success of Atomic Rooster behind. Reluctantly, he agreed to meet and rehearse with the band and thank God he did.
In August of 1970, while they were still working on the tracks that would eventually form their first album, ELP played its first show at Plymouth, and moved on immediately to the legendary Isle of Wight Festival. Following their set, which included an explosive version of “Pictures At An Exhibition” (complete with cannons), the fallout was massive. The following month the group finished its self-titled debut album, which was released in November. Instantly successful, it climbed to the Top 5 in England and the Top 20 in America. The classic single "Lucky Man" became a hit, and their stage show quickly became the stuff of legend.
The 1971 follow-up album, Tarkus, propelled the ELP’s sound in new directions and was the first real test for the band’s cohesiveness. On the heels of Tarkus’ rise to #1 on the UK charts and Top 10 in the America, ELP arrived at Newcastle City Hall on March 21, 1971, to perform and record live their signature adaptation of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures At An Exhibition. When released, that album too became a great success. Following a blistering schedule which saw the band touring furiously, the world over, ELP returned to the studio and released another impressive effort in “Trilogy” which saw the band’s partnership fully back in balance.
In 1973, ELP return to the studio to record the album Brain Salad Surgery, perhaps the band’s definitive work. Bearing such memorable work as “Karn Evil 9”, “Still You Turn Me On” and “Jerusalem”, the album is highlighted by “Toccata”, a reworking of Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera's Piano Concerto No. 1, and some of Carl Palmer’s most amazing drumming and synthesized percussion work, including the world's first electric drum solo.
An insane touring schedule followed and the legendary scale and musicianship of ELP’s live show continued to grow as evidenced by the release of the epic triple live album “Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends”, released in August 1974. Tired from a grueling four year run which had seen the release of 5 albums as well as untold hundreds of tour dates, the band decided to take a hiatus to explore other projects and to recharge their creative juices. Following the Works albums and a grandiose, bank breaking orchestral tour the band returned to the studio one last time for the album “Love Beach”. “In Concert”, a testament, to the Works orchestral tour followed and in 1979 ELP quietly disbanded and exited the musical arena.
Opportunity knocked again for Carl Palmer when manager Brian Lane approached him in 1981. Lane was trying to put together a supergroup concept for Geffen records and, reportedly, one of his first attempts brought together Palmer along with bassist/vocalist John Wetton (U.K., King Crimson), Rick Wakeman (Yes) and guitar ace Trevor Rabin (Rabbit, Manfred Mann and later Yes). A deal with Geffen is said to have fallen through when Wakeman bailed. Still intent on his idea of a supergroup, Lane introduced John Wetton to Yes axeman Steve Howe. When that musical fit seemed right Lane brought in Palmer and keyboardist Geoff Downes (The Buggles) filled out the lineup. The group Asia was born. The band’s self-titled debut album “Asia” was released in 1982 and a small tour began. Asia exploded on the charts, right to number one, and over 7 million copies of the album were sold worldwide. Along the way singles such as “Heat Of The Moment”, “Only Time Will Tell”, “Wildest Dreams” and “Sole Survivor” dominated the charts for months. Asia was a perfect fit for the musical climate of the time.
After an Exhausting 18-month tour, Asia followed up with their second album, Alpha, which spawned two charting hits, “Don't Cry” and “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”. “Astra”, the band’s third album, followed in 1985 with Mandy Meyer taking Steve Howe’s spot but the album failed to match the success of the earlier albums. A planned tour was abandoned and Asia went their separate ways.
Later in 1989 the Asia banner was raised once again when an invitation play a series of stadium dates with the Beach Boys brought Carl Palmer and John Wetton back into the Asia fold along with hired guns John Young and Alan Darby. Encouraged by the reception they received, Asia arranged another tour for the fall and convinced Geoff Downes to return. As Asia prepared to write a new album in 1991 John Wetton decided to leave and Carl Palmer jumped at the chance to reunite with his old mates Keith Emerson and Greg Lake in ELP.
ELP returned in 1992 with Black Moon, a strong effort produced by Mark Mancina. A video was released and an ambitious tour followed. To the surprise of many the tour was quite successful and saw ELP circle the globe on a tour that lasted from the summer of 1992 well into 1993. ELP headed back into the studio and “In The Hot Seat” was released in 1994. In 1996 and over the next three years they were accompanied on the road by such notable acts as Deep Purple, Dream Theatre, Kansas and Jethro Tull.
The wheels had begun to turn again and excitement grew for another reunion of the Asia originals. Negotiations continued and the band began to rehearse together in February 1999, joined by guitarist Dave Kilminster. The feeling among the principals was that the magic was still there and a world tour was announced, set to begin in June. Following a world tour, Asia had hoped to record a new album and Geoff Downes and John Wetton had already begun writing songs again. Not one to sit around, Palmer set out on a schedule that included instructing drum clinics & master classes and once again set out to create his own new band and along with bassist SIMON FITZPATRICK and guitarist extraordinare PAUL BIELATOWICZ he formed the progressive trio “Palmer”. Fans fortunate enough to see the group live immediately embraced their raw power and virtuosity and critics were quick to agree. In 2001, Carl Palmer released his much-anticipated two-disk anthology Do Ya Wanna Play, Carl. The collection showcased Palmer’s greatest recordings with ELP, Asia, Atomic Rooster plus and several rare and never-before-released tracks from every professional group had ever been in. Highlights included cuts from sessions with British rock artist Mike Oldfield, and a live track featuring Carl with his childhood idol, drum jazz icon Buddy Rich and his Orchestra. Perhaps the biggest gem for fans was the inclusion of the piece fans had been asking for since the seventies.
The Carl Palmer Band lineup did a highly successful U.S. tour in 2006 and continues to tour throughout the world. Featuring Paul Bielatowicz on guitars, Simon Fitzpatrick on bass and Palmer on drums, the band will also embark on a 29 date tour of Canada, The US, and South America. The band has released a concert DVD and three acclaimed live CDs, Working Live Vol 1. Vol 2, and Vol. 3. In 2006, Carl also regrouped for the long awaited reunion of the original ASIA, with Steve Howe, Geoff Downes and John Wetton. The band has done five world tours and recorded two new studio album, “Phoenix”, released on Frontiers and EMI Records in 2008, and “Omega, released in the Spring of 2010.