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Carl

Greg Lake

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Many songwriters believe that lyrics are best interpreted by the listener, and if you ask about specific inspirations, will terminate that line of questioning.

But here's the thing: songwriters love it when we find our own special meanings in their songs, but like the rest of us, they like to tell their own story about the song as well. "New Song" relates to our specific dreams, but Howard Jones is happy to explain how it relates to his.

We often circle around the "what is this song about" question by approaching it as "what was going on in your life" or "what does the song mean to you." It's through the songwriter's intention that we can often find new meaning in the song while also telling the story of the person who wrote it.

Greg, however, holds very firm in his conviction interpretation will lead to distortion. Is "Still You Turn" me on about a specific person? We'll never know.

But just because interpretations are off the table doesn't mean we can't talk about song creation, so we spent some time on Brain Salad Surgery - how "Karn Evil" et al. were recorded on a stage with concert reproduction in mind; we discussed how album titles and concepts were retrofitted to the songs, and we got into one of my favorite topics: inspiration. Which Greg sums up this way:

"Inspiration really comes from a desire to share or to give."

"I Believe In Father Christmas" becomes one of the more popular songs in the database come December. With meanings off the table we talked about the video, which was shot in the West Bank in 1975 - quite a production 6 years before MTV.

Diverting from songs, Greg closed out the interview by talking about the strangest thing that ever happened to him on stage. This guy spent many shows performing next to a robot armadillo and a knife-wielding keyboard player, but what happened at one show in Italy topped all that.

Greg Lake interview

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