Rik Emmett (of Triumph) and Dave Dunlop – Interview

Rik Emmett – Now and Then

We have a pair of tickets for grabs to see the Rik Emmett Band. Details at bottom. Check out all our other open contests here

On our recent article of “Toronto’s Upcoming Must-See Rock Concerts” we highlighted one show we were extremely excited about and had this to say:

Rik Emmett
o not miss one of the world’s best guitarist and founding member of Canada’s best ever hard rock band, Triumph. Home town boy Emmett is still very active as a recording artist even though he left the blinding light show and laser majesty of Triumph 25 years ago. Emmett is a member of the Canadian Rock Hall of Fame, the Music Industry Hall of Fame, and the Junos Hall of Fame. He has 17 solo albums released since his Triumph days, and they include progressive rock, jazz, acoustic duos and classical guitar records. Triumph will also be finally releasing a DVD of their one off reunion concert in Sweden in 2008 and we will have a review of that soon. Truly a musical chameleon do not miss the opportunity to see Q107 presents Rik Emmett Band on Thursday August 23rd at Toronto’s Sound Academy.  Tickets are available here.

Today we have the honor of interviewing Rik Emmett and Dave Dunlop from the Strung-Out Troubadours as well as the Rik Emmett Band.

1. Hi guys thank you very much for taking time out to talk to T-Mak World. Rik, on your website we see that you have three different shows – “An Acoustic Night Of Triumph”, “Rik Emmett Band” and “Rik Emmett & Dave Dunlop”. What is the difference between the three shows and what can people expect to hear in each one?

Emmett: The Acoustic Night of Triumph set leans heavily on Triumph catalogue, performed acoustically. The Band shows are electric, in a quartet, with a drums & bass gtr. rhythm section. Emmett & Dunlopis likely to have plenty of material from the Strung-Out Troubadours / Troubs duo where Dave and I have written several albums of songs together.

Dave Dunlop and Rik Emmett are the Strung-Out Troubadours
2. You were recently awarded the Diamond Jubillee Medal. What is that honor all about? 
Emmett: It’s a community service award, and has some secondary language about bringing honour & attention to Canada. It’s part of our Conservative federal government trying to re-establish historical ties to the British monarchy. In the end, it’s lovely to stand up with other members of my community who are wonderful, outstanding, giving people, and to think that someone in a position of authority sees that as my peer group: very humbling.
3. Rik, Q107 will be presenting the Rik Emmett Band show at Toronto’s Sound Academy on Thursday August 23rd. Q107 is Toronto’s classic rock radio station and plays a ton of Triumph. As such, is there any chance we can see the other 2 members of Triumph come up for a song or two? If Gilmour can do it with Waters we have some hope right?
Emmett: Mike & Gil have not really been active lately. I think hope is a valuable asset for everyone: in this instance, I think it would be wiser to hope for good versions of plenty of songs from the Triumph canon, and would not necessarily recommend that anyone hold their breath for a reunion on this particular occasion. The whole idea of reunion, however, is never a closed door. The three of us also maintain an ongoing hopeful friendship.
4. Hey Mike and Gil if you are reading this, its a short drive down the Gardiner to the gig – you can make classic rock history if you pop up for a song. Hey I will even drive you down personally! Joking aside, lets get the inevitable question out of the way. You have said that the door is open for a Triumph reunion and with the right offer it may happen. Be honest, in your heart do you believe the fans will ever see Triumph tour and/or release new material again?
Emmett: At one point in my life, I never thought reconciliation and reunion was possible. Both have occurred. In my heart, I now believe that more things are possible in this life than I gave myself (and others) credit for. I learned how to be a more open person. That made me more honest, and gave me more of an open heart. But yes – circumstances also play into reunion scenarios. In the case of Sweden and Rocklahoma in 2008, promoters stepped up. Since then, the right circumstances have not really materialized.   
Rik Emmett photo by Doug Lewis  


5. Dave, were you a Triumph fan growing up?

Dunlop: Absolutely, I was a Triumph fan. One of the first guitar pieces I learned was ” Fantasy Serenade” from the Just a Game Album. I liked that album, and the Allied Forces record as well.  

6. The Troubs released a record called Recovery Room 9 last year which you guys covered classic rock songs such as Message in a Bottle, The Boys of Summer and Born to Run. What motivated you guys to do a record of covers as opposed to all originals?

Dunlop: Hmmm…….We thought it would be fun to do ( it was ) and the tunes we picked were tunes that we knew the fans would love. And let’s be honest, we aren’t the first folks to think of doing this….lot’s of Artists have put their own spin on other people’s material. It’s simply fun to play great songs by great songwriters. And it makes you say ” damn!! I wish I wrote that song!! ” :-)

7. What can we expect from you guys in the near future? Are you working on anything new?

Dunlop: We just finished an acoustic record containing all of Rik’s classic Triumph songs……2 guitars, and even some piano/strings. Rik is singing his Arse off on this thing. Fans are gonna LOVE it.

Rik Emmett photo by Doug Lewis

8. Rik, you seem to have successfully toned down the hard rock anthems that used to blast stadiums such as Magic Power and Lay It on The Line, to acoustic interpretations which you perform in your shows. How do you see the crowd responding to such classic rock masterpieces when presented in a striped down version. Do they get it or are they still demanding you plug in and get loud?

Emmett: As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that audiences come in many different forms & shapes & sizes & mind sets. Some folks out there are wonderfully open-minded, and love it when the artist challenges them a little bit, and they afford the entertainer a wide range of self-indulgence, in order to arrive at the connection. Others are very much of the mind set that they are the customer who is always right, and they have a certain image in their own minds, and they want what they want: and sometimes that means they don’t want you to deviate from the poster they had in their bedroom in the 80’s. Most folks fall in between those positions, and their allegiances might shift on any given moment. Believe me, there are places in my own psyche where I am Forever Seventeen, and I have moments when I want to plug in and get loud. But even when I was 17, I played coffeehouses, and Jewish weddings. I have always felt that music was a dish better served with dynamic ranges of expression: loud, soft, hot, cool, gigantic, intimate … I have never been one-size-fits-all, and maybe, from a marketing point of view, in what is clearly The Digital Marketing Age, that hurts my ability to hit a demographic target market right in the guts. But I’m 59 years old and still at it, while many others are not even in negotiation with audiences of any shape or size or mind set. So maybe that has some bearing on the question.

9. Guys, what is your favorite album that has come out in 2012? 

Emmett: I like the new John Mayer offering, and I also dropped a lot of dough on Impressionist composers recently: Debussy and Vaughan Williams. A friend lent me Bright Eyes ‘Cassadaga’, and that’s a creative effort (although I doubt it’s a 2012 release). I really enjoy Chuck Jackson‘s latest, A Cup of Joe, which is a tribute to Big Joe Turner tunes. Chuck is swinging in his wheelhouse, and hitting home runs.

Dunlop: I like the new John Mayer record. There is a new band called ” the Joy Formidable” that I like…noisy rock kinda stuff. A classic rock sounding band called “Rival Sons” just put out a cool record as well.

10. Thanks again for the time guys, before we let you go tell us, what can we look forward to the show at the Sound Academy? Without giving away the setlist can you tell us a couple of songs we can expect to hear that night?

Dunlop: Muscrat Love and We’ve only Just begun by the Carpenters……..no , I’m kidding, but i do love that second one I mentioned :-)……no, the set list will contain all the Triumph faves….

Emmett: Ya, plenty of classic rock: old Triumph hits, and some covers also show up … a bit of Led Zep, Joe Walsh. There’s also a traditional Emmett thing where we play an instrumental, Three Clouds, very Santana-meets-Allman-Brothers, and all the lads get a chance to blow their brains out. We kick it Old School – and my Gibson arsenal will be at hand. I might even pull out the doubleneck for a song …

Guys, it has been a pleasure, we will be very anxiously awaiting the Sound Academy show and we also have a pair of tickets to giveaway plus one autographed Recovery Room 9 CD to one lucky reader. To enter send an email to tmakworld (at) gmail (dot) com with the word Emmett in the subject line, winner will be notified on August 16 2012.  Note this is a licensed event so you must be 19+ to enter.

We leave you with my favorite Triumph track of all time. Do yourself a favor, get out of the digital age mentality, put 10 minutes aside, and watch this video end to end and understand why when Rik Emmett says he might pull out the doubleneck all rock fans should drool with anticipation. Last but not least if you like Triumph may we recommend a kick ass up and coming Toronto band named TimeGiant – these guys are set to share Triumph’s Toronto hard rock crown.

See ya at The Sound Academy!

more info www.rikemmett.comwww.troubs.ca,  www.davedunlopmusic.com

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3 Responses to Rik Emmett (of Triumph) and Dave Dunlop – Interview

  1. Pingback: Rik Emmett at Lakeshore Mardi Gras | T-Mak WorldT-Mak World

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