Greg Lake

Greg Lake admits prog-rock became overblown, but his pioneering work in King Crimson and Emerson Lake & Palmer nonetheless remains a deep source of pride. “It was a very strange thing to hear a rock band taking their influences from European music, as King Crimson did,” Lake tells Rolling Stone, in a new interview. “I mean, I didn't sing with a mid-Atlantic accent. I sang with a British accent. The music of King Crimson was almost exclusively based on more European structures. It wasn't the three-minute single. It wasn't basic blues-riff music.”

Lake also reiterated his longstanding antipathy toward ‘70s punk music. “Punk is not a form of music,” he said. “It's a fashion statement. If you wanna talk about real punk music, you've gotta look at people like The Who, The Rolling Stones . . . the people who initially had that kind of punk attitude, that right-up-in-your-face thing. But they had a form of music to go along with it. This sort of thrashing away on a chord and just screaming abuse through a microphone doesn't constitute art to me.”

Speaking of The Who, Lake recalled fondly his work with the band on their 2004 song, “Real Good Looking Boy.” “It's a funny business playing with Pete and Roger,” Lake revealed. “At the time, their regular bassist, Pino Palladino, was on tour with Simon and Garfunkel. That's how I wound up doing it. Pete and Roger are a very interesting couple. [Laughs] I use that word because they are like a married couple.”