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In Words: Camel

- Camel - April 2001 - Roberto Palmitesta -

Camel (press conference) - Caracass (Venezuela)
April, 2nd 2001

Caracas – Venezuela, 2nd April, one of the most recognized and famous bands of progressive rock had arrived to the country to give on the next day a show that many people won't forget.
The success of bringing progressive bands to Venezuela continue, Camel is the 4th band brought by the ACIC, and independent promoter agency that is dedicated to bring prog shows, they were the same people who brought during the last year After Crying, Rick Wakeman and The Flower Kings, and know the faced their most successful adventure: Camel almost sold out the tickets.
The people in Venezuela was very exited with the fact of watching one of their favorites bands of all times, and the show has a beautiful exchange of emotions between the band and their fans.
Let's see some of what the band said to the press and members of radio and TV show on the morning before the show:

Roberto Palmitesta (To Latimer): What do you think about the new progressive scene all over the world with all these new bands like Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery and so on?

Latimer: I don't know any of these bands but may be Guy know these bands, he is progressive corresponsal.

Guy Le Blanc: Yes, I like Dream Theater a lot, I enjoy what they are doing a lot, because it offers a harder edge to classic progressive sound.

Roberto Palmitesta (To Latimer): We would like to know about Camel in the 80's. You know that in the 80's many bands like Yes, E.L.P. and Genesis felt don't in a way that any people said that progressive rock was dead, but Camel was one of the few bands who knew how to keep going on that time. I would like to know your opinion about it, and what do you think about the fact that progressive rock was died in the 80's.

Latimer: Progressive rock did die in the 80's when pop came in, pop did serious damage, but I don't think it was an unhealthy thing, but anyway I think progressive scene was becoming unhealthy anyway, bands like Yes, Genesis and E.L.P. grew and grew going over to the top and it was more about label production, and it became less about the music anyway, become more business like.
But, I mean the progressive scene to me is something that I don't really think well, it's only about the people who talk about the progressive scene, I mean the word progressive is really something to discuss, look at all these young bands, none of them are progressive to me, what is progressive? It's very subjective, who know what progressive means, but I don't really think they are necessary progressive (talking about the young bands), they are not doing something new.

Henry Crecini (From "La Esencia" radio show): What do you think that is the Camel style?

Latimer: I can't tell you that.

Crecini: But the Camel sound?

Latimer: I can’t tell you about the Camel's health (Laugh).

Leonardo Bigott (Jazz show): What's your contribution as a guitar player to the music?

Latimer: It's a hard question, I can answer that, I don't really know. It's not my place to say in what did I act, it's my place to say this is what I am. I know that we have contributed, but I can't tell you how.

Roberto Palmitesta: I would like to ask you about your influences as a guitar player.

Latimer: My influences? There are many!!!.... Many, many, many guitar players.

Leonardo Bigott (Jazz show): Any jazz guitar players?

Latimer: Charlie Christian, Todd Farlow, West Montgomery... (Latimer continued with a big list of jazz players). When I was young I never bought records for fun, I never said, "I'm going to buy this record to enjoy it", I always said: "What can I learn from this record?" I bought Jon MacLaughlin records but It was to hard to learn, "Wow!!! this is to hard for me, this is too fast!!!" and then I said: "Where is Eric Clapton? This is easier to play!!!" (Laugh).

Roberto Palmitesta (To Latimer): In Camel history you have seen many people come and go. Please tell us what did you do to keep going with Camel. Many other musicians would stop with all that changes, but you keep going. What give you the strength to keep going and keep finding musicians to Camel?

Latimer: I don't know really what keeps me going... I don't know what else to do with my life (laugh), that's probably what keeps me going. I never get to the situation in what you said; "I can do this any more". You know, you have low points in your life, everybody has it, but the alternatives, if you actually consider the alternatives for one minute, so you said "It's not a bad life really, it's a very good life really", so that what's keep you going I think, and I think you have to have a business sense to keep going, I think I learned a lot on that side, that's something that kept me going, not making the same mistakes that when I was young, I made many stupid mistakes, I signed a lot of contracts and I lost a lot of money, manager went away with huge amounts of money and we didn't get anything. You have to take care of your art side but you have to make business, that's another key to success, you have to take care of the business said which is the worst thing about music, YOU HAVE TO!!! You have to survive.

Roberto Palmitesta (To Latimer): I would like to know what do you think about our fans? Many people are still running to buy the tickets and we may have a sold out theater today. You will be very surprised with our fans, the are very loyal to Camel. I would like to know what do you expect from our public?

Latimer: I think that the best thing is: Don't expect anything. I don't go to any concert expecting something from my audience, I'm going to be in trouble, so I try not to expect anything.
Ask for a lot, expect a little and accept you get.

Roberto Palmitesta (To Guy Le Blanc): Do you know about our Latin rhythms and Latin styles of playing piano?

Le Blanc: I heard some, but I haven't approached myself very intimately, I think the sound is very well to jazz, I don't play a lot of jazz, I play more classic. But I think it's very nice, I feel very challenged to play something like that.

Roberto Palmitesta (To Latimer): Here in Venezuela, I made an small poll to ask about their favorite Camel album and they are divided between Moon Madness and The Snow Goose, and they had also said that Rajaz it's a nice sur­prise. What do you think about it?

Latimer: It's very interesting what I observed when we came to South America, because here in South America everybody is talking about Moon Madness and The Snow Goose, but in Europe, the majority of the fans that come to see us don't even know about those albums. They don't even know about Peter Bardens and he left the band 22 years ago.

Roberto Palmitesta (To Colin Bass): Colin, you never thought that when you gave that book about world music will end on Rajaz. Tell us about that.

Bass: I never though that. I didn't think that it will be an influence to the album, It's great!!!.

Latimer: It's wonderful, Colin had been a good friend and I tried to educate me, a hard thing to do, but he gave me that book.

Roberto Palmitesta


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