Jimmy Kay From Canada’s The Metal Voice recently spoke to TRIUMPH‘s guitarist Rik Emmett about his upcoming book or poetry/Autobiography “Reinvention: Poems” via ECW Press , on September 14. Emmett also talks about the upcoming Triumph Documentary that will premiere on Friday Sept 10 at the TIFF.
Is this poetry book also an autobiography
“It was a big part of it, I was trying to have this therapeutic thing that was going on where I started writing and trying to come to terms with getting older and all the rest of that. “
Why not just write an autobiography
“The memoir is coming but in typical Rik Emmett style I decided I was going to Mish Mash a bunch of stuff and try to reach for aesthetic before I had to buckle down. Memoir stuff is more like people want the anecdotes, the stories and what it was like to have been there. There is almost a reporting angle in that. Whereas with poetry I felt like I had a lot more license to do and say things the way I wanted to try and say it. I just felt like I was going to take that step towards a world that’s more Gord Downie (The Tragically Hip) and Leonard Cohen and just take a baby step towards that and not necessarily putting myself on that level. This is only my first attempt. Generally thinking I don’t think my poetry book is too hard to chew at but yes sometimes I am hiding a little bit behind the words or trying to make it so that instead of pissing and moaning about whatever. I am actually trying to say how do I get over to Virtue from Vice? How do I make that flip and I think in poetry it’s easier to do that than if you are just writing a standard autobiography memoir. The memoir is part of my book deal to come out in the future. “
In your book of Poetry/Autobiography you talk about being outvoted by Triumph members many times
“In Triumph when we first started it was a trio and that is like a perfect little democracy, it’s as small as you can get and still have a perfect democracy. In the early stages there would be discussions, my voice would be taken seriously and we were building something. But once it got built to a certain point there was an imbalance that existed. Gil Moore was the general manager of the band, it was really his thing. Mike Levine was the guy that dealt with the record company, he did the marketing and the promotion. So then when there were musical direction talks, I was going, hang on for a second I think direction wise we should be doing this, then it was like sorry Rik you are getting out voted. And I was getting outvoted on too much stuff. I think the other guys wanted it to be a very metal/ hard rock kind of thing but I was the guy that was saying how about a little more progressive. And later on we weren’t even a hard rock band anymore because of what was happening at MCA/Universal. So there wasn’t even that integrity that metal/hard rock has and we were turning into a pop band. I don’t think any of us liked it but the other guys were going kind of like well this is where the bread is buttered and I was like I don’t care about butter.
How did Triumph have so much success on the business side of things and why did you leave?
“Triumph we managed ourselves, so there wasn’t a big slice coming off the top like the 20% of the gross that is going towards a management company. So we didn’t need as big a pie as other bands did. There was money from merchandising, there was money from touring. In fact Triumph probably made more money from then that stuff then we ever did from selling records. In Triumph Mike and Gil were very astute business people they really knew from the get go what it was that they were trying to achieve on a whole bunch of levels. So there wasn’t an ignorance or a naivety to what was happening, no way, there was an awareness. I have learned a lot at the feet of those masters. I think at a certain point they were going to run the Triumph Rock and Roll machine the way they were going to do it and I went I got to go, see yeah.”
Tell me how you felt watching the upcoming Triumph Documentary?
“Banger films have done it and they are very experienced and they are telling their perspective of the story. They have done their research and then they decided this is the angle we are going to take. So that is the first lense you are getting. The other thing is, it’s not my story, in fact I don’t actually own that brand. Gil owns that brand so you are going to get a little bit more of Gil’s angle of it then Rik’s and that is fine. I’m cool with that. In truth and in fairness I think people need to know that, that is what you are going to see. You are going to see something that has been passed through those filters. Is this ok? Have all three guys signed off on this? Yes.”
“Reinvention” is a largely autobiographical collection of poetry — a project that followed on the heels of Emmett retiring from a touring musician’s and college educator’s life in early 2019. Inside all of the slashes that define him — singer/songwriter/guitarist/rock star/teacher/columnist — writing has always been his strongest avocation, and the poetic style of “Ultra Talk”, in particular, offered a welcome spark for a songwriter’s freedom of expression. This creative license is organized under seven headings — The Humanities, Life & Death, There’s Politics in Everything, Double Helix, Soapbox Sermonettes, Time Time Time, and Ars Nova 2020.
TRIUMPH’s first-ever feature documentary about the band’s dramatic career, “Triumph: Rock & Roll Machine” (changed from the working title of “Triumph: Lay It On The Line”), will receive its world premiere on Friday, September 10 at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
On September 12, 2021, 2:00 PM EST, on Volume.com/metalhalloffame, Triumph members Gil Moore, Bassist Mike Levine and Guitarist Rik Emmett will be inducted into the Metal Hall of Fame Virtual Gala. During the ceremony Triumph will be Inducted into the 2021 Metal Hall of Fame by: Live Nation’s Head of Industry Relations Joey Vendetta Scoleri and Jimmy Kay, Editor-in-Chief of The Metal Voice.