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  • The Metal Voice

Rik Emmett- I left Triumph Cause I Couldn't Do Things I Wanted To Do In The Band Situation

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Jimmy Kay and Alan Dixon spoke via Zoom Triumph longtime guitarist and solo artist Rik Emmett. Emmett spoke about the re-release of 11 of his solo albums, why he left Triumph and the upcoming Triumph Documentary.

July 10, 2020, Round Hill Records reissued 11 solo Rik recordings in the digital format, including Ten Invitations (1998), Swing Shift (1998), Raw Quartet (1999), Live at Berklee (2000), Handiwork (2003), Good Faith (2003), Strung-Out Troubadours (2006), Live at Hugh’s Room (2007), Liberty Manifesto (2007), Push & Pull (2009), and Marco’s Secret Songbook (2012):

Watch Complete Interview here

When asked if Triumph was considered a Heavy Metal Band

"The Truth of Triumph is I think the other guys more so Gil Moore the drummer would have preferred to have been a Metal band and (bassist) Mike Levine was kind of happy to go along with that journey. When they first initially envisioned the band (Triumph) before I was even in it, I think they sort of saw it as a Jimi Hendrix, Cream kind of thing. However I did have more progressive bones in my body. Plus I would also write a tune and hope that it would cross over to AM radio and Heavy Metal never did that."

When asked about leaving Triumph

"The reason why I left the band (Triumph) was because I couldn't do things I wanted to do in the Triumph situation. There was also pressure from managers, agents and even the record company at the time saying, you don't want to get too far away from the hard rock sound. I think it's true the band reflected the personalities and the characters of the three of us and it's kind of like sometimes the things that make a band good and unique are also the kind of things that creates tension and stress inside the band. That eventually maybe are the things that are going to break the band up. John Lennon and Paul MCcartney would be the supreme example. "

When asked about the direction of his solo albums

"I was never concerned about trying to retail records in a record company situation. I was a musician, I would write, record, I would put out these records and if I made my money back I would go oh great. On those records I was all over the map. I was doing stuff like jazz, classical guitar, blues etc... I was fulfilling all of the things that have been frustrated dreams when I was in Triumph, now I was going to do whatever I wanted to do. After decades along comes Round Hill Records and they started with putting out the Triumph albums on Vinyl

and now my solo albums. "

When asked about the upcoming Triumph Documentary

"Banger are pros and they are digging around your life and they are going in deep. There is a surreal nature to it, you are going back in your life and they (Banger) remind you of things you completely forgotten and sometimes it hurts. I have seen a rough cut, it's really good it really gets to the heart of the band, the music, the connections to people and how we were a soundtrack to the fans lives and how it matters to them."

For decades, Rik Emmett (largely considered one of the greatest rock guitarists of all-time) has been a prolific recording artist – whether it be as a member of Triumph, offering solo material, or collaborating with others. And now, fans will be able to enjoy quite a few of his solo releases once again – which covers a wide variety of styles.

“As my loyal fans will tell you, I’m not the kind of artist who spends a lot of time and energy looking back,” explains Rik. “But it has been nice to feel there’s a partner who places value on the history of my work beyond the Triumph years. I don’t think of myself as a difficult artist: I’d like to think I’m easy-going and cooperative. But I have a lot of decades of experience in the music business, and I know that an eclectic catalogue of music like this presents Round Hill with some, ummm, unique challenges. It’s gratifying to find patronage that can breathe new life and energy into the public’s awareness of the catalogue. I’m glad that Round Hill respects the work I did, and the music I made. My heart and soul is in this collection. So I only hope the best for Round Hill, as they try to make the digital universe of the 21st century, with its infinite challenges, aware of a humble troubadour from Canada.”

For Triumph fans who may just be discovering these solo Rik titles, its creator discussed the differences between the two. “There’s no comparison to be made, really: separate universes. The first album of this new Round Hill catalogue dates from 1996. I had already been out of Triumph for over 8 years, and by then, had fully transitioned away from any attempts to make mainstream, charting, music-business kinds of projects. I was simply pursuing personal artistic goals, and I had a loyal group of fans - patrons, really - who would indulge that, making it self-sufficient. Many of these albums were about testing my chops, writing and playing instrumental compositions, or exploring styles of music-making that had nothing to do with rock. These albums represent an artistic learning curve of my own digital studio, my own production, my own composing. The hints of prolific eclecticism that a keen Triumph fan might have found back in the 70’s and 80’s is fully in evidence in this catalogue that spans 1998 to 2012.”

“Every album has its moments. Would you ask a parent to choose a favorite child? I love things about all of them, for different reasons. Swing Shift has some personal highlights: I’d waited all my life to try and put original songs like ‘Taste of Steel’ and ‘Mr. Bebop’ on an album: and the Live at Berklee CD was a unique, crazy night ... I’m also very proud of the collaborations with Dave Dunlop on the Troubadours albums, especially ‘State of Grace’ and ‘Deeper Kind of Blue.’ And if any fans are looking for hard rock, the Airtime Liberty Manifesto album I did with Mike Shotton is a heavy-progressive project. There are some songwriting gems on Marco’s Secret Songbook, too: ‘Hope’ is a song I really love, and ‘Between The Dreams’ has an ‘epic’ dimension in my imagination. I guess the ‘favorite’ thing I feel about the entire collection, is the depth and breadth of my songwriting. I’m really glad Round Hill is giving the world another chance to give it all a listen.” And lastly, what about future projects? “I never stop writing. My notebook has 3 songs on the go, right now. My own website has new downloads out for a collection of 24 tracks entitled Folk Songs for the Farewell Bonfire. And I’ve just completed a book of poetry, which I’m currently shopping around. Also, in early stages of development: a memoir / autobiography, and a select compilation of the over-2,000 pages of fan forum blogging I’ve done on my site since it launched a few decades back. Plus, I collaborate on videos for endorsement partners (doin’ some country chicken-pickin’, next week), do a bit of co-writing, and participate in some charity initiatives. So I’m keeping busy, creatively.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: General : Ten Invitations : Swing Shift : Raw Quartet : Live at Berklee : Handiwork : Good Faith : Strung-Out Troubadours : Live at Hugh’s Room : Liberty Manifesto : Push & Pull : Marco’s Secret Songbook :


Round Hill has offices in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles and London.

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