Rik Emmett didn’t speak to Gil Moore or Mike Levine for 20 years after leaving Triumph in 1988
Triumph frontman Rik Emmett was recently interviewed by media journalist Mark Dean for Antihero Magazine. Emmett will be one of the many artists performing at a virtual concert hosted by Six String Salute on September 17, 2020 to support and celebrate the touring and venue crews who are the backbone of live music and depend on shows to make a living. The guitarist intends on doing a solo performance of the Triumph classic “Fight The Good Fight” during the virtual concert.
In terms of his musical legacy, Emmett opined: “Yeah. Well, I suppose everyone faces that dilemma in their life. If you’re someone who has a certain amount of success or popularity, a commercial sort of thing that existed in your past, that’s going to loom even larger and become more of an ongoing thing that you deal with. But I’ve never really had the … Here’s how to put it in perspective. In 1988, I quit Triumph, and I left and I didn’t talk to those guys for 20 years. If anything’s going to give you a perspective, something like will be able to put it into perspective. I think I went on to do a lot of work on my own, more albums than Triumph ever made. I wrote more songs. I tried more styles. I did all of the things that I wanted to do.
So now that I’ve come back full circle and here I am talking about Triumph’s life and its legacy and the fact that Round Hill Records has put out their stuff, at the same time, Round Hill picked up all of my stuff and they put all my stuff out. I’ve still got a website, and I’ve still got 24 new tracks that are on my website. So I’ve still got a currency here in the present that occupies me creatively and is my focus and is my priority. Having said all that, everybody chooses what their priorities are. My family has always been my priority. So my marriage, my family, my grandkids now, that’s always going to be the thing that keeps me in the present and looking forward.
I’m not really the person that spends much of my life looking back over my shoulder, even though there’s a lot to be grateful for and thankful for about that. It’s still, it’s in the past. So I got to go, “Well.” You know what I mean. I’ve never been really the guy that’s interested in the past. I don’t sit around and listen to my old records. Which is not to say I don’t sit around and listen to old records. I was listening to Debussy yesterday. I like classical music and jazz music. I like all kinds of music.
So you have to be aware. What is it that Santiana said? Something along the lines of, “If you forget your history, you’re doomed to repeat it.” So I’ve never been the kind of person that wanted to keep a hamster on a wheel thing. If I’m a hamster on a wheel, I want to open the gate and I want to get the wheel rolling and I’m going to make it. I’m going to try to find a place where it can go downhill, so it will be easier to spin the wheel.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Rik Emmett by media journalist Mark Dean at Antihero Magazine‘s website.
Wikipedia states the following about Emmett‘s departure from the band (with slight edits): “In 1987, the band attempted a return to their usual style with Surveillance. While Gil Moore and Mike Levine remained firmly planted in blues-rock, Rik Emmett took a more modern progressive turn, even involving Dixie Dregs and Kansas guitarist Steve Morse. They collaborated on a dual-guitar solo for Gil Moore‘s angst-ridden vocal on the Emmett-penned “Headed for Nowhere”.
The first single released to radio stations in Canada was “Let the Light Shine On Me”, which did well on certain Canadian rock stations, such as reaching number 1 at Q107 in Toronto (as the lead one or two singles on most Triumph albums since 1979 had) while reaching No. 61 on the Canadian singles chart. It did not chart in the US. The first single released to radio stations in the US, “Long Time Gone”, reached number 23 on the Top Rock Tracks chart; the song did not chart in Canada. A video was released for the single “Never Say Never”, but the song was not able to chart on the Top Rock Tracks chart or on the Canadian Singles chart.
The 1988 tour, during which the band members experienced growing disharmony over business decisions and artistic direction, ended with a September 3 show on the Kingswood stage at Canada’s Wonderland. Later that year, Emmett left Triumph and began a solo career; the three didn’t perform together again for many years.”