RIK EMMETT Doubts TRIUMPH Will Ever Perform Again: 'I Think It's A Non-Starter'

March 6, 2024

In a new interview with Robert Edwards of Talkin' Bout Rock, guitarist/vocalist Rik Emmett of legendary Canadian rockers TRIUMPH was asked if he thinks the band will ever perform again. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I doubt it. I'm sorry to take out a sharp little pen and prick the balloon of hope. But, honestly, I think when we [played a short set at a fan event which was filmed for] the TRIUMPH documentary ['Triumph: Rock & Roll Machine'], and Gil [Moore, drums/vocals] rehearsed for a long time to sort of get himself [in playing shape]… We only played three songs, but he was gonna sing and play 'When The Lights Go Down', and he hadn't played ever since we did the Sweden reunion; he hadn't sat down and played any music, touched his drums. And then, when we did that, at the end of it, I think he went, 'Okay. I'm done.' A show of hands."

He continued: "It's a lot to ask of him, the whole idea of singing half the show, but you're sitting there and you're trying to drum an extremely aggressive kind of a set of music for anybody that has to play drums, and I would say in a TRIUMPH situation in a trio situation, but even more — Rik Emmett writes these tunes where, you know, it's, like, 'I wanna get busy and that's why I'm gonna need a drummer to play a lot of fills.' And Gil was game for a long run, and now he goes, 'Yeah, I think I've had enough. My back doesn't like this — my shoulders, my wrists, my elbows."

Emmett added: "There was a time — I don't know if folks know this — but when we did the live album 'Stages' [1985], we'd played a long tour, and when we came off it and we were doing that, the record company wanted a couple of tracks, and there was one where Gil, his elbow was so sore — now, I think it was maybe from playing too much golf, as well as playing too much drums — but we had to have another guy sit in and play a drum part on one of the tracks because he couldn't do it; he was in sort of rehab for his elbow. Gil was always very avid golfer, and I think, over time, I think that kind of cost him a little bit too. He goes now and he gets physio so that he can still go golfing. But the idea of touring and playing drums, I think it's a non-starter."

The aforementioned invite-only event was held in November 2019 in front of 300 "superfans" at MetalWorks studio in Mississauga (a suburb of Toronto),Ontario, Canada. Emmett, Moore and bassist/keyboardist Mike Levine played a three-song set that marked TRIUMPH's first performance in 11 years, as well as its first as a pure three-piece power trio in 31 years. The tracks played were "When The Lights Go Down", "Lay It On The Line" and "Magic Power".

Moore, Levine and Emmett formed TRIUMPH in 1975, and their blend of heavy riff-rockers with progressive odysseys, peppered with thoughtful, inspiring lyrics and virtuosic guitar playing quickly made them a household name in Canada. Anthems like "Lay It On The Line", "Magic Power" and "Fight The Good Fight" broke them in the USA, and they amassed a legion of fiercely passionate fans. But, as a band that suddenly split at the zenith of their popularity, TRIUMPH missed out on an opportunity to say thank you to those loyal and devoted fans, a base that is still active today, more than three decades later.

After 20 years apart, Emmett, Levine and Moore played at the 2008 editions of the Sweden Rock Festival and Rocklahoma. A DVD of the historic Sweden performance was made available four years later.

Back in 2016, Moore and Levine reunited with Rik as special guests on the "RES 9" album from Emmett's band RESOLUTION9.

On February 5, Rik revealed that he had just completed radiation treatment for prostate cancer. He added in a social media post: "For you gentlemen out there north of age 45-50, please do yourself a favor and get checked. If you catch it early, there's an excellent chance it can be treated; and treatment doesn't always have to mean surgery or chemotherapy either. Consider this a PSA to get your PSA checked!"

Emmett went public with his prostate cancer battle last November.

Rik, who quit TRIUMPH — acrimoniously, in 1988 — over music and business disputes, went on to pursue a solo career, while TRIUMPH carried on with future BON JOVI guitarist Phil X for one more album, 1992's "Edge Of Excess", before calling it a day the following year.

Emmett was estranged, both personally and professionally, from the two other members of the legendary Canadian classic rock power trio for 18 years before they repaired their relationship.

Emmett's autobiography, "Lay It On The Line - A Backstage Pass To Rock Star Adventure, Conflict And Triumph", came out last October via ECW Press.

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