ELP - Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Background history by Keith Emerson

As far as I can recall, my initial meeting with H.R. Giger was brought about by our Zurich promoter at that time. (His name escapes me.) ELP were in the middle of an european tour - it could have been around 1973. My promoter friend insisted on driving me to Giger's house. As I remember it was a fairly modest "bungalow" from the outside until you went in. Straight away Giger struck me as "HEAVY" to say the least. The interior décor was overpowering, Gothic to the extreme. From floor to ceiling his unique airbrush technique had transformed a simple room into a Cathedral, and it was all around you.

If this was not enough Giger had gone 3-dimensional. His toilet had arms coming out, almost engulfing the sitter. I noted the arms had "drip feeds" going into them. Other décor consisted of gas masks. He showed me his V.D. landscape which looked very science-fiction until he told me the subject had been taken from medical photographs. I was both shocked and fascinated at the same time.

It was dark and very foreboding, and for me it represented ELP's music; I suggested that Greg and Carl view it all. I finally persuaded Greg and Carl to come out to Giger's house. I remember them being reluctant, but we were at a loss for an album cover. Our working title for our next album was Whip Some Skull On Ya which to say the least was suggestive. We'd finally settled for Brain Salad Surgery. It was just as suggestive as the former title, if you were into that sort of thing.

ELP viewed Giger's work and unanimously agreed on two of Giger's existing works. The inside sleeve was later to bring us problems with the record company's printers because the phallic object in front of the head of the lady with the exploding metal headdress.

Through much deliberation with our record company we reluctantly had to appeal to H.R. Giger to "tone down" the phallic object in front of the subject's mouth until it looked like a "shaft of light."

I hope that Giger feels as proud as I on that "Landmark of an Album Cover" even though he was reluctant to alter a few things. And we all know he went on to create the scenario for Alien.

To this day H.R. Giger's work remains distinctive in every sense. He's frighteningly unique.

Keith Emerson, 1991