Sure, Robert Berry was a standout musician from early on, joining a band and recording an album at 12 and being regarded throughout his Silicon Valley community as a “full-fledged rock star” even as he started high school.
Yes, you could tell early on Berry would make music his lifelong heart and soul and it would last all the way to the present, as he flourishes in his sixth decade of life as a performer, songwriter, producer and more. Berry talks about his incredible musical journey this Monday at 7pm with host Steve Houk on Living On Music.
But who knew when he was in his late thirties that he’d be sitting in his longtime home studio and get a call from prog rock drummer Carl Palmer, asking him to come to London to form a band. Oh, and that’s not all. Who would have ever expected that the third member of this prospective new band would end up being none other than Palmer’s former bandmate in the legendary prog rock band Emerson Lake and Palmer, keyboardist Keith Emerson.
in 1988, after Berry met with Palmer and learned Emerson wanted to get together to discuss joining the band, Berry and Emerson had a memorable one on one lunch meeting to discuss the possible collaboration. And at the end of their talk, Emerson said he had one question for Berry.
“Sure, I was nervous, but we talked like old friends, it was so comfortable and so easy,” said Berry. “So after this two hour lunch where we laughed and had a good time, he looked at me and said, ‘Robert, I just have this one question. If we were to start this band…’ and I was like, oh boy here it comes, and he said, ‘Would you mind if we played a couple of the old ELP songs?’ I got goosebumps and said, ‘I’d be honored Keith. You can’t leave your legacy behind, on tour they want to hear something.’ And then I was thinking, wow, ‘Lucky Man,’ ‘From The Beginning,’ all these nice songs I’ll be singing. But no, that wasn’t what we learned. Not at all!” The three would end up forming the band ‘3’, recording an album, and then doing one tour before Emerson quit the band.
In his almost non-stop career ride that also includes steady producing at his home studio, Berry has also played with 70’s prog pop band Ambrosia, joined Yes guitarist Steve Howe for a short stint with GTR, and is currently in two of his own bands — Alliance, which he formed years ago with members of Boston, Sammy Hagar’s band and Night Ranger, and 3.2, a new yet familiar version of the Emerson/Palmer band ‘3’ that often pays homage to Emerson, who died in 2016 — as well his longtime stint as a band member and songwriter with The Greg Kihn Band.