Once upon a time -- say, 30 years ago, when album rock was king and hip-hop was something schoolkids did at recess -- Carl Palmer was one of the most famous drummers on the rock-and-roll planet. Palmer set the prog-rock percussion standard by banging out bombastic beats with Emerson, Lake & Palmer (no, it doesn't hurt your name recognition when you get title billing) and later with the post-'70s supergroup Asia. But Palmer's love affair with all things rhythmic had more humble, if picturesque, beginnings.
After seeing The Gene Krupa Story (about the first superstar drummer, back in the '30s and '40s) as a preteen, Palmer knew his course in life was set. "I realized I just wanted to be like this guy on the screen," Palmer says. "I wanted to have those drums. I wanted that color. I wanted to be dressed like he was. I wanted to have those problems."
"When I came out of the cinema, I knew that drum at home was the most important thing that I had."