Rik Emmett is unquestionably one of Canada's greatest musical gifts. Taking his first guitar lessons at age 12, his diverse playing styles of today could have been predicted in his childhood, with a wide array of influences, including The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix, as well as blues, jazz, flamenco and classical.
Rik's early love for jazz prompted him to enroll in Humber College's program in '73, only to drop out the same year. It was shortly thereafter that he joined the group Justin Paige. Less than a year later he left to form Act 3. After calling it quits with that trio the same year, he formed Triumph with Gil Moore (ex-Shearman & Peabody with Moxy's Buzz Shearman & Fludd / Goddo / Carpet Frogs mainman Greg Godovitz) and Mike Levine.
Rik Emmett was a relatively unknown singer/songwriter/guitarist on the local Toronto scene in September of ‘75 when he joined a newly-formed hard rock trio called Triumph. By ‘79 three albums had gone gold and platinum in Canada - two of these charted in the States, receiving serious radio airplay. By ‘81, they were firmly established as one of the premier touring rock acts in North America, with generous FM radio airplay support and heavy rotation on the fledgling MTV cable channel. In the next seven years, Triumph released a total of ten albums, all of which went gold, with four turning platinum, in Canada. In the U.S., two went gold. Emmett's name frequently appeared in guitar magazine polls and he won several prestigious awards, including Best Lead Guitarist nationally in 1981. Rik left the band in ‘88 to fly solo, but as one of the band’s original members, he was inducted into the Canadian Rock Hall of Fame in ‘93.
Among his peers, Rik Emmett is widely considered to be one of the most proficient and versatile guitarists of all time. Although he is best known as a premier rock guitarist, his playing style incorporates rock, blues, jazz, classical, bluegrass and flamenco techniques. Similarly, his songwriting and discography demonstrate his ability to employ and blend multiple genres.
Rik left Triumph to venture into solo waters in September of '88. Releasing 17 Solo Albums to date. Rik's solo career spawned three releases for Duke Street/MCA Records in the early ‘90’s. The first album of the three, Absolutely, went gold in 1990, yielding the hits "Saved by Love" and "Big Lie", two songs that provided a transition from arena rock while maintaining a sense of continuity at FM radio. Perhaps a bit more of a surprise was the ballad, "When a Heart Breaks" which crossed a rock guitar hero over into other radio formats and revealed a more sensitive singer/songwriter persona. "World of Wonder" also received substantial airplay and revealed an expanding lyrical and stylistic range. The “Ipso Facto” CD followed in '92, offering up the hits "Out of The Blue" (a jazzy-bluesy tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughn, Hendrix and Wes Montgomery) and "Bang On", a rocking return to one of Rik's personal themes - positive motivation and inspiration. Ipso Facto was a tour-de-force of stylistic versatility, but no surprise to fans who knew the guy who constantly plugged trademark classical guitar pieces or little jazz tunes in between the hard rock anthems, arena blues riffs and progressive flourishes found on past records.
In 2005, Rik was honored as Jazz Guitarist of the Year at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, and in the summer of 2006, the wide range of Emmett’s abilities went on display - from a smooth jazz festival in Canada to a heavy metal festival in Germany: from Artistic Directing a songwriting workshop to hanging & jamming with Alex Lifeson of Rush at the Guitar Workshop.
Reunion of Triumph
Rock fans had a dream come true when years of speculation came to fruition in 2007, when Emmett reunited with his Triumph mates for a series of festivals in Europe. Following the successful reunion, the members again drifted off again to do their own things.
* 1976 Triumph * 1977 Rock and Roll Machine * 1979 Just a Game * 1980 Progressions of Power * 1981 Allied Forces * 1983 Never Surrender * 1984 Thunder Seven * 1986 The Sport of Kings * 1987 Surveillance * 1993 Edge of Excess
* 1985 Stages * 1996 King Biscuit Flower Hour (In Concert) * 2003 Live at the US Festival * 2004 A Night of Triumph
* 1988 Classics * 2005 Livin' for the Weekend: Anthology * 2006 Extended Versions: Triumph
* 1990 - Absolutely * 1992 - Ipso Facto * 1995 - The Spiral Notebook * 1997 - Ten Invitations from the Mistress of Mr. E. * 1997 - Swing Shift * 1999 - Raw Quartet * 1999 - The Spirit of Christmas (with Sam Reid of Glass Tiger) * 2000 - Rik Emmett LIVE at Berklee * 2002 - The Best of Rik Emmett (20th Century Masters compilation) * 2002 - Handiwork * 2003 - Good Faith * 2005 - One Night in Cinci DVD * 2005 - Live at 10 Gigs DVD * 2006 - Strung-Out Troubadours (with Dave Dunlop) * 2007 - Strung-Out Troubadours - Live at Hugh's Room (with Dave Dunlop) * 2007 - Airtime - Liberty Manifesto (with Michael Shotton of Von Groove) * 2009 - Strung-Out Troubadours - Push & Pull (with Dave Dunlop)