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Biography & Autobiography Composers & Musicians

Lay It On The Line

A Backstage Pass to Rock Star Adventure, Conflict and TRIUMPH

by (author) Rik Emmett

ECW Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
Composers & Musicians, Rock, Individual Composer & Musician
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price

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From Triumph superstar Rik Emmett comes the thrilling, inspiring story of a life of rock and roll

While describing the impulse driving his life and work, Rik Emmett explains, “I was never in it for the sex and drugs — ah, but the rock and roll. Creativity was, and still is, my it — the truth I bet my life on. It was also, always, about play. The play’s the thing …

Merging memoir, anecdotes, and masterclasses on guitar, songwriting, and the artist’s mindset, Lay It On The Line offers insight and perspective into the many roles Rik Emmett took on. “It” was always a parboiling, psychological gumbo: and this book attempts to finally share the recipe.

It also includes photos from Emmett’s own archives, plus the definitive, detailed reasons behind why he walked from Triumph — and came back two decades later.

Rock star, it seems, was a character for Rik Emmett to inhabit … a great gig, a catalytic door-opener … it was a role that led to other adventures — and these are the stories he’s chosen to tell.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Rik Emmett currently resides in Burlington, ON. The 32 albums of his recording career range from rock and blues to jazz, folk, and classical and got him into a few Canadian Halls and Walks of Fame. He was a guitar magazine columnist for over a dozen years, as well as a college music educator for a few decades. An avowed family man, he’s been married for 46 years. This memoir follows his 2021 book of poetry, Reinvention. Retired from touring, he keeps busy in his studio, writing, recording, and blogging regularly.

Excerpt: Lay It On The Line: A Backstage Pass to Rock Star Adventure, Conflict and TRIUMPH (by (author) Rik Emmett)

“I try to find the kind of truth that only time will tell.
It’s a higher education but I’m learnin’ all my lessons well.”
— “Bang On,” 1992

Lay it on the line. But what’s it?

Creativity was, and still is, it for me. It’s the singular explanation, the hook upon which I hang my hat, the focused reason for it all. Creativity is my way — my compass, my journey, and my means of transport. That’s the truth, and I really did bet my life on it, over and over again.

It is also play. The play’s the thing: one man, in his time, plays many parts. There’s the truth in a Shakespearean nutshell. Put the truth out there, and bet your life on it.

So, this is it — memoir, autobiography, anecdotes, stories within the story, insights, and perspectives on my many roles.

Life is a mysterious gift of the physical, intellectual, and spiritual — a parade of sensation and emotion that delivers confrontations with the beasts of human nature. My life has always had quite the psychological gumbo, parboiling away. The spotlight became an addiction that fed my self-worth, and it wasn’t until I retired that I finally outgrew it. Yet here I am writing a memoir — trading one kind of spotlight for another.

Allow me to issue the standard disclaimer: our minds play stupid human tricks with our recollections. We transpose, integrate, edit, and create composites. I tried my best here to give it to you straight, but time makes us all unreliable witnesses. Mea culpa.

I was never in it for the sex and drugs … ah, but the rock and roll. I was definitely in it for the play of it all, for the love of music. Whenever that became obscured or got trumped, I began to lose interest — then chafe. Being a rock star was simply a gig, a character to inhabit. But what a gig it was: a catalytic door-opener leading to other adventures. These are the stories I’ve chosen to tell.

This is it.

Editorial Reviews

“The flow of the writing was entertaining as well...This is a tome that many people should go out of their way to seek out, especially music lovers.” — Lancewrites blog

“Lay It on the Line is an intimate and revealing account of his journey, offering a more personal perspective on the band's history than what's presented in the documentary.” — FYI Music News

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