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Lonely Progger View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Crimson Commentaries 1991-98
    Posted: November 06 2007 at 07:47

This commentary is on the "Dèjà Vroom" DVD, It is by R.Fripp, I don't know If this is the right forum section but it is the one that seemed more sensible to me.

I have put only the parts which I think are important because the whole commentary is a 100 Pages long. I put different chapters of the commentary in different windows so people can read the things that they find interesting and so that people don't get lost in to dense and compact writting.
 

Preface
_________
The aim of these commentaries is present a personal overview of almost thirty
years of King Crimson history. I have drawn on my writing since 1991, originally
conceived as sleeve notes or press releases. This involves repetition and redundancies,
which I hope the generous reader forgives, but which obviates large amounts of crossreferencing
for an innocent approaching the throne; and I have felt free to make
alterations and some updates where this seems appropriate.
Robert Fripp;
August 22nd. 1998,
DGM World Central,
PO Box 1533,
SALISBURY,
Wiltshire, SP5 5ER,
UK.
Introduction
____________
I
King Crimson was described in a Boston Phoenix review of "VROOOM" as an
indie rock group. It probably always has been.
As a primary source I have yet to find any secondary sources which are accurate
factually and, more important to me, convey the spirit of the group and its music. It is
probably fairly obvious that I see Crimson as something very much apart from, while
within, the rock industry and its contemporaries.
One constant throughout Crim history is the intensity of polar response: respect
facing off loathing, with little indifference. But the most significant single factor,
constantly repeated, is that Crimson decisions fly in the face of industry conventional
wisdom and commercial advice generally. I have noticed that when Crimson is about to
get successful in a big way it breaks up, regularly.
Where a group favours business logic over musical decisions, the music has just
died. Where a group attaches greater significance to its appearance than to its music,
the group has just died. Where a group listens to the musical advice of its record
company it has a one-in-seven chance of being hugely successful, and a six-in-seven
chance of failing miserably. Either way, it loses its core audience. Hence the aphorism
that the only thing worse than a record company which takes no interest in a group is a
record company that takes an interest in a group.
Business logic and musical logic are utterly incompatible. A business demands
consistency, guarantees, security, and reliability. The creative act is reliably insecure
and the outcome inevitably hazardous: significant yet risky. One effective way of
shaking off the pressure of managers and record companies is to disband whenever the
group has completed its musical commitments and / or is beginning to generate a large
income.
There have been five different personnel configurations of the live King Crimson.

II
(Notes to "The Essential King Crimson: Frame By Frame")
(1991)
It is too easy to attribute the successes, faults, achievements, continuity,
discontinuity in the life of King Crimson to one person. Because it is too easy, this is
what has happened. Given the talent, musicianship and individualities that have
contributed to this "way of doing things", to present the experiment of King Crimson as
the work of one person is an achievement in itself.
There IS a place for criticism, commentary, chit-chat, exacerbating expostulations
and other elephantosities, but the evidence of the scrapbook suggests this place has yet
to be found within the pages of the music press. I have some sympathy for the music
writers whose work is presented to view, once again, in this scrapbook. They are
exposed in public to a more mature gaze, for who and what they were.
Over a period of 22 years of dialogue, participation, friendship, hectoring,
contribution, and interviewing on three continents, I have seen and experienced the
incalculable damage done by the music press to the act of music. The sheer unkindness
of the English comics in particular is breathtaking, the ignorance astounding, the selpabsorption
frightening. This, with the ingrained hostility and nastiness, has contributed
to the relegation of English music commentary from a position of international respect in
1969 to open dismissal years before 1991. We deserve better than this.
My sympathy remains, and there are exceptions. Richard Williams, Robert
Palmer and Jon Pareles all have more knowledge than most professional musicians of
my acquaintance. Vic Garabarini can better articulate the dynamics of the creative
process than any musician I know. If we include the late Lester Bangs, all these writers
share the passion of those engaged in the impossibility of the musical act in our culture.
If the musician faces the question: "How may I be a professional musician and human
being simultaneously?" then how to write and convey this in an ephemeral and
transitory medium? The question we ask of our writers and commentators is the same
we ask of our musicians: "Does their note ring true?".
Performers grow up in public, but the relationship is direct. Each generation has
its emotional initiation into the act of music by those groups and musicians who are in
the field of endeavour at the time. Some speak for us more directly than others, and it is
those we move towards. I don't know if anyone who was not emotionally engaged by
King Crimson in its earlier forms, or who was too young to be a part of that particular
generation's musical communion, can re-enter that bubble of experience. This is not a
purely musical phenomenon: the events took place in time, in place and with particular
people.
Sometimes music leans over and takes the musician into it's confidence. If the
audience is present while it's happening, the event can move into a very special time
frame that deserves the word "eternity". Any "eternal" moment is the same as any other
"eternal" moment: it's always there, if we are. If any of you reading these easy words
doubt them, I can only reply that this is the blood-flow which keeps the musician alive in
the face of overwhelming odds and difficulties.
Some of the music on these albums comes from a special place, and some
doesn't. But it's all worth a listen.
If any group, or endeavour, has value it is because the group reflects a particular
quality. Where this is so, the quality is recognisable and can be named. The ceremony
of naming has been held in respect in many cultures. (At the time of writing, the Church
of England is debating baptism). The name "King Crimson" is a synonym for
"Beelzebub", which is an Anglicised form of the Arabic phrase "B'il Sabab". This means
"the man with an aim" and is the recognisable quality of King Crimson.
The words "The Essential King Crimson" claim to present the essence of King
Crimson. What is this? For me:
energy, intensity, eclecticism.


Edited by Lonely Progger - November 06 2007 at 07:58
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 07:49
III
Notes to "The Abbreviated King Crimson: Heartbeat"
(1991)
In rock mythology King Crimson are often presented as one of those serious
cultural concerns which we all respect, would rather not listen to, and definitely should
not let onto commercial radio. In other words, art rock worthy of respect, praise and
avoidance.
Well, I'm not sure if King Crimson was art or whether rock can be art, and there
are parts of Crimson's sonic history I would prefer not listen to. Generally, the group's
craft was worthy of respect, praise and avoidance at various and the same times.
Hordes of earnest young men from New Jersey would probably agree. So far, let's hear
it for rock mythology.
It IS possible to reduce a complexity of operations to a series of simple
propositions and principles, but not to rock myth. Rock mythology is simplistic. Real life
in rock music is much, much richer, tasty and more exciting than this: the experience of
it bites our ear, makes the nose twitch, disgusts,
is sacramental, a testament to the very worst of human nature, burlesque, a backdrop to
social and gender maneouvres, a microcosm. And, for me, a liberal education in the
school of living living and life while thinking, swaying, suffering, laughing and dealing on
a pair of feet in rapid motion.
What the simplistic presentation misses is that King Crimson has some great
numbers - in a word, classics - that virtually anyone can listen to, again and again. And
have. My mother's favourite Crimson track is still "Schizoid Man". She is the only
septugenarian to regularly sport King Crimson tee shirts, complete with screaming
Schizoid face, in Wimborne Square and High Street.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 07:51

Line-up One (1969)
__________________
Robert Fripp guitar
Ian McDonaldwoodwind, keyboards, mellotron, vocal
Greg Lake bass guitar, lead vocal
Michael Giles drums, percussion, vocal
Peter Sinfield words & illumination


Introit
_______
The shock of this group's performances in England, from its debut on April 9th.
1969 at the Speakeasy in London, is difficult to convey 29 years afterwards to someone
who wasn't part of it: something like the explosive impact of punk seven years later. A
considerable influence on the musicians and groups of its generation, it is also the only
Crimson which could have had massive commercial success. Inevitably, it drew as
much hostility as support.
The only studio record from this period - In The Court Of The Crimson King -
failed to convey the power of its live performance but does have the intensity which
characterises classic Crimson of any period. Contemporary ears might find the music
part of another era until they listen THROUGH the music rather than AT it. The sonic
landscape remains as bleak an authentic Crimscape as it gets. Neither heavy metal nor
hard rock have been able to blow me away since I spent nearly all of 1969 playing
"Schizoid Man" and a mellotronic, stroboscopic "Mars".
In 1997 Discipline Global Mobile released Epitaph, a 4 CD set drawn from
bootlegs and archive recordings of (mainly) live performances during 1969. This was the
first opportunity for a new generation of the listening community to access primary
sound sources of Crimson live in 1969; and make their own assessments of the group
and the music.
My own perspective on Crimson is obviously rather different from the other
founder members of the 1969 band. My impression is that they consider their Crimson to
be the only real Crimson, a view with which I have sympathy but disagree. We would
probably agree that this founding Crimson was charmed. There was something
completely other which touched this group and which we called our "good fairy". After
reflecting for several years on how we went from abject failure to global commercial and
musical success in nine months, I eventually concluded that sometimes music leans
over and takes us into its confidence. This was one of those times, these were some of
those people.
But we were also young men, too immature to handle the strains involved in
rapidly moving from local and national failure to international acclaim. The group's
birthday was on January 13th. 1969 at the Fulham Palace Cafe in London. It broke up in
California, December 1969.
This generation of rock (1969) became known as "progressive". Bombast,
exaggeration, excess, self-indulgence, pretension and long solos (by any instrument in
the group) came to characterise the archetypal "prog" outfit. In January 1994 Vox
magazine printed a "Prog Rock special".
This is the letter, dated December 30th. 1993, which I wrote to the Letters
column:
< In the Vox January Prog Rock special your Vox writer suggests that "King
Crimson personified the direction that British rock was taking towards the end of the `60s".
In my view Crimson is a bad example of mainstream Prog Rock (your label) for several
reasons - one being that whenever one particular approach ran its course the group
changed direction and/or personnel. Not the high road to commercial success.
And your writer has drawn a wrong conclusion from a specific Crimson example -
extending a song title into sections. The reason songs and pieces (not "works"!) acquired
separately titled sections (like "In The Court Of The Crimson King" including "The Return
Of The Fire Witch" and "The Dance Of The Fire Witch") was so the group would get paid
full publishing royalties on our American record sales.
David Enthoven and John Gaydon, the E and G of EG Management, told King
Crimson we had to have more than our 5 titles on "In The Court Of The Crimson King" to
get the maximum publishing royalties in the US. So, we added titles to sections until we
had the number necessary to be paid the full rates (by titles, not by running time).
This mundane explanation is much less fun than the one your writer assumes -
artistic pretension - of which there was, in any case, enough to go around.
"The Devil's Triangle" had no singing on it and was not, therefore, a song. Neither
was it "a work", nor "a composition" - it was an instrumental piece. And not a very good
one.
Overall, the article gives a fair impression of the impressive prattiness
surrounding a lot of the scene, but misses some OTT examples of which VOX would
probably have to field libel actions were it to discover and print.
Your general picture - of dopey musicians discovering they are being taken
seriously (fair enough as far as it goes) - is naive, and overlooks the sordid side of what
happens when young men suddenly acquire and are attributed personal, professional and
financial power. Neither does the article adequately explain how the "progressive"
movement became such a flaccid phenomenon. For that, you would also have to
consider the unstoppable growth of the record industry between 1968/78 (particularly in
the US), drug use in general and specifically the widespread adoption of cocaine and
heroin (replacing grass and LSD) by both musicians and executives within the music
industry after 1971 (the consequences were horrific), and the degree to which drugs were
used by certain characters on the business side of the industry to manipulate musicians
(which I saw for myself).
You would also have to take into account the world outside the self-sustaining
Prog world-view of hand-polished landscapes - Vietnam and Watergate, for example.
The original impulse of the "Prog-Rock" genre was the hope that "we (and the
word was a statement of bonding) can change the world". "Sergeant Pepper" and the
outdoor music festivals celebrating community and affirmation, notably Woodstock,
proved it. As a young musician and "hairy" travelling across America in 1969 the
connection was unmistakably clear between the peace movement, rock music as an
instrument of political expression and the voice of a generation. The demarcation between
"straights" and "hairies" equally so.
My personal view is that this impulse failed to carry over into the 1970s and by
1974 the "movement" as a whole had been corrupted, diverted and gone irretrievably offcourse.
Your banner headline - "Jurassic Prog: when dinosaurs ruled the earth" - I believe
I was the first person to use the term "dinosaur" to describe Prog groups: in interviews
during Autumn 1974 explaining why I was then quitting the music industry. Difficult
perhaps to grasp now, but at the beginning the music could be as powerful and overtly
critical as The Clash, Sex Pistols and The Jam a few years later.
I'm not sure Elvis survived the Army but I hope I've forgiven him, so please
forgive me if I seem to fall into the crime of taking your article seriously. But the music
industry was (and is) a microcosm of a particular generation and its concerns. The mess
our elders made of their chances is enough reason to attract the hostility of a succeeding
generation, and not enough reason to forget their real aims.
Musicians, as well as writers, grow up in public. We learn how to do what we do
with all our weaknesses, pretensions, aspirations and ambitions in full view of each other
and the public. By the time punk appeared (a necessary and welcome blast) I had moved
to New York and watched self-importance in personal expression move (mainly) from
young musicians to young music writers.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 07:52
A Personal Throughview From The Guitarist.
__________________________________________
I
King Crimson was conceived in the kitchen of 93a, Brondesbury Road, during
the second half of November 1968; and born on January 13th. 1969 in the Fulham
Palace Cafe, Fulham Palace Road, London. On December 7th. 1969, while driving to
Big Sur, Ian McDonald told me of the decision taken by Michael Giles and himself,
during the preceding three days in Los Angeles, to leave the band. The last
performance by this, the first incarnation of King Crimson, was at the Fillmore West, San
Francisco, on December 16th. 1969.
I returned to England with a broken heart. At the time, I couldn't understand how
anyone could leave a group of that originality and power. Twenty seven years later I
know it's better to take a holiday after an overlong, gruelling tour, than a life-decision
which affects everybody. But these were young musicians, and young managers.
In retrospect, Michael and Ian regretted their leaving. But both Greg Lake and
Ian McDonald achieved greater exposure, popularity and financial success with their
subsequent projects - ELP and Foreigner - than was likely had Crimson continued.
Michael married the woman he loved, and had left behind in England.
II
The tag of "Crimson King" or "bandleader" has followed me in the years since the
break-up of 1969. As a simplicism, and a way to dodge subtlety and complexity, this is
fair enough. It is also inaccurate. None of the original group saw me in this light,
including myself. The group was a group, everyone contributed, and everyone's
contribution affected the contribution of everyone else. No one person could have made
this band what it was. Or is.
Crimson `69 was a painful experience for me. Even now, as I sit to write liner notes for
"Epitaph", I remember little joy in the experience - other than the music. And the music
was remarkable, and sufficient, to endure the rest of the life that accompanied it. The
rest of the life was a broad liberal education, an opportunity few young people get to
embrace. But as a package I would wish it on no one, with the possible exception of one
of my former managers and his solicitor.
III
This album cannot convey to contemporary ears, or give the experience of being
inside and part of, a performance by this "monumental heavy with the majesty - and
tragedy - of Hell" with its "immense towering force field (that) either pinned down patrons
or drove them out"; alternatively "boring beyond description" that couldn't "shatter
windows or set bodies to bopping at 10 paces" (US reviews of NY and LA shows,
December 1969).
So here are two staple Crimson contradictions: a live band on record, and
polarised reviews.
1969 was for me an initiation into performance, and music. Each generation has
its own initiation, by its own generation of musicians and artists. A young listener,
coming to Crimson `69 for the first time, is more likely to hear this as part of the history
of rock than as a life-shaping experience. Perhaps someone who was in the Speakeasy,
or the tent at Plumpton, might re-enter their experience through this record. Or
remember how much they hated the opening act for Geno Washington.
IV
The group was immensely popular, and immensely unpopular. Like it or not, the
group was special. Why? What made the group so special?
King Crimson in 1969 had the right music, musicians, music industry and
audience in attendance, to make it work. These are some of the main factors which
made King Crimson stand out, and contributed to its success:
Material, executive talent, concept, commitment, energy of desperation, surprise,
management, record company, publicity, media, album and album cover, the time of the
world, technology, the Ford transit van, Angus Hunking, our good fairy.
A reader interested in some of the commentary of the time might consult the
Scrapbook to "Frame By Frame" (4 CD overview, Virgin 1991) which, despite its many
and impressive typographical mistakes, gives a good overview of this, and subsequent,
Crimsons. The following are personal comments; broad, but not comprehensive.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 07:53
1. The Musicians.
_____________
At the time and for the time, the playing standard was high for young rock
musicians.
Greg Lake (21) had played with several semi-pro bands in the Bournemouth
area, and then joined The Gods. Greg studied with the same guitar teacher as myself,
Don Strike of Westbourne, and brought a guitarist's technique to the bass.
Ian McDonald (23) spent five years in an army band which, although he hated it
and drove him to despair, gave Ian a wide practical experience and a sound foundation
to express his exceptional musical talent.
The guitarist (23) was an intense and driven young player who played in two
Bournemouth area rock groups as a teenager, and spent three years in the Majestic
Dance Orchestra. After King Crimson in 1969 he practised a lot more and got better.
This album suggests in 1969 his solos were pretty feeble. Ian didn't like his guitar
playing very much and, on the evidence of this album, I have sympathy with his view.
Michael Giles (25) was outstanding. Also from Bournemouth, in 1969 Michael
was arguably the most exciting and original drummer in rock, and in a world class. I
never knew him to play badly.
The musicians came together out of Giles, Giles & Fripp during the second half
of November 1968. Only one person changed: Greg Lake replaced Peter Giles. I saw
myself heading in a different musical direction to Peter, a superb bass player, and gave
Ian and Michael a choice. Greg was a singer, and both lead and bass guitarist. I
suggested he could replace Peter or myself.
Peter Sinfield and Ian were already writing partners before Ian joined Giles, Giles
& Fripp, towards the end of a failure to alert the world to the fact of our existence. Peter
accompanied Ian into the nascent King Crimson from GG&F, and during the initial and
definitive rehearsals Peter provided criticism, advice, commentary and words. Peter
moved rapidly from the inside of the outside to the outside of the inside.
Peter's formal and practical involvement with the new group began as roadie and
lighting man, in addition to providing words. He tired of being a roadie very quickly,
mainly because of the weight of the equipment and how the life weighed on him. In
Peter's words (MM January 2nd. 1971): "I became their pet hippie, because I could tell
them where to go to buy the funny clothes that they saw everyone wearing ... in fact I
carved and hustled my way to where I am now". In 1969 Peter was not quite a full
member of the performance team, but more than a full member of the writing team.
What did each of the members bring to King Crimson?
Greg brought the physical presence of a front man and singer. His approach was
energetic, pragmatic and direct.
The guitarist: the closest I can come is this - he brought a raison d’être.
Ian brought musicality, an exceptional sense of the short and telling melodic line,
and the ability to express that on a variety of instruments.
Michael brought authority - and humour, drive, invention, and a sense of the
perverse.
Peter's primary contribution was to the group's material. But this doesn't go far
enough: he saw something, gave it words and applied them to the group. Peter
recognised the band and gave it its name. He also found the cover. In a sense, Peter
helped shape the perception of the group as King Crimson from both the inside and the
outside.
What bound us together, for a short period of time, was commitment: the group
was our prime aim and interest. With commitment all the rules change. As we became
well known, outside interests and attention increasingly impinged and the group began
to gently fall apart. But the intensity of the first six months generated enough momentum
to keep the group moving, and it did, until falling over six months later.
The energy of desperation fuelled our efforts. We all had lame professional
experiences which pointed ways not to go in music. So, we resolved to play what we
wished to play (note for the dimwit reviewer: this does not equate to self-indulgence)
and figured if we were good enough we might earn a living. A living in 1969 was £30 for
the single men, and £40 for a married, and nothing for Peter Sinfield, who began
working as an unpaid roadie.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 07:54

2. The Material.
____________
The core writing partnership was Ian McDonald and Peter Sinfield. But
essentially the material was all written, arranged, transformed by every member of the
group, whoever and whatever its origination. Giles' contribution was so startling and
catalysing it would be arbitrary and inaccurate to exclude him from writing credits merely
because he didn't "write" anything. Michael's drumming is a key element to the material.
"In The Court" and "I Talk To The Wind" were primarily McDonald / Sinfield,
although the final form of INTCK went far beyond the original song as presented. Greg
considers that he wrote the melody. "Epitaph" was a group effort, developing rapidly
during an evening rehearsal from an idea presented by Greg. "Schizoid" was the same,
using the opening riff (Greg) modified by Ian (the chromatic F, F#, G) and my fast
running lines. It was Michael's suggestion to play the fast "Schizoid" break in rhythmic
unison. Peter would walk the block surrounding the Fulham Palace Cafe and return with
words, and I often returned from a visit to Calatychos' outside toilet with a spray of bright
ideas.
But to ascribe personal contributions or bits to individuals is difficult, unfair and
mistaken: everyone was involved. This is how a group works - if one person thinks of an
idea, sooner or later someone will play it.
My own main writing concern was to give good players something good to play.
A song demands an accompaniment, but good instrumental playing needs a line which
can stand up, run on its own, and provide a springboard to take off and fly.
Peter Sinfield's words from his period with Crimson have been much maligned
and used to exemplify the worst pretensions of progressive (now "prog") rock. Although I
had difficulties with some of Peter's words on the subsequent Crimson albums, as he
had with the music, on "In The Court" Peter's words are in a category of their own. They
are the words of a writer who wrote from personal necessity, and have the power and
conviction of direct seeing. After this album Peter become a professional wordsmith, and
worked and practised that skill. In 1969 Peter didn't know what he couldn't do, and none
of us anticipated the acclaim and hostility which his words attracted.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 07:58
3. Live Performance
________________
The shock of this group's performances in England, from its debut on April 9th.
1969 at the Speakeasy in London, is difficult to convey 28 years afterwards to someone
who wasn't part of that generation, or to anyone familiar with the work of later players
who were themselves influenced.
A key to it was surprise: the group came from nowhere. No-one in the group had
a reputation, or was known outside Bournemouth. Yet within a short time the live
Crimson exerted a wide influence on other groups of its generation. Pete Banks, the first
Yes guitarist, was drinking at the bar of the Speakeasy in London on April 9th. 1969, our
first gig, when Crimson began playing. His drink never left the bar. Two days later the
young Bill Bruford walked home to Fulham at five in the morning from the Strand
Lyceum, raving about the group he had just seen.
The Speakeasy gig was small but made a huge impact on its music business
clientele. The Hyde Park show on July 5th., supporting the Rolling Stones on their return
to live action, propelled the group to national prominence. The audience was huge,
perhaps 750,000. And we stole the show. There were also a large number of Europeans
and Americans, who spread the word when they got home.
The West Palm Beach Festival of 28-29th. November, another huge event, broke
Crimson (and Grand Funk Railroad) in America.
The only record from this period, "In The Court Of The Crimson King", failed to
convey the power of Crimson live but does have the intensity which characterises
classic Crimson of any period.
This is the only Crimson which could have had massive commercial success. It
also drew as much hostility as acclamation, beginning a convention which is honoured
to this day.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 08:00

5. The "Good Fairy".
________________
The act of music is utterly mysterious. King Crimson was my initiation into the
magical world of playing music which then comes to life, of itself, as we played it. I had
been touched before by the music of other players, but in this band music leant over and
took us into its confidence.
There was something completely other which surrounded this group. I don't
believe that we went from abject failure to global musical and commercial success in
nine months without something outside the band giving us help. We sometimes
mentioned the "good fairy" and had the impression for a time that we could do no wrong,
that something special was going on. And it was. At some shows I had extra sensory
experiences - of the audience, what was happening or what was about to happen, who
had walked into the club, who was listening - that I have never had since.
My own perspective on Crimson is obviously rather different from the other
founder members of the 1969 band. I sympathise with the view that the only real
Crimson was the first Crimson, their Crimson. I agree that this founding Crimson was
charmed, but it is not the only Crimson which has had something else available to it.

6. Technology.
__________
Each live Crimson has featured some aspect of new or current technology. In
1969 this was the mellotron. Available in studios for three years (I played one on
GG&F's "The Cheerful Insanity") they were rare on the road and I believe only Crimson
and The Moody Blues were using them live in 1969. And the Moodies used them rather
differently.
Ian McDonald was the mellotronist for this Crimson. They were, and are, beasts
to play. The pre-recorded tapes play in tune (to the degree that they are able) with a
steady voltage. If the voltage drops, so does the speed of the tapes and therefore the
pitch. We discovered during the first American shows that American voltage is not as
stable as English. A strong forte downbeat on the first of "In The Court" and the majestic
D major strings fell to somewhere just above D flat. Or thereabouts. We then learnt
about voltage stabilisers.
The group began with a spread of Marshall stacks and then moved to Hiwatt.
Mellotron and electric sax through either could be frightening. Michael used a double
drum kit, fairly uncommon and remarkable in front of Giles' feet. Sometimes during a
drum solo he would kneel on the floor and talk to them.
We also used the first powerful WEM pa systems. Peter Sinfield introduced us to
onstage miking: his innovation was to leave the vocal mike turned on when the singing
stopped. No one miked drums or amplifiers in clubs: vocals were the only sound source
thought to need a mike. This changed as we moved to theatres, notably the Fairfield
Hall, Croydon (October 17th.).
Our famous light show, built by Peter Sinfield, was from plywood and Bakofoil
with coloured lightbulbs, plus a strobe light. It was considered revolutionary at the time.
Peter operated the lights, and in time made such occasional adjustments to the eight
track WEM sound mixer (at the side of the stage) as he thought necessary.
A revolutionary piece of non-musical technology was the Ford Transit van, which
transformed life for the gigging band. The Transit could carry a full load of band
equipment and two roadies, who then hurtled off into the night down or up along the
fairly recent and developing motorway system of England. (This was because we
couldn't afford hotels for the night. The group drove themselves to and from gigs in
David and John's VW Beetle).

7. "In The Court Of The Crimson King".
__________________________________
The record propelled the group to international prominence. It was recorded and
mixed in about ten days at the end of July, following an two abortive attempts with Tony
Clarke, the producer of The Moody Blues. We realised we would make mistakes, but
decided it was better to make our own mistakes.
The record was an instant smash, and still sells steadily.

8. The Record Cover.
________________
The cover was strange and powerful as anything else to do with this group. Barry
Godber, a friend of Peter and Dik the Roadie, was not an artist but a computer
programmer. This was the only album cover he painted. Barry died in bed in February
1970 at the age of 24.
The cover was as much a definitive statement, and a classic, as the album. And
they both belonged together. The Schizoid face was really scary, especially if a display
filled an entire shop window.
Peter brought the cover into Wessex Studios in Highgate during a session. At the
time Michael refused to commit himself to it, nor has he yet. But Michael has also never
agreed to the name King Crimson. We went ahead anyway.
The original artwork hung on a wall in 63a, Kings Road, in full daylight for several
years. This was the centre of EG activities from 1970 and remains so today, albeit in its
diminished and truncated form. For several years I watched the colours drain from the
Schizoid and Crimson King faces until, finally, I announced that unless it was hung
where it was protected from daylight, I would remove it. Several months later I removed
it and it is now stored at Discipline Global Mobile World Central.

9. The Media.
_________
Began favourable, got mixed, and was immense.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 08:03

Afterward One : Prog Rock and Its Criminals.
___________________________________________


I
At the beginning of 1969 Crimson was "Underground" and by the end of 1969
had become "progressive". After 1972, and into the 1980s, Crimson became part of "Art
Rock" and in the 1990s seems to be considered part of a "Prog Rock" revival.
In January 1993 Vox magazine published a Prog Rock special in which its writer
suggested that "King Crimson personified the direction that British rock was taking
towards the end of the `60s".
This, by virtue of the year, can only apply to the first Crimson. And some, like the
original Crimsoids, might argue that there was only one true King Crimson, and no
continuity other than in name.


II
In the aftermath of the 1969 collapse, Peter Sinfield and I agreed to continue
Crimsonising. The 1970/1 period, in Peter's view, was the Fripp & Sinfield Band. I
sympathise with his opinion, but for me this highlights the fundamental difference in aim
between us and which lead to our eventual separation in December 1971. I view 1970/1
as an interim period or, in Crim history, The Interregnum.
At the beginning of 1970 I felt that everything to be done for the next two years
would be wrong but had to be done anyway, to get to the other side. What was on the
other side, I didn't know. (This is Standard Operating Procedure for me). In retrospect,
my sense of the immediate future seen from early 1970 seems justified by the Crimson
and its music, but 1970/1 had its own particular triumphs despite the ongoing and
growing personal bickering, dissension and disagreement between everyone involved.
Fortunately, all the main people now talk to each other. One of my personal
highlights of 1995 was Peter Sinfield's success with a world-wide hit for Celine Dion.
That Peter's triumph might be my triumph strengthens my heart. The only personal
animosity towards myself from this difficult period, and of which I was aware, was from
my old school friend Gordon Haskell. Gordon sang "Cadence and Cascade" on "In The
Wake Of Poseidon" (1970) and played bass and sang on "Lizard" (1970). He felt
cheated out of royalties on "Lizard" which he believed he was promised. I don't, and
didn't, and have sympathy for any dedicated musician of long and hard apprenticeship
and standing. I have no ill feelings towards Gordon. We had a convivial meeting with all
the members of the original 1963-65 League of Gentlemen in the Summer of 1997.


III
King Crimson is not the Robert Fripp Band, this a wearisome subject in dozens of
interviews over two and a half decades. If in doubt, ask the other members.
Nor is King Crimson simply the sum of its members. There has always been
something other, completely outside the operations of the musicians, the business, the
paraphernalia of rockdom, the records, the performances, and everything which gives
rise to the tangible entity of the group/s, King Crimson.
My experience of Crimson is probably very different to the other players, and not
necessarily any more true. Different opinions, based on different experiences, are not
necessarily wrong, or right, merely different. My own experience of the Individuality
which informs the musicians incorporating any particular King Crimson makes me feel a
particular responsibility to the project. Honouring that responsibility has been
educational, stressful, joyful, painful, illuminating and not something I would do to earn a
living (EG made more money from KC than any of its musicians). Neither does it make
me a "bandleader".

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 08:05

IV
The commentaries I have read on "Progressive Rock" mainly consist of recycled
views of careless musical history substantiated by reference to inaccurate authorities
(and worse) who themselves drew on inaccurate articles, reviews and interviews,
regurgitated over a period of years. If matters of my personal experience are this
distorted and misrepresented in the tiny paddock of one small musical field for 25 years,
even by writers who consider themselves to be informed and of serious intent, I doubt
that history can be reliably written on large matters over large periods of time.
These seem to be common Prog generalisations, particularly in England:
1. The generation of rock which became known as "progressive" is characterised
by bombast, exaggeration, excess, self-indulgence, pretension and long solos
(by any instrument in the group); i.e. Prog is subtle, NOT.
2. All Prog is appalling - the feeble pseudo-mythical concepts, unintelligible words,
fantastic album covers, dopey clothes, bitty and formless music, the rhythm
suspect and peculiar which no-one can dance to, or would want to unless
deranged by drugs - and at its most favourable it should be hated by everyone.
3. The musicians were all prats. They probably still are, but now they are fat and
bald old prats.
4. Prog is universally derisable, and is derided by anyone other than acid
casualties, unreformed hippies and the witless.
5. The most successful Progressive bands in its Golden Age were Yes, Genesis,
ELP and King Crimson.
6. The main culprits of Progressive music in its Golden Age were Yes, Genesis,
ELP and King Crimson. But everyone else was terrible too.


VI
The only part of this to which I take exception is to have Crimson since 1970
regularly placed alongside Yes and Genesis, and frequently ELP. We may have shared
the same part of the planet and space in time, even a musician or two, but our aims, way
of doing things, history and (even) music, are very different.
Crimson's personal history is fairly circuitous but well documented (although with
inaccuracies) and remains available to enquiry, and listening. But not facile
generalisation or the reiteration of cliché, originating in flaccid critical acuity. Even in
1996 Clinton Heylin in "Bootleg" refers to KC as "this previously overlooked dinosaur of
prog-rock" (p.10n). I find Mr. Heylin's opinion somewhat underdetermined.
One simple reason Crimson is a bad example of mainstream Progressive Rock is
that Crimson changed its direction and/or personnel whenever a particular musical
approach had run its course. A primary rule of commercial success is to repeat yourself.
Clearly commercial success was not the priority for Crimson and in this we succeeded,
which is the second simple reason that Crimson is a bad example of mainstream
Progressive Rock.
(NB The only time I made money from King Crimson was in the three years after
its 1974 break-up - the expenses stopped and the albums continued selling).


VII
Progressive is primarily an English phenomenon (although the Prog Revival is
primarily American). The excesses and dopiness of some of its main exemplars bred a
reaction of such hostility among young music writers, notably in the English comics that
promoted the Punk explosion (NME, MM, Sounds), that the nastiness continues to
reverberate today. The degree of hostility towards "progressive" for more than two
decades is a clue that something more than music alone is generating the heat.
Gushing excess may also be found, but to a lesser extent, and now mainly in fanzines. It
is harder to be negative over time than to be positive although, like John Gill, there are
some writers who are prepared to persevere.
The Scrapbook to "Frame By Frame" gives a good sample of journalistic
criticism, commentary and chit-chat both pro and con. On balance it cancels itself out: a
lot of noise minus a lot of noise doesn't equal silence, but amounts to little of value; and
teaches me very little to help me know or do better what I do.
As I grow older I am increasingly distressed at the common currency of
unkindness in reviews. I take it as a given that we perceive our perceptions, and
understand to the extent of our understanding. Similarly, the reviewer reviews themself:
what commentaries on self-loathing, careless and irresponsible opinionation and proud
ignorance are these.
A recent description of the current King Crimson (in an LA freebie newspaper
announcing three days at the Wiltern Theatre, June 1995) is of "Prog-rock pond scum,
set to bum you out". This immediately became the group's favourite self-description.
Q. How would you describe King Crimson, its music, philosophy, history, business
aims, hopes for the future, job description and your personal role within it?
A. We are, and I am, prog-rock pond scum. Our hopes for the future are to bum you
out.
I find it hard to take offence at, or be insulted by, a commentary which
demonstrates that life without sentience is not only possible but ongoing.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 11:39
Forgive me, but I wish Robert Fripp would spend more time making music than running his mouth. He is obviously very full of himself, and not at all humble. IMHO he seems to loathe and hate the genre (progressive rock), that he helped create. The 1969 Crimson and all of the others that followed ALL fit into the "Prog" mode. I recently did a poll on this site about which guitarist has influenced the genre the most, and Mr. Fripp won hands down. I admire him so much for his unique guitar style, a style I have always loved and admired, but I have always been at odds with his personality. I guess blatant honesty is good, but that honesty can also alienate you from the public and the people who have acknowledged  you as a legend, and a person of international acclaim. Sorry, but to me Robert Fripp just comes off as a nasty Englishman who doesn't appreciate his loyal following. A man who constantly looks down his nose  and snubs his fans. The less words I read from Mr. Fripp the better. The more music I hear from Mr. Fripp the better. He is obviously a brilliant guitarist and inovator, but I just wish that most of the time he would keep his thoughts to himself. Come on now, where's the next Crimson? We all want to give you more money Bob!     
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 11:56
He does seem quite proud of himself, and i can understand why some of his talk could get on our nerve, but i found the reasons he gave for disbanding Crimson maybe a bit to radical but interesting to know none the less.
Unfortunately the commentary isn't finished i'm on page 49/100, i'll cut out the useless bable.
Some interesting stuff is still to come


Edited by Lonely Progger - November 06 2007 at 11:59
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 11:57

A Personal View From The Guitarist
__________________________________


I
Since 1994 King Crimson has been somewhat rehabilitated from the position of
ignominy it held in the history of rock music for the preceding 20 years.
Nominally, King Crimson has been regarded as begetting characteristics
associated with, even defining, rocks progressive, pomp and art. These characteristics
are often discussed in the areas of:
stage presentation: extravagant, and given to excess
lifestyle: extravagant, and given to excess
music: extravagant and given to excess
lyrics: extravagant and given to excess
So, performances might include a Persian carpet, revolving drum-riser and knifethrowing
(ELP), satin cloak and furry boots (Yes), costumes (Genesis), banks of lights
and speakers (ELP, Yes and Genesis). The lifestyle - personal and professional
entourage, forms of travel (first and second class on airplanes, limousines) - were
governed by the personal tastes of the young musicians and their income streams. The
music - including extended soloing - is sometimes criticised as having a duration
exceeding the attention span available to most audiences, if awake. The lyrics address
subject matters either fantastic or abstruse, or fantastic and abstruse, and of restricted
relevance to the human life form. Often, they are unpronounceable. Frequently, they are
incomprehensible. Always, they suck. Thus, the received opinion.
These three bands were all hugely successful, far more so than King Crimson
with its shifting personnel and repertoire, and all continue to work today, mostly with
original members.

II
"Islands" was the only studio album of the Mel, Boz & Ian version of Crimson,
recorded in mid-1971 at Command Studios, Piccadilly. It contains arguably some of the
most indigestible lyrics sung on a rock album. Not all the words reflected my personal
sensibilities and experience. My professional relationship with Peter Sinfield, already
strained, became more difficult subsequently and, following the return to England from
touring in America during the autumn of 1971, ended.
In fairness to Peter, he was writing largely in response to music offered to him by
myself. This failed to present him with much opportunity to express his own view of the
appropriate, or to fire his enthusiasm. Peter's words have been some of the most
criticised and attacked of that period. Today, he is more successful as a lyricist than at
any time during his 25 years of writing, and was recently a board member of BASCA.
"Islands", for me, contains two Crim classics: the wit and rock reportage of
"Ladies of the Road"; and the guitar solo to "The Sailor's Tale".
"Ladies" was recorded by four musicians who had been out together the night
before. The guitarist, heavily outclassed in the raving arts by the other players and
relatively unpractised in the partying mode, had on this occasion accompanied the other
members to a party.
"Sailor's Tale": the off-set accent on the hi-hat by Ian Wallace is inspired, and
appeared at a rehearsal in the basement of the Fulham Palace Cafe. The Peteneras
flamenco rhythm (a bar of 3/4 alternating with a bar of 6/8), an RF trademark, originated
in my early playing and studying. The echo halo around Boz' voice was produced by
him singing into a BBC brass bucket, several of which had remained in Command
Studios after this former BBC studio changed hands.
The guitar solo was recorded beginning around three in the morning. It was
probably the most powerful solo this young guitarist had played in his life to that point,
and is in the same class as the solo to "Fashion" (1980). Technically, it makes reference
to my guitar teacher Don Strike and his musical background, including banjo music; the
closely related 1930s plectrum guitar music associated with the Clifford Essex
publishing house; my own developed and developing right hand technique; Sonny
Sharrock; the notion of a flailing Pete Townshend; and the desperation of sheer
necessity when exhaustion denied access to coherent strategizing. A leap sideways and
outside was the only solution available. The solo was done in two takes: the opening
flailing is from the first, which defined and established the approach, and the remaining
from the second, which clarified it.
"The Letter" is a development of "Drop In", a live KC feature in 1969 and only
available on record with the release of "Epitaph", a 4 CD box set of live 1969 Crimson
(DGM 1997).
"Prelude" was an orchestration of a guitar solo, a tremolo study played with a
pick, which I had written when first in London with Giles, Giles & Fripp at age 21. The
last week of recording "Islands" was desperate, to hit the deadline before leaving on a
national tour. I would get home from the studio between 4 and 6 in the morning, to my
digs with landpersons Simon Stable and his wife Judy Dyble, and then spend two hours
writing charts for the orchestra before collapsing onto my mattress. Two hours later I
would rise to return to Command for the day's recording. I conducted with a pencil and,
to the orchestra's credit, they ignored me. This was one of the most terrifying
professional occasions of my career. The oboe soloist is the superb Robin Miller, who
was at that time co-principal oboist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Pierre
Boulez. Robin also contributed to "Lizard" (1970) and "Red" (1974).

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 12:37
 
The formation of the group in 1972 included Jamie Muir, a wonderful, reflective
and wise young nut and old egg who cheerfully bit on blood capsules while releasing
chains whirled around his head and which had, a moment before, been flailing sheets of
metal; then falling in an effusive and bloody fashion upon his drums to propel the group
and his co-drummer Bill Bruford through the next piece of orchestrated mayhem. Or
threaten large pa cabinets on either side of the stage with demolition by shakers. All this
dressed in animal skins. He also took up 40-60% of group resources in space and time.
Jamie was far too intelligent and well-balanced a human being to stay with the
group for long. Confronted with the nonsense of life on the road he opted for life. He fell
ill and missed two gigs at the Marquee, February 10-11th. 1973, when Bill assumed the
role of drummer/percussionist for the first time. This was actually the debut of the fourpiece
Crimson personnel on these records.
Although he completed the recording taking place during early 1973 - "Larks'
Tongues In Aspic" - Jamie never returned to the group. I received a postcard from him
not long afterwards with a Muir-collage mounted on the front - "All part of the rich
tapestry of life" - and "Coo-eee, love Jamie" written on the back. He was departing for a
monastery in Scotland, where he spent the next few years.
The four-piece which remained never settled in the 16 months of live work which
followed, and after which David Cross left. The violin is not an instrument of heavy
metal, even hard rock. As the group developed a more muscular stance David's place in
the band lost context and he became increasingly an electric pianist and mellotronist (if
such is possible).
The aim in presenting these live performances is to reflect the spirit of the group
in a moment of its appearance. Unsettled and unsettling, it went into places dark and
light; wildly unsympathetic, unbalanced and with prodigal time, vigorous, searching,
leaping and often missing the mark, at moments achingly poignant, it moved into
territory that was disturbing and disturbed, and never arrived at where it was going:
where it was going was how it got there, sometimes tuning up as it went along. This
music is taken from the time when we no longer considered England our main working
base, even Europe, welcome more in America.
On these albums the dynamics of the music are pretty much the dynamics of the
group on stage. There are slight adjustments in places: microphones didn't always work,
or worked too well, or were placed too close to the metal plates hanging behind the
drummer's muscular torso and within striking distance of his enthusiasm. The volume of
the mellotrons, electric pianos, guitar and violin were controlled mainly by footpedal. So,
if a foot slipped the "orchestra" lurched. JW generally altered the bass volume by
moving the volume knob on his Fender, not an exact operation even in moments of
equanimity, and the huge scrunch of his Foxx Fuzz/Wah pedal was huge and scrunched.
The characters on stage were playing a live gig, and they went for it. If one of
them couldn't hear what was happening, they might play quieter. Or they might not.
They might not care that they couldn't hear someone else, even might not want to. So,
the onstage level at the time was what they had to do and, failing that, what they were
doing anyway.
Between 1973/4 KC had an increasingly loud bass player of staggering strength
and imagination, arguably the finest young English player in his field at the time.
Whenever he went to The Speakeasy he was offered yet another a job with yet another
famous English group. The drummer had the temperament of a classical musician who
wanted to be a jazzer and worked in rock groups. He found in King Crimson a group
which gave him the freedom to spread, experiment, grow, move about and hit things
hard and often. So he did. I'm not sure that Bruford/Wetton were a good rhythm section
but they were amazing, busy, exciting, mobile, agile, inventive and terrible to play over.
The violinist was placed in an increasingly impossible situation. A musical and
personal distance began to open between him and the rest of the group. The balance
between David and Jamie, constructed in the original quintet formation, was lost. He
added delicacy, and wood. But the front line couldn't match the power of the rhythm
section or their volume, and the guitar was stronger than the violin. My own monitor had
just bass drum and snare, and I relied on my ears for the rest. It wasn't hard to hear the
bass, and almost impossible not to. At one point I put a sound screen between myself
and the rhythm section. They lead the group from the centre and I lead the group from
the side. They won.
So, King Crimson 1973/4 was not a balanced group, or perhaps it was balanced
in disarray. It was sometimes frightening, and not a comfortable place to be. Inherently
unstable, sharing differing aims and going in different directions, finally, it went there.
After 16 months as a quartet it became a trio for three months whereupon King Crimson
"ceased to exist".
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 12:41

Count In: Four
______________


The 1973/4 touring version of Crimson was, at the time, mistakenly considered to
be part of the musical arena defined by Yes, Genesis and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
These three groups were all hugely successful commercially and all influenced by the
first King Crimson, itself the only Crimson threatened by massive commercial acclaim.
This confusion was a mistake easily made by anyone who hadn't seen the "Red"
Crimson in action and were content instead to rely on cliches, careless commentary and
witless associations. For example, the English music press. And a succeeding
generation of journalists and their readers who hadn't seen this Crimson either. (NB Cf
the note on Clinton Heylin above).
All four groups had close personal connections. Greg Lake left Crimson in early
1970 to become a founder member of ELP. At the same time I declined to join Yes to
replace Peter Banks, the job being taken by Steve Howe. Bill Bruford left Yes in July
1972 to join KC, and toured with Genesis in 1975. I declined to join Genesis in 1976
upon the departure of Steve Hackett. Genesis bought a KC mellotron in February 1970
and Phil Collins played on "Exposure" (1978/9). John Wetton worked with Bill Bruford in
UK (1978) and Carl Palmer in Asia (1981). Boz was a founder member of Bad Company
(1973), Ian McDonald a founder member of Foreigner (1978).
Bryan Ferry auditioned for Crimson in late 1970 and I turned him down but
suggested he go to EG Management (a piece of advice which he may well now regret).
He went there with Roxy Music, which was how I met Eno. My work with Eno was an
important alternative line of playing to that offered by Crimson: the release of "No
Pussyfooting" (1973) was held up for nearly two years by EG and Island Records
because they believed that Eno's association with me after his departure from Roxy
Music would damage his commercial viability. Eno's preparation of a backing track for
the Fripp & Eno tour of Spain, France and Europe in May 1975 became "Discreet
Music", the original "ambient" album. I remember drinking tea with Brian in the back
dining room chez Eno while the music was recording itself in the front room. We
recorded "Evening Star" in 1975. My work with Eno extended to working with Bowie and
Eno on "Heroes" (1977) and then to Bowie on "Scary Monsters" (1980).
When Peter Gabriel left Genesis (1974) one of his projects was to write a single
for Charlie Drake, a well known English comedian. The group for this session, at
George Martin's Air Studios over Oxford Circus, was Gabriel (writer & producer), Phil
Collins (drums), Percy Collins (fretless bass and later a founder member with Phil of
Brand X), Keith Tippett (piano) and RF (guitar). This was arguably one of the strangest
sessions of the entire era. I played on the first three Gabriel solo albums and produced
PG II. It is easily forgotten that in the 1970s Phil Collins was known as a drummer who
grasped challenge, and an important contributor to Eno's radical "Another Green
World". Phil's success as a solo singer since the 1980s, and front man for Genesis, has
overshadowed his contribution to important undercurrents of his generation.
This is a small outline of inter-relationships between a generation of musicians.
My point is that among all these musicians and their groups and projects, the live
Crimson in 1973/4 was on its own territory. It drew mainly on a European vocabulary
both for its writing and improvising. Increasingly it needed improvisation to stay alive:
this was its life blood. But that didn't show much in the studio albums. In concert, it
stepped sideways and jumped. It went places where other musicians of that rock
generation mainly avoided. This team looked into the the darker spaces of the psyche
and reported back on what it found. The 1969 Crimscapes were bleak and written; the
1973/4 Crimscapes were darker, and mainly improvised.
This was a secret to nearly everyone until December 1992 and the release of
"The Great Deceiver", a four volume CD box taken from my personal archive of live
recordings - unless they'd had their ears pressed flat against their head by John
Wetton's soaring bass. This would not have been possible before compact disc
technology, nor before the hostility against music of this era subsided sufficiently for the
music to be heard above the din of an often justifiable prejudice.
"USA", a live album drawn from recordings in America during 1974, was released
in 1975. It failed to convey a true impression of the group. After much hustling by myself,
it was deleted in the 1980s. I am now under pressure to re-release it. The four volumes
of "The Great Deceiver" are effectively four stunning volumes of "USA".
In all the Crimsons between 1969 and 1974 we were too young to play well
enough to meet either our aspirations or the challenges of much of the writing. Neither
did we have the maturity to handle the personal strains and struggles of being on the
road for extended periods. In these difficulties I found little support from management.
After all, they were (mostly) at home taking care of business. Or not. But that is another,
and regrettable, story which waits to be told.
At the time of writing we are preparing the Second Edition of USA, remixed with
additional material, for release through Virgin in 1999, as part of King Crimson's 30th.
Aniversary Year.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 12:50

The Live & Recording Crimson.
____________________________


Records and live performance are two worlds. One is a love letter, the other a hot
date. Crimson were always the band for a hot date and from time to time they could
write a love letter too. But for me they were better in the clinches. Like, in London in the
Spring of 1969, Amsterdam in November 1973, and The Savoy, New York over three
nights in November 1981. Sometimes it's like angels descending from the clouds on
chariots of fire, blowing trumpets of gold in your ear. This is when, for a musician, life
becomes real. The rest of the superfluities, nonsense, waste, manipulation, deceit, theft
and idiocies of the professional musician's existence are the price we pay to get to the
point where music intervenes directly in the act of music. It is as absurd to expect the
law to provide justice as to believe that the music industry exists to provide music.
The performance of music in our contemporary and commercial culture is
inherently unlikely and almost impossible. But not quite.
During King Crimson's residency at the Marquee during 1969 we shared the bill
with both John Surman's band and Keith Tippet's. We shared a lot of common ground,
although arriving at different conclusions. In 1969 there was no established tradition of
improvisation for rock players. We were still looking for a way that players could stretch
out within rock, and tested the boundaries of the tradition. I doubt that rock "progressed"
but it did develop, despite the proportion of dud time in "experimental" sets. The 1969
live Crimson leaned more towards jazz for permission to move outwards, although none
of the players were themselves jazzers.
The 1972 Crimson was transiting from the very open boundaries of 1969/72 to
the harder edge which became "Red" in 1974: a harder rock which looked to rock, rather
than to jazz, for its spirit. When Jamie Muir left the band at the end of recording "Larks'
Tongues In Aspic" (Jamie's title) Crimson moved audibly rockwards.
Live, the 1981 Crimson were more song based than the earlier line-ups but Tony,
Ade, Billy & Bob could also rock out and shred wallpaper at three miles.
Comments from the audience at Moles Club, Bath, following the debut of Line-up
Four on Wednesday 1st. May, 1994:
(from a gardener) I was struck by the sexuality, but also the sophistication.
I was surprised it was derivative. The old tunes showed how far ahead they were.
It reminded me of the Talking Heads. But four people were doing live what nine
people did.
It was better than the last League of Gentlemen.
It was overwhelming.
The 1981/4 Crimson was the first which did not have a full complement of
English players. This was 50/50 Anglo American. The bleak Crim view lightened, the
musical boundaries and vocabulary widened, the hostility of the English music press
continued. In one case, that of John Gill, this continued for nearly ten years beyond the
completion of the fourth-formation Crimson's tour of duty in mid-1984.

As I sit typing this into my IBM clone PC (my keenly anticipated ThinkPad not yet
arrived) at Beau's Creperie, Canterbury at 11.20 on Saturday morning the 4th. March
1995 and eagerly await the arrival of my dear little wife for brunch, to my surprise "Matte
Kudesai" slides onto the house muzak system. King Crimson is not, from my experience
of this international contagion of aural violation, a first choice of muzak programmers.
What factors brought King Crimson to the muzak in a Canterbury creperie? Don
Maclean, Elton John, The Carpenters, yes - but King Crimson? Does this mean
imminent crossover and breakout? Should I be grateful that the unwitting and innocent
crepe and cappucini consumers of Canterbury have their unsuspecting ears accosted
by Ade's superlative slide playing?
There are probably no simple answers to these questions, posed rhetorically in
wonder and amazement while I sip the healing brew of Beau's fine cappuccino. I recall
that shortly after the release of "Discipline" I received a letter regretting (in direct terms
not compromised by politeness) the time wasted on that album by the inclusion of
"Matte". Myself, I am pleasantly encouraged that this gentle, and real, ballad still moves
me. Wonder and amazement continue.

Lost in the south of france:
" Le rock progressif ? C'est quoi cette connerie? "
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 12:54
A particular vocabulary, repertoire or leitmotif has currency for a particular
period. Then the wind changes direction and everything is different. The traditional
response of King Crimson, when faced with the end of a cycle, is to break up. And in
this KC's timing has been impeccable.
Our current approach is different. Rather than disband and cease to exist for
a period, we are fractalising into smaller units within the Double Trio and working
together, privately and publicly; this, rather than for all six of us to clatter and bang
away simultaneously - which is wonderful and frequently invigorating, for some of
the time. ProjeKcting is loosening up the band's view of itself and our sense of
possible futures.
The practical difficulties of King Crimson working together are immense:
expectation from audiences - of repertoire, and what the legendary and august
Crimson is, or might be; expectation from the group of what it is, or might be aboutto-
be becoming; major logistical problems in touring; and the huge expense in
putting the full team together, whether to rehearse or tour.
In November 1997 King Crimson began a series of projeKcts by fractals of its
six members: Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford, Robert Fripp, Trey Gunn, Tony Levin and
Pat Mastelotto. The aim of these smaller Crimson projeKcts, or sub-groups, is to
function as Research & Development units on behalf of, and for, the Greater Crim
and to create music for the next generation of Crimson repertoire. The projeKcts
may become as much and as little as they may, recording and touring as standalone
and independent units.
ProjeKct Two was chronologically the first of the smaller units into action,
featuring Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp & Trey Gunn, which recorded the double
album "Space Groove" at Studio Belewbeloible in the Nashville Sector during
November 19, 20 & 21st. 1997.
PROJEkCT ONE, was the first King Crimson sub-group planned, and the
second into action. Bill Bruford, Robert Fripp, Trey Gunn and Tony Levin improvised
four nights of music at the Jazz Cafe in London, December 1-4th. 1997.
Lost in the south of france:
" Le rock progressif ? C'est quoi cette connerie? "
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Dennis View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 13:07
Forgive me, but I wish Robert Fripp would spend more time making music than running his mouth. He is obviously very full of himself, and not at all humble. IMHO he seems to loathe and hate the genre (progressive rock), that he helped create. The 1969 Crimson and all of the others that followed ALL fit into the "Prog" mode. I recently did a poll on this site about which guitarist has influenced the genre the most, and Mr. Fripp won hands down. I admire him so much for his unique guitar style, a style I have always loved, but I have always been at odds with his personality. I guess blatant honesty is good, but that honesty can also alienate you from the public and the people who have acknowledged  you as a legend, and a person of international acclaim. Sorry, but to me Robert Fripp just comes off as a nasty Englishman who doesn't appreciate his loyal following. A man who constantly looks down his nose  and snubs his fans. The less words I read from Mr. Fripp the better. The more music I hear from Mr. Fripp the better. He is obviously a brilliant guitarist and musical innovator, but I just wish that most of the time he would keep his thoughts to himself. Come on now, where's the next Crimson? We all want to give you more money Bob! "
 


Edited by Dennis - November 06 2007 at 13:15
"Day dawns dark, it now numbers infinity"
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 13:07

The Music Of Business.
_____________________


The Book of Craft (2017)


There are as many paths to music as there are musicians. So, it is necessary for each
musician to find their own path.
Subjectively, this path is unique. Objectively, each path is the same path as that of others.
Eventually, the individual musician discovers this.
But, there are signposts; there are maps; there are guides.


III
If the young artist today is to succeed in the music industry, a beginning generation of
business people is needed. A new and alternative kind of music industry will probably not yield huge
levels of success. The mainstream industry is set up to address the mainstream. Its apparent success
in achieving the distribution of music is mainly apparent. Outside the industry one doesn't see the
failures, deceit, dishonesty, manipulation and distortion of the lives of artists and industry rank and
file.
Should a reasonable, professional and liberal reader, even one in a position of authority over
others, feel I overstate the case, I regret that I do not. Should a worldly-wise reader, trained in power
negotiation and irrefutable techniques of persuasion, suggest that this is the case in business
generally, I reply that I can only speak with confidence of what is within my experience.

Copyright Ownership
____________________


The phonographic copyright in performances is operated by Discipline Global Mobile on
behalf of the artists, with whom it resides, contrary to common practice in the record industry.
Discipline accepts no reason for artists to assign the copyright interests in their work to either
record company or management by virtue of a "common practice" which was always questionable,
often improper, and is now indefensible.
Currently, a few well-known groups have begun to challenge this practice. Where their cases
have been successful and (discreetly) known to me, these arrangements are subject to gagging
clauses. If we accept the principle of transparency to be one of the canons of ethical business, along
with straightforwardness, accountablility, owning-up, honesty, common decency, fairness and
distributive justice, the gagging orders imply that the practices of certain major players in the record
industry put them outside what DGM considers to be ethical business conduct.
Members of the public not familiar with the norm, might not know this common practice of
the record industry: the artist pays to record the album, generally with an advance provided by the
record company. This advance is then recouped from artist royalties (which are themselves subject
to limitations and reductions in accordance with "company standard policy") while the album is owned
by the record company. The record company owns the artist's work, for which the artist has paid. If
the record company, or owner of the company, sells the catalogue or the company itself, the artist
receives nothing for their work although having created the work and paid for it to be made.
Crimson Music recognises no valid or ethical reason to assign publishing copyrights to
publisher or manager as an inevitable, necessary or useful part of the business of collecting
publishing royalties.
As a point of information for an interested member of the listening community, to someone
probably not commonly involved in negotiations with major record or publishing companies, it is now
a frequent practice for artists to be asked to sign away benefit of their moral rights as the creators or
originators of artworks.

The Ethical Company
___________________

Recognisable features of the ethical company, in the literature and discussion of business
ethics, involve these attributes: transparency, straightforwardness, accountability, owning-up,
honesty, fairness, common decency and distributive justice.
Recognisable features of a company whose base is ethically challenged are these:
dissembling, use of threats, unkindness to employees, a widespread use of gagging orders, and an
inequitable distribution of company income.
A company which would rather conduct its business (particularly disputed issues) verbally,
instead of committing its views to writing; commonly resorts to litigation, or employs the frequent
threat of such; employs gagging clauses as standard policy; pays its directors highly disproportionate
sums in comparison with its employees; this company is suspect and should be avoided wherever
possible.
It is a sad commentary on current business and public life that this needs to be written, or
debated.
transparency + straightforwardness = honesty
accountability + owning-up = responsibility
distibutive justice + fairness = equity
common decency = goodwill

The Four Pillars of The Ethical Company
_______________________________________
Honesty
Responsibility
Equity
Goodwill

A Personal Note To Young Musicians
__________________________________

Seasoned and professional commentators, reviewers and writers on matters Crimson, may
find little favour in my own continuing commentary on matters of personal concern when a sufficient
forum presents itself. Their interest in music is primarily professional and commercial, and this is the
death of the spirit where music is involved. As is it for the professional musician.
The first price the musician pays in order to play music is to endure the ramifications of the
music industry, at whatever level. The second is to persist in failure. The third is to persist in success.
The fourth is to endure the ramifications of the music industry at a new level. The only reward the
musician receives is music: the privilege of standing in the presence of music when it leans over and
takes us into its confidence. As it is for the audience. In this moment everything else is irrelevant and
without power. For those in music, this is the moment when life becomes real.
The concern of the musician is music. The concern of the professional musician is business.
Only become a professional musician if there is no choice.
May we trust the inexpressible benevolence of the creative impulse. When all is impossible
and seemingly without hope,
may we trust the inexpressible benevolence of the creative impulse and listen to its silent voice with
a quiet ear.
Lost in the south of france:
" Le rock progressif ? C'est quoi cette connerie? "
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2007 at 13:13

Everything coming is for young artists i believe, some of you might find it very interesting.

It's going to be very heavy and compact and possibly hard to follow but i thought it wiser not to cut anything out.
I'm going to eat it's not finished don't put any posts please, but i would like to know your opinion on this organisation. I will tell You when it is finished. 

 



Edited by Lonely Progger - November 06 2007 at 13:17
Lost in the south of france:
" Le rock progressif ? C'est quoi cette connerie? "
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