Sunday 03 September 2017

A Call with Martha Belew

A long, friendly and wide-ranging telephone call with Martha Belew, Adrian’s wife and manager, on Thursday – we chatted for over an hour, and much to report.  In part, this was sparked by the online commentary to Robert’s recent diary posting, where he quoted from my email, sent in Minneapolis this June, where I wrote to Adrian:


Martha is right that your belief that the other members of the band should be paid as side-men would have made it difficult for you to be a part of the current incarnation.”


Unfortunately, neither Martha nor Adrian read that email at the time with the same attention to detail that Robert did – because, as soon as it was quoted publicly, they were both appalled. That is evidently not what she intended to say. Martha was very clear that she was simply musing that one possible reason for Robert conceiving of a King Crimson without Adrian, might have been that Robert believed that Adrian would not have wanted all the band paid equally. In other words, Martha did not intend to say that this was necessarily Adrian’s position – she wondered if Robert thought it was Adrian’s position.


Obviously none of us expected at the time that the contents of that email would be circulated more widely, but I am very happy that Martha called, and for the opportunity to set matters straight. The question of what is “fair” is not straightforward. Is it “fair” that all band members are paid the same (so that the newest member, Jeremy Stacey, receives the same as the longest serving members) or is it fair that longer serving, historic members are paid more? The former has, with two brief historic exceptions, always been the Crimson way, but the latter is not necessarily less fair.


On a more positive note, the fact that my email to Adrian and Martha had been little read, meant that the other points I raised had also been overlooked. It has always pained me that Robert and Adrian, two people with such an astonishing and lengthy shared musical legacy should be slightly estranged. From those who have seen the current eight-headed beast in action, it will have been apparent that there is no-one in the world who could embody material such as Easy Money, Pictures of a City or The Letters better than Jakko – and it must have been very distressing for Adrian to contemplate a King Crimson without him – but I know that the invitation for him to remain as the eighth (or now ninth) member was a real offer. As the British Telecom advert used to say “it’s good to talk” – and hopefully more good things will follow.