Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Tuesday 07 January 2003



The sky is blue, the sun is shining, hard frost delineates the forms & shapes of buildings & garden.

I am missing my Wife very much but this afternoon she will be home. Yippee! Meanwhile, our Wonder-Cleaning-Lady Heather & Wonder-Builder Mark have been at work, cleaning the downstairs rooms & clearing blocked gutters respectively.

My own e-flurrying addresses various concerns from Crafties & the promotion department of Sanctuary. The former generally lifts my energy level, the later lowers it almost to the point that I feel I might as well stop here. Hernan has informed me that there will be 92 attending the upcoming course in Spain, and 4 connecting at a a distance. Short GC exchange this morning to an Italian Crafty.

Crafty: The link between the real world and myself are clearer when I have attention.

RF: Without attention, we have no link to the real world. So, our question is clear: how may I develop this power? This leads to our developing an interior architecture, that is, a discipline or practice.

This begs the question, what is the real world? But assuming that our attention is engaged, our aim held clearly in mind, our commitment unshakeable, no answer is needed. Now, this is a question. GC Aphorism:

The questions we ask direct the course of our lives (November 14th. 2001).


The Little Luvvie is at home. Hooray!

Today's e-correspondence regarding the planning of upcoming interviews continues to sap my spirits. How to introduce the possibility of joy into this? There are times when, arrogant creature that I am, I feel that a particular something needs to be said. This "necessity" is of different degrees, sometimes with a "Crimson local" focus & sometimes wider.

Whatever limited value that might have been attributed to my witterings now over 33.5 years, I have historically taken this on as a piece of work, worthy as an undertaking in and off itself. That is, I do not look on interviews as "promotion". Similarly, I do not look on live performance as "promotion" either. This insults the audience, pisses on the music, and undermines the event.

Nevertheless, I also acknowledge that press planning & the interest-level of promoters is closely related to the release of "a major new album". And business advisers to any performer will inform them that interviews & touring are legitimate professional duties of anyone releasing "a major new album".

This is also old-world thinking.

The Virgin standard contract I was offered, pondering & negotiating during the recording of THRAK at Real World in the autumn of 1994 (a dismal accompaniment to any creative process), had a clause guaranteeing interviews by their artist. The interviews could not "reasonably" be refused. How about "I have nothing to say?" as a reasonable reason? Or, "I see little benefit in answering the same questions from eight different interviewers each day, everyday for one week, including photo sessions"?

I might mention that I refused to agree to the clause, on the grounds that if I was unable to say no, I was also unable to say yes. I might also mention that I refused to sign the contract anyway because its terms were utterly inequitable. (We are presently looking at finding some form of contract to sign for the post-1994 Crimson period, as part of the Virgin audit settlement).

Regardless of any of this, the last thing I want to do at this extended moment is a series of interviews. Or interview. The "promotional" visit to Japan for 2 weeks last October was good work, professionally undertaken & delivered honourably, and to demonstrate the DGM/RF commitment to our new distributor, but at a price. The price was paid by myself, and it was high.

This is now a major fact in making future plans for my working life as a professional player. That is, if any work offered is contingent upon me promoting it, the work is to be declined. My life is already trivialised sufficiently by the negativity of dealing with industry "common practice" and everyday mundanities. More pertinently, right now I do not look on interviews as part of my proper work in life.

There are small exceptions that accompany the release of "a major album", such as the KC visit to Los Angeles built around NAMM, and for a possible press conference in London for European journalists. There are also exceptions within exceptions, and limitations. For example, I will not discuss the entire history of KC and my role in it. This is now a dismal chore that accompanies each new Crimson release, as the entire package of the past is brought up to spoil it. So, I am not presently available to revisit 34 years of KC activity.

The last time I suffered this, in extremis, was for Sid Smith and his Toxic Tome, Or How I Was Really The King In Crimson. This was a worthwhile project and, to give it the best shot (which it deserved as a labour of the Sidney's love), I went through the drafts paragraph by paragraph, factoid by factoid, memory by memory of nearly all former members, several of whom are continuing to hold attitude & resentment & animosity. The book is out, one form of the history is available, my life is continuing. Perhaps Sid's The Toxic Tome: A Companion or Encyclopedia of Crimson Toxicity will address the book's only two significant shortcomings: Sid's studied neutrality, which manifested as a refusal to present much in the way of considered & exceptionally well-informed judgements; and no guide to the nature of Fripp's role in the group/s.

Press conferences are better for me than a queue of people all of whom ask the same questions while believing that their questions are unique, previously unformed & unvoiced. Even intelligent, well-informed and good people. The exception here is Vic Garbarini, the only writer who ever saw inside the band/s & had the capacity to articulate what he saw. His perception of Crimson was closer than almost everyone in the band, several members of whom remain clueless to this day. Even intelligent, otherwise well-informed & good former members who, blind to their own internal processes and mechanisms, are blind to the band's internal processes and mechanisms.

I suggest that a press conference might be held in several stages:

All journalists in a room for 45-60 minutes. This covers all the basic stuff stuff. Those journalists that are genuinely, rather than professionally, interested continue for 45-60 minutes. Those that are very very genuinely interested continue after this for a further 45-60 minutes.

For one-to-one interviews: if there is a specialist whose questions are not likely to be asked by anyone else, I hope the press departments let me know. I hope they also understand that the characters who come to interview me vary from political editors & philosophy professors to equipment buffs from guitar magazines. This is exhausting. Many interviews become the equivalent of a lecture or an essay. But, if the interview works at this level, often their editors don't want it - "very interesting but we can't print it". And, nowadays, I only have one good "major" interview a day in me, rather than the four to eight that I once set as the target.

What interests me, what brings me to life, are "burning questions" that spring from experience, connection, music, living. These are so rare in the professional context, and so abundant in Guitar Craft.

So, interview overview: right now this is not the time for me to be thinking verbally, nor to be talking about what I do. I accept that I am being looked to for "promotion" and am prepared to do what is presently possible for me. But I pay a very high price for this. This is not a major concern for promotion departments; it is a major concern for me. Within this, I am not prepared to speak to the English press on any level; nor am I prepared to address the entire history of King Crimson, 34 years old in six days' time.

Usually, I feel gratitude that journalists are prepared to travel & give up their time to take an interest in my work. Right now, the work speaks for itself with a clarity & strength that is beyond me.