Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Thursday 22 February 2024

Hotel Professionally Acceptable, San Francisco.


As part of the larger recapitulation of my life currently underway, I have been reviewing correspondence between myself and other Crims during the 1990s. This was a brutal decade for me, with the collapse of EG in 1991 and the attempted sale of KC copyrights to Virgin and BMG. These copyrights were not for EG to sell, and a process of litigation and dispute began, ongoing until 1997.

Mr. Pete Tomsett in his Fifty Shades Of Crimson reflects one view of my role in KC, as a person who issues decrees to the weak-willed Crimson saps who, presumably, hang around waiting for Fripp’s instructions in what to do and when to do them. I am not sure on what basis Mr. Tomsett has come to his dopey understanding of my motivations and actions. It is unlikely that he, or any other commentator on social media, has access to the correspondence between myself and the Crims during, for example, the 1990s.

This correspondence was never intended to be made public but, given recent postings, may be useful to those who take an interest in the mechanics of how KC operated in that decade. Below, some of the relevant correspondence.



There are Six Forms of the Eternal King Crimson
(plus an invisible Seventh)

There are six forms of the Eternal King Crimson (plus an invisible seventh). None

of these forms are fixed: they are all fluid and in motion. They are all equally valid and necessary ways (or strategies) by which Crimson is Crimson, continues to be Crimson, and continues Crimsonising.

At particular points of the Crimson process, as Crimson moves through sequential time, one particular strategy tends to be dominant although all continue to be simultaneously present and necessary. “Fixing” or limiting the ways of being Crimson has the effect of locking KC outside of its process. Then, it begins to ossify. Then, it begins to die.

Fans tend to like and demand one or two of the six forms of being Crimson, and demand that this way/s take/s precedence over the others. When a fan demands that one particular strategy drives the group, this is restrictive. When they demand that this strategy is unchanging, this is destructive.

Six Forms of Crimsonising:

The Unfolding Crimson: this is the transmission and generation of the originating Crimson impulse through its “children”.

The Evolving Crimson: this is the renewing and renewal of that impulse, the “return to the Crimson source”.

The One And Only Crimson: this is the identity of Crimson, its pattern of characteristics which make Crimson recognisably Crimson, in whatever body or form.

The Interacting Crimson: this is where Crimson interfaces, interconnects and cross-references, supports and is supported by / with other forms of possible and impossible Crimson.

The Possible Crimson: this is what is possible for Crimson, according to its essential pattern. It is achieved by excluding what is impossible.

The Impossible Crimson: this is where Crimson makes it up as it goes along (and not only musically). The impossible is allowed to enter, by allowing Crimson the freedom to discover itself in the moment.

These are all “pure” or essential forms of Crimsonising. These fluid strategies become increasingly fixed and limited (or “existential”) as they move out into the world - for example, the worlds of professional players, the music industry and fan commentary. At the lower reaches of all of these, nothing happens or can happen.

My recommendation to help keep these forms “pure”: let go.
If you love Crimson, let it go.
If you love yourself, let it go.

Chateau Belew, Mount Juliet, Tennessee
Tuesday 29th. August, 2000


RF 2nov2023


I note two recurring (and apparently) widely-held views on social media sites that declare an interest in matters Crim...

1. That Dictatorial Fripp told everyone what to do - and they did it! ie Fripp has power over others to which they assent without demur, even pushovers like Bruford and Wetton, Levin and Belew, Harrison, EG Management and...

Clearly Fripp is a terrible person and treats fellow players (and innocents who only want to say hello and get their stuff signed) badly.

2. The assumption that reasoned and reasonable views may be presented and discussed with equanimity, and without hostility, reaction and temper tantra; and is in itself effective in changing behaviour, beliefs, mindsets and forms of collaborative action, even where this behaviour is mainly governed by drug and alcohol use; childhood and Father issues; the influence of partners and spouses; personal characteristics such as arrogance, complacency, addiction, low self-esteem and the need for continual re-assurance, ambition, fantasy, rejection of and over-reaction to criticism; Personal Default Operating Strategies such as It’s All About Me, I Am More Important Than The Others, I Need To Be Liked, Let’s Not Commit, I Can’t Decide et al.



It is easy to conflate a group with a band.
A group and a band are qualitatively different.

It is possible that a band becomes a group.
It is also possible that a group fails, and becomes a band.

A group can change the world.
A very good band can keep the world going.


A group forms in service to an aim.
The aim takes precedence over the group.
The interests of the group take precedence over the interests of its members.

If a band honours these three principles, it is on the way to being a group. Musically, it will be stunning.

To make a judgement regarding the group, we have to see, know and feel the whole:
the workings of the group, the members, its internal dynamics and action in the world; how its public persona accurately represents the aim, values and principles of the group; how its business activities honour a code of ethical behaviour: honesty, responsibility, equity and goodwill.

What kind of judgement might we make?  Eg if the group’s process is moving off-course. How would the group process move off-course? Eg if one of the members did not adopt or dropped their adherence to the group aim, and/or prioritised their personal short-term interests over the interests of the group; and/or felt themselves to be more important than other members of the group.

These are examples of how a group, at least a potential group, downgrades to becoming a band.

What is required of a group/band member seeking to re-direct the group/band process from moving off-course, knowing that grief, personal and public bad-mouthing and hostility is inevitable?

Commitment to the aim.
Commitment to the group.
Seeing the whole.

A willingness to suffer.

These are necessary attributes, and a willingness to suffer is key. Where a majority of the members embody these attributes, a creative future remains available. Otherwise, a professional life on a slowly down-grading gradient becomes more likely. Earning a living has my respect and is already a significant achievement. But for King Crimson to be a professional undertaking is not enough.

Anyone who seeks to understand the difficulties and problems arising within KC’s trajectory 1969-2021 will find here the clues they need, if they wish to take their investigations further.

Poster 1: The friction between RF and Bruford is legendary…

Poster 2: Belew was fired via email. Period. After so many years that’s obnoxious…

Poster 3: Dear Mr. Person I Don't Actually Know: I think you were very rude and mean to this other person I don't know when you worked together. Please apologize. Signed, Some Guy

Poster 4: I get the feeling Fripp wants his band members to say "how high" when he says Jump.

Poster 5: I think of Fripp more as a conceptual instigator than a traditional bandleader.

Poster 6: It’s Fripp’s band.

Poster 7: Most bands operate more efficiently as a dictatorship than a democracy.

Poster 8: The history of crimson in the 1970s is defined by fripp getting upset and firing everyone every few years. Typically right as they were about to make an artistic breakthrough. It severely harmed the trajectory and success of the band…
Every time the crimsons got on a roll in the 70s, Fripp sabotaged it and then made a huge deal about it in the press each time too…
"passive aggressively fired" that's a great term. Fripp does that every time he gets grumpy and pissed off. And then the momentum of the band stalls to a halt as yet another hiatus begins. I think he would have benefitted from a Therapist back then…
you disagree that fripp fired the band right after Red? Arguably their greatest artistic achievement. Time to kill the band! God forbid it maintains a stable lineup and creative process. Interestingly, everyone got fired over the years *except* for just one person. Must be nice lmo.

Poster 9: Mr Fripp… why did you select the way you chose?

Poster 10: Is this not *slightly* disingenuous? Even if the band all get paid the same in any given line-up etc, it's ultimately the case that, for example, Fripp has the power to tell (the Crim)  he's not in KC. (The Crim) does not have the power to tell Fripp he's not in King Crimson...

Poster 11: I think it is unfortunate that personal issues between RF and other members take up so much of the oxygen when discussing King Crimson… If King Crimson is truly a way of doing things and my understanding is that it is, why not have more discussion about the actual creative process?

Poster 12: i always hear that Robert Fripps a total jerk to people, but i have no idea what’s he done to be considered a mean person.  what has he done?

Poster 13: For starters he fired a lot of his band members . . .




Reddish Cottages,
South Street,

Wiltshire SP5 5DH.

July 12th. 1991.

Adrian & Stan,
c/o Umbrella Productions.


Dear Adrian & Stan,

What a treat to eat cake with Ade again, and to meet Martha! Here's to a lot more cake consumption!

I've been giving our conversation on structuring the business side of the next King Crimson reformation some thought, and have spoken to Paddy (who has in turn spoken to Stan) and to Tony (who will probably have spoken to Jerry) and to Trey. This are my comments / suggestions which come out of these, based on my conversation at The Bull, Wimborne St. Giles, with Ade over profiteroles and coffee.

My aim is the best group in the world, and how to get to that. If we set this up well, the group will take off. My concern is that if we get this not quite straight, the group will only be a superb professional outfit, rather than a force of nature. Or, to use Stan's phrase, have a licence to kill!

The suggestions below are slightly different to how I was thinking over cake and beer, but I believe are more straightforward to think about (Categories One, Two, and Three with a provisional and exceptional Four) and addressing Adrian's reasonable concerns (which are not far away from my own!).

1. The first principle of KC is equity.

i) All members are assumed to be equal. This is based upon the notion that every member of a group is a part of the group, contributes without reservation to the group, and is necessary to the group. The equality is of aim and commitment.

The exception to this principle in Crimson history is the Mel/Boz/Ian band where the aim and commitment was less than equitable, and the distribution of money reflected this.

ii) But we must acknowledge that some things are more equal than others. This is mainly the case with writing, and to a lesser extent with recording/production. In my own case, I remember clearly in 1973 where the band had a three-and-a-half week holiday. That is, I had three days and then wrote the bulk of the material for "Starless and Bible Black", of which I received one quarter publishing and no thanks! For Adrian the two main examples are "Heartbeat" and other pure-Adrian songs, and lyrics.

Adrian-type songs are an important part of the KC repertoire. "KC type" material is only part of what we do. "Crimsonising" Adrian's own particular brand of writing is important to the flavour of the group. The equivalent for me would be "Red" and "Larks' Tongues".

iii) Practical problems with an unsatisfactory distribution of writing royalties and credits:
a) The drummer submits poems to be read on records so he can get his share! Yow! Obviously, the rhythm section is set to lose the most in writing.
b) The main writers hold back their best material to go on solo albums where they get paid for their work.

c) Bad feeling about an inequitable distribution simmers and causes bad feeling in the group, which eventually breaks up.


2. The second principle is fairness.


i) If there are five players in the group (Adrian, Robert, Jerry, Tony, Trey) then INSTRUMENTALS which arise from within the group are divided FIVE ways. (Example: "Sheltering Sky"). This is Category One.

ii) If there are five players in the group (Adrian, Robert, Jerry, Tony, Trey) then SONGS which arise from within the group are divided SIX ways: this acknowledges the fact that Adrian is doing the work of the player and the lyricist (which may be easy, but it may take a lot of time). (Example: "Thela Hun Gingeet"). This is Category Two.

iii) If there are five players in the group (Adrian, Robert, Jerry, Tony, Trey) then SONGS which are brought into the group are divided SEVEN ways: this acknowledges the fact that Adrian is doing the work of the player, melody writer and lyricist (example: "Heartbeat"). This would give the proportion of 3:1 in Adrian's favour with the other members for a song in this category. This is Category Three.

iv) This percentage would also hold true for (virtually complete) instrumentals submitted (example "Red"). This is also Category Three.


a) Although lyrics aren't part of this, a complete written piece views the writer as responsible for it in its (virtual)

b) In practice, instrumentals are less likely to be in this category than completed songs.

v) Crimson Music is to be a new publishing company set up by Hit & Run on a license deal to administer the publishing In other words, this will be a very writer-friendly situation, with copyrights residing with the writers.


Percentages are to be equally divided.

i) But where a member of the group has extended responsibilities in production they are paid a weekly salary to be considered a part of the recording cost. (For example, Adrian spends a month mixing while Tony tours with Peter Gabriel; if Robert is with him while Jerry is recording in Florida). Suggestion for this is $2,500 per week.

a) Given the plan of recording material which has already been written, it's unlikely that a great amount of time will be spent in this.
b) In the past all members of the band have tended to be around for most of the time.
c) Flexibility and fairness are likely to prevail in practical details: see below!


3. The third principle is flexibility.

i) In practice, it may be that every piece recorded has a different percentage publishing. This was the case with The League of Gentlemen, for example.

ii) This acknowledges, and allows for, differing situations where the music appears.

iii)           Where any difficulties appear, members go to an arbiter. Suggestion: Paddy Spinks, who will want to keep the group situation fair and equitable.


B. This is a slightly different situation to the one which I discussed with Adrian, where I was thinking along the lines of The Police. The general basis seems to be for "contributing musicians" to get about 8% of publishing. My sense of this, on reflection, is that it doesn't adequately reflect the Crimson situation, the particular players and the nature of the band.

So, I suggest an exceptional and provisional Category Four: where the players get 12.5% and the main writer 50% (4 x 12.5% = 50% = 100%). This would be an extreme category where the players were virtually given parts! In a sense, this is a modified version of the "Heartbeat"/"Red" scenario. But it feels too far away from a group. I don't like this, but it provides a safety valve. Probably, this is for the ten-minute drum / guitar / Frrippertronic solo!

The advantage of Categories One/Two/Three is that everyone is equal, but where one person does the work of two or three equal people, they get paid for it. This is the position which I am recommending to you, and is my favoured option. This feels Crimson to me! Otherwise, I think we'd lose something on the inside.

So, over to you both! I'll send a copy of this to Paddy so that he is informed on the latest Crim-thinking.

Lotsa, lotsa...........




c/o  John Arnison & Anne,
Hit & Run,
25, Ives Street,

Reddish Cottages,

South Street,
Nr. Salisbury,

Wiltshire SP5 5DH.
December 28th. 1991.

Belewbeloid The Max.

Dear Adrian,


Your fax was a ray of sunshine at the end of a year notable for its clouds, endings and fresh beginnings. And I'm SO pleased (ultimo fab brillage to the max) that you approve of The Essential.

Yes Yes I am endigitalised and would be most excited to bite upon a mouthful of "Inner Revolution"!

Meanwhile, I shall be in the US from December 31st. to January 17th. and you will be receiving a 'phone call. Trey and I have been jotting some Crim ideas, and I have a monstrous new Crim instrumental © not Red, not Larks,' but quintessentially Crim-Crush micro-waving metalling psyche-sucking brain pounding body-crushing uplifting instrumental rock - and instantly recognisable. This, and other ideas to contribute to the Year of the Krim!

So, piles of good cheer and love to yourself and Martha at Belewbeloid Mansions and I shall be in touch soon.

But my computer can't handle the graphics which yours can...





Discipline Global Mobile,
PO Box 1533,
Wiltshire, SP5 5ER.
February 16th. 1995.

To Fellow Crims Ade, Tony, Bill, Pat & Trey, and Richard.

Dear Team,

By the time you receive this your banks should be about-to-be-having-received $25,000.00.

This is the first payment from the Pension Fund. Please note that this sum is not only greater than the funds forthcoming from the orthodox Crim operation handled by Richard but the payment is swifter than Virgin's.

The negotiations with Virgin are agreed but not concluded and the Settlement is not yet in place. Nevertheless, I anticipate that closure on both fronts will be achieved fairly soon.

The $25,000.00 each to seven parties ($175,000.00 total) is drawn from the $219,752.74 arising from the sales of VROOOM in the US as handled by MP of Possible Productions. This leaves an operating balance in the Pension Fund of $44,752.74 of which I am transfering $5,000.00 to the King Crimson UK account which I have opened.

This working balance is to finance rehearsals, acquisition of a Crimsonised monitoring system, contingencies and arisings. In a word, independence. (Otherwise, for example, we would have to promise Virgin a record in order to meet and rehearse new music).

Fairly obviously, I operate the Pension Fund on behalf of all of you, the Crims. Unless you support the idea of a parallel and independent line of business to act in tandem with the "official" business operated by Richard, none of this is possible. (Please note the name of MP's operation!). I can't operate this by committee but will keep everyone informed on the status of the fund. My own view is that this first payment is a stunning vindication of the Pension Fund set-up and way of working, and the whole Business Plan behind Crimson.

Richard's "official" operation is our bottom line. Drawing one-seventh of Crim money will earn us a respectable living but we won't be moving to second homes in the sun. Or paying off mortgages, or taking sabbaticals, or putting children through college.

The success of the Pension Fund will surprise you and will exceed the official sums, if you would like it to. If I end up spending half of my life having to do book-keeping to demonstrate how it is that you keep receiving regular cheques well into five figures, or frequently explain on the telephone to six individuals what is happening and why, I won't bother (none of you want to know the grief and problems which provide the background to this outfit setting off around the world). But I will keep you regularly informed on movements and excitements so that you are aware of your stake in the venture.

More soon!

Boppin' Bobby.


PROJEkCT ONE - Live At The Jazz Cafe

Bill Bruford
Robert Fripp
Trey Gunn

Tony Levin

The practical difficulties of King Crimson working together are immense: huge expense, expectation from audiences of established King Crimson repertoire, and major logistical problems.

An alternative approach is for smaller units within the Double Trio to work together, privately and publicly, rather than for all six of us to clatter and bang away simultaneously which is wonderful, for some of the time.

PROJEkCT ONE, at the Jazz Cafe, London, December 14th. 1997, is the first King Crimson sub-group project of several planned, and the music is improvised.

The aim of these smaller Crimson projeKcts is function as Research & Development for the Greater Crim. These projeKcts may become as much and as little as they may.




Discipline Global Mobile,
PO Box 1533,

Wiltshire, SP5 5ER.
Sunday 13th. September, 1998.

Bill Bruford Esq.,


Dear Bill,

Our recent discussion of the next step for Crim continues to reverberate, oscillate and generate my thinking process. This letter is addressed to you directly, because we have an ongoing conversation on this, but I'll copy it to the other members of the Team as Talking & Discussion Points.

I keep running into the problem of how to include acoustic drumming into my (electronic) picture of the next step. Part of this is musical, and part of this is practical.

Fundamentally, there is no point in you playing electronic drums because you think you should, Robert wants you to, or that's the only way to play if you want to be in Crim. The worthwhile reasons are:

  1. You feel passionate about electronic drums.
  2. That's the instrument for making the music you hear.

In my planning for the Crim future what I've been doing, following on our conversations, has been to compromise my sense of the next step; this, in order to include you and acoustic drums. Practically, acoustic traps means it's back to Perspex sheets, large rooms for rehearsal and recording, and earplugs: in other words, ways of keeping out the sound of Crim playing. ProjeKct One just about worked, with occasional winces in the high end; but for Crimson I continue to have major doubts.

So, since I keep hitting a conceptual brick wall and unable to move the process forward, what I've decided to do is this: go ahead with what I hear / see / have in mind for a five-piece "ProjeKCt".

This seems positive on all counts: you're not excluded, but something else is going on. Meanwhile, you're following your own passion: "Earthworks II" and acoustic drums. My hunch is that, right now, this is probably more musically important to you than reinventing King Crimson. Currently, the important musical challenge for me is to reinvent Crimson.

ProjeKCt has the advantage of travelling with less history, less expectations. When ProjeKCt has created a new repertoire, who knows what might follow from that? We are improvising with our futures. And, we have enough time during the next period to be able to make choices. You are NOT being excluded from the future! In a year's time, things will be clearer to all of us.

As a Crim guitarist, I encourage you to compose pieces for the three Crimson drummers; as part of a record company, I encourage you to continue with Earthworks II and record all your shows!

Now, a sideways step which may appear contradictory, and perhaps confusing: I think we have three different and bona fide King Crimsons:

1. The Billy, Bob, Ade & Tony 1981-84 configuration.
2. The Double Trio 1994 configuration.
3. The ProjeKCt 1999 Tony, Pat, Ade, Bob & Trey configuration.

Whether or not ProjeKCt convinces me / us as an authentic Crim has yet to be seen, and heard. But the implication of the above is, regardless of however the suggested electronic approach to Crimsonising develops, I view the 1981-84 configuration as a legitimate touring / performing / recording King Crimson undertaking, whether you are on an acoustic kit or not. That Crim has a core repertoire which is classic, continues to be worth playing and, in my view, has yet to be superceded; material from the Double Trio repertoire; and current / future writing ideas.

So, although I seem immediately to be moving in one direction without you (and I hope with your blessing), I'm also considering another approach, which is probably of greater interest to you. If this seems contradictory, fine. This is King Crimson.

Meanwhile, a summary of my thinking:

  1. My main concern is to un-fix Crim, and expectations of Crim - who it is, what it is and how it works. For example, I have no present interest in playing theatres, or within the concert tradition. I have no interest in conventional touring, which is an exercise in brute survival rather than musicianship. My interest is in event-based performance, of relatively short duration. Three weeks, to include rehearsals, would seem to be the upper limit unless we are offered something extraordinary.

  2. The six-piece Crimson is too unwieldy for writing rehearsals and for much live work (logistically, personally, financially). But the six members remain central to my thinking.

  3. The fractalising enables music to be generated which would not happen in full format. There are various combinations of trios, quartets and quintets, all of which have their own contribution to make. Some of them are aspects of the larger Crim and speak on its behalf; some of them play music which belongs to the parts and not the whole; and (possibly) there are three distinct personnel formations which are legitimate King Crimsons. If there are several King Crimsons, this gives me no problems: I've been in more than that already!

  4. Any particular configuration of King Crimson which doesn't include all six members, for whatever reason - other commitments, lack of interest in a specific music of that period, sabbatical, time with family - does NOT exclude anyone from future involvement and reconnection.

  5. Historically, all the Crims begin with a very characteristic, idiosyncratic, recognisable music and identity. This lasts for about one year until one or more of the musicians would really like to be doing something else, which is often what they've done before. The group's sharp focus diffuses and it breaks up sooner, later. Several years afterwards, the musicians agree that what they did in that one awkward year was really, after all, very good, and shall we do it again?

If we recognise this recurrent pattern, it implies that should one character choose to skip over a particular musical stage, the musical stage isn't likely to last very long anyway.


Sincerely, Robert

cc Adrian, Trey, Tony, Pat, Richard (Chadwick).




Sunday 18th. October, 1998.

To Adrian, Bill, Pat, Tony, Trey & Richard:

Dear Team,

ProjeKct Four will have played in Boulder twice by this time next week, and at the end of that tour we'll have a better idea of the next step for The Greater Crim.

Currently, I'm not sure of the details of how, when, where the ProjeKcts might be working in the first half of next year.

Bill is busy until the end of September 1999, other than perhaps finding a few days for rehearsals / recording.

Richard and Neal Warnock are looking at the possibility of P2, or Px, doing some festivals in Europe next July 1999. I have recently committed P2 to Buenos Aires is April 1999 (as per discussions with Ade and Trey). Depending upon other developments, this can be expanded if useful or necessary.

My main concern is to generate new repertoire for the six-piece King Crimson, which will involve some dedicated rehearsals probably in Nashville and maybe Austin. Adrian and I are committed to me visiting Chez Belewbeloid for songwriting sessions.

Adrian's idea, of recording the next album in steps and stages, strikes me as a good one. There is some excellent, definitive music with the aroma of King Crimson wafting by, but this needs maturing and cooking to brew into Crim Soup. My recent experience with surround-sound suggests that new repertoire take this into account: very exciting!

NB: In addition to January, and the launch of the DVD, please keep your calendars open for October 1999. I am continuing to plan for a major Double Trio presentation, focusing on the Mid West; perhaps a residency at the Park West, Chicago, with some gigs leading up to that.

I accept that currently Bill is not interested in electronics; so I have to accept that the group as a whole isn't convinced by my notion of the next Crim live being powered by 2 or 3 electronic drum kits. Within the next year perhaps that sonic picture will have been addressed within a ProjeKct, perhaps dropped as unworkable, perhaps addressed in another context.

The future is close and beckoning, and I'm open to whatever form it needs to take: I have no problem in dropping all my current ideas and following the beckoning of the Muse.

Meanwhile, as a point of focus rather than a limiting weight, I suggest we put next October in our calendars.

There has been a lot of recent posting to ET on the future of Crimson, notably a "Brufordless Crimson". This commentary is notable for its carelessness and does not reflect my own thinking, which is posted on the DGM Website. The future-present Crimson is a flexible creature; there are no sinecures, including myself. There are probably several authentic Crimsons which we can present from the six members. Nevertheless, my own plans continue to include all six members. The Double Trio formation has only just begun to shake hands: perhaps it's time to move to the clinches?

Yo! Dudes ...

Sincerely, Robert.




Discipline Global Mobile,
PO Box 1533,
Wiltshire, SP5 5ER.
February 24th. 1999.

Bill Bruford Esq.,


Dear Bill,

This follows on from our recent telephone conversation (Tuesday 2nd. February) in which I proposed to you:

King Crimson touring in the US this October (3 weeks plus up to one week rehearsals) and Japan in December (probably 3 weeks total). This would be based on core Crimson repertoire which continues to fire and ignite the players, plus "support" from one or two ProjeKcts with their new / upcoming music.

1. This addresses what is immediately possible for Crimson, which we could honourably undertake to meet in short order. Part of my enthusiasm for this comes from working with David Singleton on "Neon Heat Disease", Volume One of "Cirkus: The Young Persons Guide To King Crimson - Live" (1984-98). This is not a retrospective but an account of a live, burning outfit.

The release of a new King Crimson studio album around May - June 2000. This would be primarily recorded at Adrian's and primarily mixed & edited at DGM World Central. This would not necessarily be all formally "composed" or structured music.

Two major King Crimson tours for the year 2000, 5-6 weeks each including rehearsals, probably one in Europe and one in the US (Lollapalooza, Horde, etc.). You expressed a concern in respect of your domestic responsibilities and commitments (which every shares and has sympathy for). I understand from Richard Chadwick that you later expressed the sense that an album implies some committed touring with its release. You also expressed no interest in ProjeKct Zero.

Three days later you visited DGM while I was in London. David discussed the proposals with you, and this is the note for me from David awaiting my return:

"I have spoken with Bill with regard to King Crimson. His, perhaps legitimate, concern about this autumn is that he does not feel King Crimson should return to the same stamping grounds with the same core material. If there were two or three new songs added to this core material, as well as the work of the ProjeKcts, he feels this be a musically more satisfying event. Retreading and reworking old ground interests him far less. He points out that if an album is to be recorded in early 2000, then some new material would need to be generated this year.

This may present you with the interesting position that you can play the core repertoire without Bill, who is necessary to play much of it, or you can tour with Bill, but not play so much of the core repertoire. He is keen to support Discipline and King Crimson, but does not find the current scenario very appealing.

I hope I have faithfully transmitted his concerns."

2. Now, the recent history of Crimson.

A. The Double Trio met for a week's full rehearsals in Nashville (November 17th. 1997). I came with a large amount of written material for presentation, the outcome of a lot of preparatory writing. After a week's full rehearsals, nothing of mine was close to being finalised. Nor was any other piece submitted by anyone else (and there wasn't a lot of that) close to being finalised either. This week cost us $30,000 from the Pension Fund.

My conclusion from this is simple: formal writing rehearsals along this model, for this band, is a waste of money and (mostly) a waste of time. Certainly, I have no intention of spending a large part of my creative time preparing for another week like this.

B. Accepting that the current band was not overly excited about any of the formal written material I'd submitted, my next suggestion was to base the upcoming generation of Crim repertoire on electronic drumming. We have a demon double / triple drum configuration, with promising results from our work so far; all of which I have loved and encouraged. (For all the work done in Nashville by the two main drummers, regrettably no drum pieces were presented).

On the foundation of a seething, surging mass of percussion electronica, I conceived the front line moving forward in response. Essentially, this was a club-orientated electronica Crim.

You weren't interested in this idea. Your current thinking, and present musical heart, is in acoustic drums. I have no complaint with this: passion and enthusiasm can't be invented or falsified. And I accept, without implying any criticism, that you are not in this musical space which I envisaged for Crim.

C. ProjeKct Zero: this would be a full configuration of the Double Trio but open to wherever it might move, whatever it might decide to play - repertoire, improvised, newly written.

This wasn't of interest to you.

D. The most recent suggestion, that we base the next live Crimson on existing repertoire which stirs the passions (and I have heard the stunning "Neurotica" from Mexico City), with new developments driven by the ProjeKcts, doesn't interest you without new material. My perspective on new material:

i) New written repertoire is unrealistic (read: the experience of Nashville).
ii) The percussion electronica idea for generating new Crim music doesn't interest you.

If I take David's comments as roughly indicative of your feelings: "King Crimson should not return to the same stamping grounds with the same core material".

I agree to a degree. But new written material involves rehearsals and, I think convincingly, we've shown that this doesn't work.

"If there were two or three new songs aded to this core material, as well as the work of the ProjeKcts, (Bill) feels this would be a musically more satisfying event".

I agree. But: I presented enough material for two or three new pieces in Nashville and nothing happened. Spending another $30,000 on the off chance something might be different next time is not an option I support. The onus of this falls, substantially, on Adrian and myself to deliver new written material. I feel it is unfair to place the responsibility for the next live work taking place on Adrian and myself.

To undertake an October tour, on this basis, implies that I have to guarantee that you, and the other members of Crimson, accept / like the pieces which Adrian & I present; and that Adrian & I like and accept the parts which you and the other guys present in response. And if I don't feel the material is being played convincingly, how can I accept it merely because it's new?

The argument, that to have a new album means "some new material would need to be generated this year" is superficially convincing. But: I proposed a studio album, not an album of performance-based material. To have new written material ready for October places a heavy & disproportionate responsibility on Adrian and myself, which is unreasonable & unacceptable.

So, my (subjective) feeling is this: I have made three (four including ProjeKct Zero) propositions / presentations regarding the future of the King Crimson Double Trio. The first presentation was not rejected, simply not acted upon. The next two / three presentations (electronica, ProjeKct Zero, core repertoire) is not "very appealing" to you. Currently, I've abandoned new writing, the conceptual notion on electronica, hopes for ProjeKct Zero, and my excitement for playing core repertoire.

It's difficult to know where I can go from here to interest you in Crimson's musical future. My sense is that your musical heart, and commitments in time, are presently with Earthworks rather than King Crimson. This is not a problem for me in any way. I support you and Earthworks both personally, musically, and as DGM's CEO. I encourage you to take it as far as you can without reservation, compromise or distraction. You are the perfect Discipline artist. But for me & my responsibility to the King, it's time to move on.

I include my letter to the full team and, as an appendix, my letter to you from last September.

Sincerely, Robert.

Cc Adrian, Trey, Tony, Pat, Richard, David & Diane.




Discipline Global Mobile,
PO Box 1533,
Wiltshire, SP5 5ER.
February 24th. 1999.

The Crims of Terror, Beastliness & Wonderment.

Dear Tony, Bill, Adrian, Trey & Pat,

Included (above) is a copy of my present letter to Bill, and an earlier letter to him, which presents my current Crim thinking.

I take it as given, we are all well aware of the present impossibilities of Crimsonising in Double Trio format. Logistically, musically, personally, the variables are so great that nothing is happening. At this point, I feel I have to make the call.

The situation I see is this: Bill is a busy boy; Tony is about to tour with Seal, and Peter (Gabriel's) next tour is in the offing. Pat, Trey and myself are savagely available to Crim's next step. Adrian is also committed, in tandem with his solo career. So, I see a four-piece King Crimson of Adrian, Robert, Pat & Trey which makes a serious commitment through the second half of this year and into 2000, to include a studio album and major touring to match.

This does not exclude either Tony, Bill, or both Tony & Bill, from the step after the next step. Or, the possibility that both could join the four piece for a Special Event Double Trio Week of some kind. In my view, this future is both sufficiently defined that it will happen, and open enough to allow other futures to develop.

The implications of this for the Pension Fund: we have some more archiving work to complete ("Live In Mexico City" & "On Broadway"). Once this is completed, it seems fair and reasonable to release Tony & Bill's share of the balance back to them.

I hope this meets with everyone's approval.

Eauuugh! Robert.

cc Richard, Stan (Hertzman), David & Diane.