Wednesday 20 December 2006

DGM HQ A brisk morning




A brisk morning in the Chalke Valley with whiteness on the DGM Park…


… and Parking Lot…


Reflective coffee-ing of the morning: forces of change, development & resistance acting upon the perfomer; and qualities & kinds of noticing. Reading: John Mason’s Researching your own practice: the discipline of noticing Routledge (2001)

11.12  Ben Crowe has been visiting with even-more finely tuned instruments than last time. Acoustic…




The guitar is the gold-top Fernandes, back & re-vibrated from Japan’s damp climate. Ben is reversing the wiring of the push-on switch to pull-on.


A deft hand, plus bananas…


On the Guestbook…

Worst Songs to Have Sex To: Posted by AndrewCollins on December 19, 2006

I was only joking on Radio 4 you know. It was a humorous column on Front Row, commissioned very much at the last minute ("Can you come up with the Top 10 worst songs to have sex to, for tonight’s programme?"), and rustled up in haste. No offence was intended to King Crimson.

I accept that LTIA Parts One& Two may not be an ideal choice for everyone’s courting rituals, although I’m wondering about the research work: the producers of Emmanuelle were on the money.

And yesterday I opened a friendly e-letter from a writer who had recently associated KC/RF with 20 minute epics... I like your music and I’m sorry if I caused offence at what was only a joke about the fashion for long rock songs.

There’s certainly nothing for you to feel bad about except your vulnerability to journalists desperate to turn over copy to meet deadlines - and there’s nothing much you can do about that, I guess.

The points of commonality:
1.         humour;
2.         haste / deadlines.

My own sense of humour is robust and, according to some reports, even a little vulgar. In these two instances, humour is speedily provided speedily by drawing on a stereotype. This has the effect of publicly reinforcing that stereotype. Is this appropriate? Is this funny? Is this acceptable?

Life is hard, and life in the media world hard, demanding & unforgiving. Use of the KC stereotype, in both these references, understandable. KC/RF have suffered for many years from this particular stereotype. There’s nothing much I can do about that, I guess, other than publicly draw attention to it.

I’m not precious about my work, while respecting the combined work together of all the Crims, feeling privileged for being involved in it, deploring most of the professional life that accompanied the music entering our world, and currently acting with DGM & our partners to continue presenting & representing the repertoire. But this stereotype is a form of imprisonment & has the effect of directing interest away from the reality & the actuality.

How & what we think of others is tangible. When this moves form the personal into the society & larger community via media, the stereotype becomes increasingly reinforced, onerous & restrictive. Something is spoiled. Something is lost.

I don’t believe for a moment that either of these two journalists are bad people, and I know enough of the media life to understand the pressures. If I am rushed, and play old licks rather than apply a creative intelligence; or, if I play bad notes because I’m pressured; or play out of tune because I don’t have enough time to properly tune myself & my instrument, the quality of the musical performance suffers. In which case, the audience are entitled to hold me accountable. They might boo, hiss, and call out: we rely on our artists to act honourably, responsibly & speak truly. This is not acceptable. And I would agree with them.

20 minute epic:: Posted by Alethea on December 19, 2006
Says RF: "I don’t recall any KC 20-minute epic."

The title track for Lizard is clocked at 23 minutes. And though prog-heads tend to prefer Close to the Edge or Supper’s Ready, I wouldn’t think that Mr. Fripp has forgotten all about it! ;)

O Blessed Waters of Lethe! I value Dr. Andrew Keeling’s view of Lizard above my own. My own memories of the recording period are so unpleasant & coloured that I am not yet able to look & listen impartially. Yet, something is there. Mostly, for me, good ideas that don’t quite happen; and this for various reasons.

It is very hard for me to visit this time period & it takes a considerable effort to re-insert myself. For example, whenever a compilation album is being put together; when interviewers address detailed enquiries of an event or undertaking 32-37 years ago; when in 1999 The Sidney Smith was writing The Toxic Tome while KC was writing, rehearsing & recording in Basement Belewbeloid. Sid would send me mostly critical comments by other (early) members, addressing Fripp’s manifold failures as guitarist, musician & human being, and detailed questions on events & arisings dating back to 1967, and invite my comments in return.

1970 = annus horribilis.

And, today at DGM HQ, I don’t currently recall any KC 20-minute epic. Perhaps Fripp is amnesiac?

Amnesia:: Posted by JeremyBender on December 19, 2006

The RHVLH wrote: I don’t recall any KC 20-minute epic. Perhaps Mr. Veitch might suggest one that he has in mind?

I’m used to RF erasing the parts of KC history that don’t currently suit him (i.e. the fuzzed electric piano played by DC during Asbury Park being inaudible until the DGM download version, the third mix of that glorious improv by my count--USA > FxF > dowload) but this ignorance of his own catalog as he feebly tries to distance himself from the prog rock movement is, well, lame.

Um, Lizard? 23:15 according to the All Music Guide.  Unless RF is going to try the verbal gynmastics of the "Ah! but only Bolero-The Peacock’s Tale can really be considered Lizard, the other 17 minutes or so are something else" variety, guilty as charged. 

I find RF’s attempts at avoiding the taint of double-concept albums, revolving pianos and sparkly capes to be risible.  Getting out while the getting was good in 9/74, and largely avoiding bombast by KC not being popular enough to need it to reach the back of an 18,000 seat basketball arena on a consistent basis doesn’t eliminate 23-minute prog epics or the bomast of things like the songs The Wake of Poseiden or The Devil’s Triangle.  But then, I find nothing wrong with double-concept albums, revolving pianos or sparkly capes in the first place.

Some interesting comments, and some impressively dopey ones, raising issues “which reasonable people can debate” (to quote Henry Kissinger).

Reading both of the above, I notice that:

When I think of King Crimson, I don’t think of 1970.

When I think of King Crimson, I think of the live bands before the albums.

This is subjective.

Until the Collectors’ Club and, more importantly DGM Live, making the whole (or a large part) of the archive available was not feasible. A vinyl/CD release, even a 4-volume set, was necessarily selective. Reasons for musical selection & editing are & were various and complex. Both Frame By Frame & The Great Deceiver were released through a major label, and major labels are not good homes for archival material, particularly lots of it. In addition to this, I have re-arranged, re-viewed & re-presented the repertoire, on the basis that it’s an ongoing body of work. The original forms are mostly available for anyone who prefers those versions.

That Mr. Bender (the man of leisure who took his pleasure in the evening sun?) assumes the negative, as in I’m used to RF erasing the parts of KC history that don’t currently suit him suggests to me that Mr. Bender is English. That Fripp is assumed guilty until found guilty is also an English characteristic, one I associate with English music comics of the period. That Mr. Bender also puts me in a double-bind – you’re guilty as charged & any defence is verbal gymnastics which prove you’re guilty anyway! – is the third trait (if I might use that word) illustrating the difficulty of dialoguing, discussing & debating (words with D this time) when & where negativity is in the ascendant. That is, very much like having dealings with the English music press after 1973-74.

The term double concept-album implies a lack of conceptual thinking extending over more than the running time available on one vinyl album. From Mr. Bender’s comments, it seems likely that he enjoys double-concept albums, revolving pianos (perhaps, any other revolving instrument?) and/or sparkly capes more than I do (my own judgement on each is governed by time, place & person). I have avoided the “taint” by not wearing a sparkly cape, nor playing a revolving guitar, and (unless amnesia is currently affecting my sensibilities to a greater extent than usual) nor making a concept double-album. So, if there is a “taint”, where is its origination?

Getting out while the getting was good in 9/74…

I’m not sure what Mr. Bender means by this, and it rather depends on what Mr. Bender means by “good”.

… and largely avoiding bombast…

KC largely avoided bombast by not being bombastic (although my own live playing has always been noted for its use of exaggerated effect & high-octane delivery).

The Flying Brick Wall of Bradley Britvic & the Wilton Carpet, Bass Beast of Terror, were at times ferocious (and at times, not). But “bombastic” isn’t a good description of the Crim Rhythm Section 1973/74. Powerful? Certainly. 

… by KC not being popular enough to need it to reach the back of an 18,000 seat basketball arena on a consistent basis…

Well, we played a few 10,000 seat stadia as headliners, and, to this guitarist onstage, the difference between a stadium of 10,000 & 18,000 wasn’t a lot. A stadium is a stadium is a stadium. We played 20,000 seat stadia as, usually, the middle act of three. Johnny W has recently pointed out that KC was one of the few bands that could play large, and use broad brushstokes, and also play small, filling in the details.

My own preference is for smaller venues, often smaller than the “market” can carry, a fact that has caused increasing & considerable difficulties with the industry in KC’s touring life right up until 2003. This is a longer story with many examples. The quick story, with a few caveats, is this: regardless of what you ask for, the band gets stuck in the venues the promoter chooses.

When KC ceased to exist in 1974, it was poised to become one of the most successful bands in Europe & the US (what we didn’t know at the time was the huge popularity of the band in South America & Japan). So, departure was commercial suicide.

..he feebly tries to distance himself from the prog rock movement is, well, lame.

Not quite. I distanced myself from the then-current rock scene in 1974, and this distancing was neither feeble nor lame. The distancing was declared publicly & extensively, followed by retreat & then moving abroad.

I removed myself from the circle of witlessness, utter unreality and, for some, large income stream, which the “progressive” movement was becoming. Why the degeneration? Clearly several reasons, microcosmic & macrocosmic, social, music industry specific & personal. In that part of the music system where young rock players were at work, the “several” reasons often came down to a lot of attention being being suddenly given to young people; and this lotsa attention often translated into money, sex & drugs.

Money + sex + drugs = juice: a high level of low-level juice. When we add to this a deliberate & intentional manipulation of the young men, by those with a duty of care to support & promote their interests, you get…
hubris, paranoia, manipulation = musical choices not governed by musical criteria.

The rock world & life in the 1970s were quite mad, a view not held at the time by many of those on the scene; particularly management, record company, agency, successful players & anyone whose livelihood & personal interests were supported by the asylum’s inmates; who believed, and/or convinced themselves, or were persuaded by Power Possessors, that they were actually quite sane & in one of the best of all possible sane environments.

The epic & bombastic King Crimson is a fiction. KC is, were, and are, guilty by association. The stereotype continues to this day, for example the recent & current commentary in the Diary & Guestbook. The stereotype is becoming weakened, primarily, by the increasing availability of primary source evidence, the live music itself, reaching new (and old) ears; and attention drawn to the carelessness with which the stereotype continues.

So, putting aside Mr. Bender’s comments of the English variety, and discussing reasonably the question to what extent was KC “epic”, firstly, what do we mean by epic?

The Encyclopedia Britannica has this… A long narrative poem recounting heroic deeds, although the term has also been loosely used to describe novels, such as Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and motion pictures…

The main function of poetry in heroic-age society appears to be to stir the spirit of the warriors to heroic actions by praising their exploits and those of their illustrious ancestors, by assuring a long and glorious recollection of their fame, and by supplying them with models of ideal heroic behaviour…

Epic simile an extended simile… to intensify the heroic stature of the subject and to serve as decoration.

A song family in early KC was called, at the time, the “epic ballad”; and the first 3 albums, ITCOTCK, ITWOP & Lizard, contained “epic ballads”. This can be located in the zeitgeist. So, it’s correct to suggest that, on record between 1969-70, there was an epic component to the music. But, the albums don’t strike me as epic-epic & the “epicness” didn’t carry over into live performance. Live was a beast, but not an epic beast. The “heroic nature” of the onstage warriors didn’t feature in our personal lives, at least while those players were members of Crim.

A more useful term, for me, is long form. Crimson music was long-form in 1969-70 at a time when long-form was not quite acceptable in rock – who do they think they are, playing songs longer than 4 minutes? For young musicians who listened to a broad range of music – jazz, contemporary folk, the conservatory classics ancient & modern,  and The Beatles - very little of it stopped at 4 minutes. In popular culture, Sergeant Pepper had just kicked that door open.

Long-form & overblown are different qualities of beast. I support any artist who follows the Muse (actually, this is itself an epic notion!) but am not fully convinced, as long-form moved increasingly towards overblown, that the Muse was leading the way.

So, in KC there was long-form with epic elements. This was a matter of musical form, and not a way of life, personal or professional.

As a formal component of KC musical devices, another useful term is suite. (EB): in music, a group of self-contained instrumental movements of varying character, usually in the same key. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the period of its greatest importance, the suite consisted principally of dance movements. In the 19th and 20th centuries the term also referred more generally to a variety of sets of instrumental pieces, mainly in forms smaller than those of the sonata, and included selections for concert performance of incidental music to plays…

In summary: the music of KC 1969-70, featured on 3 albums 1969-70, used an “epic component” as a musical device within (idiomatically) long-form pieces; this epic component did not translate into live performance; nor into the lifestyles of the members; nor is it the best descriptive musical term.

Sid has a wider overview of the band than I do, and ace punter instincts. Dr. Andrew Keeling has a better formal understanding of the music than I do. What are their views, I wonder?

This is a good example of why I stopped doing interviews, particularly KC interviews. A high proportion of the questions addressed in detail real & seeming contradictions arising (or, an English interviewer might suggest, “exposed”) over many years of ongoing work, these questions often asked with attitude. In early 1999 a European journalist came to DGM HQ and, during an intensive 2-3 hours interview, asked what I had meant by (specific quote) in an interview of1971. Actually, I remembered the quote, and responded. Interviews at this level require carrying a great deal of detailed history on short-call access to focused inquisition. (This particular journalist felt he hadn’t had enough because he didn’t cover the entire history of the band/s, so he came back).

Between 1969-2001 I spent more time talking about the music than playing it. Some readers may feel this to be an exaggeration. Perhaps surprisingly, then: it is not.

Well, that’s my best shot on “epic” this particular day. A more developed presentation is possible, although unlikely to satisfy critics of the English Variety.

Fickle juice:: Posted by Mechkov on December 19, 2006

Fripp’s journal, 14th December: "King Crimson had the juice in 1969. Yes had the juice in 1971."Yes, but King Crimson had it back in 1973 (as well as the former Yes drummer).

Crimson also had the juice in 1981. It is a remarkable privilege & exceptional good fortune to have been a member of 3 world-class bands: KC1969, KC 1972-74 & KC 1981, each of which delivered a classic album.

Moonlighting from Crimson with Eno is another story.

11.36  Ben Crowe has been & gone.

12.35  David & Robert are in Soundworld II, mastering Soundspaces in Tokyo for DGM download.


14.52  David & Robert are now mastering The Fifth Day from Tartu, Estonia. This is very different to Japan says David. It’s in a church replies Robert.

The shipping firm, who had allocated £295 for my guitar repairs & a new flight case but were unable to send the money clean & without conditions, have sent £295 clean & without conditions to Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy instead. If they had sent me the cheque, clean & without conditions, I would have accepted it. However, it has gone instead a charity strongly supported by the music industry.

On the N-RMT letter-heading acknowledging receipt of the money, is the name Sam Alder. Mr. Alder was its Treasurer for several years, and a prominent figure in establishing N-RMT as the industry’s charity of choice, for which he expected a knighthood. When, how & why S.G. Alder became Sam Alder is of interest to me, more than most, for several reasons; only one of which is that when a name changes, something profound has taken place.

Scroll down to Fundraising Committee

An interesting report and on page 13 A brief look at the Guitar in Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy. On Page 9 The International Trust was set up at the instigation of Sam Alder, Chair of the Board of Governors of the London Centre, and Pauline Etkin, in order to secure both the name and the intellectual property of Nordoff-Robbins for the use of all future Nordoff-Robbins developments, and to protect them from misuse. After consultation between the London Board of Governors and the New York Foundation and their lawyers, a Trust Deed was drawn up and signed in July 1996.

There are not many online references to EG Management any more, although Googling for EG brought this, and an accompanying chuckle…


The future waited long enough for the EG I knew, and then ran out of patience. Is this the current EG Management?

EG Records has a page of references, although these…

are inaccurate. They mistake Enthoven & Gaydon as the Lloyd’s Names involved in the Grief that seemed Endless. David E left in 1977 & John G in 1970. The Names were Messrs. Alder & Fenwick, whose partnership finished around 1995.

A fairly recent resume for Mr. Alder may be found here on page 13.

Another example of Mr. Alder’s charitable work is at King William’s...’s_College.

… and the Douglas Rotary Club (Community Service).

I didn’t know that Mr. Alder was an adviser to the Rambert

This was probably after the time that he gave me advice and, since Sir Edward is no longer with us, may not be current info.

I am not informed as to whether Mr. Adler remains on the square…

So, what is SG Alder Esq. up to in his professional life?

3FM gets the thumbs up from Manx listeners

Posted on 03 Aug, 2006

The champagne corks are popping today as the latest radio listening figures reveal 3FM to be the fastest growing radio station in the Isle of Man.

RAJAR figures released this morning show the Island’s newest station to be the number one FM commercial station in the UK for the average hours listened per person.

3FM has also taken its place in the top 20 of all UK commercial stations for the market share.

Chairman, Sam Alder, says he is thrilled by the news and looks forward to bringing more of what the people want to Manx listeners.

Well, that’s good news for Mr. Alder & Isle of Man listeners, then.

Mr. Alder also sits on the executive board of the Isle of Man Creameries

Issues and opportunities facing the Manx agricultural industry interim report.

18.25  The Vicar is in SoundWorld II, persisting. He seeks to discover the secret of mixing voices to sound as if they have not been mixed, an exceptional artifice.

23.21  An evening at the desk. Enough.