Wednesday 08 April 2020



Rising 06.40.

Morning Sitting. To reading, writing…

with musical accompaniments…

Life as a touring player, over five decades, has become a state of mind. Given the unprecedented continuity of the present incarnation of King Crimson, and the focus needed of me as a working player over the past six or seven years, my thinking has been primarily directed towards Crimsonising and related musicking. The demands on guitar playing alone, at this level, is already more than I meet (with a margin to spare).

Currently, although much of the day is taken up with addressing practicalities, the stuffness-of -business personal and professional, there is beginning to emerge a pattern in my daily existence: ongoingness in one determined place – home! It has been a small hope (not quite an aim) to see the view from one window every day over four seasons. My reflecting on the nature of King Crimson, its players, performance and performance places, audiences, the industry; the extent to which that microcosm reflects the larger matters underway across the world; how the two engage and what is in between; is supported by this location-based daily life. Very hooray! It also gives me the opportunity to re-visit a lot of archived material on HDs, all of which need backing-up to / with current technology; all of which need to be backed up once again.

I Advance Masked – Day Nineteen…

A lunch of exceptional tastiness…

… Toyatian frittata with kale. Yes, today we are sans Squerd.

We are blessed to have a garden, to which we have responsibilities: today that included watering, lots.

We have a wonderful home, to which we also have responsibilities; normally adopted on our behalf by St. Sadie. In these present times of self-isolating the post-mature, of whom I am clearly one, I am cheerfully taking on tasks and duties that in earlier years were commonplace. Today, vacuuming on three floors and two loads of laundry. Following house duties, to the Cellar and continuing to address the running arpeggiation that Sneaky Toes Willcox crept up upon yesterday.


RF Press Conference with European Journalists
Sanctuary Board Room, Olympia, London
Wednesday 5th. February, 2003 @ 11.00.
(Part Six).


Q: Before you start an album, do you have all the sounds and musics in your head, or is it trial and error?

RF: Are those my only two alternatives? In terms of a King Crimson ProjeKct, we often walked on stage having no idea whatsoever of what we were going to play. That’s the extreme end of it. That’s one of the six possible creative strategies you can adopt. There is a seventh, and it’s invisible, but of the six creative strategies that is one. With ProjeKct One we met the day before our first of four nights, at The Jazz Café in Camden Town, to see if our equipment worked. It didn’t. So we left. The next day was the first of four that we played, without any idea of what we might play.

If you go into a studio where studio bills do have to be paid, it’s likely, although not necessarily so, that you have a more formal structure. I like to go into a studio knowing exactly what I’m going to play, knowing if that’s all that happens, it will be wretched. But, trusting the situation sufficiently that if you go in with that framework, and with people of that quality, the situation will ignite. And then having confidence that David and I can take the bonfire back to England and turn it into a formal statement of that creative process, which is meant to be enduring.

It’s the difference between writing an essay and standing on your feet to deliver a lecture or a talk. There is a mobility, a fluidity and a spontaneity possible when speaking. But when you deliver your printed essay the words are fixed, so there is a very different flavour. Nevertheless, as a considered statement of what King Crimson thinks on this particular subject at this particular time, The Power To Believe is a strong one.

Q: Is it meant to say that you improvise a lot?

RF: The quick answer is yes. It’s often determined by context. For example, if there’s lots of photography, you’re not going to be improvising. If you can see lots of microphones held up, you’re not going to be improvising because you are being pinned to earth. The protective sphere available to that is punctured.

So at that point you move to a more structured situation where you can rely on the framework, but then trust the framework to come to life. Even though there may be composed material, it works as a land map. You know you’re going from Wimborne to Blandford, and the way on-the-map is going through Badbury Rings. But there’s one other main route and several subsidiary routes as well. You know you’re going from Wimborne to Blandford, you know that’s your most likely route but, depending how the journey unfolds, you might go different ways.

So there is a re-creation: you contact the determining spirit of the piece, if you like, and see where it leads.

But in live performance, as I’m suggesting, it’s becoming increasingly difficult because the nature of public performance in the rock sphere has changed radically in the past 35 years. It’s no longer possible to do what was once possible.

Q: How important is improvisation to the soul of King Crimson?

RF: It’s a necessary part of King Crimson. When you hear the final recorded version, it may be the outcome of improvisation although there may not be a lot of actual improvising on the record. On this particular album, David, how much improv would you say there was?

DS: The Thrush, the Soundscape of The Power To Believe, the Coda, the Power To Believe II...

RF: The main one (The Power To Believe II) was all improvised in its origins.

DS: Other than that, they come back to your road map – they are pieces with form, but the exact...

RF: ...details change, yes. There is a fluidity and a mobility within them.

Q: Talking about relations with the fans, I’d like to know if for you internet is a valuable tool for this? I’ve read your diary in Discipline and I want to know what do you think about the exchanged musical platforms, like WinMX?

RF: May we go back to the first question please?

Q: Yes.

RF: David Singleton and I were involved in Bootleg Television. David came up with this conceptual device for creating a matrix between performers, music and its audiences. So that, in a sense, technology was in the middle – the linking device between them. We raised four million dollars and spent it. And then when the money was spent and the technology industry down-turned and Broadband hadn’t really happened - where I live in England getting online is still an adventure in daily life, something like crossing the Amazon - all these high tech ideas remain there in potential. They provide a much more exciting and interesting way of bringing music to its audiences and its performers than the current structure of the music industry. The music industry as it currently works, the business model, is so lacking in intelligence it’s frightening.

So technology is a way forward, but obviously not currently. When, from where I live in England you can go online and download music from DGM, from the new DGM site under construction, life will be better. At the moment you can do it in most of America, the city of London and the M4 corridor. The various forms this will take, or the platforms that will launch them, are under discussion.

Q: I will return to the creative process once more, when you write music do you have a vocabulary of the other band members in your mind?

RF: Yes. Yes when I write for King Crimson it’s specifically for these particular people that will be playing it.

Q: So how does that work, how do you put all these things together when you write?

RF: Generally what happens is I go to stay in Nashville with Adrian Belew in his Basement, in the studio apartment next to his studio. I get up anywhere between five and six in the morning. Generally by eight or nine a pencil, a manuscript book, a guitar is in hand. So by the time the band arrives to work for eleven or twelve, I will have had between two and four hours preparation. So I can present them with outline ideas that we’ll then play. That will take us so far into the day, then we’ll go somewhere else. Like we may look at another piece or framework, or we might just play and see where that leads us.

Then at the end of the day I am wiped and exhausted and dribbling and pitifully exhausted, and next day it begins again. We go on like that for a period of time. The next morning with pencil, will be to look at the details of how the other members have responded, or what else has come up in our days’ work previously, and we keep going.

Two weeks of that is utterly exhausting. For me four hours a day working with other musicians five days a week – there is nothing left at the end of the day, nothing. And no interest whatsoever to get up the following morning to begin again, but I do.

Q: What is the thing that makes you wake up, get up?

RF: A commitment to the process.

Q: Your responsibility?

RF: Commitment is something other than responsibility, but once one has made the commitment to the particular process underway, then one has responsibility. So I get up to honour it.

Q: No pleasure in it...? When you are composing it sounds so hard.

RF: Yes it is. When the ideas fly by, unbidden – it is a joy, a joy. And they do. But then trying to pin down, to catch these wonderful things as they fly, and bring them from a world of freedom into a world of definition and limitation, that’s hard. But once they have become absorbed and played by the band, and then they’re set free again to go into the world, that is also a joy. Unless there are people trying to kill them for the very best reasons like, they have a right. That is hard. Fans who want to photograph these children as they’re released into the world, or record them as they’re released into the world, or autograph them as they’re released into the world - it pins to earth a joy.

19.38 E-flurrying. Hopelessly overloaded.