Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Saturday 16 June 2018

Breakfasting Trough, Hotel Acceptable, Krakow.



Rising, somewhat hammered from yesterday’s ten hours and eleven minutes door to door on the bus, at 08.00. Down to the trough.

A report from the DGM Breakfast Meeting (14june2018) with David at the Hotel Acceptable, Poznan’s trough: Brexit has impacted KC’s Fiftieth Anniversary touring plans. Currently there is no forseeable exit arrangement for the UK, no clear plans for migrant workers, eg the Brothers Crim and their pals, whether work visas will be necessary for anyone other than our American members. The technicalities and bureaucracy of arranging visa for all eight members of The Beast plus c. twelve support team persons, in each different country, is impracticable; this without even dealing with the withholding tax for each jurisdiction. Compliance with EU tax and individual arrangements for each country is already close to unworkable for small organisations. KC/DGM is a good example of the margin between too small/sufficiently large, to be proportionately overloaded with stuff. I wonder how many, of those good persons that plan and implement a seemingly endless proliferation of forms, have gone out into the world and directed a small company.

So, we have abandoned plans for a Celebration EuroTour of 2019. There is one possibility of performing in England, but this is contingent on a most-unlikely arising. Our attention is therefore being directed to other places in the world.


Questioner from Poland: Robert – what do you do?
RF: I keep things in motion.

Q: I don’t understand. I thought you wrote the music and played guitar.
RF: I am one of the players that assemble the music; I play guitar so something else can happen; and I unfix things when they get stuck.

Q: I don’t understand.
RF: Brother Adrian Belew gave an interview around 2010: When Robert wants to change the music, either the players change what they’re playing or Robert changes the players. Historically, some Crimson members seem content with what they’re doing, so they keep doing that. Or perhaps they think they know what they’re doing, and what Crimson is about. Then, the overall trajectory of the group tends to go off-course, even backwards. Perhaps some characters seen their work in KC as a professional gig: they turn up, do a great job, and go home. That’s fine in a conventional professional undertaking, and already an achievement. But KC is not a professional undertaking, although it acts professionally within a context that is constrained and limited by commercial interests and values. In KC, the purely-professional view becomes a brake and fixes the process. The music, the business and more, get stuck.

Q: So what do you do then?
RF: How well do you know King Crimson’s history?

Q: All right then, how would you describe the difference between the music business in 1969 and 2018?
RF: This is one example of why I don’t do interviews: Please present a global overview of KC, your life and work, and how the world tends to spin backwards over half a century, in three minutes.

So here’s one possible three minutes’ version… In 1969 Ahmet Ertegun flew to London and came to see King Crimson at the Speakeasy, to sign the band to Atlantic. If I’d said to Ahmet - I really want to make a lot of money and this music is the best way to get rich -Ahmet would have been suspicious. If in 2018 a Top Player (I won’t mention names) came to express an interest in acquiring KC, and I told him (unlikely to be a she) - I really want to make music and it doesn’t matter how much money we make – Top Player would think, Oh Dude, this guy is a no hoper. The musical culture of 1969 operated within a market economy. The musical culture of 2018 is now a commercial culture operating within the market economy. Ahmet Ertegun was a businessman but he was also a music man. He didn’t move to Atlantic from a successful career making biscuits, for example, as happened at EMI. When EMI was EMI. Or another way of putting it: biscuit eaters might consume music; audiences listen to music (and may hear it, or not) but that’s outside your three minutes of global overview).

An ancillary comment to the above: audiences in Poland, also Mexico and Argentina, I experience as engaging in a qualitatively different way to audiences from G7 (“Western”) countries. To them, music is not a commodity: it is a necessity. Music nourishes, supports and sustains the spirit in hard times; and gives voice to celebration in times of joy.

13.46 Below, a good current example of why I no longer do interviews. These
questions were submitted to Jakko this week, and also serve as an answer to the
question: What is the Monkey Mind that King Crimson seeks to unseat?

Question to Jakko: how did the man who replaced Robert Fripp in the 21st Century Schizoid Band, join King Crimson alongside Robert? In my opinion, it is an incredible result...

QtoJ: current line-up of King Crimson is devoted to playing the historical repertoire, as did the 21st Century Schizoid Band. What are the differences between the two bands?

QtoJ: your favourite Crimson singer and why...

QtoJ: Current line-up of King Crimson and 21st Century Schizoid Band feature Mel Collins on wind. While in the 21st Century Schizoid Band, its role was exactly what it used to be, in the current line-up, I think he is "out of place". What is your opinion about the role of Mel in the two bands?

QtoJ: I'm not so sure that Mel is comfortable with some recent pieces of the repertoire. For Example, the sax in "VROOOM" is totally inadequate. Do you agree?

QtoJ: "Live at the Orpheum" (2015), "Live Cyclops EP" (2015), "Live in Toronto" (2016), "Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind" (2016), "Live in Chicago" (2017), "Heroes" (2017), "Live in Vienna" (2018). Seven live LP or EP and any studio album from 2011 (if we consider "A Scarcity of Miracles" the last King Crimson studio album). Wow! A little bit excessive, isn’t it?

QtoJ: is "A Scarcity of Miracles" a King Crimson album?

(If YES): "A Scarcity of Miracles" is not, in my opinion, so close to the music of King Crimson, recent or past. It is a quiet album, thoughtful and meditative, very close, I think, to the music made by Robert Fripp and David Sylvian. Why you consider it a King Crimson album?

(If NO): "A Scarcity of Miracles" is not, in my opinion, so close to the music of King Crimson, recent or past. It is a quiet album, thoughtful and meditative, very close, in my opinion, to the music made by Robert Fripp with David Sylvian. Why it showed the subtitle "A King Crimson ProjeKct"?

QtoJ: "Devil Dogs of Tessellation Row", "Radical Action", "Radical Action II, "Banshee Legs Bell Hassle", "The Errors" ... new promising tracks, sometimes surprising, but composed, so it seems, in an "inorganic way". Are they part of a studio album that carry out on the next future?
QtoJ: there was some rumours about Adrian Belew as a ninth member of King Crimson. According to Sid Smith (4 September 2017, "Peace - a new beginning?", DGM Live), "on September 3, 2017, Robert Fripp announcing his differences with Adrian Belew had been straightened out Crimson's Ninth Man, meaning he is not a band member, but the door is open for him to rejoin in the future". Please, more details about this...

QtoJ: two years ago, Adrian Belew told us that, when he played in the band, "We were more interested in creating new music than recreating older music. If I were in the band today new music would still be my priority" ( What do you think about Adrian in the band and its probable goals?

24.12 The Ice Hall, Poznan I.

Into the Crimson Zone…

Royal Packagers…