Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Thursday 09 September 1999

Simon amp Robert are about

08.23 Simon & Robert are about to get underway with the second side of "Islands". The tape is beginning to decompose & the glue from edits make sticky sounds as the tape is wound. "Ladies Of The Road" gets underway. Bozzell the Vox is singing into his BBC brass waste paper bucket. He is not dealing with the unfortunate after-effects of late-night partying (although the night before was a late-night party) but to create a halo around the voice. "Ladies" is the defining song of this particular Crimson. The lyrics are stunning: witty & drawn from observing the rich tapestry of life available to a young person on the road when rock still had a measure of innocence. A measure of a kind of innocence.

Robin Miller soars over a small chamber orchestra. Now Simon is digitally de-enhancing a string player's foot, or somebody closing a door, or banging a mike stand, which adds a 60hz percussion point on a down beat. I conducted the string ensemble, of hardened London session players, with a pencil. They had the professional courtesy to ignore all my directions. I've never known which one of them was discreetly giving the cues.

Another pile of unhappy memories accompany this album, as with virtually all the KC albums. Why? is the obvious question. Here are a few quick answers in two parts:

Ever been in a group?
Ever been in a group rehearsing?
Ever been in a group recording?
Ever been in a group which did all these things but the members didn't get on?

The circus of dumb living: make an album, tour; make another album, tour; make another album, tour; make another album, tour. Q. Is this all there is, dear manager, dear record company, dear agent, dear tour manager? A. Let's talk about this after the next album & tour.

After the next three albums & tours, in 1974, King Crimson ceased to exist. What a surprise that was to everyone.

"Islands" is underway. This has a strange charm: the openness & vulnerablility of the players and parts. Peter's pedal harmonium wheezes away, Fripp's feet pumping like whipcords as his fingers leap across the keys. We have re-attached the orchestral tune-up to the end of the album which, on the Definitive Edition re-master, the engineer forgot to append.

The guitar solo to "The Sailor's Tale" was probably the first definitive Fripp solo. I remember the circumstances surrounding its recording and how it came into the world. Years later I learnt this had considerable effect on several young lives. It did on mine, as well.

Sideways movement: anyone visit the Virgin webcast? How was it? When answering questions, I prefer to look into someone's eyes & see if the answers are registering. If not, then I qualify my answers to the degree that there appears to be recognition. You might suggest that with an interviewer for a magazine, with a cassette machine, it doesn't matter whether they "get it" or not. The answers are on tape, get transcribed, get printed. Sometimes that's true. I remember one key interview in 1986 when, for various reasons, I believed that what I had to say was useful. The interviewer wasn't very interested but polite enough to listen. I talked past them into the machine, the answers were transcribed & printed.

A good interviewer brings into the interview an energy field which enables answers to be found & given. They also bring questions which go beyond the functional. This is rare. Often I ask the interviewer: "What burning question do you really, really have to ask and I'm the only person who can give you this answer?". The typical next reply is dismal. A question without necessity, without passion, is a waste of breath and time. It demands time & energy of the answer. A necessary question brings with it the conditions for an answer to be given (assuming it's addressed to the right person, that is!). But often the most interesting parts of interviews (for me) get edited out: "That's very interesting, but we couldn't print it". Vic Garbarini tells me he gets this a lot as well.

While at Virgin, Declan gave me the first 24 bit remastered "ITCOTCK" with facsimile of the original gatefold. An impressive and satisfyingt piece of work.

13.22 Andy Robson has just left with an interview for "Classic Rock", which I enjoyed, plus photo session which is always torment. Simon is fine tuning hiss & sequencing behind me.


It's run through time for "The Deception Of The Thrush" on The Late Shift.

23.48 Close. Not quite right yet.