“A Crimson train wreck is, well, not like other bands… a King Crimson train wreck takes out the whole train station. And maybe the town it’s in!
Allow me to explain.
It happened during “The ConstruKction of Light”, a particularly complex piece. I’ve mentioned in a few interviews that to me, Trey Gunn’s touch guitar part on that piece is the best I know of, for utilizing what the instrument can do, and complementing the music in a unique way.
But it’s really tricky… took me ages to learn, and even now that I’ve got it down, things can go wrong at any point.
And tonight, things indeed went wrong. It’s hard to say where it began… hard, not because I don’t know, but because I know it was because of me!
Only a little error… pausing four beats instead of six. (there are various pauses of both lengths in the piece.) But in this piece, we’re not all playing in the same time signature, so the two guitarists, hearing me enter early, didn’t know when to enter with their parts… opted instead to let me keep going on my own.
And I did keep going. The drums are out in that section, so it was just me, playing on and on in a complex eighth note pattern, hoping someone would come in. That lasted for ages (to me) and finally the drummers and I came together with the 15/8 figure that signals the end of what could be called the verse.
But then, a new issue.. would the guitars enter with verse two, or, not having played anything yet, start in on verse one. Alas, they didn’t agree on that. They came in with both, hence in different keys! The ensuing harmonic mess left them no choice but to stop again, leaving… you guessed it, just me playing alone again.
By now, we certainly knew we had a problem about how to bring this piece together. There’s no just counting ‘one two three four’ when one player’s in 28/8 and others in 7/4 offset a quarter note from each other, and the drummers waiting to join in in 15/8 to signal finally getting beyond the verses!
I could have just stopped and admitted defeat (maybe thrown up my hands and shouted “Thank You” in a Spinal Tap maneuver.) But, right or wrong, (well, wrong or wrong) I persisted.
Well, happy day, eventually we somehow came to a consensus and began playing pretty much the same piece. From then on it was easy. And, who’d have thought, we had no worries about “Fracture”… it couldn’t possibly go as badly as “TCOL” had.