King Crimson

ARTICLE ABOUT King Crimson FROM SOUNDS, November 13, 1971

I haven`t done any articles on this band before now. Not because I don`t acknowledge them or don`t like them, it is just that this one of the bands that have “passed me by”. I know they are a progressive rock band and I know that a lot of very good musicians have been in the band throughout the years. I just never got around to listen to them, even if I actually like a lot of progressive rock. Well, I think it is time to change that, and to redeem myself to the band and their fans I am now transcribing this very ancient article for you.
I hope I am forgiven for my ignorance and neglect, and that you will like this nice article.


Crimson, love and respect

By Steve Peacock

“I still can`t see how you can put a band together – or even conceive the idea of putting a group of people and making it a band, just like that,” said Fripp. “I mean, just imagine how difficult it is to find a chick you can put up with for three months, or who can put up with you. And a band`s got to stay together for at least a year to do anything.”
You hear a lot – often too much – about band`s splitting up, and the reasons they give usually come out as a variation of the “musical policy” theme. And then you talk to the people and find all kinds of undercurrents – like the drummer is a rat, or the lead guitarist wants to be a superstar, or the singer has dirty habits. Music is part of it, and the most acceptable part for quoting in pop newspapers, but more often than not it`s more a convenient excuse more than anything else. Because as Fripp was saying, the relationships within a band are as, if not more, important as the musicianship. Often, the people in a band spend more time together, and under more difficult circumstances, than they do with their families.


“Everyone has a role to play in the band as a personality, not just as a player,” he said. We were talking about how King Crimson nearly split up during their recent tour. Before Fripp arrived, Mel Collins had said: “There was the pressure of making the album (“Islands”) because it was a step for us that, at the beginning, we didn`t know whether we could make. We were all quite pleased with the album, but then we had to go straight into the tour, which was a bit…”
“Yes, that`s right. We found it wasn`t working out as well as we wanted it to. As a band we`re very demanding and have to aim for higher things all the time, and we had a few bad gigs. We were all rather frustrated, and Boz was going through a bad time with his bass playing, which obviously affected his singing as well.”


Fripp arrived later. “The reason we play together, you see, is because we want to play together, and the people involved are all fairly sensitive, so when the sensitivity is knocked on the head… if one man, myself for instance, becomes insensitive to the others, then you`ve got problems.”
Mel: “I can`t work at battle stations, as it where. I have to be in sympathy with the other people on the stand to play my best. I can see there are occasions when you can be productive when you`re uptight, but it doesn`t work for long.”



Fripp: “That`s the way the old band used to work, which is why it did a lot and then broke up. On the tour we were playing `Schizoid Man` better than ever – it was just right for that uptight feel – but it`s a very short term thing because it can`t build into anything.”
Fripp admitted that he was responsible for a lot of the recent tension, because instead of screaming at people he clammed up and sulked. “Word was laid on me,” he said slowly, and then they both burst out into helpless laughter, “that I wasn`t aware of the effect I was having on the rest of the band. In fact Mel emptied the contents of a table over Ian in the middle of the night once – instead of doing it to me, which upset Ian a bit – and Ian said that at several gigs he wanted to come over and lay one on me, and I was ready to throw the electric piano back if it happened.”


Eventually, it snapped and they talked it all out in the van one night. Mel thinks it`s probably made them stronger, as does Fripp: “There`s a sufficiently strong foundation of love and respect in the band, and common aims, to let it be talked through without a lot of personal recriminations or moody heavies or sulky sillies.”
Another problem they had, but from the outside this time, came from the audiences. “Personally I have great difficulty in relating to the adulation bit, encores and things, because I don`t think it has that much to do with the music. I suppose I`m a bit of a purist really.”
Fripp said that he`s evolved a theory that the music acted more as a catalyst for the audience to do their own performance: “The younger they are, the louder the cheering because there`s that much more energy to be released. But I think it`s fair to say we ran into a strong element of insensitivity to what we were doing – like people shouting for `Epitaph` all the time.”
How did he feel when they got a standing ovation for a bad set? “It`s a paradoxical relationship, because you can`t stand there and say `look, we just played a load of tripe, so why don`t you just piss off because you don`t know what we`re doing. You can`t do that because they might be applauding Mel, or Boz or Ian. When we all know we played a dreadful set we feel guilty, but as long as we`re not deceived it`s OK. It wouldn`t say the audience didn`t affect me, but it doesn`t affect my judgement.”


But for the moment at least, King Crimson are back together – not just in a physical sense, but in the way they relate to each other – and seem equipped to deal with outside pressures. The fast approaching American tour, said Fripp “will bring out whatever`s there, which is why it had to be sorted out before we left. If it hadn`t we would have split up without any doubt. But I think it`ll bring the band closer together now we`ve decided to pull together.
“And I think the ravers in the band will manage to get a lot more raving done than they did over here. It`s a rave culture – the facilities for raving are much greater over there.”


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Jeremy Spencer, Grease Band, Groundhogs, John Marshall, Eddie Condon, Yes, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Francis Monkman, Edgar Broughton, Duane Allman, Colin Blunstone, Otis Redding, Dan Hicks, Arthur Brown, Gordon Giltrap, Brierley Cross.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

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