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February 8, 2024 144 mins

Mr. King Crimson.

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Speaker 1 (00:08):
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome back to the Bob Leftsetts Podcast. Today
our guest is the one and only Robert frim Robert,
did you practice today?

Speaker 2 (00:21):
I have not yet strapped on a guitar today, Bob.
But may I also say you have a second guest,
David Singleton, who is my business business partner, King Crimson Producer,
and we've been engaged in various forms of musical and
professional activities since about nineteen eighty nine. I say this

(00:42):
because David has a far greater intelligence than mine. And
there's also a philosophy graduate from Cambridge University, one of
the two press these universities in England, whereas I am
from working class stock and grammar school education and has

(01:02):
really been educated by the life of a professional musician.

Speaker 1 (01:08):
Okay, since you mentioned David, you're both on the call
here today. The two of you are going on tour
imminently on the West coast of California. Can you tell
me about that. Why David's involved in what you're going
to do?

Speaker 2 (01:21):
Well, David's involved because he has a superior intellect of mine.
He's also has a far greater overview of my affairs
than I do, because I tend to be more specifically
focused in the moment with what I'm doing. For example,

(01:43):
a working musician walks on stage, plugs in, and begins
to play, and their focus tends to be very specifically
located in that moment during the performance. Now, when I
walk off stage age, my recall tends to be better.

(02:05):
If the gig has been really bad. If the gig sucks,
you remember more of it. If it takes off and
flies away, you're in a different place, and when you
land on earth you don't quite have access to that
same place until you take off and fly again. However, David,

(02:27):
who maybe for example, watching from the auditorium, has a
better distance and overview of what has gone on, and
also a far better skill set in terms of analysis
than I do, so his opinion is infinitely more reliable
than mine. So he's coming along when I stumbled. He

(02:50):
will tell people what I meant to say had I
been a younger, more intelligent man.

Speaker 3 (02:56):
Our talks grew out of talks that we used to
give the all the King Crimson shows. So before the
King Crimson Shows, we used to do a thing called
the Royal Package, where some fans could come in early
and I recall when we were originally planning what we
might do before the shows. I said, well, somebody should
talk to the fans, you know, for the hour before
the show, And I remember distinctly Robert saying to me, David,

(03:19):
you should talk to the fans. I love it when
you do the work and I earn the money, which
wasn't true, by the way, because he shares the money.
But anyway, so I began talking to fans before Robert
joined me, one of the band members join me, and
so to some extent, we're now doing those talks without
the show.

Speaker 1 (03:42):
Okay, Robert, you're a man who has very distinct opinions,
So it's funny that you talk about trusting Dave. Is
Dave unique or you're more trusting than your image.

Speaker 2 (03:57):
David is one of two people who I trusted to
give me objective and accurate feedback on anything that was
particularly a rising in my life, or shall we saying
King Crimson the fis Bill Reeflin and David Singleton were

(04:19):
the two characters who if anyone in the band felt
that Robert needed to be told a particular something but
maybe they were afraid to tell him, then they would
go to either Bill Reeflin, who was our drummer and
keyboard player in the twenty fourteen twenty eighteen incarnations. They

(04:41):
would go to Bill Rieflin or to David Singleton, both
of whom I trust to be entirely impartial and give
me the good, bad news, or whatever it might have been.
There were very few people, very very few people who
were like this.

Speaker 1 (05:00):
But you seem so warm and friendly right now? Is
this your normal demeanor? Because your reputation is not that.

Speaker 2 (05:10):
It's true, my reputation is appalling, and it's interesting as
an older man to look back consider why why this
might be. And I'm beginning to come up with a
few clues is to why my reputation is appalling. But

(05:30):
since I trust David, David, why do you think my
reputation is appalling?

Speaker 3 (05:35):
Well, I'll answer that in two ways. Firstly, the very
first time Robertson and I went out doing a speaking tour,
it had a subtitle that awful Man and his manager
We didn't, which wasn't a tagline that we added. Somebody else,
some wit came up with it when we were about
to go on tour and said, oh, this is what
you should call it. That awful man and his manager.

(05:56):
And the main reason I think Robert has that reputation
is because he prioritizes the music in all situations. So
if you have a show or you're recording, Robert prioritizes
the music, not the social or And for some people,
I think that probably irks them.

Speaker 1 (06:17):
Okay, but Robert, let's say, in this hypothetical you walk
into a coffee shop, are you the warmest guy or
do you'd say, hey, this is exactly what I want
and you're happy if it's not perfect. Would someone encounter
this so called appalling reputation if you were just in

(06:38):
everyday life.

Speaker 2 (06:39):
Probably I find that if you'd like a buy and
large overview. If someone comes to me with a flea
in their ear, they tend to leave with two a
flea in each year. If someone comes to me with
an attitude, they tend to leave with more of the

(07:00):
same attitude. For example, if they come up to me
with an open heart, they tend to find a person
with an open heart. There are exceptions to this, and
I can recall a few of them. For example, if
I go into a coffee shop and I'm reading, for

(07:22):
someone to come up and say excuse me, mister Fripp.
I didn't want to interrupt you. My response might be
to actually quote Jimmy Hendrix in the same situation. Then
why are you so If a person comes up knowing
they're interrupting me, I might remind them that they know better,

(07:45):
or on some cases I've simply ignored them.

Speaker 1 (07:50):
Okay, you're in your home right now. I don't want
the specific address, but where is it?

Speaker 2 (07:55):
Generally it's in Middle England. It's about thirty miles south
of Birmingham. It's geographically middle England. It's in the County
of Worcester, and it's what is called a Georgian market town.
That most of the buildings on the high street, Bridge Street,
and where we are right in the center of town

(08:18):
for the market square. It's Georgian. That is approximately mid
eighteenth century. However, David, who lives in the old vicarage
in town, looks out his window and sees the abbey.
I look out our front windows and see the abbey

(08:38):
about two hundred yards away as the crowflies. So we're
looking at the site of Christian worship in this town
since about seven hundred a d. Now, to an American
this is maybe kind of astonishing, since the colonies were
only set up, as we know, in the early seventeenth century.

(09:01):
To have an ongoing site of worship in any religion
for a period of what thirteen hundred years thirteen hundred
and twenty years is quite astonishing. At the end of
our garden, I live here with my wonderful wife Toy.
We walk down to the garden. At the end of

(09:22):
the garden is the River Avon. You turn left and
go up twenty miles you'll pass William Shakespeare's old cottage
old house. If you turn right and go down about
one hundred miles you will pass Sting's House just outside Salisbury.
So at the River Avon here the Vikings used to

(09:46):
come up river and beat people up in our town
and beastly characters that they were. They would burn down
the wooden Christian Church in town, so eventually it was
rebuilt in I think early twentieth century of Stone and
the local Worthy, tough guy, the alpha male of the time,

(10:10):
the local Worthy Night saw the Vikings off in a
big punch up up the hill here. He saw them
offer I think about ten seventy five, and they never
came back. So we've had relative peace in town through
about thousand years. So, David, would you add to this

(10:33):
what am I missing?

Speaker 3 (10:35):
No? I thought that was wonderful. I was gonna say
when you said relative piece in town, that's obviously until
Robert moved in.

Speaker 1 (10:41):
So Robert, why this general location in England?

Speaker 3 (10:45):
All right?

Speaker 2 (10:46):
When I first met my wife in nineteen eighty three,
but we met again in nineteen eighty five working on
a charity record for to raise money for children's schooled
in West Virginia, associated with the charity of which I
was at that time the president. I met my wife

(11:08):
and proposed. In a week. We had a date on
the Friday, she went back to London, returned for our
second date Friday one week later, and I proposed. At
that time, my little elderly mother was alive, So my
wife moved to my part of the world because we

(11:29):
knew that maybe not too far down the road, one
day the phone would go and the voice would say,
you need to come now. Well, after my wonderful little
mother died in nineteen ninety three, we could then be anywhere.
And in nineteen ninety nine my wife's parents retired. She

(11:51):
bought them a cottage just half a mile up river
where there is a boat club that Toya essentially throughout
her youth, about age I think two or three onwards.
My wife became associated with this specific location. She moved

(12:12):
her parents into retirement to this location, and at that
point it became obvious that we should change from Wiltshire, Wiltshire,
Dorset up to Worcestershire here to be in near them.
So that's why we're here.

Speaker 1 (12:30):
Why did you know or how did you know she
was the one so quickly?

Speaker 2 (12:35):
How could you not know that you've just met your wife?

Speaker 1 (12:41):
How old were you when you met your wife?

Speaker 2 (12:44):
At thirty nine? Was when we had our first date.

Speaker 1 (12:47):
And I proposed, okay, they are all these rock stars
who do drugs sleep with a lot of women, but
not all of them. Iani Anderson told me, you know
that he was living a more conventional life while the
members of his men were partying. You'd already had a
lot of success, not to riet he'd been on the road.

(13:10):
Had you partaken so called of the fruits of the
road or were you in your hotel room practicing? What
was your life like before you met to it?

Speaker 2 (13:21):
Well, I never took drugs, Yes, I practiced in my
hotel room for hours and hours and hours. Did I
socialize from time to time, Yes, But in nineteen sixty nine,
Peter Simfield, the lyricist for the first King Crimson, who
wrote some astonishing words, he commented that Robert practiced in

(13:45):
his hotel room for eight hours a day. Now, from
my position today, looking at Peter and looking at Robert,
and asked to take a decision on these two young
men's future, I would be inclined to say that guitarist
is likely to succeed. And in terms of being a nasty, horrible,

(14:09):
creepy person. To come back to what David said, and
since we're talking about nineteen sixty nine King Crimson, Michael
Jarles the drummer, astonishing drummer, probably the drummer of his
generation in rock music. He said, there are three three
areas for a band, the music, the money, and the

(14:32):
social life. Any two of those you will have a
successful band. And I would say any three of those
and you have an astonishingly successful band. But going back
to it, my priority working as a professional musician is
the music. There are some professionals who take an alternative

(14:55):
style of alternative you and that's entirely legitimate, which is
this is a lifestyle that I would like, the socializing
with the other members of the band, the life on
the road, and so on. If that's congenial for them, fine,
that is not my primary concern, and a life on

(15:17):
the road has been distinctly non congenial for me as
a person. In terms of the money, my attitude has
been this is coming from the background of the nineteen
sixties and King Crimson began essentially as a cooperative venture.

(15:39):
Share the money, and after the dissolution of the first
King Crimson and the subsequent incarnations, then I've kept to this.
If you ask a person in the band to make
the commitment that you were making, you share the money
with them, and if you don't share the money with them,

(16:03):
you can't legitimately ask them to make the commitment that
you are. So for me, I've worked with the musicians
that personally were exceptionally difficult for me to work with
if I felt that these were the musicians needed to
make this music available. So, in other words, the social

(16:25):
aspects of working within a group have not been a
priority for me personally. The money neither. Particularly it comes
down to the music.

Speaker 1 (16:38):
Yeah, So you mentioned not taking drugs. Is that a philosophy?
Did you just stumble into that and you didn't take drugs?
Tell me more about that.

Speaker 2 (16:53):
It was always very clear to me that this was
not a way for me, Just that clear.

Speaker 1 (17:00):
What about alcohol?

Speaker 2 (17:01):
Yes, I've pushed the boat out a young man of
my generation that didn't take drugs, and we were now
looking at the early nineteen sixties. What he might do, however,
is have a pint of cider on the Saturday night
even too, and it would be rough cider, and why roughsider?
Because it was one shilling and one pence and on

(17:24):
a Saturday night. If you're only getting five shillings a
week for your earnings, or even five pounds a week
for your earnings, that was all you could afford. So
age sixteen or seventeen, I would go down to the
Cellar Club in Pool to see the rock groups playing
in the Cellar Club. Greg Lake and his band was

(17:47):
one of them. And for two shillings and two pence
and the price of a bus ride there, which is
about a shilling, you could have a relatively straightforward and
enjoy full Saturday night out. It was affordable. Did I
grow older? And develop a taste in something finer than

(18:09):
rough sided. Yes, I quite like sparkling wine. Champagne is fine,
but I'm not snobbish about it. I'm very happy to
have prosecco, and I have learned to drink margaritas. My
wife makes astonishing monster margaritas, so I have also enjoyed

(18:30):
monster margaritas on many occasions with Adrian Blue, we would
go out to some modest Mexican restaurants and have the
monster margaritas. But I do not drink when I'm working.

Speaker 1 (18:47):
So other than your wife, where's the best margarita you've had?

Speaker 2 (18:54):
Now you have me, I tell you what. I had
a really good margarita at Daryl's house in not October
of twenty twenty two. We did our live at Daryl's house,
and then afterwards I wasn't anticipating drinking, but it did
feel like an appropriate moment. So I had a margarita
and it was very, very good.

Speaker 1 (19:16):
And you know, traditionally margarita's come with salt on the rim.
Are you a traditionalist or do you say? No salt?

Speaker 2 (19:26):
Classic salt margarita on the rocks, preferably crushed ized, no doubt,
fresh line fresh line, and.

Speaker 1 (19:35):
Does it matter whether it's Quervo eighteen hundred or just
whatever tequila's on hand.

Speaker 2 (19:43):
I'm not snobbish. I prefer white tequila. Blue a garth
goes down very nicely, indeed. But now here's the one.
I was in Mexico in Cernavaca with my pal Leo,
who organized guitar craft and guitar circle courses at to Potsdam,

(20:04):
and we were in the restaurant, which was formerly the
house of Diego Rivera, and we were having lunch together
and I thought, well, I'm not working, I'll pus shake
the boat. I'll have a margarita. And Leah explained to me,
you don't get margaritas in Mexico any more than you

(20:26):
used to get pizzas in Italy. He said, we drink mescal.
I thought, all right, I'll give this a chop and
I took my first sip and I thought, oh, that
tastes nice. I'll have a second one. Once I got
to the end of my first mescal, I realized, now,
now a second one is really a step too far.

Speaker 1 (20:53):
Okay, what kind of kid were you growing up? Were
you a member of the group, were you under sports?
Were you that odd kid. It was always by themselves.

Speaker 2 (21:03):
Probably all of those. I think it changed when I
was about age nine or ten and my reading skills
had developed, and at that point I would tend to
stay in more evenings than not reading. When I became

(21:29):
a guitarist at eight eleven, this was a very good,
natural and developing tendency. Because if you are a musician,
an Aspen musician, and or a composer or writer, you
have to have what Professor John Slaboda in his Psychology

(21:53):
for Musicians refers to as the capacity of strong interestpect.
If you are a serious practicer, this is four to
eight hours of your life at least, and if you're
a young concert pianist it might be twelve sixteen hours

(22:14):
a day now to sit on a chair mostly on
your own, focusing on your practicing or your writing. That
much time on your own for most inverted comrasordinary people
would be a struggle. If, however, you have an innate

(22:35):
or developed capacity for introspection, which is healthy, this is
what Professor Roboda refers to. This is a strong and
healthy capacity for introspection, not not somehow a failing to
engage socially.

Speaker 1 (22:58):
Okay, is like your wife. As soon as you started
playing the guitar, you said, this is it. How did
you make the transition from a non player to a player?

Speaker 2 (23:11):
When I met my wife, I practiced less than hitherto.

Speaker 1 (23:18):
Ok, let me rephrase this question. How did you first
get an instrument? And was guitar your first instrument?

Speaker 2 (23:27):
Yes, it was December twenty fourth, nineteen fifty seven, Christmas
Eve and my mother, who had bought me all my
Christmas presents. But I believe the day before I said
I want a guitar for Christmas. So my mother and
I went out shopping into Bournemouth, which was nine miles
from Wimborne, where we lived. And this area in Dorset

(23:52):
based around actually just four miles north of Wimburne is
the Fripp family village where the Trips have gone back
father to father for four hundred years. For example, in
the village where Toya and myself had our first datum
where we got married. My great great great great great
grandfather Robert Fripp died in seventeen fifty four, but my

(24:16):
father took the geniality back a little further actually to
fifteen ninety in Edmonsham, which is five miles north of that,
so that's a slight distraction. Now back we went from
Wimborne into Bournemouth. We went round all the music shops
in Bournemouth, finding nothing appropriate until write about five o'clock

(24:40):
at the end of our shopping day, to Min's Music
of Westbourne. And as we were there in the shop,
a woman came in with this guitar and she said,
I would like to return this to you. We're getting
a better guitar for my So we stepped forward and

(25:03):
said we will buy this, and the Eggermann Freys instrument
bought for six guineas, is now in the cellar directly
below the study were speaking. It was an appalling instrument,
a really, really terrible instrument which creppled my left hand
action for years. Even in nineteen seventy I remember having

(25:30):
to practice to develop a more relaxed left hand grip
after learning to play this instrument. You'd need players to
put the strings down above the seventh threat. The action
was so bad. But anyway, that was my first guitar
and was in three months. I knew this was my life.

Speaker 1 (25:53):
Okay, you take the guitar home, what do you do?
First of all, there's the issue of tuning it. You
don't know how to read music? What were your steps?

Speaker 2 (26:05):
All right? Well, the man in men's music obviously knew
three or four chords to persuade people that this was
an instrument worth playing, and he tuned it up for us.
So I took it home and there was the guitar
tutor of the day. Was actually an appalling tutor, hugely

(26:28):
successful called play in a Day by Bert Whedon, which
many of the leading guitarists of the time looked back
on and refer to it as the first tutor. It
was an appalling tutor. Nevertheless, this was where one began
at the time until we received better information. So about

(26:54):
three months after having the guitar, I went for my
first guitar lessons with Missus cah Felleen Gartel of the
kauf Mullen School of Music, kauf Mullen being three miles
down the road from Wimborne and where I grew up,
spending the first three years of my life in kauf Mullen.

(27:14):
Missus Gartel was a very good Salvation Army lady who
saw it as her work in life as educating children
in music. She was primarily a piano teacher, not an
awfully good guitar teacher, which she knew, and after my

(27:36):
first course of I believed ten or twelve lessons I
was her star student. So she sent me on to
a proper guitar teacher, Don Strike of Westbourne Arcade, who
was actually only two hundred yards from Min's Music where
I bought the guitar but had not quite discovered him.

(27:59):
I wish i'd governed him earlier, and under Don Strike
I began to develop seriously and find my own way forward.
When I was seventeen, I visited Don Strike's music shop
on that particular Saturday afternoon. This is what young guitarists

(28:24):
would do. There were two shops in town. You go
to Don Strike's in Westbourne Arcade and then maybe you
go to Eddie Moore's Music in not Westbourne it was.
It was before christ Church anyway, it was East Bournemouth,

(28:49):
and in between two shops there would be movement. I
went in one Saturday and Don Strike shook my hand
and acknowledged me as the better get guitarist. At the
time it didn't strike me particularly, but as I've got
older and from where I am now, I recognize this

(29:13):
as a very generous compliment from an older generation player
acknowledging a younger generation player.

Speaker 1 (29:26):
Okay, when you take lessons, they teach you how to
read music. Do you read music today? Do you write
out charts?

Speaker 2 (29:36):
Do I read music today? Yes, but slowly because it's
not part of my daily activity. Historically, when I became
a professional in nineteen sixty seven and moved to London,
way up until about two thousand and eight, I would

(29:59):
I would write, we might say compose with charts, but
within members of King Crimson, I would not give them charts.
I understand Charles Mingus didn't either, So what I would
do is show the music to the other members of
the band and invite their responses in return. But yes,

(30:22):
the quick answer is, Bob, I read music and wrote
music in the for bo that period of forty odd
years in my professional life.

Speaker 1 (30:32):
Okay, paint the picture of what it's like in the
fifties growing up. I'm a little younger than you. I'm
growing up in the United States. We always hear about
a war hangover sort of life being in black and white.
Was that what it's like or is that an inaccurate description?

Speaker 2 (30:51):
The quick answer is that's accurate to paint a broader picture.
I was born in nineteen forty six. My grandfather was
in the Marines and in Gallipoli. My uncle Bill was
in the Air Force and was shot down in October
nineteen thirty nine and spent the next five years and

(31:15):
seven months in a twelve German prisoner of war camps,
including Stalagluff three, where he was one of the logistics
people planning the Great Escape. He was a navigator. His
pilot was one of those who escaped and was caught
and shot. So Uncle Bill refused to speak about his

(31:42):
war years for fifty years, and then fifty years later
he would begin to respond. Uncle Bill was a close
presence in my life growing up and that was a

(32:03):
real time for me. One generation removed, but growing up
in England, it was the time of austerity. For example,
in when I was three in nineteen forty nine, sweet
rationing was abandoned for three months and then it was reinstituted.

(32:27):
And I remember on a Saturday when we go to
the cinema with my father, my sister and myself, we
would stuff off and buy a shillings worst of sweets
on the way to the cinema, but it would be
ration based. And I remember the first time rationing came
off in nineteen forty nine. I was three and running

(32:48):
around in the attic of our home in corf Mullen
and I ran over the open trap door and fell
down from the attic with a big crump on the
landing below. And I was in bed when my sister
went to have her ration free suites for the first time.

(33:09):
So yeah, growing up in the fifties, not that at
that age I was aware of any constructions. It was
the life we had. But after the event I could
look back and say austerity and my parents working class

(33:31):
lives continued, and to some extent today continues on. My
mother was the daughter of a Welsh miner who died
one long night at his age of fifty nine I
believe it was I believe it was nineteen forty eight

(33:55):
or nine. He died one long night, wheezing his life
of way from his punctured lungs. He had a wooden
leg because working down the mine at the Six Bells Colliery,
he'd got trapped on the pulley taking coal into the
crusher and one of his legs went into the coal

(34:18):
crusher and one of his mining pals pulled him off,
and my grandmother, Gladys Louise Green, her hair turned white
in a week, not knowing whether her husband would live
or die. My father, at age sixteen, was told to

(34:41):
leave school because he needed to help bring money into
the family to help support his five brothers and sisters.
So that's my background. I was brought up with complete
confidence that I would succeed. Why because both my sister
and myself knew that we would succeed because we would work.

(35:07):
We would work until we would succeed. In other words,
this is a classic Protestant work ethic inculcated into us
by our parents who had done the same. We were
brought up to be independent and to work. So when
I went to London in September nineteen sixty seven, I

(35:30):
knew I would succeed because I would work. However, I
did not anticipate that my professional success would be a
public success. I thought it more likely that I would,
for example, end up in sessions. It never occurred to
me that I would personally become well known.

Speaker 1 (35:54):
Okay, in the US, we had the folk boom of
the early sixties and a lot of people got nylon
string guitars, and then the Beatles hit in the beginning
of sixty four and seemingly everybody got an electric guitar.
Why was everybody picking up the guitar in England in

(36:15):
nineteen fifty seven, Because it's not only you, there are
a lot of other legendary players. What was going on
was the guitar hip. It's like, why did you want
to play the guitar? Wor other people playing the guitar,
or what you heard on the radio? What was the motivation?

Speaker 2 (36:31):
All right, you're explaining, you're asking me to explain the zeitgeist.
I can't quite do that. Why music would reach over
and express itself through popular culture in such a way
that it brought a generation together with the conviction that

(36:51):
music will change the world. The cultural context would be
In the mid nineteen fifties is a movement in England
called skiffle. One of the pivotal characters, very important character,
was Chris Barber. And you would have a skiffle group

(37:13):
which was probably derived from Woody Guthrie and other American
folk heroes through an English perspective, but you would have
a tea chest and a broom poll and a piece
of string that would be your base. You would have
a scrubbing board for rhythm, played with thumbnail what is it,

(37:36):
David thumbnails from sewing, yes, finger finger protectors from sewing,
and you would have perhaps number three guitarists thimbles, Thank
you thimbles, And that was the basic. Then Lonnie Donoghan
was a character who also came out of this same background,

(37:58):
very popular, and then it became more sophisticated as Bob
Dylan became more familiar in England, and then it moved
on to electricity. Electricity for me nineteen fifty seven, fifty
six fifty seven, Elvis, I mean, Scottymore what a player.

(38:23):
He was the first guitarist who made me think, yeah,
Chuck Berry, Yeah, But we shouldn't forget Muddy Waters in Chicago,
Plugging in a Bank nineteen forty seven, forty eight, which
was the precursor to all of this. Would you go
back much further than that, I'm sure you could, but

(38:47):
really I think the beginning of it would probably be
forty seven forty eight were Muddy Rocks a in Chicago?
Then move forward to the Beatles, who are also looking
primarily in American direction. When they begin. But something else
was going on with Beatles For me, the last example

(39:13):
of communal genius in popular music. Something astonishing. And when
I heard A Day in the Life in nineteen sixty six,
sixty seven, sixty seven, that reunt he had reoriented the
direction of my life. Instead of going onto university in

(39:36):
taking a degree in the state management to become a
partner in my father's auctioneering and the state agency firm
in Wimborne, Dorset, I had to go to music. Why
in the same way that I recognized my wife, At
these pivotal moments in our life, we recognize this is

(39:56):
for me, it has to be and if we can't
recognize it, then something's off. Why can't we recognize what
is obvious? Well, fortunately, I think my instincts were good.

Speaker 1 (40:09):
Okay, you're in the UK. The Beatles hit in the
UK in sixty two, needless to say, they're playing in
the late fifties. Do you feel a burgeoning rock and
roll scene? You know, Liverpool was revered in the US,
but it's not a super classy looked upon finally city

(40:29):
in the UK to what the gwed Did you feel
a burgeoning scene or did you just turn on the
radio one day and heard love Me Do.

Speaker 2 (40:39):
Well. I remember hearing Love Me Do on the radio
about sixty two three, and it didn't it didn't quite
do it for me. For me, it wasn't the strongest song.
I was in what were called bait groups at the time.

Speaker 1 (40:53):
Well a little bit, a little bit slower, a little
bit slower. You get a guitar, you're going for lessons,
what point do you decide to join a band and
play out? And how does that happen?

Speaker 2 (41:05):
Fourteen stroke fifteen and why? Because my guitar teacher, Don
Strike said, you're at the point where you need to
be in a band, you need to work with other musicians.
So age fourteen turning fifteen, I was in my first
beat group called the Ravens, and Gordon Haskell was another

(41:30):
one of those players. I remember on the grammar school
playing field while we would throw in discus, he turned
to me and said, hey, mush, if I bear buy
a bass, can I join your band? And I said yes.
So that was our first band. And then that stopped
because I was taking my school examinations which were then

(41:53):
called O levels, and then at a seventeen beginning eighteen,
I was in my second beat group also with Gordon
House School, called the League of Gentlemen, and that was
a more mature expression. We would do covers for example,
we would do Beatles covers for Seasons covers. We would

(42:13):
do guitar instrumentals of the day like Orange Blossom Special
for example. Because I was quite to developed guitarist for
my age, we could take on guitar guitar pieces that
not many semi pro bands could do. That went on

(42:34):
until I was about eighteen nineteen, and at that point
I needed to take a levels to go on to
university so I could become a partner my father's firm,
and I paid my way through college by being a
guitarist in the Majestic Hotel Jewish Hotel on Born's East Coast,

(42:58):
where a young guitarist called Andy Summers went on to
London with Zoot Money's Big Role band that became the
citedentlic Dantallion's Chariot before Andy went off to the West
Coast with Eric Burden and the Animals. So Andy went

(43:19):
off to London and I took over the guitar chair
for the next two and a half three years until
I went to London and moved to it Monee and
failure for a couple of years.

Speaker 1 (43:40):
So you're going to university. Did you finish university?

Speaker 2 (43:46):
I didn't even begin. I went up to university and
took my interview. I took my A levels, the next
standard in school examinations at two weeks notice, and had
a nay in economics being economic history, which was sufficiently

(44:07):
good to get me accepted. I even have my digs booked.
And then I heard A Day in the Life and Hendrix,
Foxy Lady, Purple Hayes, Eric Clapton with the Blues Breakers,
the Bartok String Quartets, Stravinsky, Wright of Spring, and I

(44:32):
could no longer be the dutiful son. I was being
redirected in life. I went with it.

Speaker 1 (44:40):
Okay, So you decide to go to London. Do you
know somebody in London? Where are you gonna stay? Do
you have any work opportunities?

Speaker 2 (44:48):
The quick answer to all of those questions is no. However,
in Bournemouth there were the Giles brothers, Michael and Peter
Giles and the They had just left a band called
Trendsetters Limited. They were professionals. Peter was two years older
than me, Michael was four years older than me, and

(45:09):
when you're twenty one, that's very big. I became a
professional musician on May the sixteenth, nineteen sixty seven, my
twenty first birthday, and then became available for work. And
Michael and Peter Giles were advertising for a singing organist.
I was tipped off to this by a local agent

(45:33):
in Bournemouth, so I went an auditioned, and although I
can't sing and don't play organ I spent a month
rehearsing with them. And after a month I said to
Michael Giles, and I thought humorously, I said, have I
passed the audition? Well, I mean the answer to that

(45:56):
is clearly yes, but not if you're asking Michael Giles,
because Michael's key characteristic is that Michael could never commit himself.
So Michael rolled himself a cigarette and looked down and
put the cigarette in his mouth and writ it and said,
let's not be in too great a hurry to commit

(46:16):
ourselves to each other. So, although I never learned whether
I passed the audition or not, we moved to London
in September. September, I think we might have moved a
month or two earlier because I had got US a
job working in La Dulta, not an Italian restaurant with

(46:40):
Douglas Ward, a cord of Vox accordion player backing an
Italian singer called Moreno. But we're now shooting off on
entirely tangential situations. But yes, I moved to London with
two people who had more experience than me. We moved
up to essentially unemployment inignoranty for a year or two.

(47:06):
We did have employment. We began, I believe, on the Monday,
and on the Thursday, we discovered that the agent was
ripping off ten pounds a week from our pay packet,
and we went on strike on the Friday in protest,
and we were sacked on the Saturday. And I was

(47:28):
unemployed for the next year or so.

Speaker 1 (47:32):
Okay, but one can, because this is something we're not
familiar with in the US, but one can live on
the doll on unemployment and exist for that year.

Speaker 2 (47:44):
Yes, it's the quick answer. I lived on what was
called supplementary benefit, which meant on a Friday I would
drive with Peter Giles in his nineteen fifty two Daimler.
It was a heap, but nevertheless, it would take us
as far as the Supplementary Benefits Office at Downshall Hill

(48:04):
in Hampstead, where we would get opelieve it was five pounds,
which would decounter fairly modest, not to say miserable existence.
So on a Monday I had the choice of whether
to buy an extra can of peas or half an
ounce of Golden Virginia rolling tobacco or old Holbury rolling tobacco,

(48:29):
or go up to Kilburn State Cinema where I could
see a film. So this was my choice on a
Monday evening, can of peas and eat more golden Holburn,
roll some more cigarettes or two or three see a film.
That was my life for about a year.

Speaker 1 (48:51):
So then what happened after that year?

Speaker 2 (48:53):
After that Ian McDonald came together with Charles J and Frip.
One of the giants fell out and another person called
Greg Lake came in. And Ian McDonald had an uncle
called Angus Hunking, who was a retired very successful industrialist

(49:18):
from the North of England, very good man who to
keep his second wife happy, he invested seven thousand pounds
in his wife's nephew in McDonald's band, which enabled us
to stay afloat for a period of time and to
buy equipment, which is what we did, and this was

(49:41):
the beginning of King Crimson.

Speaker 1 (49:43):
Okay, during the year that you're on the doll, what
is your musical situation? Is that when this band is
forming or you playing other bands, what's going on during
that year?

Speaker 2 (49:57):
During that year I practiced two for six, eight, ten
twelve hours a day. Why because a sessional, professional musician
doesn't have the time to practice. May I say that
I have been mostly an exception to that, but that's
another story. During the time Charles, Charles and Fritt were

(50:20):
living in Ignominy from the late sixty seven into nineteen
sixty eight, we made demos in our modest accommodations at
ninety three A Brondersbury Road, Kilburn, and we secured a
record deal with d RAM that's a branch of Decca Records.
And the person we spoke to at Decca Records is

(50:42):
a famous character who turned down the Beatles, Dick Rowe.
That was the man we met at d RAM. He's
also the A and R man that persuaded Leta Rosa
to record how Much is that Doggie in the Window?
Which she hated and was bullied and pushed into doing it,

(51:04):
and only ever sung at once the one take of
how Much is that Doggie in the Window, which was
a massive hit for her that she refused ever to
sing live now in case you think I'm just witchering
on bob Leta Rosa was a cabaret at the Majestic

(51:24):
Hotel and at age nineteen, I accompanied her. Wow, so well,
we recognize life is a circle. We cannot escape our
circle anyway. Coming back, so the one year of Charles
charleson Tripp Poverty Enigma. Andy was essentially getting a record
deal and making a record which in its first year

(51:47):
of relief worldwide attracted I believe four hundred seals.

Speaker 1 (51:53):
Okay, a raging success. So how does that evolve into
King Crimson?

Speaker 2 (52:00):
That's an interesting one. Probably Charles Jars and Fripp's only
public I'm not sure is that success. But meanwhile Ian
McDonald had joined Charles, Charles and Fripp. I'll cut straight in.
So Charles Jarsonphrip was now a four piece. We through

(52:24):
a professional connection that the Charles brothers had, we did
a thirty minute television show called Color Me Pop on
BBC two television in England, which would broadcast I believe
in November nineteen sixty eight, Charles Jons Fripp kind of
broke up on the same day or night of release.

(52:46):
It was fairly obvious to me that Charles Charson Frip
and Ian McDonald had no chance whatsoever a professional success.
So I put it to the other members of the band. Look,
I don't feel I can continue working with Peter, but
I have a pal in Bournemouth who sings, plays guitar

(53:11):
and plays bass, Greg Lake, and he can replace either
myself or Peter, whatever you feel. And Ian MacDonald and
Michael Giles figured that no, it was probably better moving
forward that I stay in Peter leave, which is what happened.

(53:33):
And Greg Lake moved from Bournemouth to London and had
nowhere to live. And for the first three days of
Greg being in London he slept in bed with me,
my four foot six modest bed in our modest accommodations.
Before we got an apartment or pad as it would

(53:54):
be called back then, be caught a pad together off
off West Point Grove.

Speaker 1 (54:04):
How did you know Greg Lake and what was his
status and how much hunger did he have before you
picked him from obscurity?

Speaker 2 (54:13):
Well, Greg was at that time probably more successful than
we were. But to go back, Greg was one of
the young players on the Bournemouth pool music scene as
I was. He was a couple of years younger than me.
And I've mentioned the Seller Club earlier. Well, I would

(54:35):
climb over the wall of the Cellar Club and get in,
which I did, and I was at Greg Lake's band.
The name currently escapes me because I'm talking too much,
but I saw them doing. An addition, we were young

(54:56):
characters the same age, young teenage boys with g and music.
We became very very close, as young young characters do.
I went to London, I stayed in touch with Greg.
Greg joined the bank called the Gods, who had Ken Hensley,
who went on to Uriah, and we stayed in touch,

(55:19):
good pals, And when Peter was leaving, I was in
touch with Greg and said would you like to come
to London. It was fairly obvious that Greg was a
lifer in music. You know, you recognize each other. We're
not here as a lifestyle, We're here because this is

(55:40):
what we do. And it was fairly obvious to anyone
in Bonemouth at the time that Greg was one of
those characters who would succeed.

Speaker 1 (55:49):
Okay, how do you get a manager and a record
deal for King Crimson.

Speaker 2 (55:58):
Through the connection with d Ram. They knew Noel Gay.
Noel Gay's background was in publishing, but they also had management.
Since Charles, Charles and Fripp were a new artist on
the d RAM label, we needed management. So they were

(56:20):
in touch with Noel Gay, who took on Charles, Charles
and Fripp. And two young characters working at Noel Gay
were David Anthoven and John Gayden who were just about
to go independent. So this was EG Management who split

(56:41):
off from Noel Gay and took King Crimson Charles, Charles
and Fripp, becoming King Crimson with them, which became a
legal issue because Noel Gay. When King Crimson suddenly had
this remarkably successful first album, Noel Gay said, but hey,
Noel Gay manages King Crimson, not EG Management. So a

(57:06):
settlement was made by Wichie. Noel Gay received I think
two percent in the court of Crimson King for a
year or two. So you had Entoven and Gayden, a
new generation management firm managing King Crimson, who were therefore
available for a new record deal.

Speaker 3 (57:26):
I was going to say, and I think if I
remember rightly, they became excited because they saw the TV
show that you mentioned earlier. I believe so, yes, because
they weren't aware really of what Charles Jars and Fripp
were doing, and they saw that TV shows that the
main thing that served was that those who saw it
and then decided they wanted to manage you.

Speaker 2 (57:47):
Yes, well. On January the thirteenth, nineteen sixty nine, King Crimson,
who then didn't quite have a name, nevertheless began began
rehearsing in the basement of the Fulham Palace Cafe in
Fulham Fulham Palace Road. Why because we had taken of
the seven thousand pounds which Angers Hunking had generously lent us.

(58:12):
It wasn't a gift, it was alone that he never
ever believed in his wildest dreams we would repay. But nevertheless,
if it kept his wife happy, then he'd do it.
So armed with our new equipment and money to pay
rent on our rehearsal room, we began rehearsing. And what

(58:32):
we would do is invite people down to see us.
And of the two of the first people to come
down to see us, after I believe ten days rehearsal
ent over in the Gaden, and they thought, yeah, this
is good. And they went away and they came back,
and the second time they came back, they realized this

(58:52):
isn't a good band, this is something else. And we
established the convention of inviting people down to see us.
For example, the Moody Blues came down to see us
and we played for them, and Tony Clark, their record producer,
and then with various record companies taking an interest, Chris

(59:20):
Blackwell of Island Records sent down Muff Winwood to see us.
And Muff Winwood was the brother of Steve Winwood, who
I believe we probably know well. And Muff Windwood was
utterly unable to see what was in front of him,

(59:43):
and he remarked, went over and Gaydon, they're like the Tremlers,
who were an excellent band, but very unlike King Crimson.
And he said to us, you have no image. You
won't be able to work live unless you have a
hit single. So he went back to Chris Blackwell and

(01:00:04):
said what I've just said, and Chris Blackwell, I wasn't
in the room, but I think the response that I've
received is something like you said what And for me,
I have all always taken After that, Muff Windwood is
a reliable direction to the way to move in life.

(01:00:28):
So if Muff points that way, I go that way.
He established a standard for me, so anyway other characters
would come down and essentially on the basis of those
performances in a very small basement of a Fulham Palace cafe,

(01:00:52):
that established our beginning. From this the connections were made.
We did a week in Changes, a club in Newcastle
had just opened a Bank February of nineteen sixty nine,
which had been booked on the basis of Charles Charles
and Fripp Calumy Pop Show. But the first King Crimson

(01:01:14):
live performance was in April nineteen sixty nine at the
Speakeasy Club, which was something of a defining performance.

Speaker 1 (01:01:24):
But how do you ultimately get a record deal and
make that record.

Speaker 2 (01:01:32):
Different record companies made different offers. Mercury Records, I believe,
offered three hundred and fifty thousand pounds at the time,
which was huge Island Records in England because Entopen and
Gayden and the band felt this was the right the

(01:01:54):
right label, young generation label for US and in America
Atlantic Records Arma Ertigan Arma Ertigan flew to London, I
believe it may have been the second or third Speakeasy performance.
He flew to England to see the band and make

(01:02:16):
a personal connection to get us for Atlantic respect mister Ertigan,
which he did. So we had the record, the record
deal Island Records in England, Atlantic in America, and we
made the record in seven days and one for final mixing. Ah,

(01:02:42):
I'd have to check the timeline, but that was probably
around July August. We had a week in Morgan Studios
which didn't work at all with Tony Clark, the Moody
Blues producer. He he didn't see or hear us quite
So the band make made a choice in principle that

(01:03:03):
we would rather make our own mistakes and produce ourselves
than have a successful, well known, established producer who couldn't
quite see what we were. So those tapes were abandoned
and then we moved into Wessex Studios in North London,
near Islington, where we made in the Court of the

(01:03:26):
Crimson King very quickly.

Speaker 3 (01:03:28):
Well, very quickly. It's interesting because it actually happened the
other way around. They made the record first, because in
fact David Entoven funded the record and if I'm right, Roberts, yes,
he did so that rather than getting the record deal
and then then paying for the record, the management actually
paid for the record and then licensed the record to
the various record labels.

Speaker 2 (01:03:50):
Yes, David Entaven took out a mortgage on his news
property twenty two peters from place I believe, in order
to get in order to get funds. So I tell
you this is this is a long story. But what
I'm going to do, Bob, is leave you talking to
David while I take a quick bathroom break and I'll

(01:04:11):
be right there.

Speaker 1 (01:04:18):
Well, let me ask you this I was going to
ask Kim. I mean, at first with the Tony Clark
usually when a label makes a record, it's very hard
to convince him to throw that project away. But I
guess since the managers were selling the record, they didn't
really you know, they needed to get it right.

Speaker 3 (01:04:36):
So yes, the as I said, the record fortunately in fact,
was funded by the by the management, not by the
record label. When Tony Clark produced it, they thought they
were going to put it out on the Moody Blues label.
They just started a label, and the Moody Blues were
thinking of putting out the record as produced by Tony Clark.
They went into Morgan Studios with Tony Clark, and there

(01:05:01):
was at least a week of that they recorded most
of the same pieces, and then the band decided this
wasn't going anywhere. We've actually released, fortunately because the management
paid for we have subsequently released those recordings that they
were owned by King Crimson. But I have the diaries
of David Enthoven and it was a huge shock because

(01:05:23):
they were funding this record. I think these were these
were people with astonishing belief in the band they had
because literally, you know, the band came along and said,
we want to throw away this recording that we just
made with this very reputable producer because we don't like
it and we'd like to do it again. And David
had to go and then mortgage his house in order

(01:05:44):
to throw away those recordings and say, okay, we're going
to do it again and even work well, it's maybe
worse from his point of view on the band, and
we're now going to produce ourselves because we don't think
anybody can produce it properly. Astonishing faith he showed. And
therefore and they went back into the studio producing themselves,
and that's the record that everybody now knows.

Speaker 1 (01:06:05):
So with hindsight, do you believe the Tony Clark record
would have been successful.

Speaker 3 (01:06:13):
It wouldn't have been King Crimson. So if you listen
to it, it doesn't sound it doesn't really sound like
King Crimson. It sounds like some strange morephing of King
Crimson and the Moody Blues. It's much softer around the edges,
much more.

Speaker 2 (01:06:34):
So.

Speaker 3 (01:06:36):
I don't think it might have been successful. It wouldn't
have been the astonishing success that the final record was.
It wouldn't have been iconic. It wouldn't have been iconic and
hugely different in the same way that in the course
of Crimson King is. It would have been much more
of a something that was perfectly pleasant. But I don't

(01:06:56):
think it would have changed the world in the same
way the Robert always records it was that the piece
I talked to the wind. I think he was made
to sit there and play that guitar part about twenty times.
And oddly enough, I'd done an interview with Robert and

(01:07:17):
he had told me this story.

Speaker 1 (01:07:18):
I didn't.

Speaker 3 (01:07:18):
I'm not sure if I believe it bout we were
there all night, David. I was going on and on
and on, and he was saying, play it again, play
it again. I don't like it, Yes, play it again,
play it again, and he said. We began to get
more and more fractious, and we were more and more
rude back down the talk back to this producer, and
oddly enough I then found some tapes quite recently, only

(01:07:40):
a couple of years ago. I found some tapes, and
I was listening to these tapes, not knowing what they were,
and I heard this take of I talked to the
Wind going on and on, and then I heard Robert
and Ian McDonald getting rather direct with the producer, and
I realized that I had found this recording that Robert
had been telling me out for years, and here it was,

(01:08:01):
and I finally had found it and could listen to it,
and so we released it in for the fiftieth anniversary
of in the course of the Crimson King. I don't
know if you know, but recordings that are unreleased fall
out of copyright if they've not been released within fifty.

Speaker 1 (01:08:18):
Years in the UK anyway, Yeah.

Speaker 3 (01:08:21):
Yes, So when we found those recordings, we realized that
we needed to release them all with the fiftieth years.
So for the fiftieth anniversary of the album, we put
out all the sessions, including these rather the endless Morgan
Studios recordings. If I talked to the.

Speaker 1 (01:08:37):
Wind from the perspective of the consumer, the listener in
the court of the Crimson King was an instant smash.
Was that your perception or what were your feelings of time?

Speaker 2 (01:08:52):
Oh? Right? Firstly, if I may, I would draw a
distinction between a listener or audience or auditor and the
consumer or customer. Going right back. Then, the band immediately
was hugely successful live, hugely. It became the band of

(01:09:16):
the time, and the only band that Ian McDonald considered
Blue King Crimson Off the stage was Free. We worked
with them in Red Car in the middle nineteen sixty nine.
Free were phenomenal. Coss Off what a player, Rogers, what

(01:09:38):
a singer. But essentially when we came on stage it
was almost impossible to follow us. We were an astonishing band,
astonishing band, and the album when it was released, it
was already primed. The word was on the street. The

(01:10:01):
turning point in terms of numbers and public attention was
probably the Hyde Park Festival with the Rolling Stones in
nineteen sixty nine. They were about six hundred and fifty
thousand people there. So at the time, if you're not
going to have success through mainstream media, television and radio,

(01:10:25):
how will you reach a huge number of people. Well,
the answer was live festivals, which are often free festivals,
and Hyde Park in July nineteen sixty nine was the
opportunity for the Rolling Stones to come back into live
performance after a break. And the story of EG getting

(01:10:46):
us onto the roster is a story in itself, but
we were probably the hit of that particular show and
what was known within the industry and club level grassroots
suddenly moved out. All the young Americans in Hyde Park

(01:11:08):
went back to America with the word, young hippies from
Europe went back to Europe with the word. And then
in the end of November nineteen sixty nine in America,
we played the West Palm Beach Festival three day festival,
also with the Stones. It broke King Crimson and Grand

(01:11:31):
Funk Railroad in America. So at that point that the
grassroots the word has moved out big time.

Speaker 1 (01:11:39):
Okay, So coming from England, what was your personal experience
of being in the US.

Speaker 2 (01:11:47):
One of liberation England was poor. America was wide open.
I mean America in the fifties and sixties. This was
the American time. It changed into the seventies and onwards.
The particular change from America from sixty nine to seventy

(01:12:13):
seventy one was probably the huge success of rock music
and records. The growth industry in America from sixty eight
to seventy eight was in the record industry, with I
think four billion dollars generated, which now wouldn't say much,

(01:12:34):
but that back then was quite considerable. And when the
young English bands began touring America essentially about sixty eight
and into sixty nine, the music industry, certainly in its
live aspects was not quite professional. For example, King Crimson
would land in America in October nineteen sixty nine and

(01:12:57):
the tool wasn't set up. Why well, you had a
few club gigs here there, and Frank Barcelona, a key
figure in establishing English rock music in America, premiere talent
hid fillin shows along the way, so Hendricks would. But
nineteen six to eight land in America, play New York

(01:13:19):
one night, Los Angeles the next. I'm exaggerating, but in
principal too, David Bowie, the same King Crimson. We had
a more measured progression, but it certainly wasn't set up.
But then when the money began to come in, you
moved from clubs and you move from the film alls
into sports stadium. And with the shift in commerce, there

(01:13:47):
was a shift in the attitude towards the musician, so
speaking in general terms, from say sixty nine to seventy seven.
When I moved to New York in February seventy seven.
In nineteen sixty nine, the differential, the separation between audience

(01:14:12):
and musician, there wasn't one. For me, it was fluid.
We were all on the same side. We were all
there to be part of this changing the world with music.
That was my perspective. And I don't believe Peter Simfield
said to me as a criticism, you were never a hippie,

(01:14:33):
So this isn't an old hippie wittering on. This is
my experience. But increasingly, and this began to change around
seventy four, the young roppers at person on stage is
now separated from a member of the audience and from

(01:14:53):
the young music writers who began to develop an attitude
which in America was reflect perhaps with Lester Bangs for example,
but in England in nineteen seventy six or seventy seven.
My sense of being on stage was who the fuck

(01:15:16):
do you think you are? Very English attitude, whereas walking
on the street newly arrived in New York in nineteen
seventy seven, the young character will come up and say, hey,
frip what you're doing? There was one of the couragement
and support which I found lacking in England. So increasingly

(01:15:40):
my orientation in terms of a geographical area which has
my focus from nineteen seventy three, switched to the US
from England, stroke England Europe. Why because it was possible

(01:16:00):
and supported by the audience and the industry, and the
industry because money was involved in the audience, because there
was something real in the music, that's my perception. And
King Crimson at this time didn't quite fit in. We

(01:16:23):
weren't mainstream rock. We we played with Zzy Top in Denver,
I believe in nineteen seventy four, and someone pulled the
plug on us, pulled the power on us, and twenty
minutes into our set we went blank. Someone didn't like

(01:16:48):
what we were doing. Recent press has suggested that I've
been blaming Billy Gibbons for this nonsense. Billy Gibbons has
my full respect and easy top for a fabulous band,
But nevertheless, what became known as progressive rock and progue
did have some antipathy.

Speaker 1 (01:17:12):
Okay, let's talk business for a minute. The record is
licensed to Island in Atlantic. Who owns all that stuff today?

Speaker 3 (01:17:24):
I do?

Speaker 1 (01:17:25):
How did you end up owning it.

Speaker 2 (01:17:28):
Twenty one years of litigation and dispute which is ongoing?

Speaker 1 (01:17:33):
What is still ongoing.

Speaker 2 (01:17:36):
Litigation and dispute over who owns the copyrights and who
is therefore entitled to assign them to whomever they dispose?

Speaker 1 (01:17:46):
Okay, you've had a fifty plus year career. What do
you not own recording wise? Or what is in litigation
recordings wise?

Speaker 2 (01:17:58):
Let's speak about this in June of this year.

Speaker 1 (01:18:03):
Okay, let me change the question. The business is much
more sophisticated with a much more information today, irrelevant of
the ownership of the copyrights in the recordings, in the
songs you're busy rehearsing performing. I can't believe your eye

(01:18:24):
was on business that much. Do you feel that you
were ripped off in these rough and tumble years.

Speaker 2 (01:18:32):
Well, the answer has to be yes, and I can
give you a detailed analysis virtually month by month, week
by week, and day by day. Why because I still
have the correspondence. But if we go back to nineteen
sixty nine when we began our relationship with Entoven, Gayden,
John and Gaydon as a YouTube interview where he is

(01:18:55):
describing how the young Robert Fripp explained to him upon
which the relationship between EG and King Crimson would develop,
which was shared interest seventy thirty copyright ownership between King

(01:19:16):
Crimson and EG Management. And this was all fine and
went on until I believe it was February the twenty sixth,
nineteen seventy six, when Enthoven and Sam Alder, who went
into EG towards about October November nineteen seventy chartered accountant

(01:19:41):
as a backroom boy to take care of the accountancy
and the stuff stuff. But Sam Older lied, He came
and he lied, and he said that the members of

(01:20:01):
King Crimson had to assign the copyright interest to EG
so that we could get our money. Essentially, this was
a lie, and it was a lie which had to
be challenged in nineteen ninety one when the obfuscation came
to a head when EG sold King Crimson copyrights to

(01:20:27):
BMG Music Publishing and Virgin Records. At that point, the
beginning of my first major involvement in litigation and dispute
for six years and seven months from ninety one to
ninety seven began. It's been ongoing to date and has

(01:20:51):
been probably more attracting of my attention than my musical life,
and even more of that has fallen on David and
decland Colgan of Panegyric Records are distributor. But back in
the early days, what I did was set up the

(01:21:11):
structure and left it to management I trusted and should
not have done. And that's another story as to why
I did and should not have and when finally it
went off course for various reasons, I had to give
it my full attention.

Speaker 1 (01:21:30):
Okay, litigation is very expensive and it takes time and
its heartache. Is this about the money or is this
about equity? What is right.

Speaker 2 (01:21:45):
Both? For example, two members of the original King Crimson
have died not being paid the money there owed. There
are two more members of their first King Crimson, and
not in great health. I certainly hope they're paid before

(01:22:06):
eventity they do fly away.

Speaker 3 (01:22:09):
Me.

Speaker 2 (01:22:10):
I'm in great health. I do dead weights of one
hundred kilograms, which from men of seventy seven isn't bad.
And I am going to live long enough to make
sure these fuck wits in the music industry hand over
what we're out.

Speaker 1 (01:22:25):
Let's say, hypothetically you're victorious across the board. Let's say
you end up owning all of these rights.

Speaker 2 (01:22:34):
No, I already own them. Let's say we're being a
paid for the David over to ye.

Speaker 3 (01:22:39):
Yes, so the ownership is not in dispute. So following
the dispute that Robert has talked about in the early nineties,
certainly in terms of the recordings, it was finally agreed that,
in fact, what was agreed was that the rights that
Virgin Records thought they had obtained they would keep for
ten years and then they return them to Robert. So

(01:23:03):
in the early two thousands, the rights and the recordings
were definitively assigned to Robert. The problem has been that
periodically things get licensed in by major labels in various
different ways, and you don't get always get it paid
according to those contracts. That is ongoing.

Speaker 1 (01:23:25):
Okay, So the lawsuit that we read about about placing
certain songs on streaming services, those are the lawsuits we're
referring to.

Speaker 3 (01:23:33):
That's a lidic yes, yes, and that one is that
one unfortunately is sub judices. So until May, we're not
talking a lot about that one.

Speaker 1 (01:23:41):
Yes, okay. So going back, you're Robert, you own this stuff?
Would you ever sell it yourself?

Speaker 3 (01:23:51):
No?

Speaker 2 (01:23:53):
Okay?

Speaker 1 (01:23:54):
You have nowhears and some may say, well, Robert not
going to live forever if they pay you twenty Actually
the money would be here today. What would you say
to that?

Speaker 2 (01:24:06):
I'd saying, my inheritor in all the copyrights is David Singleton.
That's in my will. Why because I trust David to
execute his responsibilities towards the catalog as I trust that
I have done.

Speaker 3 (01:24:24):
And I think our view is that Robert owns those
copyright He does in fact own them personally, but I
think Robert owns those copyrights on behalf of all the musicians.

Speaker 2 (01:24:34):
That is correct, Yes, okay.

Speaker 1 (01:24:44):
In the film about King Crimson, one of the players
mentions that you wash your hands twenty times a day.
What would you say to that?

Speaker 2 (01:24:58):
I was surprised when I heard that. Going back to
when I was working with Jamie Mirror in nineteen seventy
two into early seventy three. I don't believe I had
a hand washing fetish. However, what I've always been very
careful to do when I put a guitar on and
I play guitar, I must have clean hands. I don't want.

(01:25:24):
I don't want stickiness from picking up cakes, for example,
or buttered toast to be transferred to the strings. So
at that particular time, would I wash my hands before
playing guitar. Yes, I didn't recognize that I have a
hand washing fetish, which I certainly don't today. But nevertheless,

(01:25:46):
Jamie Muhror is a person I respect and I trust
his opinion, and if Jamie felt that I was an
annual fetishist of some kind, then I would certainly give
some credence to his opinion. Actually, if I am convinced
there's no date most people in the world are, is
that FIP is very very fucked up in the creepy person.

Speaker 1 (01:26:08):
Okay, let's say I say, Robert, we'll go into the
airport and we go, we get in the car, we've
left your house. Are you going to say, fuck, I
forgot to lock the front door or I left the
stove on. Is that part of your personality or those
wouldn't even occur to you.

Speaker 2 (01:26:26):
They might occur to me, but I am not obsessive compulsive.
That's my view. We'd have to ask my wife, and
my wife wife say, yes.

Speaker 1 (01:26:34):
He is.

Speaker 2 (01:26:34):
He's really he's very strange person. Well, actually he does
say that. What I would do if I felt is
there a likely chance that I've left my front door unlocked?
I would check the keys in my purse. I would
then if I couldn't find them, I would found my
wife and say, ah, have is the front door lock?

(01:26:58):
Or I would say our personal secretary to say if
she would check the front door, I called Mark Axel
Powell are superb building person and ask him to check it.
What I would not do is throw a moody fit
and in sayst we drive back thirty miles to the
front door.

Speaker 1 (01:27:18):
Okay. OCD can be very debilitating emotionally. One can be
tortured by these thoughts and repetitions. So would your wife
say that your need to rehearse every day and to
get certain things right or excessive or she would say, no,

(01:27:39):
that's not excessive.

Speaker 2 (01:27:42):
Well, my wife is an actress, musician, and performer and
understands partecular on the stage. Play, for example, the amount
of rehearsing you have to do. So my wife might
say here, very strange, but I don't think she would

(01:28:03):
query my need to know. I'm walking on stage with
musicians who were rehearsed and practiced to play, except the
play Olympics standard challenges for a musician.

Speaker 3 (01:28:18):
I'm going to say she might.

Speaker 2 (01:28:19):
She might.

Speaker 3 (01:28:20):
She might ask you to practice Fracture where she doesn't
have to listen to it.

Speaker 2 (01:28:24):
Oh yes, Now, when King Crimson were reforming in twenty
thirteen for twenty fourteen the Final Incarnation, ID go into
the cellar of our home and I would practice and
practice and practice to play this piece called Fracture, which
is unplayable. It's technically of such a standard is taken

(01:28:47):
fifty years really for other guitarists to approach. It's horrible.
And my wife had enough of this, and I used
to have to go down to the cellar and lock
the door of the cellar because it's a very old door,
and would fly open and turn my guitar amp little,

(01:29:07):
very small practice, turn it down so she could no
longer hear this motor perpetro going on for two hours.
As I we'd come up to speed.

Speaker 1 (01:29:17):
So yeah, okay, tell us a little bit more specifically
what the practice entails at.

Speaker 2 (01:29:26):
Different parts in our musical life. The emphasis changes. If
I can quote Charlie Parker, and frankly, I think all
of us should accept Parker's advice. You learn your instrument,
you learn the music, and then you forget all this
Parker said, chit and then you just play. So at

(01:29:50):
different parts of our musical life, to begin with, we're
practicing the instrument, how to play the instrument, how on
the guitar, the left and the ro hand work together,
fingerboard knowledge, musical knowledge, then harmony, rhythm, how the hands

(01:30:14):
come together with fingerboard and musical knowledge, and then learning
the repertoire that we're engaging with. In terms of practicing improvisation,
throw it away, sit down, without thought, play, have fun,
and a very good professional musician often needs to be reminded.

(01:30:34):
Have fun, abandoned concern for right, wrong or anything else.
Let's remember the bird, play, just play. So in the
in the incarnation period twenty fourteen twenty one, my primary

(01:30:56):
address for practicing is the Calisenic side of it. We'll
assume that I've learned the rudiments of music assume that
I know that I'm learned the repertoire, which is King
crimson repertoire. The challenge is, as a man in his

(01:31:17):
late sixties and early seventies, is he able to perform
at an athletic level at the degree of a man
of twenty five? And the answer is no. So my
primary practicing area for the final incarnation of King Crimson

(01:31:39):
was how to be calisenically reliable. If you take the
analogy of an athlete, an Olympic quality athlete, these are
the challenges. Can you expect an Olympic athlete age seventy

(01:32:02):
to do what they were doing at twenty three or
twenty five? And if the answer is reliably no, what
does that athlete at that age have to do in
order to meet the challenge? And that was my question
and my response was constant calisenic practicing.

Speaker 1 (01:32:24):
Okay, you don't have the athleticism of a younger man,
but do you believe the end quality of what you're
producing is improved with age for some reason because of
wisdom and the other stylistic elements.

Speaker 2 (01:32:40):
I wouldn't claim wisdom, but I am happy to say
I have a lot more experience and does that support
me when I walk on stage, And I would say yes,
and why because when I walk on stage, I know,
without any doubt whatsoever, music is there and it is available.

(01:33:08):
It never ever goes away. Do I know that for
a fact? Yes? Do I know that for certainty? Yes?
How because I've paid my joes as a professional musician
now for fifty seven years. What I also know is
music doesn't go away. Music is always present. But I

(01:33:30):
am not. So my focus is not on the music,
which I trust. My focus on whether I can be present.
That is, can I rely upon myself to walk on
stage and whatever horseshit is thrown at me? Can I
hold myself in the place for at least the duration

(01:33:53):
of the performance. And the answer to that is mostly yes.
But they are except situations that defeat me even today.

Speaker 1 (01:34:06):
Okay, what is your opinion of live versus recordings? Recordings
are permanent in performances or evanescent.

Speaker 2 (01:34:17):
For me, music is in life. It's like gardening. If
you're not there when the rose blossoms, it's gone.

Speaker 3 (01:34:29):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:34:29):
I can take a photo of it and put it
out on my computer. I think, Oh, wasn't that a
nice rose? But it's not there and the scent when
you're there in the moment and it's real, but it
won't stay. What might stay is the quality of my
experiencing in such a way that I may return to

(01:34:51):
that moment in my experience and access it again. And
that only is possible if I am present. I'm present
here now, inside my body, my experiencing, my feelings and
with the rose. So for me, live performance is a
hot date and a record is a love letter. Now,

(01:35:16):
I love getting letters from my wife, but I would
rather take her in a tight embrace.

Speaker 1 (01:35:22):
So recordings, in even recordings of live performances, are what
you leave behind. To what degree are you concerned with legacy?

Speaker 2 (01:35:32):
Well, if I said, off the top of my head,
I don't give a flying fuck, I would then have
to say, then, why is it that DGM from approximately
nineteen ninety five to twenty fifteen made the focal point
of its existence in securing the archive? And why then

(01:35:59):
will we release as close definitive editions of all King
Crimson's life recorded music as we possibly can. Well, I'd
have to say that I keep my wife's love letters.
I would still rather have a hot date with her,
But I still keep the love letters. So we still

(01:36:23):
have love letters from King Crimson to any members of
the audience, for those who didn't manage to get on
a hot day and for those that did.

Speaker 1 (01:36:34):
Let's say you're performing live and we started with this.
I have sat with acts very depressed after a show,
feeling they gave a bad performance when the audience has
loved it with raaging response. What is the goal of
the gig? Is it about the communication with the audience

(01:36:55):
and the response in the audience or is the audience
separate and is it about getting the music performed perfectly.

Speaker 2 (01:37:04):
I'll respond to that tangentially. Bob the musician can only
ever say I felt that was a good show. I
felt that was a bad show. It's entirely subjective. It
has no relevance. Listening to King Crimson's live recordings, there
are performances which sound terrible but which I recall in

(01:37:30):
the moment were astonishing for the band members the audience.
This was an event, but the quality of that event
did not allow itself to be contained or captured by
the recording of it. I have also heard live recordings

(01:37:52):
that are stunning that from a position on stage, I
thought this.

Speaker 1 (01:37:59):
This was.

Speaker 2 (01:38:01):
So in the live performance, what are the factors that
make the event? Primarily three factors, the music, the musician,
and the audience. If the three come together, something can happen.
There is a fourth term which nevertheless has to be included,

(01:38:23):
and that is the music industry, because if the music
industry will not accept what you're doing, it's an extreme.
It will bury you, as I believe English punk music
was essentially buried in the American music industry in the
late seventies. But in the live event itself, you have music,

(01:38:48):
musicians and the audience. If the music is a live
and vibrant the audience might miss it and the musicians
might miss it, but perhap perhaps it manages to squeeze
its way onto tape and going back there you have it.
I will now have an example of David Singleton completely

(01:39:12):
failing to understand a musical event that was going on. David,
which broad short Church, Oh yeah, live live soundscapes? Was
it two thousand and eight lunchtime performance in this church
of soundscapes? And when I listened back to the music,

(01:39:36):
there was some remarkable stuff going on. And yet at
the time David was having a terrible time and thought
it sucked. Is this true, David?

Speaker 3 (01:39:44):
It is true, and it's exactly the reverse of what
you originally described. When I'm always surprised when going through
the tapes listening and I say, this is what this
is the show, this is a wonderful show, And many
of the B members will say you must be completely wrong.
That was a horrible gig. And exactly Robert's quite right

(01:40:06):
that there I was in Broadchalk. It's a home gig
for me. So this was in my local church, and
I was surrounded there for by numerous other pressures, and
so I wasn't present. And if you'd ask me afterwards,
I remember thinking, oh god, that was a horrible event.
And you listen back and the music was fabulous, all right.

Speaker 2 (01:40:28):
I have another example here too, which was at Church
Escapes live in Estonia, which I believe in two thousand
and six live performances there where I would walk on
stage with no idea what to play, and even while
playing it, having no idea what to play, and then

(01:40:48):
forty minutes lating later, having no idea what to play,
but holding myself in place, force myself to remain in place,
and engaged with no joy whatsoever. But trusting the event,

(01:41:09):
trusting the music, trusting the audience and continuing to play.
And from the church scapes in Estonia, I'm thinking of
even Song, particularly the performance. The performances had something of
which at the time I was oblivious, but long experience

(01:41:31):
and the developed practice and discipline the solo guitarist improvising
away was able to keep himself plugged in and sitting
on a guitar.

Speaker 1 (01:41:41):
Still, Okay, you did during lockdown. You're continuing this YouTube
series with your wife, and I was looking at them,
and you did a cover of Golden Earrings Radar Love.
I always liked that song. If you'd ask me before
I saw it, what I would say, What are the

(01:42:03):
odds that Robert Trupp even knows that record? Okay? Now
you mentioned not only English punk and how that attitude
poop uh look down on the old players, say show
me something, but you all say it was killed by
the US record business. To what degree and you mentioned

(01:42:24):
sting earlier? To what degree are you a student of
the game? To what degree do you marinate in this?
To what degree do you know this? Do you only
do it for business purposes? Do you like this music?

Speaker 2 (01:42:37):
Tell me about this all right, well you don't now
he saw on King Crimson's final performance in Central Park
and New York. Was it July the first? Nineteen seventy four,
David Yep. King Crimson's support act was Callden Ahring. No,
I don't know that at there you are, and the

(01:42:58):
drama would reliably leap out his kit at the big finale. Now,
going back to Frank Barcelona of Premier Talent, what Frank
would do. Frank Barcelona would do is put together astonishing
combinations of acts that no one would believe would fit

(01:43:20):
together on the same stage. So King Crimson Film nor
Reast nineteen sixty nine, was it October November? Top of
their bill. Joe Corker and the Grease Band second on
the bill, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac third on the bill,

(01:43:41):
King Crimson fourth on the bill, Voices of East Tarlan.
They're moving into seventy one and seventy two and seventy
three and seventy four other acts on the bill Black
Oak Arkansas. Now you can kind of understand just King Crimson,
Black Sabbath Joint Heading or King Crimson and Slade because

(01:44:03):
they're both English bands, lackocarkinsall. I love them, Jim Dandy,
what a great band, But not in the media. You
think these two characters would be honest. Well, Golden Earing,
where did that come from? I have no idea, but
they were a great band in the field. Now, Golden

(01:44:25):
Earrings manager was a man called Freddie Hine who went
to take over Polydor Records in New York about nineteen
seventy seven, at the time the EG Music left their
licensees and moved to Polydor. So once again you have

(01:44:48):
this remarkable circle of people you can't take out of
your circle. So the manager of Golden ear Ring that
was supporting King Crimson on our last performance in nineteen
seventy four with Radar Love and so on, Toy and
Robert cover Radar Love. Years later. There are a number

(01:45:08):
of King Crimson fans who have publicly expressed some dissatisfaction
with me performing with Toyer, and my comment to Mojo
or Q magazine in twenty twenty two was I don't
give a fuck. I am seventy six and this is

(01:45:29):
my life now with my wife. My wife when Lockdown
began was very insistent. Lockdown in Iowa Town in England
at the time was terrifying, Bob, the fear was palpable.

(01:45:50):
The only time we'd really come out on the street
would be on a Thursday evening at six o'clock, when
people would come out of their houses and on the
step of the front door and clap and applaud to
give acknowledgment, recognition and gratitude to first responders and the
health services. So we'd look down the street and there

(01:46:14):
would be our neighbors down the street and we would
wave to them and across the square and back, and
this was the only contact we had with our neighbors.
And on occasion, because we're on the main route to
ambulances six o'clock, an ambulance would come by by all

(01:46:36):
the people on the street replauding them.

Speaker 1 (01:46:38):
Very moving.

Speaker 2 (01:46:40):
But it was a time of palpable fear. And my
wife said to me, we're performers. We have a responsibility
to people. We have a responsibility to keep the spirits up.
So when my wife then gave me a two to
two and point out down the garden to the river's

(01:47:02):
edge at the end of our garden and said we
are going to be dancing to Swan Lake, I took
the tights. My wife's tights were a bit small on me.
I can I can put in gently between frenzy. The
tights were not comfortable, but my discomfiture was covered by
the tutu. And we went down and we danced a

(01:47:23):
swan lake and it moved.

Speaker 1 (01:47:24):
On from there.

Speaker 2 (01:47:26):
We began filming. I suppose you would call them covers. Uh.
I think maybe some people think we were taking the piss,
not at all.

Speaker 1 (01:47:41):
We are.

Speaker 2 (01:47:45):
Very respectful of the artists here who've generated these songs.
And here I am playing a smoke on the water
mister Blackmore's famous riff. I I am very respectful of this.
Let's face, it's a classic riff. So when we move

(01:48:07):
on to increasing numbers of covers and then in live
performances this past year of classics, are you going to
go my way? I mean the classic riff stunning and
the solo breath taking, and then you move on to
the newer artists. I mean, these are challenges for me

(01:48:30):
to learn a repertoire with which I am not mostly familiar.
Why because I was developing a King Crimson repertoire which
eventually I became locked into. So here I was learning
rock songs in the tuning I haven't used for thirty
five years, doing my best to honor the original performers

(01:48:52):
and the original intentions that gave live to the music,
and much to our surprise, it took off. It was
one of the two so called Internet sensations in the
United Kingdom from Lockdown. The other one was Sophie Sophie Aspects,

(01:49:15):
Yeah Kitchen Disco. She was the other one that really
kicked in. So we eventually began to find something of
another approach, which we we're maintaining. We do one We
do one new song a month at the moment, plus

(01:49:38):
access to our archive. I can't even remember all the
songs we've covered, and we do our upbeat moments and
the brief and the aim remains the same. We have
a responsibility in challenging times to do what we can

(01:50:01):
to support the spirits of our audience, good people out there.
And some of the personal messages, some public, some personal
we've received from people at their heartbreaking, the conditions of
people locked up in small studio apartments in high rises

(01:50:21):
while their mother is dying in hospital and they can't
see them, and then they can't even get to the
funeral while our prime minister in Downing Street is having parties.
I mean, this is profoundly offensive, but we can't. We
can only address what we can address, so we continue

(01:50:44):
to do so.

Speaker 1 (01:50:45):
Okay, just diving a little deeper. You're a player and
a composer. Are you also a fan? Like if I started,
I'll give you an example. There was this being Charlie
Terry Thomas who became a record Is this all the
kind of stuff you know? Or these are just certain
records that you know.

Speaker 2 (01:51:11):
Well, when I was on the road, it was flat
out on the road, and the music we would get
to hear would essentially be the other artist we're working with.
And whereas when I first moved to London, you would
have gatekeepers who would say you need to listen to this,

(01:51:32):
and we still get this. My wife says you should
listen to this, because my wife that keeps her fingers
very much on the pulse of things. So my wife
would say, listen to this and see if you think
we can do a good thing with this. But I
think probably our determining musical direction is really when we're younger,

(01:51:58):
and for me, although I have been profoundly touched by
recorded music, I still tend to be more attached to
music I've seen live. Some exceptions obviously Beatles Day and
The Life Hendrix. I didn't get to see Hendrix Life,
although he did get to see King Crimson Life. Now

(01:52:20):
say so, yes, I am connected to music through records,
but for me, once again, really it's live. I have,
for example, in our abbey over here, which has been
standing since about eleven forty, I have been there listening

(01:52:44):
to appalling concerts of semi pro symphony orchestras, watching the
beat move outwards from the conductor to the edge of
the large symphony orchestra, the tuning wavering as it went.
But nevertheless, it has a power in the moment if

(01:53:08):
we're able to be open to it. So yeah, not
many leading rock bands come through our town, so I
have to rely increasingly on YouTube and Spotify. But it's secondhand.
So my wife makes her suggestions and I follow them.

(01:53:30):
Is the quick answer.

Speaker 1 (01:53:32):
Okay, you reference the Prime Minister needless.

Speaker 2 (01:53:36):
Oh I'm I'm going to need a piss before we
get into that one. All right, all right, back.

Speaker 1 (01:53:42):
Take another take another piss. So, David, you certainly know
Robert extremely well. Is his talking and demeanor today typical
of him? Or is it a typical.

Speaker 3 (01:54:00):
No, that's the man I know. Oddly enough, when I
do interviews, the most common question is, I've been working
with Robertsons nineteen eighty nine, I think, and you know,
how have you spent that long working with this awful
whatever perception they have of this man? And I always
give the same answer, which is that I've never met
that man. You know, I've never met the horrible man

(01:54:26):
that people suggest. So I think because we have a
very common aim, Robert and I think we we certainly
in business together. We have a common aime. The music
comes first, the art comes first. So I've never really

(01:54:46):
met the irascable person that everybody talks about.

Speaker 1 (01:54:50):
Do you believe it's a misperception or you're in No.

Speaker 3 (01:54:53):
I know I've met enough people to know that it's
not a misperception. And as Robert himself said, I think
that when he said, I think if someone comes to
him with a flea and in their ear, he'll send
them back with two. I think that was where that
was where this started, you know, several hours ago. So
so I think if people have an attitude, you know,

(01:55:14):
he will respond in kind. So no, I'm sure it's very,
very real. But I've enjoyed working with him. We've been
I said, We've been at it since nineteen eighty nine
in various different ways, and we're still at it.

Speaker 1 (01:55:32):
And how did you meet him?

Speaker 3 (01:55:35):
I was working at a studio. I was producing a
record in the studio in the town that he referred
to at the beginning of twan Cranbourne in Dorset, that
he'd used for working on King Crimson tracks, and Roberts
sacked his sound engineer halfway through the tour and phoned
up the studio owner to say, do you know someone
who could step in at short notice? Who might be

(01:55:56):
able to come out? And the studio owner came through
and said, David, what are you doing in two weeks time?
And I said, but I'm free, and he said, what
do you fancy going out to America? So I flew
out to Seattle to join Robert halfway through that tour,
and I think I've worked on every single King Crimson

(01:56:17):
release since then. So we literally we got on very
well and have carried on ever since.

Speaker 1 (01:56:25):
So was it an instant bonding or did you have
to earn his trust?

Speaker 3 (01:56:30):
No, it was it wasn't an instant bonding. I think
I was. I was evidently instantly competent, so that side
I think I was, because but you know, it works
in stages. So the first at the first age, I
was just a live sound engineer. He was actually recording

(01:56:51):
Sunday all over the world with Toyer at the time.
So immediately after that he asked me if i'd come
and record Toyer's vocals on that record, which I did.
We assembled the record, and I can remember at the
time they were discussing running orders, saying, oh, well haven't
you thought of this running order? It might work, and
which was probably the beginning of when Robert someone begins

(01:57:14):
to think, well your tastes, you know, trust your taste
as opposed to simply your competence. And so no, it's
a gradual process that went on over time, over years.

Speaker 2 (01:57:25):
What have I missed?

Speaker 3 (01:57:26):
David? He was asking how we came to work together.
I was telling him about nineteen eighty nine flying out
to do a Guitar Craft Court tour, and then I
think I've worked on every recording that followed that. Immediately
after that, I recorded Toyers vocals on Sunday all over
the world, and then we did frame by frame, and

(01:57:51):
in fact, I can tell you Robert's sense of humor
doing frame by frame. I can recall this was the
very first It was a four CD action of King Crimson,
and Virgin Records phoned up Robert and said that they
wanted a radio edit of twenty first century Schizoid Man.
And I heard Robert on the phone saying, well, there
isn't a three minute version of that track. And I

(01:58:14):
said to Robert, of course there is, and he said why,
and I said, well, I can remember what I thought
when I very first heard that track, which was I
like the first verse, I like the second verse, not
sure what's happening in the middle, and I quite like
the third verse, and a man with a sense of humor.
Robert allowed me to make that edit and it got released,

(01:58:36):
and I then learned that from Robert's perspective, I was hearing,
in a sense, hearing the track completely upside down, because
I think Robert would regard in many of these tracks,
is you know that the beginning is a jumping off
point for the middle in a sense, in a sense,
that's the core of the track, Whereas I was hearing
it completely the other way around.

Speaker 2 (01:58:57):
I trust David's sense of things above my own.

Speaker 1 (01:59:01):
Okay, you were going to give us a reading on
the UK today.

Speaker 2 (01:59:06):
I'm not sure that was what I was intending to do, Bob.
What I would say is, at the moment, they would
seem to be a lack of confidence in the power
possessors and those who stand above us and nominally serve
the interests of the populace. There seems to be a

(01:59:35):
lack of accountability on behalf of those who have power
in our lives. There's a huge structural breakdown, and part
of that is utterly terrifying, and part of it is
remarkably heartening, because if we believe that going back fifties

(02:00:00):
sixty years, that our interest is in making a new world,
then the old world has to give way for that
to be possible. So what we're seeing as a structural
breakdown might actually be a necessary precondition for a new
world appearing. Nevertheless, along the way, let's face it is

(02:00:23):
pretty bumpy. DGM has its statement the Ethical Business. The
four pillars of the ethical business Honesty, responsibility, equity, goodwill.
These are four very simple criteria for making a value

(02:00:46):
judgment in terms of for example, our dealings with a
record company. Are they honest? Are they responsible? Do they
view us equitably? The good will involve? Then the answer
to all four is now. But at least it gives
us criteria that we can base a course of action upon.

(02:01:11):
I think two thousand and eight and the rescue of
the world's financial system exacerbated the profound inequality of which
we're all pretty much aware nowadays. Was it necessary? Well,
I think it was at least inevitable. So what do

(02:01:34):
we do? In nineteen seventy four, after five or six
years on the road as a professional working musician, I
was in despair, sitting there in Putney, London, in despair
at the madness.

Speaker 3 (02:01:49):
Of the world.

Speaker 2 (02:01:49):
The world is mad. Nowadays I sit here in my
study in Middle England, and I think the world is mad.
And I suppose if I lave myself, I could become
despairing in strange and uncertain times. Sometimes a reasonable person

(02:02:14):
might despair. But hope is unreasonable, and love is greater
even than this. So where can I find hope? Well,
for me, one primary element, if you like, proof of
hope is that I know that music never goes away

(02:02:35):
despite the best efforts of the music industry. Music survives
the music industry, well, that's hope. So what I do
is I strap on and I rock out. I walk
on stage with my wonderful little wife and play rock
classics with classic riffs that get people on their feet,
cheering and shouting and punching the air. The music is

(02:02:59):
not constrained and by players in the music industry. For me,
that's hope. Love well known and again perhaps, but hope
is more readily available.

Speaker 1 (02:03:11):
And tell us a little bit about mister Bennett.

Speaker 2 (02:03:15):
Mister Bennett was a brilliant and flawed man, intellectual powerhouse.
For example, as a mental discipline, he would he would
play a game of three dimensional chess through visualization. That's yeah.

(02:03:38):
He was a polymath, multi linguist. I think as a
younger man, probably very arrogant, which tends to come with
extraordinary intellectual powers.

Speaker 1 (02:03:54):
He was.

Speaker 2 (02:03:57):
Nineteen twenty one. He was British Intelligence in Turkey and
I believe signed the visa allowed kimel outa Turk to
move into Turkey, for which he still is respected in
Turkey to this day. I understand mister Bennett worked hard

(02:04:20):
and upset lots of people, but after nineteen sixty nine,
something changed for him. In my view, he came to
a realization that after that everything was different, and he

(02:04:44):
was a voice for young people that were looking for
a figure with experience and authority. And when I came
across him, this was very clear. Young people at the
time were maybe go to the East, or go on pilgrimages,

(02:05:06):
put on blue robes, or various forms of other cultures.
But for me, I found mister Bennett. This was an
Englishman who wore English, those that I understood, spoke the
language that I understood, and he was only one hundred
miles down the road. So this was it for me,

(02:05:32):
and I met him a month before he died. So
this is a very powerful experience for me, which funnily
enough increases in power the older I get as I
recognize that connections can be made in a moment that
doesn't have to be an extended moment in clock time.
But nevertheless, the contact and connection can be made that

(02:05:55):
enjuers and persists through time. It's like hearing a particular
piece of music. It stays with you forever. Why because
it's spoken to you, It's made a connection with you.
And for those who feel that these experiences maybe it's
a cosmic Witterer wittering on, I suggest that pretty well

(02:06:18):
most of us at least have these experiences which are
very direct for us, and we don't necessarily have to
explain them. We accept that they're real. So this was
mister Bennett who had the rare capacity to express complex

(02:06:42):
notions in straightforward English. Why because what he was talking
about was in his experience in nineteen sixty nine. In
my view, he went somewhere and then he came back.
Quote Hassan Schussud, very important figure in Turkish Sufism. And

(02:07:06):
mister Bennett knows more about the mechanisms of the spirit,
the mechanics of the spiritual life, than any person in
the West since mister Eckart. Now, what do I know
about that? I can't possibly comment on that. What I
can say is mister Bennett spoke with authority which spoke

(02:07:27):
to me in a language which persuaded me that I
actually knew what mister Bennett was talking about. How could I?
But nevertheless he persuaded me that I could in such
a way that I've persisted ever since. And mister Bennett
and missus Bennett uh part of my everyday life every day?

Speaker 1 (02:07:52):
Can you give us just a little more depth for
those who are unfamiliar with the man. What one might
say his lessons are and what you took from his words.

Speaker 2 (02:08:04):
Well, mister Bennett said, I teach I teach you how
to cook, not what to cook. So what mister Bennett
would do is teach you how to walk into a kitchen,
pick up the implements, pick up the recipe, and make
the mail. The recipe you chose was up to you.
So another is very practical. What are the mechanics of

(02:08:28):
the musical life? I can tell you that. What are
the mechanics of the spiritual life? Mister Bennett could tell
you that too. What I can say now at age
seventy seven, they're exactly the same. I'm not sure that
helps you at all, Bob doesn't. No, I can take
that and grove from that. But let me put it

(02:08:49):
a different way.

Speaker 1 (02:08:50):
You say he's part of your life every day, and
he was playing on your computer in the background. What
is your everyday interact action or lesson like, well.

Speaker 2 (02:09:06):
Every day I'm cooking, So my lessons in how to
cook are ongoing every day. My father and my mother,
my biological father and mother are with me every day
as well. My spiritual father and my spiritual mother are
with me every day as well.

Speaker 1 (02:09:23):
Okay, going from the sublime to the ridiculous, we're here.
It's just as you're wearing a tie. When did this
sartorial change happen? In what is behind it?

Speaker 2 (02:09:37):
It began around twenty twelve. Now, in terms of why
this is an interesting one, I trust my feet when
they go walking. When my feet go walking, I follow
where they go. And when my feet have taken me

(02:09:58):
to a place at which i've I recognize, ah, I
need to be here. My feet brought me here. So
trusting my feet where they go walking, that is my
sense of direction, which is internal. I don't have to
rationalize to myself where I'm going. But once I'm there,

(02:10:19):
I might do that. I might look back and say
why has my external appearance changed? And the answer might
be something on the inside has changed. So at that
point I monitor my experience to see how my experience

(02:10:41):
of how I experience my experience and lived my life
might have changed. In other words, I seek to better
understand where I am now.

Speaker 1 (02:10:53):
So your exterior is evidence of your injury?

Speaker 2 (02:10:58):
Yes, I think that's true. What would you say, bomb, Oh.

Speaker 1 (02:11:03):
We you know this goes to my next question. We've
been around a long time, you know. I remember when
long hair was a significant signifier, after the Beatles came out.
I remember the turn of the decade of the seventies,
when it became an affectation. You could not judge somebody
based on their long hair, which is when I cut
my hair off. We live in an era, you know.

(02:11:25):
You grew up to talk about the sixties in the seventies,
where it was internal, whereas now there's so much external
with the trappings. Let me show you how much money
I have, et cetera. We're all looking for points of
uniqueness in a standardized world. We all have the same phone,
we have the same watch. We have this, so on

(02:11:45):
some level it does send a message. In your particular case,
you are dressing in a way a typical of people
from your background, generation, walk of life. OI. So therefore
it stands out to the point that I comment on it,
and I'm sure that you know that this will have

(02:12:09):
an effect on people who look at you. Whatever they
might say. They might say, this is a serious guy,
this guy is it's an act. Maybe he's all, I mean,
I'm sure you're aware of all that.

Speaker 2 (02:12:22):
Oh right, Well, couple of comments at first, the going
back to twenty twelve, I noticed that people on the
street were dressing in a shall we say, relaxed fashion,
People of my age, old geezers, even older than me.
This town has the highest average age of any town

(02:12:47):
in England. And there are old people I see shopping
on the older than me Bob, shopping on the street today,
and they've put on the suit to go out shopping.
Now I understand this from my youth. What you wore
in your house was not what you wore to go
out in public. You would change to go out in public.

(02:13:11):
And still in people much older than me, and there
are a few of them in town go out shopping
in a suit and tie. And I can tell because
the suit is too big, because the man of eighty
odd has shrunk within the suit which may or may
not have fitted him sixty years ago when he first
had it. It was his marriage suit, his funeral suit,

(02:13:34):
and his Sunday suit. So part of it was seeing
a new generation of people on our street who were
dressing in a relaxed fashion. And for me it was
a little too relaxed in some cases. I'm not going
to use the word scruffy. Shall we say it was

(02:13:55):
exception he relaxed. I wished to go another way now,
also in twenty twelve, looking back, I would say that
I had myself been scruffy for a number of years. Why,
because I lived my life on the road, going away
for six or eight weeks, even three weeks. What do
you do? My answer was, I wear black? Why? Because

(02:14:21):
everything's black. If it gets dirty, you don't see it
so much. You have the same black jeans, black socks,
black knickers, black t shirts black, but all the rest
of it is all black. It's very, very straightforward and
requires no thought whatsoever. And having come off the road
in twenty ten with the intention never ever to work

(02:14:45):
live again, I was making a sea change. I changed
now I dressed.

Speaker 1 (02:14:52):
Okay, you're not recognized everywhere, so I'm sure there are
places you go that are public, places where are not recognized.
Maybe an airplane, maybe a restaurant. Do you find that
people tweat you differently when you're dressed with a tie,
et cetera.

Speaker 2 (02:15:11):
All right, one or two things on this Since Toy
and Robert have become an Internet sensation in England. It
used to be that wherever I go anywhere with my wife,
my wife was recognized and I was overlooked. However, with
our Internet sensation, we go over the road to our

(02:15:33):
wonderful coffee shop in Pain and we're sitting in the
window and people come in and speak to us that
we'd never seen before, So not so much. There is
also a situation I was in Venice with my wife.
I'm trying to think when this was about two thousand
and six, and we were there in April, which is

(02:15:56):
the beginning of tourist season. So to get away from
the buld burgeon in crowds, we walked to the very
very further test quietest place over there in Venice, and
we were completely alone on a street in Venice until
a solitary Italian gentleman appeared and he said, freep, freep, freep,

(02:16:18):
you are freep, and my wife was astonished. My wife
was astonished, the only person in this deserted part of Venice.
No srip. So anyway, moving on to am I universally recognized, No,
of course not. However in King Crimson contexts mostly so,

(02:16:43):
and in context where I am known or not. Does
how I dress have an effect? The answer is yes,
without any doubt whatsoever. Why because here is a character
who was very intentionally chosen his suit, what he's wearing,

(02:17:08):
his tie. If they check out the socks, they will
see the socks of those not conventionally chosen, and the
tie is mostly not conventionally chosen neither. Here at the
moment I'm dressed, I'm dressed down comfortably, but I still
have my rather nice silk tie, which I acquired from

(02:17:28):
the charity shop down the street for ten pounds. So yes,
if you walk into the first class British airwayte lounge,
he throw Why because Daryl Hall sent me a first
class ticket to fly to live at Daryl's house. Most
of the people in the first class lounge and in

(02:17:50):
first class are dressed in a very relaxed fashion, not
to say scruffy. Why Because they're so rich they don't
give a hoot. So first class people are scruffy. People
in business class tend to be smart, more smartly dressed.

(02:18:10):
Why because a first class concier's pal of mine said,
people in first class know who they are. People in
cattle class knew who they are. But people in business
class are aspirational. They want to move to the front.

(02:18:31):
So people in business class tend to be more smartly dressed. Me,
wherever I sit nowadays, it will be more smartly dressed.
Why primarily to put a demand upon myself. And secondly,
if there's a likelihood for you to be upgraded, if

(02:18:51):
you look impeccably smart, your chances have just gone up.

Speaker 1 (02:18:57):
Okay at your age, having seen so much. We live
in a music business is completely different in that the
era of in the court of the Crimson King doesn't
happen for anybody anymore. You cannot have that level of
ubiquity no matter who you are. How do you soldier forward?

(02:19:20):
And how do you keep your optimism?

Speaker 2 (02:19:24):
Two questions, Bob, would you choose one of them first? Please?

Speaker 1 (02:19:28):
How do you soldier forward?

Speaker 2 (02:19:32):
It's part of my discipline to keep going, so I
decide keep going. So the question is then am I
able to rely upon myself? So what I do in
the morning when I get up, say hello God and
send out my good thoughts the immediate family and friends

(02:19:52):
and distant family and friends. From there, I moved to
my physical regime of physical exercises and the I get
in the cold shower. Why because my body doesn't want
to get into the cold shower any more than it
wants to do its exercises. But this is the animal

(02:20:14):
that carries me round life, and it will not tell
me what I do. I tell my body what to do,
and then I move from this to my morning sitting,
and then from that I enter my day having told
myself that I will you will keep going. And in
terms of optimism, why am I optimistic? Because I have

(02:20:35):
decided to be optimistic. I'm a reasonable person. And if
a good reason, a reasonable person would despair. So reason
isn't sufficient. I have to trump reason, and I trump it,
first of all with hope, which we've just discussed. I

(02:20:57):
trump this with hope and with discipline. I am unable
to hold myself on course.

Speaker 1 (02:21:04):
Let me go just a little bit thread the needle,
which may not be what you're literally doing right now,
but you're familiar with You have these very dedicated fans.
You could pick one of the albums from your catalog,
you know, Islands Lizard Red, and you could say I
am going to play this album for a year live

(02:21:27):
because the audience will love this. Okay, would that be
emotional and intellectual death for you? Do you have to
keep pushing the envelope to make it interesting to you.

Speaker 2 (02:21:43):
I continue to challenge myself. An example of that well,
going on the road with David for two weeks, for example,
or having a guitar course between one hundred and one
hundred and twenty people and to near Mendoza in Argentina
this late April, and then doing festival performances and live

(02:22:07):
shows with Toy later in the year. These are all
challenges for me. Is are they intellectual challenges? Yep, certainly
going on the road with David it is Are they
personal challenges?

Speaker 1 (02:22:23):
Yes?

Speaker 2 (02:22:23):
You have one hundred people come along and they look
to me to give them advice. Yes, that a challenge, certainly.
Is that an intersectional intellectual challenge? Not as much as
it is a challenge to my feelings how to engage
on a feeling level with these people. Am I likely

(02:22:43):
to go on the road and play a particular King
Crimson album for one year to keep people happy? I
think that's unlikely. I think if I were to choose
as Pacific repertoire to play live for period of time,

(02:23:05):
I would have to choose that repertoire. I really, really
really would like to play this, and it is within
the current athletic and calisonic standards, which I can ask
myself to honor. But do I believe that I will

(02:23:28):
invite a number of other players to set off on
the road to do that with me? I think that's unlikely.

Speaker 1 (02:23:36):
Okay, So if we brought your wife in right now,
would your demeanor and style of speech be the same
or would it be more colloquial and less measured.

Speaker 2 (02:23:49):
The latter And we'll leave it at that.

Speaker 1 (02:23:52):
Robert, Oh god, I can't get you guys enough. This
has been very stimulating and I'm sure it will be
that way for my audience. Thanks so much for doing this.

Speaker 2 (02:24:08):
Till next time.

Speaker 1 (02:24:10):
This is Bob Left sets
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