Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Saturday 01 March 2003

King Crimson Tour Bus of Beastliness & Wonder


The King Crimson Nashville To Asheville tour is now ended, and has merged seamlessly with the tour of Nashville To Lotsa Places Everywhere Else On Three Continents.

The tour of Europe looks likely, even a goer. This includes points of existential terror for me, notably the Congresshall in Warsaw - a gift from Uncle Joe to his pals, the Polish people. This is one good example of how to transfer paranoia into architecture. Another good example: the house in Holland where GC held a course in 1987. The owner/architect built it as a way of keeping out the world, locked himself in, and committed suicide. There were some strange dreams flying around the team that week. But I witter, on, associatively. And some associative wittering is forgivable while traveling on a tourbus out of North Carolina. Backtracking --

Friday 28th. February: Setting off around 11.00 from Hotel Professionally Acceptable to walk around Asheville, I found it a very pleasant American town, and enjoyed coffee in two cafes. The town centre is disfigured with brutalist office construction of the 1980s, Merrill Lynch being the name on one graceless slab. But there is also preservation work and a clear interest in historic features of Asheville.

Setting up my HQ in the back of the bus at lunchtime, I opened a kitchen drawer, featuring a special safety catch, which lifted the nail on the first finger of my left hand. Yow! Blood was drawn. Discomfort was considerable.

When introduced to John Williams, the English classical guitarist, at Ronnie Scott's c. 1971 he offered me two fingers as a handshake (not as a gesture). That is, he was very concerned to protect his hand from being squeezed tightly by the testosterone-charged grip of a rock guitarist meeting him for the first time. John's concern for his hands has remained with me. I take care of mine, but not to the same extent as John. I do not, for example, work with electrically driven circular saws, as did Beric Willcox, my Father-in-Law. He has parts of fingers missing from doing just this

But - yow! again - sawless & slightly slack, practising on the bus & the soundcheck were both very painful, giving reason for concern as the show approached. The running lines of Larks' IV run on, paying little heed to the wincing of the feeble left hand executing them. I know, from long experience, that when we walk onstage mundane concerns are left behind. This often extends to illness, aches & pains, tiredness. So, just walk onstage. But how about lifted fingernails?

Well, the quick answer is ouch! but not to the same degree as soundcheck, which was very bad. Finger vibrato suffered, some chord voicings were substituted, some accuracy lost, some bold leaps were not as bold as they might otherwise have been. Surprisingly, Oyster Soup was the most painful to play.

Personal concerns aside, this was a show for the audience. A good-size club, sold out with some walk-up turned away. They were superb & generous, with the highest proportion of women I have ever seen at any KC concert since 1969. And many of them were what a man of 56 would describe as young. One woman, at the side of the stage, was beating time in 11. And then singing along! This is even more terrifying to experience than a good review from an English paper. Although the character with the infra-red camera was a disappointment.

The band discovered errors it had overlooked to find before, and displayed them with panache & good humour. Pat & Trey are working with an in-ear system, learning its strengths & weaknesses. Like, they drop out of the ear. But, the Rhythm Buddies are a powerful team & stick together. I go with Ade. Sometimes, this isn't where the Rhythm Buddies are going. This makes for excitement & the joys of finding new messes to paddle around in. The Double Duo lives on, although they don't always live together.

When the bus arrived for soundcheck this afternoon, a man was waiting, grasping the vinyl sleeve of Sacred Songs. "Daryl's signed it!" he shouted persuasively to me as whipcords snapped, bearing me in the opposite direction & up the stairs. Perhaps I should have stopped and told him the story of negotiating with Tommy Mottola, then manager of Hall & Oates, now recently ex-Power Possessor of Sony Records and former husband of Mariah Carey.

As the producer I was to receive a $5,000 advance, $2,500 before & $2,500 after delivery of the record, and 2% royalties. The first 50% advance was straightforward. The second half, on delivery, was un-forthcoming. Eventually it was given to me by a nice guy in the Mottola office who, I believe, was embarrassed. The record release was held up for well over two years. RCA & Tommy seemed to feel that Sacred Songs would hinder Daryl's commercial career (in the same way that EG & Island felt No Pussyfooting would hamper Eno's commercial potential as a solo artist). I have never received royalties, either from the vinyl edition or the CD re-issue that David Singleton & I mastered. Shoganai.


The day is grey.


But I have spoken to Little Willcox (she is in Eastbourne) so the sun is shining in my heart. Also to Mother-in-Law Barbara & Sister.

And I have taken advantage of several hours on the tourbus to re-organise my KC play-on music in i-Tunes. The main playlist is Awful, with subsidiary playlists Awful Elvis, Awful Bobby Vee & Awful Platters. Desperately Sad is now re-filed under Awfully Sad & the compilation playlist Awfully Awful. Bill Munyon's recent help to re-organise my hard-drives resulted in a complete loss of all the playlists, so this has been an opportunity to re-visit some awful delight. Bill has contacted Mac and we are hoping that a new version will allow for i-Tunes to access different hard-drives. I would like my music library to be on an external hard-drive, rather than clog up the operating space on the internal hard drive.

Performers grow up in public, and successful performers grow up being advised & influenced in their public lives by people who, nominally representing their interests, get them to record such classics as Stayin' In (Bobby Vee).

The Shaggs are not filed under Awful. They are not awful, they are The Shaggs and that is the name of their playlist.


The tourbus arrived in a part of Atlanta around 13.45. I have chosen not to leave HQ on the bus for 2-3 hours in Hotel Modeste. We have an overnight drive to Washington and I shall remain engaged & vibrated at the back.


A second generous & supportive audience, also sold out. On stage, lotsa fun. Of all possible & new clunkers to be discovered, several were. My fingernail wasn't a problem tonight, with only an occasional twinge. I attribute this to generous squernings of Hypercal ointment. Ade has a deepening Devil Disease & is now a Mr. Sniffy.

We are set to leave at 00.30 for Washington.