Robert Fripp, a founding member of King Crimson, spoke on the difficulties of creating songs with other members and suggested a simple strategy for splitting up a group.
“With Crimson [songwriting] was an open form of engagement, which has always been complex, always problematic and always very demanding,” In a recent interview with Guitar World, Fripp clarified. “If you would like a band to break up, have writing rehearsals. What you do when you hit that problem is you get on the road. Then you introduce an audience into the situation, music comes to life and you’ll keep going.”
“Not that Robert is a bandleader,” Speaking in the third person, Fripp went on, “but in terms of practical strategies for keeping the band together and working, you move from writing rehearsals as quickly as possible into live performance.”
The guideline, which Fripp upheld in King Crimson despite tension within the band, was that all group members should be given fair credit for work, regardless of each individual’s involvement.
“When Robert was the primary writer, even if Bill Bruford didn’t play a note he would receive an equal share of the publishing income,” the rocker revealed. “Why? Firstly, because it exemplified the view that where there is an equal commitment there is an equitable distribution. Secondly, if Robert made a value judgement or recommendation that we go this way, there was never any question that my recommendation for either a musical or business direction favored me. There was never a conflict of interests with Robert. If I said, ‘Look, lads. I think we should do this,’ it was because I thought we should do this. Why? Primarily for the music, then primarily the interest of the band and so on.”
Fripp is presently in New York for his latest Guitar Circle conference, and he recently announced the publishing of a book named The Guitar Circle in which he explains the organization’s ideals, which focus on behaviours about playing guitar as well as technicalities.
“It’s less what you do, it’s more how you do and why you do,” he explained. “We’ve now had guitar courses since March 1985 and the book is essentially a report on the history of Guitar Craft and the Guitar Circle to date. If you’re looking for a book of guitar exercises, this is not the way to go.”