Interview with Adrian Belew in SCENE Magazine

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Date Submitted: 6-Jun-1995
Submitted By: Mark Allender (mallende at Phoenix dot kent dot edu)

The following article was published in the Cleveland area entertainment magazine, SCENE, which is published weekly and is freely distributed. this is from the June 1-7, 1995 Issue (Vol. 26 No. 22). Crimson is on the cover of the issue (i had never seen what Pat or Trey looked like before!) and the article also comes with a photo. THRAK also is reviewed in the album review section.

If you would like to try to get a copy of the issue in question, i suggest writing to the offices @

SCENE / One Playhouse Square / 1375 Euclid Ave. #312 / Cleveland, Ohio 44115

or email to

el176 at cleveland dot Freenet dot Edu

though whether that will do any good or not is unknown to me.


by Marc Holan

It's been 12 years since the last King Crimson album, THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR. In the interim, the four principals of the band -- guitarist Robert Fripp, percussionist Bill Bruford, bassist Tony Levin, and guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew -- have persued the requisite solo projects, in addition to playing on other artists' recordings. Belew, a respected solo artist in his own right, played on Nine Incs Nails' THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL and toured with The Psychodots. Levin has played with Peter Gabriel on his last couple of albums and tours, and Bruford does drum clinics and records with an avant-jazz outfit. Robert Fripp refrains from participating in the kind of recording projects that most artists seek out.

Coming together as King Crimson, the four musicians put aside their individual interests for a common goal of creating music that ias beyond categorization. THRAK, the lkatest chapter in the King Crimson saga, represents a new approach to recording that is the result of Fripp's musical vision. Augmented by former Mr. Mister drummer Pat Mastelotto and bassist Trey Gunn, the basic quartet splits off into what Fripp calls "the double trio format."

Belew, calling from his new home base of Nashville, explains the double trio concept. "I think the double trio is somewhat of a nebulous term that someone has attached to this, and I don't really see much evidence of it yet, musically.

"What it is meant to imply is that the band can break down into different factions, so you may have one group of people playing one part of the music and another group playing another part. I don't think we've really got around to doing much of that yet.

"There is a song on the record called 'Dinosaur' which I wrote a middle section that does break down into a trio of Trey, Tony, and myself. Initially, I asked Robert to play as well, but he thought what we were already playing, the trio was already enough {sic}. That's one attempt I can think of on the record in which the band breaks down into a smaller grouping. I think in the future we may try to utilize these possiblities."

What about live?

"No," Belew replies, "it's not structured, not two different trios. The idea is more mixing up different people, different combinations. In the live context, there are times when the band breaks down into different factions." (King Crimson will be playing at Nautica Stage Thursday, June 8)

Before recording THRAK, the band played a series of live dates to solidify the songs' arrangements. "We played in Argentina four months ago to develop the rest of the material before recording it and to play in front of a live audience again," Belew explains. "So I have some evidence of what the band is going to be like, very powerful.

"As I say, there were different times when you had two or three different people playing and someone else just sitting there. It's nice because we've got so much going on in this music. Everyone has such a giant palette to choose from that we can sound pretty big, and sometimes it's nice to sound small again for a minute."

Considering the length of time between albums, there must have been some trepidation among the musicians to get back together. What would it be like? Would they still have a common musical ground?

"The band came back together in and of itself," Belew recalls. "At the same time, there's a whole different confidence and maturity level. I feel this band will be fun to be in, and it will have a longer life together if we're smart about it.

"One of the requirements of us not hating each other is that we spend short, intensive bursts of time together and then go away and do other things," Belew says. "Essentially, two months of touring in May and June, then in October and November. There's no rush. King Crimson is very important to all of us, and we want to do it the right way.

Belew admits that he approachres writing songs for King Crimson in a different way than writing songs for his solo records. "I tend to focus on King Crimson stuff as we're doing it," he explains. "I kind of wait until the band is starting to gear itself up, and then I think of King Crimson only. Some of the music has similarities to my solo albums -- some of it -- my part ofd it. It's a different approach. I pretty much work in areas of expertise."

It's suggested "Sex" on the new album has a Nine Inch Nails' aggressiveness to it. Could it be that Belew was influenced by Trent Reznor?

"I don't know," Belew replies. "It just came out that way. It's the only song on the album we just arrived at, with the band just sort of improvising. I took the improvised DATs away and listened to them, prescribed some chord changes. Then I sat in the parking lot at the last minute and wrote the words, walked into [the studio] and sang it.

I guess maybe that's it," he continues. "It was kinda 'arrived at' in the most haphazard manner of anything on the record I can think of. Most of the other [songs] are well thought out, well discussed, rehearsed, played in front of audiences and so forth before they're ever finalized. 'Sex' is kind of different from anything else."

It's pointed out that, in Cleveland, "Dinosaur" is getting airplay on WNCX, a classic rock station, as opposed to stations playing "modern rock." King Crimson's music is as innovative as anything on the airwaves, but where does it fit in today's radio climate?

"I did wonder aloud where King Crimson could if at all fit in the radio airwaves today," Belew says. "I never think of the band in commercial terms. We're definately not a band that will do endless touring and videos. It's hard enough for us to get together to do a photo session," he adds with a laugh.

"No one seems concerned about that stuff, though. King Crimson is about music, and that's the way it should stay."