Interview with David Cross in FUZZ
Date Submitted: 8-Sep-1999
Submitted By: George Khouroshvili (nightwatcher98 at hotmail dot com)
David Cross interview 6-Sep-99 for FUZZ (Russian Music Magazine) by George Khouroshvili
Who invited you to join King Crimson? How did you get acquainted with Robert Fripp?
I was in a band called Waves rehearsing in a cafe in The Fulham Palace Road in London. We invited EG management to come and see us. Fripp came down. He invited me to work on an album with him and Jamie Muir. He then asked me to come to a jam session with Jamie, John Wetton and Bill Bruford at a rehearsal room in Covent Garden. It was on the day of my grandfather's funeral, but I decided I ought to go to the session. By the end of the day we had formed the new King Crimson. I felt guilty about my grandfather for some years afterwards.
What was it like to play in King Crimson?
Exciting, frustrating, educational, shocking, fun, loud, challenging, never ever boring,
That line-up became classic, and many (if not most) listeners consider it as the best in the band's history. What do you think of those days (best or / and worst moments about it)?
The need to experiment and take chances was wonderful and completely in tune with the times. The worst moments were when we repeated ideas trying to regain the success of the night before; what we needed to repeat was the attitude!
Live performances were always critically important for King Crimson, on the other hand in 1973-74 the band released 3 studio albums of the highest quality. And what you preferred: to work in studio or to perform live.
I have very rarely been comfortable with recording. I can't easily achieve the balance between control and freedom that is necessary. Sometimes I can play the right thing straight away, other times I waste hours and still can't get the simplest thing recorded. Essentially King Crimson was a live band.
Did your attitude changed these days?
Yes, but only recently. Because of current technology I am now enjoying recording and manipulating music creatively. I am becoming interested in the result rather than the idea or the process!
What was the main reason for your departure from the band?
The band was becoming more heavy rock oriented and less sensitive. At that time I didn't have the soloing skills to keep up with the change and they didn't have the desire to accommodate me any more.
Do you have any idea why Robert Fripp decided to overdub your playing on two tracks on "USA" with Eddie Jobson's violin? It's still a mystery for me: I've heard so many live recordings from this period and your playing is superb. I doubt that Robert found it unsatisfying on this particular show. Any comments?
Only Robert knows the answer to that! I haven't heard the recordings. I've always assumed that my performance was crap so it had to be replaced.
Please, tell us about your activities after the KC broke-up till the end of the 80's.
Please see my CV on www.noisy.co.uk
How you decided to invite John Wetton & Robert Fripp to record your latest album? And, by the way, why did you chose to cover "Exiles"?
I felt the need to resolve the tensions of our parting in 1974 and rediscover our relationship. There was some 'unfinished business' (the provisional title for Exiles). I came up with the music for the opening phrase of Exiles ('Here in this far away land') at our first jam session at Covent Garden. At that time I didn't know much about any of my colleagues, nor they about me, but this phrase found its way into our repertoire.
What was the main difference between working with Robert & John 23 years ago & now?
Surprisingly little. I certainly enjoyed every moment of the recording and mixing. Obviously enormous changes have taken place in all our lives but there was a real spark between us. I was staggered that this was possible.
Do you still keep in touch with your former bandmates? If so, do you plan any further collaborations with them?
I am very bad at keeping in touch with anybody. In writing the next David Cross album I am aware of the possibilty of collaborations.
By the way, how "This is your life" was written? Peter Sinfield left King Crimson before you joined the band, when did you meet him for the first time?
While we were recording Larks Tongues he was working in the studio next door, and I think I met him them. For Exiles, I had the idea for what I thought would be a commercial song in an odd time signature. I thought it needed a special touch with the lyrics so I approached him to collaborate with me. John Wetton put a lot of work into "This is your life" and I am very happy with the result.
Do you have any plans to work with some other famous musicians (of non-KC fame)?
There are many musicians that I would like to work with.
Please, tell the Fuzz readers what are you engaged in these days?
I have formed Noisy Records which I am going to develop as a Record Company and a quite exceptional Retail Website (www.noisy.co.uk). I am just finishing production of 'Civilizations', the new Radius album which will be released on Noisy Records. Mick Paul and I have written 9 tracks for the new David Cross album, rejected 4 and are developing 5.
Your favorite King Crimson tune (incl compositions written by other line-ups)?
21st Century Schizoid Man
[Some words for the Russian fans.]
- I wish I could speak Russian!
If you've heard my music, thank you!
If you've heard my music and it wasn't a pirate CD, my children thank you!