Interview with Robert Fripp in Mojo

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Date Submitted: 26-Apr-1994
Submitted By: Steve Moore (smoore at uk dot oracle dot com)

Attached is the text of the RF interview in the MAY '94 issue of Mojo... Reproduced without permission


Robert Fripp's bitter tussle with EG Music, the management company he helped establish in 1969, has distracted him from music for the best part of three years. Much of that time must have been spent penning what have become known in the music industry as 'The Fripp Letters' - hundreds of acerbic missives to EG executives comprising a dizzying mixture of venomous abuse, abstruse legal argument and bitter wit, copies of which were also dispatched to record company executives, journalists and interested musicians (Andy MacKay, Greg Lake, Vernon Reid and Darryl Hall amongst others). But with a settlement expected fairly soon, he's back at work...

Mojo: Why did you launch yourself so wholeheartedly into the EG battle?

RF: The dispute is about EG selling the catalogue to Virgin and the publishing company to EMI. I felt a deep sense of personal violation. EG was set up as a partnership between artists and managers, and to see the power and quality of that relationship violated so thoroughly left no alternative. I also acted on behalf of the 20-odd ex-members of King Crimson because, in the '90s, if we can't act wihout co-operation, there is no hope. I'm not a pacifist, but I am pacific.

Mojo: It must have been draining on all fronts. How has it affected your music?

RF: It's ironic, but I've returned to it more strongly than ever. I'm mixing the Fripp & Sylvian live album at the moment. I'm halfway through the new one with Eno. There's an album with The Orb on the ffrr label out soon. I'm playing live on (BBC) Radio 1 with The Future Sound of London in May and there are some remixes of The Grid coming out soon.

Mojo: Plus the return of King Crimson. In 1974 you said 'King Crimson is over for ever and ever'. But you revived them in 1981. And again now...

RF: King Crimson has a life of its own. It is a creative identity quite apart from the musicians who comprise it. I've even met it. In March 1981 I was driving to rehearsals for my band Discipline and I became aware of a presence on my left in the car. It was King Crimson, the creative force. I got to rehearsals and the band was reborn. We weren't Discipline anymore, we were King Crimson. In 1994 the music has different shapes and colours but King Crimson is back again, allowing us to do things musically we could not otherwise achieve. There'll be a mini-album just for Japan this year and a fully-fledged Crimson album next year.

Mojo: What are your memories of supporting the Stones at the '69 Hyde Park concert...

RF: It was only our seventh gig. It was great. At that time there seemed to be a world of hope and possibility in which musicians and audiences were in control to effect change. These days, I'm more interested in what technology has to offer, international communications networks like Internet which allows subscribers to become a cell in the global brain. It offers limitless opportunities. It's the future that interests me, not the past.