Robert Fripp Explains Why King Crimson Keep Breaking Up
King Crimson leader Robert Fripp made a rare press-conference appearance to announce the band’s 50th-anniversary events and talked about why the group keeps breaking up over the years.
In addition to a tour and album reissues planned for 2019, the band's full back catalog will become available on streaming services on June 10 after Fripp and manager David Singleton decided the reasons they previously avoided the move were no longer valid.
At a media event in London this past weekend, Fripp discussed his band as a “way of doing things,” Rolling Stone reported. “Here’s the headline," he said. "‘What are the recurrent characteristics of King Crimson?’ Sub-banner headline – ‘Change.’ Note, King Crimson regularly breaks up.”
He asked the audience, “Have you noticed that? This has to do with the nature of the creative process. There are points which you can anticipate when the process is likely to go off course or go wrong. And when you get to that point, to maintain the original or intended trajectory of that process, you need a redirection.”
Despite his reputation in some circles as a perfectionist, Fripp said he regarded precision as a “relative” idea within the band. “Personally, I don’t mind when good musicians make mistakes – actually, I love it," he explained. "Because what you see is the quality of the musician responding to the mistake in the moment in front of an audience.”
He recalled a 2017 performance of “The ConstruKction of Light,” during which each musician was working to a different time signature, and bassist Tony Levin came in two beats early. In the resulting reaction, Fripp recalled, there was “a king of ongoing re-engagement from time to time from the other members of the band, and this was such an informative re-presentation of ‘The ConstruKction of Light’ that we released it as a free download.”