King Crimson, the English rock band co-founded by guitarist Robert Fripp, kicked off its summer tour in Seattle earlier this month on a run that brings them to Los Angeles this week, and while the band had been off the road since December it’s safe to say the eight musicians in the band hit the stage in tip-top form despite the creatively complex music in which King Crimson trades.
“It is complicated music,” says bassist Tony Levin, who after Fripp – the only constant member of the band since it formed in 1968 – might be the longest serving, having joined in 1981. “And because King Crimson is a very conscientious band we rehearse a tremendous amount.
“Robert really wants the band from the first show to be capable of doing a show unlike anything anyone has heard,” Levin says. “So we spend a lot of time and a lot of money, frankly, getting all eight guys together.”
Well before King Crimson arrives at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 21, Crimson’s three drummers – Pat Mastelotto, Gavin Harrison and Jeremy Stacey – spent a week or two practicing on their own, Levin says.
The rest of the band – Fripp, Levin, multi-instrumentalist Bill Reiflin, singer-guitarist Jakko Jakszyk, and saxophonist Mel Collins – then joined them in England for two weeks of rehearsals, with another week still to come at the time we spoke in the last week of May.
“When we get together we don’t just remind ourselves of the material,” he says. “We’re actually constantly trying to reinvent it, and change it if necessary, to make it into the kind of music King Crimson should be.”
That kind of…
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