All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Interviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3,070

Adrian Belew: Power Trios and Crimson Heads

By

Sign in to view read count
AAJ: He lied.



AB: [Laughs]



 



AAJ: I'm not sure if he ever played, "Space Oddity" again. Not really sure.



Adrian BelewAB: The challenge was amazing. To play all that variety of music from so many different records and so many different lineups with one band. And you know, a lot of that music had everything from sax sections to strings, orchestras...everything is on that music. David really likes to vary his coloration from record to record. So it was a big challenge for me. What I basically did as musical director was to orchestrate that. Teach the band. Find an arrangement that works for the band and work that out with them. And then it was down to being the guitarist, and how do you cover all those bases. I think we did pretty well with it. There are a couple parts where you falter. I mean, how do you do "Young Americans" without a saxophone? [Laughs] I tried, at least.



AAJ: I was really disappointed that he never put out an official live album or DVD from that tour. I've seen some bootlegs from that tour thanks to YouTube and such, and it was really monstrous.



AB: It was very good. I loved that tour. I had a great time, and I got to know David really well. It was first class all the way. It's the kind of thing you dream of doing once in your life. It was a very special time.



AAJ: You met Paul McCartney on that tour.



AB: I met Paul McCartney. I met my wife! We met after a show in Orlando in the lobby of the Peabody hotel. So that was, for me, a life changing tour. It changed everything. I'm with you though, I'd like to have a record of that.

class="f-right">Return to Index...



Back to Crimson



AAJ: The, '90s King Crimson, how did that come together? After Robert ending the band 10 years previous in Musician magazine?



AB: Well, I kept hearing rumors that King Crimson was starting again. I had not had a call, and I thought, "Well that's interesting. Is it going to be a totally new lineup?" I thought about a little bit, and I thought, "I've invested a lot of time and energy into King Crimson. I really feel that I am a part of it. And, if there is a new King Crimson, I don't want to be standing on the sidelines watching the parade go by. I want to be in the parade." [Laughs]



So it just so happened that I was going to Europe to do some dates. I had enough time to stop in and visit Robert in England. Ostensibly, I was just there to see him as a friend and say "Hi." While I was there, we did a new version of, "Cadence and Cascade." He asked me, "Would you be able to sing this, since you're here?" And "Of course, I'll sing it, I know the song very well." And I did that, then I got around to the subject of King Crimson. I said, "Well if there is a new King Crimson, I want you to know that I'd like to be a part of it. And, if that's not in your plan, that's fine, but wanted you to know that I am agreeable to that." And after that, Robert said that got his wheels in motion, and he really got serious about it. I don't know, he had new material, he had new energy for it.



The next that happened, he came to my house in the United States, and we began writing new material again. Like nothing had changed. I mean after he left he had about 30 seconds of chords changes for what would eventually become "One Time." And we had already started working on other pieces like "VROOOM" and things like that. I had a very clear idea for what he was shooting for musically speaking. It was, in some ways, akin to an advanced Beatles. That was a little bit of what I was hearing. I wanted to hear something like "I Am The Walrus" which turned into a song like "Dinosaur." That's the King Crimson version of that type of music.



AAJ: Was that song lyrically about impressions in the press that King Crimson was one of these old progressive bands going back on tour—the band as dinosaur?



Adrian Belew / King CrimsonAB: No, it wasn't really at all. Actually, it was more of a personal statement. I was tired of people always digging into my life and trying to find out things, you know. I don't know what it was about. Maybe I felt at that point that I was a dinosaur. The music industry was moving so fast and past me, and I knew that I wasn't going to create hit records, and I wasn't going to be on the radio, so I had to change the focus of my career around at that time.



AAJ: So it was sort of a comment on where you were at, at that time.



AB: Yeah, and I never really considered the idea that King Crimson was called a dinosaur by a critic or anything like that. Never even occurred to me. I was also in a big dinosaur phase. I read volumes of books about all the new dinosaur theories. If you remember, that was around the time just before Jurassic Park (1993) came out. I was already studying all the new theories that they had. Especially the one that really struck me was the one that said dinosaur were early versions of birds. And I'm a bird watcher. So for me, that was incredible. It got me going. I started reading everything I could about what was going on there. For a long time, dinosaurs were just these big plodding things, no one knew anything about them or where they came from. All of a sudden, there was this explosion of information.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Randy Weston: The Spirit of Our Ancestors Interviews
Randy Weston: The Spirit of Our Ancestors
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: September 7, 2018
Read Val Wilmer: Dues And Testimony Interviews
Val Wilmer: Dues And Testimony
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 5, 2018
Read Bob James: Piano Player Interviews
Bob James: Piano Player
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: September 3, 2018
Read Ben Wolfe: The Freedom to Create Interviews
Ben Wolfe: The Freedom to Create
by Stephen A. Smith
Published: September 1, 2018
Read Peter Epstein: Effortless Precision Interviews
Peter Epstein: Effortless Precision
by Stephen A. Smith
Published: September 1, 2018
Read Dan Shout: In With a Shout Interviews
Dan Shout: In With a Shout
by Seton Hawkins
Published: August 31, 2018
Read "Ben Wolfe: The Freedom to Create" Interviews Ben Wolfe: The Freedom to Create
by Stephen A. Smith
Published: September 1, 2018
Read "Salim Washington: To Be Moved to Speak" Interviews Salim Washington: To Be Moved to Speak
by Seton Hawkins
Published: May 30, 2018
Read "Rufus Reid: Composer, Educator, Bassist, Gait Keeper… And Prophet" Interviews Rufus Reid: Composer, Educator, Bassist, Gait...
by David Hadley Ray
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "Bokani Dyer: African Piano" Interviews Bokani Dyer: African Piano
by Seton Hawkins
Published: June 7, 2018
Read "Hal Willner's Rock 'n' Rota" Interviews Hal Willner's Rock 'n' Rota
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: July 26, 2018