Sunday, 25 June 2017

Crim King's Lead Hat, Inc.

Of crimson kings and talking heads... I said as I read what had prompted Facebook Fripp to post:
From Adrian Belew's FB page. A longer discussion is possible of this, and most likely not a happy one. The happier version is, both the excellent AB Power Trio and King Crimson are playing live, and both have interesting repertoires.

Dave Dreyfus: It's a fun video from Rome and especially cool to hear Adrian trying out sounds that one year later turned into King Crimson's Discipline album. Interesting to hear some of those arrangements rearranged by the mostly Brit KC team out touring in 2016 and 2017. For example the current lead singer now sings the spoken word Indiscipline lyric.

Adrian Belew: I don't find that interesting. we had an agreement they would not perform anything I wrote. hmmm
The comment Belew was responding to was in response to his own, reminiscing his tour with Talking Heads:
"I woke up at first light this morning. still jet lagging. for the first time ever I watched some of the infamous Talking Heads Live in Rome 1980 video people so often mention.
it really is a stunning amazing concert by an incredible group just reaching their height of fame and creativity.
so much of it is a whirlwind of memories for me today. I was just finding myself. I was still a sideman!
reading the comments is intriguing. one person thought I was fripp. another thought I was eno! many people thought I added great stuff, one person found me distracting. another person thought I was too loud (as though I was the person mixing the concert!)
I was just contributing what I had been asked for. energy, sounds, solos, and creativity.
I didn't have time to consider the impact of it all. I was having a ball.
I always loved the Heads. chris, tina, david, and jerry were an awesome band. that was a good time for music."
The Heads' falling out with David Byrne was enough to spawn a great album without him, which featured on each track a contribution from a different of several of the remaining band's favored lyricist/vocalists. It was called No Talking Just Head, which is amusing not just for the oral innuendo but the thinly veiled comment on who wasn't on the album. Maria McKee's contribution "No Big Bang" seemed to go in that vein and Johnette Napolitano did a bang up job capturing the energy on that, as well as her own and other's, when they toured it. Alas, even that band was soon to be no more for good. I was lucky enough to see them at the Park West in Chicago. 

The great Belew knew the late-great Bernie Worrell because they toured together for that The Name of this Band is Talking Heads era group, which preceded the Stop Making Sense that Worrell stayed aboard for. Now Bernie met his nasty cancerous end last year, which played its circuitous part in re-familiarizing me with with the traditional bad blood run deep between brothers in music. Where-thru? Facebook.

For what is Facebook if not the place to have a closer relationship with your... fans... if you can avoid getting troll'd into commenting on matters of what might be left to yourself. As Bernie's wife was updating everyone on his health status, she busied herself, as well, railing against Bernie's former Parliament-Funkadelic partner, George Clinton. The guy who notoriously, much like Robert Fripp, had headaches with the industry and getting ownership of his band's music, also has had issues with his former bandmembers regarding the same, such that there's enough smoke there to indicate exploitation of his own damn doing. Strictly from the Facebook of things, Belew doesn't look to fully realize how fortunate he is, still, as an off-duty Crim. Having your words wrung by the new guy is a far cry from having your default ex-band leader always tell you there's never any money.

Up to a point, Belew appears to enjoy basking in the on-line glow on his fans' Facebooks. Indeed, many of them seem to be an extension of the artist as they vicariously experience his trips & tales. Twenty-five years ago, when I saw him (the first of twenty times) on his Inner Revolution tour, I would have been inclined to my projection of his apparent projection of reality — of his being bruised yet above it all. As things are today, I would say that Belew & Fripp's dueling passive-aggression 'd almost stand up to the virtuosity of their interlocking guitar sorties.

Some people say this potency of artist collaboration cannot exist without the requisite emotional tension. Bullshit. There's been plenty of greatness of the highest order between partners who got along well otherwise. The strength of Discipline and TCoL is in spite of whatever snippiness came between it, not because of it. Then again, what do I know? Why should I even have an opinion on it, let alone comment?

Facebook is good for next to nothing. It's good enough so that Judie Worrell, in the throes of watching the slow death of her husband, a master composer who had been cheated right down to his deathbed, could decide to vent a bit of that frustration. It's good enough that Bernie's fans could then scold her publicly for not taking a more charitable view of George Clinton.

Facebook is good enough for Adrian Belew to get countless comments from people who still aren't aware he's not with the current KC — that is, if they were aware they were active at all — saying things like, "Ade, mate! When is King Crimson coming to the sticks of this continent very far away that I live on? Nobody ever comes here!  ;-("

Facebook is good enough that eventually ole Ade cannot resist — feeling slighted & slightly whakk'd — and lets slip a passive-aggressive tone or two, which, be-musingly enough, his fans will take for an opportunity to laud him for "taking the high road" while they rip Fripp a new one on his behalf. Facebook is good enough that fans can fix from afar as Belew lets that outpouring go unchecked until it gets so absurd that he'll chime in with how Fripp and he are still friends. I wonder if they're Facebook friends.

Facebook is good enough that Fripp can evade reply on everything his commenters say, but chirp when he gets wind of something he saw elsewhere on Facebook. Never being one to let an uninformed view go unchallenged, now he can do it in Facebook fashion. Maybe he can't resist.

Don't get me started on the fruitful back & forth between FB friend & foe (Facebook acquaintance & non-acquaintance) as they discuss politics. There's no discussion of politics. It's just Facebook. I'll bet you a billion Zucker-bucks it's wicked-baaad for your health.


A less buoyant heart plays its part as the wester most coast of the new land embarks upon the twenty-fifth of June. An hour later in red river country, and last night to be more precise, probably twixt 6 & 3 hours ago beginning to end showtime, I miss again my chance to accompany sibling in consanguinity to the current Incorporation of the Crimson King. At the risk of repeating myself under duress, I recapitulate the hot dates on which Gock & I have been in a row:

22 June 1984: Twenty days after his twenty-first, seven weeks before my eighteenth, we drove with Haas & Hoffman from Naptown to the Chicago 'burbs (of Hoffman Estates, no less) to see the Discipline quartet form the finale of their experiment in gamelan guitar on their Three of a Perfect Pair tour.

14 June 1995: Eleven years thereafter, that quartet reformed with an additional duo to establish their double trio, which we audit-& spectated twelve earthly spins after his thirty-second, two months left from my twenty-ninth, this time with Gock driving up 65 to join me in my new hometown in Chicago proper. I'd commented beforehand how I thought the new configuration melded old-middle w/ new-middle, lending themselves to "Red" re-rendering. Gock agreed. He sat two rows in front of me. I saw him enthuse the brightness of my prescience when, not fifteen minutes in, they kicked into the number in question. It was a moment for sure. So what if neither his recognition of mine, nor mine itself had been in any sense astute. Forgetful maybe: they'd played "Red" in '84.

30 October 2000, 31 October 2000 & 1 November 2000: This quartet was the next step in the Restrukcturing of Crimson. Out were Tony Levin & Bill Bruford, behind were the duo who joined them for the Thrak exKcursion, Pat Mastelotto & Trey Gunn.  Again Gock joining me further north, we were together for three shows at Fripp's famously faved Park West with us both well into our thirties. The title track opener to The ConstruKction Of Light on night number one presented proof that the replacements were world class players. Though I was so moved by sitting close enough to Fripp's face that it was tempting to hide behind his monitor speaker, being able to witness his fretting fingers fly on "FraKctured" and the newest "Larks' Tongues" elevated the experience to thitherto unwitnessed breadths. On night number two, Belew wore bunny ears for the Halloween "Heroes" encore.

6 & 7 August 2008: Now both this side of forty, Gock rolled up for two of three again at the Park West, where MiLkBabIES B & J, along with C, the man of my sisterly K as well as K herself joined us from within the city. There's vid online of us waiting in line. The twist in this short-lived lineup is Levin rejoining to replace Gunn and drummer G. (not George) Harrison providing the original brain & brawn behind the script of the "BBoom": an arrangement for two drummers. This is the first time I saw Belew sit to play, and it was lower than Fripp, on a stool that worked like a bouncy mushroom. (There's irony there for those who've frequently followed all fings Fripp.) T Lev was obviously capable enough to recapture Gunn's "ConstruKction". The linked live variation is fab. I recall being disappointed that the audience didn't allow Fripp's soundscape at the end of one of the songs fade before letting loose with their response. I still feel it was an indication of their not really being in the moment, and rather responding how they'd been trained. Well, you can't have everything. You can sometimes lead the audience to applause, but you can't always make them listen.

11 September 2016 : Last summer's waning flew Gock to Berlin, where he hadn't been before. All I had to do was buy an extra ticket and give him a bed. Not a bad deal. Renewed this time, as well, was the repertoire as much as personnel. Notably absent was Adrian Belew, who we'd seen solo in Indy in addition to every other concert we'd been to. Jakko Jakszyk was/is on first &/or second guitar and singing when's to be sung. A lot of old pieces, the titles of which it used to be hip to laugh about other audients' screaming — as we who were hip knew, after all, would never be played again in public. Some things change. Rearrange. With this in mind, absolute highlights here are "Fracture", "Cirkus", "Easy Money", and "Starless", a vid of which version is also online.

Regarding this round's encore of "Heroes": In light of Bowie's passing nine months prior, along with the Berlin backdrop of the song's history from its conception & production to its legend lending status to the artist, the audience didn't seem overly moved. Contrary to my earlier observation on the Chicago crowd's not listening, I think the Berlin public had heard the song too many times, and in too many contexts (e.g. every commemoration of the fall of the Wall and to sell loads of crap) to feel just how moving it might have been. I was a little moved; but it was tempered by the crowd, or, maybe rather the subversive phenomenological view of their misappropriation. Well, you cannot have everything.

In shortsighted retrospect I wonder if, of the two clusters of 21st century performances, it might not have been '00 when we went to two of three and '08 when it was all three. Or maybe we only went to two each time. What I seem to believe I can recall is that I went to all six, with or without Gock.

Speakin' o' which, we saw the sequel to the Oughts' Four unit apart from one another, he in Chicago, me in Prague in 2003. And for the 2014 trio of shows in Chicago, Gock invited me to attend any one or more of the three. I was hard-pressed infused with guilt. He invited to pay my airfare, in addition to the tickets he'd already bought. I just couldn't do it. Like last night.

While we have a tradition of seeing KC together when they go on the road, I am fast becoming traditionally truant.

ObsKcured by Cam & Head, Foto by Fripp, 11 September 2016 - Berlin

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Ode to Cabbage

There's a dearth of cabbage, that kraut helmet of green
On these pages, be they leaves or my unraveling.
Far be it for me— er,  Be - It - Far - From —
O! fuckit! Farbeitfrom should be gum.

Farbeitfrom me to judge olde histories,
Mine's an umpire's perception's opinion.
What's forgot's now lost to untold mysteries;
Losers annals aren't Clio's dominion.

Behold! hungry mourner, there's gold been buried,
A dirge not so sad, after all.
Arise! hop 'n' clap, sing it slow, then hurried,
Drive the fall of the soul to the wall!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Recollection of the Image Nation
by Skips Wayback

I imagine America as an unfunny but popular sitcom whose character played by Charlie Sheen is struck dead by a train and replaced with a strikingly Ashton Kutcher-like character eventually to wring four more seasons out of the franchise. I imagine the suitable TV trope to be jumping the Shark Tank.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Let's Get Lit

Worse than its misapplication is the superfluous "literally" in lieu of an already perfectly gratuitous "like". Like, way worse. I am herewith copping to its being my own pet peeve in the sense that when I hear or read it I get irritated. Like, really irritated. Literally like. Not metaphorically maybe, but literally literally. Also, as a pet peeve it represents an almost subliminal sense of superiority on my part even though I know I am inferior in more ways than are countable, and how the simple occurrence of its use makes it silly and stupid of me to allow it to get on my nerves. File this paragraph under "that said".

Sunday, 4 June 2017