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Friday, May 5, 2000

Adrian Belew Chat

Anonymous: now that the crimson line up has changed from the double trio to a bouble duo, or is that quartet? are we to expect a more polite, refined sound? I ask this question because the monumental din of Thrak was the thing that turned me on....this is not to say that the remaining four thrakers are not capable of such monumentalisim....

Adrian Belew : First of all, I prefer the quartet lineup because it forces one to do more. Judging from the new record we have, TCOL, I think we are capable and ready to make as much noise as ever.

Bettina from Tuscany: Will we ever have others Lennon covers from you? What about a great Belew cover of "Across the Universe"? ALL your Lennon/Mc Cartney covers are simply wonderful!

Adrian Belew : I could probably do a number of volumes, because obviously that music have been inspiring. If I were to tackle another lennon song, I would probably choose one from the George Martin orchestration era. In other words, Strawberry Fields, I Am The Walrus, etc. On the Dust album, there is a cover of Blackbird by McCartney. Blackbird was a birthday gift for a friend of mine.

Peter McFerrin: Howdy, Ade! I really enjoy your playing on _The Construction of Light_, particularly on "ProzaKC Blues." My question is: Are you still using a Johnson digital modeling amp, or have you gone back to rackmount effects like Robert's TC Electronic stuff?

Adrian Belew : I'm still using Johnson, the difference is I am using two of them. They are both controlled by a single pedal board, but this allows me to have different sounds on each amp at the same time. My setup is still very simplified from the arsenal I usually travel with.

Ron Millman: Is their any plans of a tour with Robert Fripp ?

Adrian Belew : We are currently rehearsing (KC) in my studio here in Nashville. We've just finished the first few days of learning the entire record. Rough as it is, it sounds great to me. Later today we are going to tackle some of the material from previous records. Europe at the end of this month, and then through various parts of Europe ending sometime in early July. In October and November, we are scheduled to tour Japan, US, Canada and our further plans stand at this moment are to tour next spring beginning in South America. That's it so far, although there are other plans that poke their heads in the door.

Timothy: What is the idea behind the title of the new album, "The ConstruKction Of Light"?

Adrian Belew : The title comes from one of the projects. It was a working title for one of the pieces. AS far as its original invention and where it came from, I cannot say. I suppose it was Robert. When we worked on the song, we decided at the end of it, vocals should appear. I decided I could include The Construction of Light not only in the lyrics, but as the title. M personally, as a lyricist, it has a rather nebulous meaning, someone searching for light.

Crimhedd: Modern recording techniques have pretty much done away with the "sound" concept as it relates to certain studios (i.e.: the Stax sound, the Motown sound, etc). Since you've been sleeping where you earn for the last few years, what impact do you think a home studio has on your writing, production, and your craft in general?

Adrian Belew : We have smart fans, that's why we are always on our toes. The obvious answer is freedom. If you had to pay for every experiment and the time it takes at the post-rated studios, a lot of things would get lost and never discovered. I think it has helped me enormously in my studioness and understanding, because of the fact that I basically live there when I'm not touring. Working in the same environment day after day, the gear gets updated periodically, you develop a sense that you probably wouldn't, moving from studio to studio. Having a studio has been a lifelong dream for me. I encourage everyone to utilize whichever bits of technology they want. They don't have to do everything digitally or sit in a closet. Choose what you would like to use to suit your music best. For me, I have found a little bit of analogue, a little bit of digital, a little bit of acoustic, a little bit of drum machines...they are all different colors.

Robert Belew (a.k.a. Block Dog ) : Howdy, I was wondering / hoping that we may one day hear all three tracks that you recorded with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, is there a chance? Can you share with us how this session came about? Thanks,

Adrian Belew : Bela lives here in Nashville. So that is how we became acquainted. WE spoke several times about getting together and making music. Two months ago, he came here to my studio and spend the day with me. We ended up with three tracks. Later he spoke with me on the phone and said he was thrilled with what I had done, and all of it would be on the record. His next Flecktones record. He was close to the end of the record when we recorded. He was talking about getting Sting to do something for the record. The record has Shawn Colvin, and that is as much as I know, but it did sound great. None of them had vocals, I don't know if they will or not.

Anna: Someone e-mailed me the lyrics to "ProzaKc Blues", and they're hilarious, especially the line, "The thing about depression i, well you just can't let it get you down". Written from experience?

Adrian Belew : Yeah, sure. I experience things like anybody else. Life is ups and downs. We were attempting to make a modern take on blues, we felt even lyrically, it should be somewhere in between traditional and contemporary. You start off with well, I woke up this morning, but he ends up talking about Prozak. Musically the idea was to Crimsonize the blues. So you have the song going along in a traditional manner, where you think things are going to change, and they dont. We started the record with Prozak blues, primarily for its shock value, in that you are not expecting to hear the voice of a 300lb singer. The singing is me, in case anyone wonders. He is a character we call Hooter.

Kenneth Magnusson: Hi Adrian, why don't Crimson play songs like "In the court..." or Circus or "Prince Rupert Awakes". You seems reluctant to play any stuff older than the 72-74 period other than "...Schizoid..." I hope You understand my English, I'm from Sweden You see so I'm not using my native tounge (in aspic). Sweden, btw, is a sorrowly underdeveloped country concerning King Crimson concerts

Adrian Belew : I wish the last part of his statement were different. We have been to Sweden several times and found it to be a beautiful country. Part of the reason we don't delve into the old material is some of it is not timeless. Moreover, we are more interested in creating new music, which is really what King Crimson is all about. I sympathize with the fans of the old material, because I was a fan of the band long before I was in the band. But the realist in me says that those times are gone. And this band should sound like its own. There is much discussion of setlists over dinners. They are discussed.d I think the current thinking is that this is a new page, a fresh page, a new band. We would like to establish what we are trying to do first. There is quite a lot for me personally of the 80s material I would like to see this band tackle. I tis important at this stage that we establish this band, and this band's history. A the tours go on, there will be more and more things coming up unexpectedly. We like to surprise people. For now, we want to stay with the material people have been involved in.

ELIJAH from Carp: Robert Fripp has said that he sees a real continuity through all the various versions of King Crimson, but do you feel the same way? Don't take that question the wrong way, the Crimson records all have their value, and all groups change over time. But does it make sense that the new KC has Larks Tongue In Aspic Part Four? Or is it simply a way to market the group under a familiar name?

Adrian Belew : There is no marketing involved in our music making. I think Larks Tongue Part Four is musically and otherwise the grandchild of part one. If you look at it on a musical basis, the harmonies, rhythms, chord structures are being used, you would see that I am correct. For me, in KC, there is a continuity that comes from the fact that we work in similar time signatures, similar scales and areas of music,but there is also the continual need to reinvent. I feel more a part of the reinvention process than the continuity process. Most of the continuity comes from Robert's writing. He is the one person who has been through it all. My role in King Crimson is to add fresh things. At the same time, I have great respect for the tradition we try to work in, and everyone feels good about that.

Ryan: Hello Adrian, I just wanted to ask you your opinion on the Napster issue and how do feel about people being able to have your music for free p.s. have a great tour !!, do you think you'll be coming to Montreal in the near future ?

Adrian Belew : That is a large issue for me to tackle in one statement. It is all intellectual property. It is like having a service given to you and not paying for it If you were a plumer and you come over to my house and you say, since you are here ... does that mean you shouldn't be paid for fixing my toilet. It is unfair that the artist not be paid. If people understood the weight on the artist, the cost of every single aspect is passed on the artist and paid for by the artist, people would be more likely to pay for it. It is unfair to the artist and that is typical. The music business from the 50s, everything has been geared against the artist. The artist gets the smallest thing of everything. Some of us have tried to change that with better deals, and eventually we will turn it around. You want to have the music, and you want them to enjoy it. On the other hand, there are bills to be paid. IN KC,we are not rich and it is a struggle. I wish we could give our music away.

Brian Baker: Hi Adrian, You have a lot of "bonus" tracks on Japanese releases. How about putting those together on Dust? I don't think I'll ever track down the bonus track from Guitar as Orchestra, for instance. Great tour with the Irresponsibles last summer, by the way! I'd love to see that on video.

Adrian Belew : Those things are Dust. I had already thought of that and it is a perfect place for them. It is scheduled to come out next year, 2001 is the 20th anniversary of my first records on my own, including King Crimson, where I was writer or co writer. I still need some more time to finish it.It is going to have to be four discs. Packaging wise that is a more reasonable package,but we have enough now for way more than four. We are going to have to scale it back. There are some discs that could be left out and nobody would even care. I want to put it out on a real label, not on my own or an independent. It needs to have that strategy and money and marketing behind it. It is a real task to do the artwork and the mapping of it. I want it to have a time line of my entire career, so you can see that while I was writing this song here, I was off playing with Cyndi Lauper.

Nathan: What will the format of the Nashville shows be? 1 or 2 sets? Old and new music?

Adrian Belew : There is going to be one set. There is an opening act, Richard Leo Johnson, who is an acoustic guitarist that plays amazing things. Maybe we will break things up with acoustic versions of songs, generally speaking it si going to be one set. I'm sure we are going to play the entire new album and selected pieces from the last few albums. It is at a small club in Nashville called 12th and Porter. It is small, sweaty and I think we are going to blow the roof off it so they have to fix it later.

j N: i recall reading a chat transcript from about 5 years ago, where you said you would like to play 'hopefully as many ( or all) instruments in your lifetime' have you been playing any new/ different instruments lately?

Adrian Belew : I have not tried to play anything new lately with six different projects. I do have plans to take up something new. My real ambition is to be what I always call a complete recording artist, who can do it all.

Herman Ringer: Will Bill Bruford ever return to King Crimson?

Adrian Belew : My blunt opinion is no. I simply don't think he and Robert can work together.

glenn: Ade: We know you're not as inclined to pedantry as your guitar partner in KC, but, could you give us your thoughts on the dangers of 'web anonymity' as it relates to the KC fanbase's relationship with you? BTW: SubSCRIBE to the TRIBE!

Adrian Belew : I think there is a danger. The anonymity you have on the internet allows people to say cruel and vious thing they would never say to your face. Imagine if people said to you what they think of you. Even Robert as thick skinned as he seems, I know he has trouble with it too. People say things that stick with you and can hurt. I remember Frank Zappa telling me people are going to say fantastic things about you and people are going to hate you. If you are willing to accept the fantastic things, you re going to have to accept the hateful things.

Daniel T.: Construktion of Light has a heavy rock feel to it. Do you feel that King Crimson just naturally moved in this direction?

Adrian Belew : I agree with what he is saying. I think we returned somehow to being a heavy rock band. There's not a ballad. I think it is the personalities and combination of people that creates what comes out of us. I was trying to go back to becoming a rock guitar player. that is why I changed my gear and got rid of some of the esoteric things and having more of a stomp-box attitude.

Jason: Do you still keep in contact with Brian Eno? Musically both of you have seem to have similar artistic drives.

Adrian Belew : The most unfortunate ting about music is that you meet and make friends with people and you work together, although you don't see each other for 10 years. I am afraid that is the case with Brian. I only see him at times we are working together. Recently, we spent four days together with him and Laurie Anderson in her loft. We did some recording for her record. I always thought Eno was the most thought-provoking people in music. Maybe I'll have to get him to join us in King Crimson for something.

Brian Baker: Adrian, I read that you worked with Stewart Copeland in the past. What project was that? Will any material see the light of day?

Adrian Belew : It was an evening in San Francisco, celebrating rock music and film. Someone had the courageous idea of putting myself, Stewart Copeland and Stanley Clarke in a trio. All of us who have had at least one piece of music in a film, that was the pre-requisite for everyone involved that evening, including people like Ry Cooder and Kraftwerk. As far as a release of any of it, I don't know of any tape. If anyone has one, please send it to my management address, which is included on my records, and I will include it on Dust.

JK: How did you like working with Trent Reznor and would you do it again?

Adrian Belew : I have worked with Trent twice now, and I would gladly do it again. Trent makes records in a different way from other people I work with. AS a recording artist/producer, it is fairly educational for me. He is a real supporter of what I attempt to do. He records everything in a complete loop, in PRO Tools at all times. I might record a song that is five minutes long, as 32 bars open for a guitar solo. His songs can be a half hour long. You are playing to a set of loops that are continual. There were times I played and played until I stopped. I'm sure they go back and find in that 30 minutes the couple of seconds they love.

Adrian Belew : We began COL as a piece that was not unlike the 80s interlocking guitars, but its own version of that. At some point, suddenly we were playing the 80s style. I only remember Robert and I just burst into smiles. I had the feeling, if we are allowed to do this, if we allow ourselves to do this, it is going to be fun. It was fun, because it is something we own, so to speak, and we should be allowed to do it without feeling bad about it. It is part of our tradition.

John: I read a quote from Robert that went, "King Crimson is, as always, more a way of doing thing." What IS King Crimson's "way of doing things"? Thanks for your time.


Adrian Belew : You have a box of 24 crayons, and you take out all of them but six, and say draw me a picture with these six. I guess that is my answer. I can't elaborate anymore.

Adrian Belew : The world is my oyster soup, kitchen floor wax museum, see you on tour.

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