King Crimson’s mercurial guitarist/visionary Robert Fripp has hinted he is quitting playing. In a rare interview with the Financial Times – the highbrow economics paper that, Fripp says, is the only he reads – he says: “My life as a professional musician is a joyless exercise in futility.”
Fripp has been a prolific musician outside King Crimson, too. He was David Bowie’s sideman on Heroes, played with Blondie and Talking Heads and has collaborated with fellow rock explorers Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel. Kanye West has sampled him. But he is embattled in over royalties, over CD sales, downloads and digital streams of Crimson tracks.
“I couldn’t concentrate on music,” Fripp tells the FT. “So I made the choice to give up my career as a musician in the frontline to deal with the business.”
Fripp continues, “It’s an interesting strategy for keeping the music moving in the direction it goes – that whenever you get close to success, the band splits up. But it’s a strategy that does work. Though it’s one that you won’t find in ‘How to Succeed in the Music Industry’. And I can guarantee it will piss off people who are looking forward to having a good career.”
You can buy King Crimson classics via iTunes. But Fripp may not thank you for doing so.