[Progressive Rock] Ian McDonald (ex King Crimso...
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King Crimson are a progressive rock band formed in 1968 in London, England. The band draws inspiration from a wide variety of music, incorporating elements of classical, jazz, folk, heavy metal, gamelan, industrial, electronic, experimental music and new wave. They exerted a strong influence on the early 1970s progressive rock movement, including on contemporaries such as Yes and Genesis, and continue to inspire subsequent generations of artists across multiple genres. The band earned a large cult following.
After playing shows across England, the band toured the US with various pop and rock acts. Their first show was at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. While the band found success and critical acclaim, creative tensions were already developing. Giles and McDonald, still striving to cope with King Crimson's rapid success and the realities of touring life, became uneasy with their musical direction. Although he was neither the dominant composer nor the frontman, Fripp was very much the group's driving force and spokesman, leading them into progressively darker and more intense musical areas. McDonald and Giles, now favouring a lighter and more nuanced romantic style, became increasingly uncomfortable with their position and resigned near the conclusion of the US tour. To keep the band together, Fripp offered to resign himself, but McDonald declared that King Crimson was \"more (him) than them\" and that he and Giles should therefore be the ones to leave. McDonald later said he \"was probably not emotionally mature enough to handle it\" and made a \"rash decision to leave without consulting anyone\". The original line-up played their last show at the Fillmore West in San Francisco on 16 December 1969, a little over one year after forming. Live recordings of the band from 1969 were released in 1997 on Epitaph.
In the late autumn of 1980, having spent several years on spiritual pursuits and then gradually returning to music (playing guitar for David Bowie, Peter Gabriel and Daryl Hall, pursuing an experimental solo career, leading instrumental new wave band The League of Gentlemen), Fripp decided to form a new \"first division\" rock group, but had no intentions of it being King Crimson. Having recruited Bill Bruford as drummer, Fripp asked singer and guitarist Adrian Belew to join, the first time Fripp would actively seek collaboration with another guitarist in a band and therefore indicative of Fripp's desire to create something unlike any of his previous work. After touring with Talking Heads, Belew agreed to join and also become the band's lyricist. Bruford's suggestion of his bassist Jeff Berlin was rejected as Fripp thought his playing was \"too busy\", so auditions were held in New York: on the third day, Fripp left after roughly three auditions, only to return several hours later with Tony Levin (who got the job after playing a single chorus of \"Red\"). Fripp later confessed that, had he known that Levin (whom Fripp had played with in Peter Gabriel's group) was available and interested, he would have selected him without holding auditions. Fripp named the new quartet Discipline, and they went to England to rehearse and write new material. They made their live debut at Moles Club in Bath, Somerset on 30 April 1981, and completed a short tour supported by the Lounge Lizards. By October 1981, the band had opted to change their name to King Crimson.
In 1981, King Crimson recorded Discipline with producer Rhett Davies. The album displayed a very different version of the band, with newer influences including post-punk, new wave, funk, minimalism, pointillism, world music and African percussion. With a sound described in The New Rolling Stone Album Guide as having a \"jaw-dropping technique\" of \"knottily rhythmic, harmonically demanding workouts\". The title track \"Discipline\" was described as a postminimalist rock song. Fripp intended to create the sound of a \"rock gamelan\", with an interlocking rhythmic quality to the paired guitars that he found similar to Indonesian gamelan ensembles. Fripp concentrated on playing complex picked arpeggios, while Belew provided an arsenal of guitar sounds that \"often mimic animal noises\". In addition to bass guitar, Levin used the Chapman Stick, a ten-string two-handed tapping, hybrid guitar and bass instrument which he played in an \"utterly original style\". Bruford experimented with cymbal-less acoustic kits and a Simmons SDS-V electronic drum kit. The band's songs were shorter in comparison to previous King Crimson albums, and very much shaped by Belew's pop sensibilities and quirky approach to writing lyrics. Though the band's previous taste for improvisation was now tightly reined in, one instrumental (\"The Sheltering Sky\") emerged from group rehearsals; while the noisy, half-spoken/half-shouted \"Indiscipline\" was a partially written, part-improvised piece created in order to give Bruford a chance to escape from the strict rhythmic demands of the rest of the album. Released in September 1981, Discipline reached No. 41 in the UK and No. 45 in the US.
King Crimson have been described musically as progressive rock, art rock, and post-progressive, with their earlier works being described as proto-prog. Their music was initially grounded in the rock of the 1960s, especially the acid rock and psychedelic rock movements. The band played Donovan's \"Get Thy Bearings\" in concert, and were known to play the Beatles' \"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds\" in their rehearsals. However, for their own compositions, King Crimson (unlike the rock bands that had come before them) largely stripped away the blues-based foundations of rock music and replaced them with influences derived from classical composers. The first incarnation of King Crimson played the Mars section of Gustav Holst's suite The Planets live and later the band used Mars as a foundation for the song \"Devil's Triangle\". As a result of this influence, In the Court of the Crimson King is frequently viewed as the nominal starting point of the progressive rock movements. King Crimson also initially displayed strong jazz influences, most obviously on its signature track \"21st Century Schizoid Man\". The band also drew on English folk music for compositions such as \"Moonchild\" and \"I Talk to the Wind.\" In the 1972 lineup, Fripp's intention was to combine the music of Jimi Hendrix, Igor Stravinsky and Béla Bartók.
King Crimson have incorporated improvisation into their performances and studio recordings from the beginning, some of which has been embedded into pieces such as \"Moonchild\", \"Providence\", \"Requiem\" and \"No Warning\", including passages of restrained silence, as with Bill Bruford's contribution to the improvised \"Trio\". Rather than using the standard jazz or rock \"jamming\" format for improvisation (in which one soloist at a time takes centre stage while the rest of the band lies back and plays along with established rhythm and chord changes), King Crimson improvisation is musicians collectively making creative decisions and contributions as the music is being played. Individual soloing is largely eschewed; each musician is to listen to each other and to the group sound, to be able to react creatively within the group dynamic. Fripp has used the metaphor of \"magic\" to describe this process, in particular when the method works particularly well.
King Crimson have been influential both on the early 1970s progressive rock movement and numerous contemporary artists. Genesis and Yes were directly influenced by the band's usage of the mellotron, and many King Crimson band members were involved in other notable bands: Lake in Emerson, Lake & Palmer; McDonald in Foreigner; Burrell in Bad Company, and Wetton in U.K. and Asia. Canadian rock band Rush's drummer Neil Peart credited the adventurous and innovative style of Michael Giles on his own approach to percussion.
King Crimson's influence extends to many bands from diverse genres, especially of the 1990s and 2000s. Kurt Cobain, the frontman of the grunge band Nirvana, had stated that the album Red had a major influence on the sound of their final studio album In Utero. Tool are known to be heavily influenced by King Crimson, with vocalist Maynard James Keenan joking on a tour with them: \"Now you know who we ripped off. Just don't tell anyone, especially the members of King Crimson.\" Modern progressive, experimental, psychedelic and indie rock bands have cited them as an influence as well, including the Mars Volta, Primus, Mystery Jets, Fanfarlo, Phish, and Anekdoten, who first practiced together playing King Crimson songs. Steven Wilson, the leader of Porcupine Tree, was responsible for remixing King Crimson's back catalogue in surround sound and said that the process had an enormous influence on his solo albums, and his band was influenced by King Crimson. In November 2012 the Flaming Lips in collaboration with Stardeath and White Dwarfs released a track-by-track reinterpretation of In the Court of the Crimson King entitled Playing Hide and Seek with the Ghosts of Dawn. Colin Newman, of Wire, said he saw King Crimson perform many times, and that they influenced him deeply. The seminal hardcore punk group Black Flag acknowledge Wetton-era King Crimson as an influence on their experimental period in the mid-1980s. Melvin Gibbs said that the Rollins Band was influenced most by King Crimson, using similar chords. Bad Religion cites the lyrics of \"21st Century Schizoid Man\" on their single \"21st Century (Digital Boy)\" and the name of their record label, Epitaph (founded by their guitarist Brett Gurewitz), comes from the song of the same name on Crimson's debut al