King Crimson's Robert Fripp Quits Music Business

King Crimson's Robert Fripp has granted a rare interview with the UK Financial Times to explain why he has given up on the music business.

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King Crimson's Robert Fripp has granted a rare interview with the UK Financial Times to explain why he has given up on the music business. "I couldn't concentrate on music, so I made the choice to give up my career as a musician in the front line to deal with the business".

Apparently, this all stems from a recent altercation with music giant the Universal Group, who recently bought up a series of independent labels that own parts of his back catalog. Fripp believes this action has led to the release of unauthorized releases under his name.

He cites other examples of his music being used without his consent, notably in the Kanye West single "Power", which freely sampled the King Crimson classic "21st Century Schizoid Man". The video scored one million plays on YouTube before Fripp was reportedly consulted. Fripp has been in a tangled legal dispute with Universal for the past five years, and now refers to his life as a professional musician as "a joyless exercise in futility".

Over the last few years, the King Crimson catalog has been getting the royal treatment with expanded and deluxe editions. In thinking on his past endeavors, Fripp said "Going back to early King Crimson, the remarkable explosion of the creative impulse came from these young men who didn't know what they were doing, yet were able to do it". However, the legendary guitarist and musical visionary thinks this spirit is certainly lacking in the current climate. "What has changed in 40 years? It's very simple: 40 years ago there was a market economy. Today there is a market society today everything, including ethics, has a price".

It shouldn't all be about money, says Fripp. "Do you believe that Rostropovich was playing a cello just for a living? Do you believe that Hendrix was playing for money? Music is a language in which we can express our struggle with what it is to be a human being. This is at the center of what created King Crimson. Today I remain responsible for that... how can I lie to that? If I do, I cease to be human".

A multi-disc deluxe edition of the 1973 Crimson classic "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" is set for release in October and will include 13 CD's, a DVD and a Blu-Ray disc.

Thanks to Ultimateclassicrock for the report.

35 comments sorted by best / new / date

    What a terrible fate to be sampled by Kanye West.
    The album it was sampled on was pretty decent in my opinion.
    No i agree. I know its easy to flame Kanye, just because he's a douche and popular with mainstream, but say what you want the guy is extemelely talented and creative. That WAS a good album, and a very tasteful sample used on a good song. Just the fact alone that Kanye is picking up influences and samples from late 60's King Crimson records should tell you SOMETHING
    With Robert Fripp's announcement today, I want to share how I got turned on to King Crimson. It was 1977 and at 17 years old I was already into some of the big prog rock bands of the time (Genesis, Jethro Tull, Yes, ELP) along with my 2 favorite bands, The Beatles & Black Sabbath. I had seen the King Crimson album covers several times and was intrigued. I was in my local used record store on a September Saturday morning and I asked the guy if he could put on some King Crimson so I could hear what they sounded like. With an evil grin (that I didn't understand at the time) he said sure. He put on "Fracture" from "Starless and Bible Black". I had never heard anything like it. At the end of the song, I asked him to hold the record for me and I'd be back in 10 minutes. I flew home on my 10 speed bike and grabbed every record in my small collection that I thought I could live without. Returning to "Phonograph Records" in downtown Sunnyvale, I put my used albums on the counter and asked if they were enough to trade for the King Crimson album. They were! I got home and spent the rest of the day listening to "Starless and Bible Black" over and over. The next day, I asked my Mom if she would lend me $5 and drive me to "The Warehouse" (a record store in Mt View 10 miles away). She agreed and I made a beeline to the King Crimson section. The strangest album cover I saw belonged to the LP "Lizard" so I bought it. It was a hot day and I remember sitting in my garage listening to "Cirkus" which I loved and the rest of the album which I didn't quite know what to make of. Monday afternoon after school let out, I asked my friend John (who was also my ride) if he'd lend me $5 and swing by "The Warehouse" on our way home. He agreed, so once more I ran straight to the King Crimson section, this time choosing the live album "USA". USA sounded to me like a cross between the heavy & evil sound of Black Sabbath and the inventiveness and songwriting of the post Sgt Peppers Beatles. So three King Crimson albums in three days! King Crimson became my favorite band that weekend and has remained so for the next 35 years...thanks to the Crimson King, Robert Fripp and all the members of Crimson for being a huge musical influence in my life.
    'Robert Fripp SLAMS music business'
    Dude, what's with you and slams in every comment? ;p
    Don't you mean "what's with UG and slams in every article"? UG is just making us users obsessed with that word.
    Of course they are. The more people protest the more they use it. They need more comments, they work us around to do it.
    Thank you for all the great music you gave us! Also, if possible, I admire you even more after your statement about music and money. Fare thee well, Robert Fripp!
    Most UG users have never heard of KC or Fripp. Shame. Discipline is one of the greatest musical statements mankind has ever known.
    Dude I love you. Disgusts me that someone actually voted down your comment too. It's a crime that barely anyone knows these guys.
    Well, you can't really say they are barely known... But yes, they deserve so much more.
    Wearing my "Larks Tongues in Aspic" shirt today in honor of all the amazing King Crimson music over the years. Thanks, RF.
    I can honestly say that if I were in his position, I'd feel the same way. I didn't get as good as I was by paying attention to the state of business. I got good by loving music, and the business aspect is starting to drive me away from wanting to pursue it now...
    Oh jesus... I guess there goes any chance of him getting KC back together with Adrian Belew and Tony Levison. Forget Red or Court Of The Crimson King. Discipline is one of the best albums ever recorded by a band. Fuck it, all their Eighties stuff is amazing. The KC line-up with Belew, Levison and Bruford were staggeringly good, and it's a shame we probably won't see them back together again. Also, it absolutely sucks that Fripp was kept completely out of the loop regarding Kanye's sampling of 21st Century Schizoid Man. You'd have thought they'd have had to notify him, just to let him know that some massive royalties would be coming his way. Hope they didn't scrimp on those, it's the least the man deserves for getting his work hodge-podged by Kanye.
    I think you mean Tony Levin
    Shit, shit, shit... this is what happens when I read articles on King Crimson at the same time as articles on the Guardian about the Leveson enquiry. Nothing to see here, carry on.
    Daft Punk was cool with Kanye sampling them and they got a boost in popularity by it, KC definitely got more popular too because of it so I don't see why he's so ****ing grumpy
    Because no one told him? I personally love sampling but i think if someone did it to me without even telling me i would be pissed off a bit.