All time great bass player talks King Crimson coming to PNC Bank Arts Center Sept 4th
They are one of the greatest progressive rock bands ever and they are coming to New Jersey. King Crimson will be playing the PNB Bank Art Center on Sept 4th. I caught up with their bass player Tony Levin who was recently named number 42 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of all-time great rock n roll bass players. He says when it comes to King Crimson, it's all about the music.
"There's a whole bunch of things we do differently than other bands" says Levin "For one thing, the most obvious, we have three drummers and we put them in front of the stage, the other four of us are behind them. Watching and hearing the interplay among them is like a circus act" Levin continues
"Also we come on stage wearing suits and ties.It's a little bit like an orchestra concert but we're playing heavy rock. There are other things that are kind of unique to King Crimson, it's kind of like a band that forms it's own path"
No two King Crimson shows are the same as Levin explains "Robert Fripp our leader writes a different setlist every day and he gives it to us about noon, one o'clock and sometimes it starts with just the drummers, they have about 6 different pieces they can do"
Did Levin think he'd still be playing King Crimson after all these years?
"In July of 1976 I was called for a record session with a guy I hadn't heard of named Peter Gabriel who had just left Genesis and on that day I met Peter Gabriel I also met Robert Fripp and I am still playing with and am good friends with them both after all these years so how luck a day was that?
Levin talked about how the band has evolved through the years.
"King Crimson it's always unusual but every once in a while Robert Fripp disbands the band and then starts up with a new incarnation with different players, I've been in many of them, not all of them. It's really a progressive band in the real sense of the word. It doesn't just keep doing what it does, he really continues to expand his vision of what King Crimson is so now we have 7 members and there drummers when I joined in 1981 there were four guys and one drummer"
Despite not having a hit record, King Crimson does have a very devoted audience made up of all ages. "I believe a band kind of gets the audience it deserves" says Levin "if a band is lucky enough to get heard at all, and so i think we have the audience we deserve in that we never even before I was in the band tried to have a hit record or a single or get played on the radio" Levin continues
"It's not the easiest band in ingest so we'll never have huge crowds and we'll ever have al young kids liking us and old people not, but for many years it was mostly old guys who had been around since the sixties listening to the band who came to see our shows but in these last 2 incarnations since 2000 it's been a younger crowd in addition to the older people"
To hear the rest of my interview with Tony Levin where he talked about playing with Peter Gabriel, David Bowie John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Lou Reed (Berlin), Buddy Rich, Paul Simon, Carly Simon, Warren Zevon listen to my podcast here.
To see King Crimson Sept 4th with The Zappa Band at the PNC Bank Arts Center Click here.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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