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King Crimson’s Robert Fripp Quits Music Business, Saying It Has Become ‘An Exercise in Futility’


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.

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