King Crimson’s different drummers

King Crimson logo from DisciplineKing Crimson is back from exile. Bandleader Robert Fripp says the famed prog band will “return to active service” in summer 2014, fronted by a trio of drummers.

Fripp made the announcement, of sorts, via his online diary:

“So, King Crimson is in motion. This is a very different reformation to what has gone before: seven players, four English and three American, with three drummers,” the British guitarist wrote in his not-surprisingly esoteric blog style.

The concept appears to be the trio of drummers working as frontmen.

Not making the lineup is guitarist Adrian Belew, who posted on Facebook Sept. 27 that “after 32 years I am no longer in King Crimson.” He said Fripp “informed me in an email that he was starting a seven-piece version of the band. He said I would not be right for what the band is doing.”

The new King Crimson are Fripp (pictured), Gavin Harrison (drums), Tony Levin (bass), Pat Mastelotto (drums), Mel Collins (saxophone), Bill Rieflin (drums) and Jakko Jakszyk (guitar, vocals). The first five are band veterans, but all seven previously worked with guitarist Fripp. Collins last played with the band in the mid-1970s. Something like 18 musicians have been members of King Crimson since its debut in 1968.

Robert Fripp of King CrimsonFripp cited several reasons for the 2014 return of King Crimson, including a “likely” settlement of his long-running legal battle with Universal Music Group, completion of a Guitar Craft book and the encouragement of his wife. The revival is for touring and performing existing King Crimson material, with no plans for studio recordings, Fripp said.

“Right now the primary geographical focus is the United States,” Fripp told Uncut magazine, adding that the United Kingdom likely will be part of the band’s tour plans.

Fripp dubbed the band King Crimson VIII.

In 2012, Fripp told the Financial Times his career as a musician was over because it was “a joyless exercise in futility.” His primary beef was the treatment of his catalog by UMG, which had swallowed up several labels associated with King Crimson and released its music without Fripp’s approval. Fripp’s other complaints about the music industry include Virgin’s longtime misplacement of the King Crimson master recordings.

Fripp has his own label, Discipline Global Mobile, which has been reissuing the band’s music in multiple audiophile formats.

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