Robert Fripp Hoped to Learn About King Crimson From Documentary

Robert Fripp said he rejected a conventional approach to the new King Crimson documentary movie in favor of a production that would give him the chance to learn more about his band.

In the Court of the Crimson King premiered at the SXSW festival this week, ahead of a general release later this year. It was made by Toby Amies, who didn’t know much about the veteran prog band – something the group leader felt was a positive.

“We had been approached by some very good, professional music documentary makers who would make a nice, conventional documentary from which I would learn nothing,” Fripp told The Guardian in a new interview. Noting Amies had “no familiarity” with the subject, Fripp said, “For me, this was ideal. I thought, ‘Here is an independent filmmaker with his own attitude who will come in and show me aspects of King Crimson that I’m perhaps unaware of.’”

He added that he hoped the result would “tell me what King Crimson is.” He also hoped it would “remove this preposterous notion that Robert Fripp is King Crimson.”

Watch ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ Trailer

Amies explored the challenges faced by current and former members, many of whom explain on camera that they struggled during their time with the band. “It’s not that you’ve got a tyrant telling you what to do,” the director said of Fripp. “It’s that you have somebody who is giving you the opportunity to be your own personal tyrant. I think that it would be possible to drive yourself mad in that space, especially when you’ve got someone like Robert, who is clearly willing to make great personal sacrifices in the service of their work.”

Fripp admitted his own experience was “wretched” for many years, noting that “not everybody who has been in King Crimson has been happy that they are paid the same amount as other members of the band” as he pursued the feeling of being transported by music, “when you close your eyes and someone you love walks into the room. You can’t see them, but you know they’re there.”

He expressed approval for the documentary, saying that “what Toby has done is to show me a specific part of King Crimson, and I find it moving and informative. What he doesn’t do is tell me what King Crimson is.” Despite that, he noted, “Ultimately, King Crimson is a force entirely of itself.”

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