Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Fripp and his wife, actress Toyah Willcox, began recording quirky home videos and uploading them to YouTube. The initial clip featured the usually serious and stoic Fripp donning a tutu and dancing to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.” Soon, the couple began covering famous rock songs, with Fripp playing guitar while Willcox sings and dances, usually in a funny and/or revealing outfit. Nirvana, Metallica, the Ramones, Rage Against the Machine and the Rolling Stones are just some of the many artists the couple has covered.
The video series, dubbed Toyah and Robert’s Sunday Lunch, have developed a devoted following, racking up millions of views. However, some ardent King Crimson fans have voiced their displeasure, both in the songs Fripp has chosen to cover, and the general silliness of the series.
“My wife insists performers have a responsibility to lift people’s spirits in hard times,” Fripp explained during an interview with The Telegraph. “Do I respect that? My answer is yes, completely and utterly I do.”
Though the rocker was initially “fucking furious” over his viral popularity, he’s grown to understand the positive impact the clips have had on viewers during trying times.
“We’re keenly aware of what people have experienced during lockdown,” Fripp explained. “I mean, banged up in a small apartment while your mother’s dying and you can’t go to the funeral. My wife said to me, if all we’ve done in two years is help one person through their bad time, it’s all worth it. So I’m not sure if that meets a criteria of serving what is highest in music, but for me, it’s a real undertaking that I respect. And I am quite prepared to strap on a guitar and rock out to a classic riff in order to achieve it.”
Fripp and Willcox are planning to take their unique duets on the road in 2023, building upon their success as video stars. As for those who scoff at Fripp’s viral endeavors, the rocker was succinct: “At age 76, why should I give a fuck? This is my life.”
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