Interview with Pat Mastelotto

Date: Fri, 06 Jun 2003 10:46:41 +0400
From: "Vladimir Kalnitsky" <vlad_kalnitsky at mail dot ru>
Subject: Interview with Pat Mastelotto

Hello everybody! I want to present you the e-mail interview given to me by Pat Mastelotto. It's translation was published some days ago in the June number of the Saint Petersburg (Russia) magazine "100% KRASNY" (or in English "100% RED" - not a bad name, isn't it?). You can also find the Russian version by visiting my site "IndoorGames - The Russificated King Crimson" - .

Best regards,
Vladimir Kalnitsky

Interview with Pat Mastelotto

V.K.: Maybe it will be a discovery for you, but there are a lot of old and devoted King Crimson's admirers in Russia. Why haven't you come here for so long time, and what has influenced your decision to include Saint Petersburg and Moscow in the European tour 2003?

P.M.: I am not surprised to learn there may be many "old and devoted King Crimson fans in Russia". Why haven't we come here for so long time? I don't make that decision but my hunch is there are many reasons KC has not been to Russia for so long (has KC ever been there?). One reason might be the "old and devoted King Crimson's admirers", another reason is the great distance and expense of getting there, unreliable promoters, etc. Its certainly not just Russia, Crim haven't accepted offers to Australia, Chile or Hawaii either. Why now? Why not. Things change.

V.K.: Is Russian rock-scene familiar to you to some extent, or you know our musical culture by classical specimens only?

P.M.: Sorry the Russian rock scene is very unfamiliar to me, I know very very little but am excited to embrace it (please recommend). Perhaps I do best know best your classic specimens and while i won't pretend to know them intimately I do feel they have had a strong influence on my being.

V.K.: I think that not everyone understand the meaning of the name King Crimson. There is a version that it is a pseudonym for Beelzebub, created by Peter Sinfield. Is it so? Maybe now the name has acquires a new meaning?

P.M.: It is so. I certainly agree not everyone understands the meaning of this name, and yes I have heard the story of Sinfield's Beelzebub and a few other meanings. To me its a name, a name of a cheerfully mysterious and powerfully collaborative musical occurrence.

V.K.: From it's creation in 1969, the group has passed through six incarnations. Now only Robert Fripp remains from the initial staff. Does it mean that Mr. Fripp sole, as a tradition keeper, is King Crimson?

P.M.: A tradition keeper for an outfit that bucks tradition+ You are correct Robert is the initial staff and carries his traditions deeply but that does not imply he IS King Crimson, in fact we have felt the King descend at times even when Robert has left the building+ maybe that's Roberts spirit lurking?+ Clearly Robert is the leader but he is a reluctant one, so within the band we refer to Robert (and David Singleton) as "CQC", crim quality control.

V.K.: One knows the phrase of Robert Fripp that "King Crimson is, as always, more a way of doing things". How can you describe this "way of doing" from your point of view?

P.M.: From my point of view its means "pushing while letting go".

V.K.: Mr. Fripp also said, that "when music appears, which only King Crimson can play then, sooner or later, King Crimson appears to play the music". What, in your opinion, define the music of the 21st century King Crimson?

P.M.: Define the music of the 21st century King Crimson? Pullezzz+ I think the audience defines this. sometimes the press define it or try to define it for the audience, sometimes the record company tries to define, package or repackage it+ but when the dust clears its a one to one vibration+ did the music resonate or not.

V.K.: What is the reason of your special love to Japan? First hand new and exclusive Collectors' Club's editions, regular tours, "Matte Kudasai"+

P.M.: Many many reasons to love Japan but certainly not any of those choices!! Its the people, the culture, the spirits. I can share with you that Adrian and I have spoken about this - we had both gone to Japan many times before being crims and both fell head over heels in love with Japan from the first breath+ In fact we both had an instant hunger to move west and live in Japan.

V.K.: How do you create new material, what are you departing from?

P.M.: We depart in many different ways: jamming-sometimes its like a musical conversation with relevance and we latch onto the meaningful moments. Improvisation - sometimes its just arrives when we aren't trying. Pencil frenzy - often Robert sits with his guitar and pencil and tries to turn off this world and tune into his. Words that start with Belew - sometimes a bit of banter is all you need to begin. Rhythm and sound - sometime a cadence or groove will start to shake ideas from the tree+ Sometimes a bubble of sound or slab of silence can make a muse with an attitude appear. Coffee & cake - caffeine & sugar almost always seem to help. Projeckting - go onstage with no plan and something will happen.

V.K.: Let me into a secret, how the unbelievable associative chains, such as "the world's my oyster soup kitchen floor wax museum", appear in Adrian's mind?

P.M.: Zzeee secret? Boris? Sssshhhh+ Ade is a nut for words (he is a very good traveling companion especially after a jack & coke (with ice please))+ {he recently greeted a seated dinner venue audience with "good evening my fine fatted and fettered friends"}.

V.K.: All members of King Crimson are always involved in different personal musical projects. What are this projects now, and do they prevent or favor the development of the group?

P.M.: They favor the development since we need a release for that which may not pass Crimson quality control standards (not to be confused with a scale of good or bad qualities). In the Crimson I know we all give Crim top priority for the, all to brief, time periods made available together. Projects now? Well Adrian has a retrospective compilation about ready for release and a new power trio recording with Les Claypool and Danny Carry also near completion. I have started an on going collaboration with Terry Bozzio and we already have a CD out and a DVD in the works from our sold out debut show last January. I also have a an electronica alter ego duo project called BPM&M using samples from Fripp and other crims (what Tony Levin called the best KC in years). Speaking of Tony Levin at times I also get to work with Tony Levin and the California Guitar Trio and we recently put a record out called CG3+2, and I have my humble Austin trio called MasticA to fiddle with. Robert has so! mething brewing with David Singleton and ongoing relationships with Eno and assorted crafties that may or may not result in music for the public. And Trey+ Well Trey has a few things underwraps but the one project I can tell you about is TU. TU is Trey and I - Immediately after mixing TPTB record Trey and I went into a Seattle studio to vent left over ideas (you can taste a TU hotel experiment here ). Long range plans for TU involve pairing up with other like minded experimental duos as "TU plus Two", the first planned collaboration is with our freaky Finnlandish friends from Kluster March 2004.

V.K.: How can a Russian musician enter the "Guitar Craft" academy of Mr. Fripp?

P.M.: I am sure for a fee a Russian musician can join this academy, best ask Robert or his crafty colleges+ perhaps start here - .

V.K.: How do you spend your free time, of course if you have any?

P.M.: We use that time like most folks - reading / cleaning / gardening / searching / learning / loveing / cleaning / organising / practicing / writting / hugging / watchingmovies / tv / driving / cleaning / bookkeeeping / billpaying / birdwatching / childwatching /seldm mtv watching /dog washing / computer hacking / cleaning & organizing / resting /testing / websurfing / gear tweaking / enjoying life and family+ did I mention cleaning and organizing?

V.K.: On March 12, 2003 in Saint Petersburg took place a concert of the 21st Century Schizoid Band - four members of which represent King Crimson' early staffs. Is it possible, even on this basis, to consider this group as one of the Crimson King's incarnations?

P.M.: Of course it is!! at least for me. I'll even predict those "old and devoted King Crimson's admirers in Russia" may prefer their setlist.

V.K.: I am sure that a lot of "veterans" will sell a soul to Beelzebub just to see the concert of the exact King Crimson, which shocked their imagination more than 30 years ago. I understand that it is impossible to step twice into the same river, but maybe you know something about the plans to reanimate the first incarnation, even for the only performance?

P.M.: No sorry but I know of no such plans.

V.K.: What do you want to wish all Russian Crimheads that are awaiting your coming?

P.M.: I wish them joy. I wish they not wait so hard as to be disappointed. I wish they had a time machine to experience the past or future crim they desire+ But as that seems impossible I wish them to arrive to our crim experiences with no expectations.

V.K.: Thank you very much for the answers, and see you soon in Saint Petersburg!

P.M.: You're very welcome and I very much am looking forward to breathing Russian. Baboom and by by.

Mike Stok