King Crimson’s influence extends to alternative rock bands of the 1990s and 2000s
King Crimson have been influential both on the early 1970s progressive rock movement and numerous contemporary artists. Genesis and Yes were directly influenced by the band’s initial style of symphonic Mellotron rock, and many King Crimson band members were involved in other notable bands: Lake in Emerson, Lake & Palmer, of which some of their songs can be seen as Lake’s attempt to continue the early work of King Crimson; Mcdonald in Foreigner; Burrell to Bad Company, and Wetton to UK and Asia. Canadian rock band Rush cites King Crimson as a strong early influence on their sound; drummer Neil Peart credits the adventurous and innovative style of Michael Giles on his own approach to percussion. In recent years, Porcupine Tree who, as with Tool, invited ProjeKct Six to play as their support band.
King Crimson’s influence extends to alternative rock bands of the 1990s and 2000s. Nirvana are known to have been influenced by King Crimson as a result of Kurt Cobainhaving mentioned the importance of Red to him. Tool are known to be heavily influenced by King Crimson, with vocalist Maynard James Keenan joking on a tour with them: “Now you know who we ripped off. Just don’t tell anyone, especially the members of King Crimson.” Punk band Bad Religion quotes the lyrics of “21st Century Schizoid Man” on their single “21st Century (Digital Boy)“. Steve Steele mentioned that King Crimson was a prime influence on his song writing and arrangements, and in a biography, cites other than traditional literary sources, Palmer-James as one of the only lyricists he credits with having a personal impact.
King Crimson have frequently been cited as pioneers of progressive metal. Members of both Iron Maiden and Mudvayne have cited King Crimson as an influence. The angular, dissonant guitar patterns associated with Fripp’s distinctive approach are also evident in the music of thrash-metal pioneers Voivod, especially in the band’s mid-period work.
- Current members
- Robert Fripp – guitars, soundscapes, mellotron, keyboards (1968–74, 1981–84, 1994–present)
- Mel Collins – saxophone, flute (1970–72, 2013–present)
- Tony Levin – bass guitars, NS upright bass, Chapman Stick, funk fingers, synthesisers, backing vocals (1981–84, 1994–98, 2003–present)
- Pat Mastelotto – acoustic and electronic drums, percussion (1994–present)
- Gavin Harrison – drums (2007–present)
- Jakko Jakszyk – guitars, lead vocals, flute (2013–present)
- Jeremy Stacey – drums, keyboards, backing vocals (2016–present)
- Former members
Starless by King Crimson. Another taster from the new King Crimson album – “Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind”.
As those lucky enough to have seen it live will know, the opening chord of this song are often accompanied by an intake of breath. Like an incoming tide of realisation, all the variations on “I never thought I’d hear this live”, or “crikey, this is my favourite”, “OMG I’ve died and gone to heaven” and a few more sentiments besides.
The complexities behind capturing the seven-headed Crimson on video are described in David Singleton’s liner notes :
“It is something of a truism in the history of Crimson that any show that is filmed will not be one when heaven meets earth and the angels descend. The presence of cameras and cameramen iintroduces an intrusive element into the relationship between the artist, the music and the audience. Our solution was to return to the concept of “BootlegTV” and prioritise the music and the performance rather than the pictures. We embedded a single cameraman (the long-suffering Trevor Wilkins) on this tour, and he filmed every night with a a series of cameras hidden discreetly on the stage where they would intrude on neither artist nor audience. The compromise is thus in the visuals and not in the music.”
The set was recently described by John Kelman in “All about jazz” as “the definitive live Crimson release from the definitive live Crimson lineup; a landmark recording from a group whose discography is filled with them.”