Robert Fripp’s tips for breaking up a band

King Crimson faithful Robert Fripp looked back at the challenges of writing songs with other musicians and chose an easy way to split a lineup.

“With Crimson [songwriting] was an open form of engagement which has always been complex, always problematic and always very demanding,” explained Fripp in a new interview with Guitar world. “If you want a band to break up, do writing exercises. What you do when you hit that problem is you hit the road. Then you introduce an audience to the situation, the music comes alive, and you keep going.”

“Not that Robert is a bandleader,” Fripp continued, speaking in the third person, “but in terms of practical strategies for keeping the band together and working, you go from writing rehearsals as quickly as possible to performing live.”

Fripp continued to express his belief that all band members should receive equal credit for a song, regardless of each individual’s contribution—a rule he maintained in King Crimson, even though it caused friction among the group.

“Since Robert was the primary writer, though Bill Bruford didn’t play a note, he would receive an equal share of the publishing revenue,” the rocker explained. “Why? First, because it exemplified the view that where there is an equal obligation, there is a just distribution. Second, if Robert made a value judgment or recommendation that we go down this path, there was never any doubt that my recommendation for either a musical or business direction favored me. There was never a conflict of interest with Robert. If I said, ‘Look, boys. I think we should do this,’ it was because I thought we should do this. Why? Primarily for the music, then primarily the interest of the band and so on.”

Fripp is currently engaged in his latest Guitar Circle retreat in New York, and he recently confirmed the publication of a book titled The Guitar Circle where he explores the organization’s concepts, which revolve around guitar-playing attitudes along with practicalities.

“It’s less what you do, it’s more how you do it and why you do it,” he explained. “We have now had guitar lessons since March 1985 and the book is essentially a report on the history of Guitar Crafts and Guitar Circle to date. If you are looking for a book of guitar exercises, this is not the way to go.”

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