King Crimson Rehearsals
September 2004


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This an archive of the diaries from the week of rehearsals


Sept 1, Woodstock

Day zero may not be the right term - anyway, King Crimson rehearsals start in a few days, in Nashville, and I've decided to drive there starting tomorrow. I thought it appropriate to begin the journal of the week today since I just got my car back from repair, and they could not get the air conditioner fixed - I suspect that will have a bearing on my long drive south! (It will certainly have a bearing on how I dress - I'm thinking of bathing suit and tank top if it gets any hotter than it is now.)

So early tomorrow I will load instruments into my trusty Volvo (well, it was trusty a few years ago... now it's more like an old familiar friend - sometimes reliable, sometimes not, but you stick with them anyway.) I'll load my instruments, and head off, giving myself two days to get there (Mapquest says 15 hours or so of driving - but I have even less faith in Mapquest than in my Volvo.)

I imagine I'll have lots of time to write diary updates along the way, but little chance to upload them from whatever roadside motel I crash in. I'll try though, and sometimes I'm surprised by internet facilities popping up where I didn't expect them.
Of course I'll be immersed in Crimson homework, listening to unfamiliar tracks while I drive. Historically that's had an effect on my mood too! (I seem to remember, way back in the early 80's, hearing that some Italian terrorists tortured a kidnaped American soldier by repeatedly playing a King Crimson track. It was strange for the band, hearing about that. Hopefully I won't be feeling too tortured.)

The Crimson plan, in case you're wondering, is only to rehearse - no recording or live playing has been mentioned. I'd guess that there might be some plans made during the week, though, and I'll pass on whatever is appropriate.

My new photo book, Crimson Chronicles, should be arriving from the printers just about as I get back at the end of next week. That'll be very exciting for me - many years working on a project, it's always a treat to finally hold it in your hands. I'm assembling a web page about the book with lots of photo samples - I'll get that up during rehearsals and maybe start taking pre-orders.

So, stay tuned for a week of book hovering, Crim rehearsing, and LOTS of T-Lev driving!

Sept 2, Abingdon, VA

Day one, the long drive to Nashville. I only made it 2/3 of the way - left 6 more hours to drive tomw.
The weather was great as I left home a couple of hours after I'd wanted to depart. There had been a kerfuffle with the new book - a credit I'd omitted and wanted to see if it could be slid in just before the book is printed. Too late, it's gone to press today. Okay, so I hit the road with the temp. about 72 - perfect weather for the drive.

A mere 5 hours into the drive I passed the first sign to a Waffle House - surest sign that I'm no longer in the North. (I'll have to remember that if we get a craving for grits one morning - let's see, we could leave at 4am, have b'fast at Waffle House at 9am, be back by... well, anyway, it was nice to see it.) (Next time I'm in one, I'll report on the page the names of songs on their jukeboxes - many of the songs there, country songs of course, are about the Waffle House.) (But none of them go "I'm sittin in the Waffle House, headin' south to play some prog rock with King Crimson")

By mid Pennsylvania, the temp. had hit 83 and I'd learned two things: it's very hard to learn music while you're driving with the windows open (I've got no air conditioning in the car), and secondly, that Crimson's Construction of Light, done in the period I wasn't in the band, is one hard piece to learn! For a break from it, I turned frequently to Mozart.

After 10 hours driving, 650 miles, I pulled into a motel. Clustered around it are a Wendy's, Hardees, Pizza Hut, Papa John's Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and MacDonalds. My mouth is not watering.
More soon.

Sept 3, Nashville

Less driving today - only 300 miles took me into Nashville with plenty of time to rest up for tomorrow's rehearsal.

I couldn't resist stopping at a Waffle House, (having mentioned their juke box in yesterday's diary), and as I ate my scrambled eggs & cheese with raisin toast, I jotted down some of the song titles from the juke box. Ready?

Special Lady at the Waffle House

Waffle House Home

I'm Cooking at the Waffle House

844,739 Ways to Eat a Hamburger at Waffle House
There are Raisins in my Toast

and... Last Night I Saw Elvis at the Waffle House

Waffle House Family

Waffle House Thank You

I'm Going Back to the Waffle House

Waffle House for You and Me

Waffle House Hamburgers (I Love You)

I can't resist mentioning one more song from their playlist:
       Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo

Tomorrow, it'll be Lark's Tongues in Aspic, et al... quite a change!

Sept 5, Nashville

CRIM WEEK - Day 3,4
There has been a new development with my new book - the Crimson Chronicles photo book I've been talking about lately. It's at the printers now, and should be printed and shipped to Papa Bear Records quite soon. Sept. 15th is the official release date.

But hurricane Frances has had some effect on things - not the printing, or the shipping. It's my fearless and able web master Dan Beach, who is in charge of the online ordering aspect of Papa Bear online - he lives in Orlando, Florida - and days ago, expecting to be hit hard by the hurricane, he suggested we put the book up on the online ordering page now, as his power and communications could be lost for some time if this storm hits hard.

Usually I don't like to offer items before we have them in hand, but it seemed wise this time to make an exception. So, there is now a full page about the book with many samples, and a link to pre-order it from the online store if you like. (Credit card orders won't be charged, of course, until the book is sent out.)

I'll make a more official announcement when the book arrives in Woodstock from the printers. Got to admit I'm excited about this release - I've spent a lot of years on the book - it includes some very special photos and gives a great insight into the band.

Back to the current King Crimson - we're rehearsing now, and also doing a bit of writing with the band. The mood is very good, as it was last March when we spent a week going over old material - this time we're mixing that in with some jamming, some experimenting in what might be new directions for our music.
Alas, there are still no plans to tour, or do a studio album - we'll see what comes out of this week's rehearsals.
So far it's been good music, and no hassles - but coming up in the next days, we'll be trying to run through those more recent compositions that the others were part of, but are new to me. (And, even when I become familiar with the very complex pieces, actually playing all of Trey Gunn's parts is pretty impossible for me - I'll just try my best to fashion something that covers some of the ground and fits in well.)

More soon.

Sept 7, Nashville

CRIM WEEK - Day 5,6
Well, there's been a great response to the page on the new book (mentioned below, on yesterday's diary) - for those who are pre-ordering it, I'll notify, here on this page, when it ships out.

Rehearsing has become largely writing/playing new material. Lots more fun than rehearsing old material, if you ask me. Even though some of the ideas we try out are a bit lame, others reach a tremendous energy level. Good fun, and I'm hoping that something comes from this music.

At last night's "first annual Crimson Labor Day dinner", the idea was floated of a Crimson garage sale! (Adrian and I both have a few instruments and other stuff we'd like to unload, but when it's not a great instrument, you dont' want to put it on eBay as yours, because that implies that you've used it on sessions and tours. Calling it a garage sale might solve that, and we all have lots of old tour stuff lying around should be weeded!) Well, we'll see if anything comes of that idea.

We will be finishing up tomorrow - no talk as yet of when and how we'll re-unite.
I may head out on the long drive home at night right after rehearsal, it depends on how hard a day it is. I'll try to find an internet friendly motel along the way and upload some of the photos from here. I haven't taken many, mainly because it looks exactly the same here as it did last March when I took photos at rehearsals.

Sept 8, Nashville

Something we rarely do in a rehearsal/writing period is listen to what we've done, before moving on. (It can be painful, after a 20 minute take!) Well, this time, ever trying to get better at this process, we've devoted a lot of the last day to sit and hear what we've done this week, making notes, naming tracks.

Also in a departure from the usual, I'm going to upload this update before the rehearsal is over, because I'm heading out on the rainy highway when we pack up, and quite likely I won't have a decent internet connection the next couple of days of driving North.

Very nice variety of music - some mellow in mood, others quite ferocious. Later we'll dig into how much needs to be changed/added, or rewritten to improve them.

Okay, 5pm now - packing up. It's been a cool week - as usual with Crimson, it's been challenging, inspiring, and... I'm kinda glad to go away from the music for a bit, and get re-introduced to 4/4 !


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