by Alexis Petridis / Guardian
18th January 2013
Legendary guitarist Robert Fripp has denied he turned down the opportunity to play on David Bowie‘s forthcoming album The Next Day, as suggested by producer Tony Visconti in the Guardian last week.
Visconti told the Guardian that the King Crimson mastermind – also famed for his remarkable improvised playing on Bowie’s Heroes and Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) albums – had inadvertently leaked the news that Bowie was recording an album after writing on his blog that he had been asked to contribute to the album. Not so, wrote Fripp on his blog on Thursday. “I haven’t spoken to David for a while and I wasn’t approached … If I was asked to take part in this totally excellent project, who asked? Nothing ever came to me … My association with David and Tony has provided highlights of my life, not only my musical life. I would regret if anything negative, completely invented, were to query the reality.”
The guitarist announced last year that he had ceased making new music after becoming embroiled in a dispute with Universal Music Group, listing among his complaints “20 years of unpaid royalties” on his two collaborative albums with the Police’s Andy Summers and Kanye West’s use of King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man on his track Power, which Fripp says notched up 1m hits on YouTube before he was approached about the sample’s use. Despite claiming that life as a professional musician had become “a joyless exercise in futility” that he was abandoning in order to fight UMG in the courts, Fripp told the Guardian that he “would have had to seriously reconsider my non-public status” had he been invited to play on The Next Day. “I’m a great admirer of Tony, had piles of laughs with him and know there’s nothing mischievous involved at all,” Fripp added.
The confusion appears to have arisen from a blogpost, written by Fripp in October 2011, in which he described a dream he’d had the previous night that Bowie was working on new material: “It gradually appeared that David had some remarkable new ideas in process, not yet public,” wrote Fripp. “These he presented indirectly, to allow the penny to drop without prompting. Eno also got involved, and what a flowering of ideas!” Without Fripp’s knowledge – and indeed without any contribution from Brian Eno – the sessions for The Next Day had been underway for several months.
“In the creative world, when someone begins thinking, other people sometimes hear what’s going on … who knows on the unconscious-subconscious levels what gets overheard?” Fripp wrote on his blog in an attempt to explain the coincidence. “Both Bowie and Eno are exceptionally sharp creative minds that read the zeitgeist,” he told the Guardian. “Things happen around them that defeat rationality.”
“I’m not angry at all,” he added. “No one is hurt, I’m not upset, just keen for clarity. My respect for Messers Bowie and Visconti continues undiminished, untarnished. The album is out there. Fab!”