Robert FrippRobert Fripp (born in 1946 in Dorset, England) is a guitarist, perhaps best known for his founding role in the band King Crimson. His work, spanning more than three decades, encompasses a variety of musical styles.
Fripp's earliest professional work began in 1967, when he auditioned for a band being formed by bassist Peter Giles and drummer Michael Giles. Though unsuccessful as a live act, Giles, Giles and Fripp did manage to release two singles, as well as an album, The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles, and Fripp.
Following the band's breakup, Fripp, along with drummer Michael Giles, made plans for the formation of King Crimson in 1968, with Greg Lake, Peter Sinfield and Ian McDonald. The group's first album, In the Court of the Crimson King, was released in late 1969, to mixed critical reviews. King Crimson broke up shortly after the release of the first album, to be re-formed again several times over the years. Robert Fripp remained the only consistent member of the group during its lifetime.
During King Crimson's less active periods, Fripp pursued a number of side-projects. He recorded No Pussyfooting (1972) and Evening Star (1974) with Brian Eno, which featured experimentation with several novel musical techniques, including a tape delay system which would come to play a central role in Fripp's later work. The system was so characteristic of Fripp's work that sounds produced using it came to be known collectively as "Frippertronics."
Fripp spent some time away from the music industry in the late 1970s, during which he cultivated an interest in the teachings of Gurdjieff (studies which would later be influential in his work with Guitar Craft). In 1977, three years after the breakup of the third incarnation of King Crimson, Fripp received a phone call from Eno, who was working on David Bowie's album Heroes. Fripp agreed to play guitar for the album, a move which initiated a series of collaborations with other musicians. Soon thereafter, he would contribute his musical and production talents to Peter Gabriel's second album, and would collaborate with Daryl Hall on Sacred Songs. During this period, Fripp began working on solo material, with contributions from several other musicians, including Eno, Gabriel, and Hall, as well as Peter Hammill, Jerry Marotta, Phil Collins, and Tony Levin. This material would become his first solo album, Exposure, to be released in 1979, followed by the Frippertronics tour in the same year.
Fripp's collaboration with Buster Jones, Paul Duskin, and David Byrne, produced God Save the Queen/Under Heavy Manners in the following year. He simultaneously assembled what he called a "second-division" touring 'new wave instrumental dance band' under the name League of Gentlemen with Sara Lee, Barry Andrews and Johnny Toobad for the duration of 1980.. 1981 saw the formation of King Crimson's fourth incarnation, along with Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford, and Tony Levin. The group was conceptualized under the name "Discipline," but it came to Fripp's attention that the members thought the name King Crimson was more appropriate. For Fripp, King Crimson had always been a way of doing things, rather than a particular group of musicians, and the group felt that their music captured that methodology. After releasing three albums, this new King Crimson broke up in 1984; The League of Gentlemen split soon afterward.
Fripp was offered a teaching position at the American Society for Continuous Education (ASCE) in Claymont Court, West Virginia in 1984. He had been involved with the ASCE since 1978, eventually serving on its board of directors, and had long been considering the idea of teaching guitar. His course, Guitar Craft, was begun in 1985, one of the results of which was a performance group, "The League of Crafty Guitarists," which has released a number of albums. In 1986, he released the first of two collaborations with his wife, Toyah Willcox. Fripp re-formed the 1981 lineup of King Crimson in late 1994, releasing Thrak in 1995. He returned to recording solo in 1997, releasing That Which Passes. He continues to compose and perform today.