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Progressive Rock Interviews

Trey Gunn

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Trey Gunn from 2000
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Your new album is intriguing. How is it being received?
I think it's good. It;s only recently come out. So far, we have a great review in Billboard. So, that's good. The press hasn't really come out yet. It's been for sale on my website for about two months, but I don't talk to people too much. I would expect people who order it off the website would love it anyway, otherwise they wouldn't have already done that, but I think it's going good.
MSJ: Are you going to be touring for it?
Yeah, we did a West coast tour in February, auspiciously before the record was released, but that wasn't our intention. Then we're planning a September leg from like Wisconsin across the midwest to the northeast.
MSJ: You've been working with Robert Fripp in various groups for years. How did that connection happen?
Well, I met Robert when he first started teaching guitar, as a guitar player. A couple years later I started playing the stick, and that's when we started working together professionally.We just kind of kept doing that for a time there. We did everything together. We had the string quintet and we did a couple records and several tours with David Sylvian tight up til when the '90's King Crimson started.
MSJ: What is it like working with Fripp. He's kind of a legend.
I guess he's a legend. You know, I've known him so long, I don't really know what the legend is anymore. It's great. I've obviously been working with him a long time and really enjoy it. Every new thing we do I know it's going to be something unexpected. For me it's great to have a musician you work with who you have no idea what either of you guys are going to play the next time you get together.
MSJ: What can you tell me about the new King Crimson disc?
Well, it's called "The Constukction of Light". It's very intense, very intense. It's half instrumental, half vocal, and the vocals are quite surprising and really great. It's a four piece this time with Pat Mastoletto, myself, Adrian and Robert. There's just some monster pieces, some really heavy pieces.
MSJ: Are Bill Bruford and Tony Levin permanently out of the band?
No, I don't know if anyone's ever permanently gone from the band. They're just off doing some other things right now. Who knows how long this version of Crimson will last - nobody does.
MSJ: Why did the disc come out as a King Crimson album rather than another of the Projekcts splinter group?
When you hear it, you'll know. The projects, 1 to 4 so far, are all improvised. They were all improved shows, entirely improvised records taken from those shows. They're all live records with the various groups of the six guys. This King Crimson record, The Construkction of Light, is not improvised at all. I mean, theres improv within them, but it's obvious this is composed music. So, it sounds utterly unlike teh Projekcts. However, this four piece Crimson during the recording of The Construkction of Light also did some improvising which we are going to release on a record called Projekct X-Heaven and Earth. It's just kind of another projekct that's very cool. It's like totally the other side of this band. That's more in line with the projekcts. So, it's not a matter of just having another projekct and just throwing the King Crimson name on it. When you hear Larks Tongues in Aspic Pt. IV, you'll know it's King Crimson, not just the projekcts.
MSJ: Is Crimson going to be touring for the album?
Yeah, we start rehearsing May 1st in Nashville with some club shows at the end of May to warm up. Four warmup shows at a club in Nashville, then fly to Europe for a five or six week European tour. Then in October, we're going to Japan. Then come back the end of October through November and early in December do America.
MSJ: Who would you see as your influences?
Well, it's hard to say because what you think of as your influences aren't necessarily your influences. Guitar players are not really my influences. I suppose I really like bands. One of my favorite bands is XTC. I really love female singers, too -- Tori Amos and the new Amy Mann stuff. I also listen to a lot of Eastern music, a lot of Arabic and Indian music. In a way it's probably more influential than any rock music for me.
MSJ: Are there any musicians out there with whom you would like to work?
Well, actually I'm working with a couple right now. I'm getting ready to do some shows with Eric Johnson and Jerry Marotta as a trio. Which is funny, I really didn't know Eric's playing that well, and now I know it very well, and I love playing with Jerry. You know, I'd love to work with Gabriel and David Bowie and Bjork.
MSJ: What`s been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
I suppose this isn't a Spinal Tap moment, but I've never had to cancel a show, but one time Robert and I flew with the string quintet to Sicily, which is about as far removed from Italy as Hawaii is from America, and our gear was nearly totally trashed in the flight. When we get there, there was not the power. Instead of getting 120 volts with our converters, we were getting 97 volts, and things were really really going bad. It turned out the Mayor of the town was coming and his whole entourage, to see the famous musicians come to his small town. I wouldn't say anything dreadful happened, but it was just a really dull, dead night and things went awry, and the Mayor was there and it wasn't pretty.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought?
The last CD I bought was Tori Amos-To Venus and back, the new double record. Matt Chamberlin is a drummer I know from Seattle. He sounds fantastic on the record.
 
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