Tag Archives: Tony Levin

Hidden 80′s Gems – Part 7 1987

Robbie Robertson
Who dosent like dipping into those studio album with an dream casting of artists, and that is what we got with Robbie Robertson’s self titled solo album, from 1987. I had no problems chosing this album as my 1987 gem, it’s a perfect example of late 1980’s new wave sound, its not that well know, but a true masterpiece, co-produced with Robertson by Daniel Lanois, who was also involved with U2 and Gabriel at the time.

Fresh from recording Peter Gabriels “So”, and three King Crimson albums in the early 80’s, Tony Levin drips his master bass sounds on this album, before he takes part in the Yes reunion formed as “Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe” the following year. Levin deliver a solid rhythm section with Manu Katché, who he was also playing with on “So”, not to mention that Peter Gabriel himself, also appears as backup vocalist, and keyboard player on a few tracks. Also Jazz legend Gil Evans, Bassist Larry Klein, and members from The Band, contributed to the album.

All four members of U2, forms the backing band on two tracks, “Sweet Fire of Love” co-written by U2 and Robertson. The tracks have a nice U2 feel about them, but are still very much Robertson’s, and melt perfectly with the other tracks on the album.

At this point I guess some are thinking, that’s all fine but who is this mister Robertson able to get those big names to play on his album ?, Robertson was one of the founding members, the main songwriter, and lead guitarist of Canadian “The Band”, known for their work as Bob Dylan’s backing band, when he turned electric in the late 60’s. The Band had a track on the legendary Easy Rider soundtrack.

The Band is also knows for their legendary farewell concert The Last Waltz, featuring a list of names, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Paul Butterfield and more. The Concert was the basis of Martin Scorsese documentary The Last Waltz released in 1978, still ranked as one of the best Rock films ever made.

The Band and Neil Young from The Last Waltz

Discipline & Indiscipline

Friday is Fripp day
What a Fripp
Time to dance the Fripp.
Sometimes when I think of something to be just too great, its often something I have listened too many many times. Then I also think everyone else has and know all about it, as if it was The Beatles, Pink Floyd or Mozart. The thing is, that may often not be the case, just because I know Discipline by King Crimson, and have listened to it crazy many times, it’s not the case for everyone. If You dont, here is the chance to change that.
An album elevating the consept of Rock Music.
Elephant Talk

Stylistically the new King Crimson, is a style of music in its own, explored over three albums in the early 80’s. Having some connection what Talking Heads, David Bowie and Peter Gabriel did at the same time, but with a level of complexity on one side and minimalism on the other, that is very King Crimson, and especialy this short lived version of King Crimson.
Frame By Frame

After dropping King Crimson in 1974, Fripp did a lot of other things for the duration of the 70’s, but in 1980 he called King Crimson ex. drummer Bill Bruford, to form a new band called Discipline, they agreed to do something together. Fripp called guitarist Adrian Belew, at the time known for his work with Frank Zappa, Talking Heads and David Bowie, Belew was happy to be part of the team, he was younger, and knew of Fripp and Bruford as Progressive Rock giants.
Discipline

Fripp and Bruford went to New York, making auditions for a Bass player, a tape with a recording of a 17/8 riff, was played during audition, as to check if the bassist’s would be Discipline materiel, they should be able to play the riff. On the 3.rd day of audition Tony Levin came in, Fripp knew him from playing together at Peter Gabriel’s albums I II and III, the case was settled, Fripp later commented, that he would have expected Tony to be too busy; otherwise he would have called him without hesitation. Levin was known to also play the Chapman stick, something that would suit the project very well.
Indiscipline

Even though Fripp was unsure about the idear of renaming the Project, King Crimson, the Americans did not like “Discipline”, as that was not a term ringing well in their ears, not friendly, and Bruford would agree : Robert will talk endlessly about icons and things, but to us plain Englishmen it just seems a very good idea. In the end while still touring, they changed the band name from Discipline to King Crimson. The album was released in September 1981
The Sheltering Sky