King Crimson at the Paramount Theatre show preview 

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Robert Fripp, the leader of the seminal British art-rock band King Crimson, has always prided himself on being a contrarian. So it came as some surprise when, a few months ago, he made the band’s catalog available to Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming services. In so doing, his band has finally joined the ranks of other former holdouts — including Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Frank Zappa and Tool — who are now raking in a generous $0.0084 per stream.

The move coincides with a new King Crimson tour, this one to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary, where audiences can expect to hear Mellotron-heavy ‘60s and ‘70s favorites like “21st Century Schizoid Man,” “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic” and “The Court of the Crimson King.”

The current lineup features singer/guitarist Jakko Jakszyk, who has an almost disturbing ability to emulate former vocalists Greg Lake, John Wetton and Adrian Belew. It also includes no less than four percussionists, which is about how many it would take to match former King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford. Even longtime bassist Tony Levin is back on board, as is saxophonist Mel Collins, a key member of the band in the early ‘70s.

All of this seems bizarrely out of character for a bandleader previously known for going on decade-long hiatuses and refusing to revisit classic material. It should be interesting to see what, if anything, comes next.


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