Interview Sylvian-Fripp drummer Pat Mastelotto

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Interview Sylvian-Fripp drummer Pat Mastelotto

Postby Quiet Visitor on Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:47 am

Here's a long interview Anil Prasad did with Pat Mastelotto, who was the drummer during the Sylvian-Fripp tour in 1993.
http://www.innerviews.org/inner/pat-mastelotto
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Re: Interview Sylvian-Fripp drummer Pat Mastelotto

Postby Quiet Visitor on Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:51 am

Well, if you don't want to go through the whole interview, here's a nice piece about the tour:

Prior to King Crimson, you toured with David Sylvian and Robert Fripp in 1993. What are some of your key recollections of that experience?

Sylvian-Fripp was a very British band. It was back in the days of fax machines and no way to Google the new word of the day. I had played with lots of Englishmen. XTC was a full blast of Swindon, but Sylvian-Fripp was a four-month world tour with Brits from the top down—a fully English-run organization, including crew, management, band, and vibe. There were just two Americans, Trey Gunn and me, and one Canadian in Michael Brook. So, dare I say there were Spinal Tap moments veering towards Fawlty Towers? [laughs]

To be honest, I didn’t know Sylvian’s work very well going into it. By coincidence, I had just heard the Sylvian-Fripp song “God’s Monkey” on NPR about a week before I found out about the auditions and I felt it was a groove song I could play well. So, when the freak chance of hearing about the Sylvian-Fripp auditions came up I jumped on it. If it had been an audition for King Crimson, I doubt I would have had the balls to chase it. I was very lucky most of the material worked with my drum approach.

The Sylvian-Fripp tour was a lesson in restraint. The lighting alone was a challenge. There were pools of white light on stage all the time. In most bands I’d been in, the lights go dark when the songs ended. When the stage doesn't go dark, which is also the case with the current King Crimson, I feel exposed all the time. It’s like performing in a fish bowl. It goes both ways, too. It’s a test of how unobtrusive you can be when you’re not playing. What do you do when you want to use a towel or drink some water? So, the lesson I learned with Sylvian-Fripp, that continues with King Crimson, is to sit still, Guitar Craft-style. It isn’t always so easy If you’re sweating and your eyes are burning, or if it's a heartfelt lyric and my throat swells and I start to cry. It’s tough to just sit there.

Another thing I remember that was new during the Sylvian-Fripp tour was all the red lights igniting as soon as the house lights went down. I don't mean joints and pipes—I mean recording gear. [laughs] There are all those fans taping and making bootlegs. From the get go in Japan, I realized every note of every night we played was going to exist for someone’s critique after the fact. There wasn’t anything of that scale happening on other tours I’d been doing.

Now, dig this. At one of the first Sylvian-Fripp shows in Japan, as we’re about to go out for an encore to play “Blinding Light of Heaven,” Robert said to me “Throw me off tonight.” What the fuck? He wanted me to play something so totally outside that he couldn’t play with it? I’ve never had anyone ask me to do that before. So, for several shows, I’m doing the craziest fills I can think of. I’m doing whatever I can to throw him off, but none of it worked. Then one night, I counted off and did a big drum fill and stopped where I’d normally play. I put silence in there. Robert was left completely hung out to dry and looked like he almost fell off his stool. He looked at me with the biggest smile. [laughs]

Obviously, Robert has a totally different sense of the rules compared to what I was used to while playing pop music. Robert stopped me at the first sound check when we were working on “Jean the Birdman.” It has these little gaps where the drums stop for a few bars while the guitars play, and the guitars kept falling out of time. So, I would quietly keep tempo with the hi-hat. Robert stopped me and said “What are you doing?” I said “I’m keeping time for you guys because you’re falling apart.” That’s what any other band would want the drummer to do, right? Robert said “No, no, no. You don’t do that in this band. If others can’t keep time, they shouldn’t be on this stage. It’s not your responsibility to keep time for anyone here.” I thought “Whoa, this is a whole new world I’m living in here.” Now, you may have noticed this has changed with this current Crimson lineup, as the backline guys are now very happy to get their counts and cues from Gavin, but in the old days we used to hide those.
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Re: Interview Sylvian-Fripp drummer Pat Mastelotto

Postby inkinthewell on Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:59 pm

Anything the matter with Englishmen, Pat? :lol:
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans - JL 1940-1980
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