Posted by Sid Smith on Feb 16, 2024

Bill Bruford will be speaking during the Blue Note Jazz Festival at the end of June in New York and at the Glenside Theatre, PA. On both evenings, music will come from Jonathan Mover's Progject who will be performing music from artists such as Genesis, Yes, ELP, Pink Floyd and other prog rock luminaries as well as King Crimson and Bruford. Bill will not be performing but he will be in conversation with music journalist Anil Prasad each evening discussing his career and beyond.

For full details click on the link

Meanwhile, on his Facebook page Bill has shared a video of Crimson performing Waiting Man, adding an extensive written commentary on the piece...

The drumming for the first half of this song borrows from Steve Reich’s composition ‘Drumming’, which calls for a number of players standing opposite each other sharing one percussion set-up. Here it is six hexagonal pads. The sound module is the Simmons SDSV pitched up and all the metallic white noise wound out of it. A key attraction (for me anyway), is the absence of a steady kick drum. Somehow that allows the music to float more freely, to be less tethered; the opposite of what’s needed for dance music, of course, where it’s all nailed to the floor.  

Adrian Belew’s first instrument was drums, before he changed to guitar. So I was lucky to have a partner to stage this with. In fact we had three drum ‘stations’ on stage for a while: the ‘Waiting Man’ set up, which had to be broken down for the second song of the evening; my main hybrid electro-acoustic kit; and a small acoustic set, from which Adrian could play and declaim ‘Indiscipline’.

One of the many great things a little success affords is the ability to indulge your musical fantasies. King Crimson was never about high-production values – exploding ballons, giant phalluses, pyrotechnics and the like – but when we did have a little extra cash it went on sound production (and multiple drum kits). That included way too many sound-processing devices. Bassist Tony Levin went out one night before a King Crimson sextet show and counted 84 separate units with which the sound of an instrument could be manipulated!

The long slow build up to the song is all about the making of a fabric, with four pairs of hands producing only single notes. This gives you the aural equivalent of a string vest - you can see through it. The more you repeat it the more unstoppable  it becomes. In my autobiography I described how, at outdoor concerts: 

“ …the moths and fireflies, attracted by the lights, would weave their perilous way in between and around the choreography of the four sticks of the two drummers, as the airy but persistent marimba-like rhythm soaked into the subconscious. After a few minutes of this, Robert and Tony would join in, and the music became unstoppable. Much more, and you feared that either band or audience might levitate. These were the great moments, undeniable and indestructible, and I know we all felt them to be so”. 

Tony’s break at 5’24” gave me just enough time to get back to the main kit as we launched into the second part of the song. One note for those who’ve asked why I never played double kick drum: I did, for a while. Here the left foot is on a Simmons kick drum producing the clashing, trashy 4/4. The regular kick is heard solo at 7’33”.

In short, I loved performing this song with these people in places like this arena in Fréjus, South of France. Whatever trials and tribulations we had been through - and there had been plenty of those, both internal and external – all were forgotten as the music took over. I don’t know about the others, but ‘Waiting Man’ was, of all the King Crimson material, one of my favourite pieces to perform.