News-New ReleaseTony Levin “thrilled that King Crimson is back doing stuff”

Tony-Levin150Tony Levin “thrilled that King Crimson is back doing stuff”

“Live at the Orpheum” album released

By Mindy Rochwerg
January 30, 2015

To coincide with the 46th anniversary of the formation of King Crimson, the band is releasing Live at the Orpheum, a recording of the band’s performances from its 2014 concerts at the Orpheum in Los Angeles.  The album contains 41 minutes from the new line-up, covering four decades of material.

Tony Levin, virtuoso of the electric bass and Chapman stick – and a mighty fine cellist, too! – has been in various incarnations of the band since 1981, the latest featuring three drummers in the front row.

During his interview with Vintage Rock at the recent NAMM show, Levin, who is also currently touring with Stick Men and Peter Gabriel, indicated that the band is considering a European tour and possibly some new material.

“I’m thrilled that King Crimson is back doing stuff,” Levin said, “and doubly thrilled that I’m in it — although, as a fan of the band, I would be happy even if I wasn’t in it. It seems like every year we’re going to do something. Not the whole year, but the fall or at least a part of the fall. And it is on the table, the possibility that we’ll come up with some new music — and maybe, eventually, a new album. That would be great.”

He added: “We are talking about, and really planning to tour next fall again,” Levin says. “It looks like not in the U.S.; it looks like other places, Europe. But it’s kind of silly to say at this point, because things could change. But just generally, Europe plus more.”

When asked about the challenge of playing with three drummers, Levin responded:

“King Crimson is always a big, big challenge, not only to keep up, but that’s the band where, o.k. it’s time to really push forward my own playing and find other ways to do things for myself.  Other bands don’t have time for that.  King Crimson, we’ll give ourselves the rehearsal time – four/five weeks if we need it, to really find the next place to go.  So it’s a challenge for sure.

FBPO's Jon Liebman is flanked by the Levin brothers, Tony (L) and Pete, at the 2015 NAMM show

FBPO’s Jon Liebman is flanked by the Levin brothers, Tony (L) and Pete, at the 2015 NAMM show

“In addition, three drummers.  I was expecting it to be really hard, but because of the creative parts they came up with, in fact, it was very easy.  In fact, surprisingly to me, I find myself playing more bass notes than I usually do, not to mention that I expected to have to play it very little to leave all this room. Somehow they do it.  It’s very creative, but they don’t take up a lot of space.  Well, they take up some space, but not all of the space, so it’s wonderful. It turned out that aspect of it was not hard.”
Levin also commented on the additional challenge of following in the footsteps of John Wetton: “We play a lot of the old repertoire re-invented, and that’s hard, ‘cause I’m playing just awesomely famous bass lines by John Wetton and things like that and I want to capture something new that’s something of me, but I don’t want to loose what’s really special about that part, so that’s a good challenge.  It’s a challenge, but it’s a good one.”

Music is not Levin’s only talent, as it was he who took the photo that is on the cover of Live at the Orpheum.  Listeners will find a mixture of old and new material – some of which is being performed for the first time.

1. Walk On: Monk Morph Chamber Music
2. One More Red Nightmare
3. Banshee Legs Bell Hassle
4. The ConstruKction of Light
5. The Letters
6. Sailor’s Tale
7. Starless

Release date:  January 13, 2015
Label:  Panegyric Recordings


Live at the Orpheum is available here

Jon von Boehm

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FBPO interview #2 with Tony Levin

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Exclusive FBPO interview with John Wetton
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Jon Liebman's Rock Bass book is endorsed by Tony Levin
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