King Crimson

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King Crimson
King crimson 1924.png
From left to right, Tony Levin, Bill Bru-ha-ha-ford, Adrian Belew, and Robert Hip-Fripp-Tripp.
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres
Years active
  • 504-704
  • 1969-1975
  • June 1980-July 1980
  • 1981-present
Labels
Associated acts
Website dgmlive.com
Members
Past members
    • Rick Astley
    • Greg Dry Lake
    • Gordon Haskell
    • John Wetton (apply directly to the wet)
    • Peter Sinfield
    • Bill Bru-ha-ha-ford

King Crimson Underpants (not to be confused with Fling Plimsole) is a bubblegum/soothing pop band known for their simple and catchy tunes that has been guitarist Adrian "Steve" Belew's vehicle for showcasing some of the greatest lyricists of flower power death metal since the 1960s. They started out as a children’s flower pop skiffle group founded by Rick Astley and Robert Hip-Fripp-Tripp in 504 AD. Their ‘shtick’ is going on staging wearing nothing but red underpants, and constantly pulling a crazy assortment of instruments out of their arse, such as gerbils, mellotrons, chains, sticks, coconuts, pedals, washboards as well as the infamous ‘bill belew.’ Often, they simply play with whatever’s in their crimson coloured underpants without bothering to remove it – their adoring fanbase of 2-year-olds love it!

Although not as commercially successful as the multiplatinum Giles, Giles and Fripp, or the stadium-packing The Brain, King Crimson Underpants (known as "Crimso Underpantso" to their fans) has nonetheless altered the course of popular English by peppering our everyday speech with widely-imitated catchphrases as "cat food cat food cat food again", "Uncle Rufus grew his nose", "these are words that begin with a 'D' this time", and "speck of lint on the penis of an alien". Due to the accessible, upbeat style of King Crimson Underpants, their music is often featured in aerobics exercise videos, and "health food" magazines, and the band has previously collaborated with fitness expert Richard Simmons to record an album, Irak. They are such a syrupy band that, after drying up their Lake, they still got their Wett-on.

For the proper experience, please pause after reading each section and listen to 3 to 7 minutes of instrumental.[1]

History of Idiocy[edit]

King "Crimson Underpants" began their days as a variety act led by Hip-Fripp-Trip known as "King Crimson Underpants And His Amazing Coconuts", featuring the Coconuts, a trio of attractive hula-dancing triplets. The Coconuts, naturally, were hidden inside the crimson-coloured underpants of the band members - hence the name, which stuck like chlamydia. Hip-Fripp-Trip was well-known for opening his concerts by saying, "I'm King Crimson Underpants, and down there are my Coconuts!" and for being a modest, likeable leader who always deferred to the wishes of the other musicians. This notion was quickly redacted within music circles when Hip-Fripp-Trip began to randomly turkey slap band members on stage whenever his ill-fitting, coconut stuffed pants would slip past his ankles. These antics led to Rick Astley leaving the band before any records were produced. The group recorded their first record, featuring its famous cover depicting a benign, smiling soothing cartoon face, in 504AD. The album was notable for its strict adherence to songs under three minutes in length. When asked why the songs were so short, Hip-Fripp-Trip replied: "Because of my life-long battle with narcolep...zzzzzzz." The simplicity of the songs later reached their full complexity and subtlety in the work of the Wiggles.

A few years later, the band was railroaded by John "Moneyman" Wetton, who forced them to smash their wind instruments and go totally metal. This conversion, coupled with lunatic percussionist/botanist Jamie "The Ghost and Mrs." Muir's propensity for lashing him about the head with heavy chains in order to get "that sound," made Hip-Fripp-Trip so tired that he went into a deep sleep for five years. When he woke up, he found that a curse had been placed on him that would cause any band he touched to become King Crimson Underpants. The first and only victim of this curse was the Talking Heads. Hip-Fripp-Trip now wears rubber gloves whenever handling the contents of someone else's underpants, and it apparently counteracts the effect quite well, except for the time he accidentally touched Maynard James Keenan's arse tattoo, transmitting the CrimVirus to a younger generation.

In 1999, the British Labour Government declared "A Day of Wooing Things," a national day of acknowledgement to honor all of Crimso Underpantso's achievements. The holiday was later revoked when Hip-Fripp-Trip was caught in a seedy section of London's Rear End, in a disused pet store he had secretly turned into a "huffing-dungeon" containing an extensive quantity of kittens.[2] He was wearing nothing but a pair of... well, you get the drift, and that fluid you see is from a coconut, okay?

How Does King Crimson Work?[edit]

Mellotron[edit]

The control panel of a Mellotron, with three main dials.
The Mellotron, turned to "C" for "Crimson"

Crimso Underpantso was one of the pioneers of an instrument known as the Mellotron, a keyboard instrument long since banned in England on grounds of cruelty to animals; each key was connected to a small animal (usually a gerbil, although its close cousin the Chamberlain used shrews) which had been trained to play a single note on a violin. The entire colony of gerbils was encased in a tin housing to give it that "sound". Later in the 80s the animals were replaced by robots and the instrument was re-released by PETA under the name "Fairlight".[3] Nonetheless, Crimso Underpantso continued using the original Mellotron, albeit in a new form: Adrian Belew would continually stamp on pedals that flattened the gerbils in sandwich presses, while Jamie Spewer beat them over their heads with chains.

Time Signature[edit]

Another claim to fame for King Crimson-Underpants was their relentless use of 4/4 time, which rarely varied from 90 beats per minute. Crimso Underpantso even named an album "Beat", for God's sake, after drummer Bill Bru-ha-ha-ford simplified his kit to a snare drum, a bass drum and a gerbil. While touring the United States, Bru-ha-ha-ford refused to play anything but a gourd filled with slips of paper, inscribed with the names of his foes.

This was probably a back-to-basics rebellion against the lavish and excessive song structures being bandied about in the post-prog-punk heyday by Bob Dylan, The Wiggles, Dolly Parton, The Velvet Underground, The Shaggs and Goethe.

To this day, overzealous drummers in band rehearsals worldwide are all too familiar with the shameful calls of "Keep it simple, stupid! Play four to the floor, like Crimso Underpantso." Upon hearing this, most bands descend into an orgy, and this creates the paradox of whether they have misunderstood the drummer, or understood him ALL TOO WELL.

Scales and Harmony[edit]

King Crimson Underpants can also be identified by their almost exclusive use of the C-major pentatonic scale. This predictable scale complements the simplicity of 4/4 time well, with the result that their songs have a very familiar, lighthearted, and relaxing feel that the kiddies love as they hum along to soothing lines like "cheeky birdie on a wire, innocents raped with napalm fire". In fact, most King Crimson Underpants members, both past and present, are known to avoid dissonance and non-standard harmony whenever possible. Robert Hip-Fripp-Tripp in particular is such a determined opponent of atonality that, as with the overzealous drummer, it is common for the unorthodox guitarist to hear, "dude, come on ... stop huffing kittens and start playing the song the nice easy way ... like Hip-Fripp-Trip.” King Crimson Underpants is so strict about their scale use, they even named an album “Discipline”, because they knew that this was an end in itself.

Tuning Style[edit]

Hip-Fripp-Trip is the inventor of the New Stupid Guitar Tuning, in which the guitar strings are tuned in intervals of an augmented fourth (or diminished fifth, depending on the phase of the moon). In ascending order of pitch, this gives a tuning of

C - F# - C - F# - C - F#

which is very handy for playing music that sounds like King Crimson Underpants. It does however have the disadvantage of being utterly useless for playing anything else. He has also patented 'Frippertronics', which is a form of under-pant fondling that avoids being liable for musical incest.

The Line up of Idiots[edit]

Robert Hip-Fripp-Trip[edit]

Main article: Robert Fripp
A red tinted image of a young man, Robert Fripp, playing guitar
Robert's red skin inspired the band's iconic panties.

The 'Undisciplined Slobert' to his intimate friends,[4] he is the only original member since the beginning. He really enjoys: holding hands with Rick Astley, being a guitar god that not even pagans acknowledge, lots and lots of money and long walks with his many man friends (assuming, of course, they are wearing the requisite-coloured pantyhose). He is also the reason Astley, Haskell, Sinfield et al. left King Crimson. Hip-Fripp-Trip is a very great gerbil orthodontist that changed the way kittens are de-loused forever, and even has a school for little boys where he teaches "Guitar Playing in certain undergarments". He has also worked with David Bowie, Brian Eno (whom he had a short relationship with), John Denver, and Microsoft. He has a pretty successful solo album called "Exposure To Little Boys": the song "You Burn Me Up Little Man" was at the number one spot for about 3 minutes until they snapped out of it. Although he is a "different" kind of person he is still highly respected and very talented huffer and noodler of cats, the latter thanks to his talent-preserving tactics of crouching behind medium-large boxes when faced with large crowds who enjoy noodling. He is planning a two-disc album that will be released in 2022 titled "Love Cannot Bear My Love For Children And Fellow Band Members"

Hip-Fripp-Trip was responsible for recording the entire soundtrack for Windows Vista, which he felt was a necessity because the original noises that happen when you click on stuff were just not good enough. Oh, Slobert...

Hip-Fripp-Trip also runs his own music company and website. DGMeLive.com. You can get t-shirts,the Crimson Underpants back catalogue, live concerts as well as request photos and autographed item from Slobert himself. He loves to personalize items by leaving them in the back of his underwear for a few days.

Unbeknownst to many, leader Robert, who has repeatedly taken a strong anti-drug stance, recently admitted to being a long-time addict of kitten huffing. His shtick is producing a seemingly endless amount of coconuts out of his underpants while simultaneously playing a stick, a mellotron and a gerbils. Due to his insistence on doing this while wearing thigh hugging leather pants, he would often fall over during the routine - hence his stage name 'Hip-Fripp-Trip'. His continuous focus on producing nothing other than music that would be loved by babies and toddlers alike has resulted in endless catchy phrases about animals like "Cat's Foot, Iron Claw", "Cat Food-Cat Food", "Birdie Tongue in Aspic", "Elephant Talk" and, of course, "Health Food Flaubert."

Rick Astley[edit]

A founding member of King Crimson Underpants, Rick did not stay long, only performing three times and appearing on no records. Astley has been hesitant to talk about his days with KCU in interviews, typically throwing whatever is in his hands as a distraction and running away when the name comes up.

Greg Dry Lake[edit]

Greg Lake sang for King Crimson Underpants during the 69-70 era. Known for his high pitched rat-bag voice... wait no that was Boz Burrell. Anyway he was known for his strong voice, constant moisture and girlish body. He was replaced by girlish girlie-girl Jon Anderson, who demanded King Crimson Underpants change their name to 'King Lizards in Crimson Underpants' in order to sing his girl-guide baby-girl hip-girlie songs. After leaving Crimso Underpantso, Lake dried up and formed the band ELP with random junkie Carl Palmer and former stripper/hooker/candy shop owner Keith Emerson. The band was a huge success, known for their tight pants, lack of coconuts, use of perfumes that smell like donuts and their short slow paced and very simple songs. "Brain Salad Sandwich" was considered their masterpiece. Dry Lake's (as he was now known) shtick was constantly blowing bubble gum balls and handing them to children when he should have been singing.

Gordon Haskell[edit]

Gordon Haskell once sang for King Crimson Underpants. Wow! He left soon after recording Reptilia because Robert Hip-Fripp-Trip made him do stuff with his crimson underpants that can't even be spoken of in America (they call it "the British Vice" for good reason...). He went on to be a pretty successful Industrial Metal singer/bassist. His song "How Stupid You Are" was more requested than The Beatles song "Hey Jew" and Frank Sinatra's "My Way Or You Die" on the BBBC Radio. Haskell's shitck was pulling lizards out his underpants and using them to bang on teapots.

John "Get-Your-Wet-On" Wetton[edit]

Another important member of the King Crimson Underpants brigade, who was in the band for the entire "baby wipes"/"wet ones" era. He was a strong communist leader and thought that King Red should release Red in the name of Crimson-Communism. After being assaulted by Hip-Fripp-Trip twice in the studio and ten times during one show, he left in 1584 to help lead the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Later, he helped to start Russia and with their debut album he found worldwide fame among the stillborn. He became a world famous actor in the late eighties, as a stunt double for Clint Eastwood.

Tony Levin[edit]

Montel Williams look-a-like who is most famous for playing a 10 string penis like guitar called The Chapman Stick as well as the bass guitar, which both instruments simultaneously shoved into his underpants. He was reported to have been the first cool "bald guy" in the history of rock music but his association with both King Crimson Underpants and Peter Gabriel have proven this to be just a rumor. Montel, I mean Tony has played on every album recorded since 1970, and is linked with many famous artists such as the Fresh Beat Band through name dropping on his own website. He released a solo album in 2007 titled "What the hell is this thing?" and is now on tour with his own band "Tonight Only Peter Gabriel's Bass Player" His schtick (which drives the babies nuts) is polishing his head, hanging upside down and spinning around like a mirror-ball.

Peter Sinfield[edit]

Peter "Field of Sin" was in the band 69-71. He wrote lyrics about Epitaphs, Lizards, Islands, Schizoid people and ladies of the dancing water and on the road. He left King Crimson Underpants because Robert Hip-Fripp-Trip was a little too friendly at times and creeped out Field of Sin. He later went on to release an album called "Still...I Said Still Dammit I'm Peter Field of Sin you asshole now stay Still" which is hailed as a masterpiece, even though it had only 2 songs, each one minute long, and was mainly just Field of Sin talking about Ladies and his Lizard. The song "Hey Lady Touch My Lizard" was a popular single and a dance club number for many years. After that amazing album he released "The Great Lizard Lady Of The Road Who's Epitaph Was About A Schizoid Man On An Island" which was filled with short acoustic blast fests, Grindcore ballads and classical thrash.

After this album he and the rest of the original King Crimson Underpants met at a random building and talked about being sexually assaulted by Hip-Fripp-Trip. So that's what that red underwear crap was all about, after all. These days Field of Sin spends most of his time writing poetry with Dick Hurtz who was also in King Crimson Underpants for a good 3 minutes ("the worst 3 minutes of my life," says Dick). He is going to release a new album in 2022 titled "Look At My Epitaph It's A Lizard On A Island With A Lady Of The Dancing Water Hugging A Schizoid Man" which is said to be another masterpiece even though it hasn't even been created yet. Field of Sin's shtick was walking on stage and standing completely motionless for 2 hours, regardless of what Hip-Fripp-Trip put in his underpants.

Bill Bru-ha-ha-ford[edit]

Bill Bru-ha-ha-ford was in the band from 72-97, and his lengthy stay is not very common with members of King Crimson Underpants. Bru-ha-ha-ford left his first band "No" after "By the Border". Since it is a tradition for prog bands to employ Bru-ha-ha-ford, Hip-Fripp-Trip had no choice but to put him in the band. After realizing how good Bru-ha-ha-ford actually is at SITTING ON THE STAGE NOT PLAYING ANYTHING, Hip-Fripp-Trip said "This surprised me more than how addictive kitten huffing really is!" Today Bru-ha-ha-ford is retired and is still trying to find why 4/4 is so common, and what use drum sticks are when he can just sit there not playing anything and it sounds so much better. Bill's shtick is beginning each show in the audience among the babies - due to his face, they never realise he's not one of them until he goes onstage, sits at the drums and refuses to play!

The Wiggles[edit]

The Wiggles, like the Khmer Rouge, are a spin off power grindcore band of former Crimso Underpantso members. Hip-Fripp-Trip is constantly banging on about how they take his simple guitar riffs and song structures and make them "way too complicated - I mean, I'm here doing stuff that 2 year olds dig, and they get all complex with their chords and changes, like they're aiming at 5 year olds or something stupid." Everyone knows, especially YOU, that Hip-Fripp-Trip is just anal about the fact that they stole his idea of red underwear but made it better with FOUR fluro colours. The Wiggles shtick is each member improvising 12 atonal arpeggios in different time signatures for four hours at the start of each show. "Kiss our fluro arses, Hip-Fripp-Trip", they regularly mutter.

Court Cases[edit]

A sign with the cover art of The Court of the Crimson King painted on it.
A fan-made sign outside "the Court".

Hip-Fripp-Trip is fond of taking pornographers to court for ripping off his stage antics, aside from their usual behaviour of ripping things off. "The only reason I play is to mark time between court cases", he reminisces at the beginning of each concert. After having taken a Walkman to court for ripping off "Fripper-ironics" (a landmark failure once Sony proved that a coconut could not, in fact, be stuffed inside a Walkman, rendering the terms of prosecution invalid), Hip-Fripp-Trip returned to his usual practice of extorting pornographers for free VHS copies of their wares.

Such an expert is Slobert in the workings of the courts ("The entire English law code is designed to ensure that artists who can't sell albums can, nevertheless, reap huge rewards by suing sex movie makers for the intro themes", he is fond is repeating each night in bed)[5] that a particular courtroom in London is locally referred to as "The Court of the Crimson King". He once successfully put a Mellotron in the witness box to be cross examined by Justin Timberlake. In a 2012 trial, Hip-Fripp-Trip proceeded to sit in the corner and commence a keytar solo that lasted the entire 3 month trial period. The solo was comprised of him playing the same note (a bee) repeatedly. As a result, he was awarded the largest ever pay out in US history ($13 bazillion squintillions), amounting to a full 5% royalty payment from Rick Astley's back catalogue (which was, the court agreed, nothing but a series of overdubs and resynths of the King Crimson Underpants children's music).

Hip-Fripp-Trip is currently locked in three different court battles, notably one with a fat slag who eats only cat food, inspired by one of the band's songs. When asked about his upcoming court disputes, Hip-Fripp-Trip replied, under some distress, "Underpantso-so-tight... too-too-tight..." His speck of lint then exploded.[6]

Discography[edit]

  • "I've got a loved pair of coconuts" (504 AD)
  • "Mama I went poo-poo" (704 AD) Their most critically successful album.
  • "There they are in my crimson panties" (1004 AD)
  • "In the Court of Poseidon" (1969)
  • "Starfull and Buddha Blue" (1864, released 1970) This is the fully instrumental album with the Red cover.
  • "Reptilia" (1970)
  • "Boz Who?" (1971)
  • "Another Badly Recorded Live Album" a.k.a "Earthbound" (1972)
  • "Larks' ball in asparagus" (1973)
  • "Starfull" (2064, released 1973) This album contains the lyrics "Starfull and Buddha Blue" fifty-seven times in each song. It has a black cover with no stars on it. It has nothing to do with Buddha.
  • "Star Gate and Piper Black" (1974) Featuring Syd Barrett on skin flute and Theremin. This album is Red and has one song about Buddha, but never uses the lyric "Buddha Blue")
  • "Red" a.k.a. "Crimso Underpantso Manifesto" (1974) Banned by The Love of Richard Nixon, this album has a blue cover and is all about a Purple-coloured Buddha. It regularly uses the lyric "Starfull", but none of the songs are called that.
  • "Blue" (1975) (This album has a red cover, covered in stars, and once mentions the lyric "Planetful, my Red Buddha")
  • "Buddha Blue" (1976) Another fully instrumental album with a red cover.
  • "Starful and Buddha Blue" (1978, released 1864) If you ask what colour it is, or whether is has stars or mentions Buddha, I'll break your arm.
  • "Random Noise" (1979)
  • "Random Noise II" (1979)
  • "(Wild Belew came) Disciplined" (1980)
  • "Beat it!" (1981)
  • "Three millions and more of a perfect share"(1984)
  • "IraK" (1995) Collaboration with Richard Simmons.
  • "Big Mac Attack (IraK Live at Buddokan)" (1996)
  • "The UnderConstruKction of Blackout" (2000)
  • "The relentless pursuit of more strings for Levin." (2003)
  • "Happy with what you have to be happy with the happiness that you have to be happy with with happiness to be happy with what you have to be happy with" (2003)
  • "An Abundance of Everyday Events" (2011)

References[edit]

  1. It's all on Youtube.
  2. Marvis, Randrew. "Inside the Crimson Dungeon". Daily Mail. 26 January 1999
  3. Franny, Danithel. "The Cruelty-Free Mellotron?". ABC. 26 January 1987
  4. And "Lawsuit Blood Emperor" to his enemies.
  5. Don't tell him that we bugged his house.
  6. I was there.

See also[edit]

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