From: ee152fcy@sdcc15.UCSD.EDU (Paolo Valladolid)
Subject: Coffee and Chocolates for Two Guitars
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 92 8:23:10 PST

Note: This article originally appeared in _Musician_ No.45, July, 1982.
Let the reader be assured that what follows is *not* some fabrication of an
overactive imagination.  Never in my wildest fantasies would I have thought
up of what follows...

Reason for posting this:  Must be shared with fellow Crimheads...

		Coffee and Chocolates for Two Guitars


			Robert Fripp

Weather shut England and delayed the jammed flight to Paris by three hours,
so I landed at 1:30 pm.  A mad taxi driver helped to make up the lost time
by driving like a mad taxi driver (the only madder ones than Paris' are in
Milan). This guy only hit one car but we *nearly* collected a second-a
young Parisien jumped the light so we took it kinda personal, sped up and
aimed. He backed down when he sized the opposition. Then we drove through
the No Entry sign to John's streed; his number was inconveniently at the
wrong end.  I got out at the front door of the quintessentially French
apartment building, in what looked suspiciously like a pedestrian zone, a
small back lane of one of my two favorite cities in the world.

John McLaughlin should need no introduction, but I suppose editorial
etiquette necessitates an exposition of the highlights of his extraordinary
career.  John probably would be equally admired had there been no
Mahavishnu Orchestra - his turn-of-the-decade work with Tony William's
Lifetime and his contributions to Miles Davis' epochal _Bitches Brew_
(known forever as the first fusion album) and _Jack Johnson_ would have
ensured that - but it is unquestionably the Mahavishnu Orchestra, with its
jagged explosions of cosmic fire and odd-metered funkiness that remains
McLaughlin's best loved and most celebrated bad. The Orchestra's cheerful
acceptance of rock 'n' roll and other non-jazz idioms never diluted the
pyrotechnical excellence of its musicians, Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer, Jerry
Goodman, and Rick Laird.

Both before and after Mahavishnu, McLaughlin quietly established his jazz
credentials as a band leader in a more subdued but more personally
expressive medium with such brilliant albums as _Extrapolation_, _My Goals
Beyond_(recently rereleased), the underrated _Johnny McLaughlin-Electric
Guitarist_, his collaboration-meditation with Carlos Santana _Love,
Devotion, and Surrender_ and his latest _Belo Horizonte_. McLaughlin is one
of the very few guitarists who have consistently held my respect. Not all
his music is my bag of bananas, but I've learned from all of it. And he's
still moving. The traditional arguments about technique - no feel, no music
- don't work with this man. My hunch is that the streams of notes don't
even come close to the tearing, ripping spray of what is trying to get out.
Except sometimes.

I am warmly greeted by John and his attractive roommate ( and the keyboard
player in _Belo Horizonte_), Katia LeBeque. Katia and her sister are a
classical music duo with a four-hands piano rendition of Gershwin's
_Rhapsody in Blue_ selling modestly in Europe. John is a dapper dresser;
today he's in grey: flannels and pullover, shirt and tie not quite matching
and just enough so that either you knew that he knew, or maybe he knew you
didn't. This subtlety of stressing the discontinuities, come exquisite
Basque confectionery placed between us, the charm of the apartment - in
mellowed pink, the ceiling veeing into the roof, spiral stairs - hinted at
an intermezzo between the acts of flying. John is straightforward,
friendly, and a gentleman. He speaks softly in a curious mix of Scottish,
Indian, and French accents. We discussed the several occasions we had
previously met for a time, and then I assumed a more jounalistic role.

Fripp:  Why do you think you became a musician?

McLaughlin: Happily, my mother was an amateur musician; she was a violinist
and there was always music going on in the house. We got a gramophone one
day, and someone had Beethoven's Ninth, and on the last record, which is at
the end of the symphony, there's a vocal quartet in which the writing is
extraordinary...the voices and the harmonies. I must have been about six or
seven when I distinctly remember *hearing* it for the first time. I suppose
that's when I started to listen. Because when you're young, you're not
paying attention. What do you know when you're a kid? It was
*unbelievable*, what it was doing to me was tremendous. I began to listen
consciously to music and I started taking piano lessons when I was nine and
went on to guitar at eleven...

Fripp:  Did anything trigger the guitar in particular?

McLaughlin: Yeah, it was the D major chord. My brother showed it to me on
the guitar, and I had this feeling of the guitar against my whole body...

Fripp:  Did you have the F# on the bottom string?

McLaughlin: No, no. I was playing full-note chords. Eleven years old...what
are you going to do? You have a small hand and, you know...What about you?
Did you have a similar experience?

Fripp: I was ten. Definitely no sense of rhythm, and I spent a long time
wonderting why it was that such an unlikely candidate would become a
professional musician. But I knew right away that I was going to earn a
living from it. Thinking about it over the years, I think music has a
desire to be heard, such a kind of compulsion to be heard that it picks on
unlikely candidates to give it voice.

McLaughlin: Yeah, I think that it basically comes from love. I mean, the
kind of attraction that you have when you listen to it when you're young.
It's inexplicable in a way.

Fripp: It's a direct vocabulary...

McLaughlin: Exactly. Perhaps what you say is truth insofar as the music
itself chooses, but it's not a one-way street from music's point of view.
In a sense, you know, we fall in love with the muse and the muse falls in
love with its prrospective voices.

Fripp: The sentence I would add is that the music needed me to give it a
voice, but in a feeble way. I needed music more, far more than music needed

McLaughlin: The most difficult thing, I think, in being a musician is to
get out of the way.

Fripp: How do you get out of the way? Do you have specific techniques or
regimens that you use? Can you just get yourself out of the way without
thinking about it?

McLaughlin: If I'm thinking about it, I'm in the way. You have to forget,
to forget everything. The minute we forget everything is when we're finally

Fripp: How do you forget everything?

McLaughlin: Oh, it's so's so hard because you're always looking
for colors, for new scales, new chords, new ways to say what you feel. But
to be able to say "I want to say what I feel" comes >from a selfish point
of view. Idealistically, the music should take what it wants and so we
should bear it open and allow it to be.  That's difficult because it's a
paradox, Robert. You have to know everything, then you have to forget it
all. Learning is relatively easy. It's difficult to recommend *how* to get
out of the way (laughs). That's what I'm learning how to do myself.

Fripp: For a number of years, you worked with Sri Chinmoy. How did that
help you?

McLaughlin: It helped me in many ways...because I felt a long time ago that
music and being are aspects of the same mystery. I felt I was very
ignorant, in fact, about me, ignorant about what is a human being.

Fripp: Was there a time when you kind of woke up one day and thought, "I
see things in a different way!" or was it a gradual thing?

McLaughlin: I think it was gradual. It started when I was about nineteen or
twenty. I had no religious education whatsoever. I was taught religious
instruction at school, which was completely meaningless. Christ,
didn't *mean* anything to me. And, in fact, it was my association with
Graham Bond that really triggered a desire to know. This must have been
around 1962. You know, we were smoking dope and this and that I remember
having a few acid trips, and that itself is a very profound psychic
influence, I think.  Psychological, too. And Graham Bond wwas, bu this
time, involved in the Tarot, but, how shall I say, not just the cards, but
from a philosophical point of view. He had this book he showed me one day,
which I found fascinating. He was talking about what is possible...which
seemed *science fiction*...what kind of powers we're capable of.
	I bought the book and traced through the author, discovering
through his index that he was a disciple of Romana Maharshi, who was a
great Indian saint. So that was my first contact with Indian culture in
general and philosophy in particular, and I joined the Theosophical Society
in London, since my appetite was whetted. The best thing about the place
was the library. They had *incredible* books in this library by people you
don't find in the local library around the corner. And it was through
reading that I came in contact with the Indian philosophy.
	I felt I was walking into a new world. It's a wonderful
feeling to suddenly discover after all these years that the world was not
how you thought it was. In fact, everything was discover that
everything's magical, nothing's ordinary. I've been digressing, What was
the original question?

Fripp:  How did you get to Sri Chinmoy?

McLaughlin: By the time I was 27, I'd already started doing Hatha Yoga and
doing mind and breathing exercises. I felt more capable mentally, but I had
this feeling I was being tuned up but not being played very well, which
relates to what we were talking about a while ago. I felt the need to learn
>from somebody who really knows.  I arrived one evening at a meditation
featuring Sri Chinmoy and he invited questions. I thought, "Great, this is
the first time anyone has ever invited questions," so I said, "What's the
relationship between music and spirituality?" and he said, "Well, it's not
really a question of what you do. It's what you are or how you are that's
important because you can be making the most beautiful music sweeping the
road, if you're doing it in a harmonious way, in a beautiful way." It
sounds so simple, of course, but it was everything I wanted to hear and I
felt I should stay with him, which I did for five years.
	Meditation in itself is a very subtle and complex process. I
have to say that in the first two years, the only thing that happened in
meditation was that my subconscious regurgitated everything, all its
obsessions and fears and desires...which I think is normal when you try to
still the conscious mind. It doesn't like it. It likes to vibrate and think
and hook into different emotions, good or bad, so when you *force* this
process and you sstay still for thirty minutes, an hour, two hours, what
happens is that the punch starts to manifest itself, and this is sometimes
horrifying and sometimes wonderful, but always good, I think, because you
start to learn about yourself and you accept the good with the bad.

Fripp: How did your discipline work within the Mahavishnu Orchestra? Was
that your band, was it cooperative...?

McLaughlin: It was my band in the beginning and it became more and more
democratic...but the whole relationship with Sri Chinmoy was a cause of

Fripp: I wondered how the other musicians dealt with the ideas...

McLaughlin: They rejected them *outright*. For me, I can still say music is
God, music is the face of God. That's everybody, that's the hearts of men.
And that's important to me. But that's not the way everybody sees it. And,
of course, what happened in interviews, especially in collective
interviews, was that people would ask me questions and I would talk about
development and ideals, about which I already have talked too much this
afternoon, and these questions would be posed to the other musicians and
they would say, "We don't want to feel that way at all, we're not into

Fripp: Everybody is always asked a perennial question that they wish not to
be asked again. For me, it was always why did we break up King Crimson? For
Bill Bruford, it was "why did you leave Yes?"  What would yours be?

McLaughlin: Probably, "why did the Mahavishnu Orchestra break up?"  or why
did *I* break it up. Because that...that was a group that people enjoyed.
It was loved by a lot of people, in fact, and it's kind of sad to see that
happen. I mean, it's like when the Beatles broke up. I was very *shaken*.
This is the kind of just don't think is going to happen.
	I must say, thought, that I tried to put it together, for
one concert, a few years ago, just to show that...that...all bullshit
aside, we loved to play. Everybody but Jan (Hammer) wanted to do it.
Jan...I...I still can't figure it out. He's a very enigmatic person. He's
such a great musician and he's a big, big lover of rock 'n' roll. But
perhaps still, there's a certain...I wonder...maybe he still feels bad
about something in that band. I can't figure it out. But it was enough for
him to say no.

Fripp: As we're talking through these heavy things, I'm munching without
any guilt at all through my favorite French confection.

McLaughlin: Can I get you more coffee?

Fripp: I should love more coffee. Where do these chocolates come from?

McLaughlin: They come from the Basque coast, where we go a lot of the time.
Maybe one day you can come and visit.

Fripp: I should love to do that. I use French confection as an analogy
sometimes. People say, "What's the difference between earning a living, or
having a go so it's more than just a mundane process?" and I say it's the
difference between Hershey bars and French confectionery. You have to know
French confection to understand what a Hershey bar is.

McLaughlin: Did you ever see _The French Connection II? There's a scene
where Gene Hackman is in France and although there's all this Swiss
chocolate around, he only wants a Hershey bar...(laughs)

Fripp: I never did drugs, you see, so I was only told about the connection.
It seems to me that details such as chocolate or clothing give insight to
the person...

McLaughlin: It's the small things, how a person walks, how a person talks,
what they say, how they say it. We learn from that. I learn, surely.

Fripp:  Do you dress in a certain kind of way to say anything

McLaughlin: Well, let's look at it in music. I'll tell you what I'm looking
for. I'm looking for *eloquence*, *accuracy*, and *elegance* - among other
things such as profundity, pathos, joy - but I think these three qualities,
which are written on the back of _Love Supreme_ by John Coltrane; reading
those liner notes had a great effect on me. It's a way of life, a way of
being. I don't think one can strive for elegance and eloquence and purity
in music and not in life.

Fripp: Your playing has always struck me as very similar to Coltrane, but I
don't hear a guitarist with mere technique, which you obviously
isn't so much a geezer going through scales, it's just *ripping* out...

McLaughlin: Looking for the way, just going through everything he knows to
find out what he doesn't know, and that's what we're all trying to do. I
mean improvisation. I think it's safe to say that you're really happiest
when you've gone through what you know and...

Fripp:  You discover something you didn't know before.

McLaughlin: Yeah, and suddenly the doors open and you see this incredible
avenue with all kinds of tributaries going's the most *incredible*
feeling that can happen in music.

Fripp: How do you increase the conditions under which it's more likely to
happen? What specific work do you do, what practice or exercises?

McLaughlin: Well, we can include working, playing. If you're on a tour, you
increase the possibility of being in the right place at the right time,
rather than being at home and practicing. But I also reflect. I don't
meditate or fast or anything, but I *reflect* on the ramifications of what
I do. For example, there's a relationship between two chords that you've
known, that I've known, for a long time, and only recently do I begin to
discover this more intimate relationship, what it *means*. Even though I've
looked at these chords from every possible viewpoint, I'm looking for a way
that maybe exists up there, but I don't know where it is. Then, a little
while ago, I discovered it, it just arrived. So the work that we do, I
don't think we benefit from it until later. But once we have colors and
palette, the richer the palette is, the richer the music can be.

Fripp: That D major chord which changed you from a pianist to a guitarist,
what color would that be for you?

McLaughlin: What color...? (pause) I think it could be green.

Fripp: Exactly what I would've said...

McLaughlin: It's got to be yellow and some blue.

Fripp: A major for me is yellow and A minor inclines toward white, which is
my C major. Graham Bond said it was red.

McLaughlin: C major, red? No, E major, I would say, is red.

Fripp: E major for me is very blue, a kind of royal blue, and when you get
to E minor it becomes more of a night blue, with kind of stars...

McLaughlin: That's very interesting...

Fripp: G is very greenish, but not quite.

McLaughlin: I thought about this color aspect of music but I never
literally tried to make an analogy. What I *have* done, and what I still
today find very interesting, stems from the Tarot, because they assign
twelve astrological signs to the twelve tones of the chromatic scale. Since
I know what my own different signs are, I could find out what kind of
harmony is, in fact, going on between my astrological signs, or between the
signs of other people I'm playing with. There was a time when I was writing
solos for people on the basis of their astrological key.

Fripp: How did the musicians feel about solos given to them because of
their astrological sign?

McLaughlin: It wasn't very significant to them. A lot of people, they don't
consider these kind of things.

Fripp: When did you come to Paris?

McLaughlin: Well, I've been coming here more and more for the last four or
five years. I've been...

Fripp: More French confection, please.

McLaughlin: I've been coming here since 1977.

Fripp: Do you find any similarity between Paris and New York?

McLaughlin: Yeah, I do. New York's more dynamic, more vital, more
energetic. It's more violent, too. I consider myself European, culturally
speaking, even though the music that I play is enormously influenced by
American music, so I'm a kind of mid-transatlantic person. But I've always
loved France since the very first time I came here. I love the food. I love
the language, the culture, the architecture. So I feel happy to be here.
Although I must say, I love to visit New York. I really get a *kick*, I
just feel *great*, just...whew, I love it. It personifies everything
American, from best to worst.

Fripp:  What's the work climate for you here in Paris?

McLaughlin: I play here once or twice a year. We did this television show,
and there's another one coming up. So to be here gives me the possibility
to participate more than I can do in New York (laughs), because, you know,
the media in America, in relation to music, is much more precisely defined
than here. In Europe it's much more possible for *me* to appear on
television - simply because I don't play a very popular kind of music. Here
there's less emphasis on what is sellable. And that, I think, is very
important.  At least, important to *me* (laughs).

Fripp: At this point, I should *love* another coffee. What I like about
America is, because it's a commercial culture, it's very malleable, if you
learn that particular vocabulary to do with making money. But you have all
these traps. Gurdjieff said,"Make money with your left foot." That's about
as much of yourself as you should have in there.

McLaughlin: But that's tricky. Just to keep your left foot in there and not
let the other foot get dragged in...

Fripp: Meditation in the marketplace, meditation on your feet, in a way. I
did it for a while, I could hold it together for a while but...boy, it's
very difficult. How did you get on with touring?  Actually long periods of
being on the road. How did you handle it?

McLaughlin: How did I, how *do* I handle it? It's my life, Robert.  It's
your life, too, in a sense.

Fripp: John Williams (classical guitarist) will only tour for six weeks a

McLaughlin: Well, I need to play more than he does, maybe I need to play
out for people, and to create the possiblities we talked about before, of
things accidentally happening. Because only in playing, when you're playing
every night, do you increase the possibility of this happening.

Fripp: But after five weeks and three days, something changes and I think
musicians go crazy. We've just done three months and it did me a lot of

McLaughlin: I don't think it's so bad. Were you playing the same music
every night?

Fripp: Yes. But I mean in the sense that improvisation is a long line from
one end to the other. It was the same but at the same time it was
completely different.

McLaughlin: Two guitars, more or less the same program every
have to be careful because you can even get trapped in improvisation, n'est

Fripp: Yes, or should I say oui.

McLaughlin: But to have one of those nights that we were talking about,
where we fly like an eagle...

Fripp: We had four in New York - two shows for two nights, one after the
other and *all* of them were out of this world. Then we did one show in Los
Angeles. Boy, that turned me around. It really did.

McLaughlin: Do you take sugar in your coffee?

Fripp: No, only in French confection. I'm surprised that after living in
Paris and New York, you still drink tea. By the way, I'm terribly
embarrassed about these wonderful Basque chocolates...I've ravaged the box!
You've worked with my favorite drummer, I think: Tony Williams. I mean,
you've worked with two of the most important drummers of the '70s, Tony
Williams and Billy Cobham. Tony was *my* man...with no disrespect to

McLaughlin: No, I understand *perfectly*. Tony's an artist.

Fripp: That _Emergency_ album was really a burner...

McLaughlin: Yeah, it was an incredible little band.

Fripp: How long did it take to make?

McLaughlin: Oh, very little time...judging from the sound (laughs).
Doesn't it sound like it was done in one afternoon?

Fripp: Although I've read interviews with Tony, I never got much sense of

McLaughlin: Tony's a difficult person to know...but I have such enormous
respect for him as a musician, as an artist...what he does with the drums.
I don't know who hasn't been influenced by Tony Williams. That itself the mark of immortality, in a sense.

Fripp:  What was it like to play with him?

McLaughlin: It was...very difficult, but *really* an incredible pleasure.
Because he too is, was my favorite drummer. So to go and work with your
favorite drummer...for a jazz musician is one of the greatest kicks you can
get. Tony plays with the time like I've never heard anybody play with the
time. You have to learn to think like he does, you have to learn his
conception of time. It's impeccable (laughs). That's all I can say.
Impeccable...mmm...and really...very *stimulating*. Because one of the
things I learned from Tony was about breathing, breathing in time. And
Miles is a *master* of that way of playing.

Fripp: With the new Miles band, the guitarist (Mike Stern) has been
criticized for playing loud rock 'n' roll licks. But when he was asked
about that in an interview, he said,"Miles came over, turned my amplifier
up to ten and said,'Play rock 'n' roll.'"

McLaughlin: (laughs) Yeah...that's Miles, that's Miles. Oh yeah.  Whatever
Miles wants...To work with Miles, in itself, is an experience,
unforgettable. And very,very positive. You learn...enormously.

Fripp: Could you say what you learned in a sentence or two?

McLaughlin: (pause) I learned how to *direct* to shape. And, in a
sense, how to *get* from the other musicians what the music needs, while at
the same time, allowing the musicians to be themselves. He's...he's

Fripp: I think you...that you were the only guitarist for me who could hold
in with Miles or Tony...

McLaughlin:  (embarrassed) I don't know...oh...

Fripp: (quietly but firmly) Yeah.

McLaughlin: Maybe...I've heard...I like Miles' new guitar player, I like
what he's doing. It reminds me a little of the Jack Johnson era. It's not,
I guess, a new conception, a new way, but I enjoy the guitar player. But I
have...well, two things: one, I don't care what Miles does *now*, he's
already done so much; to me he can never lose the stature that he has, in
me; two, he hasn't played for...a long time. And knowing the kind of person
he is, as long as he continues to play, to work, he's going to do some
wonderful things. That I feel for sure.

Fripp: We were talking about touring and so on. I have a lot of difficulty,
when I play a show, with cameras and recording machines.  Because, at the
very least, they seem to steal the innocence available in the present
moment. If there were an audience of 1100 people at the Savoy, all of whom
could listen without any expectation or demands, without bothering about
bootlegging on little machines like this (points to cassette deck) or
taking pictures...boy, I think you could make the world spin backwards.

McLaughlin: That's true, but let's look at it from another point of view. I
remember a couple of years ago, I was at the Village Vanguard to see Bill
Evans play. He was playing with Philly Joe Jones, and Chuck Israels was
sitting in for the night. I've heard Bill play a lot of times, but he was
just...*transfigured*. It was so good, so great. It was so intelligent, so
beautiful, so elegant, so eloquent, all those words and all
inspired! He was playing like an angel. And believe me I *regretted* not
having a tape machine. I regretted it. To want to be able to hear that
again is a perfectly natural thing.

Fripp: Well, yes sure, but...

McLaughlin: I mean, don't you listen to records?

Fripp: Very rarely, very rarely.

McLaughlin: *Anyone*? You rarely listen to music of *any kind*?

Fripp: I mean, you're not going to listen to Balinese Gamelan unless you
have the Explorer Nonesuch series and so on, but otherwise I'd prefer to go
and see a live show. As Blake once said, "He who doth bend himself in joy,
doth the winged life destroy." Now if you *know* that you experience of
that will *only* be in this moment, with no before or're
*there*, you have to be there, if you knew you were going to go home and
listen to it afterwards...

McLaughlin: By listening to the music...I wasn't thinking about a tape
recorder at the time. I was just...I mean...Dave Liebman was there and I
was jumping *up* and *down* on my seat I was so excited...because it didn't
stop coming...just like a fountain, and I was there with my mouth open,
just drinking it in. I didn't think about the tape recorder until *after*,

Fripp: Some of the most amazing gigs I've known weren't musically very
good. Just listening to tapes afterward...I mean there's a real *turkey*
happening. It wasn't down to notes, it was down to the energy in the room,
between the band and the people and the music.

McLaughlin: Hmm...not in this case. No. Because I've heard Bill play a lot,
so many times I've lost count, and I listen to his records. And it was
*that night*...and it was only that set, because the second set was totally
different. It was no longer this *magic*.  And in other cases, I think it's
directly the inspiration of the musician that creates a magical
environment. This happens to me in rehearsal, too, when's there's no
audience, some of the best things I've ever played...

Fripp: The quality present making love with someone, I mean, do you stick
it on a videotape to play back?

McLaughlin: Maybe (laughs). If that's what you like. I mean, everybody's
got their tastes. I don't think we can really criticize, we can't impose
you judgement on anyone else. If they're going to do it...I mean, why not?

Fripp: No...well, what I say is this: I find it very distracting to work to
photographers and cassette machines. And I feel *violated*, when having
said that, suddenly, there you have it...

McLaughlin: Of course. I've gotten really angry with some photographers who
just come in and, without one word, they're like,"Can I take your picture?"
It just makes me snap. From anger.  But there's only so much control we
have and...also...I have to be able to *accept* and not be disturbed. I
don't think it's good for the music. I *need* to be...self-contained and
not dependent upon any exterior environment. And I can't...I don't want to
get in the way of development of what technology we have because it's's part of human nature. I *understand* it.
Fripp: When you were in Reading in 1975, you were using a guitar
synthesizer. Have you taken any interest in the new Roland guitar
synthesizer? It's coming on the market's phenomenal. The guitar
side of it is sensational.

McLaughlin: No...I know more or less what's happening with synthesizer
guitar. Do you know the Synclavier people? They have a system, in fact,
there's one I ordered that will arrive later this week. It's a digital

Fripp:  Is it polyphonic?

McLaughlin: Oh, yes, it's quite an extraordinary machine, because it
involves the use of a floppy disc computer, with this CRT terminal. It
fact, it has sixteen-track digital memory inside, so you can record
digitally, directly, what you play. There'll be a program for the guitar, a
software program that will allow the hardware to be used by the guitar.
You'll have access to all the wave forms, which in fact you can create on
the CRT screen, because you can show it up visually, or you can show it up
mathematically.  It's do they say?...subtractive synthesis; it's
*additive* synthesis. That means you're not governed by any fixed
parameters.  It's *really* an extraordinary instrument. Also, they'll have
this transcription program available which means, of course, that what's
recorded can by thrown up on the screen in musical notation...

Fripp:  WOW! And these people are American?

McLaughlin: American - New England Digital. I think for the first time
there will be a real possibility of the guitar synthesizer.  Because up
until now what have been put on the market has been, I think, very

Fripp: One thing that I didn't ask you earlier when we were talking about
Tony and Miles and so on; what was it like to play with Jimi Hendrix? I
heard a tape of a jam...

McLaughlin: If it's anything I've heard...this is what I refused them
permission to put out, because what I heard was about three or four minutes
of some playing that was really not happening, it was just...

Fripp:  I'm inclined to agree...

McLaughlin: Right, and I said,"It's not possible. You can't just put this
out with the names and rip people off. You can't do it!"  Anyway, that
aside, Jimi was...a very,very sweet person. And a really revolutionary
guitar player in the sounds that he got out of the guitar. I mean, he
shifted the whole course of guitar playing, single-handedly, in my opinion.
Of course, there are now a lot of variations on that, but he did it with
such grace, and with finesse, and with *real passion*. I can't ask for any
more than that.

Fripp: Do you find that listening to a lot of other musicians confuses your
own work? If I listen to someone whom I like very much, indeed, so much
that I think I could confuse what I'm doing. I stop listening to them. For
example, I very much enjoy _Extrapolation_. Did you record that in a day?

McLaughlin: Oh, no. Two or three afternoons, I think.

Fripp: And when Mahavishnu began, I *deliberately* didn't listen to it,
because I would've followed it and I...I was so attracted to it, I
thought,"No, this will seduce me." You know what I mean?

McLaughlin: Yeah, I understand that. But I like to listen to people who I
like. I like to, I want to let them influence me. Because I think I learn
*always*. And I'm never going to sound like them anyway.

Fripp:  No, but if you were 21, 22...

McLaughlin: Ah, well, when I was 21, 22, unfortunately for me, there were
no guitar players that were up to the caliber of Coltrane or Miles or Bill
Evans or Red Garner. In fact, I was more influenced by the horn players and
the piano players.

Fripp: You were the first guitar player for me that had the chops to meet
these people on the same terms. I could hear jazz guitarists kind of taking
the easy way, simply because the couldn't go for what the horn player could

McLaughlin: Yeah, yeah. I think it's a curse and a blessing. The same thing
with piano. It's so difficult to move around on a guitar in the harmonic
way one can do on a keyboard. I mean, it can't be
done...*except (snaps fingers) Ted Greene!* (whistles) This guy is really
unbelievable. He's the only guitar player who accomplishes this thing that
really turns me on.

Fripp: If you listened to the people who you would like to influence you,
who would they be?

McLaughlin: Mmm...I think still my perennial favorites, my perennial
heroes: Coltrane, Miles, Cannonball Adderley. Have you heard the live
album, newly released? Miles in 1959, with Coltrane, Cannonball, and Bill
Evans. Cannonball, Coltrane...whooo, there's two monsters. I love the
interplay, the kind of intimacy they get together. It's the same of
instrument, and they've worked a lot in similar environments. I think
that's one of the things I like about playing with Paco (DeLucia) and Al Di
Meola, because they're playing *my* instrument, and it's intimate, another
guitar. *You* know what it's like playing with another guitar.

Fripp: Adrian is the first other guitar player I've ever worked with. I've
never like guitar players, basically.

McLaughlin: Hmm, yeah (laughs). I know the feeling. I just listened to some
King Crimson. The new one, _Discipline_.

Fripp: We had been together for six weeks when we did that.

McLaughlin: That's not you singing, is it?

Fripp: No, that's Adrian. We've some quite a long way since that album.

McLaughlin: Umm-hmm. It's funny, there were times when I even heard
some...allusions to the Mahavishnu Orchestra, in an odd kind of way.

Fripp: Hmm. That wasn't...deliberate, because, as I said, when I heard the
Mahavishnu Orchestra, I deliberately didn't listen to it, because
would've seduced me, it would've been too close. But certainly, Mahavishnu
and Billy Cobham were a big influence on Bill (Bruford).

McLaughlin:  Ah-hah. Yeah, he's playing very strong.

Fripp: I wouldn't have thought it was a band that would have interested
*you* particularly. I wouldn't have thought rock music...

McLaughlin: Well, I'm interested in...I mean, you've just gone through
enormous *trouble* to come and speak to *me*, and it means a great deal, it
says a lot to me, and I wanted to know more about *you*.

Fripp: I think, if you wanted to listen to some of my work which I think
*you* might like, it would be...

McLaughlin: Well, I don't think you should prejudice it in that way.

Fripp: All right, but the expectation's there, because it's all improvised,
I mean, it's purely improvised. It's an album I did with Brian Eno, _No
Pussyfooting_. Side one is...I had just met with the fellow and had gone
and spent the evening with him with a glass of wine and coffee, this was in
1972, and he had a system of recording with two Revoxes (tape machines),
and he didn't explain it to me and I didn't know what it would sound like,
but I plugged in and played.  It was simply, there you are - do it. I had
never heard the guitar quite sound like this, yet it provided me with the
technical facility for getting a sound which I had been *hearing* on the
inside for about five years, but had never managed to get.

McLaughlin: That's very good; very helpful, too. So suddenly, you felt

Fripp: Liberated is the word. I had a lot of difficulty working with other
musicians, because I'm not a forceful player, and I have a lot of
difficulty with enthusiastic drummers thundering around. So just to be able
to develop at my own speed, without any useful suggestions...really was

McLaughlin: I would like to hear it. You send me a cassette and I'll send
you a cassette of _Epiphany_.

Fripp: Done. A cliche, if you would do it for me: what advice would you
give to a young player?

McLaughlin: He has to learn his instrument. He has to learn harmony,
rhythm, and melody, the three predominant aspects. I think he should
familiarize himself with the various musical cultures that exist in the
world, because they are *all* enriching. I think, also, we come back to
this paradox, Robert...he has to learn everything possible, and then be
able to forget it all at the drop of a hat.  That's the most tricky thing
of all (laughs).
	But there's got...there's always more to know. Advice? Work.
A four-letter word. Capital W.
	That's the only thing we have finally, isn't it? We have
time, and what do we do with time?

Fripp:  (pause) Good. That's wonderful. That's very good.