“We need someone who can cover Robert Fripp’s parts, which is pretty impossible to do”: Adrian Belew on why chose Steve Vai to be in his new King Crimson tribute band

The band will start touring this September.

Adrian Belew playing a red Strat (left) and Steve Vai pictured playing an Ibanez, with both hands high up on the fretboard (right).

Images: Scott Dudelson (left) and Steve Jennings (right) / Getty

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It won’t be long before King Crimson’s Adrian Belew and Tony Levin team up with Steve Vai and Tool’s Danny Carey to hit the road as Beat – a new supergroup who will be performing music from three classic King Crimson albums of the 1980s.

The band will be playing material from Discipline, Beat and Three Of A Perfect Pair. Crimson’s Robert Fripp has already given the group his blessing, and as the outfit prepares to commence touring in September, Belew has revealed why he asked Vai to take on the role of guitar in honour of Fripp.

In the new print issue of Prog, Belew says, “I’m surprised at how excited Steve Vai is. He’s the one I was concerned about because he does a lot of touring, but I think he’s starting to see that this is something he’d like to do more than less.”

He adds, “Steve keeps telling me how beautiful the music is and what a challenge it is for him. But it’s one that he wants to do, and Danny’s in the same boat. And then there’s Tony and me, who would like to do this as much as possible.”

Explaining how he asked Vai to join the band, he recalls, “My first thought was, ‘We need someone who can cover Robert’s parts,’ which is pretty impossible to do. The only person I could think of was Steve Vai.

“I learned from an interview that Steve Vai loved those records, and Robert in particular. I thought, ‘Maybe there’s a chance.’ I was in the grocery store parking lot, called Steve and to my surprise, he was excited and confident that he could do it.”

And Belew isn’t the only one with faith in Vai, Fripp himself wrote online following the formation of the band, “Steve Vai asked me what I thought when Adrian Belew told me Steve would be the guitarist. My reply: Steve Vai is the only guitarist who could play my parts.”

View all scheduled tour dates for Beat.


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