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HRVOJE BUBIĆ: Intervju s Tony Levin & Pat Mastelotto


Tony Levin & Pat Mastelotto su glazbenici, članovi kultnog prog rock sastava King Crimson. Za Solin Live, reći će nam više o ovom kultnom sastavu, svom projektu Stick Men, kao i imenima s kojima su surađivali.

Pat Mastelotto & Tony Levin

To start off, can You address in a short sentence or two about yourself, and what You have being doing during the COVID pandemic, without touring around the world, something both of You were doping for many decades?

TONY LEVIN:Was not easy, last year, to stop touring, and have no concerts after February – it’s what we love to do.  I filled the time by recording from home, and undertook a big project I might not have had time for otherwise: putting together all my photos from many years on the road, to make a book of them. It’s called “Images from a Life on the Road” and is out now, and can be found on my website www.tonylevin.com

PAT MASTELOTTO:I’ve stayed very, very, busy in my home studio. I have several new records out both as a side man (Frost, IB)  and as a producer artist, remixed a new Steven WIlson song , just lots of studio geek stuff . We recorded  ORKs new record, and working on King Crimson drum tunes getting ready to possibly tour. You should investigate ‘A Romantic’s Guide to King Crimson’. It’s going to surprise you. Also a fair amount of practicing and gardening—lots of yardwork, especially after the Big Freeze we just had in Texas.

Mr .Levin, you have collaborated with such a different musicians like Don Preston, Buddy Rich, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, as well the Croatian icon Gibonni.Mr. Mastelleto, you collaborated with Al Jarreau, Martika, Kenny Loggins, XTC, as well with Mr. Mister on their hit Broken Wings. What you can say about working as a musicians in so many different styles of music.

TONY:I love working with new people on new things but as a side man the work comes to you. And the artists you mentioned all have one thing in common—they’re very good… There’s quality.  All I can say is I’m lucky to have played with so many different wonderful musicians. I’m a lucky guy.

PAT:Well, as you would imagine, it’s different with each artist, and even with each project – the studio, the time frame, a lot of things affect what those recordings are like. What’s in common is the if the music is good, we’re all very happy to be there and to be a part of it.

You are best known for being a member of King Crimson. Mr. Levin, You joined King Crimson in early 80’s, and Mr. Mastelleto joined during the recording of the album Vroom. What is special and unique about King Crimson,, and as well about the founder, guitar player, Robert Fripp.

TONY:Well, Robert is certainly a great artist, and has carefully formed and shepherded King Crimson to be a pretty unique band. The band has had a number of incarnations, with different lineups, but in common is that it’s trying musically to cover new territory — it’s a progressive band in the real sense of the word.

PAT:I can’t judge what is special and unique…its personal, I think  Robert Fripp said it nicely: “King Crimson is a way of doing things”

King Crimson is an institution that has existed for almost 50 years, whereby in addition to the existing bands, we have the so – called ProjeKcTs, a spin-off project of the band members. Please, tell us more about ProjeKcTs, as well as other King Crimson related projects.

TONY:They are only related because me and Pat are in some of thopse projects, but music is different, always enjoyable and challenging.

PAT:For me The ProjeKcTs, BPM&M, PX, Heaven and Earth all the things you mention are just research and development, a place to experiment, to learn new tricks to return for use in the greater King Crimson good. That’s why they are all so interesting in they’re own way.

Stick Men is your band that includes Marcus Reuter as touch guitar player, whose sound is described as quite unique. Could you tell us more about the Stick Men as a concept, as well about such a unique and innovative player which is Markus.

TONY:With only 3 players, we have a different kind of challenge than in larger bands. But those instruments are unusual, and can take different roles. Markus and I play touch style guitars (mine is the Chapman Stick, which has both guitar and bass side.) Then Pat is playing both electronic and acoustic drums. So sometimes the 3 of us can sound like 5 or 6 players. We also challenge ourselves to write progressive music (as King Crimson does, but not trying to be King Crimson) And we love to tour and bring our music to clubs and theaters.

PAT:Well I’m not really sure who’s band it is anymore and I don’t think it matters— But it’s a platform to experiment and make music we enjoy and we can often take advantage of improvising… Especially for me as the only drummer, I can improvise a lot. What’s very unique  is we’ve developed an audience that enjoys it and will follow us as we explore. When I introduced  Markus to Tony, he had very little experience touring at the insane level Tony and I do, Markus had mentioned to me in 2009 he would like to start playing live and not long after I called him he’s a very creative guy and it didn’t take long for him to blossom and take advantage of the situation to enable his own art to also expand and be exposed. It’s a beautiful thing.

Stick Men has released several fabulous live albums with special guests, legends such as David Cross, Mel Collins and Gary Husband. What is special about their uniqueness?

Each of them brought their own approach and big contribution to a band that already has a high dose of uniqueness, TONY:The three of us in the basic band have done a lot of tours and made many records – so it’s a nice ‘kick in the pants’ to invite a great player to join us for a tour or two, and take the music in a bit of a different direction. We’re very happy they way that turned out with David, with Mel, and with Gary. Three very different master instrumentalists and each of them brought their own approach enriching the music of Stick Men.

PAT:Well actually our agent Leonardo Pavkovic of MoonJune Music and MoonJune Records comes up with these ideas to collaborate, and they all make sense. These albums were done with little or no rehearsals. And include a lot of improvisation. We did a second much longer tour Wirth David Cross in South America, shame we can’t afford visa to bring David to USA. So they show how we grow as musicians. We plan to do much more with Gary Husband, we did only one show, due to circumstances,. and we will be back in Japan and maybe tour with Gary at certain point, once the world becomes normal or sort of normal. 6. Leonardo Pavkovic’s MoonJune Music – his booking company, and MoonJune Records – his label, is celebrating this year 20 years since the inception in 2011. Stick Men’s bookings and latest releases are handled by MoonJune. Tell us a few words about Leonardo, who was born in the former Yugoslavia. TONY:Leonardo is a good friend for some years now. He loves good music and devotes a lot of his life to helping bands get where they want to be – that can be by booking shows, or tours, or releasing their records, by helping sell records and merch on the tour. Except in Europe, he travels with Stick Men around there world, handles all aspects of logistics, and sell our merch and make sure the band collects all money. He is now helping me with my latest photography book ‘Images from a Life on the Road”, selling, fulfilling, promoting.  PAT:Horatio Nardini is great, that’s how we call him in Stick Men. He is our fifth member, the fourth is our sound guy and sonic wizard Robert Frazza, who mixes live and records all our shows. Maybe Leonardo is the invisible leader of the band, he has a powerful driving force, he takes us everywhere, takes a good care of us, collects money, make sure all is great and proper, and on the road, we all have a lot of fans, it’s like a family. He is such a music lover, such an enthusiast that he is very motivating. Every artist on his label is stellar. Every artist on his booking roster is stellar.

And finally, what are Your future plans, projects? New album? prospect of touring in the post-Covidian world?

TONY:King Crimson has touring plans for this Summer and early Fall. Stick Men will tour in Europe in October, then Crimson again in November, this time in Australia and Japan. Hopefully they can happen, considering the world’s situation. And before those, I’ll do some jazz shows with Levin Brothers, in June. None of those tours will take me to Split, but I very much hope to return there one day. My travels in Croatia were memorable, as was the chance to be a part of Gibonni’s music.

PAT:Well I look forward to touring again under the right conditions. Hopefully one day we will be able to come to Croatia. I’ve only been these once, but I dug it. . Great fans! In the meantime stay healthy.

Pat Mastelotto & Tony Levin

Za početak, možete li nam se predstaviti u dvije ili tri rečenice, i recite čim ste se bavili tijekom pandemije bolesti COVID-19, kad već niste mogli nastupati na svjetskoj turneji, a tome ste se radovali proteklih par desetljeća?

Tony Levin: Nije bilo lako prošlu godinu obustaviti turneju i otkazati svaki koncert nakon veljače – to je nešto što mi volimo. Vrijeme sam popunio snimanjem u studiju kod kuće, te sam proveo veliki projekt kojem se inače ne bih mogao posvetiti: Razvrstavanje svih fotografija s raznih turneja koje sam dugi niz godina sakupljao s namjerom da izradim knjigu od njih. Naslov knjige glasi „Images from a Life on the Road” („Slike iz života na putu”) i sada je dostupna na mojoj internetskoj stranici: www.tonylevin.com
PAT MASTELOTTO: Ja sam bio dosta zauzet snimanjem u svojem kućnom studiju. Izišlo je nekoliko novih albuma na kojima sam sudjelovao kao sideman odnosno pjevač/svirač suradnik (Frost, IB) i kao umjetnik producent, remiksao sam novu pjesmu Stevena Wilsona. Uglavnom, ponajviše sam se bavio zamornim tehničkim stvarima u studiju. Snimili smo novi ORKov album, te smo radili na novim zvučnim uzorcima bubnjeva za bend King Crimson s kojima smo se spremali za turneju. Trebali biste prolistati „A Romantic’s Guide to Crimson” („Romantičarev vodič kroz Crimson”). Knjiga će vas iznenaditi. Također smo uvelike vježbali sviranje i bavili se vrtlarstvom – dosta je rada bilo u kućnom dvorištu, pogotovo nakon groznoga ledenog nevremena koje nas je nedavno zadesilo u Teksasu.

G. Levin, surađivali ste s jako različitim glazbenicima kao što su: Don Preston, Buddy Rich, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, kao i hrvatska ikona Gibonni. G. Mastelleto, surađivali ste s Al Jarreauom, Martikom, Kenny Logginsom, XTC-em,, kao i s g. Misterom na njihovu hitu Brokenu Wingsu. Što možete reći o radu glazbenika u toliko različitim glazbenim stilovima.

Tony: Volim raditi s novim ljudima na novim stvarima, ali kad sudjelujete kao suradnik, tada posao stigne Vama. A umjetnici koje ste naveli imaju jedno stvar zajedničko – a to je da su jako kvalitetni Mogu jedino reći da sam sretan što sam svirao s toliko divnih različitih glazbenika. Mogu se smatrati sretnikom. Pat: Pa, kao što možete zamisliti, drukčije je sa svakim umjetnikom, pa čak i sa svakim projektom – studij, vremenski okvir, mnoštvo stvari utječe na to kako će albumi konačno zvučati. Ono što je zajedničko ako je glazba dobra, svi smo jako sretni što smo okupljeni i dio toga.

Najviše Vas poznaju po tome što ste bili član King Crimsona. G. Levin, Vi ste se pridružili King Crimsonu početkom 80-ih, a g. Mastelleto se pridružio tijekom snimanja albuma Vroom. Što je posebno i jedinstveno kod King Crimsona, te kod osnivača, svirača gitare Roberta Frippu.

Tony: Pa, Robert je zasigurno odličan umjetnik, te je pažljivo oblikovao i vodio King Crimsona u smjeru jedinstvenosti. Bend je imao niz inkarnacija, odnosno članove koji su se mijenjali s vremenom, ali zajedničko je da u glazbenom smislu pokušava pokriti novo područje – riječ je o progresivnom bendu u pravom smislu riječi. Pat: Ne mogu prosuditi što je posebno i jedinstveno…svodi se na osobni doživljaj. Mislim da je Robert Fripp lijepo to izrekao: „King Crimson je način kako se stvari rade“.

Kralj Crimson je institucija koja postoji gotovo 50 godina, pri čemu uz postojeće bendove, imamo i tzv. ProjeKcTs, spin-off projekt članova skupine. Recite nam više o ProjeKcTs-u i drugim projektima povezanima s King Crimsonom.

Tony: Oni su povezani samo zato što smo ja i Pat surađivali u nekim od naveenih projekata, ali je glazba različita, uvijek ugodna i izazovna. Pat: Za mene su ProjeKcTs, BPM & M, PX, Heaven and Earth, odnosno sve stvari koje spominjete, samo istraživanje i razvoj, kao mjesto za eksperimentiranje, kako bi se naučili novi trikovi koji će zatim biti od koristi višem cilju King Crimsona. Zato su svi toliko zanimljivi na svoj način.

Stick Men je vaš bend koji čine Marcus Reutera na touch gitari, čiji se zvuk smatra prilično jedinstvenem. Možete li nam reći više o Stick Men-u kao konceptu, te o Markusu kao jedinstvenom i inovativnom sviraču.

Tony: Samo s trojicom svirača imamo drukčiju vrstu izazova nego što je u većim bendovima. No ti su instrumenti neobični i mogu imati različite uloge. Markus i ja sviramo touch gitare (moja je Chapman Stick, koja ima i gitaru i bass na strani). Pat zatim svira i električne i akustičke bubnjeve. Zato ponekad troje nas može zvučati kao da je posrijedi 5 ili 6 svirača. Sebi često zadajemo izazov pisati progresivnu glazbu (kao što to čini King Crimson, ali ne pokušavamo biti King Crimson), i volimo turneje i približiti svoju glazbu klubovima i kazalištima. Pat: Ne znam više kome pripada bend i ne mislim da je to važno, ali je to platforma za eksperimentiranje i stvaranje glazbe u kojoj uživamo i često možemo iskoristiti prednosti improvizacije… Naročito ja kao jedini bubnjar u bendu, mogu improvizirati dosta. Ono što se može nazvati jedinstvenim je to što smo razvili publiku koja uživa u zvuku i koja će nas pratit što dalje istražujemo. Kada sam Markusa upoznao s Tonijem, imao je tada vrlo malo iskustva s turnejama, za razliku od toga koliko smo ja i Toni danas nabrijani za turneje. Markus mi je bio 2009. spomenuo da želi početi svirat uživo, a nedugo nakon što sam ga bio pozvao u bend, stasao je u međuvremenu u kreativca, a nije mu bilo potrebno mnogo vremena procvasti i iskoristiti situaciju kako bi omogućio da se njegova umjetnost proširi i bude izložena publici. To je nešto krasno.

Stickmen su izdali nekoliko slavnih uživo albuma s posebnim gostima i legendama kao što su: David Cross, Mel Collins i Gary Husband. Što je posebno s obzirom na njihovu jedinstvenost?

Svaki od njih donio je vlastiti pristup i velik doprinos bendu koji već ima visoku dozu jedinstvenosti, TONY: Trojica nas u osnovnom bendu je obavilo mnogo turneja i napravili mnogobrojne zapise, pa je to jako lijepi poticaj pozvati odličnoga svirača, da nam se pridruži na jednu ili dvije turneje, te da glazbu povedemo u nešto drugačijem smjeru. Jako smo zadovoljni kako se je na kraju odvilo s Davidom, Melom i Garryem. Tri vrlo različita glavna instrumentalista i svaki od njih je donio vlastiti pristup obogativši glazbu Stick Mena. Pat: Pa, zapravo naš agent Leonardo Pavlović iz MoonJune Music and MoonJune Records-a se je dosjetio ideje za suradnju i sve imaju smisla. Ti albumi su snimljeni s jako malo ili gotovo ništa prethodne vježbe. I imaju mnogo improvizacije. Obavili smo drugu, znatno dužu turneju s Wirth Davidom Crossom u Južnoj Americi, a šteta je što ne možemo priuštiti vizu Davidu za dolazak u SAD. Oni su pokazatelji koliko mi rastemo kao glazbenici. Planiramo učiniti mnogo više s Gary Husbandom, odradili smo samo jedan nastup, zbog okolnosti, no vratit ćemo se u Japan i možda ćemo poći na turneju s Garyjem u određenom trenutku, jednom kad bude svijet postao normalan ili kako-tako normalan opet. 6. Leonardo Pavkovićev MoonJune Music, tj. poduzeće za rezervacije, i MoonJune Records – njegova producentska kuća ove godine slavi 20 godina od početka 2011. godine. Rezervacije i najnovije objave za Stick Men-a obrađuje upravo MoonJune. Recite nam nekoliko riječi o Leonardu, rođenom u bivšoj Jugoslaviji. Tony: Leonardo je već nekoliko godina dobar prijatelj. Voli dobru glazbu i dugi dio života se je posvetio pomaganju bendovima da steknu ono što žele – bilo tako da barata rezervacijama, organizira nastupe ili obilaske, tako da im objavljuje albume, ili im pomaže prodajom albuma i povezane robe na turnejama. Sa Stick Men-om je putovao diljem svijet, osim po Europi, bavi se svim aspektima logistike, prodaje našu robu i brine se da bend prikupi sav novac od zarade. Sada mi pomaže sa svojom najnovijom foto-knjigom „Images from a Life on the Road” („Fotografije iz života na putu”), odnosno, tu su prodaja, ispunjavanje, promidžba. PAT: Horatio Nardini je odličan, tako ga nazivamo u Stick Menu. On je naš peti član, a četvrti je naš stručnjak za zvuk i pravcati zvučni čarobnjak Robert Frazza, koji uživo miksa i snima sve naše nastupe. Možda je Leonardo nevidljivi vođa benda, ima snažnu pokretačku snagu, vodi nas svugdje, dobro se brine o nama, prikuplja novac, brine se da sve bude dobro i po p.s.-u, a na putu imamo mnogo obožavatelja, Svi smo kao obitelj. On je veliki ljubitelj glazbe, toliki entuzijast da odiše motivacijom. Svaki umjetnik u njegovom izdanju zvuči vrhunski. Svaki umjetnik na njegovom popisu rezervacija je vrhunski.

Naposljetku, koji su Vaši budući planovi i projekti? Novi album? Prilika za turneju u svijetu nakon koronavirusa?

Tony: King Crimson ima planove za ovo ljeto i ranu jesen. Stick Men će obići Europu u listopadu, a zatim Crimson u studenome, no ovaj put u Australiji i Japanu. Nadamo se da će se zacrtano ostvariti, uzimajući u obzir stanje u svijetu. Prije toga, u lipnju ću s Levin Brothersom odraditi neke jazz nastupe. Nijedan od tih obilaska me neće odvesti u Split, ali iskreno se nadam da ću se vratiti u njega jedan dan. Moja putovanja u Hrvatsku su bila za pamćenje, kao i prilika da budem dio Gibonnijeve glazbe. Pat: Pa, radujem se ponovnoj turneji pod pravim uvjetima. Nadamo se da ćemo jedan dan moći doći u Hrvatsku. Tamo sam bio samo jednom, no užasno mi se svidjelo. Vrhunski obožavatelji! U međuvremenu, ostanite zdravi.



Student morskog ribarstva u Splitu, član umjetničke udruge Dadanti gdje obavljam funkciju voditelja glazbenog odjela i glumačke družine Banana Split. Bavim se poezijom, glumom, glazbom, novinarstvom i performansima...