First, some John Wetton trivia: What legendary bassist directly replaced you in two bands?
That would have to be Trevor Bolder. Greg Lake replaced me in Asia, and I him in KC.
When you were in King Crimson, did you or your bandmates ever pull a prank involving Fripp’s stool? Guitar stool, that is…
Certainly not, we did put a concrete ‘Big Boy’ statue outside his hotel room once.
You’ve played with probably 90% of the musicians who would be listed in Pete Frame’s Rock Family Tree for the Prog-Rock scene. Is there one musician from that scene you most wish you could have played with?
I’d like to have done more with Phil Collins. We were involved together in
two albums, but I’d love to have seen what we would have done with a free rein.
You did some studio work in the early ’70s with George Martin. Do you recall the first Beatles question you asked him?
I got on really well with George, and did quite a lot of work with him. He helped me enormously, and is a terrific man. There is one priceless moment that I will treasure with George. A guitar player was busy throwing down a solo over a song that we were working on. George turned to look at me, pressed the “dim” button, and said, “John, does it bother you that James is playing OUTSIDE the chords?”
“Yes, George, it does.”
“Then be a good fellow and take him your chord-sheet, would you?”
I don’t think we talked Beatles very much at all—this was only one year after their break up. Many years later, I was privileged to spend time (and write) with Richard
Starkey, and there is no doubting the almost palpable magic that surrounds that exclusive band of people.
Today I just realized (or was reminded – it’s been a long time since my old eyes scanned the album credits) that you played on my favorite Bryan Ferry solo album, Let’s Stick Together! Can I shake your hand?
Yes, you can, because I did.