Legendary band King Crimson is coming to the U.S. this fall for a multi-city tour. The new King Crimson lineup features founder Robert Fripp reuniting with bassman Tony Levin, drummer-percussionists Pat Mastelotto, Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree), and Bill Rieflin (PEM, Nine Inch Nails), woodwind legend Mel Collins, and PRS guitarist and Crimson’s lead vocalist Jakko Jakszyk.
Playing a PRS P24 guitar outfitted with a custom graphic straight from the epic In the Court of the Crimson King album, guitarist and lead singer Jakko Jakszyk will hit the stage in his second collaboration with Fripp and King Crimson; his debut was on the popular 2011 A Scarcity of Miracles LP. Prior to Crimson, Jakko collaborated with a wide variety of musicians and has an extensive and well-respected career as a session musician and soundtrack producer. He’s fronted multiple bands and projects over the course of three-and-a-half decades (including 64 Spoons, Dizrhythmia, 21st Century Schizoid Band, Jakszyk Fripp Collins, and Rapid Eye Movement).
In the midst of rehearsals for the upcoming US tour, PRS Guitars managed to sneak a few minutes of Jakko’s time to ask him a few questions about his career as a musician:
PRS: At what age did you realize you wanted to be a musician? Was the guitar the first instrument you gravitated to?
JAKKO: I was pretty obsessed by music as a kid, but things took a serious turn when my pal played me '21st Century Schizoid Man' by King Crimson when I was 11. A year later we went to see them live at the local town hall. The whole experience blew me away. It was a pivotal moment and one where I decided 'I have to do this.' I had a romantic teenage notion that this evening had somehow changed my life. Looking back, over 40 years later, it turns out I was right. Who'd have thought?
PRS: You have collaborated with a wide-variety of artists through the years. Prior to joining King Crimson in 2013, who are some of the artists you have worked with and tell us about some of your most memorable accomplishments?
JAKKO: I was lead guitarist in English funk/pop band Level 42 for about 5 years having taken over from their short time replacement, Allan Holdsworth. I'd been working as a solo artist and session player in the 80's. I spent time in New York playing in The Lodge, an avant garde rock band signed to Island Records. I had an acoustic band back in England called Dijzrythmia, also signed to Island Records, that featured doubled bass legend Danny Thompson, current Crimson drummer Gavin Harrison and a host of Indian musicians.
I composed 3 experimental award nominated pieces for BBC Radio 3 (the classical station) and have recently re-mixed two Emerson, Lake & Palmer albums in 5.1 surround sound from the original masters, along with Jethro Tull’s most recent album.
PRS: What attracted you to PRS Guitars?
JAKKO: They just feel right. A modern guitar with a vintage look and feel. They look and feel like custom instruments not mass produced guitars trading in former glories.
PRS: You’ve got a new, one-of-a-kind PRS P24 that you just recently added to your arsenal. What’s the story behind this guitar?
JAKKO: I'd been playing a Custom 22 and when asked to join King Crimson, I wanted to make a statement of intent. To create a guitar that looked as special as it played. So I asked the guys at PRS if they were up for that. I took the iconic artwork of Crimson's first album and with the invaluable help of LP sleeve designer Phil Smee created a version of it that would work on the PRS shape. I chose the neck profile and asked for the addition of a piezo in the bridge. I asked for the back to be in the predominant blue from the cover and added this picture of the old man from the inside of the original gatefold sleeve. Paul Miles at PRS did an incredible job. He came up with these lovely iridescent red/purple/blue inlays on the neck and the ebony fretboard. The photos don't do the guitar justice, the finish looks like porcelain.
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