Initially Fripp offered to leave the group; however, Giles and McDonald announced that they were going to leave regardless, and so Fripp remained instead in order to keep Crimson going. He has remained the only consistent member of the band since. Crimson went through a number of line-ups before Fripp disbanded the group for the first time in 1974.
During King Crimson's less active periods, Fripp has pursued a number of side-projects. He worked with Keith Tippett (and others who appeared on King Crimson records) on projects far from rock music, producing Centipede's Septober Energy in 1971 and Ovary Lodge in 1973. During this period he also worked with Van der Graaf Generator, playing on the 1970 album H to He, Who Am the Only One, and in 1971, on Pawn Hearts. Collaborating with Brian Eno, he recorded (No Pussyfooting) in 1972, and Evening Star in 1974. These two albums featured experimentation with several novel musical techniques, including a tape delay system utilising dual reel to reel Revox tape machines that would come to play a central role in Fripp's later work. This system came to be known as "Frippertronics". Also in 1974, Fripp performed the blistering guitar solo on "Baby's on Fire," perhaps the best-known track on Eno's debut solo album Here Come the Warm Jets. In 1975, Fripp and Eno played several live shows in Europe, and Fripp also contributed melodic and soaring guitar solos throughout Eno's groundbreaking Another Green World album.
Fripp spent some time away from the music industry in the later 1970s, during which he cultivated an interest in the teachings of Gurdjieff via J. G. Bennett (studies which would later be influential in his work with Guitar Craft). He returned to musical work as a studio guitarist on Peter Gabriel's first self-titled album in 1976, released the following year. Fripp toured with Gabriel to support the album, but remained out of sight (either in the wings or behind a curtain) and used the pseudonym "Dusty Rhodes."
In 1977, Fripp received a phone call from Eno, who was working on David Bowie's album "Heroes". Fripp agreed to play guitar for the album, a move that initiated a series of collaborations with other musicians. Fripp soon contributed his musical and production talents to Peter Gabriel's second album, and collaborated with Daryl Hall on Sacred Songs. During this period, Fripp began working on solo material, with contributions from poet/lyricist Joanna Walton and several other musicians, including Eno, Gabriel, and Hall, as well as Peter Hammill, Jerry Marotta, Phil Collins, Tony Levin and Terre Roche. This material eventually became his first solo album, Exposure, released in 1979, followed by the Frippertronics tour in the same year. While living in New York, Fripp contributed to albums and live performances by Blondie and Talking Heads (Fear of Music), and produced The Roches' first album, which featured several of Fripp's characteristic guitar solos. A second set of creative sessions with David Bowie produced distinctive guitar parts on Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980).
Fripp's collaboration with bassist Busta Jones, drummer Paul Duskin, and vocals by David Byrne (Byrne credited as Absalm el Habib) produced God Save the Queen/Under Heavy Manners in the following year. He simultaneously assembled what he called a "second-division touring new wave instrumental dance band" under the name League of Gentlemen, with bassist Sara Lee, keyboardist Barry Andrews and drummer Johnny Toobad (later replaced by Kevin Wilkinson). The LOG toured for the duration of 1980.
In the early and mid 1990s Fripp contributed guitar/soundscapes to Lifeforms (1994) by The Future Sound of London and Cydonia (released 2001) by The Orb, as well as FFWD, a collaborative effort with the latter's members. In addition, Fripp worked with Brian Eno co-writing and supplying guitar to two tracks for a CD-ROM project released in 1994 entitled Headcandy created by Chris Juul and Doug Jipson. Eno thought the visual aspects of the disc (video feedback effects) were very disappointing upon completion, and regretted participation. During this period, Fripp also contributed to albums by No-Man (a band featuring Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson) and The Beloved (1994's Flowermouth and 1996's X, respectively). He also contributed soundscapes and guitar to two albums by the Scottish band Iona: 1993's Beyond These Shores and 1996's Journey into the Morn.
During 2004, Fripp toured with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai as the guitar trio G3.
Robert Fripp worked at Microsoft's studios to record new sounds and atmospheres for Windows Vista.
In late 2005 and early 2006, Fripp joined Bill Rieflin's improvisational Slow Music project, along with guitarist Peter Buck, Fred Chalenor (acoustic bass), Matt Chamberlain (drums) and Hector Zazou (electronics). This collective of musicians toured the west coast in May 2006.
In October 2006, ProjeKct Six (Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew) played at select venues on the east coast of the U.S., opening for Porcupine Tree.
Throughout 2006, Fripp performed many solo concerts of soundscapes in intimate settings, especially in churches around the West Midlands in England, where he lives.
Fripp has contributed soundscapes to two songs for Porcupine Tree's Fear of a Blank Planet. He is featured on the tracks "Way Out Of Here" and "Nil Recurring," the second of which was released in September 2007 as part of the "Nil Recurring" EP. Robert has also sporadically performed Soundscapes as an opening act for Porcupine Tree on various tours from 2006 through 2009.
In 2008, he collaborated with Theo Travis on 'Thread', an album of guitar & flute or saxophone duets. They also did some live concerts in England in mid-2009 in support of that album.
Fripp also played a 2009 concert with the band The Humans, which consists of his wife Toyah Willcox, Bill Rieflin and Chris Wong. The performance in Tartu marked the release of The Humans's first album We Are the Humans.
Fripp (along with Pat Mastelotto and others) appears on Judy Dyble's (Giles, Giles & Fripp; Fairport Convention; Trader Horne) album Talking With Strangers released August 2009. Fripp also played on two tracks on Jakko M. Jakszyk's album "The Bruised Romantic Glee Club" and has been collaborating, casually, with Jakszyk and former Crimson member Mel Collins.
Fripp began playing guitar at the age of eleven. He says he was tone deaf with no sense of rhythm when he started. His comment on dealing with the obstacle is "Music so wishes to be heard that it sometimes calls on unlikely characters to give it voice."
While being taught guitar basics by his teacher Don Strike (who Fripp described as "a very good player in the thirties style"), he began to develop the technique of crosspicking, which would later become a significant technique taught in Guitar Craft.
In 1985, Fripp began using a tuning he called "New Standard tuning", which would also become the official tuning of Guitar Craft.
Fripp's guitar technique, unlike most rock guitarists of his era, is not blues-based but rather influenced by avant-garde jazz and European classical music, combining rapid alternate picking with motifs in whole-tone or diminished tonalities, continuous cross-picked (and polka-influenced) sixteenth-note patterns for long stretches in a form called moto perpetuo (perpetual motion).
Fripp is left-handed, but plays guitar right-handed.
Robert Fripp (born 16 May 1946 in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England) is a guitarist, composer and a record producer best known for being the guitarist for, and only constant member of, the progressive rock band King Crimson. His work, spanning four decades, encompasses a variety of musical styles. Fripp was ranked 42nd on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" (published August 2003).
Fripp's earliest professional work began in 1967, when he responded to an ad looking for a singing organist for a band being formed by bassist Peter Giles and drummer Michael Giles, despite being neither a singer nor an organist. Though unsuccessful as a live act, Giles, Giles and Fripp did manage to release two singles, as well as an album, The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp.
Following the band's breakup, Fripp, along with drummer Michael Giles, made plans for the formation of King Crimson in 1968, with Greg Lake, Peter Sinfield and Ian McDonald. Their first album, In the Court of the Crimson King, was released in late 1969 to great success, and is now known as one of the most influential albums in the history of progressive rock. Because of musical differences with Giles and McDonald, King Crimson broke up shortly after the release of the first album, to be re-formed again several times over the years.