King Crimson fretboarder Robert Fripp is officially credited with creating and overseeing The Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists (OCG). As the 100-member plus collective makes its way through the Bay State with a May 24 Beantown engagement at the First Church of Cambridge and a May 25 stop at Hadley’s Methodist Church, however, it is none other than current OCG member R.E.M./Ministry alum Bill Reiflin who presently acts as the ensemble’s mouthpiece.
The Crawler caught up with the journeyman multi-instrumentalist a week prior to the performance. Here’s some of what went down.
Crawler: I know you have a long-time association with Fripp that goes back to your Seattle days, but how did that lead to your present slot in his infamous Orchestra?
Bill Reiflin: My personal involvement with the orchestra is an extension of my involvement with Guitar Craft, which for me began in August of 1989. Guitar Craft offered an approach to music education that deals with both the person and the instrument—this was something I’d not found anywhere else. It appealed to me strongly and it continues to be a source of inspiration and guidance, informing much of how I do things. Guitar Circles is a natural development of Guitar Craft, from which comes the Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists.
The orchestra is made up of acoustic guitarists from various countries, backgrounds and skill levels, I am told. I would imagine that makes for some amazing stories.
You are right that there are plenty of interesting and amazing stories! One of the most amazing is that it’s possible to take 100 people from all around the world, with an enormous variety of backgrounds, experience, professions, temperaments, and put them in a residential facility for a week in which they not only prepare for something as impossibly demanding as an Orchestra performance, but they also manage to feed themselves, clean up after themselves and generally look after a very large household, and hardly anyone ever cracks! Now, that’s amazing.
So what can we expect when you come to town? Will the May 24 show be different than May 25?
Because the music is a spontaneous manifestation of the large group specifically gathered for these performances, and because that group hasn’t yet assembled —although they have been working individually, prior to converging—it’s impossible for me to say what the “set list” will be. What I can say is that if you come with open ears, an open mind, and an open heart, it’s more likely that you will experience something extraordinary. A performer can feel and sense an audience, and a performer knows when an audience is there and when it isn’t. It makes all the difference in the world!
To make a difference yourself and/or buy a ticket to either show, kindly point your browser to brownpapertickets.com and keyword search “Fripp.”
Speaking of crafty characters, the powers that be (or more specifically, downtown Springfield’s Theodores’ Blues, Brews and BBQ and Smith Billiards Lounge) have already leaked a couple of headliners for this year’s Worthy Craft Beer Showcase. Slated for Saturday, June 22, the annual ode to suds and sounds has confirmed Noho’s premiere psychedelic Dixieland band Primate Fiasco and reggae/hip-hop beat droppers The Alchemystics as of press time. For updates on additional bands, brews and more, visit theworthybrewfest.com and/or future installments of this column.
Last but not least, leave it Radio 104.1 FM’s David Fisch to inform regional bands about an opportunity to land some cool cash ($500 worth, to be specific) and some major radio play.
“Each year we look forward to joining forces with Scorpion Bar for what always turns out to be a great summer of music,” the Hartford morning man says of the Battle of the Bands his station is presenting with the Foxwoods venue starting May 26.
Rhode Island rockers CAD, Connecticut’s End of War and Forget Paris and Enfield’s Porcelain Clocks kick things off this Sunday. For more information on getting your band in the sonic showdown or being considered for future live music Sundays, visit radio104.1 FM.•
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