ROBERT FRIPP: “My four criteria for professional work, applied over many years”

07 MARCH 2004

From Robert Fripp’s online diary for March 4, 2004:

  My four criteria for professional work, applied over many years, have been these: 

Can I learn from this? 

Is this serving a useful social aim (however we might understand that)? 

Can I earn a living doing this? 

Is this fun? …

Is this serving a useful social aim?

For my generation, there was no doubt that music (and specifically rock music) could “change the
world” for the better; and listening to music, was itself, a significant contribution. There was a spirit of the time, a zeitgeist, and a passion.
So the answer, historically, is yes. 

    But the spirit has moved. Music remains available, but subtleties are involved – are we available to music? – and these subtleties are vulnerable to gross action. Conventional rock performance is now increasingly a business operation & audients claim consumer rights. Where the communion between music, performer & audience? 

    Overall, my current answer is I don’t know.

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About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2022: I publish a weeklyish email newsletter called LANDLINE = Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca., where I practiced with Buddhist teacher Ruth Denison and was involved in various pro-ecology and social justice activist activities.