Robert Fripp leaked Bowie secret…
Out of the bag: Fripp and, inset, Bowie
Everyone who was asked to be involved in David Bowie’s comeback album The Next Day kept the project a secret – except Robert Fripp, says producer Tony Visconti.
The King Crimson mastermind, who collaborated with Bowie in the late 1970s, decided not to take part in the new recording sessions, then wrote about it online.
But Visconti says the move didn’t blow the secret because no one took Fripp seriously.
Bowie astonished fans on January 8 – his 66th birthday – by quietly releasing new single Where Are We Now? on iTunes, and updating his website to reveal details of the album, due in March.
Visconti tells Rolling Stone: “It was very easy to keep it a secret because we’re very loyal to him. I’ve known him 45 years and everybody knew him for more than 10 years in the band. We just love the guy. He said, ‘Keep it a secret. Don’t tell anybody – not even your best friend.’
“Bowie fans are just unpredictable. If they hear news like this the cover would have been blown years ago. Now, one person did leak it – but nobody believed him.”
Asked to elaborate, the producer continues: “Robert Fripp was asked to play on it. He didn’t want to do it and then wrote on his blog that he was asked.
“It was a little flurry for a few days but everyone said, ‘How could that be true? We haven’t heard it from anyone else.’”
Fripp wrote in his online diary on October 15, 2011: “Rising from traveling adventures, in ‘planes and cars. Dropping off along to way to visit David Bowie, and it gradually appeared that David had some remarkable new ideas in process, not yet public. These he presented indirectly, to allow the penny to drop without prompting. Eno also got involved, and what a flowering of ideas!”
Visconti has previously ruled out any chance of a tour, explaining how Bowie emphasised throughout recording sessions that the music he was making would never have to be performed live. But now he offers some hope that one or two concerts could take place.
“He made it very clear to the label that he wasn’t going to tour or do any kind of ridiculously long album promotion,” Visconti explains. “It was his idea to just drop it at midnight on his birthday and just let things avalanche.
“He says he will only play if he feels like it – but no tour. If he wanted to do the odd show in New York or, I don’t know, London, he would if he felt like it.”