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David Cross

What's an alumni? Is that what silver foil is made of? No, you buffoon - this is where you post about ex-members of the band.

David Cross

Postby Ironclaw on Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:57 am

The album Red was really great, but I think it might have been even better if they hadn't voted David out of the band (although in that case we probably wouldn't have had Ian, Mel, Marc, and Robin on the record). Well, we never do get to know what could have been, but my hat goes off to Bill Bruford for having cast the lone vote to keep David in. And so how about a thread discussing the oft overlooked David Cross? His solo work is, to me, among the best stuff done at any time by any ex-member of the 72-74 Crimbeast.

I am myself no longer a completist. I only have the following hardcopy by Cross: Memos From Purgatory, Testing To Destruction, and Exiles, which seems to be the most widely known David Cross CD among Crimheads, if for no other reason than the participation therein of Fripp, Wetton, Sinfield, Hammill, and Manzanera. But of the three CDs I have I prefer Testing To Destruction. Does anybody else here get into the David Cross Band?

A note on why I like DC: I played (or rather attempted to play) the violin as a kid, and I do love classical music. But generally I don't enjoy electric violin so much. Too often the electric violin just sounds like a violin with awful tone, even in the hands of a violinist as talented as the great L. Shankar (known for playing with John McLaughlin and Peter Gabriel). But David Cross somehow makes up for the tone-colour limitations of the electric violin. And though there may be many violinists more talented than David Cross, I do love it when his violin sounds as distorted and mind-bending as any heavymetal electric guitar!

Watch the you-tube video of the David Cross Band in Poland to see how DC still gets overlooked, literally: while David's solo is shredding the sonic universe the clueless confused cameraman focuses on the guitarist!

If anybody is interested, please post your thoughts on the solo work of David Cross on this thread!
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Re: David Cross

Postby Ironclaw on Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:01 am

Maybe I should have posted a link to a you-tube video or something. I didn't think it necessary because anyone can easily find clips of David Cross solo stuff by searching for the "David Cross Band" on you-tube.

But then again, why not? It shouldn't be a problem because at least some of the live DC stuff on you-tube was uploaded either by Cross himself, or by people closely connected with him or his band.

So, please check out this one from 1994. It's a live version of a song I like that is on Testing To Destruction:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=tEcG7Tj8AoY

Final DC solo kicks in about the 7:00 minute mark.
Last edited by Ironclaw on Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: David Cross

Postby Ironclaw on Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:52 pm

And here's the one of the DC band playing in Poland with the camera looking elsewhere while David solos. That fact makes it something of an ironic tribute, in my eyes.

So, David Cross playing Exiles in 2010 in a version that really rocks, and with a pretty nice a bass solo besides...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGgNffeS1KA&feature=endscreen&NR=1
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Re: David Cross

Postby Ironclaw on Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:07 pm

Also from 2010, STARLESS! (In a really small club, but shot on a mobile phone with horrible audio and video quality.)

First part:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Npjsjr1fH4o
Second part:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33rgwG2aUmY
Last edited by Ironclaw on Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: David Cross

Postby Indyrod on Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:50 pm

I've always been a big fan of Cross' contribution to the Larks era Crimson, but have not really followed him that much since then. I think of him as essential as anybody else in that band. I listened to that Starless performance you posted, and although it got a little goofy in the second half, and terrible quality, it still shows Cross and his band know how to lay down Crimson music as well as anybody can be expected to do live. Playing the sax solo on violin was, well, strange, and not exactly interesting to me. I could only listen to the first half, and half of the second half, before it turned into noise, imo. The best cover of Starless I have heard period, was Hungarian progressive rock band "After Crying". checkem out, some great stuff.

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Re: David Cross

Postby Ironclaw on Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:47 pm

Indyrod, that was a good version. For my taste it was, however, trying a little too hard to be just like the studio version. I'm one of those who like it when covers take material in a different direction.

And hey, it's interesting that you didn't mention that the After Crying version has WILTON CARPET himself on vocals and bass!

Wetton also appears in a much more recent live version on the wonderful DVD/CD set

REUNION UK - Live in Tokyo April 15-18, 2011.
This lineup of UK has the jaw-droppingly good Marco Minneman on drums and the wonderful Alex Machacek channeling Holdsworth and Fripp on guitar. The DVD of REUNION UK also includes a live version of One More Red Nightmare!

I do really like Eddie Jobson, too, not just David Cross. I saw UK live in 1979 when they still had Bruford and Holdsworth. They opened up for John McLaughlin.

I'm not sure if you'd like the UK version of Starless, since it's also with violin instead of sax.

Actually, I don't really get why you made that comment about the strangeness of violin versus sax in Starless since, as you know, the earlier live versions of the song were with solo violin not saxophone. Maybe you mean David lifted a few licks from Ian McDonald's Alto Sax solo. Maybe so, and why not, but it still sounds mainly like a DC solo to me! Anyway, I absolutely don't think the mobile phone DC version descends into noise. It's tight and well executed through to the end. In fact, I think it's really great.
Last edited by Ironclaw on Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: David Cross

Postby Geno on Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:16 pm

Ironclaw wrote:The album Red was really great, but I think it might have been even better if they hadn't voted David out of the band (although in that case we probably wouldn't have had Ian, Mel, Marc, and Robin on the record).


I'm ambivalent for the same reasons. I feel bad about the circumstances of DC's departure, but it's hard to find complaints about the way the album turned out in the end.

RF also mentions (in the interview from the LTiA megabox) that David had already decided on his own to leave before the band sacked him. He did his best but it was obvious on all sides just how out of place he'd become. The second half of Red could have benefited from his contributions, sure, but after hearing him sound out of tune on the original performance of "Providence," I can at least see why things were presented the way they were. It would have been nice to hear him on "Starless," but then we wouldn't have the opportunity to hear this version with sax, which makes it unlike any of the others. And "Red" and "Red Nightmare" are really the kind of material where the violin wouldn't have fit much anyway.

I've never really gotten around to exploring what the guy's done post-Crimson - not from lack of curiosity, just from the usual music-addict's problem of too little time & funds. Maybe those Youtubes will make a good start once I'm somewhere I can audit them.
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Re: David Cross

Postby Ironclaw on Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:35 am

Geno, I think you make some excellent points.

And on the booklet to "The Great Deceiver" I seem to remember that David Cross mentioned that he'd already decided that he really didn't want to go out on the road again with King Crimson. But I don't think that means he wouldn't have wanted to be on the album. But like I said, you never known what would've been...

BTW, as I was typing that I was listening to The Talking Drum from Pittsburgh and that one really was a mind-blowing performance!
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Re: David Cross

Postby vrooom on Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:09 am

Like all members of King Crimson - they come and they go - we should be grateful for the contributions they made and nothing else. Fripp makes the decisions, not us.
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Re: David Cross

Postby Ironclaw on Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:37 am

OK, vroom-Darren, yeah, David got excommunicated by His Holiness Pope Robert of Crimson, although I don't think any of us really believes Fripp is infallible, far from it. But what's done is done, I've got to admit.

Now on further thought about what Geno posted about Providence, I want to say I don't think David sounded bad at all on any part of it. I think there were other reasons to edit out the last section of that improv for its inclusion on Red.

Anyway, I'd be more interested to know what people think of David Cross' solo stuff.
So, another you-tube from live in 1994, the song Abo, which is kind of a simple slow-builder, but gets really rather intense by the end, I mean I LOVE IT, actually I think it's GREAT:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx2W6IzO0sI

And a studio track from David's most recent album, Closer Than Skin, (you-tube posted by David Cross himself), it's a sort of a prog-metal kind of thing, I don't know, I'm not really into labels, the song's called Tell Me Your Name:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJ6lG8zyEag
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