Friday, December 25, 2009

To The People Of Perm

today is my birthday, usually a day for joy.
but this morning I woke up with a tragedy on my mind.
from November 5 through November 9 of this year
I was in a city I had never heard of: Perm, Russia.

it's not often a genuine American rock band comes
to the Urals, but thanks to the Perm Region's
Ministry of Culture and Philharmony and the vision
of my promoter Alexander (Sasha) Cheparukhin,
a gracious man who has dedicated himself to bringing
world culture to his beloved Russia,
the Adrian Belew Power Trio were invited to Perm
to perform a concert with Eddie Jobson and his band U-Z
celebrating the progressive music of King Crimson.

for five days in anticipation of our November 9th concert
we were ensconced in the stately Ural Hotel in Perm.
it was snowing most of the time and the atmosphere
was beautiful. I could tell how proud the inhabitants
were of their city.

we were treated like friends by everyone we met.
one evening we were guests at a beautiful
concert of the excellent Opus Posth string ensemble
led by Tatiana Grindenko in The Perm Organ Recital Hall.
another night we dined in a very comfortable
nightclub with curious young Russians
toasting vodka in our honor.
they were wonderful people
who truly love art and music.

we spent most our time in Perm rehearsing
the power trio and Eddie Jobson's U-Z band.
Perm Philharmony gave us a unique opportunity
to create a new 7-piece lineup with Eddie
and the other great musicians of U-Z:
Greg Howe on guitar, Ric Fierabracci on bass,
and the eight-armed Marco Minnemann on drums.

on the last day of our stay there was a press
conference and then quickly we were on stage.
we were not sure what to expect, but to our
amazement the concert hall was filled,
mostly with young people, who gave us
a very enthusiastic welcome.
the power trio and Eddie Jobson's U-Z
played a full set each, and the culmination of the
whole event was our joint line-up performing
King Crimson classics at the end.
the event was a rare musical experience,
one I hope inspired the musicians
and music lovers of Perm.

after the show we had a lovely dinner
with Sasha and one of Russia's biggest
stars, the enigmatic singer Zemfira.
Zemfira is to Russia what Michael Jackson
is to the rest of the world.
we first met Zemfira in august 2008 when we
participated in the giant Creation of Peace Festival
in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, Russia.
we played for 150,000 fans, most of whom were
there to see Zemfira.
Sasha was an artistic director of the festival.
he introduced us to Zemfira.

Zemfira flew to Perm especially to see our show
and to meet us again. an honor indeed.

I left Russia feeling like a king and wanting
to return as often as possible.

then weeks later came the monstrous news
of a horrific fire in a Perm nightclub.
suddenly everyone in the world knew
of this place called Perm and grieved with them.

and so this morning I woke up
thinking about the young people killed in that fire.
I wondered how many of them may have
been in attendance at my concert.
maybe I shook their hands or signed
an autograph for one of them.
they were all so happy to be at the show.

I want to say thanks to the people of Perm
for their generosity and give my profound
condolences to the families of the deceased
and to the people still suffering.

I would love to come to play for you again.
I wish you love and happiness in 2010.

p.s: To Certain Misguided Journalists In Perm

there was only one thing which tarnished my
visit. in light of the tragedy it seems trivial,
even ridiculous, and I would not even dignify
this issue with a reply except that it has hurt
my good friend and supporter Sasha.

during the press conference Sasha mentioned
I had written the songs, melodies, and words
for the last 28 years (from 1981 to now) on all
King Crimson records.

this is absolutely true, as most of the world knows.
those of you who attacked Sasha insisting
Robert wrote everything and saying Sasha should
be ashamed for insulting Robert's name:
you are dead wrong!

of course Robert has been the guiding force
and creator of most of the Crimson legacy,
and as such he deserves a great measure of credit
for his brilliant musical ideas (which I love)
but as Robert himself would gladly tell you:
he did not do it alone nor did he
write everything himself.

you, The Misguided should apologize to Sasha.


  1. the misguided rarely apologize. Great story ThanX

  2. I had not heard of Perm until you visited there and I thought about your visit when I read of this tragic event in the news. I am sorry that mistakes that should not happen do and carelessly take lives. You are right, families and lives have been changed forever. My thoughts to them as well.

    Thanks for all you write --the lyrics, the music, the tales, this blog. Will listen as long as you tell it. :)

  3. Thank you Ade. I had many of the same thoughts when I heard about the fire. So sad.