With career spanning over 40 years, Tony Levin’s work is connected with many music defining acts. Best known for his work with one of the progressive rock’s most influential bands King Crimson, as well as for his work with Peter Gabriel, Levin has also collaborated with the likes such Alice Cooper, John Lennon, David Bowie, Dire Straits, David Torn, Alan White, Pink Floyd, Liquid Tension Experiment, Tom Waits, Buddy Rich, to name but a few.
Levin released six studio albums under his own name. His 2007′s album Stick Man led to forming a trio Stick Men, comprised of Pat Mastelotto, Levin himself and fellow Chapman Stick player Michael Bernier, who was replaced by Markus Reuter after the band’s first album Soup was released in 2010. Stick Men put out four releases to date, three full length records (Soup, 2010; Open, 2012 and Deep, 2013) and an EP (Absalom, 2011). Following the 2013′s USA Deep tour, Stick Men are set to release a live album called Power Play on January 17, 2014.
In a September’s update from the Crimson’s mainman Robert Fripp, it has been confirmed that Tony is one of the members who will be taking part in the band’s eighth incarnation.
One of Levin’s most recent collaborations includes a project initiated by a producer Scott Schorr (Lazy Bones Recordings), which besides Levin includes Marco Minnemann on guitars and drums and Jordan Rudess on keyboards. The album simply named LMR has garnered rave reviews from both media and fans.
Prog Sphere talked with Tony about the Levin Minnemann Rudess project, King Crimson’s return and his plans for 2014.
Since the beginning the Levin Minnemann Rudess project was established as a studio-only offering. In the beginning it was basically you and Marco Minnemann creating the core of the record, with Jordan joining later. What was your initial guide for this album? How long did it take you to complete the recording?
When reading the line-up of the album, one would think that there is no guitar on the record, but Marco besides drumming plays guitar on it. How did these guitar parts come along?
Production-wise, did you and Scott have any pre-defined goals on how the record should sound? Something in particular that you wanted to follow or achieve?
The album has been receiving great reviews ever since it was released. Are you satisfied with its reception? Although all of you mentioned that the project is not just another one-off thing, does the reception of the album make you look on the whole project more serious?
All of you are pretty much booked until the end of the year. Jordan is on tour with Dream Theater, Marco with The Aristocrats and you are switching from Stick Men to The Crimson Projekct to another run of the European “Back to Front” tour with Peter Gabriel. And there is also King Crimson announced for the fall. That probably means that we can expect something new from Levin Minnemann Rudess in 2015. Is that right?
Speaking of these “switches” between different acts you perform with, how hard is it for you to adapt for the new working environments? I guess that it comes with the years of experience, but do you ever have any kind of issues when it comes to that?
I can’t help but ask about the King Crimson’s return. The full-line up has been revealed back in September 2013, have you had any talks about how this whole thing will go? What can we expect?
You will be mostly touring this year, but do you have anything in the pipeline speaking of new studio material?