“Robert had a plan laid out that we would do three records in three years”: Adrian Belew on how King Crimson made an underrated prog classic in “this industrial musical junkyard we created”

Adrian Belew live onstage with King Crimson in 1984
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

The definitive track from Three of a Perfect Pair, King Crimson’s underrated 10th LP, could be its deepest cut: Dig Me is three minutes of atonal avant-rock chaos interspersed with gleaming New Wave choruses – a combo that crystalizes the prog quartet’s evolved form by 1984. 

“I went into the studio one day and said, ‘[This piece] is going to be no set tempo or rhythms – very disconnected,’” says singer-guitarist Adrian Belew, describing an early session in England. “It was our way of combining this industrial approach with an actual song.”

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Ryan Reed

Ryan Reed is a Knoxville, Tennessee-based writer, editor, musician, record collector, prog junkie, and former college professor. In addition to Guitar World, he's a contributor at SPIN (current title: senior editor), Rolling Stone, TIDAL, Relix, Ultimate Classic Rock, Revolver, and many other outlets. He's also the author of 2018’s Fleetwood Mac FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the Iconic Rock Survivors.