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Watch the trailer for In the Court of the Crimson King, a new documentary on the history of King Crimson

(from left) King Crimson's David Cross, John Wetton, Bill Bruford and Robert Fripp
(Image credit: GAB Archive/Redferns)

King Crimson have had a colorful, 50+-year reign near the top of the prog-rock heap.

Now, a new documentary – In the Court of the Crimson King – seeks to untangle the group's complicated history, and the relationships of members past and present with the group's sole constant member, electric guitar innovator Robert Fripp. 

You can take a look at a new trailer for the film – which was directed by Toby Amies, and is set to make its world premiere at the 2022 SXSW film festival in Austin – below.

In the Court of the Crimson King primarily follows the latest iteration of the band during their 2019 50th Anniversary tour. Over the decades, King Crimson have broken up and subsequently reformed again – often with a dramatically different lineup – a number of times, with Fripp always at the center. From the looks of the trailer, In the Court of the Crimson King doesn't shy away from this rocky history.

“This is the first King Crimson where there’s not at least one member of the band that actively resents my presence,“ Fripp says at one point. “Which is astonishing.”

Aside from Fripp and members of the group's current lineup, the film also includes interviews with musicians from previous iterations of the band, such as former drummer Bill Bruford and Adrian Belew, who spent over a decade in total with the band as a singer and guitarist.

In the trailer, Bruford points to King Crimson as "the dream band viewed from outside," while Belew paints a less rosy picture, saying “When I came back from making some of that music, my hair had fallen out.”

For more info on when and where In the Court of the Crimson King will be screened at the SXSW festival, head on over to the SXSW website (opens in new tab).

Aside from his day job touring with King Crimson, Fripp has also spent the last year and a half or so becoming an unlikely viral sensation for his Sunday Lunch series of off-beat covers with his wife, Toyah Wilcox.

In the process of taking on songs by the likes of Mötley Crüe and Metallica, Fripp said he gained a new appreciation for the giants of hard-rock guitar.

“They’re all utterly stunning things,” he told Rolling Stone (opens in new tab) of the riffs in the songs he covered with Wilcox. “I’m blown away by the original guitarists on these tracks. Phenomenal development and playing primarily since the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Van Halen onwards. Steve Vai, Satriani, the Metallica boys… The originators of the riffs are phenomenal players."

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.