A multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and record producer, Jakko is the current lead singer and second guitarist in King Crimson and also pursues a solo career. Prior to joining King Crimson in 2013, he had fronted multiple bands and projects over the course of three-and-a-half decades (including 64 Spoons, Dizrhythmia, 21st Century Schizoid Band, Jakszyk Fripp Collins and Rapid Eye Movement). He has collaborated with a wide variety of musicians and has an extensive and well-respected career as a session musician and soundtrack producer. In addition to working within music, Jakko has created mixed-media pieces for radio broadcast and is known as a raconteur and occasional actor.
In the midst of rehearsals for the upcoming US tour, PRS Guitars managed to sneak a few minutes of Jakko’s time to ask him a few questions about his career as a musician:
PRS: At what age did you realize you wanted to be a musician? Was the guitar the first instrument you gravitated to?
JAKKO: I was pretty obsessed by music as a kid, but things took a serious turn when my pal played me ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’ by King Crimson when I was 11. A year later we went to see them live at the local town hall. The whole experience blew me away. It was a pivotal moment and one where I decided ‘I have to do this’. I had a romantic teenage notion that this evening had somehow changed my life. Looking back, over 40 years later, it turns out I was right. Who’d have thought?
PRS: You have collaborated with a wide-variety of artists through the years. Prior to joining King Crimson in 2013, who are some of the artists you have worked with and tell us about some of your most memorable accomplishments?
JAKKO: I was lead guitarist in English funk/pop band Level 42 for about 5 years having taken over from their short time replacement, Allan Holdsworth. I’d been working as a solo artist and session player in the 80’s. I spent time in New York playing in The Lodge, an avant grade rock band signed to Island Records. I had an acoustic band back in England called Dijzrythmia, also signed to Island Records, that featured doubled bass legend Danny Thompson, current Crimson drummer Gavin Harrison and a host of Indian musicians. I composed 3 experimental award nominated pieces for BBC Radio 3 (the classical station) and have recently re-mixed 2 Emerson, Lake & Palmer albums in 5.1 surround sound from the original masters, along with Jethro Tull’s most recent album.
PRS: How would you describe yourself stylistically?
PRS: What attracted you to PRS Guitars?
JAKKO: They just feel right. A modern guitar with a vintage look and feel. They look and feel like custom instruments not mass produced guitars trading in former glories.
PRS: You’ve got a new, one-of-a-kind PRS P24 that you just recently added to your arsenal. What’s the story behind this guitar?
JAKKO: I’d been playing a Custom 22 and when asked to join King Crimson, I wanted to make a statement of intent. To create a guitar that looked as special as it played. So I asked the guys at PRS if they were up for that. I took the iconic artwork of Crimson’s first album and with the invaluable help of LP sleeve designer Phil Smee created a version of it that would work on the PRS shape. I chose the neck profile and asked for the addition of a piezo in the bridge. I asked for the back to be in the predominant blue from the cover and added this picture of the old man from the inside of the original gatefold sleeve. Paul Miles at PRS did an incredible job. He came up with these lovely iridescent red/purple/blue inlays on the neck and the ebony fretboard. The photos don’t do the guitar justice, the finish looks like porcelain.
Watch the guitar in action!
King Crimson—2014 Tour Dates
Tue 9 Sep Albany, NY The Egg
Wed 10 Sep Albany, NY The Egg
Fri 12 Sep Philadelphia, PA Verizon Hall
Sat 13 Sep Philadelphia, PA Verizon Hall
Mon 15 Sep Boston, MA Colonial Theatre
Tue 16 Sep Boston, MA Colonial Theatre
Thu 18 Sep New York, NY Best Buy
Fri 19 Sep New York, NY Best Buy
Sat 20 Sep New York, NY Best Buy
Tue 23 Sep Madison, WI Barrymore Theatre
Thu 25 Sep Chicago, IL The Vic Theatre
Fri 26 Sep Chicago, IL The Vic Theatre
Tue 30 Sep Los Angeles, CA Orpheum Theatre
Wed 01 Oct Los Angeles, CA Orpheum Theatre
Fri 03 Oct San Francisco, CA The Warfield
Sat 04 Oct San Francisco, CA The Warfield
Mon 06 Oct Seattle, WA Moore Theater
For this tour, guitarist Robert Fripp will be joined by Gavin Harrison (drums), Bill Rieflin (drums), Pat Mastelotto (drums), Tony Levin (bass and vocals), Mel Collins (Sax, flute), and Jakko Jakszyk (guitar, vocals).