Fripp famously leant his efforts to the seminal 1977 “Heroes” of the Berlin trilogy, performing the iconic sustained guitar part on the title track. Bowie then invited Fripp back to add his distinctive guitar sounds to 1980’s ‘Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)’ album.
Now, Fripp has taken to Facebook to claim that rules of “historic injustice” are blocking the recognition of his contributions to the records, where he argues he should be recognised under the modern term of “Featured Player”. He is currently in dispute with Bowie’s estate and the UK’s PPL over the correct payment of royalties.
“The dispute centres on the refusal of PPL and the David Bowie estate to acknowledge that RF’s contribution to the “Heroes” and ‘Scary Monsters’ albums is that of a Featured Player,” wrote Fripp. “This accreditation as a Featured Player is supported by Brian Eno, Tony Visconti, David Bowie himself (although the terminology was not then in use), and the Court Of Public Opinion over four decades.
“Essentially, the DB Estate argues that RF’s Featured Performer Status is not acknowledged by PPL rules; and PPL argues that as the DB Estate does not accept RF as a Featured Performer, RF is therefore not a Featured Player – and their rules confirm this. Anyone read Catch 22?”
RF: The dispute centres on the refusal of PPL and the David Bowie estate to acknowledge that RF's contribution to the…
He continued: “The PPL’s rules and MO perpetuate an historic injustice. Rules are not God-given laws to maintain the universe: they are created by people to organise and facilitate interactions in a fair and equitable fashion; which, in the nature of things, can never be exactly foretold.
“So, with intelligence and goodwill, where the rules do not allow for what is Right to be acknowledged and addressed, the rules are modified to take exceptional / novel situations into account. This is the Principle of Progressive Approximation: rules are fine-tuned to serve what is Right and True in our society.”
Fripp added: “However, this depends upon intelligence and goodwill; and a desire to create a fair and equitable society / business / community.”
The guitarist went on to slam the music industry itself as being run by “self-serving” individuals. “This, a microcosm in our larger societal turmoil, as a new paradigm seeks to be welcomed into our suffering world,” he added.
NME has contacted David Bowie’s estate for a response.
Back in June, Johnny Depp covered ‘Heroes’ with The Hollywood Vampires, who also boast Alice Cooper and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry among their members.