The design of it is in Robert's hands. I decided many‚ many years ago that I would follow his lead on whatever he wants to do. That's the best way to work with Robert. And when he tells me‚ "I want to write‚" we write. When he tells me‚ "I don't want to tour‚" we don't tour. So‚ that's the design. It's his plan.
But‚ whatever it is‚ he's made it clear that we won't be touring a lot. Whether or not we'll partner up and write a new record is still a question. I don't know why we wouldn't; maybe he's not ready. But I've got something so powerful and precious now‚ and Robert loves it too. I'll tell you the quote he gave me after he saw this band. He said‚ "King Crimson would have a difficult time following this power trio." [laughs] So‚ he loves it. He realizes I can put a ton of work into this trio‚ and we can let King Crimson simmer for the time being.
We're not 20 anymore‚ you know? So‚ we're not going to beat ourselves up touring around the world. Robert has told me that he would like to only tour in the United States. And he would to do the type of touring where the people come to you -- where you play the same city for three nights. I think we'll continue to do that next year.
The other question is why would Robert do this after saying two years ago that he was done. I thought the band was done. Why? Because it's the 40th anniversary next year. I think he wants to continue the legacy and make people see what a great band this has been for 40 years. And it will still match up. There's new players in and… something always happens with this band. It always has. That's the surest way to get something going with King Crimson -- change the lineup. [laughter] Just don't get rid of me‚ Robert!
Let me ask you about joining the Talking Heads. It is almost impossible to talk about just how much you and Bernie Worrell brought to them. I mean‚ all you have to do is listen to The Name of This Band is the Talking Heads and the difference between disc one and disc two is so amazing. Just in the opening jam of "Psycho Killer‚" it is evident that you took them to another level.
I don't think we realized it at the time. Bernie and I are good buddies‚ but we never said‚ Oh‚ we're bringing them to another place. It was just natural. They created an album‚ Remain In Light‚ that was just impossible to play as a four-piece band. So they imported a few of the players who were on the record and then they added a few more‚ and suddenly it was a big funk band! It was a really great band. And it was very danceable and it was pop and it was the music of the time. Everywhere I went I would hear the Talking Heads -- all over the world! It was always on in the background at restaurants‚ at bookstores‚ coffee shops. They were the thing. For me‚ it was a great time to be a part of that. I enjoyed the people a lot. I loved the music and I loved the band a lot. Again‚ kind of like David Bowie‚ they gave me complete freedom. It's a lot like people now that come to me -- they don't want to give me something to do; they want me to figure out what I'm going to do. That was a good time for me and some good records.
I don't think a lot of people realize the amount you've contributed to Nine Inch Nails. What was it like being invited to work with someone who up to that point [1994's the Downward Spiral] was a one-man band who pretty much did everything in the studio himself?
You know what Trent [Reznor] told me when I was there? He said‚ "You do everything that I can't do." [laughter] That's a good compliment‚ but it's also somewhat true because I could never make records sound like he does. He has an amazing production technique that I don't even understand. It's fascinating to me and I like to watch him work. And he creates in a whole different way than most anyone I know. And he happens to be a real big fan of my guitar playing. And I'm really happy about that. I really like all of the stuff he's done‚ and he told me we'll do some more‚ so I'm happy about that and that's great.
It must be exciting to always be in demand. I mean‚ you played on records ranging from Paul Simon's Graceland to Downward Spiral. You can't get much of a wider gap than that. What do you think it is about your style? And why do you think it's stood the test of time? Or what is it about your playing that's so ahead of the curve?
Maybe that's it. I don't really know. People have asked me that question and I think it's just the musicality that I have. I'm able to fit into any circumstance and try to figure out something that's going to work for it. I don't try to put my thing onto someone else's thing‚ other than to add something to what they're doing. I've played with Herbie Hancock‚ and I could probably play with a country artist. It's just a gift I have‚ I guess‚ where my playing can fit into different types of music. And my guitar style is no style. It's anything. You want me to make noise? Industrial sounds? You want me to make chickens? You want me to make an orchestra or blues… You know? [laughter] I can do pretty much whatever the situation calls for‚ and I believe that people ask me because they like what I do. I don't know why it's current. I can't answer that. But I feel like the best thing I've ever done is right now.