Michael Giles (born 1 March 1942, Waterlooville, Hampshire) is an English drummer, best known as a co-founder of King Crimson in 1969. Prior to the formation of King Crimson, he also co-founded the short-lived Giles, Giles & Fripp with his brother, Peter, and Robert Fripp the previous year. (More from Wikipedia)
I have always been fascinated about where the music in In the Court of the Crimson King came from, and while I certainly don’t have all of the answers, I heard about a predecessor psychedelic rock band called Giles, Giles and Fripp not too long ago. This band includes the only constant member in the ever-changing line-up of King Crimson over the years, guitarist Robert Fripp. The other bandmembers were two English brothers, drummer Michael Giles and bass guitarist Peter Giles; the two had advertised for a singing keyboard player, but they hired Fripp anyway. The band released one album, The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp in 1968, along with a couple of singles; all sold poorly (Robert Fripp claimed that they only sold 500 copies of the original album, though that figure is disputed).
The band later added Ian McDonald – who played saxophone, clarinet and flute – and vocalist Judy Dyble, the original lead singer of the legendary British folk-rock band Fairport Convention. After Peter Giles left the band, Michael Giles, Ian McDonald and Robert Fripp formed the original line-up of King Crimson with vocalist Greg Lake and lyricist Peter Sinfield. Peter Giles later returned as a bass guitarist on the band’s second album in 1970, In the Wake of Poseidon; though both of the Giles Brothers left the fold by the time of King Crimson’s third album, Lizard.
In 1971, two ex-members of King Crimson – Ian McDonald and Michael Giles – along with Peter Giles released an album under the name McDonald and Giles; I actually saw a copy of the album cover last year in a local junque store called Garage Sale. Even though the disc itself was missing, I bought the cover anyway (that’s how much of a collector I am!). The entire album is actually available on YouTube, so maybe I don’t need the disc anymore?
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The Under-Appreciated Rock Band for this month, the Giles Brothers is not properly a band I suppose; they are basically a rhythm section who both sing, consisting of drummer Michael Giles and bass guitarist Peter Giles. However, they also have a recent (2009) compilation CD called The Giles Brothers 1962-1967; and they performed with numerous other bands prior to Giles, Giles and Fripp.
There is a long booklet included with the CD and extensive annotations, including personnel, dates active, the number of “gigs played”, and even several photographs. However, the CD itself is maddening, since the list of songs that are so carefully laid out on the back cover and in the booklet doesn’t match up with the songs as they are actually being played. Still, the CD clearly shows the evolution of their music over time, along with the experimentation that would ultimately reach a crescendo with King Crimson. (The Discogs listing for The Giles Brothers 1962-1967 shows the actual sequencing of the 24 tracks on the CD).
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Subsequently, the Giles Brothers reunited when Michael Giles released his 2002 solo album Progress with his brother Peter Giles on bass. Along with fellow King Crimson alumnus, Ian McDonald plus Jakko Jakszyk (who had previously played with Level 42, Tom Robinson, Robert Fripp and Dave Stewart, among others), the Giles Brothers formed a band in 2002 called 21st Century Schizoid Band, which was named after the King Crimson song, “21st Century Schizoid Man” (the opening track on In the Court of the Crimson King). Though not exactly a tribute band – since they were the original musicians on much of the music – 21st Century Schizoid Band mainly played music from the first four King Crimson albums. They disbanded within a few years.
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Items: Michael Giles