Frequent enforced hiatuses became part of the working practice of King Crimson. Here’s a little of what Bill had to say about his early working relationship with guitarist Robert Fripp in an excerpt from ‘Bill Bruford-The Autobiography’:
‘Almost immediately, Robert Fripp and I took up positions that we seemed to defend for most of our working relationship. I was the ingénue, the man with too many ideas, too much enthusiasm, and a genuinely thick skin. It required several rounds from an elephant gun to get me down, and even then I was only winded. Perhaps Robert was unused to having such artistic resilience in the band.
He was the superior intellect with a silver tongue, in possession of some arcane or possibly occult knowledge to which the rest of us weren’t privileged. The Man With A Plan – but since he wasn’t exactly letting on what the plan might be, a certain amount of inspired guesswork was called for. I might have known it was going to be an interesting ride when the first of the two gifts he gave me in some 35 years was a book entitled Initiation Into Hermetics. I wasn’t given a set-list when I joined the band, more a reading list. Ouspensky, J.G. Bennett, Gurdjieff, and Castaneda were all hot. Wicca, personality changes, low-magic techniques, pyromancy – all this from the magus in the court of the Crimson King. This was going to be more than three chords and a pint of Guinness.
I agree with Robert’s analysis that I wasn’t ready when I joined the band, but after a year with the older and wiser percussionist Jamie Muir, I became ready. Had I not joined, I would have been less likely to develop any potential that subsequently surfaced, and for this I have King Crimson to thank. Robert always insisted the band was “a way of doing things” and that he was no more than “the glue that held it together” – certainly nothing as coarse as the bandleader. But as the only remaining original member, and the only man without whom the group could not exist, he was the de facto leader. He decided when the group stopped and when it started again. It was his blueprint that was adopted for each successive edition of the group. It was he who decided to bin an entire repertoire of well-known and loved material in favour of a complete stylistic makeover in 1980′.