“Knowledge is a deadly friend if no one sets the rules
The fate of all mankind, I see, is in the hands of fools”
Peter John Sinfield, who was the lyricist and co-founder of the early incarnations of King Crimson, was born 77 years ago today, on the 27th of December 1943. His birthplace was Fulham, London. Throughout his childhood, he seldom had contact with his father, Ian Sinfield, being mostly raised by his mother, Deidre.
At the Danes Hill School, he discovered his passion for words their intricate relationships and meanings. With the guidance of his tutor John Mawson, he came to fall in love with books but especially poetry. At sixteen, he left school and worked briefly as a travel agent, believing this would “allow him to see the world”.
In the mid-1960s, he was hanging around with friends from Chelsea Art School and in order to compete with them, he started learning to play the guitar and writing poetry. Around 1967, he started a band called Infinity. Though the band didn’t have a future, one of the members was Ian McDonald, who went on to join Giles, Giles, and Fripp. With his recommendation, Sinfield gained a prominent role in the band’s birth.
In his own words: “I became their pet hippie because I could tell them where to go, to buy the funny clothes that they saw everyone wearing”. Apart from the lyrics of the band, he came up with the name King Crimson and was responsible for their lighting during concerts.
Fun Fact: In 1973, after leaving King Crimson, Sinfield wrote English lyrics for Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM), which was a progressive rock band from Italy, and produced their first album for Manticore Records.