Song Of The Day 10/7/2012: King Crimson - "Waiting Man"

Give it up for the Chapman Stick, ladies and gentlemen! The most musical 2x4 ever invented! For those who've never seen a Chapman Stick, here's legendary studio bassist Tony Levin playing one:

It looks like a tapeworm, but you ain't never seen no parasite boogie with the prog rock jamz. The Stick was conceptualized as a string instrument that could simulate all the parts of a small combo (a term your high school jazz teacher employed to refer to "bands"). Instead of plucking the strings, you'd tap them, a la Eddie Van Halen. It gets real crowded in a hurry on a Chapman Stick.

Until I saw some YouTube videos of actual people playing Chapman Stick earlier tonight, my theory was nobody could really play the Chapman Stick. I thought this because my friend Jon had one once, and he never really got into it. I thought people we called "Chapman Stick players" were actually manufactured in the same factory as Chapman Sticks, sort of the same principle as a robot army, or the Blue Man Group (who, coincidentally, used Chapman Sticks). I am happy I was mistaken, and that some brave soldiers really did take the time to learn Chapman Stick... um, theory.

This (truly beautiful) song from King Crimson's Discipline album features the above-pictured Levin on the insistent Chapman Stick riff, along with Adrian Belew on vocals, my favorite such performance Belew ever did.

I wonder if anybody called them "Chapsticks"? Just to save breath, you know? I bet that's how some recording engineers referred to it on the masking tape on their mixing boards. Channel 12: "Chapstick."
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