Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Man With An Open Heart

since one of you (and that's all it takes) said you like my paintings which try to look like something I thought I'd post this one you've probably never seen.
it lives on a wall in the studio.
in the whole spectrum of songs I've written/co-written for king crimson there are only two I feel showed bad judgment on my part:
man with an open heart is one of them, the other is two hands.
man with an open heart was a desperate filler (we needed something!)
which might have worked for a solo record (or not) had I spent more time on it,
but two hands was just a dud.
it pleased no one in the band, caused even more strife, and embarrasses me now.
my ex-wife wrote the words and even she hated it.
evidently I remembered her lyric incorrectly and ruined it.
but at least we now have this lovely painting as a result of writing
man with an open heart.
please accept this as my formal apology.


  1. Apology accepted, even though I like Man With an Open Heart, but yeah, not really a KC song.

  2. I happen to really like 'Two Hands'. Back in the late 80's I was in a band that used to play it and we got tons of positive feedback from it. I also found it interesting to play on the guitar. Just my opinion.

  3. I liked the music in "Two Hands"!

    It's funny, I always thought there would be more leftover ideas from Discipline, (from jamming and such) to help with Beat but I guess not.

  4. it's too bad these songs didn't go over well within the band; they went over well with me!

  5. Love the painting! Yowza, I especiallly love the nightscape out the window. Or is that a painting on the "Man's" wall?

    More, More!

  6. Oh, great! So I was wrong in appreciating "Two Hands" for its apparent "terse economy."

    Turns out I just liked a dud! :-)

    Thanks for your candor. :-)

  7. Hey Ade,
    I was listening to an obscure Peter Gabriel track called "Out Out" and there's some playing on there that sounds suspiciously like yours. Guilty? Not that I'd put anything past David Rhodes in the "wringing bizarre noises out of a guitar neck" category but it does sound like you on there, and I was wondering...

  8. I always liked Beat more than Discipline, overall. I heard Beat first, so that's part of it, but even decades later I still think Neil And Jack And Me and Requiem outshine/outfreak (respectively) anything on Discipline or Three Of A Perfect Pair. Anyway, I think Two Hands, while not one of the strongest songs on Beat, isn't bad at all. Musically it's quite expressive, and the lyrics don't seem so out of place on an album loosely themed on the Beat writers of the 50s.

    Man With An Open Heart... that's a lesser song in the 80s KC canon. Which makes it still better than 90% of non-KC music from that era.

    Anyway, Adrian, thanks for sharing your thoughts and being so open to self-criticism. But remember that those songs have lives of their own, in the minds of those who've heard them, and lots of us don't think they're duds.

    P.S. I opened my mailbox today, and exclaimed "voila!" as I pulled out my new copy of Eureka! And it's rocking my world!

  9. the painting is the black hole the man is being sucked into.

  10. Adrian - your apology is certainly NOT REQUIRED, for this 'audient' anyways.

    Since I began my personal journey musically with KC and yourself (in your numerous varying 'guises), I have gained enormous appreciation, pleasure, knowledge and lately, through your blog, a much deeper insight, and respect, for the processes of producing this wonderful music.

    Like a one-sided conversation, those of us who merely listen, and do not possess the skills necessary to 'play', typically do not fully comprehend the task from the artiste's point of view.

    Yes, we listen to the lyrics, what they are telling us, the melody and use of instruments, and how they are used together to create the piece, and we get an impression of what we think the artiste may be trying to convey to us.... but in reality, are we even close in our surmations....

    As we have discovered from your blog today, it seems that sometimes the artiste's reality is somewhat distantly removed from the listeners conception of such reality.

    A very interesting insight once again Adrian. Just one of the many reasons that keep me glued to your web-site.

    Just for the record, I personally like 'Two Hands', and 'Man with an Open Heart' has always been high on my list of favourites, right along with 'Waiting Man', 'One Time', 'Matte Kudasai', 'Heartbeat', 'Thela Hun Ginjeet' 'Frame by Frame' and of course 'Elephant Talk' - wow, what a list!

  11. love the painting - and the description

  12. Re: Adrian"s comments on Two Hands, Man With an Open Heart...
    1. I haven't heard a single A.B. song that doesn't grab me in some way or another. All are worthy. Every exploration, complete or not, is a journey to places I cannot go without A.B.'s driving force.
    2. There are A.B. songs that could have (should have) been on a KC album, KC songs that could have (should have) been on a A.B album. What is the distinction, if any, that determines where a great song should be released. It lives on it's own. Labels are meaningless to greatness.
    3. For every 100 fans there are bound to be 100 different viewpoints on what a song means, where it takes them, and what it's worth is. WE like what WE like. Please don't try to second guess us and not produce a song because We might not like it.You may be surprised at what some of your less that perfect pieces mean to the people in your audiences.
    4. I heard a joke about country music played backwards... You get your truck back, your girl back, your dog back and your job. What about AB's music backwards? Do you loose brain cells, appreciation for creativity, art, unique views of the world? I've heard AB's music backwards and the answer is "None Of The Above !!"


  13. I have a few questions

    1. what canvas did you use for the painting? I love the painting the man is being pulled into the painting on the wall and like the texture underneath.

    2. You are getting fantastic Pictures. What Camera are you using?

    3. Do you have a favorite 80's KC tune?

    I like Man with an open heart.

  14. I love "Two Hands". It's a wonderful song.

  15. i love your paintings. i would love to own one...do you ever sell them and where would they be available, if you did.

    just received eureka, signed, yesterday...WOW!

  16. Perhaps you like "Man..." and "Two.." less than others because of circumstances? It's funny how stuff I've written in the past that I didn't like become favorites once I've been removed from uncomfortable circumstances that existed when they were written. Perhaps I shouldn't let external stuff cloud my opinion, but there ya go.

    Also, I think you were referring to the lyrics of both songs and not the music? I think "Two Hands" is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard, regardless of lyrics.

  17. I equate songs and their likability or dis-likability to playing gigs. The nights you walk off stage muttering to yourself how terrible everything went, audience members can't wait to tell you how great the show was. Nights when you feel you couldn't have nailed it any better ever, the audience seems more ho-hum about the whole affair. I don't understand how it works, I just go with it. When you write a song you cringe over you may still be making an impact on someone who is where that song is taking them or taking them away from. You just never know once you put it out there.
    I've come to appreciate "forcing" songs out once in a while. It sometimes makes me go where I wouldn't have gone if I'd been deliberate about every step of writing it. It's still "your" song. Maybe you think later the vehicle (KC, solo, Bears in your case) was the wrong choice but, that too adds it's contribution. And sometimes you have to get that out to open a new door/opportunity that wouldn't have presented itself using the usual M.O.


  18. yow everybody! thanks for your comments. I didn't expect so much feedback.I agree with all of you! my opinions are based on personal feelings partly based on reactions from others. in most cases (especially solo records) I have no regrets nor do I wish I could change something about them.
    now to answer a question or two:
    yes that's me playing on peter gabriel's "out out". the song was originally done for the soundtrack to "gremlins" and appeared in the background for about 20 seconds somewhere in the movie.
    about painting: I use acrylic paints specifically because you can mix additives (like an alchemist) called "mediums" to create roughness, gloss, matte, etc. type finishes and textures. in the case of "man" I covered the whole canvas with a base coat called "gesso" mixed with modeling paste. then did the painting over top of that. the canvas itself could be any type, but I prefer ones which have a solid border (no staples) allowing you to hang them without framing them. if I had to frame each painting I'd go broke, that's the expensive part. I don't normally sell paintings although I sold 8 to robert once. and I gave away a few.
    (most recently one to rob murphree)
    my favorite krimson song of the 80's? probably elephant talk or thela or matte or neurotica or indicipline or...

  19. I was just listening to the live version of Neurotica on the _Young Person's Guide_ the other day and realized it's not one I've heard live very often. I never realized how HARD that song would be to sing/speak and play at the same time, (which could be said for most KC songs, I know.)

    I have had similar experiences with Bob--the audience is either deaf or getting a totally different experience than I am as a performer.

    Anyway, this whole discussion is making me want to revisit the oft-overlooked songs in your catalg!

  20. Man with an Open Heart may not be one of your favourites but I like it, and I think it rates much higher than most of the songs in the charts at that time. It's much more a pop song than the others on the album.
    That said, the painting is terrific.

  21. I'm terribly sorry, sir, but I cannot accept your apology as it is not required. I happen to like Two Hands. One man's dud is another's thud? Discipline changed my life; though wildly anticipated, Beat had a tough act to follow, and I did pour over it again and again. But I seem to return now to Displine most of all.

  22. Hi all. Speaking personally (as if one could ever speak anything else) I felt that neither of these tracks were the least successful on their respective albums. Beat will always be magical for me because of the last two tracks on side one. Open Heart, I thought, works well on the live album.

    One thing that you raise, Adrian, is a point of concern for me: and that is the notion of a King Crimson canon.

    What is true King Crimson: is it TCOTKC? Islands? Red? Discipline?
    As a long term 'fan' I would have to say that the 'essence' of King Crimson is its ability to surprise me with music that takes risks to touch my body, soul and mind. For me, the true canon of King Crimson is ecclecticism and quality of intention (whether on not that succeeds). I do not think this should ever become equated with a 'sound'.
    Fondest Regards,
    PS, Adrian it was a great pleasure to witness your performance in Melbourne last year. I hope you can come our way again!

  23. Somehow Two Hands has always reminded me of Hendrix' Castles Made of Sand. And I've loved it for nearly 25 years now. I consider it a pity it was never played live. With a dozen or so versions of Heartbeat in my cd rack, Two Hands seems underrated to me.

    I agree with Adrian on Man With an Open Heart, though.

  24. I love Two Hands and I love you.

  25. Great painting (also like the song)

  26. Everyone has an opinion, and mine is that I love "Man With An Open Heart." There is a live version, actually one from a Canadian TV show (?) on which the groove absolutely kills! + The band are all smiles and having fun. To make it even better there are two very hot chicks in front of the bandstand shakin' their booties to the beat. I may be paraphrasing here, but I was told by a friend that Tony Levin once said "If you you've got the women shakin' their butts, then nothing could be better!" That version is the one that should have been on the album.

  27. Love the painting. I like to consider it without injecting the pre concieved notions of the song for which it's modeled. ( which is a great song, btw. )
    I really like that you can see both faces of the man, the one being drawn toward the unknown and the one who almost seems in surrender or asleep, maybe oblivious and tired of fighting the pull to the darkness. His world is slowly vanishing ( see side table and objects there upon )
    Maybe he is in prayer for the strength to resist the pull of his alter ego. The urge to explore beyond his comfortable exisitance is strong, maybe the two egos will become one for curiosity is a powerful thing. It's the truman show and he has discovered that his secure world is artificial, time to go over the fence. Maybe ?

    Hey, if you decide to give anymore paintings away, may I get on the list ? ;-)

  28. A "dud" by KC standards is still a lot better than a lot of other bands can do.

  29. Model Man and Man With An Open Heart helped me get over my relationship with my kids' mom, which failed for the stupidest of reasons. Just the boost of self-affirmation that I needed right then.

    I get your point about them perhaps being better on a solo album than on a King Crimson record, and that KC is supposed to collaborate in the songwriting process - but hey, what a great backing band.

    beautiful songs that inspire a beautiful painting. God speed Adrian. - S.

  30. Hope that this unusual perspective offers a net gain.

    Side One of Beat would be my favorite suite of Crim, no contest. Side Two would be my least favorite suite of 80's Crim. (I admire Neurotica intellectually but am never in the mood to actually listen to it.)

    But Two Hands is so utterly lovely and exquisite that it has always remained one of my most-played Crim tracks. (I might even like to swap it into Side One in Heartbeat's place - they've always been flipsides in my mind.)

    Honestly?, I think Bill pushes it over the top into magical, the perfect nimble counterpoint to the gentle sirens of guitar. (And of course Tony is impeccable.)

    I'm overseas without it now and haven't heard it in over a year, but it remains sweetly fixed in my ears and heart, one of my all-time Crim faves.

  31. The problem with any song or piece of music is that it doesn't /can't take into consideration what's going on with the listener at any given time. It's not just WHAT you’re listening to but HOW you're listening, what state you're in when listening, what you're listening FOR.

    “Good bye to Love” by the Carpenters always makes me tingle but as a song I think it’s naff. It just happened to be “in the mix” during a time of massive change (mostly good) in my life and is now wired into those memory circuits.

    I prefer "Two Hands" to “Heartbeat” any day, but it’s largely down to what the rest of the band are contributing. The latter has some lumpy custard in the rhythm section with Bill’s usual thing of putting snare beats in the-least-expected-but-now-so-predicatble place.

    Whereas… “Two Hands” the band is congruent to/with the song and opens it up and allows it to move.

    One point: The guitar intro/outro to “Two Hands” sounds like it should be on another song entirely but a masterly phrase nontheless!

    All the above is the opinion of the author and only makes sense in his universe.

    Much Love


  32. Dear Adrian. It's funny to read your point of view on this song. Let me tell you something....
    "2 Hands" never sounded more aweful then when you and the rest of KC played it on your (as a band) first ever gig in Norway, june third 2003. (Bergen). What the heck happened? Did you guys losse your monitors or something? (Seemed you did not heard yourself, any of you) I remember standing amongst the audience watching and wondering "what's going on?". So seemed to be the situation on stage :-). I know it's not easy to remember any gig you ever did (Elephant mind), but did you ever make any note / diary note of what actually that evening? Anyways, that was a great show, and I welcome you back to Norway soon!

    All the best, and grateful for any reply!

  33. I'm quite sure the 2003 line-up never played "two hands". that song was only ever done by the 80's quartet and very rarely at that. you are probably remembering "eyes wide open" which we tended to butcher on a regular basis. I don't know why.

  34. What a f*** up! I am sorry! I was referring to "One Time". Still, do you have any memories to what happened? It seemed to me that you guys could not hear each others instruments, making me wonder if your monitors fell out.

  35. Interesting. And reminiscent of what Lennon said about "Run For Your Life" - a song I happen to like (much as I like the two KC songs you consider sub-par). I guess we truly are our own worst critics, eh?

  36. Dear Adrian, I play with a band, make art and write poetry. I can fully appreciate not being personally satisfied with ones own work, and i am also familiar with having other people reallylike the ones i never thought much of.
    But with that in mind, I must say that i love the song two hands, and i especially love the version on beat. I think that you have written some of the best romantic songs about passion and longing that have ever been written by anyone in the history of rock music. and two hands is one of those songs.
    also, waiting man, matte kudasai,
    and bad days would make that list for me.

    p.s. I would be honored and delighted if you would view my art.

  37. I love this painting. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Simply looking at some of your archived posts; I've enjoyed what I read so far and look forward to reading (and eventually hearing) more.

    As for "...Open Heart", I like it, though I agree it doesn't quite fit Crimson. But I enjoyed it on the album, and on the "Absent Lovers" CD. I daresay it, too, would make a great acoustic track, particularly if you used a fretless acoustic guitar (Do you have one? I've never seen one, but that doesn't mean they're not out there...).

    "Two Hands", well...it was a good try, and I liked it for what it was; I think of it as a song fragment. It's different, and pleasant. Beyond that, I never listen to it much.

    Thank you again for sharing this painting, and for your part in all this music - yours, Crimson's, the Bears, and all the other stuff you've done.

    Jesse Morris

    P.S. - I plan on getting all the "Side" CDs together when Side Four is out. Any plans on doing a boxed set of these? Just a thought...

  38. It is interesting to hear an artist reflect on his work. I've always liked "man with an open hearth" and never viewed it as filler.

  39. 'Man with an open heart' is amazing and its probably my favourite from 'Three of a perfect pair'

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  42. Man With An Open Heart is absolutely incredible on Absent Lovers. There, I said it.

  43. Man With An Open Heart is awesome imo, such a great guitar sound.