The Marquee Club - A tribute site dedicated to the history of the legendary Marquee club at London's 90 Wardour street.

Mel Collins of King Crimson, 2001

Mel Collins

"I consider the true Circus to be the band after Philip (Goodhand-Tait) left - just the four of us who recorded the one album for Transatlantic. The Circus album actually broke even, it sold about six or seven thousand copies, which wasn't bad for a first album, most record companies used to write off of a band's debut record as a bit of a loss leader. And in fact, Circus were indirectly responsible for my joining King Crimson. We had a three month residency at the Marquee in Wardour Street and the manager John Gee had this new idea for a series of gigs - there was a healthy jazz scene in London then - and as Circus were a sort of folk/rock/jazz combo, John wanted to mix the rock'n'roll up with the jazz side of things. He put this gig together called 'New Paths', which was basically us together with Keith Tippett's band on a Wednesday night and King Crimson, who played on Sundays with John Surman's band. The idea was to have a jazz audience in that would appreciate us and also if you like, a pop/rock audience that could come and listen to jazz. Which was quite a nice idea, really.

We would go and see King Crimson on a Sunday and they would come and see us on a Wednesday and that's how I first got to meet Robert Fripp. He obviously liked what I was doing in Circus - after Philip left I was pretty much the leader of the band, anyway - and Crimson had been having a troubled time on tour in America, Mike Giles and Ian MacDonald had left the band, girlfriend problems, or whatever, and when they came back from the States they were minus a drummer and a sax player. Fripp came down to see us one night and asked me if I would be interested in joining. So that was the beginning of my leaving Circus to join King Crimson."

Mel Collins, Elephant Talk 2001.
Interview by Chris Groom