This version of King Crimson was a great performing unit, but its unity was always in doubt, especially when rumors began abounding of an impending breakup within six months of its formation. They toured extensively and won a serious following, but internally their relations were a nightmare, as Wallace and his bandmates Boz Burrell and Mel Collins insisted on a degree of autonomy as composers that clashed with guitarist and original bandmember Robert Fripp's musical vision of the group. During the first six months of his work with Crimson, Wallace's playing broke some new ground on-stage when Peter Sinfield, the group's lyricist and computer expert, used a VCS-3 synthesizer to process the sound of Wallace's drums. Additionally, subsequently released live tapes of that version of King Crimson, following Sinfield's exit but before the breakup of the whole unit, have revealed the full complexity of Wallace's playing with the band, and even Fripp has noted the quality of his work in live performance during those years.
During the 2000s Wallace issued his only solo album, Happiness with Minimal Side Effects (2003), and he also revisited his King Crimson legacy, joining the Crimson Jazz Trio (appearing on the group’s 2005 release King Crimson Songbook, Vol. 1) and the 21st Century Schizoid Band (appearing on the 2006 album Pictures of a City: Live in New York). In 2006 Wallace was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, and he succumbed to the disease at 60 years of age on February 22, 2007, in Los Angeles. The Crimson Jazz Trio’s King Crimson Songbook, Vol. 2 had been completed — with assistance from Crimson reedman Mel Collins on two tracks — prior to Wallace’s death, and was released in 2009. ~ Bruce Eder