Wednesday, May 9, 2007

20 Questions

one of my favorite biographical subjects is groucho. I have read so much about the lives of the marx brothers. in one of groucho's books called memoirs of a mangy lover he recounts his first wife's fascination with the occult. against his will she dragged poor groucho to an affair at "Mystic Hall" where for a mere $3 ( and another 5 bucks once you were inside the hall) a spiritualist named Madame Mecca was purported to "answer any question, no matter what the subject...The Queen sees all and knows all." upon seeing her, groucho wrote, "the madame may have been from Arabia, as advertised, but to a man who traveled extensively for many years through the South, she bore a striking resemblance to Aunt Jemima."

following much fanfare, incense, and explanation her "barker" (a man in a Russian uniform and top hat) announced the madame was ready. "Madame Mecca has never failed to answer any question," he assured the audience.
groucho's hand shot up.
he asked, "what's the capital of North Dakota?"

with the same good humor I suggest we play a game of 20 questions.
so...anyone who has ever wanted to ask me something please do so now.
the rules are simple:
one question per person
I pick the questions I want to answer
and we stop at twenty.



  1. Adrian,
    Whoa, funny how all the questions you have for someone fizzle away when you have a chance to ask.

    Knowing you are a big Beatles fan I'd like to know what your favorite Beatles song is and why?

  2. Hi Adrian,
    Do you think applications like pro tools get in the way of the creative process of music making or do they add another layer of creativity.

  3. Adrian,

    How did The Deception of the Thrush come into being?

  4. Hi Ade,
    What a great idea!

    Robert Fripp makes no secret of the fact that he spends many many hours practising - and I believe it shows, as 'ol' spidey fingers' sure carries off his finger calisthenics with such a fluidity and grace (always reminiscent of a classical pianist to me) that is a joy both visually and sonically.

    As for yourself, Mr. Belew, you have spoken many times of the copious hours you have spent experimenting with your various guitars and rigs, in order to create new and wondrous sounds and other spectacular aural delights.

    So, my (rather long-winded) question to you is: Do you spend much time practising, per se, or would you classify it more as learning new material, or rehearsing for a future gig or collaborative work with a fellow musician?

    Thanks for the opportunity to ask!

  5. Adrian,

    Which new bands do you think are really good today?

  6. Mr. Belew,
    I've enjoyed your music for years, and the music of others you've performed with.
    I'm excited to see Joan Armatrading in Boulder CO. this summer.
    Have you considered composing songs to feature some of your favorite artists and releasing these recordings as a collection?
    Who might some of your guest artists be?

    Thanks for being born.

  7. Easy.

    Gotta be "Boxers or Briefs"?

  8. Hi Adrian,

    Of all the concerts you've performed, which was your favorite and why?


  9. Assuming you're creative in the kitchen too, how do you build your favorite sandwich?

  10. There seems to be so many questions to ask, but so many would be unfair i.e. fav bands, lineups, players etc.
    My question is: Being as busy as you are, how far ahead do you plan your schedule? And how easy/realistic is it to change if something else comes along?
    Hmmm, does that qualify as 2 questions? or 1a & 1b?

  11. Of Bow and Drum.

    2 Questions, actually. Plus an alternate...
    1st, what was the lyrical inspiration for this tune?

    2nd, how many takes did the solos take? They're transcendant.

    Alternate Q: Do you ever experience lust for a '62 Studebaker Avanti?

    Greetings from Springfield, Il!

  12. What was the model and make of your very first guitar?

  13. "i wish adrian would come back" - Al.

    so; any chance of some more crowd surfing action down under?, there we're rumours of quite a quick return but that never happened...

    thanks!, cam.

  14. How do you feel Rob Fetters' guitar playing has influenced your playing, and vice-versa? I can't always tell by listening to a solo (or any other part, for that matter) on a Bears record who is playing which part, and it fascinates me.

  15. Ade -

    Some of the ProjeKcts, and material from that era were nothing but noise to me until I had spent a lot of time listening.

    Do you always get your music when you're making it, or is it sometimes later "revealed" to you upon multiple listenings and reflection?

  16. I've always wondered how you feel about fans talking to you in public. Does it bug the hell out of you when people come up to you and start talking like they know you and you don't have a clue who they are? If a fan saw you at a local Mexican restaurant (wink wink)would it bother you if they came over to say HI? Do you find that offensive/intrusive/rude? So, I guess my question in general is about your ideas on fan etiquette.
    (I saw you last Sunday and didn't want to "bother" you, but my 7 year old would have probably liked to have told you that "Doodle" is her new favorite song). Thank you:)

  17. Hello Adrian

    Some of your most moving songs often embody a certain sadness in both the music, voice and lyrics.

    Is it difficult to write and perform such songs which can only be based on personal experience?



  18. After "Lone Rhino" it seemed much of your solo music stopped featuring you on the drums, or any live drums unfortunately. I'm sure some of it was a matter of convenience, what with all the other aspects of those projects to have to deal with.

    My question is, you've now done some drumming again over the past few years and I wonder if you'll consider giving yourself another shot at the drum stool on your future solo releases? Obviously I'm not talking about the Power Trio ones (Go Eric!)

  19. Adrian, thanks for the Q & A opportunity.

    My 9-year-old son plays piano and loves it. He wants to learn all kinds of instruments. He is just a piano player now and is not a particular musical prodigy as far as I can tell.

    This is going to sound like multiple questions, but to sum it up, what would be your advice to very young musicians? How many instruments is too many? How old should he be when he learns them? How can I best keep him interested in music when he is most frustrated?

    As a mega-multi-talented performer with many years (and kids!) under his belt, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

  20. Who would you love to work with (that you haven't and is still living so that there is a possibility) and why?

  21. What guitars don't you like?

  22. to ask a gear question or not ... oh what the hell:

    what's that fuzz you're using on Side One "Elephants"? Its one of the baaaddest tones of yours I've heard.

  23. Adrian,
    Just curious where the home again, home again, jiggity jig line of the "Pardon the absence of Bloggness" post came from? I was wondering if you were turned on to moe. from the Umphrey's guys. The two bands are very tight and the home again, home again line is straight out of Where Does The Time Go off their new album. I'm a huge fan of you and moe. and I'm trying to figure out a way to hook you guys up so you can play the moe.down wich is moe.'s festival every year in upstate NY. Or SummerCamp in Chillicothe, IL. Both UM and moe. typicaly host that one.

  24. This might be a bit mutch, but I am very curious to know how the Talking Heads, Frank zappa, and David Bowie, reacted to your work with King Crimson. Don't feel any need to be modest =)

  25. My question (thanks for the opportunity to ask):

    Are the Belew eBay auctions over for good -- specifically, do you plan on putting any more paintings up for sale? I think I was the only one to bid on them the first go-round, and bought two at the minimum bid. They are fantastic additions to our home, and I'd love to have more (if I can afford them!), and I know other fans would as well, since they've said so in other blog comments. I hope you weren't discouraged by the response to the first batch you put up for auction.

  26. ramiro:
    I can't pick just one. but my favorite record is Revolver, my favorite single is Walrus, and my favorite ballad is Yesterday.

    why? because I love the beatles.

  27. eieio:
    once you know how to operate them I believe such tools ADD To the creative process.

  28. kalka2:
    just another day in the studio
    with trey and robert.

  29. belewboggfan:
    I would classify my regiment as "playing because I want to."
    I don't know scales or things to practice but fortunately I like to play often.

  30. charlie:
    two off the top of my head would be new bands I've worked with; umphrey's mcgee and porcupine tree.

  31. kwalleye:
    that would be a giant undertaking and no doubt a good one, but I'm afraid not many artists would respond.
    still I would like to write a song for ringo, a string quartet for kronos, or a soundtrack song for david bowie to sing in a Pixar film!
    I can dream, can't I?

  32. darren,
    guess again.
    I wear Nike running shorts as underwear so I'm always prepared to jump in a pool to save a kitten, have my pants fall down unexpectedly at a supper party, fall asleep on the beach...

  33. rheayes:
    the one I'm about to do.

  34. kathleen cahalan:
    just today I made a new favorite for myself and the girls: a turkeyburger on a sesame bun with mayo, onion, lettuce, and dill pickle.
    I put the mayo on the bottom bun along with the pickle and onion, then the turkeyburger topped with lettuce.

  35. phill:
    right now I have plans into the fall. I prefer to take things a year at a time. usually it's not a problem to alter my schedule if given enough notice. I work with reasonable people.

  36. simonsonics:
    I don't often refer to the work of others for my lyrical inspiration but in fact with Of Bow And Drum I was inspired by bob dylan's All Along The Watchtower which uses an especially archaic almost biblical way of speaking.
    the guitar solos were all done in one take (the only take) recorded at home by me.

  37. simonsonics part 2:
    I experience car lust on a daily basis. my passion for cars (in particular vintage cars) eventually will become a blog theme you will all be very tired of, but I haven't yet revealed that side of my life.

  38. bionic heart:
    a gibson firebird with reverse keys.
    poor as a mouse I sold it for $300 to buy a drum kit so I could work in a holiday inn band and earn a living. I know the man who bought it Dave Martin who lives in northern kentucky and still owns it. he says he would sell it back to me but I'm afraid to ask the price.

  39. cam normac:
    what can I say? I would LOVE to come back, it was a great time, I enjoyed the people, etc. when there is an offer which is a workable one,
    count me in!

  40. timmy,
    I love rob's guitar work. one of many reasons why I work with him. but moreover he impresses and influences me as a human being who works very hard at being a conscientious person, husband, father, musician, and friend.

  41. jonathan lane:
    I STILL don't get most of the Projekcts stuff!

  42. fishhead:
    I really enjoy talking to my fans.

    unless my mouth is full.

  43. gdauncey:
    difficult to write the personal ones. not so difficult to perform them once you've exorcised the sentiment. I've said this many times: I mostly let the songs tell ME what they want to be about.

  44. jeff jankowski:
    drumming is still a passion and I don't ever intend to stop. it's a unique musical experience. but I'm not always the right drummer to play what is needed. when I can I play it, if not, I get someone who can.

  45. el mystico:
    what a terrific name, can I have it when you're done with it?

    if your son already plays piano, do anything you can to keep him going. it's the one instrument which can teach you everything. once he gets to a point of playing music he likes, he will love it.

    now, if I only knew how to get kids to DO that, I'd be a very rich man.

  46. ruminator:
    there are many artists I admire and would love to work with...but
    I'm happy doing what I do now.

  47. jeremy:
    I don't care for the pointy ones.

  48. keeling:
    in fact it's not a fuzz at all.
    I just checked in my Johnson amp. it's their model of a Dual Rectifier amp cranked to the max.

    I like it!

  49. 1967:
    sorry to say,
    I don't know no moe.
    but I will check them out.
    "jiggity jig" comes from a nursery rhyme, doesn't it?

  50. kristen86:
    to my knowledge,
    not one of them ever said a word.

  51. scoob:
    just ran out of time that's all.
    I plan to sell more things on ebay,
    including paintings.
    I have way too much stuff!


    We have been truly blessed.... you answered all 26 questions! It seems that YOU should go away more often, at least it seems to make you miss US MORE when you do!

    I'm only kidding ;-)

    Thank you so very much for taking this time out for us, especially considering you have also been away from your family and all..... I know I speak for all of us 'belewbloggfans' when I say that your ongoing consideration and appreciation of all of us is very much appreciated. As we all appreciate you!


  53. Adrian, a million thanks for your answer. And so quickly. My son thanks you, too, and politely requests that you begin playing shows just for kids so he can get to see you. Now, if only you could get that animated movie soundtrack deal...

  54. Any plans to record another acoustic album?

  55. That was fun. Can we do it again?

  56. My burning question is about High Wire Guitar on Op Zop Too Wah. Could you please share with the group what your intentions were with this piece? This track has always left me feeling uneasy.


    Greg J

  57. Adrian, you've answered at least 20 by now. I missed the fun, blogging about hobos. But anyway. I always used to dress up as Groucho when I went to a costume party, and I'd have my one-liners ready: I could dance with you until the cows came home ... or I could dance with the cows until you came home, etc. In case you're in the mood, who are three six-string poets out there playing today?

  58. Ah, the things you miss when you go to work...

    Thanks for doing this Adrian, it was a good read.

  59. gosh, that was interesting

    i thought i was keeping up with this blog

    but i missed all this - so apparently not.

    it was a good read, indeed

    thanks much

  60. Adrian,

    My name is Robert Belew, after years of wondering why no one else in my famil has any musical talent other than my brother Bill (guitar/bass) and myself (piano)I have finally found the answer. My question for you is what was is like to work with Les and Danny? I have all of your albums, your family and you have talent that blows my mind, but I absolutely love Primus and Tool. Living though some of our most turbulent and musically revolutionary times you have so much that all musicians can learn from, if you were ever forced into retirement for some insane reason of fate would you ever consider education as a "space filler"?

    Thanks for the opportunity to finally contact you in a non invasive way.

  61. haha great i'll get right on it :P

    btw being a vintage car man myself i can assure you that's one blog subject i'll never tire of, (that and gear/effects)...if/when you do come back to australia i'll have to take you for a spin in our 1925 sunbeam tourer....

  62. "To market, to market, to buy a fat big,
    Home again, home again, jiggety-jig;
    To market, to market to buy a fat hog,
    Home again, home again, jiggety-jog"

    Is indeed a nursery rhyme. I don't remember ever hearing it as a child, but it appears in one of my son's books.

  63. Bummer! I think you've just taught everyone never to again neglect checking your blog on any given day! :)

    So just in case a gracious man is feeling gracious, I'll ask knowing it's too late:

    Will King Crimson be getting together at all this year for the purpose of writing another album?

  64. "Home again Home again jiggidy jigg, good evening J.F."

    Also shows up in Blade Runner As J.F. Sebastian let's Priss into his apartment- JF's Toys greet him with that part of the nursery rhyme.

    I loved reading the quesstions and answers. Thanks Adrian and Fellow Fans!

  65. scott:
    no plans to make another acoustic record just yet. need to write new classics first.

  66. greg j:
    I recorded that track by myself late one night while trying to figure out a new device (the Roland VG-8). it sounded like a guitarist barely on the edge of controlling his instrument. I thought of a high wire act. so ken and I sought out audience sounds to complete the concept.

  67. mark:
    well, I've already mentioned jeff beck and robert fripp. how about david "fuze" fiuczynski, david torn, and bill frisell. they're interesting for sure.

  68. meanmrmustard:
    not as far as I know. robert still seems to be in business mode, not new music mode.

  69. Dear Adrian!

    If you could have dinner party with 5 people who lived during any part of history (ie, living or dead), who would you choose to attend?

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