Monday, August 20, 2007


volume 2 number 11

fretless guitar has from the very beginning been an important part of my sonic arsenal. in fact, the first song big electric cat on my first solo record lone rhino featured fretless guitar*. in 1980 while touring Japan with talking heads I was given my first guitar synthesizer, the Roland GR-300. no one outside of Japan yet had one. it was only natural to convert a guitar to being a fretless guitar synth, which is something which was done for me by Roland in Japan in 1983. it has to have been the first one, as most players had yet to even see a GR-300.

when first experimenting with sounds and ideas which would become desire caught by the tail I recorded this piece which I named antarctica because it sounded so chilly. (I find it mildly amusing to listen to such cold music in the midst of a stifling august heat wave; aural air conditioning). parts of the song
Z from desire caught by the tail begin to emerge during this piece which is a fine example of the status of early 80's guitar technology.

that first fretless guitar was a little pale blue single pick-up Fender Musicmaster II. (I still have it). made fretless by my old buddy Seymour Duncan. we were friends long before either of us were known to the general public. of course, Seymour has gone on to be the world's premier pick-up designer and manufacturer. when I first knew him he was an outrageous guitarist in the Cincinnati music scene. man, he was great. he had a band called the orange noise. years later seymour would also "relic" my battered strat, the one seen on the cover of lone rhino. another story to be told.

fretless guitar synthesizer: adrian

engineer: rich denhart

recorded at Creative Audio in Urbana, Ill.
sometime late 1983
length: 4:17


  1. I'd like to take one of those 3/4-size Strats, pull the frets out, install a graphite damping bridge, and put nylon strings on it. Then, make a sticker for the headstock that says FENDER OUDOCASTER. Could be the next big thing.

  2. Adrian, I really enjoyed the show last night at Stella Blue. There were a couple of technical problems but the three of you played great. I still have the sounds of your guitar in my head today. That was "Love you to" that you played, right? Wow, that was incredible. Sorry that I can't join the caravan to Carrboro.

  3. Hey Adrian,

    Please tell the story of the battered strat! As cool as those Parkers look, I just can't get that Fender out of my head when someone mentions your name. Or Electro-Harmonix.

    Guess I'm living in the past...

  4. It's interesting that, in the 80's, it was Stevie Ray Vaughan and Adrian Belew that kept electric guitar moving forward. And, both sported finish-challenged 60's Strats that rang like a bell.

    I trust that old Leo got to hear both of those two, and wore a big smile.

  5. Hello Ade, I don't have nothing to say today... has been a sad day for me, :(
    But I came here jut to say you "hi!"

    Have a nice week

  6. love--all----the guitars-you've played--mustangs---strats---
    and i love the blogs---------sidefour--------sidefour-------sidefour--------sidefour------
    kinda like when "dad's driving"
    "are we there yet"-?
    i'm gettin tired of what n/p/r-s
    playlist--is----it needs---sidefour--------sidefour-love--
    and have a happy tour---robin will be in florida---saturday----wish i was--hopefully the next time out--
    you---obviously--the other two--
    gary slick

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  8. Mmm, battered strat. Delicious.

    I don't see any fretless here, but thought commenters might enjoy this site ...won't make a link since links here seem to stay within the comment window, but check this ...

    Soy un ventilador grande de Tulum. Fue mirar con gran concierne. Yo le espero, los amigos & la familia es bien. La paz a usted.

  9. Dear ABP3: I saw y'all at Stella Blue, Asheville, NC, on August 19th, 2007. I will remember this date for the rest of my life as one of the biggest BLAST's of my life, no kidding! Bigger than Genesis in Atlanta in 1978. Bigger than Rush in Glasgow in 1977. Bigger than King Crimson at the Orange Peel, Asheville in 2003.

    I have been a fan of Adrian Belew since I first heard "Discipline." At Stella, I was right underneath Adrian in the "mosh pit." The biggest thrill came when you guys were playing "Big Electric Cat", and Adrian locked eyes with me as he started to rip one of my all-time favorite guitar solos. No big deal for him, locking eyes with a shell-shocked fan, I'm sure, but the raw intensity of Adrian practicing his craft and connecting with one of his audients, specifically ME, made it a very special moment! Chills up and down my spine!

    The SlickSibs: Tight, powerful, passionate. Stunningly so. You are so lucky that Adrian has taken you under his wing, but deservedly so. When I wasn't being dazzled by Adrian, Eric was stunning me with his virtuosity and enthusiasm. I mean, Eric blew me away! Who needs a Bruford? Julie so cool, so in control, such a rhythm-leader while taming her wild brother and her crazy Uncle Ade. Phew. The world is your stage.

    Adrian: Thanks, thanks so much. Thanks for your passion. Thanks for your prolific career, and for keeping you craft new and dynamic. Thanks for recognizing the Slicks, and paying homage to Zappa's tutelage of a young Adrian by adopting the amazing Slick Rhythmatists.

    I can't wait for the first studio ABP3 album, y'all: "Power Triage?" You guys saved my jaded Rock n' Roll Soul. Gimme more sugar!

  10. Hello Adrian, could you please tell me why you chose to mention 1952 studebaker starlite coupe in the song
    Neil and Jack and Me? Was the car mentioned in one of Keruac's books?
    Thank you very much for the information.

  11. Adrian, your Trio should really make a stop in Vegas on your way to "Ole Mehico" -- preferably around Labor Day so I can be there, haha! My wife and I saw the marvellous Bears show in Dayton this year, but have yet to see the Trio. I'll be back to flooded Ohio before your South of the Border shows, so Pretty Please!! If that's not possible, you can add us to your list of people pining for Side Four. Thanks for everything!

  12. Dear Miztlahui from Mexico,

    I hope you and yours have been spared the treacherous winds and rain, and that you're okay. My thoughts are with you.

  13. Adrian,
    Saw you last night in West Palm Beach and I have to confess I am still buzzed! By far THE best show I have seen in a long time. Julie and Eric are amazing and your energy is mesmerizing. Hope to see you again SOON! Do you think KC will happen? Do we really have to wait until '09?

  14. As a guitar player/engineer/noisemaker
    I have been inspired by the creative
    experimentation heard and witnessed
    since -oh- Victoria Falls in 1980 something,
    and I've followed and seen KC,Bears, ProjeKts
    and solo tours since then - always lighting a
    flame inside me - and still burning.
    Thank you for adding additional insight into
    your music-ever technical and accessible.
    The one thing I miss from Springfield, Illinois
    (aside from horsehoe sandwiches in pre-vegie
    years) are the monster speakers I acquired from a sound guy at kwazy wabbit. Thank you
    for decades of inspiration.
    oh and I do have the big electric cat single on 10"- how many folks can claim that?

  15. Hi Adrian,
    Congratulations on another successful and incredible leg of the ABPT tour! Now you guys are Mexico bound....followed by Seattle. Any chance of popping up to Vancouver (Canada) afterwards - just for fun? ..... Well you can't blame a fan for trying ;-D

    But I am not going to let you off too lightly there Mr. Belew... I just HAVE to get something really important off my chest....this thing has been bugging me for ages, and I just have to tell you....

    What do we want?
    When do we want it?
    Come on all you fans of Adrian Belew and the Power Trio....take up the chant with me....

  16. Adrian,

    Come on.... as my dear friend Wendy (belewbloggfan)says...

    What do we want? SIDE 4 LIVE! SIDE 4 LIVE! SIDE 4 LIVE!!!!!
    When do we want it? NOW!!!!!!!

    Its been promised for so long. Lets have it now.

    Hey, its been a year since Side 3!


    PS. Please go to Vancouver, Wendy seriously needs to see/hear you play.

  17. Late on this train, but I just bought my first AB solo effort: Side Two. WOW! If the rest is like this one, then I need them all! Blown away. I've owned it for a week and I think I've listened to it at least 10 times if not more.

    Wow. I haven't gushed like this over new (to me) music in I don't know how long.

    Powerful stuff, Adrian, and I thank you for it.

    I owe you a lemondrop martini.

  18. "I do have the big electric cat single on 10"- how many folks can claim that? "

    ME !

  19. blockdog said...
    "I do have the big electric cat single on 10"- how many folks can claim that? "

    ME !

    so that's 2-


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