Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Adidas In Heat...

is practically guaranteed to look good in any closet in your home.
this original adrian painting called adidas in heat
was finished today november 27 at 3:30 p.m.
acrylic and spray paint on canvas, it measures 40" by 30".
this painting will be awarded to the winner
of our SMARTIEs contest on january 10.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Adidas In Heat (live GaGa)

adidas in heat
(live GaGa)

volume 1 number 7

manager stan
had already
three batches
of demos for
the amusement
of many A&R departments of New York and L.A. labels when it was decided a new approach might be required.

what was needed was a "showcase" in New York City. I was advised to borrow enough money, $700 in fact, to afford for GaGa to drive 20 hours to stay a couple days in New York City (on the cheaper Jersey side, of course.) we ended up doing 2 showcases with a disappointing turnout of record moguls (none) and their lackeys. somewhere along the way rich denhart's van was broken into, things were stolen, and he was forced to spend most of one day in the police station filing paperwork. it was all for naught, as no record label took the bait and there were no offers of stardom.

however, one very good unexpected thing did come from the trip. after our show at Irving Plaza I was asked into a nearby stairwell where david byrne, jerry harrison, and brian eno stood waiting. they told me about a record they were in the process of making and asked if I could stay an extra day to record with them. I conferred with the rest of GaGa who didn't seem to mind hanging around New York. so the next day I headed for Sigma Sound in Manhattan. there, in one day, I played all over the talking heads record remain in light, and drove 20 hours home the next morning.

this live version of adidas in heat offers only a hint of the wackiness GaGa's live shows were known for; a melding of visual humor, costumes, and rock vaudeville.
and the drums were on tape!

piano, vocals: christy bley
saxophone, vocals: bill janssen
bass guitar: rich denhart
guitar, drums, and vocals: adrian
engineer: rich denhart
recorded live somewhere sometime in 1979
length: 3:35

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Side Four's Thanksgiving Menu

here are the delicious treats awaiting you
when you sit down to feast on side four (live)

writing on the wall
young lions
beat box guitar
matchless man
a little madness
of bow and drum
big electric cat
three of a perfect pair
thela hun ginjeet

the pumpkin pie is optional.
happy thanksgiving everyone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Calling All SMARTIES*

if Fall gets your creative firepit stoked like it does mine,
you're ready for our SMARTIE songwriting contest.
here's the object:
complete any of the "unfinished" songs we've been releasing as downloads**
by adding your own melody, vocal, and/or words.
then send your completed masterpiece to webmaster Rob Murphree.
please send MP3s or CDs.
entries will be based on creativity,
so feel free to add whatever you want.
keep in mind it's not a shredding contest but a creative assignment.
there will be 3 judges including yours truly.
entries must be sent to Rob by December 31.
the winner will be announced on January 10th.
the winner will be awarded an original Adrian painting worth 6 cents!!
and the winning masterpiece will be a free download for all the other
SMARTIEs to ignore...er, enjoy.

Good Luck.

*Singer-songwriterMusicianArtistRecording-typeIndependent Entities.

**firm recommendations include
dust, hawaiian cowboys, spies,
yoli yoli, p type, happy guy, and happy birthmark.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Side Four (live) Alert

just to let everyone know, please don't expect to see your side four (live) before the second week of December. the pressing plant has let us know they are running at least one week late, meaning we'll receive them no sooner than the end of November. then to have them signed by eric and julie will require another week's turnaround and we'll send them out as quickly as possible. thanks for your patience.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Momur (original demo)

the momur (original demo)
volume 1 number 5

this is where the solo work
really began. along
with a
of songs that
included lone rhino and buy that face this demo was manager stan's first real attempt at landing the elusive record deal.

there were many skeptics. one infamous A&R man asked stan "is this the guy who plays guitar for bowie? well, tell him to keep playing guitar for bowie and forget about making his own records."

understandably no one expected the latest flavor "stunt guitarist" to offer songs about peas, rhinos, and adidas. humorous music was a hard sell at a time when the new york cognoscenti were so head over heels with new wave. in fact, despite stan's best efforts over the next two years no record label ever signed me by the normal channel of accepting demos of my music and liking what they heard. no record label ever signed me by the common means of hearing my music played live, though GaGa played our share of showcases. no record label ever signed me because of faith in my ability to be more than sideman.

my destiny was through the back door. eventually it was a chance meeting with visionary music mogul Chris Blackwell* at his home in the Bahamas which gave me the chance to make my own music.

* chris blackwell was the same visionary who first signed king crimson in 1969.

piano: christy bley
saxophone: bill janssen
bass guitar: rich denhart
guitar, drums, and vocal: adrian
engineer: rich denhart
recorded at Cwazy Wabbit Studio in Springfield, Il.
sometime in 1979
length: 4:21

Thursday, November 15, 2007

and the whole day just got better...

when I received a call from Trent Reznor
asking me to work with him on new music
in L.A. for the first week of december.

trent has always championed my playing.
he once said in Guitar Player Magazine
"adrian is the most awesome musician in the world."
I've always joked that it was a typo
and that he really said the most awful musician.

but it is seriously a mutual admiration.
in my opinion, no one makes better sounding records than trent.
I love what he does and I'm happy he feels the same.


Side Four (live)

it's here!
starting tuesday, november 20th.
go to StoreBelew.

let the good times roll!

photo by mark colman

Michael Clay Plays the Music of Adrian Belew and King Crimson

a few years ago when our dear friend Ian Wallace was alive and well and living here in Nashville, he and Margie and Martha and I had dinner with a mutual friend from Dallas, Michael Clay.
the restaurant was The Capitol Grille* located in one of downtown finest old establishments, The Heritage Hotel, a completely refurbished art deco wonder. the chef of the restaurant, a friend of Margie's, prepared for us special tastings of various amazing dishes. served one at a time, each entree was appetizer size and ran the gamut from meat and fish to pasta and deserts. bite by bite, it was a fabulous meal.
there was a pianist playing classic rock songs rendered in a psuedo-classical fashion. I commented on how interesting the music was and how certain pieces took a minute to identify. I thought out loud how nice it would be to have a song of mine done that way. Michael is a fabulous concert pianist among other things. he said, "I can do that." and indeed he can.
that is how the two of us began a project of adrian pieces and adrian/krimson pieces played by Michael on concert piano in a fashion befitting wine and delicacies. over the last two years many MP3s have been passed my way by Michael and I've enjoyed every note. I love hearing the songs in such a "high-art" context. this saturday we will meet here at StudioBelew to take a look at what's needed to complete our collaboration.

then we hope to share it with you.

*the Capitol Grille in Nashville is a top notch restaurant
but is not to be confused with the small chain of Capital Grilles
(spelled with two A's) in various major cities which happen
to be my favorite fine dining establishments anywhere.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

live in a tree?...

sometimes I feel like I do.
this is the view from my breakfast table.

I love it here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


volume 2 number 1

June 1980, a full year before the making of lone rhino,
and the making of king crimson's discipline
and the tom tom club's hit song genius of love
having just toured the world with frank zappa,
then again with david bowie,
and yet again with the talking heads
and with no hope in sight for a record deal of my own,
I spent an afternoon in a small studio in Illinois
experimenting with backward tapes of log drums
recorded at various speeds to create overlapping rhythms,
playing the insides of the piano with drum sticks,
and creating a strange snake-charmer-like modal guitar
plugged through a Foxx Tone Machine.

percussive piano, log drum, drums, guitar: adrian
engineer: rich denhart
recorded at Faithful Studio in Champaign Urbana, Ill.
sometime in June 1980
length: 4:17

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Most Maddening Thing About The Music Business

has to be the way artists are paid (or more commonly not paid).
for example, take a look at this portion of a check pictured above.
I just received this in the mail from a certain "collection agency"
responsible to track my royalty shares and send them to me.
this particular agency sends me checks like this frequently,
which normally would be a good thing except they are always
for embarrassingly low amounts such as this one for 6¢.

the collection agency mindlessly spent 39¢ to send me 6.

is this a torture device meant to remind me
of how invaluable my life's work has been
for the needy hearts of a barren culture,
or someone's poke in the eye with a sharp stick
to say pointedly, "look at you, you piece of dookie"?

either way it does not inspire.

but it does reinforce my belief that I would have to
make music and art for my sanity's sake even if no one cared.
but I'm glad someone does.
thank you all.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

life is a carnivore...

"when you're on tour eating is the only thing
you can do
that isn't immoral or illegal."
a. belew

if it seems that food and drink
rule our world of creativity
that's only because: they do!
eric and julie are vegetarians
(I'm more of an octogenarian)
but all of us appreciate the dining experience
perhaps a bit more than the average person because
so much of our lives revolve around 3 things:
traveling aka the work
dining aka the pleasure
and performing aka the reward.

musicians are forced to be social creatures.
the work we do (creating) is often a group effort.
the pleasure of breaking bread is all important to our bonds,
which may explain why food and in particular dinner
has always been so important to me personally.
many people have commented that I seem obsessed with it.

martha once discovered a letter
from my mother Louise
from a time when I was still an infant
in which my mother revealed
that I had actually been starved
for the first two weeks of my life.
evidently breast feeding didn't suit me
back then

so the doctor switched me to feeding formula
and I've been a happy boy ever since.

my family rarely, almost never, ate in restaurants.
in fact, the first time I tasted steak I was 27 years old!
when we did dine out it was at a little place in Covington, KY.

the Anchor Grill was a real treat,
a true slice of Americana.
the dining room walls were crimson red.
mounted on the walls were large stuffed fish,
swordfish and marlin covered in nets,
and there was a light ball which made
slow revolving rings of light float around the room.
in one corner of the room there was
a toy bandstand, about two feet wide.
it was enclosed in glass.
inside was what looked like a big band jazz band
with figurines playing instruments
while swaying from side to side.
each booth had a small jukebox,
(we always sat in a booth)
the kind with buttons with letters and numbers
and a full list of current (and not so-current) songs
like love letters in the sand and beyond the sea .
when you put money in the jukebox
the little band would start up,
when the song finished they'd magically stop.
my parents would feed me coins,
causing the little band to sway
and with the rings of light floating around
the crimson fish-covered walls...
I felt like I was in an underwater heaven.

the Anchor Grill still exists today,
a bit tattered and greasy
but the little bandstand still hangs in the corner.

starving for the first two weeks of life,
never having tasted steak until my late twenties,
these things could explain my dining obsession
but I prefer to think it's the lifestyle I've chosen.
since the Anchor Grill I've been fortunate
to eat some of the best and most varied food
from all parts the world.

and now to be served great delicious food each evening
by the bass player in my band seems full-circle-fitting.
I'm thinking of putting up some netting
and getting out the old disco ball...

a little madness...

looking over the color proof for the artwork for side four (live)
eric commented on the name change I've made
for the song madness from side one.
on the live record the title is now a little madness.
there are two reasons why:
first, on the live version I say "a little madness" over eric's drum intro,
but second and more importantly it's a money saving device.
how so? you might ask.

when I was writing madness I considered singing a lyric
about a young musician who believes he is being "visited"
in his dreams by aliens, who are teaching him ways
to do incredible things with the healing sounds of music.
he believes he is learning to cure certain diseases
just by playing specific sounds which radically affect
and alter the listener's molecular makeup.
the problem is:
it's driving him crazy!

as part of the lyric I had written a speaking part as an intro
before the massive blast of music begins.
fittingly I remembered a scene in the movie
2001: A Space Odyssey
the music in the scene had a profound effect on me.
it was a piece by Katchaturian.

so for the intro with the spoken voice
I decided to play a small portion of the
Katchaturian piece on guitar
with a bed of synthesizer "space" sound beneath it.
the whole bit was 50 seconds long.
the song was nearly 7 minutes.

eventually the vocal/lyric idea didn't pan out.
I guess I'm not a good enough actor.
but martha was convinced the music was my masterpiece.
whether or not you agree with that assessment
trust me, it is much better without my vocal idea.

I dropped the vocal but I still liked
the 17-second guitar intro so I left it that way.
I didn't even think the Katchaturian music
might not be public domain.

just before side one was to be released
we received a call from the dead
Mr. Katchaturian's publishing company.

it was too late just to leave off the 50 seconds of
Katchaturian (the record was already mastered)
so we had to bow to their demands for
of the publishing
on my seven-minute masterpiece
for the privilege of 50-seconds of the dead Mr. Katchaturian's music.
evidently the afterlife must be an expensive place.

and that is why there is a new piece on side four (live) called
a little madness.

morning calisthenics in the key of e...

finds brave young eric at the piano while we attempt to decipher some last minute notation for the counter lines in e

there are indeed a few tricky bits but eric has now written the parts into his computer using a program called finale.

this has clarified what julie and Iplay against each other as well as how that will sound against the running chromatic line I will be looping. madness ensues.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

happier notes...

are being played here today.
julie arrived in at 8:05 this morning, eric yesterday.
we began with a new piece I've spent considerable
time on which I am calling
there are very awkward chromatic movements
and counter lines throughout so I've asked
boy genius eric
to help notate the parts I have in mind.
this has taken the two of us all day.

e is not easy but it is the logical brainchild
of beat box guitar and will afford us a lovely
new improv platform just as beat box always has.

so meanwhile chef julie has prepared amazing foods.
for lunch we had her Caesar salad
with julie's homemade dressing
(a fabulous concoction of creamy Dijon, shallot, and thyme)
with pita bread and red pepper hummus...yum.
but just now it's dinner time...
julie's own creation:
incredible edible homemade raviolis
with asparagus, mushroom, and four cheeses
(ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, cream cheese)
julie said it's a creamy leek and mushroom ragu
adorning four cheese ravioli,
but we just called it delicious!

fresh toasted baguettes
with garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil
and crisp Pinot Grigio wine.
phew... life is tough.

as one young brave once yelled:

a final irony...

of having to fight to wear my hair long-ish
at Boone County High was our school team name:
the Rebels.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Yoli Yoli (marimba duet with Tony Levin)

yoli yoli
volume 2 number 6

in honor of T-Lev's recent Lifetime Achievement Award, here is an improvised duet from 1983. tony levin is the consummate musician.
one who amazes those who work with him with his unique ability to discern perfectly the notes to chose (or not to chose) and to do so with such creative flair as to re-invent the instruments he plays.

one afternoon tony and I discovered a full-sized marimba tucked away in the corner of the Marcus Studio in London. he commandeered the low side (of course) while I attacked the high end. we improvised a nice little piece based on a variation of the waiting man rhythm. we perfected it in a quick pass or two then asked our recording engineer Brad Davis to record it. I remember frequent sideway glances between tony and myself to get the changes correct. it was just a serendipitous moment of fun in one of the many pauses so common to record-making, but a satisfying one.

later I tried to make something more of it by writing words and melody. I envisioned a kind of follow-up to waiting man. the return of the waiting man was called yoli yoli. I recorded the vocal. it was an abject failure. no one liked it. eventually that included me and the idea was dropped.

but I still like our cozy little improv.

low marimba: tony levin
high marimba: adrian

engineer: brad davis

recorded at Marcus Studio, London, England

on June 7, 1983

length: 3:04

Sunday, November 4, 2007

training in Japan...

in the top photo you see me casually lounging aboard the Super Bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka. in the lower photo you see me and bill bruford playing the electronic drum duet for waiting man. somewhere between those two distant moments here's what transpired.

bill slid comfortably into the Bullet Train seat next to me
and began tapping out a rhythm on the arms of the seat.
"ade?" he asked, "is it possible you could learn this?
there's a little tricky bit to it, but I'm sure you could handle it."
he began patiently showing me the rhythm over and over.
the left hand and right hand each played the exact same pattern,
but an eighth note apart from one another.
that in itself was a challenge, but I soon learned the tricky bit
had more to do with the way the bass drum part
fell so oddly against what the left and right hands were doing.

what started as the thrill of a free lesson from a master
quickly turned into the task of perfecting
coordination one step beyond my ability.
though I play drums for fun on most of my solo records,
never has my background in drumming been more useful
(or better tested) than in my work with Krimson.

periodically bill would stop at my seat
to check on my progress or I would have
to ask him to demonstrate some part
of the pattern yet again,
but before we reached Osaka I was playing it
with some measure of confident fluidity.

bill complimented me by saying I had learned
to do it quicker than anyone he'd ever shown it to.
then he showed me how to add a variation which made
the pattern into what he played in waiting man.
the variation actually made the part much easier
because it evened out the pattern into something
more natural feeling.

for our next tour, this opened the door
for bill and me to play waiting man
in harmony live on stage as pictured above.
I have since used variations of that double-sticking
pattern in many things including this week's download.

thanks billy b.

*photos by tony levin from his book road photos.

Friday, November 2, 2007

two significant things...

happened yesterday.
a) the 9-foot 48-channel Neotek Elan console was successfully moved out of the control room and into storage for eventual sale to some lucky new studio owner. (I have thoroughly enjoyed it these many years and have fond memories of music made and time spent slaving over) and b) the parts for side four (live) were sent to the pressing plant to begin the manufacture thereof.

in two weeks we will begin accepting orders.
I'm told they will make lovely Christmas gifts
for unsuspecting sucker...er, friends and relatives.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Mighty SRT-6

I sold the Mercedes 300 SL replica to buy this, the only new car I own. the SRT-6 is the high performance version* of the Crossfire, made for only one year, which may deem it a future collectible. built in Germany by Mercedes. fully loaded with everything from navigation to overhead floor mats. in Sapphire Silver Blue. the hand-built 330 horsepower supercharged Mercedes engine propels this beast from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds. less than a second later, you're over the speed limit. thanks to the very nice people at Thomas Chrysler Dodge Jeep in St Clairsville, Ohio (hey Tracy, hey Robert, hi everybody).

*the SRT stands for Street Racing Technology,
the same people who brought us the brutish Dodge Viper.