Tuesday, February 27, 2007

National Rhinoceros Week

I can just hear Helen Mirren now,
"I hyahby declare this National Rhinoceros Week",
smash goes the champagne on the side of a large rhino
who blinks twice and runs the other way.

used to be people would ask, "are you really in the picture with the rhino?"
it always seemed an obvious airbrushing to me.
but I love the idea of really being there.
I love everything about the rhinoceros,
dinosaur beast from another planet.

this is one of my favorite photographs, (before they put me in it).
the original picture was shot in africa by a well-known japanese
wildlife photographer mr. tanaka.
the majestic mountian backdrop, the field of flowers,
the perfectly perched oxpecker. wow.

the shot of me airbrushed in was done in a studio in tokyo
by mr. sukita, the well-known japanese fashion photographer
who shot the portrait of david bowie for the heroes cover.

japan in the early 1980's was such fabulous culture shock. it still is, but back then you didn't even have the dubious comfort of a golden arches. it was really a foreign place. and I loved it. my first year 1979 was with david bowie. we played a huge venue. nearly all the big venues are rigged with their own tv cameras for broadcasting/taping. I was told later our bowie show was seen by one third of the population of japan. next year (seemed like the next week) I went back to tokyo with talking heads who were at their hottest. the following year 1981 it was with the newly formed king crimson and later that same year with japan's own ryuichi sakamoto. on the flight over to japan I opened a magazine to find a full spread about ryuichi's band yellow magic orchestra which said they were bigger than the beatles in japan and could not walk down the streets. I had no idea. king crimson (who had never been to japan) became an over-night sensation there that year as well. we've been back many times. like the turtle said when molested by the snail, "I don't know, it all happened so fast".

I liked mr. sukita very much.
he looked like a japanese male laurie anderson.
dark suit, spiky cropped hair, severe shoes
with the toothy grin of a 1953 DeSoto.

in one of those vast tokyo lobbys
with the customary round of little coffees
mr. sukita sat surrounded by a bevy of nervy young assistants,
the ever-polite interpreter was at his side.
when I explained the concept of me with my guitar
standing in a field next to a rhinoceros,
he made wild comical motions with his hands.
"mr. sukita would like to know,
are you shooting the guitar at the rhino?"
the interpreter asked.
"oh no no," I said, "I love the rhino".
out came that big grin, everybody laughed,
"good!" said mr. sukita.

Monday, February 26, 2007


news flash: the new bears record is now called eureka!*

eu re' ka (greek) any exclamation of triumphant achievement,
equivalent to "I've got it!".
supposedly uttered by Archimedes as he leapt naked
from his bathtub after solving a math problem
proposed to him by the King.
also the state motto of Galleyfornia
as well as the name of cities in Kansas, Arkansas, Montana,
Nevada, and Missouri.

*our first choice voila! was evidently taken as the title for a recent record by belinda carlisle
who is to be admired for her good taste.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Lone Rhinoceros (live 1983)

the lone rhinoceros (live 1983)
volume 2 number 7
here is where things get a little harried.
1980, 81, 82, were such bumper crop years for me.
I made a nice long run of records.*
in 1980 following lodger with david bowie
I joined brian eno and the talking heads to make
remain in light. in 1981 I joined king crimson.
I made my first solo record lone rhino in 1981
at the same time releasing my first king crimson
record discipline, having just finished touring
the world with the talking heads and recording the tom tom club album
(featuring the hit song genius of love) in the bahamas.
no wonder I couldn't fit in a solo tour for the lone rhino album!

in 1982 king crimson released the second of our trilogy beat,
in 1983 I released my second solo record twang bar king.
it was at this point I was able to do my first proper solo tour.
the twang bar band consisted of christy and bill
with rich denhart now moving to front of house engineer.
powerhouse nashville session drummer Larrie Londin**
joined in on the skins with Michael Scharfe as the bassist.
it was a precision 5-piece band with multiple singers and two hot soloists.
our stage setting was made of large scrims with twang bar artwork from mike getz.

on october 6, 1983 we played at bogart's (where else) in cincinnati.
outside in the full sail mobile recording truck was gary platt,
engineer extraordinaire for the first two solo records.

listening to this now, what strikes me is how powerful the band sounds
and how loud! the audience response is at the end.
I remember the place was oversold and overrun with people.
I couldn't draw a crowd like that now if I advertised FREE MONEY on the marquee.

*other records: david byrne, jerry harrison, joe cocker, garland jeffries, herbie hancock, robert palmer, and ryuichi sakamoto.

**larrie was already legendary having played with elvis, having made some of the great motown hits, and having been the numero uno studio drummer for all nashville sessions for many years. he had played with all the important country stars but wanted to stretch out. everyone loved larrie, he was a beautiful person. a few years later while trying to shed some of his 300 pounds, he somehow took conflicting medication, went into a coma, and died.

piano and back-up vocals: christy bley
back-up vocals: bill janssen
bass guitar and back-up vocals: mike sharfe
drums: larrie londin
guitar and vocal: adrian
recorded live at bogart's in cincinnati, ohio using the full sail mobile truck
live mix: rich denhart
recording engineer: gary platt
length: 5:09

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Anecdote # 404

The Birth Of The Rhino
in 1979 I had finished touring the world with david bowie
and was comfortably esconsced in the madness of cwazy wabbit.
making funny music with friends
when the call came to fly to Blonay, Switzerland
to repair some live guitar tracks from the bowie tour.
david had a large comfortable swiss house on the hillside
just up from Lake Geneva.
we were repairing tracks in the same lake geneva studio
that so famously begat "Smoke On The Water"
when frank zappa played there and the place burned down.
now it was a concrete bunker where david, eno, tony visconti,
(and I) had made the lodger the year before.

the tape operator Eugene looked so familiar.
finally someone asked him about it and he replied,
"well, Charlie Chaplin was my father".
"oh", we said.

the Chaplin mansion Manoir de Ban in Corsier
was just miles away from david bowie's house.
eugene invited david, david's assistant coco, and me
to join him for dinner with his mother at the mansion.

charlie chaplin's widow Oona was a beautiful woman.
that kind of older woman beauty that only comes
with wealth and pamperment.
oona was the mother of actress/dancer geraldine chaplin.
oona's own mother was there as well
but old enough to be silent.
while david and oona held courtly conversation
over dinner I was walking on air.
in charlie chaplin's house.
not everyone appreciates the full extent of his genius.
few people realize he wrote the music
for many of his films.
and he wrote it on the grand piano
in the room where we were sitting.

after dinner eugene escorted us down to the wine cellar,
now converted into a film archive of charlie's work.
a large stone floor lined with shelves of film cans.
eugene picked out a film and we went back upstairs
where he erected a home movie screen
right there in the living room.
oona and her mother sat on the sofa.

the movie was The King In New York from 1957.
the plot: because of a revolution in his country
King Shadhov (chaplin) comes to New York City
where he befriends a young boy born of
communist parents who is full of rhetoric.
the boy eventually softens the King's views.
the young boy/actor was chaplin's son Michael.

when the movie ended and the lights turned up,
oona and her mother sat crying on the sofa.
that's understandable, I thought, they missed charlie.
but back at the bowie bungalow david enlightened me.

michael, a favorite of his father, had later in life
turned politically and otherwise against charlie
and had embarrassed him by writing a tell-all book
called "I Smoked Pot On My Father's Lawn".
charlie never spoke to michael again
and this is what oona and her mother were crying over.

that night I went to bed on the third floor
of david's house, just down the hall from a wardrobe
hanger full of his old ziggy stardust costumes.
needless to say, I couldn't sleep.
I had just had dinner with david bowie
and charlie chaplin's widow at chaplin's mansion.

I had no guitar in my room
so i began to practice memorizing music.
this was something I'd been trying lately,
trying to write a song in my head without an instrument.
the song I came up with was lone rhino.
I could hear it like it was a real record playing.
and I kept playing it over and over
in my mind to remember it.
I took notes about specific phrases
(I'm a lone rhinoceros)
and production ideas (must have a snorting guitar sound)
I knew it was a metaphor for a lonely person,
trapped in life who perhaps felt like
the last of his kind.
like charlie chaplin may have felt.
I had the youthful audacity
to imagine it would be sung by ringo starr!*
I wrote it for his voice and range.
that melancholy ringo english voice.

it wasn't until a few weeks later back at home
that I finally worked out the chords,
completed the words, invented a suitable guitar snort,
and had the lone rhino.

*ringo was one of my earliest heroes. a sensational drummer.
(I was a drummer at the time)
no one else could have propelled the beatles in the same way.
his drumming had such
presence and taste.
and I liked his voice.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

goodbye, I love you.

the emails I've long dreaded are pouring in...
Ian Wallace is dead.
I loved him very much.
I have no words to say...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

rare birds...

oh yes, I almost forgot to publish this, my favorite shot of the trio.
I took this photo backstage at the canal street show
just before I whacked my head open...
afterwards they rushed me to the hospital
where they found a sliver of brain lodged in my skull.

Monday, February 19, 2007

a three-hour tour...

phew...made it to cleveland, wasn't easy.
outside the hyatt on superior avenue it's a snowy slushy cold mess.
but inside you find this enchanting atrium arcade from 1890. nice shops. food.
then on to the hall of fame. what a place!
modern history, one of my favorite subjects.
I was nervous since we had not played a note together for 3 months.
so I didn't take pictures at the hall of fame.
I tried to focus inside instead.
but I knew eric and julie have never not once let me down.
they are that good.
and the show was a .8 on the richter.

next day drive to dayton ohiohitler!
I was so relaxed, happy. we were back.
hey! bumpity bump!
I hit my imposing forehead a good one getting on stage in dayton.
didn't know what to do or if I was bleeding
or dead
so I picked up the adrian belew parker fly and started the show.
the cameras were rolling (thanks sewells) and the band was hot.
and I forgot about my headache.
but I have a two-inch war wound where my hair once lived.

despite the snow dayton fans were steamy.
we have such nice fans everywhere we go.
added another cool rhino artifact
given to me by another sweet fan at southgate.
I'm getting an impressive collection of gift rhinos.
my aunt rhode would be proud.
she had a collection of 900+ ceramic dogs.
each one was numbered on the bottom.

backstage before the southgate show
photographer mark colman was set up, lights and all
to do a portrait of the trio for side four.
mark does exciting things with images.
he did the warhol portrait of me for side three.
in the southgate newport cincinnati audience,
a couple of bears, a few old friends.
not the turnout expected because of bad weather.
I wouldn't have gone to see elvis & the fab four that night.
but it didn't matter.
another great show for another ecstatic audience.
our 3-hour tour was a success!*

sunday: a photo shoot with the bears and photographer michael wilson
in the same downtown studio space michael shot the photos for
inner revolution and car caught fire.
hard to keep a straight face with the bears in costume (magical headwear)
around a bowl of dry ice which refused to cooperate.
but we trust you, mm m michael.

one more note of thanks to gary and robin slick
for making up several hundred $5 cd's of the beatbox download from seattle.
sounds like quite a family affair burning cd's en masse at the slick residence.
(oh, and thanks again for eric and julie. my what good genes you have.)

*just got home, have yet to hear live tapes but our front of house engineer
john sinks says he thinks we hooked one. yeah!

Anecdote # 303

The Sorrowful Tale Of The Wrecked Refrigerator.
not all anecdotes are funny,
some are educational, informative, even sad.

in early april 1994 the refrigerator (the name given to my new guitar rack)
was well-stocked and had completed its test run with flying colors.
it held an infinite number of possible combinations for future sounds
and was smartly designed to handle programmed midi patches
as well as the on-the-fly improvisation of stomp boxes.
and it sounded awesome!
the dream of the ultimate guitar rig seemed a reality.
I estimated the cost at somewhere north of $20,000.

the mighty beast was wheeled onto a truck headed for woodstock, new york,
home of tony levin and the future double-headed monster 1990's King Crimson.
the six members of the new "double trio" were convening at last
to conceive, write, and record our first new record in 10 years.

noah evens and martha were with me when the truck arrived
at Applehead Studio in woodstock
to unload and unveil the ultimate guitar rig.
the driver opened the rear of the truck and there it was:
a lopsided scrunched mish-mash of metal and plastic.
there were what looked to be forklift scraps down the sides of the twisted mass.
holding back tears we theorized it must have been forklifted off the plane
and dropped.
the next fews weeks of working with the new Krimson
were bittersweet for me as I struggled to get the most basic
decent guitar sound out of the few boxes still working.
(which is why I cringed years later to find out those rehearsals
were released by the King Crimson Collector's Club
as an official bootleg called "The Vrooom Sessions").

suffice to say when all was said and done
the airlines had their small print Rules For Compensation, blah blah.
they paid me a dollar per pound.
the refrigerator (rest in pieces) weighed 501 pounds.

Duck Funk Symphony

duck funk symphony
volume 4 no. 16
after months and months of preparation, phone calls,
design changes, and hours of brain cells burned away
there it was: the refrigerator.
the name given to the large appliance-size guitar rack
I had dreamed of which was custom-built
by electronics wizard Al Jewer.
Al had invented a nifty box called Flash
that allowed effects to be routed in endless ways
and controlled via a midi pedalboard.
he had custom-built many of my oldest effect boxes
(things like the fuzzy Foxx Tone Machine and the Polychorus)
into a midi-controlled rack unit.
the refrigerator offered the latest in guitar synthesizer
technology (Roland GR-50 and GR-1)
and many of the newest rack unit effect boxes (like the Korg A3).
Flash allowed these very disparate old school and hi-tech items to be combined
any way you liked.
amazing, the amount of sounds I would now have at my fingertips.
the refrigerator was completed just in time for my upcoming flight to new york
to begin the all-important rehearsals with the new King Crimson double trio. 1994.

my partner was Noah Evens* a brilliant young engineer
fresh out of audio school where he excelled at the head of his class.
my guitar tech was Biff Blumfumgagne* who still is my guitar tech.
we needed to put the refrigerator through its paces to see what it could do
and shake out any last minute glitches.

so I began playing a standard funk riff
(I was using that same riff at the time for the writing of the song people)
while noah and biff pushed buttons and turned knobs.
and that's how this improvised piece was born.
I continued to play the funk riff ,
noah would push a new combination of buttons,
biff would turn a couple more knobs,
new sounds would appear and so on...
a three-man improv.
at about 3:13 into the madness
you can almost hear us laughing in amazement
when the duck arrived.

I like to think of this piece as the fanfare
for the ducks of the Peabody Hotel in Orlando
who are taking their daily walk
down the red carpet which has been rolled out for them
and into the elevator to be whisked to the rooftop
for fresh air, tasty treats, and pamperment.
this happens at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day at the Peabody,
which is where I met martha on may 1, 1990,
but that's another chapter.

*noah evens was my recording engineer for a few years during which time we made here, the acoustic adrian belew, and guitar as orchestra among other things. noah was gifted at many things. he wrote the middle string quartet section for the hit song flood by jars of clay. he played the two violin parts, I played the two cello parts. I always felt his string quartet contributed greatly to the success of that song. on noah's watch we (me, martha, and noah) moved from williams bay, wisconsin to nashville. noah hated nashville and eventually moved back to the carolinas where he lives (happily we hope) today.

*biff blumfumgagne not only has a last name that could choke Mr. Ed The Talking Horse but also a unique mixture of talents. biff plays many instruments, has a band called the gomers, and has the amazing technical expertise needed to comprehend my guitar set-up and keep it burbling perfectly. which he has done on and off for many years.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

parting shot...

last minute blog until my return monday evening
at which time I promise to publish the next download
and it's duesey called duck funk symphony.
we're off to blog through snowy ohio,
play three excellent shows,
(can't wait to play with eric and julie again)
and return victorious with a new live record.
for those of you who need it, I suggest going back
to read the blogs from the beginning.
you may have missed something.
like anecdote # 202 or
how I became acquainted with robert fripp's predicament.

Monday, February 12, 2007

CyberSpace, The Final Frontier

thanks for the all these comments.
it's like a conversation over dinner at J. Alexander's.
should I make us a lemon drop?
no worries, darlings.
I was only testing 1... 2, remember.
I have no stomach for abandonment.
"I never questioned loyalty*"

even if cyberspace turned out to be an empty void,
I don't mind talking to myself.

*from Dig Me by King Crimson

testing 1... 2

today marks the end of my first 2 weeks of blogging.
should I continue or quit while I'm ahead?
hmmm...well, I am a very busy person and blogging
is sooo time consuming. but on the other hand
(I wear a glove)
I do enjoy writing these blurbles.
the strange thing about the internet is you never know,
am I talking to 10 people or 10,000?

or to myself.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Happy Guy

happy guy volume 3 no. 19
trick or treat.
this was a halloween baby.
born october 31, 1989.
a) mommy, where does a new song come from?
this is how it often happens, at least for me:
something in a sound triggers a new piece of music.
in this case it was the combination of clean guitar
and roland GR-50 guitar synthesizer
with a new sound I had just programmed in
which sounded calliope-like.
there was a chirpy bouncy ren and stimpy-ness
about it which caused me to play this ridiculously happy chord sequence.
we were in the plush Royal Recorders studio in the autumn woods of wisconsin.
our customary trio: myself, engineer rich denhart, and his assistant dan harjung.
we joked about how dumb and happy the song was.
fittingly rich labeled the tape "happy guy".
after all, halloween is the most ridiculous day of the year.
in germany they have a similar holiday for several days running
where everyone is supposed to perform a particular silly ritual each day.
it's called Fasching (fa' shing).
I remember my first encounter. I was in a McDonald's in Dortmund
and all the germans were wearing ties that were cut off halfway down.
the next day they all had their faces painted with large polka dots.
ancestors...go figure.

once I worked up a linear arrangement I felt comfortable with,
including the idea of an end chorus with a different feel,
we began recording my new-found-guitar-sound to a click track.
most often for guitar parts I stood in the large impressive control room
at Royal where everything sounded like a million bucks.
(green and wrinkled)
next I'd moved into the big wooden recording room to start
the process of choosing cymbals tuning drums while rich and dan miked them.
then the lengthy discovery of the right thing to play on drums,
in other words judicious practice and warm-up
followed by a take or two (or twenty).
actually I'm pretty fast at getting good takes once I know what I want.

back into the control room to discover and record a bass part.
I wish I still had this bass sound available to me.
normally I like to play a real bass or an electric upright bass.
but this was a midi-bass sound triggered on guitar. fun to play.
sounded terrible by itself, but in with the track it became
one of the preferred bass sounds throughout this period.
this was the early stage of making young lions, solo record #5.
which would include I am what I am, small world, pretty pink rose,
gunman, and the song young lions.
all with this same fluffy bass sound.

b) but where does a new song go?
well in this case, that is as far as it went.
normally I study a track over and over, listening a hundred times
until a title or subject matter or a good fitting phrase appears.
by then I know what the melody will be.
but if it is a song with lyrics they need to be tailor-made
for the mood, the emphasis a word needs, and rhythm of the music.
it's the words that take so much time, for me at least.
evidently I couldn't finish this one in time for the record.
between this record and the next one inner revolution
I spent one entire year touring the world with david bowie.
the happy guy got lost in the shuffle.

A note to all
(forever hereafter known as "smarties")
we are planning a contest of our own later this spring in which
you smarties will be asked to finish one of my incomplete songs to win.
so if that interests you, please keep happy guy handy
as he will be one of your possible victims, er, candidates to work with.

bass, drums, guitar: adrian
recorded at Royal Recorders in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
engineer: rich denhart
assistant engineer: dan harjung

to download happy guy go to storebelew. thanks.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Anecdote # 202

the first time I met robert was at The Bottom Line, well-known NYC nightclub.
I was there with david bowie and we we're all there to see steve reich's
new piece for 18 musicians.
(and a drummer, boomp chi)
the show was over, lights came up, david said,
"that's robert fripp sitting over there".
so I wandered over to say hi and he wrote his phone number on my arm!
later that week we met for coffee and conversation.
a few months later a call came,
"would your band GaGa like to open 5 shows
for robert fripp's band The League Of Gentlemen?"
"love to", said I. and so we did.

Anecdote # 202
Robert Fripp: The Man Revealed.
I should write a book.
hey wait, maybe I am!
one of our shows was at Bogart's in Cincinnati* which at that time had a large open balcony area upstairs which was used as a makeshift dressing room. the show was over and I was talking to a couple who had somehow made it up to the dressing room. I didn't really know the girl but I knew of her date Tall Dave Brown, a local guitarist. dave was, well...tall, about a head taller than I am. the girl was a head shorter than I am. robert was across the room changing out of his stage clothes. tall dave began relating how much he enjoyed the...blah blah blah and I would look up at him, then down at the girl. then up at him, and down at the girl. when I looked between them I could see robert.
he had his willy out and was making obscene faces at me!
so I'd look up at dave, down at the girl, and in between them at robert shaking his willy!
my expression must have been priceless.
because eventually they would turn around to see what I was looking at and robert would pretend to be tucking in his shirt, zipping up his pants.
they would turn to talk to me again and...I'd look up at dave, down at the girl, and there would be robert wagging his willy at me again.
and they would turn around, and robert would be looking down nonchalantly buttoning his shirt...and on and on it went.

that began our lifelong friendship (including free shock therapy).

*while watching The League Of Gentlemen's set with my manager stan hertzman I asked him what he thought of robert's "gamelan" guitar playing (which was featured that same year on the Talking Heads song 'I Zimbra' and was not unlike the music of steve reich). prophetically stan commented how much better it might be if I was singing and playing guitar over top of it. which is exactly what happened a year later with the formation of the 1981 King Crimson.

Anecdote # 101

isn't an anecdote something you give a person who's bitten by a snake?
I knew pat metheny's half-sister, we called her tall nancy.
she went out into the desert to find peace and solace and sat on a rattlesnake.
it bite her somewhat.

anyway, I'm always asked to tell anecdotes about my meetings with remarkable men
and I always tell them the same way,
so I'm going to start giving each one a number.
that way I can refer interested parties to this site for any particular story they might need.
"oh yeah, that's #207, go check it out".

next week we'll be playing at the rock n' roll hall of fame for frank zappa day.
it is an honor to do anything for frank as well as the hall of fame.
I was interviewed by the Cleveland Plains Dealer and asked for an anecdote
about life with frank so I'll start there:

Anecdote 101
At Home With The Zappas.
the first of many weekends I spent at frank's house we were sitting in his living room on the purple couch when his 5-year-old son dweezil came in riding a little red tricycle around the room. dweezil had beautiful long spit curls and he was doing circles around the furniture.
I said, "frank that's a beautiful little girl you have there". dweezil wheeled his trike right up to me, gave me the finger, and said, "fuck you!"

Peas* part two

let's continue with the second half of our exploration of the opus peas*, shall we?
we left off at the bridge in which the future deadman searches
to find the best way to eat peas with a knife.
certain of us find the "peas with knife" concept archaic
but it does lead to a picturesque glissando of peas sliding down a throat...weeeeeeeee.
(thanks to the helium)
which begins the melodic repetitions of the outchorus
where your host mimics
(look at me, I'm a regular mel blanc)
the voices of opera star Emir Facade,
and his seven year old valet,
followed by Powder Blue, holiday inn singer extraordinare,
then Charlelle, the metro-sexual love interest of our opus,
and finally our own Elvis impersonator ron jeremy
(not to be confused with....oh, never mind)

the whole sorry affair falls to pieces when the guitarist' pick is dropped
(and it lands in the sound hole, the only true part of the story).
still hoping to plummet to stardom
the tiny band of peas re-group
for one last practice session and a proverbial happy ending.

small wonder I kept this on a shelf all these years.
still thinking about downloading peas?


*another few useless bites of tripe: carolyne janssen, wife of wild bill (and one of the mourning ladies) sewed these ridiculous little green pea caps which made an instant idiot of anyone who donned one. of course rich, christy, bill, and I did just that when we played live shows as GaGa in 1980 (a fact which ultimately lead to the invention of Butox when so many puzzled brows were reported through out the midwest). GaGa performed without a drummer! in a move suggested by robert fripp we used tapes of my drumming, in what has to be one of the earliest crude examples of a drum machine. to this day people swear they saw a real drummer onstage with us. Jefferson Airplane's Ansley Dunbar (allegedly a real drummer) was reportedly incensed by our box-of-drummer approach when we opened for "the Plane" in Indiana and refused to watch the band. GaGa went on to open 5 shows for robert fripp's band The League Of Gentleman which led robert to invite me into King Crimson in 1981.


the votes are in and we have a weiner...
(the envelope please),
the new bears record is titled


hey kids!
a thread has developed concerning money
(something artists cringe to talk about) versus quality.
FLAC vs. MP3
and the sanity of releasing my rarities myself
instead of giving them to say, iTunes or DGM.
let's get this party started!
I am looking into FLAC.
my webmaster rob murphree completely revamped our site
(and did a marvelous job which is not easy or cheap to do)
to release MP3's but not to release FLAC, which is more expensive.
if the site seems "loose-loose" as has been said, please give us a moment,
this is after all our first two weeks and we have only
rob and myself doing everything.
DGM has a full staff for instance.
concerning sound quality: I listen to our MP3s before I ever offer them
and I listen in my studio where many of the original records themselves (including Krimson) were made and the sound quality has never bothered me.
one person suggests I should release my work on DGM instead
and promises he would buy it if it were there.

so why not just use DGM?
well for one thing DGM is Robert Fripp's site, not mine.
don't I get a future to build on?
the music offered on DGM is partly my work and the work of others
but were I to offer DUST on DGM I would receive $.25 per dollar of download,
DGM would receive the remaining $.75.
if for example there is a download on DGM which features
one of the quartets of Krimson I'm in,
I receive one fourth of the $.25 artist share
(divided by the four band members)
or a whopping $.06.
DGM receives the remaining $.75.
you do the math.
not much future for me and my family there.

oh, I almost forgot:
as far as I know I have yet to receive $.01 from iTunes!
(even though I spent $150 on iTunes collecting songs from my youth).

I will eventually offer the DUST collection as a whole on CD's
for the going rate of CD's with high-quality well-recorded material
and original artwork.
but that is not what these weekly downloads are about.
they are for fans who have a jar of small change to spend on music for fun,
and hopefully they're inoffensive to my audiophile fans.
it was also suggested I should release a live recording as a download on DGM for $12.99
while I am making a live record next week with the best trio I know,
I am putting it out myself.
that way I can make some money.

so thank you everyone.
it means a lot to me that you buy my music from me.
thanks for your continued support of my work.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

"isn't this a dull affair,
enough to make me lose my hair.."*

today has been anything but dull.
email from robert saying how much he loves the "life in a nuts hell" piece,
one of the last things ken and I worked on together.

a visit with mike gallaher who agreed
to give weekly guitar lessons to leah, my 7 year old rock star.
(maybe he'll show me a thing or two).

a call from umphree's mcgee from a studio in chicago.
I said I wish I was there (god, I love recording in the studio)
and we talked about some of the songs they sent me to learn
and how much fun will be had in march...

it's funny how after the K3 dates ended on the edit room floor
I worried this year might be a dull affair. like the beginning of last year.
I couldn't get late.
but looking thru my telescope I see some bright points of light ahead after all:

3 fabulous shows with the Adrian Belew Power Trio!
eric, julie, martha, john, and biff together again...gee, what a lovely pair.
and I'm assured of at least one slick parent (hopefully both)
and you're nearly assured of a spanking new baby (why would you spank a new baby?):
side 4: live

followed by yours truly trying to play with umphree's mcgee
(as solo opener and band member)
which also means riding on the bus with umphree's
which ultimately means revealing my inner self to umphree's.
a pleasant thought perhaps.
maybe not for them!

encored by a bears tour!
ummmmmm. capital grille, chicago.
our favorite waiter Ron.
bob's snoring in the van.

the only thing missing is solid news from the front:
when are the KC boys coming home?
soon, I hope. soon.

*"heaven's bed" from inner revolution.

Like Peas in a Boxcar

for the brave few who already have downed peas*
in fact for those who have not yet down-loaded it,
let's take the time now to reflect upon further fine points
of the peas opus.

following ms. christys opening 68 eighth notes

a) in verse 1 we discover a man has evidently perished
from too many peas, a vegetable he says he adores.
The King Elvis Himself steps forward to sing the eulogy:
"give me peas on my plate..."

c) at the funeral
while ms. christy refines the melody on farfisa
the morgue is filled with mourning ladies
and their flowery dissings of other morning ladies.
meanwhile two old men,
two very old men,
reveal in conversation that our dead vegan
in fact worked his whole grain life in produce.
(oh, life's little ironing).

d) just as the reverend william janssen ruminates on life in produce aisle 7
the tiny band of peas begin to practice their musical magic.......voila!
only to be aborted by mean mr. getz. (see volume 1 no. 2)
which brings us to the bridge.
("peas appease me" sung by neville chamberlain).

e) what ever happened to b)?

now, to those of you who are still thinking of downing peas,
can't you see what you missing?

*drummer jerry hertig was the drummer for sweetheart the nashville band frank zappa plucked me from. known to all as Mr. Tig he was an all lanky Ohioan who looked perfectly at home in zoot suit tie and fedora. stay tuned for more fascinating nougats of uselessness.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Poca Madre

the laurie anderson adrian belew fretless wonder is now winging its way to a museum in tampa, florida where the curator (a mysterious ms. jade) promises it will begin life anew as a traveling exhibit. and just to make life sweeter for brownie I've sent along his compadre el sombrero. I wore the guitar and sombrero together in laurie's movie home of the brave. we were recording some of the movie's music in a studio down in the lower village. we had been comically smoking some big cigars during the session. laurie and I took a stroll outside for a few minutes and found a street-side flea market, my eyes instantly drawn to this authentic-looking sombrero which I bought for a few measly pesos. it seemed a perfect fit for our cigar-puffing antics and became my costume for the movie.
so long brownie! have a good life.

Monday, February 5, 2007


Peas volume 1 no. 2
nestled between the Illinois state fairgrounds and the railroad tracks was an architecturally-challenged building that once served as a potato warehouse. this is where rich denhart and his gal christy bley set up their 8-track tascam studio called cwazy wabbit.
it was, as the name implies, a wacky place to work. the cast of characters included saxophone master and live wire bill janssen, the ebullient pianist ms. christy bley, engineer and bassist rich denhart who would become my best friend sidekick for the next 16 years, and a colorful host of friends like mike getz (aka sandwich boy) the graphic artist who painted the twang bar king guitars and album cover. cwazy wabbit reminded me of things I had read about termite terrace, the little back lot building at warner bros. movies where they created bugs bunny and daffy duck. fresh from my year with frank zappa I fit right in with my head full of ideas that music could be funny. (eventually I decided I didn't want to hear the same musical jokes over and over but in 1978, 79, and 80 it was perfect for me). boy, we had fun. for the recording of the tiny pea voices we rented a tank of helium. everyone would fill a balloon with helium, then en masse we would suck in the helium and quickly do our parts before the effect wore off. day two of such activity I was standing alone in front of the studio control room glass preparing to do an overdub. I filled my balloon, sucked it in and.....I remember asking, "how was that?" and hearing everyone in the control room howling with laughter. "what", they said, "you didn't sing anything yet". I had had enough helium. for the funeral scene our friends gathered in the big potato vault studio room where rich had placed microphones all around. everyone strolled through the room having the kind of conversations one has at a wake. and when the tiny little peas get a little too excited, that's mike getz shouting through the door; another of his many talents. it was an atmosphere of inspired lunacy. peas* shows how kitschy we were willing to be. now, just imagine my manager stan hertzman taking this tape around to record labels to procure me a solo record deal. ha!

piano, organ, vocals: christy bley
saxophone, vocals: bill janssen
bass guitar: clif mayhugh
drums: jerry hertig
guitar, tympani, bells, whistling, and lead vocals: adrian

kazoos: everyone
recorded in early 1979 at cwazy wabbit studio, springfield, ill.
engineer, vocals: rich denhart
reconstruction and re-mix:ken latchney
length: 6:12

* (I always thought this would have been such a good mtv video song for pee wee herman).

to download peas go to storebelew. thanks.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

A Brief Preface Leading To Piles Of Dust

this is our new dust icon. she's a beauty, isn't she? a type of pollen bacteria. I hate this stuff when it sticks in my graying nostril hairs but seeing it like this, it has such symmetry. beautiful. whenever you see this little dust icon it will mean there is a new download available from our rarities collection. having spent most of the past week sifting through these dust particles here is what I've discovered:
there are 85 tracks I want to make available. these are the tracks which were meant to comprise the dust boxed set. instead we've turned them into 72 downloads (some downloads include more than one track) of live cuts, re-mixes, demos, and more than 30 tracks never released before. they span nearly forty years of recordings.

now here comes the fun part.
each week we will offer a new download for the low low price of only $1.49!
you heard me right: $1.49!
and you can collect them just like baseball cards.
we have organized them into 4 handy volumes.
week after week you can place your new download
in one of 4 different playlists you make yourself!
(volumes 1 through 4)
eventually you will have the entire collection in its correct chronological order.
big deal, right?
but it makes for an clever means of reference.
and it's so easy!
or maybe you'd just rather purchase one every now and then.
that's fine too.
either way you'll amaze your friends with your vast knowledge of useless,
that is, priceless information.
so why wait?
start your collection TODAY.

on a more serious note I would like to thank bruce marshall for all the work he put into cleaning these tracks from so many different sources to make them sound as best they could and of course ken latchney who painstakingly re-mixed and in some cases reconstructed nearly nine hours of lost material. as each track is released I will do my best to credit the cast of characters and places involved.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

guess what?...

chicken squat!
no, that's not it.
guess what I'm listening to?
did you say the newly mastered Bears record?
that's impressive. how did you do that?
so, how is the new bears record?
in fact for my money the first four songs alone are worth the the price of admission.
the record begins with one song from each of the four bears and truly shows the depth of
writing and pop music mastery this band can achieve. (in its own off-kilter way)
1. zelda a twisted rollercoaster rocker from rob fetters. rob asked specifically for the guitar style I used on david bowie's lodger (in particular the song red sails). he got it.
2. veneer a bob song with thumping toms and one of rob's best guitar lines ever.
I sing it: "the great ape arrived in a shiny red humvee".
it's awesome and includes a bad bob bass solo!
as well as sinewy backwards guitar from you know who.
3. a remake of an adrian tune I always thought should have been a bears song.
(no way, I'm not telling you the name).
4. troubled beauty my favorite chris arduser ballad ever. beautifully troubling.

that's my teaser.
of course there's much more and we bears agree it's likely our best yet.
two other things really stand out to me personally:
a) bob's bass playing is stunning and is something of a feature throughout the record,
and b) the sound of the record.
rob called it "dimensional".
the real star of the show is ken latchney.
this was ken's last record and he poured himself into it.
ken spent many many hours alone slaving over a hot console in search of the elusive
1000% mix. underneath the quietly gruff ken exterior was a secret spot for this record.

ala carte:
it looks as though the Laurie Anderson Adrian Belew Fretless Wonder may be headed to a museum in florida. I'll be speaking with the curator on monday.

speaking of monday, don't forget to start your dust collection first thing monday
with a real buried treasure from the past.

the power trio's show at the cleveland rock n' roll hall of fame is SOLD OUT but you can still catch us in the sweaty canal street bar in dayton ohio hitler or shout yourself silly onto our live record side 4 being recorded saturday night feb 17 at the southgate house in newport, ky.
a splendid time is guaranteed for all.