It’s been a while since I wrote a piece about music. Originally, that was going to be the focus of this blog, as a whole. Last night, J and I were listening to music on vinyl and when this artist came into the rotation, we got to discussing him and it made me feel like writing about him.
I’m speaking of the great (to my mind) Adrian Belew. He may be one of the bravest, and most versatile musicians in the world. Perhaps brave isn’t the right word. Perhaps I should say thick-skinned. He would have to be. Before pursuing solo and self-led group projects, Belew worked with Frank Zappa, Robert Fripp (King Crimson), David Bowie, Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club and (one of my favorites) Laurie Anderson. I don’t know about the rest, but I’m thinking taking direction from both Frank Zappa and Robert Fripp would be a harrowing experience. Both were (are in Fripp’s case) noted task masters. I’m thinking working under David Byrne and some of the others would be no picnic either.
In 1985, Belew formed his own band called the Bears. In this group, he was the front man, having hooked up with old pals he’d known on the local circuit in the Cincinnati area from the late ’70’s. It was their debut album that J and I were listening to last night that provided me the impetus to look up some information on him. I found it interesting in my research that Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) called Belew “the greatest musician in the world.” Pretty high praise, no?
The list of his accomplishments go on and on. As far as big name musicians, it was Frank Zappa who “discovered” Belew, when Belew was playing in a cover band in Nashville. He joined Zappa for his “Sheik Yerbouti” tour and toured with Zappa for about a year. Then he toured with David Bowie. He got his biggest break when he signed with Robert Fripp and became the second guitarist (and lead vocalist) for King Crimson. The list goes on and on.
So, there are just a few snippets. Anyone interested should check out his stuff. Personally, I really like the Bears, though they are relatively unknown. If you get hold of any of his first three albums with King Crimson, you won’t be disappointed. But, if you get a chance, check out this one of a kind talent.
And, as always, here’s wishing everyone peace on this beautiful but getting hot Monday.