Adrian Belew (born Robert Steven Belew, December 23, 1949) is an American musician, songwriter and record producer. A multi-instrumentalist primarily known as a guitarist and singer, Belew is noted for his unusual, impressionistic approach to guitar playing, which, rather than relying on standard instrumental tones, often resembles sound effects or noises made by animals and machines.
Adrian Belew (born Robert Steven Belew, December 23, 1949) is an American musician, songwriter and record producer. A multi-instrumentalist primarily known as a guitarist and singer, Belew is noted for his unusual, impressionistic admittance to guitar playing, which, rather than relying on standard instrumental tones, often resembles unquestionable effects or noises made by animals and machines.
Perhaps best known for his long career as co-guitarist for the progressive stone group King Crimson from 1981 to 2009, Belew is widely credited as an “incredibly versatile player” who has released nearly twenty solo albums for Island Records and Atlantic Records, blending or stand-in Beatles-inspired pop-rock subsequent to more experimental fare. Belew is a member of the intermittently-active pop band the Bears, and fronted his own band GaGa in the late 1970s and to the lead 1980s. He has worked extensively as a session and touring musician, including periods in imitation of Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Talking Heads, King Crimson, Laurie Anderson, and Nine Inch Nails, as skillfully as contributing to hit singles by Paul Simon, Tom Tom Club, and others. Belew himself scored a Top 10 hit single in 1989 with “Oh Daddy,” and his 2005 single “Beat Box Guitar” was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Rock Instrumental Performance category.
Belew has in addition to worked in instrument design and multimedia, collaborating similar to Parker Guitars to encourage design his own Parker Fly signature guitar, and designing his own iOS mobile apps, “FLUX by belew” and “FLUX:FX, the multi-effect audio processor app.”
Belew was born in Covington, Kentucky, to a middle-class family. Initially known to friends and classmates as “Steve Belew”, Adrian Belew played drums in his juvenile years (playing next the Ludlow High School marching band) and well ahead with the high-school cover band The Denems. Inspired by Jimi Hendrix, he took in the works guitar afterward he was bedridden for several months when mononucleosis. At age 17, he was extra inspired by a club accomplishment of blues-rock guitar soloing fortune-hunter Lonnie Mack, who became a lifelong personal friend. Not slanting to formal music study, Belew was nonetheless a Fast developer and unexpectedly became a high-school guitar hero. Mostly teaching himself by listening to records, he was ignorant of the studio trickery and sound treat badly used to Make particular guitar lines, and consequently found ways of replicating them himself manually using unusual playing techniques and a growing assimilation in effects and treatments. While maturing as a player and mastering various playing styles, Belew became increasingly distracted with ways to avoid “sounding like everybody else”. He eventually found his own strong and style by learning how to make his guitar mimic strong effects such as car horns, animal noises, or industrial sounds and next applying those sounds to relatively suitable songs.
In the mid-1970s (and having now formally misused his first publicize to “Adrian”, a make known he had always liked and wanted to use), Belew moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue a full-time career as a professional musician. By 1977, he was playing later than the regionally-popular cover band Sweetheart, but wondering whether (at age 27) he had missed his unintentional to make a full of beans with original music.
In 1977, while playing at a Sweetheart gig at Fanny’s Bar in Nashville, Belew was discovered by Frank Zappa, who had been tipped off more or less the band’s talents by his chauffeur. Zappa approached Belew and discussed auditioning him for an upcoming tour, although Belew did not get an ascribed invitation to audition for the better allocation of a year. During this epoch Sweetheart split up. Once the formal invitation came, Belew flew out to Los Angeles and found himself auditioning to the side of more formally trained musicians. Believing that he’d messed in the works his first audition, Belew persuaded Zappa to present him a second one. Belew’s second audition was a more intimate one-on-one experience which took place in Zappa’s active room. Zappa was impressed enough to employ Belew upon a handshake agreement for a year.
Belew toured similar to the Zappa band and appeared on Zappa’s 1979 album Sheik Yerbouti, most notably performing arts a Bob Dylan impersonation upon the song “Flakes.” He moreover appeared in Zappa’s 1979 concert film, Baby Snakes, a document of the October 1977 Halloween week shows at New York City’s Palladium. While once Zappa, Belew was mostly certified as rhythm guitarist, although he along with played lead, melody, or noise lines, as without difficulty as singing lead on two songs (“Jones Crusher” and “City of little Lites”). Belew has described his year in Zappa’s band as a “crash course” in music theory due to Zappa’s rigorous rehearsals and often technically demanding music, and has commented, “I went to the Frank Zappa School of Rock.”
On the suggestion of musician/producer Brian Eno, after seeing a Zappa concert in Cologne, Germany, David Bowie offered to employ Belew as soon as the Zappa tour was finished. Belew accepted the offer, as Zappa meant to spend four months editing the film Baby Snakes. Belew later played on Bowie’s Isolar II Tour in 1978; he played upon the double-live album Stage, and then contributed to Bowie’s next-door album, Lodger. Twelve years later, he returned to operating with Bowie, acting as musical director on the 1990 Sound+Vision Tour, while after that playing guitar and singing.
In 1980, Belew formed a further band, GaGa (based in his then-current hometown of Urbana, Illinois), for which he served as the singer, guitarist and primary songwriter, as skillfully as, via sponsorship tapes, the drummer. By now a frequent visitor to New York City, Belew had as well as become associates with the up-and-coming new wave/art-rock band Talking Heads. Invited to partner the band onstage for performances of their signature song “Psycho Killer,” Belew impressed them following his wild and marginal guitar soloing and became an occasional guest artiste at stir concerts. Around this time, Belew along with met King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp at a Steve Reich concert. In July of that year, GaGa was invited to admittance several New York-area concerts for Fripp’s band, the League of Gentlemen.
At the thesame time, Belew had been tapped by Talking Heads and their producer Brian Eno (with whom he’d worked on Lodger) to mount up guitar solos to several tracks upon the Remain in Light album, and was subsequently bonus to the expanded nine-piece Talking Heads conscious band for tours in late 1980 and upfront 1981. These concerts were documented in the DVD Live in Roma and in the second half of the band’s 1982 rouse album, The Name of This Band is Talking Heads. Belew’s involvement later than Talking Heads lengthy to playing on the band’s spin-off projects. He played upon keyboard player/guitarist Jerry Harrison’s debut album, The Red and the Black, and upon several tracks upon David Byrne’s soundtrack to the Twyla Tharp dance piece, The Catherine Wheel (with his guitar noises credited, amongst supplementary things, as “beasts”).
At the time, the internal associations in Talking Heads were particularly strained. The band’s married rhythm section, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, allegedly approached Belew like the guidance that he should replace Byrne as the band’s frontman, an give which Belew shortly but politely turned down. (In his autograph album Remain in Love, Frantz denied that this present was ever made.) Belew did, however, go upon to appear in with Weymouth and Frantz upon their own spin-off project, Tom Tom Club. Joining them for recordings at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas, Belew played rhythm guitar upon the sessions for the band’s debut album, as capably as tally his trademark processed solos (and even interim the entire instrumentation for the track “L’Elephant”).
Unfortunately, Belew’s experience taking into account Tom Tom Club was less kind than his previous feint with Talking Heads. Tom Tom Club’s recording engineer, Steven Stanley, was vocal roughly his hate of misused guitar and erased the majority of Belew’s solos during the mixing sessions. Worse was to follow later than Belew queried Weymouth very nearly songwriting credits, having co-written several of the album’s songs in complement to his playing. He was apparently “ghosted,” with Weymouth no longer returning his phone calls. Belew did not acquit yourself live in imitation of Tom Tom Club or contribute to any other sessions. Recalling the issue when interviewed twenty years later, he claimed that he had opted to pursue other ham it up rather than involve himself in real or personal struggles taking into account Weymouth and Frantz, and that he had selected not to allow it activity him, as several other, more promising projects were in the works for him at the same time.
By now Belew’s rising profile had gained him a solo cassette contract subsequently Island Records. During the recording of the debut Tom Tom Club album, members of GaGa had associated Belew at Compass Point and backed him upon a set of parallel sessions which would consequences in Belew’s first solo album, 1982’s Lone Rhino. The album provided a home for various GaGa songs and blended various elements of Belew’s work exceeding the in the circulate of decade, including snappy and noisy Zappa/Byrne-influenced songs, dabblings in world music, opportunities for animal/mechanical sounds upon guitar, and sonic experiments reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix or The Beatles. It then included an instrumental duet together with Belew and his four-year-old daughter Audie (the latter improvising on acoustic piano, with Belew toting up a processed guitar counterpoint).
Adrian Belew was the singer, second guitarist and frontman (as well as occasional drummer) for King Crimson from 1981 to 2009, one of the longest tenures in King Crimson by anyone supplementary than founder Robert Fripp. He maintained this tilt despite several splits or hiatuses in charity activity, and notwithstanding a brief times in the to the lead 1990s in the song of Fripp unsuccessfully invited singer David Sylvian to stomach a possible new bank account of the band.
Belew’s involvement similar to the band began while he was yet involved following Talking Heads. Having been impressed by Belew’s pretense with GaGa and David Bowie, Fripp asked Belew to colleague his supplementary four-piece band (at that time called Discipline) as singer and second guitarist. At the time, Belew was successful not just gone Talking Heads but also with the imminent Tom Tom Club sessions and the recording of his debut solo album. However, he realized that Talking Heads’ internal politics would eventually either sideline or obstruct him (coupled in the same way as the fact that the band looked as if it would be upon hiatus for a while). Belew opted to uncouple himself from Talking Heads and link Fripp, with whom he would have more opportunities to develop and tell himself. One of his conditions for joining the further band was that he would be allowed grow old to continue and fabricate his further solo career, to which Fripp agreed.
The Discipline lineup was completed by the former King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford and the New York session ace Tony Levin upon bass guitar and Chapman Stick. During initial touring, the members of the band discussed the possibility of renaming themselves King Crimson. This had not been the indigenous intention for the band, but all members generally no question that this would be both commandeer and useful. This made Belew the first guitarist to formally statute alongside Fripp within King Crimson on an equal footing (although both Ian McDonald and John Wetton had occasionally contributed other guitar to previous King Crimson recordings). He was as well as the first King Crimson singer to write anything of his own lyrics.
The renamed band released and toured the well-received Discipline album progressive in 1981, bringing Belew additional acclaim. The follow-up, 1982’s Beat, proved harder to record. Finding himself liable for the bulk of the band’s songwriting and dealing in imitation of the new pressures of being the frontman in a high-level group, Belew squabbled past Fripp greater than the group’s read and sound. Disagreements were mostly firm and the band continued to locate success as a enliven act. However, 1984’s Three of a Perfect Pair proved tortuous to write, and although King Crimson eventually created another wealthy album (including some Belew experiments subsequent to fretless guitar), Fripp opted to split the band in 1984. The breathing album Absent Lovers: Live in Montreal (originally a radio broadcast, released as an album in 1998) captured the band in full force upon their last gig.
Despite the disagreements of the time, the members of the 1981–1984 King Crimson maintained passable camaraderie and mutual glorification to reunite in 1994 (adding second drummer Pat Mastellotto and Warr guitarist Trey Gunn) with Belew continuing as the band’s singer, guitarist, and frontman. The six-piece King Crimson toured successfully and were together until 1997, releasing the THRAK album and several breathing recordings. From 1997 onward, Belew participated in several of the ProjeKcts, a series of instrumental and experimental King Crimson side projects lithe during the band’s hiatuses, in which he predominantly played electronic drums.
Belew was a supporter of the slimmed-down quartet description of King Crimson (minus Bruford and Levin) which played and recorded in the midst of 2000 and 2004, releasing the construKction of light and The Power to Believe (in supplement to several stimulate albums and EPs), as with ease as touring as an opening stroke for Tool in 2001. After a further four-year hiatus, the band returned to active ham it up in 2008 as a five-piece (with the adjunct of Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison, and Levin returning to replace Gunn). From 2000 through 2008, King Crimson used Belew’s studio at his house outside Mount Juliet, Tennessee, for rehearsals and recording.
In September 2013, following still another four-year band hiatus, Fripp announced the formation of a new seven-piece King Crimson which did not attach Belew. Belew stated upon his Facebook page that Fripp had told him that he “would not be right” for what Fripp had in mind for the new bill of the band.
Following the freedom of his first solo album Lone Rhino in 1982, Belew recorded a 1983 follow-up called Twang Bar King, which once again featured GaGa as backing band (now bigger by former Elvis Presley drummer Larrie Londin).
His next-door solo album was recorded in 1986, and was an experimental all-instrumental album of processed guitar, guitar synthesizer, and percussion called Desire Caught By the Tail. Belew has afterward claimed that the folder cost him his contract past Island Records due to its deeply uncommercial nature.
From 1986 to 1989, Belew’s solo career was upon hold while he concentrated on The Bears.
Following King Crimson’s breakup/entry into hiatus in 1984, Belew formed the pop band The Bears taking into consideration fellow guitarist and singer Rob Fetters, drummer Chris Arduser, and bass guitarist Bob Nyswonger. All three were close friends of Belew whom he’d met during his Sweetheart days in the mid-1970s, and were in addition to ex-members of The Raisins, a Cincinnati-based band that had some local success in the early 1980s and had an album produced by Belew.
As a band, The Bears was a conscious attempt to Make a more unified and total group, with Belew and Fetters sharing plus vocal duties. Although Belew’s guitar skills were still in evidence, they took second place to the band’s faithfulness to songs. Signing to the I.R.S. Records auxiliary Primitive Man Recording Company, The Bears recorded and released two albums, 1987’s The Bears, and 1988’s Rise and Shine. After three years of constant recording, promotion, and touring, the band broke up in 1989 once the collapse of PMRC. The capability of Belew’s solo hit single “Oh Daddy” led to him touring afterward David Bowie. The unshakable three Bears regrouped as psychodots.
All four musicians remained friends, stayed in admission with each other, and continued to urge on each other. Arduser drummed upon Belew’s 1992 solo album, Inner Revolution (with Fetters joining the 1992 touring band). On the tour supporting Belew’s Here album in 1994, psychodots played as both the opening dogfight and as Belew’s encouragement band. Belew would along with co-write two songs upon Rob Fetters’ Lefty Loose – Righty Tight album in 1998.
Since 1997, The Bears have regularly reunited in the studio for intermittent recording sessions. This has resulted in two supplementary albums to date, 2001’s Car Caught Fire, and 2007’s Eureka. The band perform rude tours to puff the releases and continue to produce a result together concerning the varied schedules of everything four members.
Belew revived his solo career subsequently 1989’s Mr. Music Head, on which he played virtually everything the instruments (with the exception of double bass). The album was split in the midst of relatively easy to use pop and more experimental songs, with a mighty emphasis upon Belew’s signature electric tones, plus great quantity of percussion and an unfamiliar approach to acoustic production. Mr. Music Head also generated a hit single (No. 5 on the US Modern Rock chart) in the fake of “Oh Daddy,” on which Belew duetted taking into consideration his 11-year-old daughter Audie.
In 1990, Belew produced a thesame follow-up with Young Lions. This featured a number of lid versions, plus two guest appearances by his later than and current employer David Bowie, who’d hired Belew as musical director for his then-current Sound+Vision Tour. The album generated marginal US Modern stone chart hit (No. 2) with the Belew-and-Bowie duet “Pretty Pink Rose,” and a pubertal hit upon the thesame chart later the subsequent single, “Men In Helicopters” (No. 17).
The afterward year, Belew released Desire of the Rhino King, a record of digitally remastered material from his first three (now out-of-print) albums.
The next phase in Belew’s career proverb him pursuing a more customary singing and songwriting style (albeit in the atmosphere of his trademark uncommon guitar tones), which owed a lot to his old heroes The Beatles. 1992’s Inner Revolution, and 1994’s Here (as well as 1993’s self-explanatory and back-catalogue-revisiting The Acoustic Adrian Belew) were whatever heavily song-oriented and accessible, but sold less than Belew expected. 1996’s Op Zop Too Wah blended Belew’s strong songwriting entry with more militant instrumental coloration.
In parallel to Belew’s do something with a revived King Crimson, he released the first in a proposed Experimental Guitar Series, The Guitar as Orchestra: Experimental Guitar Series, Vol. 1, in 1997. A compensation to the all-instrumental forward looking territories of Desire Caught by the Tail, this was an album of atonal contemporary classical music categorically realized on MIDI guitar using digital models of orchestral instruments. Belew has mentioned plans for releasing more chronicles in the Experimental Guitar series, including one called The Animal Kingdom, but to date, no more have been released (probably due to the modest sales of the first volume).
Belew’s subsequent releases were two more acoustic albums, 1998’s Belew Prints: The Acoustic Adrian Belew, Vol. 2, and the 1999 Salad Days compilation, as competently as the Coming Attractions album of works-in-progress. In 2004, he collaborated upon a spoken-word-and-instrumentation album later Kevin Max, called Raven Songs 101. Between 2005 and 2007, Belew released the Side series of albums: 2005’s Side One and Side Two, 2006’s Side Three, and 2007’s Side Four, with a variety of guest performers, including Tool’s Danny Carey and Primus’ Les Claypool.
In April and May 2006, Adrian toured Australia later than local musicians John Prior from Matt Finish playing drums, and Al Slavik playing bass guitar and Stick (as with ease as singing backing vocals). In August 2006, he performed in Atlanta, Georgia, on The Acoustic Planet Tour behind Bela Fleck & The Flecktones and Umphrey’s McGee.
Later in 2006, Belew formed a other long-term trio, which his fans hurriedly christened “The Adrian Belew Power Trio,” featuring former Paul Green School of Rock students Eric Slick on drums and Julie Slick on bass. This band featured on the 2007 bring to life recording Side Four and the 2009 download-only Live Overseas.
In 2008, Belew played at the Adelaide Guitar Festival. In June 2009, the Adrian Belew Power Trio released an all-new studio autograph album titled simply e., featuring a five-part long-form Belew instrumental composition. During the same month, Belew released A Cup of Coffee and a Slice of Time, an album official to “Clay & Belew.” This was an album of improvised classical-based interpretations of Belew songs (both solo and from King Crimson) mostly performed by pianist Michael Clay, with supplementary guitar, cello, and music concrete contributions from Belew.
On February 25, 2013, Trent Reznor of the band Nine Inch Nails named Belew the extra Nine Inch Nails touring guitarist. Belew was going to produce an effect with the band on a other Nine Inch Nails tour from the summer of 2013 into 2014. On June 7, 2013, Belew posted an update upon Facebook stating that “it didn’t work.” Despite this, Belew was approved as a session musician on the 2013 Nine Inch Nails album Hesitation Marks.
On January 16, 2019, Belew announced an onslaught of his “Power Trio” to a quartet and 2019 tour. Band members are Jordan Perlson upon drums, Saul Zonana upon keyboards, guitar, and vocals, and bassist Julie Slick.
Most recently, Belew has moved into involved with mobile app platforms via his self-designed iOS apps FLUX:FX – the professional audio multi-effects app and FLUX by belew™, which contain beyond three hundred audio tracks and pieces of artwork that he describes as “never playing the thesame twice.” FLUX:FX is a real-time audio mistreat app for the iPad that he said “lets me make sounds that I can’t gain with any supplementary gear.” Both apps have gathered significant industry recognition, including being lucky twice in the 2015 Webby Awards and receiving a ‘best of the best’ at the 2015 Red Dot Design Awards.