Monday, April 8, 2013

An Interview with Adrian Belew on His Solo Show Painting With The Guitar

TNYO: How old are you Adrian?
Adrian Belew: I am 60 years old going on 16.

TNYO: You look great!!! Question do women ever throw panties or bras at you when you’re jamming on stage.

Adrian Belew: (laughs) No it’s not that kind of band.

TNYO: At the show I was hearing a lot of women getting excited yelping and making all kinds of weird noises while you were up on stage.

Adrian Belew: Well I do have some female fans, a lot of younger fans are coming on board, my audience runs the gamut really I have people that remember me from way back in the Frank Zappa days and people that have just heard of me yesterday, it’s a broad audience and I am really happy with my audience.

TNYO: Is there someone you would like to jam with that you haven’t yet?

Adrian Belew: Not really, there are people that I admire there are a lot of great artists out there more than anything I prefer to meet artists and become their friends like I love the Beatles music, it would be nice to get to know one of them. Jeff Beck is my favorite Guitar player but he is a good friend of mine and I would almost rather just hang out and be friends than try to make a project happen but having said that you know there are many things out there happening. There are a number of collaborations out there that will still happen that I am not aware of. I am so busy with the irons that I have in the fire already, and I am completely happy with the work that’s on my plate.

TNYO: Can you tell me a little about King crimson your relationship with the band and how that all came about?

Adrian Belew: Well it came about probably in the 80’s my band opened for them for five shows and I think at the end of those five shows he realized that I was a writer and a singer and a front man not just a guitar player so then he invited me to be in the band.
So 28 years later wre still making music together so it worked out really well. I consider King Crimson to be easily a half of my legacy and Im really proud of the music and being in that band, for me it’s a band that makes no compromises we do our own music the way we want without any regard for commercialism or anything like that and in that sense we can go back to the word pure if you like.
I am waiting right now to see if Wayne Roberts would like to do a solo gig if and when.

TNYO: You have over 20 solo albums that’s a prolific career; do you have a favorite album?

Adrian Belew: Right now my current favorite is Obzoptowa which is… well I guess that record is probably ten years old now but I have returned to it for some of the material that I am playing in this one man show and I am really excited about the way that record was put together like one conceptual piece with no breaks in between songs or interrupted by other songs and come back later with little bits that happen in between songs. The production techniques that I used which were a bit Zappa’esque.. I am very pleased with that, I am always happy with my solo records because I don’t put them out until I am happy with them and I
have tried very hard to get them exactly where I want so that later I don’t have any regrets.

TNYO: Obzoptowa is there a meaning for that?

Adrian Belew: No a childhood friend of mine and I had a very long list of gibberish words put together and
the part of it that I remember is Obzoptowa.

YO: You created the riff for Genius of Love by the Tom Tom club how did that come about?

Adrian Belew: Chris and Tina the two people who began the Tom Tom Club the Bass player and the
drummer of the talking heads invited me to the Bahamas where the record was recorded and where they lived.
The original idea was just to write some songs it wasn’t necessarily going to be a full record it was kind of this idea of getting different people in and playing and I was the first up to bat and so you know the first record or song that they did I co wrote with them.

TNYO: Why do you like to create animal sounds with your guitar?

Adrian Belew: You know its just something I found that I can do, I am very good at mimicking sounds and I realize that the guitar is an excellent tool to do that.
I can do a whole catalog of sounds like animals or orchestral or percussive or electronic and as time went on and I vindicated myself in the world of guitar I realized that you had to have something that’s all your own you cant continue to play the same things that your predecessors playing that you learned from their record’s so what I figured out which was special and unique is my love of sound. Pure sound. I tried to make the sound of an elephant with my guitar, And then once I began to be successful at that I realized well those things are only gimmicks unless you can put them into some musical format. You know you have an elephant sound you write a song called elephant talk and that sound has an actual place to live and a meaning to be there.

TNYO: Like so many artists that I know in so many genres of acting and film making
A lot of them do it because that’s just what they do and I don’t think money is the issue
Or reason why they started it.. It’s just what they do so they will continue to do that no matter what, do you feel that way.. In other words if you weren’t making money or if you weren’t a famous guitarist would you still play anyway?

Adrian Belew: Yes I am sure I would be playing guitar maybe not as a living but I am sure I would play music because its in me and it wants to come out the more I have done in my life the more I have realized that my work wouldn’t be as successful…. I have simply scaled my lifestyle to what I can do and I make a very good living considering the strange music that I make.

TNYO: What was your first guitar?

Adrian Belew: My first Guitar was a Gibson Firebird which at the time was a fairly modern and unique looking guitar like the Parker Fly is now and that guitar I bought for $170 at the time I paid ten dollars a week on it.

TNYO: Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Adrian Belew: My advice is to work hard listen to things you love learn as much as you can from them and
then create something of your own.