Interview with Adrian Belew on The Artist Shop's online IRC Chat

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Date Submitted: 22-Dec-1996
Submitted By: Gary Davis (artshop at artist-shop dot com)

December 10, 1996


<GaryD> Hello folks!!! The room is moderated now as Adrian is now here as "Rhino" and things are now getting underway. Welcome to another chat with The Artist Shop. Tonight's guest, as you all know, is Adrian Belew....solo artist, guitarist extraordinaire, member of King Crimson.... who has worked with some incredible artists including Talking Heads, Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, etc. etc.

<GaryD> I want to also introduce my assistant, Roger. Say hello, Roger.

<Roger> Hi guys :)

<GaryD> To ask Adrian a question, just send your question to Roger in the form of a private message. That way we can do this in a rather orderly fashion. Now, let's get to Adrian. Hello Adrian, how are things in Nashville tonight?

<Rhino> Great. I'm sitting in my studio with engineer Ken.

<Roger> okay, first question from AnilP: You've acknowledge your reputation as an "experimental guitarist" with bemusement and sarcasm in the past, yet here you are with the "experimental guitar series." Why play into the label game so overtly?

<Rhino> To explore new areas of guitar playing in an orderly fashion, of course.

<GaryD> Let's talk about your new album...Op Zop Too Wah is probably your most adventurous solo work so far...

<Roger> which isn't in the shops in france yet btw ... :(

<GaryD> What brings you in this direction at this time?

<Rhino> Who cares about shopping in France anyway. It has given me the scope to put a little of everything in one CD.

<GaryD> Yes, I feel influences from many of the people you've worked with...especially Frank Zappa. Do you feel this is the case?

<Rhino> In the way the pieces are connected, yes. My favorite puzzle is trying to work out the parts myself, after all it is a solo effort.

<GaryD> BTW, I hope those of you who are lucky enough to have Op Zop Too Wah are playing it right now!

<Roger> "dinosaur" asks how did you get into playing all the various instruments that you do?

<Rhino> I'd like to learn as many instruments as possible during my short flight.

<Roger> (again from dinosaur:) and does playing everything help to realise the songs the way you really see them?

<Rhino> Yes, but don't forget I also have the luxury of the worlds finest band when it gets lonely.

<Roger> from Eddie: what does Adrian think of microtuning as a platform for musical exploration?

<Rhino> I have several fretless guitars and they are puzzling to play, but a real blast.

<Roger> from steph^ and others: what have been some of your major influences in your playing style?

<Rhino> As a songwriter: Lennon/ McCartney, Ray Davies, Harry Nillson. As a composer: Gershwin ans Stravinsky. As a guitarist: Hendrix Beck and Fripp, Robert that is.

<GaryD> As a singer, though, you've got to talk about Roy Orbison!!! That comes through very clear on some of your ballads.

<Rhino> I forgot I'm a singer! I love Roy and John and Paul.

<Roger> fubio asks: Another recent release that you obviously had a major part in was King Crimson's ThrakAttak, which has received very mixed reviews from many of your fans. Could you explain the album a bit, and tell us your opinion of it?

<Rhino> I've only listened to it once but I enjoyed it. It was edited together from live improvs during our nightly versions of THRAK.

<GaryD> Now what about the new Crimson did the sound mixing for that and it comes through very clearly. Care to comment on that work?

<Rhino> We record everything live each night. The performances were culled from our first two nights in Japan, not our best nights but I think it may stand as the best yet live Krimson. I know some people don't care for the look but the film makers were hampered by our sense of lighting, in other words, none.

<Roger> question from hindi: In the song "Dinosaur" are the lyrics refering to the new generation of musicians rehashing your older styles and ideas and claiming them as "New and Original"?

<Rhino> Regarding dino lyrics: no, the sonng is a personal one concerning people diggin' at my past in inappropriate ways. PHEW! How's that for an answer?

<GaryD> Tempts me to ask an innappropriate question, but I'll refrain :-)

<Rhino> Listen, Bill H. you've been pup and Big Toe already now settle down.

<Roger> Rhino: drumgirl asks for your opinion on the recording argument of analog warmth vs. digital precision.

<Rhino> I prefer both. Digital for storage and quickness. Analog for fatness and warmth. Engineer Ken drives a mean gravy train.

<Roger> I'm getting many questions about what we should expect next from King Crimson... what musical directions it will explore, etc.?

<Rhino> Robert and Trey just visited this week for our first session. It's hard to say what will evolve but so far it sounds like no one else.

<Roger> and any idea when we can expect the next tour or album?

<Rhino> We expect to keep our writing sessions going until late spring, then to play some new material in a few secret club dates. The record will likely take a long time and may not surface until 1999!

<Roger> and from drumgirl: what about a solo tour?

<Rhino> I'm pondering a one man show idea but still uncertain.

<Roger> from fubio: Now that Fripp/Eno is considered somewhat legendary in their exploits, what do you think of ambient dabblings into the realms of soundscapes, and do you think you might give it a try?

<Rhino> I spoke with Robert one morning last week about developing my version of soundscapes and he gave me a huge equipment list of things to buy!

<Roger> li-dude asks : Adrian: it seems the music industry today doesnt have the same kind of high talent bands in it like King Crimson ,YES, Pink Floyd etc... why do you think that is? Do you think that the public has a lower standard of acceptance these days?

<Rhino> There's still great music being made, but now there's too much to chose from, so some of us get left in the media shadows.

<GaryD> Do you feel that applies to Op Zop? I've heard so many comments that Caroline isn't giving it the push it deserves.

<Rhino> NO. This record is destined for something better. OP ZOP TOO WAH really needs the word of mouth of people like all of you, who DO actually care about music. I'll step down off this soap box now...

<Roger> I hear that word of mouth is alive and operating well :-) A couple questions about your work with Jars of Clay ... did you have much influence on their final sound or did they pretty much sound the way they were before meeting you? Also, did the subject ever come up that a christian band chose a guy from a band named after the devil to produce their album?

<Rhino> Firstly, I never heard of Krimson being named after the devil and I reject that idea. The jars needed production and accepted it well, but their sound is their own.

<Roger> from BigElectricCat: do you feel this world is a dangerous place?

<Rhino> Yes, so I stay at home and make cookies and records.

<GaryD> Robert Fripp recently put together the new live album from the infamous League of Gentleman tour. I saw the tour and love the album, but for me it's an incomplete experience. I seem to remember some obscure band openning for them that blew me away. Any chance of a live GaGa's companion album? Would make a great release for Discipline or Adrian Belew Presents :-)

<Rhino> I am planning a record of rarities from the demos of GaGa. It will include all the original versions of songs from Lone Rhino and Twang Bar King made in a home studio in Illinois.

<GaryD> And will it include that silly song about 'Peas' that's been stuck in my head for the last 16 years? "Peas, try not to give me disease"

<Rhino> Absotively. But how did you ever hear that one?

<GaryD> I was at the show!!! It's been stuck in my head ever since, dammit! :-)

<Roger> from ami and Fallout: has purple motion influenced your music in any way?

<Rhino> No but Purple Haze sure did

<Roger> okay... back to more tech questions: What are your thoughts on the current state of MIDI guitar? "The Guitar as Orchestra" really opened up my ears and mind. After 20 years of playing it gave me the push to buy my own MIDI guitar system. Can I send you the bill? :-)

<Rhino> You can send but I won't pay! Currently I'm working with Parker Fly on a new Midi guitar to arrive next year. Should have the prototype in Feb.

<GaryD> Adrian has an autographed copy of Op Zop Too Wah to give away. How we'll do it is, he'll ask a trivia question, hopefully a toughie...then I'll unmoderate the room to allow everyone to give their answers soon as Adrian spots a correct answer we'll have our winner. Are you ready Adrian?

<Rhino> Yes

<GaryD> Shoot!

<Rhino> What was the name of the band I was in when Frank Zappa discovered me?

<scooob> Sweetheart

<Eddie> sweethearts

<DigMe> Beach Boys

<guyL923> joseph schillinger quartet

<neptune> sweetheart

<Rhino> scoob's got it!

<BillLantz> Sweethearts

<GaryD> Well, damn, that was too easy! Scoob, send me your snail mail address in a private message.

<Rhino> Let's try again. That was too easy.

<GaryD> Yeah, scoob, you don't mind giving that disc up, do you (hee, hee)

<Rhino> For a second autographed CD, here's the Question. Whats my managers name?

<Eddie> stan

<Ethan> bob

<DigMe> ken?

<drumgirl> stan

<biff> Stan

<Bill_Hammell> AD

<neptune> stan hertzmann

<Drummerboy> Stan Hertzman

<scooob> Stan Hertzman

<GBlues> bob

<artrocity> adrian you are the greatest keep rockin !!!

<Greek> harry\

<guyL923> ray

<BillLantz> Stan

<Ethan> jerry

<Anker> Frank

<DigMe> Adrian?

<grog_> slave

<Rob-M> enjoy it guys

<guyL923> eddie\

<Imager> LArry?

<ami> izzabelle ;)

<Tempus> Luis De Los Santos

<ami> hehe

<Todd> bob

<BigEclecticCat> mrs. belew aka momur

<Ethan> steve

<Anker> Harry

<guyL923> martha

<ArtCrime> BOWIE!

<GBlues> jerry

<ami> God?

<Todd> scoob

<ami> hehe

<Ethan> grant

<guyL923> gerry

<dinosaur> NOAH

<ami> Josh

<ArtCrime> Lodger!

<Todd> jesus

<ArtCrime> Stage!

<guyL923> guy

<Anker> Bill

<Rob-M> Stan Hertzman

<Greek> freebird

<guyL923> george

<ami> ROb

<guyL923> frank

<Rhino> Neptune got it!

<neptune> Thanks Adrian!

<GaryD> Ok, Roger, one last question for Adrian. Neptune, send me your snail mail address in a private msg.

<Roger> okay... question from Kristi: just want to know what it was like working with Bowie and if he might work with him again.....Pretty Pink Rose and his work on the sound and vision tour was great!!

<Rhino> It was sensational. David is amazing and I plan on working together again. Call me Dave.

<GaryD> Adrian, I want to thank you for coming. It's been a real pleasure chatting with you. For anyone having trouble finding Adrian's new album, Op Zop Too Wah, come on over to The Artist Shop ('ll find it there with graphics and soundbites and also the Acoustic Adrian Belew.

<Rhino> Thanks everybody and don't forget Op Zop Too Wah. It makes a great Christmas gift!

<Roger> Thanks for doing this, Adrian! :)

<GaryD> And while you're there, sign in our guestbook to get notices of future activities including chats like this. Roger, as always, thanks for your help.

<GaryD> And thanks to Rob Murphree, host of the Adrian Belew website for helping to publicize this. Adrian, please thank Ken Latchney for us.

<Rhino> Ken sitting right here. He's a happy guy, too.

<GaryD> I'll unmoderate so everyone can say goodbye to Adrian.

<BillLantz> Merry Xmas Adrian.

<Tempus> By bye Adrian.

<DigMe> Keep driving that train, Ken!!

<Greek> Thanks for your time!

<Tempus> We love ya  :)

<dinosaur> see ya ade - your song 'dream life' is beautiful

<RichM> Thanks for joining IRC Adrian

<drumgirl> bye adrian, thanks for being you : )

<Kenzak> Thanks for the music and inspiration!

<Eddie> Congratulations on the new bambino!!

<BillLantz> And when's the FZ tribute ;~[=

<Rob-M> Keep up the great work...And stop by your website :)  !!!!

<classy> From the Staff of AnotherNet thank you and Happy Holidays!

<Drummerboy> The War in the Gulf Between Us!

<Tempus> Tell Tony that he rules  :)

<Bill_Hammell> thanks for the chat Adrian

<Markamas> Take care, 3rd of a perfect pair!

<illini> Thanks Adrian, Please Tour!

<Rob-M> Give our best to Martha!

<neptune> We love you Adrian. An autographed copy of Op Zop is gonna look great by the tree!

<classy> GaryD thanx to you also for setting this up and bringing this here to us!

<Rob-M> Yeah, thanks GaryD, Ken and Adrian!

<RichM> Yes, excellent job Gary, always great to see IRC expanding it's horizons

<drumgirl> yes thanks roger and gary

<Eddie> Artist Shop!!!!!

<Bill_Hammell> Adrian, are you still on?

<Rhino> Hey everybody I' still enjoying your comments and thanks 1.5 million for everything.

<GaryD> Adrian, I want to ask a quick question, then I'll unmoderate again...

<Rhino> Shoot.

<GaryD> Everyone here wants to help with Op Zop...If we were to all start making requests for airplay, what's the one song on there that we should shoot for in order to make a coordinated effort? I'm sure Rob will post your response on the website.

<Rhino> Six String seems to be the one most stations are responding to.

<GaryD> OK everyone! Push for Six Strings!!!!

<neptune> Our local cool station plays All Her Love is Mine and I Remember How to Forget, but I'll push for 6 string, too

<GaryD> Again, Op Zop Too Wah, The Acoustic Adrian Belew and the rest of the Belew catalog can be found at The Artist Shop ( (shameful commercial plug)

<Imager> good plug...

<DigMe> He's probably thinking about what a bunch of freaky stalkers there are on the net...And how people must be listening to him singing in the shower to know the "Peas" song.

<Kenzak> Hopefully no stalkers. Just fans and fellow musicians.

<Eddie> Gary stilll remembers the lyrics, dammit

<GaryD> The damn thing is stuck in my head! Adrian has cursed me with this damn catchy tune that won't go away.

<GaryD> The only cure will be for him to record it, then I won't have to remember it anymore! :-)

<DigMe> I wonder what Adrian thinks about bootlegs?

<Eddie> Lord Rhino, speaketh!

<Rhino> I'm still having fun but I can't answer all these questions so I'm just bemusing myself.

<DigMe> Consider yourself bemused.

<drumgirl> well it's about time we amused you instead of the other way around

<Eddie> adrian, have you visited Rob Murphrees site?

<Rhino> I do visit Robs page (thanks Rob) and I'm going to start posting info on a bi-weekly basis when possible.

<Drew50> If you haven't You should see adrian on Baby Snakes!!

<scooob> Yeah, Baby Snakes... Adrian in drag!

<Kenzak> WAC uniform.

<Rhino> I'm wearing that skirt right now.

<Drew50> (scooob) he had hair back then too! (sorry Adrian)

<Rhino> I still have hair. It's in a bag around here somewhere.

<Kenzak> Is it just me, or is this chat after the main event more fun?

<DigMe> hahaha

<dinosaur> you're right ken!

<Rob-M> The hard work never ends... not until Adrian Belew is a household name. Let's get busy!

<scooob> How many of you have heard something from Op Zop on the radio?

<Drew50> (rob-m) Yes we have to promote his wonderful music

<drumgirl> I badger people constantly with your CDs, haven't lost yet

<Rhino> You people are severly damaged. You know too much, but I love ya. - Roger is damaged, i admit it freely :)

<neptune> we'll get a life someday

<BillLantz> Damaged yes- musically challeneged you bet.

<drumgirl> <--enjoys being severely damaged in a musical sense, anyway

<GaryD> Yes, "Peas" has permanently damaged me :-) Who's got the pea hats?

<Rob-M> Sing it for us, GaryD!

<GaryD> everybody now!!! Peas....Try not to give me disease.

<Eddie> sing it gary!

<GaryD> I am, and pretty damn well if I say so myself!

<neptune> Where can I find PEAS

<BillLantz> In a can.

<neptune> ha

<Roger> erf

<Roger> :)

<Rhino> Look for peas in the frozen food section.

<drumgirl> frozen peas are better than canned peas, more nutricious

<neptune> more disease

<Roger> fresh ones are best !

<BillLantz> snow peas please. jeez.

<DigMe> Rhino: That would be a good promotional idea for your album....Autographed copy in every 10,000 bags of peas.

<Rob-M> See what I have to put up with, Adrian?  :)

<Rhino> peas on earth.

<RichM> LOL!

<Roger> hahaha

<BillLantz> good swill to men

<GaryD> I can see I'm going to have a hard time living down this "peas" admission.

<DigMe> There was an idiotic thread going on in Elephant Talk a while back about what kind of shoes Fripp wears...that's going a bit overboard ewh...

<Eddie> Adrian, what kind of shoes do you wear?

<Kenzak> Adias in heat?

<Eddie> Haaaa!

<drumgirl> lol

<Rhino> my baby's in love with a shoe salesman

<GaryD> Is anyone else playing Op Zop right now? I've got Six String's playing.

<Rob-M> What do you know? It's playing here!

<Kenzak> "On" is just about half way through right now.

<drumgirl> yes thank god for CDrom drives

<BillLantz> Op Zop is on it's 3rd pass right now.

<Roger> grrr.. i want to get op zop!

<GaryD> Well order it from me, Roger, duh :-)

<Drew50> Thanks for doing the Beatles new tune in detroit..even if you forgot the lyrics!!

<Eddie> he didnt forget them,

<Rob-M> It was Lennon's version

<Eddie> thats how it went.

<neptune> I think Adrian was singing johns version

<Rhino> but I didn't forget the lyrics I was doing the demo version

<guyL923> i jus happed to pickup OZTW 2 days ago on a whim. i guess i was lucky to find it... adrian , don't be shy

<drumgirl> if you tour adrian please play dallas I'll bring tons of people!

<Rob-M> Umm.... don't forget Alabama either... havn't seen you here since '88 w/ The Bears.

<scooob> Adrian, if you tour alone, will it be "plugged"?

<Rhino> plugged indeed.

<scooob> Wow, solo electric: sounds interesting

<GaryD> BTW, folks, although no confirmed dates yet, one of our next chat's will be Gary Willis, bassist for Tribal Tech and Allan Holdsworth's latest album.

<DigMe> Rhino: Do you know Bela Fleck?

<Rhino> I know Bela and in fact he lives here in Nashville. Nice man.

<DigMe> Rhino: Cool...a Belew/Fleck album could have some great potential!!

<BillLantz> Would love to hear a Bela/Belew collaberation.

<GaryD> Not to mention the Wooten Bros.

<guyL923> 11:53 pm

<Rhino> It's getting late for me too, I'm recording guitar in the morning. So I really am leaving now. Thanks everyone, let's do this again sometime. Yer Pal, Adrian