Wednesday, August 29, 2007
More from the Adrian Belew Power Trio Tour, Zappanale 18 Redux, and assorted other oddities and soddities
Adrian Belew in Atlanta, August 22, 2007 (Awesome photograph courtesy of Rick Glover)
Yep, I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record but here is yet another glowing review coming out of last week's Adrian Belew Power Trio tour:
"Meeting your heroes is awesome...
Last Thursday, August 22nd, my wife and I bought some last minute tickets and headed down to Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta to see Adrian Belew perform live with "The Adrian Belew Power Trio". It was a most amazing experience. Now I'm a pretty big time concert-goer. And these days it takes a pretty revolutionary perfromance to get up into my top 10-20 shows I've been to. It's a club that grows more and more exclusive as the years pass. But I've got to say that Mr.Belew and his amazingly talented rhythm section of Eric Slick (drums / 20 years old) and Julie Slick (bass / 21 years old), provided just such a performance. It was about 100 minutes of music that went by in what seemed like 30. Getting back to the youngsters that backed the man up. There are no words that can describe the level that these folks play at, I wish I could tell you - but you just have to see them in order to understand. It was truly humbling.
Now for those for you unfamiliar with Adrian - he was one of the driving forces behind every incarnation of the legendary prog-rock godfathers "King Crimson" since the early 80's landmark album "Discipline". In addition to being a long time Crim' he is also famous for his work with Frank Zappa, David Bowie, The Talking Heads, Nine Inch Nails, Tori Amos, and a million other people. Not to mention a vast solo catalog that lately has seen Les Claypool and Danny Carey, among others coming around to collaborate with the esteemed Adrian Belew.
If you ever get a chance to witness this man perform in person, do not pass it up.
I was fortunate enough to stick around afterwards and meet all three members of the band. They were extremely gracious and took the time to chat for a few minutes and sign a poster that i grabbed off the wall at the venue. Last but not least... I asked Mr. Adrian Belew if he would pose for a photo with me =)"
From, believe it or not, Wrestling Classics.com:
"Awesome is the only way I can describe Adrian Belew’s Power Trio show last night in West Palm Beach. Being a long time Belew fan and seeing him play with Bowie, Zappa, King Crimson and Talking Heads, I had greatly anticipated seeing this concert. My high expectations were exceeded! Now that usually never occurs so it was a most pleasant surprise. Let me start by saying I couldn’t believe his rhythm section of bassist Julie Slick and her brother, drummer Eric Slick. The kicker is she’s 21 and he’s 20! I kid you not when I say Stu Hamm and Bill Bruford have nothing over them. Turns out they are from Philadelphia and studied at the Paul Green School of Rock Music...
They performed songs from Adrian’s solo career along with about four King Crimson songs. The ones I recall are Matchless Man, Young Lions, Big Electric Cat, Writing On The Wall, Dinosaur, Ampersand and from King Crimson: Elephant Talk, Frame By Frame, Thela Hun Ginjeet and Three Of A Perfect Pair."
From Julie Slick's MySpace page:
"thank you for the add. excellent bassism. adrian couldn't have asked for better. you give levin a run for the money. love to hear you on stick sometime if you play, or decide to pick it up. thnx again. great show thurs in jax."
I have been telling EVERYONE about the amazing show you put on in West Palm Beach. I've been a fan of Adrian's since, well, LONG before you were born :^), but I'm now as much a fan of YOURS! In addition to being an astonishing talent, you're quite simply wonderfully sweet. (At least you were to ME!)"
"GIVE THE BASS PLAYER SOME!!
-the incredible Julie Slick ladies and gentlemen...
-thanx for the add girl... your an amazing talent."
From Eric Slick's MySpace page:
"just wanted to stop by and thank you once again for providing me with a life changing experience. Meeting you a Adrian was truly the highlight of my life. Thank you for being such a wonderful person. You have my undying gratitude. Keep up the amazing work. I cant wait for side 4.
Your life long fan
I'm in the city, what's uuuuuuuuuuuuuuup?
Ha ha - that message would be from Dr. Dot, and that is the perfect segue for the following two short films, starring, yep, you guessed it, Dr. Dot in her wet t-shirt as Mary in the Frank Zappa masterpiece, Joe's Garage, featuring Eric Slick on drums and errr...Eric Slick sipping beer from what Dot slyly tells us is a urinal. Yes, I'm afraid it's true, Eric...so let's just hope it was never used prior to your drink. But oh man, you men out there reading this blog are going to love me - one of these films, not sure if it's part one or part two (heh...yes I do know, but I'm not telling -- which will force you to watch both)...show Dot actually being doused with the water in her white tank top and if I don't win best blog of 2007 for this...well, there's something wrong with the world.
Oh, I'm kidding, I'm kidding.
Or am I?
Yes, yes, I know. My son is one lucky man.
Speaking of Eric, I would remiss if I did not remind you that he's got a Crescent Moon show coming up this Friday night, August 31, 2007 with the always awesome Dave Dreiwitz of Ween...the gig is at Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park, New Jersey. Also on the bill is Sounds of Greg D (with whom Eric will be touring at the end of September)...and performing with Greg will be the fabulous Scott Metzger on guitar and Joey Russo of Benevento Russo fame on drums...man, what a night of music.
Here's a couple of blurbs off the Ween forum board (link above):
"C'mon down to beautiful Asbury Park this holiday weekend ... its crescent moon (starring Dave Dreiwitz w/ eric slick on drums), sounds of greg d and american babies (w/ metzger and russo) at the asbury lanes this friday august 31."
"I should be there. Meat Puppets Wednesday and Thursday and Crescent Moon Friday! Their show at the Court last week was great. Slick mans the skins like a legend."
"Slick mans the skins like a legend --I love watching that kid (and I use the term lightly) play his ass off. He's unreal."
Crescent Moon got a nice mention on the Harmony Central forum board. The topic is "2 Piece Bands - Anyone Dig'Em?" and people started giving examples of great bands. Right on page 1 someone jumped in and said:
Dave Dreiwitz of Ween on bass and Eric Slick on drums. Shit is great. They did the coolest version of Pink Floyd's "Fearless" that I've ever heard."
Oh yeah, and the Project Object tour with Eric on drums begins October 12, I believe...and here's the first cool press release regarding their show on October 22, 2007 at Shank Hall in Wisconsin:
"Napoleon Murphy Brock, lead vocalist and instrumentalist with Frank Zappa for more than a decade, will tour once again with Project/Object, the mothers of reinvention.
Napoleon Murphy Brock is a singer, saxophonist and flautist who is best known for his work with Frank Zappa in the 1970s and 80s, including the albums One Size Fits All, Roxy and Elsewhere, and Bongo Fury. His own most memorable vocal accomplishments are illustrated on Village of the Sun, Inca Roads and Florentine Pogen. His numerous performances include the role of the "Evil Prince" on Zappa's Thing-Fish album. He has also performed with George Duke, Captain Beefheart and others.
As the lead singer and sax player with Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa last year, Napoleon Murphy Brock toured all over the World and received foremost praise from fans and critics alike.
The lineup is rounded out by Project/Object founder Andre Cholmondeley (nee Chumley) on guitar and vocals; wunderkind Eric Slick on drums who is also Adrian Belew’s touring drummer; Dave Johnsen, who also performs with the Mahavishnu Project, on bass; and incredible keyboardist Eric Svalgard."
So that's the music news for today.
Well, not really. As promised, a couple of stories about my weekend as groupie mom for the Adrian Belew tour down in Florida.
First I must talk about my flight down. We'll get to the flight home - now known as the freaking worst experience on an airplane in my life -- later.
But for now, let me begin by telling you about my brush with insanity when I got to Philadelphia International Airport.
I got dropped off three hours before my flight. Now before you have me committed, there was a reason for that. Between Hurricane Dean earlier in the week and the fact that all airports in Chicago were closed the day before due to high winds and blackouts, I knew that thousands of flights were canceled. So between that and the fact that it was a Saturday morning in the summer on one of the busiest vacation weeks, I rightly guessed that our illustrious airport, voted like worst in the country, would be a mob scene.
I guessed correctly.
I looked at the departure board for my flight, got the gate number, and then waited in the line from hell to get through security. One hour later, I made it. Okay. So I now had two hours before take-off. No problem. I had a great book, my iPod, and a brand new Philadelphia Magazine. But when I went to sit down and make myself comfortable (in the waiting area for another airline because mine was so mobbed with people taking an earlier flight), I saw the departure board start scrambling and blinking.
"Oh crap," I thought, getting up to check. "Watch. I'm here three hours early and my flight is getting canceled."
Well, it was way worse than that. They changed terminals on me! I was stunned. I'd already passed through security for Terminal D....now it's saying I needed to be in Terminal E? Could I have read it wrong? No. That was impossible. I checked and double checked. Flustered and completely freaked out, I ran up to the security desk at Terminal D.
"I just passed through here and now the departure board is telling me I'm in a different gate..."
"Happens," the security guard shrugged.
"What do you mean?"
"The pilot probably parked in the wrong spot."
Huh? Was he serious? And what did that mean to me?
"Oh god. So what do I do?"
"You have to leave here, walk to Terminal E, and go through security again."
"You are kidding me."
Wow. I never heard of anything like that happening, ever, and I've flown a million times. Completely rattled, I headed for Terminal E, where a three mile line stretched full of hassled travelers.
Oh well. I had two hours to kill.
The line moved quickly considering, so there I went again, removing my shoes, my belt, my little ziplock bag full of 2 ounces of various liquids, etc.
Whew. Made it through with an hour to go.
I looked around for my new gate so I could sit down and get comfortable and decompress, and this you won't believe. I looked at the departure board and it said "Terminal D".
I blinked, not believing what I saw. I just kind of stood there in a daze. So this is what I get for arriving at the airport three hours early.
Exited Terminal E, got back in line at Terminal D, and went through security yet a third time.
I now had twenty minutes until take-off.
Didn't get to read my book, didn't get to shop for anything to munch on...I was a sweating, hyperventilating mess.
But at least I was finally in the right spot and I guess it could have been worse - what if I had been pulled out of line during one of my three security pass-throughs? Strip searched, suspected of being a terrorist, or something like that...I almost expected it to happen after standing in my third line of the morning. The security guard recognized me and actually laughed.
I boarded the plane, almost wanting to ask anyone and everyone "This plane is going to Florida, right?"
But the fun was hardly over.
I sat down, and my trip started out with the pilot introducing the head stewardess as "Holly from American Idol."
Oh, I wish I were kidding, but I am not. Because you know what they do on that show...
Holly starts out by picking up the mic and running through the safety drill - yeah, like if our plane is crashing, a floatable vest is really going to save us...and who pays attention to that stuff anyway...but she pulls a great one.
"Parents, if you are traveling with a young child, put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then quickly take care of your child. Unless you have two children. Then you should pick the one with the most potential."
Ha ha, Holly, good one. By the way, she was really pretty, in that real American Idol Cheerleader kind of way.
But it's a good thing I didn't have a gun because as we started to take off, she picked up that mic and belted out her own special version of CCR's Proud Mary.
Only she sang "Rolling! Rolling! Rolling down the runway!"
And she sang the whole damn song.
It was like being forced to sit through a high school production of Annie.
I ordered a Bloody Mary. So did the guy next to me. We struck up a conversation and it turned out that he's "in management" with the Department of Defense, overseeing which weapons go to Iraq...but that day he was heading down to Florida for a baby shower with his family. I kid you not. I thought I was going to have to freaking bite my liberal tongue in half but it turned out he was a way cool guy and I had a lot of fun talking with him...not to mention I picked his brain about everything from the war to our illustrious President to how crappy ice hockey is now that the sport has changed and how much we preferred it when no one wore helmets and bloody fights broke out.
Ha ha - Robin the liberal who hates war likes old fashioned ice hockey. I know. I can't explain it either. Well yeah, I can. No one gets killed and everyone has a lot of fun letting off steam.
But I digress.
So it was like the world's quickest flight, between the interesting conversation and the fact that the weather cooperated - I think we got there 45 minutes early. And for once, I found the hotel shuttle easily in the airport, which, if you've ever been to West Palm Beach, is like the size of a small supermarket if even that, with Spanish architecture, a Cinnabon type place, an Irish Pub, and one gift shop.
I arrived at the hotel before the band...but I called Eric and good news, they were only like twenty minutes away. I asked the hotel clerk if they had a computer I could use to print out our boarding passes home for the next day -- they did -- so I kept myself busy doing that and checking my email, etc., then my family and the Belews walked in and I was never so relieved to see anyone. We said our hellos and hugged, dropped our bags off in our rooms, and headed straight to the venue, which was a way cool old fashioned movie theater in West Palm Beach -- excellent acoustics though we've all pretty much decided that we prefer when the band plays in "standing" venues because they really rock out and having to stay in assigned seats is kind of restricting.
They ran through sound check and since we had around three hours before showtime, we decided to go out to dinner. I was leafing through a West Palm Beach magazine while the band was rehearsing and saw a little ad for what looked like a most excellent seafood restaurant nearby. Oh my god, did I pick a winner. Julie, Martha and I had amazing fresh seafood salads and conch chowder, Eric the ultimate vegetarian had a salad and gazpacho...Ade had what he said were probably the best crab cakes he'd ever eaten...and well...we just had the most incredible, relaxed time pre-show and Adrian said that dinner out with people he loves is one of his favorite things in life.
Do I freaking believe that this is what Adrian Belew said to my family...this legend...this incredible human being?
I had to fight back tears, I really did.
We ordered dessert to go (coconut cream pie for Ade, Martha, Julie and me...some insane peanut butter chocolate confection for Eric), and headed back to the venue.
Can I tell you that it was a sold out crowd of some of the best fans I've ever met? When the band took the stage, they gave them a standing ovation. After the first song, another standing ovation. Screaming, clapping...and this continued throughout the evening. Every song, people jumped to their feet. And while I usually sit right in the front row, this time I found a lone seat (thank God) right in the middle, third row back, and I was able to watch the faces of people all around me. Their jaws were somewhere around their feet. I witnessed them gaping at Adrian, then being astounded by Julie...looking over at Eric and shaking their heads in freaking awe.
"Look at the size of the kit he's playing! How the hell is he getting that sound?"
Eric does not like playing a huge kit...as you can see from the various photos I've posted, he likes a basic set-up which he somehow makes sound like six drummers playing at once.
"This is the best fucking band I've ever seen," was basically what I heard coming from every single person sitting near me...and I heard some extremely flattering and to me surreal comparisons which modesty and not wanting to embarrass the trio prevents me from posting today but you can only imagine considering the people with whom Adrian has played.
The cry for an encore was deafening, and the band happily obliged, with their trademark grins plastered all over their beautiful faces.
As you can tell by the photo I posted the other day, post-show Ade, Julie and Eric come out and sign autographs and talk with fans until the last person leaves. We hung around for well over an hour, then mutually agreed we did not want to evening to end so we went out to another restaurant. As soon as we walked in, Adrian was recognized by a thrilled fan who looked up startled and gasped "Hi, Adrian!" and then ran to his car and returned with an old LP which he got Adrian to sign...I think Ade made the man's life that evening.
We chatted non-stop until like 1:30 a.m. and at some point I did actually start to cry though I don't know if anyone noticed...I didn't out and out sob but my eyes filled up several times as Adrian and Martha talked about how much they adored Julie and Eric and we discussed plans for the future...after which we wearily returned to our hotel but I was so fired up from our conversation I could hardly sleep.
The next morning we met for breakfast in the hotel before our flight home and talked some more about additional touring possibilities, Side Four Live, and just life in general. Adrian and Martha are two of the most interesting and intelligent people on the planet. I don't feel this way about many human beings...in fact, I can count on one hand how many folks I've felt that way about in my lifetime....but I could literally talk with them for hours and never be bored or restless. Our two families are like soul mates.
After we finished eating we hugged, said our goodbyes, and I got really depressed that I'm not able to join them again on tour next week in Mexico and Seattle but I've got other obligations and Gary and I leave for our own two week vacation shortly so it just wasn't possible, damn it. But next time for sure...
So it was pretty much of a bummer to arrive at the West Palm Beach airport and experience the ride from hell on the way home. Two and a half hours of turbulence and a crying baby. What is wrong with people? Good lord, when I traveled with Julie and Eric as young children -- and don't forget, they are fifteen months apart so it was like traveling with twins -- never once did I subject strangers in public places to a screaming child. Why? Because I have common sense, that's why. Who the hell travels with children without bringing plenty of toys, books, snacks...man, I used to even travel with two hand puppets -- Bert and Ernie -- put one on each hand and carry on conversations and write little plays on the spot -- anything to keep them occupied and on their best behavior while having a great time myself. It isn't rocket science...and if they did cry for any reason, I would immediately pick them up and comfort them. These two idiot parents on the plane ignored their child -- the mother had an iPod on for god sakes, which, if this had been pre-9/11, I would have ripped off her head and given her the lecture from hell.
Though with my luck, I would have been arrested so I refrained, but between that and the turbulence, I actually pulled out my barf bag...and at one point made my way to the bathroom (but not before giving those parents the glare from hell on my way there)...and just pressed my head against the cool metal wall and splashed water on my face to keep from being sick. I was seconds away from a major panic attack which is definitely something you do not want to have on a plane, but I was seriously never so claustrophobic in my life.
Naturally, because of the bad weather and fog, our plane went into a holding pattern and we had to endure the trip a half hour longer than our expected arrival time.
I actually had a "hangover" the next day...I was still shaking over twenty-four hours later.
But luckily these things pass, and I swear, next time I fly I am going to be the one carrying toys and snacks for any poor kid with a neglectful parent!
Okay, that's a wrap for now...I'm taking off for a few days and in case anyone is wondering about my writing life...stay tuned for what I hope may be some amazing news next week. Or not. Fingers crossed.
I will try and fit in another blog post or two before the Labor Day holiday if I am able but I'm taking a little writing vacation to complete an anthology I'm editing, speaking of writing, and do not know if I will get back here or not. If that's the case, have a wonderful holiday weekend, everyone...I cannot believe how this summer flew by...but when I think of where Julie and Eric have been since June - up and down the east coast, the south, Quebec, Japan...now Mexico and Seattle...holy freaking cow....maybe it didn't go that quickly after all.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Julie Slick, Eric Slick, and Adrian Belew signing autographs for fans following their Saturday night (August 25, 2007) performance in West Palm Beach, Florida
Here's a review which appeared today in Tampa Calling:
Adrian Belew My Face Off
August 27th, 2007 by Leilani in Reviews
"Progressive rock virtuoso Adrian Belew performed much of Friday night’s two-set show with a shit-eating grin on his craggy face, his fingers dancing nimbly up and down the neck of his retro orange guitar, his effects pedals ensuring that the tones he produced were never quite ordinary. To Belew’s right, 21-year-old bassist Julie Slick played with her long curly hair hanging in her face. To his left, her younger brother, drummer Eric Slick, pounded out beats with changing time signatures amidst the occasional danceable grooves and spirited interchanges — dare I say face-offs? — with Belew.
All together, they filled the room with a dynamic stew of electrifying prog rock and played two fun sets of Belew originals and King Crimson numbers that were enjoyed by a mature, mostly male audience. The tremendously short set break was marked by a solo instrumental performance by Belew, the highlight a captivating cover of The Beatles’ psychedelic “Within You, Without You,” in which Belew perfectly recreated the tone of the tambura (a sitar-like instrument from India). It was the type of show that makes it hard to get a drink or take a bathroom break because you’re afraid you’ll miss something good. Belew was clearly having a raging good time with his young cohorts, their interchange spirited and a treat to take in. When the trio came out and encored with “Thela Hun Ginjeet” — a King Crimson standard – the 300 or so attendees who stood rapt and still through much of the show became an energized mass of dancing bodies."
Here's another interesting review:
..."As promised, I'm writing a few on the Adrian Belew gig last week. I first became aware of the guy when my dad brought home what was the second McKinnon family compact disc (the first being Led Zeppelin IV). Paul Simon's Graceland. I consider this one of the most important records in the development of my musical appreciation. I seem to recall The Joshua Tree and Graceland being the records that flipped the switch in my noggin which made me realize the difference between actual quality and fluffy bullshit. I still appreciate fluffy bullshit of course (we're seeing Def Leppard tomorrow, front row center thanks to a hookup with the radio station), but those two records in particular caused me to realize pop music had real artistic value. I started digging into my dad's Beatles, Who and Kinks records soon thereafter. I had a shitty acoustic guitar within the year.
Adrian was on Graceland. At the same time we got the disc, there was simultaneously an interview in Guitar World with him and Robert Fripp. I had no real awareness of Talking Heads or King Crimson (especially KC) at that time. That didn't happen until college, when I actually began to markedly improve on bass (resulting from the embarassment of playing in the basketball band and sucking out loud in front of 15,000 people at the SWC finals) and became interested in "difficult rock" (I loathe the prog nomenclature). Two years later I was in a band with my oldest friend. A year after THAT Peanut Gallery was delving into abject stupidity. Race you to the end of the song was the motto. Cramming as many time signatures as possible into a three minute pop song was standard practice. We worshipped Rush and Genesis and The Police and Talking Heads, but were playing with our egos (as a brief aside, no band should ever wear capes and write 40-minute long songs, regardless of intent or talent). Then came the rock opera, effectively the bane of the group. The Feldmans followed a year later, which was a direct response to PG in that our goal was to get together a few times a week, get drunk and write ridiculous, self-effacing/self-referential prog rock anthems. There are specific moments on the ensuing recording that could very easily be lifted directly from Moving Pictures, but in a laugh out loud sort of way. Laugh out loud if you're 100% geek, I suppose.
During that period in the late 90s/early 00s, I was practicing a lot. Not necessarily expanding my understanding of theory, but more my vocabulary. I got into the Heads (and Tom Tom Club), Bowie, Minutemen, back into Pixies and Pavement, Guided By Voices, various post-rock outfits like Sea and Cake and Three Mile Pilot, Queen, Elvis Costello and Elton John (John Deacon, Bruce Thomas and Dee Murray are probably three of my favorite bassists; so melodic and supportive, but totally distinct in their styles... and regardless of the fact I play like an Entwistle obsessed, adderall laced chipmunk). The bulk of my 20s was spent flushing out the cock-rock vernacular and replacing it with substance and quality. Maybe that's a bit pretentious to say and most likely impossible to achieve, as I am still known to drive away from work with Open Up and Say Ahhh... on the iPod and my outstreched arm flipping an unrepentant fuck you to The Man. I digress.
ANYWAY, Adrian Belew is a major component of that effort. I have nothing but respect for anyone able to forge a career in creativity without sacrificing personal principles. Whether those principles are getting laid and fucked up (a la Motley Crue) or writing and performing music for the sake of writing and performing music, the fact remains it's accomplished without denigrating whatever it was that urged them into that line of work to begin with. What I particularly appreciate about Belew, aside from his individualism, is his sense of melody and songcraft. So many times I hear someone say his music is maybe what John Lennon would be writing were he still alive today. I suppose stripped of the perfectly twisted guitar work - yes. Or maybe Adrian would be performing with Lennon, providing it. They seem cut from the same cloth. Count in the Tony Levin connection, and I s'pose it's not beyond the scope of reality.
To my mind, Belew exemplifies that iconic sort of modern-media artist, the Kubrick or Warhol or Prince, who is just creatively relentless, but populist. How does one live like this? That constant output, all within the public eye. I know for a fact creativity isn't the sole element of those people's successes. I know plenty of creative people who don't do shit. Who sit at home waiting for something to happen to them, waiting for someone to recognize the power of their genius. There's more to it than creativity, obviously. Self promotion, conceit, work ethic, awareness that an audience exists for whatever it is you have to say (although Rush has an exceptional philosophy on the role of the audience in the creative process, I'll refrain from discussing here as I know most of you bastards loathe Rush) - components. And like anything, if you become bored the art declines and you eventually just... stop. Or you resent success and those who established it. Jaz Coleman. Kurt Cobain. Et cetera.
ANYWAY, while I started this post as a review of the Belew show, I quickly realized it's been years since I've written a rock show review and had lost track of my goal by the second graf. I apologize for the sophomoric ramblings, then. I do want to say that seeing Adrian play with, well, kids... kids half his age... siblings Eric and Julie Slick... who can easily hold their own against the best in the business, probably walk all over them actually, motivated his performance to a different level. He's always good, certainly, but everyone seemed to enjoy this gig more than the last go-round. Not that the last go-round was lacking, but that this one was looser and kookier..."
"New and cool in this tiny corner of the world....I saw the most awesome concert last weekend...thanks Mark!!!!!! The Adrian Belew Trio came to Asheville. Even if you aren't into prog rock, there can be no denying the talent that was collected on that stage! Most astonishing was that 2/3 of the group was half my age ....and their talent was almost freakish! I haven't enjoyed a concert that much in ages. I found myself giggling uncontollably for a few moments as a couple of "new agers" found their way next to me at the front of the stage. They were surely enjoying whatever trip they were on. Asheville certainly is a fun place to people watch!"
A few cool messages from Eric's MySpace page:
I can't thank you enough for the amazing performance in West Palm Beach last night. Seriously my ALL TIME FAVORITE concert (and I've seen some good ones!).
You ALL looked like you were having a BLAST! That really transferred to your audience; it made US enjoy it all that much more."
you guys ROCKED the theatre last nite! aside from getting to see adrian (1 of my 2 favorite guitarists - words can't describe how much his music means to me), it's so nice to see a band have fun while they play. and to top it off... have a good attitude toward the fans after the show. :)
took a buddy of mine (an opera singer) w/ me to the show. as much as he enjoyed the show, his favorite thing about the show was your drumming ability.
blessings + peace,
The show last night in West Palm Beach was AMAZING! You are incredibly talented, but I know you've heard that from the BEST already. :^)"
A comment on Adrian's blog:
Saw you last night in West Palm Beach and I have to confess I am still buzzed! By far THE best show I have seen in a long time. Julie and Eric are amazing and your energy is mesmerizing. Hope to see you again SOON!"
Okay, I am totally exhausted, jet lagged, and still on a huge high from my weekend in Florida with the Belew clan. So either later today/tonight or tomorrow I will give you my first-hand account of the show complete with photos and some personal little anecdotes. Cool? Cool!
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Yes! Two for the price of one - a ten minute clip featuring Frame by Frame, Three of a Perfect Pair, and my personal heartwarming moment, the evening's final bow, filmed at Stella Blue Live, Asheville, N.C. on Sunday, August 19, 2007
This You Tube is courtesy of ValenZerProductions.
So I am getting ready to hop a flight for Florida this morning to catch the The Adrian Belew Power Trio show at The Theatre in West Palm Beach, but before I go, a couple of things.
First, I joined the Adrian Belew Facebook Network, which was lovingly created by uber-fans Wendy Lozenicins and Gareth Howells. I'm still getting used to navigating the site but I have to admit, so far I prefer it over MySpace though I'm pretty technology challenged as concerns both. Sigh...I hope at some point I'll be able to figure these things out and get really creative with them because I know how excellent they are for networking music and writing-wise.
Next, you know I can't leave for the weekend without posting a couple more reviews:
August 24, 2007 - Friday
Jack Rabbits Again Last Night-Adrian Belew Power Trio
"Um, the warm up guy, Saul Zonana was great. Beautiful guitar work and gregarious and funny on stage. We got there about 4 songs into his set and heard about 6, all were good, and one was about a blow up doll. Bought his most recent cd and I will be buying the one with "Bette" the sex toy on it.Don't pass up a chance to see him. I won't.
Adrian Belew, The Adrian Belew Power Trio. Guitar master. Leaning toward Jazz on most of his stuff until the last 3 or 4 songs. Then it was gut wrenching rock. "Power Trio" was an apt description. The kids sitting in with him on drums and bass are unbelievable. Age 20 and 21, brother and sister. Eric and Julie Slick from Philadelphia. Watching them was worth the price of admission!...
From the beautiful Ms. Kat:
"...I went to Smith's Olde Bar last night and met freakin' Adrian Belew of King Crimson fame (see the picture I took on Richie's Myspace*). HOW COOL IS THAT??? He puts on one of the greatest shows ever. And the brother-and-sister bass and drums combo he has playing with him are positively phenomenal, and I mean that. Julie Slick could give Richie a run for his money and win. Eric Slick was sitting there playing Bill Bruford better than Bill. 20 and 21 years old, from Philadelphia, and unbelievably cool (go Flyers!). They have MySpace profiles, check 'em out.
That really was one of the most amazing musical experiences of my life. Thank you Allison for reminding us (and for dinner)!!! I'll post pics from the show on my Flickr real soon"
*Note from our author here...I think I found "Richie's" MySpace site with all of the cool photos -- here is the link, which does in fact include a comment from Ms. Kat:
"Ohhh I'm so jealous... you got a picture of half the drummer's face =) I'll get my pics up soon, hopefully.
thanks for reminding us, and for dinner, darling, I had a blast
Posted by Miss Kat on August 24, 2007 - Friday at 1:22 PM"
Okay, holy cow, I just realized what time it is...I'm not even done packing and I've got to be at the airport in an hour!
Friday, August 24, 2007
This is from the Asheville show Sunday night, August 19, 2007. Thank you, Valenzer Productions, whoever you are.
The above photograph is courtesy of Rick Glover of Beatle Fan Magazine -- and oh wow, Beatle Fan Magazine, how cool is that! Great link to click on and spend a few hours!
I think Rick's shots are incredible -- here's a few more:
And thanks once again to Sid Smith at DGM Live for linking my blog today and especially for his headline: Ade And The Power To Convert regarding all of the cool reviews I've been posting and how fantastic is this - he also linked Kate Kretz, the extraordinary artist I quoted here yesterday...because really, after the show, she is the definitive Ade convert! Awesome!
From The Intergalactic Cowboy's Blog
Adrian Belew In Atlanta!
"Twas a night of youthful energy in Atlanta tonight. The Adrian Belew Power Trio performed at Smith’s Olde Bar to about 200 raging fans. I had suspected that the reason that this group was called a power trio was perhaps because Belew would be playing lots of power chords. The real reason for this group name is the powerful rhythm section of Eric and Julie Slick, ages 20 and 21 respectively. These two young players skillfully played unlimited scores of speedy 32nd notes with unlimited energy ! Belew looked rather youthful himself, with brown hair almost down to his shoulders. He also seems to have been visiting a weight machine.
Belew ripped out lead after lead of unusual scales with unusual guitar sounds. At one point he was using a violin sound; then he looped the violin sound and played another violin solo on top of that. Then he used a Fender Rhoades sound and played some jazzy sounding chords and melodies at a lower volume and tempo, creating a subtle dynamic for a few minutes. Then he played a solo using a reverse-gate violin sound. A couple of the instrumental pieces sounded like they could be future King Crimson songs. One sounded a lot like ‘ Indiscipline,’ with diminished chords and whole tone scales and a churning rhythm. Another was reminiscent of ‘ We’ll Let You Know,’ kind of quirky, trebly and jazzy. I should add that he played the K.C. tunes ‘ Dinosaur,’ ‘Neurotica,’ ‘Frame by Frame’ and ‘Thela Hun Gingeet’ during his set which lasted almost two hours. The rhythm section did a superb job of duplicating the drum and bass parts to these difficult progressive rock powerhouses. Eric played Bruford’s complex drum parts with the precision and energy that equaled Alan White when he replaced Bruford in the group Yes.
And speaking of entities named Crimson, Mr. Crimson himself was there with the lovely Laurie. He introduced me to Rob Murphree, the webmaster of the Adrian Belew website. Adrian’s wife Martha sold me a tee shirt which I will deliver to Troy Johnston in Thomaston. In eleven hours I need to be at a Nissan dealership so it’s time to go to bed."
From a blog post by Dustin:
August 23, 2007 - Thursday
Adrian Belew - Smiths Olde Bar- Atlanta,Ga - 8/22/07
I could leave it at that, but I won't.
This was actually my first time to Smiths, a legendary and nationally renowned bar here in Atlanta. David Bowie has even played this 300 + capacity room...
...It was now time for the Rhino King himself. I was excited to see his new trio (featuring Eric and Julie Slick, on drums and bass) up close, as opposed to seeing them at the very back of Chastain Amphitheater last time. They ripped right into "Writing on the wall" letting anyone unfamiliar know right away what they were in for. The set , similar to that of other shows I've seen, consisted mostly of original material with a King Crimson song here and there, the three this time being the obvious "Dinosaur", the rare "Neurotica", and for encore, my favorite and first KC song "Thela Hun Ginjeet".
They played all of the trio songs from "Side 1", but shied away from the "Side 3" trio tracks. Eric and Julie pull off the arduous task of coping the lines of Les Claypool and Danny Carey, even more impressive is the fact the Eric (20) and Julie (21) are half the age of their counterparts. They are beyond their years, having graduated from the Paul Green School of Music (Eric,remember, only 20, is now a teacher there), they show an impeccable connection that is every great rhythm section, without even trying Eric shoots Julie a look and mouths a number, let's say 3, BAM BAM BAM and then back into the song seamlessly. I commented to someone standing next time my amazement at the stunningly beautiful Julie.
(Another amazing photo by Rick Glover)
"Not only is she a lot prettier than I am, but she blows me out of the water with the bass."
She jumps between finger and picking, slapping when necessary. Definitely one of the most proficient pick players I've ever seen. Her brother has a wild but solid style, and something you don't see with enough drummers, a huge fuckin smile while he's playing. You can tell these people love what they're doing and love doing it with each other. You can bet anyone Belew picks to play with him are going to be some of the best, even if they're young enough to be his children.
The surprises of the night came in the extended jams that came out of "Beat Box Guitar" and "Big Electric Cat". The band really explored some ground, both songs lasting a good 10-15 minutes at least. On top of the song chops, they show they can improv without a problem. The best of both worlds.
After the thrilling "Thela Hun Ginjeet" for encore, Adrian and the Slicks came out to do some meet and great and sign. Normally I don't bother trying to get an autograph, but there was barely anyone left (from the sold out show) and this IS fuckin Adrian Belew one the most prolific and talented guitarist of all time, permanent member of King Crimson since the reunion in '81,previously toured and recorded with Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Paul Simon, Nine Inch Nails, Tom Tom Club, Tori Amos, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones,Herbie Hancock, David Byrne, has guested onstage with Umphreys McGee, Tool, and Primus, and has produced countless other albums.
So, yeah, I went ahead and got in line. All of the band are very humble and easily approachable, not an ounce of pretension. After complimenting them on the great job ( i was a little buzzed at this point, so it came out as "Your guys' playing puts my musical aspirations to shame" to the Slick siblings , who wants to hear that?Thats not at all what i meant to say, god i felt like a jackass.) I asked if anyone wanted a drink, on me. Adrian said he wanted a lemon drop, but as i went to the bar, they told me all they could sell me was a corona as they were closing up, so i came back empty handed. The worst part though, is a few minutes later Adrian walks up and asks for the lemon drop, and they hop on it as if they weren't even closed. So I felt like even more of a jackass. HA!
Seriously, if your a fan of any kind of rock, you need to check out the Adrian Belew Trio next time through town.Seriously, he's a legend! Up there with Hendrix, Vaughn (even though i think Stevie was WAY overrated), Clapton, Page but still under the radar. It's rare you'll get the chance to get this close to such an innovator. And hey, at the very least, the bassist is cute as hell!"
So there were some celebrities in the audience in Atlanta, including Denny Walley and Janet The Planet:
And here's Adrian with Denny Walley and Andre Cholmondeley:
I know I am leaving out stuff - I literally am swamped by emails from appreciative fans but I hesitate to post them without permission and there are tons of small Live Journal, Facebook, and MySpace entries that simply say "AWESOME", "INCREDIBLE", "FANTASTIC", "MIND BLOWING", etc. so let me just take the opportunity to thank all of you and please keep them coming!
And err...I hate to bring my personal life into all of this, but just a reminder that you can lend my new rock and roll epic, Daddy Left Me Alone with God, some support by buying "shares" in an online stock market game -- with play money that you are given - $5,000.00 worth, in fact -- oh that it were real -- right here and there's an excerpt included...if you have a minute or two, please read it, comment, and buy some shares by clicking on "higher" (you will see what I mean once you log into the site but if you have any questions, please email me or comment below)...and also, I just got word that I will be reading at Robin's Bookstore (ha ha, no relation) on October 13, 2007.
I will most likely be reading an excerpt from Three Days in New York City, my best selling (heh) erotic comedy (Hi, Tommy! Hi, Dot!)...and here's the very cool poster for the event:
Okay, that's a wrap. For now, anyway.
In the meantime, if you are down in the Florida area, I urge you to catch the Adrian Belew Power Trio tonight at The State Theatre, St. Petersburg, Florida.
I will be boarding a plane early tomorrow morning to catch the trio's show in West Palm Beach tomorrow at The Theatre. Hope to meet a lot of you there!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Photo of the Adrian Belew Power Trio taken by Cleek
So it's almost impossible for me to blog today. I received so many overwhelmingly incredible emails and reviews of the last few Adrian Belew Power Trio shows that I'm literally sitting here all verklempf. But I will try and wipe away the sappy tears and get my thoughts in order so that I can at least write something coherent.
Or at least use the cut and paste feature coherently.
Where to start, where to start.
I think I will begin with a blog entry made by an absolutely amazing artist named Kate Kretz, and I cannot urge you enough to click on that link and look at her work. I am blown away.
I'm only going to post an excerpt from her blog as it's very lengthy so again, if you want to read the entire entry, I encourage you to click that link as well.
"...As I have only known my husband for 3 ½ years now, one of the things that we enjoy sharing with each other is the music we do not have in common. We both LOVE blues, funk, classic rock, but from there, we diverge. We have spent the last few years trying to introduce each other to those divergent areas. Last night’s Adrian Belew concert was one of those territories.
It must be said that my husband is a musician when he is not being a scientist: he’s been playing tenor sax for decades, but also composes on a combination of keyboard and computer. He worships at the altars of Frank Zappa and Peter Gabriel. His attempts to introduce me to Prog Rock often leave me feeling ashamed of my ignorance and unsophisticated taste. I am certain that it is similar to the feeling he gets when we go to a museum together, and he points out a Renoir that he likes, even though he knows that I think it is pure bubble gum....
...So last night, while we were waiting in the rain at The Cat’s Cradle with two other people an hour before the doors opened, Kevin started to talk to me again about King Crimson and Adrian Belew. I said that back in high school, when I was the only girl in the Mathletes club, most of the guys listened to King Crimson. Kevin responded that, funny I should mention it, King Crimson fans, and prog rock fans in general, tend to have higher IQs than other audiences. We eventually got out of the rain, got our hands stamped, and went into the dilapidated black box of a room. Fans were photographing Adrian’s guitars that were already set up onstage....
...But the obviously humble and down-to-earth, iconic Adrian and the dazzlingly talented Eric and Julie Slick (a.k.a The Adrian Belew Power Trio) blew me away. SO tight and on-spot with the most complex compositions (“duh”, I can hear my husband say), they expanded my understanding of what music could be: like the Grinch whose heart grew three times larger that day, the portion of Kate’s brain that processes music has been stretched, and will never be the same.
Apparently, Eric and Julie Slick were featured in the movie Rock School, a film we have heard about but have never seen (and have since moved to the top of our Netflix queue). They are brother and sister music prodigies, 20 and 21, playing drums and bass, respectively. I want to email their Mom, Robin Slick, who is a writer, and ask her what she did to/for them when they were tykes. I defy any audience member to keep from falling in love with the bass player Julie, blessed with Pre-Raphaelite beauty as well as soul, sinew, and fever.
(Photo courtesy of "Mentally Guitarded" and go click on his site as there are many great photographs and videos)
Adrian seemed to be having a great time while he did mesmerizing things with guitar that I didn’t know people could DO with guitars. I felt truly fortunate to catch him in such a small venue, where I could really see what he was doing. And after pulling out all the stops on stage in an amazing performance, this legend stayed after the show to sign autographs.
I’m no music critic, but even a sonic sophomore like myself could not deny that this show was not even a shade shy of brilliant. Catch it if you can, and take someone whose mind you love."
Oh man, that was so cool, Kate. And I can relate. My husband -- before we were married and he was my childhood sweetheart -- turned me on to King Crimson, too, back in the early seventies when we were little baby hippies. My advice for raising kids? Surround them with art and music and love. And treat them as people -- as you would like to be treated yourself, with respect and dignity, from the time they take their first breath.
After reading your blog and visiting your website, I think you and Kevin will be awesome parents.
So that review was from the Cat's Cradle Show -- I seem to be working my way backwards and I'm thinking I'll do a separate post later today on the Atlanta show last night.
Here's an email/blog comment I received from "HTL" which really made me smile:
"Just wanted to say hi. I got here from Youtube, unusual in that I was talking to Eric in the same spot where, nine years ago, I was tossed out after Eddie Vedder bought me a beer. Small world!
The show was amazing. Julie shot Eric a few amused, incredulous big sister looks: he mouths "five" -- now? you can't be serio -- CRASH! CRASH! CRASH! CRASH! CRASH! -- and they're somewhere else. The snare gets an in-flight tune-up. A cymbal limps over: to ratchet the thing back up calls for another free hand so, shrug, it'll wait.
Adrian, as ever, is having the time of his life.
Can't wait for the CGT tour."
Err...the CGT Tour? Do you know something I don't know, HTL?
Actually, I did see on Eric's MySpace page that Paul from the California Guitar Trio left him the below message on August 5:
"Eric!!!! I just got a message from our agency saying that they are working on some shows for Belew Power Trio and CGT early next year! Yes! Let's play something all together this time. It will be the CGT/Belew Double Trio!
Oh man, I know I'd be so, so into that!
By the way, if you click on Eric's MySpace, there are some great messages, including one very cryptic note from Tree Montoya which naturally has me intrigued. Note to self: Remember to ask Eric about this.
Still backtracking, here's a review from the Stella Blue show in Asheville Sunday night, courtesy of M. Couture's Live Journal:
"I finally saw Adrian Belew in concert. He plays with a couple of youngsters, Julie and Eric Slick. Together they form one powerful power trio. The sounds of Adrian Belew's guitar were still ringing in my head (in a good way) hours after the show had ended.
I would describe Adrian Belew as a "sonic" guitarist. His playing is not primarily lyrical (which is not to say that he is incapable of lyricism) but rather, his bag is sound itself. His sound is large, by turns screaming, growling, oozing, spacey, precise, and futuristic. More than any other musician I can think of, he explores the sonic possibilities of the electric guitar. Needless to say, he is liberal in his use of the whammy bar, the echo delay, and other several other devices.
His top-notch rhythm section, Julie Slick on bass and Eric Slick on drums, is an ideal counterpart to Adrian Belew's tidal wave of electric guitar sound. The very picture of nonchalance, Julie Slick sometimes plucks, sometimes picks, and plays as if excellence were simply a matter of course. Eric Slick kicks it on the drums and grins impishly after playing an amazing fill.
Part of what makes this band great is that they are obviously enjoying themselves on stage. Adrian smiles and makes faces while he plays, and then pumps his arms like Charles Atlas after a tune. His happiness is infectious, and makes the show that much more enjoyable.
There were some problems with sound that night. Apparently, their usual sound man was not on the job. For my tastes, the volume could have been turned down from eleven to ten. It would have made the lyrics more intelligible and it would have made the different components of the sound more distinguishable. But even so, the show was superb. Greatness can't be neutralized by a few technical glitches.
I particularly liked a solo version that Adrian did of (I think) the Beatles' "Love You To." At first I thought it was something borrowed from Electric Ladyland. It was one of the night's most lyrical moments, and afterwards, Adrian said, "that was fun."
This band is avant garde, it explores new sonic landscapes with vigor and verve and makes you think about the possibilities of the power trio...and the three obviously have a blast playing their music. See this band if you get the chance."
Here's a comment I lifted from Adrian's blog about the very same show:
"Dear ABP3: I saw y'all at Stella Blue, Asheville, NC, on August 19th, 2007. I will remember this date for the rest of my life as one of the biggest BLAST's of my life, no kidding! Bigger than Genesis in Atlanta in 1978. Bigger than Rush in Glasgow in 1977. Bigger than King Crimson at the Orange Peel, Asheville in 2003.
I have been a fan of Adrian Belew since I first heard "Discipline." At Stella, I was right underneath Adrian in the "mosh pit." The biggest thrill came when you guys were playing "Big Electric Cat", and Adrian locked eyes with me as he started to rip one of my all-time favorite guitar solos. No big deal for him, locking eyes with a shell-shocked fan, I'm sure, but the raw intensity of Adrian practicing his craft and connecting with one of his audience, specifically ME, made it a very special moment! Chills up and down my spine!
The SlickSibs: Tight, powerful, passionate. Stunningly so. You are so lucky that Adrian has taken you under his wing, but deservedly so. When I wasn't being dazzled by Adrian, Eric was stunning me with his virtuosity and enthusiasm. I mean, Eric blew me away! Who needs a Bruford? Julie so cool, so in control, such a rhythm-leader while taming her wild brother and her crazy Uncle Ade. Phew. The world is your stage.
Adrian: Thanks, thanks so much. Thanks for your passion. Thanks for your prolific career, and for keeping you craft new and dynamic. Thanks for recognizing the Slicks, and paying homage to Zappa's tutelage of a young Adrian by adopting the amazing Slick Rhythmatists.
I can't wait for the first studio ABP3 album, y'all: "Power Triage?" You guys saved my jaded Rock n' Roll Soul. Gimme more sugar!"
Okay, compose yourself, Robin. Take deep breaths. Have some coffee or something...no, wait, better make that green tea. Decaffeinated.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not post a news article which appears today in the Brandenton Herald:
"Adrian Belew driven by love of music
By SCOTT HARRELL
Special to the Herald
Author Stephen King - one of the most prolific page-fillers of the 20th century - once wrote something to the effect that a writer who only produces one book every seven years is just plain lazy.
Looking back over Adrian Belew's professional history, one gets the impression that the revered guitarist would agree with King's views on the flowing of creative juices. Belew is many things - gifted experimental guitarist, storied sideman, producer, prog-rock icon - but one thing he isn't, is artistically slothful.
"Once or twice, yeah," he responds with a laugh when asked if he's actually slept since 1978. "There have been a couple of times when I accidentally fell asleep. I didn't mean to."
Belew originally came to cult prominence when the legendary Frank Zappa saw him playing in a cover band that year, and hired him as a touring musician. These days, he's perhaps best known as a member of long-running progressive-rock outfit King Crimson. Between those two stations is a résumé and catalog of groundbreaking music that's both astonishing and largely unrecognized by pop-music culture at large, despite Belew's hefty contributions to its canon.
Let's be clear: There's not enough space here, or in any mere feature article, to comprehensively document this journeyman's career thus far. Some outside the circle of dedicated listeners, omnivorous sonic adventurers and music-scholar types that form the core of his fanbase know about his stint in David Bowie's band, and his long-running pop project The Bears, and his contributions to such classic albums as Talking Heads' "Remain in Light" and Paul Simon's "Graceland." But what about his work with avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson? His many, many solo and collaborative albums? His playing on Nine Inch Nails' "The Downward Spiral" and "The Fragile," on Tori Amos' "Strange Little Girls," on William Shatner's 2004 release, "Has Been?" His many production credits, which include Jars of Clay and popular Mexican rock en espanol act Jaguares? The list really does go on and on, shaping a portrait of a singularly restless player.
"My original plan when I was a teenager was to follow the normal path, to write songs, to have my own band, to maybe get a record deal," says Belew, now 57. "But it all seemed to happen from a different perspective for me, almost through the back door. And along the way, I realized I enjoyed all those things, the collaborations, the working on other people's albums, getting with people you've never worked with before - it all adds up to what it is that I like (about making music). If it was just one thing, maybe it wouldn't be as interesting."
As Zappa once did for him, Belew likes to provide talented unsung musicians with whatever opportunities may come from an association with him. He often includes more obscure artists in his projects and is currently touring in a power-trio format with a largely unknown rhythm section composed of siblings.
"The power trio is really almost unexplainable, you have to see it to really believe it," he says. "I can tell you it's me and Eric and Julie Slick, a brother and sister team from Philly. Eric is 20 years old and his sister, who plays bass, is 21. They're totally focused on music, and they're sensational musicians. They don't even seem like kids to me, they're both right up there with all the great players I've worked with."
Belew goes on to admonish those longtime fans tempted to take that last statement with a grain of salt, given his star-studded résumé, that he's not exaggerating:
"I tell people this because I don't want them to miss the show, and then be told later that they missed the best thing that's come through town. It shocks people. Power trio is a good term for it because it really is powerful, it's very energetic. It's taken all this music I've fed into a trio format, and revitalized it. It's somewhat free-form, there's a lot of improvisation but we're also covering stuff from all of my solo career. Plus a dozen King Crimson songs, and they sound as vital and enthusiastic as they did when they were written, whether it was 1981 or 1990."
As excited as he is about his current undertaking, it's unlikely that Belew is thinking of settling into any routine, much less of retiring. He's concurrently releasing music from his long-awaited box set of rarities, Dust, regularly on his own Web site, www.adrianbelew.net, as well as maintaining a personal blog and promoting his latest solo album, "Side Three," which features Primus principal Les Claypool and Tool drummer Danny Carey. There's little chance of him becoming the experimental-music equivalent of a lazy novelist in the foreseeable future.
"I'm driven by the love of it," he says. "It's the creative part of it that I most enjoy. I always seem to have new ideas or challenges. I love performing as well, but I'm not driven to perform, I'm not an entertainer. Mostly, it's just that I love playing music, you know? There's so much left to do. I don't think I'll ever get tired of it."
If you go
What: The Adrian Belew Power Trio
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: State Theatre, St. Petersburg
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 day of show
Information: (727) 895-3045"
Okay, that's enough for now. I will be back later with reviews, comments, and emails regarding last night's packed concert at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta, Georgia. From what I've read, they blew the roof off there, too.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Oh my god, have a look at this review of last night's show:
"Saw the legendary Adrian Belew at the Cat’s Cradle last night. Wow. Amazing. I’d only seen him live playing acoustic, until last night, so I had no idea how loud and ferocious he was when plugged-in. Yow. I was directly in front of him, enjoying the full skreiking joy of his 4 amps. The ear plugs went in about 2/3s through.
He had a drummer, Eric Slick, and bass player, Julie Slick, with him. They were absolutely amazing. Eric Slick is probably the best drummer I’ve seen live, and he’s only recently turned 20. Simply overflowing with apparently effortless power and precision. Julie Slick, his 21-year-old sister, is a monster bass player; she stands there, baby-faced and barefoot in her blue dress, happily playing parts written by bass giants like Les Claypool and Tony Levin - even duplicating, on her bass, much of Levin’s Stick work on Crimson’s “Elephant Talk”. You’d expect them to be good, to play with someone like Belew (who’s pushing 60), but they were gooood - I’ll be surprised if they don’t end up huge, someday.
They did a lot of long, crazy instrumentals that ended up with the three of them breaking off into different rhythms: very free, but engaging, and never sloppy - when the drummer hit that snare, they were always right back where they needed to be. They did a bunch of new stuff from Sides 1,2&3, a handful of Belew classics (Big Electric Cat, Young Lions, Paint The Road, etc), and a bunch of King Crimson songs at the end (Three Of A Perfect Pair, Thela Hun Ginjeet, Frame By Frame, Elephant Talk). All were great. The guy next to me, who said he’s seen Belew “30 or 40 times”, says Belew’s next record, “Side 4″, will be a live record from this tour - yay! While I like his records just fine, it all sounded amazing when played by this band. Should be great.
I was half expecting him to do a bunch of tame versions of his serious, messagey, songs (Men In Helicopters, Peace On Earth, Lone Rhinoceros, etc), but it was nothing like that at all - no acoustics, none of his Beatle-esque songs. Except for a solo atmospheric instrumental piece Belew did in the middle, it was all heavy aggressive screaming progressive rawk. And it was all surprisingly modern; except for the fact that the crowd was chock-full of balding pot-bellied Boomers, you wouldn’t think this stuff was coming from a guy whose best-known work was done in the early 80s. As far as I can tell, there’s no good reason this particular band he’s put together shouldn’t be a giant in the current alt-rock scene."
Photo of last night's show at the Cat's Cradle, August 21, 2007, taken by Michael Dehaan
Part one of a very entertaining blog post:
"I'll have to finish this later, as I'm utterly and perfectly knackered, but the Adrian Belew gig at Cat's Cradle was more or less mind blowing. More than less. I commented to Ken that we probably just saw members of the top one percent of living musicians. Tomorrow I'll write up some typically withering commentary of What This Show Means To Me.
And for what it's worth... Julie Slick, will you marry me?"
Ha! I'm afraid you will have to take a number and get in line, my sweet little monkey.
Here's an email I received from Jeff Bond, a member of Adrian's Yahoo group:
"I just got home. It was a dynamite show, right at 2 hours. I heard all my faves (Big Electric Cat, Dinosaur, Frame by Frame, Thela, etc.). If someone was there and managed to grab a set list, please post it somewhere.
Everybody has been saying that Julie and Eric are great. Now that I've finally seen them play, I have to agree. They rock! As the father of kids that age, I hope Julie and Eric have the chance to "play", goof-off, go to school, socialize with similarly-aged kids, and generally grow up as they continue to play music professionally. Eric had a grin stuck to his face the entire night . . . seemingly having a blast. Julie seemed to take everything in stride and is a bit more reserved, maybe? Adrian obviously enjoyed the evening, but I think he always has a good time when he's performing.
Jeff, rest assured that they had a totally normal "childhood" and if the below photos are any indication, they are still enjoying it! Julie is about to graduate Drexel University this fall (she should have graduated in June but needs to take three more classes in September) -- she totally adored and was immersed in the college experience; Eric has always known he was going to be a musician and would settle for nothing less but he has many, many friends and when he is not on tour his cell phone rings non-stop with so many social invitations I actually was going to buy him a PDA to keep track of everything but he ended up buying a really cool journal instead which he uses to do everything from write music to draw crazy artwork to get girls' phone numbers -- ha ha - I had to put that in...even I know you use your cell phone for that-- and I'm now ducking under my desk as I can see Eric getting ready to throw a pillow at me all the way from North Carolina.
Here's some shots of the Adrian Belew Power Trio enjoying some post-show relaxation. ETA: I just found out courtesy of Scott's comment below that these photos were taken after the Anapolis, Maryland show in June of this year.
I found those photos on Flickr - they were taken by Radiolan -- I don't know who that is, but I sure love his/her pics and I do know one thing for sure - whatever the hell that dessert is that Eric is eating, I want one, too!
And oh my god, while I was scrolling through Radiolan's Flickr site, look what I found -- he/she has a dog named Barney who looks just like our Monty!
That made me smile big time.
And hey, just a reminder that you can catch the trio tonight at Smiths Olde Bar in Atlanta, Georgia -- it's a small venue which accommodates 350 people and I heard a rumor it might be sold out but it appears you can still purchase tickets right here.
Finally, I really want to thank all of the incredible fans who have been emailing me, sending me photos of the shows, and most of all, blogging and writing reviews. You guys are awesome!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Saul Zonana at Stella Blue in Asheville, N.C. August 19, 2007
So from what I've heard (and read), the Adrian Belew Power Trio did indeed "kick ass" at Stella Blue in Asheville, N.C. on Sunday night, and the first email I received was from Andre Cholmondeley, who forwarded me an e-mail he received from a certain VIP:
"From Andre Cholmondeley:
"He (Eric) is well on the way to kicking my Dad's ASS...."
---"Granpappy Marshall"...aka Son/Guitarist of Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle..."
Wow. That's awesome.
Then, I'm sitting in the law office yesterday wondering if I could escape out the window without anything more than a fractured ankle or simply give up altogether and go into the ladies room and drown myself in the toilet when I got an email from Mike Inman, who not only took all of the photos I'm posting today, but wrote one of the more heartfelt reviews I've ever received:
Kudos for parenting 101----You sure have two fine children. Not only are they two of the BEST musicians I have EVER seen.....but they are the most genuine humble gracious approachable people.
I am going to send you something I wrote last night when i got back to the hotel after the show here at Stella Blue in Asheville. Oh and BTW that sure was one killer show...sound problems or NOT! Once they started over from the top after the first bunch of sound problems...you would NEVER know that ever happened...
Also, when Eric came out of the venue as I was walking past, he was so funny! He was on his cell phone and I did a double take....hey it's ERIC SLICK ...I thought....COOL! Do I say something? And he looked at me and got this expression on his face like HEY LOOK -- this is us -- and he pointed to the poster in the window. "You coming to the show tonight?" I looked at him and said ..."I have a message from your mother." I showed him the posters I had made which he said "OF COURSE I know of them." He said "Hey, cool"...and he opened his arms and gave me a great big friendly hug!
One of the guys waiting to get into the show last night looked like someone right out of the Rock n Roll history books...he was wearing bell bottoms with white stars on them...on each star was a signature of someone from the Mothers of Invention...he was there to make sure that Adrian signed his pants...there were a few open stars yet to be signed...that was quite cool!
Anyway can you tell I am all over the place about last night! I had one hell of a time...and Saul Zonana was running sound for them last night after he finished his gig on stage....he was really a great guy too. I looked at him at the merch table and said Okay, Saul...so out of all these cds which is your favorite? He said, "Well, either this one,"42 Days" which I did with Adrian...or this newer one here." You know I went for the one he did with Adrian and I am sure another time I will get some of his other work, too.
Eric asked me outside when he was talking to me...."Have you ever met Adrian?" And I replied "Yes! he really is a great guy!" Honestly I do not think I have ever met anyone as gracious as that guy playing in clubs...having been in as many big known bands as he has.....and still as normal as ever. Your children could not be in better hands.....he is truly a gift from God....they are so good together...and yes yes yes I really noticed the energy of the three of them. I have seen Adrian so many times now...over the years since 1983 and this will go down in my mind as one of the BEST shows I have ever seen him play. There was an energy to those songs.....there was something magical about the three of them together.
They took those Crimson songs to new levels...Julie and Eric as so tight together. Their tones meshed...and were the perfect backbone to Adrian's pyrotechnic guitar work! You will see how I commented below on the way they captured my attention...honestly I watched Eric play almost more than Adrian last night LOL! And for a drummer that takes a lot to capture my attention away from the guitarist! From the moment he hit his first chops on that kit...I was CAUGHT!
Now that I have written my morning book on last night I will leave you to read what i wrote to my friends in Los Angeles and my one buddy in Sao Paulo, Brazil.....I wrote this to them last night below:
AB Power Trio ver2.0 - Asheville NC 8-19-07
First let me start by saying JULIE SLICK is the barefooted priestess of cool! Those two in my humble opinion, were the stars of that show...and that is not taking anything away from Adrian being a guitar GOD! Syncopating Siblings is what they are...they were talking to each other through their music OMG and Eric ...he really is a train wreck just like Charlie Watts said....he just keeps on going he is truly unstoppable!
(Note from your author -- I think Mike means "roaring" train, not a train "wreck" but Mike, you made me smile...and I think it was Denny Walley who said that though Charlie Watts did indeed have very nice things to say about Eric as well. Okay, enough from me -- more from Mike...)
No Rock star syndrome for that boy! Actually, he came out of the venue earlier when I was walking past...he pointed to Adrian's poster and said "You coming tonight?" And I said "Sure" and "I have a message from your mother! LOL!" Then I showed him the posters and he said "YEAH I KNOW ABOUT THOSE DUDE, THOSE ARE INCREDIBLE!" He said "Take 'em back to your car so you don't have to hold them all night and then get them after the show we will sign them all for sure! And if you have trouble getting back in just tell them I said it was ok!"
He is so cool...just a very genuine kid who is a consummate professional...he has got to be one of the BEST Drummers HANDS DOWN that I have EVER SEEN! It was amazing the way Julie and Eric played off each other...it gave Adrian fuel for the fire! I could certainly relate to his looking like he was living a second childhood. I felt the same way in Art School this most recent time around. Feeding off the youthful energy gives an older person like myself drive!
At the beginning of the show they had some major/minor setbacks...first Julie had no bass volume coming out of her monitor...and then once they got that Eric had no bass coming to him either...and then Adrian's guitar was super hot -- he would touch a string and it was way too loud! They were all freaking a bit...and then I screamed PRAY TO THE GODS OF BASS and Adrian threw up his hands...and said OH GREAT ONE...or something like that...it was a very memorable moment for sure!
His guitar was still running very hot...and he was semi freaked out by it...Eric kept messing with some power supply by his drum kit that was loose, too. They got it semi worked out and started the first song over again from the top! Way cool! Just like an old Zappa show -- if Frank was not happy, he would often start the song over from the top!
I am telling you straight up here I am such a major guitar freak...I live for the solo...the over the top wild playing...and yet I often found my attention drifting over to that kid on the kit...OMG! He had all the chops! It was so nice the way they had the drums set up on my right. I had a great shot for some good photos...I have not even peeked at that yet. I think I will end this for now and take a look at what the camera lens captured.
Oh man, thank you so much, Mike. Your kind review salvaged a truly miserable day for me.
Mike also wrote that he has over a hundred photos so I await them anxiously and of course will share them here...sigh...maybe when I get home from...ewww...work today.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Eric Slick, sitting behind his new gift from Adrian Belew, a silver sparkle Yamaha drum kit, at Stella Blue in Asheville, N.C. August 19, 2007 -- and thank you to Andre Cholmondeley for emailing me that pic in the early AM hours last night.
And I'm laughing at what Eric is wearing -- an old WMMR t-shirt which has to be 25 years old. His dad won it from the radio station back in 1982, before Eric was even a consideration to his zero population we-are-never-having-kids hippie parents...har har...anyway, WMMR at one time was the premier underground FM radio station in Philadelphia. (God knows what they play now...classic crap rock mixed with new crap rock, tons of commercials including ones to join the military, and way too much completely unrelated to music disc jockey banter. Bleh). Anyway, it took real skill and music knowledge to win that t-shirt, combined with old fashioned technology...i.e., there was no such thing as speed dialing back then and much slower telephones.
The contest was called the daily DMO, or "dreaded morning oldie". The dj would literally play one note from a classic rock song, and the first caller to get through and guess the name of the song and band would win a bunch of stuff, including that coveted t-shirt. Gary holds the world record for wins...I think he managed like 50 of them because he's such a freaking musicologist with a perfect ear, but here's the crazy thing in this serendipitous world of ours...he had one competitor, a guy named Lee Truscan. I am telling you this for a reason.
So this competition was every single morning for at least five years, maybe more, at 7:10 a.m. Every single day, give or take a few exceptions each week, the winner would either be Gary or Lee. But for some reason, even though our last name is "Slick" and you would think the the DJ would have remembered Gary since he won so many times, he instead focused on that guy Lee, and invoked "The Lee Truscan Rule", which meant that if you'd won the DMO within the last thirty days, you were disqualified and could not win again until the following month.
I casually remarked to Gary: "That damn Lee Truscan. I was looking forward to a whole collection of those t-shirts. But you know what? I have the weirdest feeling that you and Lee are going to meet some day."
Yeah, because there are only three million people living in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs, but it was something I just knew.
Even though I also knew from radio chat back and forth that Mr. Truscan did in fact live in the far suburbs, where Gary and I never venture, because frankly, the suburbs give us both the hives.
Time went on, much to our shock we decided to have kids after all, Julie arrived in 1986, Eric in 1987...and because I was working full-time back then, both kids were enrolled in a daycare center in downtown Philadelphia.
One day I am filling Julie's bin at the center with her diapers and toys and I notice that the bin next to her is labeled "Jeffrey Truscan".
Could it be possible?
Even crazier, Julie was born January 30, 1986; Jeffrey was born January 31, 1986.
So one night at 5:00 p.m. pick-up time, Gary and I arrived at the daycare center simultaneously to gather our babies and finally, lo and behold, Mr. and Mrs. Truscan were there as well, picking up their Jeffrey. We got to talking, and I couldn't help it, I had to ask.
"You aren't by any chance Lee Truscan?" I asked, expecting him to look at me like I had lost my mind.
"Yeah, that's me. Have we met?"
Gary and I looked at each other, eyes bulging out of our heads.
"I'm Gary Slick," Gary grinned.
"OH MY GOD!" all four of us exclaimed at once.
I couldn't get over it. I still can't get over it.
"I knew we were going to meet him some day! This is so crazy!" I blabbered the whole way home in the car.
And that it got even more nuts, because when Julie and Jeffrey turned four a few years later, they were still both in the same daycare center and the Truscans and Slicks decided to throw a joint birthday party for our darlings, complete with clowns, alcohol for the parents, and $400 worth of finger food -- we had no idea what we were getting into. We booked the old Houlihan's Restaurant because they had a kid friendly menu, never dreaming how much this whole extravaganza would end up costing...back then $400.00 was more like $4,000.00 and I'm giggling because these days that party is "nothing"; I know people who throw their kids birthday parties at the Ritz Carlton and/or hire ponies and professional singer/songwriters.
Okay, so I know a lot of yuppie idiots.
Anyway, the Truscans did indeed live in the far suburbs and ended up moving even further away; Julie went to kindergarten in downtown Philly (as did Eric); and we never saw or heard from them again.
The DMO was discontinued around the same time -- the dj left the radio station after being dethroned as top jock in Philly when Howard Stern came to town in the late eighties, early nineties...and the only surprise is that Jeffrey Truscan didn't end up graduating Drexel University with Julie, too, though for all I know, that's where he is.
Life is like that. At least in our world.
So I woke up this morning trolling for reviews of the Adrian Belew Power Trio's show last night at Stella Blue in Asheville, N.C. -- nothing yet, though two very cool things did happen -- Andre Cholmondeley, who is not only founder of Project Object but is on the Belew tour this week as techie, roadie, all around savior, not only forwarded me the above pic of Eric, he sent me a text message right in the middle of the concert: "They are kicking ass!" (and if I knew how to text message, I would have sent him a return note but it was a miracle I even figured out how to retrieve what he sent me)...and my email inbox contained the following:
I just saw Adrian, Julie, and Eric perform in Asheville tonight, and I must say you've done something very, very right. What amazing children you have!!!
Congratulations, and thank you for raising them right.
Brad Brock in Asheville, NC"
And speaking of Project Object, on the band's MySpace site there are four new songs uploaded which cover four separate periods/incarnations of the band.
Anyway, to hear Eric Slick's contribution, follow that link and click on Big Swifty.
Here's the specifics from the gig:
28 December 2006
The 8x10 Club
crew: André Cholmondeley, Dave Johnsen, Eric Slick, Eric "Sluggo" Svalgård, Robbie "Seahag" Mangano, Jordan "J-Ro" Shapiro, Ike Willis
Getting back to the Belew Trio, just so you know, the reason this post is called "Part I" is that I'm sure I am going to get some reviews and more emails coming out of last night's show as I know a bunch of people who were in the audience, and as soon as they wake up and write about their experience, I will be back with that as well as (hopefully) some more pictures of the band.
And now I'm off to get ready for two weeks in hell. As I mentioned here last week, I promised probably the only person in the world I would do this for a huge favor -- I am filling in for her this week and next full-time in a law office so that she can go on her first two week vacation ever -- and she's worked in that office for 27 years. She's such a kind, generous sweetheart I didn't have the heart to turn her down when she asked me. But oh oh oh, I woke up with the most horrible sinking stomach today...like, how the fuck am I going to manage this...but yeah, yeah, it could be worse, i.e., what if I had to do this every week?
I would have to kill myself.
Just kidding. I did it for most of my adult life and may end up doing it again at some point...but dear God please don't let it be in a law office.
But oh crap, other than writing and music, it's the only thing I know.
Ha ha - too bad Gary and I don't get a paycheck for parenting the Slick Wonder Kids.