Friday, February 29, 2008

Blog Critics Reviews the Adrian Belew Power Trio

So how cool is this - Tom Johnson from Blog Critics was at the Adrian Belew Power Trio Show in Phoenix last night and has posted an awesome review:

Concert Review: Adrian Belew Power Trio With Opener Saul Zonana
Written by Tom Johnson
Published February 29, 2008

Photo of Eric Slick courtesy of Burton Lo

"Going to the show, I had no idea who was opening for Adrian Belew last night in Phoenix at the Rhythm Room. I only heard the guy at the door pronouncing the guy's name to someone in front of us - "Like 'banana' with a Z... and an O." As openers go, you usually don't expect much, but Saul Zonana scored immediately with, admittedly, a completely meaningless thing - his guitar, a Parker Fly, and one of the most beautifully painted guitars I've seen in recent memory. Green with purple and red swirls, it was gorgeous. Luckily, he actually had something musically substantial to offer - Beatles-y rock filled with lots of great hooks and clever melodies (I even caught a bit of King's X in his guitar tone - I'd be surprised if he wasn't a Ty Tabor fan.)

Performing solo, accompanied by a drum machine and backing tracks, he got a surprisingly good response from the crowd and, in fact, I headed over to the merch table and picked up his latest album, Love Over Money, which is as good as I was hoping it would be, and very close to the live show itself. Check this dude out.

We weren't but a few minute into Adrian Belew's show when a hassler began his loud, possibly drunken schtick: "I'M A LONE RHINO!" This, from the very back of the Rhythm Room, was delivered over and over again despite absolutely no acknowledgment from the stage. After a few minutes, the guy gave up and moved on, away from us, at least, and everyone around us looked relieved. You're a lone rhino, all right.

The guy wouldn't be getting "The Lone Rhinoceros" tonight. Adrian Belew's show hewed pretty close to the track listing of the recently-released Side Four Live (available only from his site, (signed) or (unsigned), but don't take that as disappointment. While they may have followed a similar setlist, they broke out in different directions at all points, including a couple of very long jams that, admittedly, lost their way occasionally. The thrill was really just seeing his new trio in action. Belew is backed by the young brother/sister duo of Eric and Julie Slick on drums and bass, respectively, whom Belew found at the Paul Green School Of Rock. (See, kids? It really is cool to stay in school.) The two make a powerful backing for the wild exploits of Belew, who needs something solid under him to stay thoroughly grounded.

As Belew put it at one point, "It's time for the difficult listening hour. Better put on your helmets," then launched into the very appropriately titled "A Little Madness." The power of this trio was best displayed here - Julie Slick laid down a huge bass line while Eric nailed an intense groove and Adrian whipped up a maelstrom, looping layer upon layer of squealing, twisting, turning guitar lines one upon another. When the insanity of the long piece was over, Adrian wiped the sweat from his face with a black towel, leaned in to the microphone, and said, "It's over, we're all safe."

Not only did we get a heavy dose of the past few Side albums, Belew picked through his older material, delivering "Young Lions," "Of Bow And Man," and a real crowd pleaser, "Big Electric Cat," among others. Two new pieces were unveiled for us, one, the simply titled "E," had only been played once before, while the other new one may not have even had a title, but Belew informed us that it was among material that the trio was working on for a new album. The trio closed out the show with a handful of King Crimson favorites that really got the crowd going, and it was a thrill to see and hear young Julie Slick nailing, once again (as on the live album,) Tony Levin's epic bass lines. She looked like she was struggling, but it sure didn't sound like it.

Belew, introducing Eric and Julie at ages 20 and 22, respectively, said, "Add up their ages and you get... " as he pointed to himself, then, laughing, he jokingly added, "You're not falling for it, huh?" But it's no joke that he's acting as a bit of a father figure up there on stage. The show was thrilling not only in that I got to see one of my heroes doing what he does best, but also because I got to see him being so supportive of these young musicians. When the opportunity presented itself, he urged the two to step up and take a moment in the limelight. Drummer Eric seemed more eager to take advantage of the opportunities, jumping in with small solos and fills wherever possible, but Julie, with prodding, stepped up, laying down openings to tunes here and there, impressing everyone in the audience, garnering a huge response from the crowd at the end of the night. As one guy near me said, "She is a seriously awesome bassist."

With King Crimson re-energizing for a short stint of active duty this summer with new second drummer Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) on board, and hopefully some new material to come after that, Belew's power trio will be on the back burner for a bit. If you want to see this band in action, get out and do so now. Belew has never been more on top of his game and, solo, at least, has never had a more energetic band back him. Except maybe that "LONE RHINO!" dude - he can probably sit them all out."


Thank you, Tom - that was most excellent.

But for the record, there are plenty of Adrian Belew Power Trio shows planned for the rest of 2008 so there really isn't much of a back burner. There will be an early summer run in the U.S. and some pretty interesting places overseas in October/November. Stay tuned.


Adrian Belew Power Trio: Phoenix, AZ

Wow, it was like Christmas and my birthday this morning waking up to these wonderful photographs, which Joel Klein sent to me at 2:30 a.m. after seeing the Adrian Belew Power Trio at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix last night. Joel met my family last year when they were on tour in Phoenix -- he's a professional photographer -- and he snail mailed me some amazing shots from their prior concert which are totally awesome. He showed up at sound check last night and took a whole new bunch of pics -- here's just a few which I absolutely adore:

And here's what he had to say about the show itself:

"I just got home and I am really beat...........was up Weds morning at 4am to get on a 6am flight to Las Vegas (building a Walgreens up there) and now it Thursday night, er, well Friday morning. I got to tell you how proud you must be of Eric and Julie. I just want to squish them. They are such nice people..........apples never fall far from the trees. What pleasures they are. They remind me of our kids, just so sweet to be around and polite, happy, humble!! Wow! As I type I am downloading 320 pictures I shot tonight. If I can I will send a couple over as I am not going to view them as I am wiped. Adrian and Martha are really good people too. I am fortunate to meet such wonderful folks, huh? As for the playing, what can I say other than, as usual was superb! Eric and Julie continue to blossom into really talented Musicians. I think the world of AB to have recognized and given such a great opportunity to them. Okay so I will send you shots in a different email so you can wake up to seeing your wonderful children. Send my very best to Gary and tell him we missed him (and you).............."

Thanks, Joel - that's amazing. And I look forward seeing more of your photos!

From the Planet Crimson forum board:

"I've read too many gushing reviews of this band to want to contribute another one. But I can't deny that it was a pretty great performance last night at the packed Rhythm Room in Phoenix. The set...was pretty much the same as before, Side Four with a couple of additions, most notably a crimsonesque new song Adrian said was only being played for the second time. But familiarity with the set didn't really detract at all from my enjoyment; it seemed fresh to me. I don't know if it was because they were playing differently or I was just swept up in the joy, energy, and enthusiasm of it all. For sure they sounded tighter than before. Like last year the Slicks impressed and moved me from the get-go; honestly more so than Adrian for the first few songs. Consider yourself lucky if they're coming to your town on this tour."

I have to giggle - the Julie Slick/Tal Wilkenfeld comparisons/confusion continues to percolate over at the Bass Player Magazine forum board.

And such nice things are being said over at the YES forum board:

"I have Side Four, and it's excellent! Just got it the other day . . ."

"They look like they're having a blast, man."

"I saw them almost two years ago at Double Door, which is quite a dive. They were great then. Julie Slick is a fantastic bassist and I remembered she played that night in bare feet--I believe she does that all the time."

"Saw them last summer here in Nashville and they were AMAZING!! I had concert high for DAYS!"

There's also a bunch of excellent comments over at the Adrian Belew Power Trio MySpace site - don't forget to friend them! It's hilarious to me that I've had a MySpace site for two years and have like 2,000 profile views -- the trio has had their site for six weeks and have close to 7,000. Actually, it's not hilarious, it's way cool, and I confess to still being utterly confounded by MySpace and therefore doing nothing to promote myself there...this blog takes a big enough chunk out of my writing time but oh how I enjoy it.

Continuing on, two days ago I posted that great pic of Julie wearing shades taken by Burton Lo and here's what he has to say in his blog, which includes a link to his fantastic photographs:

"I had the chance to spend an afternoon and evening at the Coach House ending with a raucous concert by several amazing musicians. The lineup included Tom Griesgraber on the Chapman Stick at 8p, Saul Zonana at 9-ish, then the Power Trio at around 10pm. Talk about a full night of music, and what incredible music it was!

I've almost always enjoyed progressive rock, though I found some of my early exposures to Gentle Giant and early Genesis to be not as exciting to me. When I found King Crimson in the 80s, though, I was hooked for a lot of reasons, one of the primary being Adrian Belew.

Learning about him after the fact turned up the fact that he'd been involved in several of my favorite bands including Frank Zappa, David Bowie, and other. He was, and still is, my favorite front man for a band and this current group of his is pretty much perfection for all involved.

I had the true pleasure to meet his band members, Eric and Julie Slick. I briefly met them a year and a half ago, but I got to see more of them on Sunday and I'm so looking forward to many years of beautiful music from these two. And, if he chooses, I think Eric's got a second career in slapstick because, you know, timing is everything...

Anyway, there are some shots from my afternoon watching setup all the way through the end of the show and after. Here's the link on Flickr..."

Okay, I've got my eye on a couple of people who aren't awake yet in Arizona who were at the show last night so as usual, if anything interesting pops up, I'll be back.

But if you are reading this now and are anywhere near Santa Fe, New Mexico, you can catch them tonight right here!


Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Little Madness...

"A Little Madness", also known as the "Julie Slick" show...ha ha, just kidding, but it's so cool to find a You Tube where you can really see and hear her clearly. Shot at the lovely Crystal Lake Casino in Lake Tahoe last Friday night.

Man, someone should send that clip to NFL Films or Comcast Sports or Fox Sports or the NBA or Major League Baseball or even the Olympics -- if that's not a song that should be blasted at sporting events I don't know what is.

Now this one is from Tuesday, 2/26/08 at the Belly Up. For me it's worth it to have a listen just to hear one of the audience members scream "Yo, Eric! You kick ass!" but the truth is, in talking with Eric, he had gear problems all night and no working monitors so this was his least favorite performance on the tour but still so starts out with the King Crimson classic Neurotica, written by Adrian, and goes into the full version of Bow and Drum, which is one of my all-time favorite songs.

Okay, it's early in the morning but I wanted to put these up - be back in a few hours to add actual words to this post...

And sadly, R.I.P. Buddy Miles.

ETA: See, it's only 8:00 a.m. and I'm back already. Look at this awesome review of Side Four Live posted over at Progressive Ears:

"King Crimson fans! Guitar freaks! Or just anyone with an interest in incredible musicianship and fascinating sounds. If you've missed out on the greatest disc of 2007 (which was easy since it was only released in Nov and has been website-only so far), don't hesitate any more. Chances are most folks browsing this site already know the name, and if not, the resume (KC, Zappa, Bowie, Talking Heads, NIN, Tori Amos, Flecktones and half a million others) should speak for itself. The guy's one of the most innovative guitarists alive. In addition to being a wildly intelligent songwriter, he can make a guitar sound like anything from an organ to a telephone to an elephant.

If you know who he is already, this CD more than recommends itself. Adrian had already been on a creative streak with his series of three solo albums/EPs over the last couple years, but Side Four still blows them all out of the water. Just be careful it doesn't set your speakers on fire too.

Credit where credit's due: the injection of high-octane power chiefly comes from Julie and Eric Slick, who make up his current trio. Not only are they two of the most phenomenal players you'll ever hear for their ages (21 and 20), but Adrian is so fired up by their energy that he's churning out some of the most sizzling hot six-stringing of his career. (Yes, and that includes King Crimson.) Speaking of which, the KC material here is also as smoking hot as you've ever heard it. "Dinosaur" pounds as hard as the Thrak-era group ever did with half the people, and "Thela" is powered by drumming so machine-gun crazy you'd swear Eric was an octopus. Playing material this complex is like navigating a musical minefield, but these three pull it off with the precision of a Swiss watch and make it seem next to effortless. And though I say 'complex,' for the most part it's infectiously catchy as well. It's stuff you could play around the kids or the parents. (Although "Madness" might scare the cat a little. You've been warned.)

But as great as the songs are, just hearing the group play is what really makes the whole thing worthwhile. The interaction is worthy of a world-class jazz group. You can pick out any one of the trio to focus on for the entire running time and never be bored for a second. It's easy to focus on Adrian's guitar first, whether it's high-speed shredding or animal squeals and skronks, but it's your loss if you don't take the time to pick out just how J&E underpin everything too. There are crazy little licks and fills all over the place, and yet it never stops grooving like a rave party on crank. (Except for "Beat Box Guitar," which becomes a psychedelic head-trip that Pink Floyd would have been proud of.)

Click over to to find this one. Even if your wallet doesn't thank you, your ears will. And whatever you do, DO NOT miss them live. It's transcendental."


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Odds and Sods for Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Nope, as much as I wish it were true, I am not on a plane to catch my kids performing out on the west coast this weekend.

I'm busy writing a couple of new chapters and editing several others so (a) I'm kind of relieved the Adrian Belew Power Trio is off tonight and heading to Phoenix for their show tomorrow evening and (b) this is therefore an abbreviated post which...gasp...may actually talk about writing. But we shall see. I can never leave the music totally.

For example, have a look at this brilliant photo of Julie on stage at the Coach House show Sunday night. Unless I am mistaken, the pic was taken by uber fan Burton Lo, who did some amazing work last year, too.

No, no, I said this post was about writing. So let me direct you to my favorite cyber hang-out, LitPark, and an interview with Jessica Brilliant Keener -- and is that the greatest name or what?

I met Jessica at the BackSpace Writer Conference last May and she's amazing. I'll tell you what else is amazing - excerpts from her latest novel, which you can read here and here.

And I know most of my readers are musicians and/or music lovers so Jessica's novel will really resonate with a lot of you.

Speaking of music -- hahahahaha - you knew I would, but hey hey, it's connected with writing -- a few days ago, I mentioned that a film had been made based on one of my short stories (and yes, the link works today - I finally figured out how to do it because it was tricky and not one I could just copy)...anyway, the director, Jonty Reason, sent me a copy and Oh. My. God. I was so freaked out watching it I could hardly control myself. I mean, I thought it was "based" on my story; I didn't expect to hear actual dialogue, words I'd written, spoken by actors. I had the total chills; it was surreal. And the actor they hired to play God (well, God is actually a Guitar God)...holy crap...if I were twenty and single I'd be on a plane to Australia now, stalking him. Ha! His name is Ant Neate and I can't find him on Google images so Ant, if you google yourself and come across this, please oh please send me your photo so I can post it here and drive all of my female friends crazy. You really can't get a good idea from these tiny shots but oh well, I'm posting them anyway.

And yeah, the movie has now been accepted into four major international film festivals and I really really wish the Belew UK tour this fall ('s an unconfirmed rumor...yeah, that's what it is, a rumor...unconfirmed) would coincide with it but nope, the UK film festival is in June and unless a miracle occurs, I will have to be content with watching it on my own television here in Philadelphia.

Erm, ask me how many times I've watched it so far. It so completely blows my mind. Jonty did such an incredible job and he chose the most powerful scene in the story to film. I'm like a little kid jumping up and down. Trust me, I can't even imagine what it will be like to see a full length movie or television series based on one of my books...what I do know is that I will require CPR throughout the screening.

Anyway, I did say I was writing today and I mean it so I'm out of here.

For now.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tonight: Adrian Belew Power Trio in Solana Beach

Well, finally. A You Tube with not only decent sound and vision (though Ade does appear horizontally a few times and Julie isn't really visible) but one that features Mr. Eric Slick! This was filmed Saturday night in San Francisco, and to say I am psyched to post this is putting it mildly.

Oh, in case you are missing having a look at the magnificently gorgeous Julie, here's what she is usually up to offstage while Adrian is doing his solo performance in the middle of their set:

I really think the trio is pretty fired up now...four shows into their twenty plus show schedule and it's as they have been playing every day together for the past ten years. Yesterday was an off day, and the Coach House in San Juan was kind enough to let them use their venue for rehearsals...might they be adding a few new songs to their set tonight in San Diego/Solana Beach at the Belly Up?

Here they are really enjoying themselves following their final encore Sunday night and this photo pretty much says it all:

I see Julie also appears in yet another "beautiful chick bass player" commentary on the Bass Player Magazine Forum Board...

The praise keeps coming on the Adrian Belew Power Trio MySpace site and in the short time (only six weeks!) it's been up, there have been over 6,000 profile views and over 1,000 listens to "Three of a Perfect Pair".

If that's not exciting enough, today I received an email that there was a "new comment" on a You Tube of the trio I posted back in November, 2006:

"I saw these 3 in Cali a couple days ago and I can't stop listening to this song since! All 3 are AMAZING, and I can't believe how good those kids are it makes me want to cry and puts my 10 years of guitar playing to shame. Thanks for the video, so I can get my fix and kinda relive a couple nights ago!"

And oh my God, I just realized that the new edition of Philly Style Magazine is out on the newsstands today, and their website offers a sneak peak of the article about Julie and Eric (you need to scroll all the way down) and here's a small version of the photo, taken in my living room, which appears in the article:

Anyway, that's pretty much it for now but as usual, if more interesting stuff appears magically on the web today, I will be back. Tonight's show at the Belly Up should be awesome. There are some special guests who may be in attendance this evening and that's all I'm saying...usually whenever I spill the beans about something like this it ends up not happening so I'm going to stay quiet for now.

You have no idea how difficult that is.

Ha ha - or maybe you do.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Adrian Belew Power Trio in San Juan

Oh man, I just read this review of the Adrian Belew Power Trio at the Coach House in San Juan, Capistrano last night written by "Dwight" and I had to come in and do another blog post:

A photograph of a very young Julie and Eric Slick taken by Gary Slick several years ago - posted just for fun

"This was my 3rd Trio performance that I attended. It was the best to date.

None of my ABPT virgin's that I brought have been able to sleep yet. The are still sitting in their living rooms with their hair blowing back like that old Maxell tape ad. Remember that? They went from skeptical (thinking it was going to be droning sounds capes...not that this would be a bad thing for me) to a ho-hum attitude about two average players on bass and drums. I kind of kept quiet and let it all speak for itself.

My friend Tanya was up front who was an original promoter for Zep, Joplin and Hendrix. She had seen Adrian but never seen the trio. I told them all to buckle their seat belts prior to the show because by the end of the evening you will have a favorite guitarist and he will be the best that you have EVER seen. Eric will be in your number 1, 2 or 3 spot on drums. Julie will be right up there with any of your favorite bass players. Well, after the show, I literally had to almost carry these folks out. Not only is Adrian their tops now. But Eric is at number one (he is their favorite of all time now).

To quote Tanya who is 74 years old and attends over 200 shows per year and
knows most of the top rock musicians in the world (she absolutely adored
Julie...who didn't?):

OMG....... ......... ......... ......... ......... Last night was unreal.

Those kids are something else.

Adrian was in rare form all night. I still can not go to sleep. I am still
thinking about that show.

Dwight you are right that kid on the drums is going to be big big.

It was so nice seeing you and your friends last night.

Your son is just a cutie Pie. So handsome.

I received emails from some of them who have dug up the petition for Ade's induction into the Hall Of Fame and are an the campaign trail now. He definitely deserves it. I know you folks know where it is. But I will be copying this review to many others:

Petition to Induct Adrian Belew into R&R Hall of Fame

Last night was a home run folks. A huuuuuuuggge HOME RUN. They knocked it out of the park. The energy was high and Adrian extended many songs due to his unrelenting energy. It is extremely fun watching Julie and Eric grow and mature into AMAZING musicians.

I see a lot of shows. This was my tops in a
lllllllllllllllllll lllllllllloooooo oooooooooooooooo ooooonnnnng time. My 9 year old was with me on a school night. Total child abuse and neglect. However, it was his favorite show at the Coach House. He has been to about 50 shows so far too. Thank goodness for Hearos!

To quote another friend of mine's Son last night after the performance who is aspiring to be a really good himself. "I THINK I JUST SAW GOD."

Per Ade's request, he might just see me at the Belly Up Tavern on Tuesday night.

Okay, this may be my record breaking blog post day. We shall see.


Adrian Belew Power Trio in San Francisco

So I'm still gathering various blurbs regarding the Adrian Belew Power Trio's shows over the weekend at Slim's in San Francisco on Saturday night and The Coach House in San Jua last night, but I hear the concerts are going fantastic and that the trio is really psyched for their upcoming gig tomorrow night at the Belly Up in Solana Beach (San Diego area). In the meantime, I wanted to post just one for now, and Mr. Zenberg, if you are reading this, I'm starting to connect the dots and realize you might be three different people I talk with...meaning, one man with three separate web identities? Or have I lost my mind altogether.

Anyway, here's his thoughts on Saturday night, aptly titled Rhapsody in Belew

"Gershwin Shmershwin - Rhapsody in Belew"

Slims February Twenty-third 2008

Super Tuesday found me in Boulder Creek, California. In this small mountain berg, I was driving, and made a wrong turn down a narrow alley that appeared to dead end at some housing. I realized the error of my way, and stopped so that I could back out. As I checked to make sure it was clear to proceed, I spied a familiar person walking briskly toward the fire station located across the street. The window powered down, and as we made eye contact, I said, "Hey, Jim, are you going to Belew?" Jim had no idea who I was, or what I was talking about, and replied, "Uh, I'm going to vote." gesturing to the polling station across the street. I realized that he didn't remember me, so I clarified, "Adrian Belew is playing at Slim's next month, and I was wondering if you knew about it."

"Adrian Belew?" he reiterated excitedly. "Yeah, on February twenty-third." I volunteered. "Is it sold out?" he asked. "I doubt it," I said, and continued to give him what details I knew. He said,"Thanks! I'll see ya there."** and quickly jaunted across Highway 9 to vote. I hollered, "Vote for Ron Paul" but I don't think he heard me.

Few people have influenced music more than Adrian Belew. Gershwin*** himself couldn't claim the monumental impact of this master of sound. Adrian Belew's list of accomplishments and collaborations would take a blog of its own to describe. Although Adrian Belew is virtually unknown to the masses, his name and influence is well known in the music industry.

The Power Trio Shows

I've seen Adrian Belew perform live a few hands full of times with various bands over the past couple of decades, and every time I walked away with my jaw dragging behind me.

A couple of years ago, my son and I drove to the "big city" to see Belew play at Slim's in San Francisco. That particular version of the Power Trio featured Ade's friends Mike and Mike, on drums and bass, respectively. We were surprised to find that Slim's was a tiny venue. Maybe I expected more grandiose ambiance for such a renowned performer... a musician who is no stranger to large coliseums. The show was great, and everyone had a really good time, and although the performance was no doubt better than anything else in town that week, or month... I somehow felt that Belew deserved more power than what the Mikes were willing or capable of contributing. Then came the Slicks.

Three of a Perfect Pair

A brother and sister duo, Eric and Julie Slick are the best thing to happen to Belew since the war. With these two solid young performers, Belew has everything he needs to pull off the best show you've ever seen, or heard. I saw them perform two nights in a row in November of 2006. At Montalvo in Saratoga, the California Guitar Trio opened and played a sparkling set. Adrian joined them on stage for their last tune, then CGT left the stage, and soon all three members of the latest and greatest incarnation of the Power Trio took the stage, prepared to blow the roof off the ritzy theater. Unfortunately, a dozen people or so stood up and walked out the moment the first song came to an end. Adrian looked stunned. How painful it was to watch as the ignoramuses mooing and bumping their way away from the loud rock music, and retreating to the safety of their multi-million dollar homes in the hills above Saratoga. "Good riddance," I said as I moved to a better location in the small theater. The show was great, but I suspect that the mass exodus may have affected the performers more than they made apparent.

On the following night, my friend Aaron, joined Mighty Mo and myself as we peddled our bicycles to the Catalyst in Santa Cruz to again see this powerful music trio. It was Aaron's first time to see Belew, and he said it was one of the best shows he had been to. Even though the trio played basically the same set as they had the previous night, it seemed like two completely different shows. No one walked out in Santa Cruz.

Return of a Crimson King

Last night the Adrian Belew Power Trio made their appearance at Slims... their fourth stop on their 2008 tour. Once again I was impressed at the quality of showmanship on the stage. The small venue was packed with barely enough room to walk around. Apparently news of these remarkable musicians has gotten out. The sound was crisp and clear, and thanks to my trusty ear-plugs, it wasn't too loud either. The three performed their set flawlessly, and presented the crowd with a fine selection of songs. Krimson fans were rewarded with a goodly number of King Crimson songs, such as Dinosaur, Frame by Frame, Three of a Perfect Pair, Thela Hun Ginjeet, and Elephant Talk. I was amazed to watch the Slicks play these complex pieces so proficiently. In my mind's eye, I could see Robert Fripp smiling."

* I met Jim at an Adrian show Belew at Slim's back in 2005.

** I did.

*** Gershwin shmershwin!
Rhapsody in Belew!
He doesn't hold a camel to you

Then, through Ade's way cool Yahoo Group, The Tribe, the emails are starting to fly:

..."WHAT A SHOW! Maybe if I'd picked up Side 4 before last night I wouldn't have been as surprised. It really struck me as a Crimson show...Eric Slick really blew me away, and I'm crushing all over the bass player..."


Ooh, and look what's on Parker Guitar's MySpace site. Cool!

Anyway, that's it for now, but I will definitely be back...


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Adrian Belew Power Trio: Highlights from Portland

Photographer Mark Colman has posted the most amazing photographs of the Adrian Belew Power Trio's show Wednesday night in Portland, Oregon, and I'll give you the link for the whole set below but first, here's a few which really blew me away and I have to also include some of his descriptions:

"The Muse and I took time to watch the Lunar Eclipse on the way to the venue. It surely meant that something wild was going to occur. When we arrived, we found a choice spot right in front of the venue. Of course, we went around back and as luck had it, we were able to get backstage! There, to our amazement, we saw a real Rock Star getting a massage! That's what they do before gigs, you know. We weren't sure who it was, but we snapped this picture before we were thrown out by a large burley man named Elmer who smelt of dank diapers."

Hmm...who could possibly be getting that massage. Let me guess:

And here are some shots of Adrian, Julie, more of Eric...they just look like they are having the most awesome time on stage, don't they?

Here's what else Mark had to say about the show:

"What a gig! The trio are better than ever! They had to start this tour with no rehearsals! As this show was the second night, it is amazing that they were so smooth and fluid. It was a real treat, in a great venue, with a great audience. By the shows end everyone was on their feet and dancing.

I was thrilled that the lighting was the best that I've ever shot the band in. Give me light and I can do my job properly.

They were selling spiffy tee-shirts with that freaky image by that weird photographer, Kram Namloc. The posters (with the same image) looked amazing too. It was a kick to watch people buy them.

I'd like to thank Ade, Martha, Jules and Eric for being so kind to us. We felt like we were part of the family. Thank you.

If you get a chance to see them, don't miss it as they really are getting better all the time and that's saying a lot.

If you'd like to comment on the images or the performance please do so here

(You will have to register to comment but it's a very cool site and well worth it)

And to see the rest of the photos, go here.

And earlier today, I got the most amazing email from a graphic designer named Dan DeGraw who was at the Portland show:

"You should be the most proud mother on the planet! A friend of mine bought tickets and asked if I'd be interested in going. I had heard of Adrian Belew/King Crimson, but wasn't too familiar with his work, really. I more or less just wanted an night out. Being a father of two young girls(10 & 5), I don't get out much. I had ZERO expectations. My GOD! Eric is one of the most amazing drummers I've ever seen. I've played since 4th grade, but haven't owned a set in 18 years, so I can really appreciate the skill and hard work and talent from beyond that he has. And Julie...simply incredible. An inspiration to me and my 10 year old. She's just taken up cello this year and I've been trying to get her to try out the electric bass I bought last year. When I woke her up this morning, Julie is all I talked about. I said "you know the movie School of Rock?" She took lessons there and is now a rockstar, playing that instrument (pointing to the bass on her wall)! She wants to start writing her own music and wants to be like Julie now. Rock camp for girls, here comes my daughter! Eric has inspired me to buy another drum kit and get after it again. The energy he possesses...he was practically glowing and feeding it into the crowd. Such an amazing show and such amazing musicians you've raised. After the show my friend and I were reeling in amazement and we both noted the same thing. While Adrian is almost always looking at Eric for cues...Eric is looking past him at Julie. It really seems like she is the one in charge, even though it's Adrian's band. She's like the female Fonzi. 1000 times cooler than Leather Tuscadero.

Anyway...I'm far from speechless after last night. I want to tell everyone I know to check out this amazing new trio.

Dan in Portland"

Ha ha - tell me I didn't love that!

Okay, that's it for now.



Whilst I Wait for More from the Tour...

So the trouble with the trio being out on the west coast leg of their tour is that I like to do blog posts in the morning and since it's only 6:00 a.m. there right now, I haven't found many reviews/remarks/articles on line yet though I did come across an interesting picture of my son on my travels through cyberspace:

Photograph of Eric Slick taken by "Gene Ween" at the Chris Harford NPR Radio broadcast last year

And I did find these blurbs which I'll post in the meantime:

From The Seven String Guitar Forum:

"Just saw Belew on the opening night of his latest tour, in Seattle last night. What a fucking awesome show! Some new stuff, some old stuff, some King Crimson, some Beatles! And the two kids he's got playing bass and drums are just amazing! 22 year old Julie Slick on bass, and her 20 year old brother Eric on drums, they both came out of Paul Green's School of Rock in Philly, and they blew my head off! You all owe it to yourselves to see this show, you won't be disappointed!"

Featured in today's North County Times:

Real guitar hero: Adrian Belew on the art of rock guitarist

By: JIM TRAGESER - Staff Writer

The irony isn't lost on Adrian Belew, the longtime co-lead guitarist for King Crimson (who's appearing with his own Power Trio on Feb. 26 at the Belly Up Tavern): While "Guitar Hero" versions I, II and III are atop the best-selling video-game lists (albeit with no songs from King Crimson or Belew's solo work ---- who could play such intricate stuff?), real-life guitar heroes have been a dying breed since grunge and alt rock took over the music charts in the 1990s.

"I think it disappeared because too many people saw that they could take shortcuts and not put in the time and work to really gain control over the mechanics of the instrument and learn a lot of styles," he said by phone from his Nashville home, speaking of the demise of the role of lead guitarist in mainstream rock. "They took the short way of getting there.

"In some ways, I blame the video explosion. The MTV video made a star out of anybody. You didn't have to be able to play well, you didn't even need to be able to sing well ---- you just had to look good and dress nice.

"For years, I was stunned at that ---- none of these bands can sing or play.

"There was a time period in the '80s and '90s that if you had chops and could improvise, you didn't belong in any of the mainstream musics ---- you had to go into the subsidiaries, like the blues."

But while the lead guitarist who could play improvised solos was eschewed by most punk, alt-rock and grunge bands, Belew said young people are now starting to rediscover the joys of instrumental virtuosity.

"Things do swing in cycles. We are starting to get a new generation of people who are smart and are willing to work hard.

"I happen to have two young kids who really can play, and so impressively that it's renewed my belief that there's a future of music coming from kids. There's some great players coming up now that did pay attention and did put in the work and did listen to unique and unusual styles as well as everything else, and now they're going to transfer that into something new."

His Power Trio, with which he's heading out on tour, consists of himself on guitar and the brother-sister combo of Julie Slick on bass and Eric Slick on drums ---- the "two young kids" that he referred to.

He said he came upon them in the same sort of haphazard way that he was discovered by Frank Zappa in the mid-'70s.

"I went to the School of Rock in Philadelphia to do a seminar for their current students, and while I was there, the founder said you've got to hear my favorite students, (a) brother and sister who've graduated already.

"They came in, we played one song together, it was a Zappa song, and I knew they were capable. I was dreaming of having my own power trio ---- three musicians playing to their fullest potential at all times ---- and they were the perfect choice."

Belew said that the Slicks were 19 and 20 when he met them just a couple of years ago: "They don't even have their driver's licenses yet; they're so focused on music they didn't care about that."

That sort of single-minded devotion to music obviously appealed to Belew, who said that while growing up across the river from Cincinnati in Covington, Ky., during the 1960s, he was never much of a Reds fan, despite the team's growing success on the eve of becoming the famed Big Red Machine, which ended up winning two World Series.

"My mother was a huge fan of the Reds," he said. "She had every game on the radio. But back then I didn't pay much attention to sports at all ---- I was so engrossed in teaching myself to play guitar."

It was his mother's radio when the Reds games weren't on ---- or rather, the radio in every room of their house while he was growing up ---- that had led him to his love affair with the guitar.

"There was always music on in the house; that's how I learned so much. I remember everything my parents listened to. ... I remember Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, stuff that way preceded the stuff I remember loving.

"I got into the radio when they started playing Motown, and the Beach Boys ---- and then the Beatles hit, and that changed the focus of everything for everyone.

"There was one radio in the hallway, perched up on the towel closet. That was the first note I heard from the Beatles, and it just totally floored me. 'She was just seventeen ... you know what I mean ... .' I just stood there with my mouth open.

"I was probably 13, just at that crucial age when the hormones are stirring around. That just floored me, that song did."

Within a year, he was guitarist in a Beatles covers band, then played in a series of local and regional bands in Kentucky and Tennessee before Zappa walked into a club he was playing one night and ended up offering him an audition. A tour with Zappa then led to a gig with David Bowie, which led to the Talking Heads, which led to King Crimson's Robert Fripp bringing him aboard in 1980 ---- an association that has lasted to the present day.

But as Belew explained it, he struggled financially for many years before finally getting to a point he was earning enough to live off of and raise a family.

"It wasn't until Frank Zappa discovered me that I could make a living at it," he said of his music career.

"What happened, from 14 to the age of 27, is it became a real struggle to survive because there wasn't really a lot of money if you were trying to live on your own, have an apartment and a car, to make a job of it.

"From 14 to 27 I really put in a lot of hard work and did a lot of starving.

"That was so key to my life for so many years that it's almost funny to look back at it."

Adrian Belew Power Trio

When: 8 p.m. Feb. 26

Where: Belly Up Tavern, 143 S. Cedros Ave., Solana Beach


That's it for now but I am sure I'll be back as I personally know a couple of people at last night's show -- Mark Colman, for one, the genius responsible for the current tour poster -- and I know Mark and others will have much to say once they get out of bed so I will return to this post as soon as they wake up. (Ha ha - too bad I don't have their phone numbers or I'd be waking them right now). The trio has off tonight as they make the trek to snowy Lake Tahoe for Friday evening's show at Crystal Lake Casino. Have I mentioned how much I wish I were there?


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tonight: Adrian Belew Power Trio in Portland

So tonight marks evening #2 of the Adrian Belew Power Trio tour and they will be at the Aladdin Theater in one of my favorite cities on the west coast, Portland, Oregon.

Thank you to guitarist extraordinaire and Belew Tour Manager Andre Cholmondeley for sending me the very first photo from Seattle's Triple Door performance last night

Anyway, if you click on the link for tickets to the Aladdin Theater show tonight, it takes you to a pretty cool article which says:

"Since 2006, Adrian Belew has led his favorite ‘Power Trio’ lineup, featuring Eric Slick on drums and Julie Slick on bass. They have been devastating audiences all around the USA and globally, from Italy to Canada to Germany to Japan. With the release of their brand-new CD “Side Four (Live)” they return to the road to stretch out the new material and introduce it to new audiences. The show will feature material from the new CD, classics from Adrian’s many solo albums (including the recent ‘Side One’, ‘Side Two’, and ‘Side Three’), as well as solo moments, spirited improvisation and King Crimson compositions. ‘Side One’ features special guests Les Claypool (Primus) and Danny Carey (Tool), and includes the Grammy-Nominated single - “Beat Box Guitar”. The recently released “Side Four (Live)” captures the current trio in a burning performance.

Adrian is well-known for his diverse travels around the musical map – he first appeared on guitar-world radar when he joined Frank Zappa’s band in 1977 for tours of the USA and Europe. When Frank Zappa hires you as his guitarist, people listen up. And well they should have–Adrian’s signature tones and influences are all over Zappa’s movie “Baby Snakes” as well as his biggest-selling album “Sheik Yerbouti”. His unique use of effects and whammy bar remains completely different, and his techniques continue to be a huge influence on scores of guitarists.

The 80s and 90s were a wild ride through countless tours and albums with David Bowie, Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson, Paul Simon, and Nine Inch Nails. In addition, there were Adrian’s many albums & tours, both solo and with The Bears. For over 25 years he has been the lyricist, voice and co-guitarist (with Robert Fripp) of progressive rock legends KING CRIMSON. In between touring, writing, recording and a plethora of guitar magazine awards, Adrian has always found time for producing other artists and releasing his own songs and sonic experiments.

The new POWER TRIO has energized Adrian to an incredible degree – “‘The Slicks’ bring a whole new energy to the band,” says Adrian. “I honestly feel like we can do anything now. They’re great to play with and this band sounds incredible.”

Adrian has several projects ahead for this year, including some King Crimson dates, a huge gear auction, a new studio record featuring the Power Trio, solo concerts, and some special projects involving one of his other great loves – art. Already an accomplished painter, Adrian is responsible for several of his CD covers including all of the recent “Side” series releases."

I may have posted that article before - it looks familiar -- but oh well, I cannot get enough of anything cool about the trio that crosses my desk.

Like this comment from Patti in Seattle who left this remark on my blog late last evening...

"Hey, I saw your kids tonight. They were gorgeous and joyful and awesome to watch. Julie is this pool of cool calm, Eric looks like his energy is always on the verge of making him explode. They're always keeping an eye on each other, they were wonderful. :)"

Thanks, Patti! Erm...any pictures? Ha! I'm such a fan...this is torture, being so many miles away when I'd love to be at every single show.

So I am sure I will be getting more emails and comments as the day goes on -- it's only 5:00 a.m. in Seattle now, so I will come in and add to this post if/when that happens.

In the meantime, if you want to read something highly entertaining and pretty hilarious, Gary has updated his blog and tell me you won't all be shaking your head in agreement, laughing, when you read what he has to say.

Okay, that is it for now but I am pretty positive I will be back...

ETA: See? I told you I'd be back. Have a look at where the trio will be this weekend -- I am freaking dying with jealousy -- and the band gets a very nice mention with accompanying photo!


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tonight: Adrian Belew Power Trio in Seattle

So tonight the Adrian Belew Power Trio tour kicks off in Seattle, Washington at the
Triple Door. Julie and Eric flew out to Washington yesterday and when they were picked up at the airport, they were taken to Bruce Bickford's house which totally freaked them out.

If you want to see something really amazing, here's a couple of Bruce's films but you should really hang out on his website for a while - there's so much groovy stuff it's ridiculous.

Then, after hanging out with Bruce, who is really quite a legend, they went to their hotel and waiting there for Julie was her brand new Bob Glaub signature custom bass - it's translucent white and just gorgeous...she's madly in love with it already...and Eric was kind enough to email a pic of Julie giving it the first test run at the hotel:

So yes, Julie is now officially endorsed by Lakland Bass and to say she is thrilled is putting it mildly. The guys from Lakland are coming to the Power Trio show in Chicago and Julie is going to tour their factory that afternoon so how cool is that.

Even cooler, editors and writers from Guitar Player Magazine and Bass Player Magazine will be at the trio's San Francisco show and will be doing interviews and a photograph session with Adrian and Julie and ha ha, I guess Eric will get a mention or two as well...but how fantastic that Julie has her new bass just in time for the tour and Bass Player interview and that Lakland shipped it right to Seattle for her.

Here's an article which appeared about the trio in the Seattle Herald. I'm hoping the reviewers and bloggers and photographers come out in full force for this tour - usually if Gary or I tag along we get first hand information so I'm counting on others this time around, okay? Okay!

I also understand that the new edition of Philly Style Magazine which has a feature on Julie and Eric has been mailed to subscribers -- I'm guessing it hits the newsstands today or next Tuesday - I will let you know as soon as I find out but I'm way psyched about that -- especially since the photo shoot for the article was done in my living room. Oy. I cleaned for three days straight. Ha! (Not -- I think we all agree that it's the clutter in this place that gives it its charm)

Anyway, that's it for now but if I find out anything interesting from the tour I will be back.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Odds and Sods for Monday, February 18, 2008

So in case you were worried, it turns out I am still alive and woo hoo, Julie and Eric are on their way to Seattle right now, embarking on the month long Adrian Belew Trio tour which kicks off tomorrow night at the Triple Door. Hey, I just clicked on that tour link - many thanks to webmasters Rob and Scott - it looks awesome.

Anyway, I promise this is the last time I'll whine but I hope none of you get this particular strain of the flu...and how's now all over the news that the flu shots we were given are resistant to whatever this bug is so, yeah, like I didn't know this already, we got horrible, sharp pointy flu virus filled needles for nothing.

Seriously, today is the first morning in over two weeks that I woke up feeling 100% and not coughing and all dizzy.

Time to play catch up.

On the top of my list of things to report other than the tour, Eric plays drums on this amazing new recording called Robert Musso and friends featuring Robert Musso on guitar, Dave Dreiwitz on bass, Elliott Levin on sax, flute, and poetry, Raoul Bjorkenheim on guitar, and special guest poet John Richey. You can purchase a download of the CD right here and all I can Nice cover art, too, huh.

And if that is not enough, Eric also makes a stellar appearance with Project Object on the new Zappanale 18 CD/DVD performing Zappa's brilliant Village of the Sun/Echidna's Arf (Of You)/Don't You Ever Wash That Thing and you can purchase that right here and what the hell, I finally taught myself how to take screen shots so let's try it out...if you click on it, I'm not quite sure what is going to happen, meaning, will it take you right to the purchase page without the use of the link I provided or will it simply just work like a regular photo I post? We'll both find out together.

Wait. I just realize it's impossible to take you to an actual page. But it will look like the actual page. Whatever. The main thing is, I'm so impressed that I taught myself how to do this that today's post is going to be full of them but I promise this will be a one time event.

ETA: Those screen shot things are really a confusing pain in the ass. Don't click on them, just click on the link which takes you to the actual page. Bleh. No wonder no one else ever uses them. I should have figured that out.

Secondly, I got my very first IMDB listing!'s a copy of my IMDB web page...

Anyway, I am now on IMDB because of a little film in which I co-star called Why We Wax and here's their website and where the film will be screening:

And it appears I'm breaking into the movies now in a big way because the short story version of Daddy Left Me Alone with God was made into a film by actor/director Jonty Reason and the official film web page is way cool:

This is so crazy! According to Jonty's website, "BASED ON THE SHORT STORY BY ROBIN SLICK...Already selected for three International Film Festivals, two in the UK (Swansea Life and The International Film Festival, England 2008) as well as the International Film Festival South Africa, DADDY LEFT ME ALONE WITH GOD is a remarkable little film."

I also have mentioned more than once that I'm editor and contributor to a new anthology called 39 and Holding Him and I am giving you the Barnes and Noble link because their page just looks so pretty.

Anyway, the cover girl, Matilda Kay has kindly started a MySpace page for our book right here and I ask that you friend us. And now, because I am just so impressed with my new ability to take screen shots, here is what our MySpace site looks like:

I also found out that some of my books are available for your Amazon Kindle if you own one -- here's the link for that.

And so ends what had to be the world's most self-indulgent post but I figure starting tomorrow, my blog is going to be all Belew tour for the next month or at least I needed to get all my promo slut stuff in now.

Sorry, sorry.

And again, I promise no more screen shots.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Adrian Belew Power Trio in Guitar Player Magazine

So as I have been shouting all over the internet, the Adrian Belew Power Trio begin a month long tour starting one week from today, but according to the February, 2008 issue of Guitar Player Magazine, if you are going to the San Francisco show at Slim's on February 23, you have a chance to win something pretty spectacular!

Live Show Announcement! Guitar Player Presents Adrian Belew in San Francisco at Slim’s February 23 – Win Tickets and an Autographed Parker P-44 Guitar

February, 2008

Guitar Player is proud to work with Another Planet Entertainment and Parker guitars to present a one of the instrument’s most innovative players.

Adrian Belew became one of the most accomplished guitarists in Earth’s history by making otherworldly sounds with Frank Zappa, Talking Heads, David Bowie, and through his continuing work as the frontman for King Crimson. In GP’s 25 Anniversary Issue, Belew was counted among “25 Players Who Shook the World.”

Since 2005, Belew has released three solo studio recordings—Side One, Side Two, and Side Three [all on Sanctuary]. Belew described them in the May 2005 issue:

“There are three different brands of music I’ve discovered over the past few years,” he said. “The first was looping, which became the power-trio material featured on Side One. I would typify the Side Two style as DJ music, because it includes a lot of drum machines, loops, synthesizer pads, and a vocal that appears and repeats, but lacks verses and choruses. Side Three is more like most of my solo records—an eclectic mixture of different styles.”

Now he’s supporting a live solo effort, Side Four [Independent], which captures him recreating the solo material—plus a few Crimson gems—with bassist Julie Slick and drummer Eric Slick. “This is the best band I’ve ever had,” promises Belew.***

Belew will play his Signature Parker Fly Deluxe, a cutting edge instrument with a Sustainiac pickup, an RMC piezo hex pickup, MIDI capability, and Line 6 Variax modeling technology. Parker is providing a solid mahogany P-44 guitar to be autographed by Belew and given away to one lucky attendee, so be sure to come and sign the Guitar Player Presents mailing list for automatic entry in the free raffle.

Event Details:

Guitar Player and Another Planet Present:
Adrian Belew
Saul Zonana opens
Saturday, February 23 at Slim’s
333 11th Street in San Francisco
(415) 255-0333
8pm, $25
Free Guitar Player magazines, D’Addario strings, and one attendee will win a Parker guitar autographed by Adrian Belew
GP editors will be present

Contest Details
For a chance to win a pair of tickets to the show, click HERE and put Belew in the subject of your email. Winner must provide own transportation to Slims in San Francisco and have his or her own accommodations in the Bay Area on February 23.
So how cool is that?

Okay, back to bed for me - my flu is now a full-fledged, horrible head cold and while I feel better because I no longer have a fever, there are few things that are as uncomfortable as not being able to breathe or taste. Bah! It's like twenty below zero outside today but I may want to go out for a walk just to clear my head.

Yeah, like that's possible.

***you know, when you look at some of the bands with whom Adrian has played, the fact that he says Julie and Eric are the best band he's ever had...oh God...for once I am rendered speechless.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

That's funny - you don't look flu-ish

Yeah, yeah, I'm still on the planet -- it's just that Gary and I have been playing ping pong with the flu despite the fact we both had flu shots. Fancy that. Bleh. Gary came home from work last week with almost 103 degrees fever and then literally hours later I was back flat on my back yet again burning up as well.

Naturally I have two weeks worth of stuff to discuss and by the time I get around to talking about everything, I'm either going to forget most of it or you'll all have found my usual "breaking news" yourselves but oh well, I'm sitting here sneezing and dizzy so I'll try to blurt out as much as I can before collapsing back to bed.

First of all, happy belated birthday (it was yesterday) to Andre Cholmondeley, who is not only a brilliant guitarist in his own right, gave Eric his first real big break at age 18 as drummer of Project Object and plays with him in a side project, Delicious, but he's now also tour manager for Adrian Belew. So things have sort of come into a full karmic circle here - very strange and beautiful.

I will talk more about Julie's 22nd birthday (naturally she shares the Aquarius sign with Andre) next week including a full description of our outrageously fantastic dinner but my current illness does not permit me to write about food or even think about it without gagging.

Also, I'm sure this is old news to 99% of you, but the Adrian Belew Power Trio now has their own MySpace site -- it's still a work in progress -- but you can download one of my favorite songs off the new CD, Three of a Perfect Pair...anyway, please friend them right here.

Speaking of the trio, I was really stoked to learn that Mark Colman's gear photo is the official tour poster - copies have not only been sent out to all of the venues (can you believe the tour kicks off in one week - Tuesday night, February 19 in Seattle?) but will also be available for sale and you know all of the members of the trio will gladly autograph it for you post-show - and har har all three also happen to be really talented artists so maybe if you are extra nice to them, you'll get a little scribble along with their signature.

Or I could be delirious with the flu and the trio is going to stab me with sharp objects when they read this.

Oh hell, there's so much I want to talk about - not just Julie's birthday dinner as mentioned above but important current event topics, like, how I am terrified McCain is going to end up President because the Republicans own the media (I mean, seriously. How did he go from last place to #1 just like that); which brings me to another thought: I want to subject this person to, oh, I don't know, water boarding since it's a favorite hobby of her choice of politicians (when you are really sick there is nothing to do but watch daytime t.v. and I have never found any woman more repulsive both intellectually and even physically except for this genetic mutation.)

I think we should send the two of them to the front lines in Iraq so we can all be put out of our misery.

No more television for me.

No more typing, either, apparently. The room is spinning.



Monday, February 04, 2008