Thursday, February 21, 2008

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?