Thursday, November 27, 2008

The obligatory I Am Thankful Post

Today is my favorite holiday (which should be obvious if you are a regular reader of this blog but let's just say I'm more than a little food obsessed), and yes, yes, I will be posting our Thanksgiving menu along with photographs either later today or tomorrow morning, but in the meantime, despite the fact that this has literally been the year from hell (just read my archives for 2008 for full details), it has also been one of amazing, amazing happenings as well.

So in no particular order, here are some things, other than my family, which make me thankful to be alive.

For one, The Adrian Belew Power Trio...wait, that is my family...but you know what I mean.

I am also extremely grateful to wake up to an email like this:


Thanks so much for the kind words on my interview with Ade. Would Julie and / or Eric ever feel like sitting down to have their brains picked by me for All About Jazz?

Here is the pitch for the website -

1. We're the largest internet site for jazz, 13 yrs old and winner of the Jazz Journalists Association "best website devoted to jazz" for the past six years straight.

2. We have approx 1.5 million visitors a month, and nearing 7 million page impressions.

3. We're considered, in the jazz world at least, to be an online "cousin" to hardcopy periodicals like Down Beat, Jazz Times, Jazziz...except we have a more international reach;

4. While jazz is our primary purview, we do go much farther afield into progressive rock, jam bands, etc.

Anyway, it would be excellent to set something up with the two of them. As a fellow musician, they have impressed the hell out of me and my fellow bandmates. We've seen them with Ade at 2 different performances at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville. Their utter reinvention of parts tracked by legends like Tony Levin and Bill Bruford just blows my mind. Listening to Side Four... you know, it's almost like an improvement on songs like 'Three of a Perfect Pair'. Mind blowing. And the 'Planet E' tune I got to hear this last time? Excellent. Can't wait for their studio album that Adrian refers to in the interview! I've hit Martha up about possibly scheduling a follow-up discussion since the last one has turned out so well. I would really love to discuss the '90s 6 piece Crimson more in depth with Adrian, as well as has views of things post-Crim reunion.

My next assignment for AAJ will most likely be a discussion with another Nashville based Zappa alumni - drummer Chester Thompson. I am sure Eric has checked out his work with Zappa and very possibly with Weather Report and Genesis.

I've been reading your blog and enjoying the heck out of it. If I had more time off of my day job and touring around with Vinyl Soup every weekend, I would love to write one myself. Maybe someday!

Hope you and your incredible family have a perfect Thanksgiving.

Justin M. Smith
Nashville, TN"

Yep, we certainly do know who Chester Thompson is and you are one lucky and talented writer, Justin. And you'd better believe Julie and Eric will be more than happy to sit down with you!

And while I am on the subject, I am ecstatic to read Adrian's latest post over at his

"what's done is done. time moves on and so must I.

early tomorrow (turkey day) I'll be boarding a flight
for 26 hours of flying to australia.
in 1979, the first time I went to australia with david bowie
the flight took a total of 36 hours.
some things do get better with time.

eric, julie, and andre will follow a few days later.
I have several days of TV and radio press to do first.
we are sooooo excited about playing australia.
our first show is at The Corner Hotel,
the place where the audience body-surfed me around the room.
I have visions of them handing me out the back door this time.

the people of OZ will love the slicks.
just like everywhere else in the world.
it amazes me how seemingly overnight the power trio
became a bonafide international touring act.
japan, mexico, canada, russia, hungary, switzerland,
italy, germany, lithuania, the netherlands, austria, and spain
all in the last 18 months!
it's been a lovely ride so far.

thanks to all of you.

happy thanksgiving.
love, adrian

I can't believe Julie and Eric leave for Australia on Saturday. How freaking lucky are they?

Speaking of Australia, this just popped in an Australian newspaper this morning (which is actually already Novembr 28 in Australia!):

"An everywhere man finds a home

November 28, 2008

The much-travelled Adrian Belew feels reinvigorated, writes Sam

It'S not uncommon for a musician to spend their entire musical life ensconced within the one entity, whether it be an orchestra, a band or in the solo vein, and with this there is no shame. On the flip side, there are musicians who seem to spend more time "everywhere else" than in any one guise, and a fine example of this is American artist Adrian Belew.

Belew, whose career spans more than three decades, is perhaps best known for his role as guitarist for '70s prog-rockers King Crimson, whom he joined in '81, but this claim to fame is the tip of the iceberg.

"I've done so much, travelled so much, met so many people, had such an accelerated kind of lifestyle, it feels like I've led two or three lives at once," Belew, 58, says with a laugh down the phone from Lithuania, the last stop on his current European tour with the Adrian Belew Power Trio.

To put this in perspective, in addition to KC and the Power Trio, Belew has been involved with, among many others, Frank Zappa, who "discovered" Belew in 1977; David Bowie (for his Stage and Lodger albums); Paul Simon (on the Graceland record); Laurie Anderson; William Shatner; Crash Test Dummies; Talking Heads; the Bears; Nine Inch Nails … you get the picture.

"It's hard to say what was the best; for me it's all been one experience. It would be like looking back on your life and trying to pick which was the best day," Belew says. "It's all been so fortunate for me. All those people, they're all brilliant, they're all innovators, they're all people that anyone would love to work with, and that's been very important to me."

However, despite the myriad projects Belew has been involved with over his career, including his own solo work that has yielded 14 records over 27 years, it's with this new Power Trio that he is most at home these days, and with which he is most excited.

"This is the trio that I've always wanted for my own music," he enthuses about the group, which he formed in mid-2006 with the rhythmic duo of Eric Slick on drums and Slick's sister Julie on bass.

"It's something you've gotta see; it's very high energy, and also there's the ability to just think together, which is the essence of improvisation. And it leaves a lot of space for me as a guitarist; I play more guitar in this band than I've ever played in any band. I've been able to stretch out — I'm enjoying every minute."

So as King Crimson, for one, winds up after 40 years, it's with his Power Trio that Belew will keep striding forward. "I think right now is the perfect time for good live music," he says. "I think people want to see great players, to see them stretching out, improvising; so it's the perfect time for us to be doing this. It works really well for this band."

The Adrian Belew Power trio play the Corner Hotel on Wednesday."

Continuing on, I am incredibly grateful that I have not one but two new novels coming out in 2009, and I just got the book cover for Bitten to the Core yesterday. I am really psyched. Isn't it gorgeous? "Bitten" is the third book in the Three Days in New York series but it does stand alone and while I'd love for you to read all three books, if you are new to my writing, this will be an excellent place to start and then you can backtrack. (Insert smiley face emoticon here)

I've posted the cover for my other new book, Daddy Left Me Alone with God, in an earlier post but it knocks me out so I'll post it again:

And yes, I will be talking about both cover artists and my new publisher in a future post...I am way, way excited.

Speaking of that, I am grateful for my fabulous and erm, patient writer friends, all of whom I've been ignoring lately and I apologize to them profusely, but as some of you may know, I've had a major lifestyle change this summer and while I do not want to discuss that here, it's caused me to refocus and rearrange my schedule so I'm not hanging out on line nearly as much and I'm trying to spend whatever free time I do have working on my first ever Young Adult novel. Now whether it will actually turn out to be a YA novel is going to be interesting as I really prefer writing about dysfunctional adults and it's hard to keep things PG-13. But hey, there's always the parents...

I am INCREDIBLY thankful we have a new President but of course I am still wishing his first act after being sworn into office would be to have Bush and Cheney arrested for war crimes and for destroying both our economy and the environment...though hey, hey, you never could happen...

I also have deep gratitude to Andre Cholmondeley for not only all of his hard work with the Adrian Belew Power Trio and basically orchestrating the recent European tour, but for the brilliant show Project Object put on at the World Cafe Live last Sunday. Gary took some really great shots of the band but for some unknown reason, Photobucket is not cooperating with me and I can't get them to post right now. So as soon as I can figure out wtf is going on I will immediately either come in here and edit or make it a separate entry. Anyway, it was a fantastic concert and everyone was at the top of their game...Ike Willis, Ed Mann, Robbie "Seahag" Mangano, Eric Svalgard, Dave Johnsen, Andre, The Slickster...I keep hoping someone puts up a You Tube so that I can give you a little taste.

Speaking of You Tubes, here is Eric and Dave Dreiwitz in a show that took place on August 14...are they awesome or what?

And with that, I must sign off and start cooking! Okay, I'm lying. I must wake Gary...Julie just woke up, too...and get them both in the kitchen. I am merely the one who says "Ooh" and "Ah" you can't possibly get any luckier than that, right?


Happy Thanksgiving, all.