Interview with Adrian Belew , who will be touring with his Power Trio. It tells of his beginnings with Frank Zappa, David Bowie, his time in King Crimson and his solo career. Do not miss it!
Adrian Belew Interview

It is a pleasure for us to have this interview with you, Thank you very much Adrian. We saw the Power Trio show at the Baja Prog last year and we loved it. Could you tell us how the idea to create the Power Trio turned up?

Adrian: about 10 years ago I began working with a guitar looper, this allowed me to sound like more than one guitarist. I began writing and recording new songs with the looper, songs like "Ampersand" and "Walk around the world" (from "side one"), these were songs for a power trio format. The advantage of looping was that it made a trio sound like a quartet, it was an easy jump from there to deciding to rework my older material in the same way, so I began looking for the perfect trio to play my music.

RS: Can you give us a preview of the show that will soon arrive to South America?
Adrian: it's a good solid mixture of material from my solo catalog (I have 20 solo records) and the music I've written with King Crimson done in an aggressive style with a small dose of improvisation.


Power Trio ( Julie Slick, Adrian Belew & Eric Slick)


RS: Through your career you played in several bands and worked with lots of great musicians. Tell us a bit of how it was to work with Frank Zappa.
Adrian: I worked with Frank for one year. 3 months of it were rehearsals during which I learned 5 hours of Zappa music. We then toured the U.S. and europe and made a movie along the way (Baby Snakes).
It was for me a crash course in everything you need to know to be a professional recording artist and touring musician. It was the first and only proper instruction I've ever had. I graduated from the "School of Zappa"!
Frank worked long hours and demanded perfection and consistency. He taught me how to play in odd time signatures, an ability which would be invaluable in working within Crimson four years later. Frank took me under his tutelage and treated me very well. I am forever indebted to him.



Frank Zappa & Adrian Belew

RS: Then in 1978-79 you performed as a musician for David Bowie, recording Stage, Logder and touring with him. How did this contribute to your career?
Adrian: It was an eye-opening experience to suddenly be throw into the world of super-stardom. standing next to David in places like Madison Square Gardens was a thrill. I was always a Bowie fan and knew much of his music. David allowed me total freedom within his music and encouraged me to play wildly. As a guitarist it was the best thing that could have happened for me at that junction in life. It not only propelled my playing to new heights but also put me in the spotlight around the world. Most of the fortunate things that happened next came from working with David, a person he fascinated me with his knowledge of so many subjects and his sense of humor.

RS: Can you tell us your experience on touring with bands like Talking Heads and Nine Inch Nails?
Adrian: Much the same was true of my work with Talking Heads. They were obvious media darlings and their careers were on the rise, everywhere you went in those days people were playing their music in restaurants and bookstores. It was exciting to be part of that process. I felt comfortable in that band, their music came easily to me.


David Bowie & Adrian Belew


RS: What did it mean for you to participate in the rebirth of King Crimson in the early 80s and what can you tell to us about the recording of albums such as " Three Of A Perfect Pair , " Discipline " and" Beat " ?

Adrian: I never intended to be a sideman to the stars, my aim was to create my own music and make my own records. King Crimson was the first band to offer me that opportunity and at the same time I was able to begin making my solo records. So it was a very fertile period for me.
At first writing music and songs with Crimson was a terror, but recording "Discipline" was a joy, we had stumbled upon a sound of our own almost immediately from our inception. We always called "Discipline" our "honeymoon record". The real terror was yet to come. the recording of "Beat" was the worst recording experience of my life. Robert (Fripp) refused to lead us and at the same time refused to participate. It made things very difficult.
"Three of a Perfect Pair" was not much easier. Just being honest, King Crimson was always difficult for me, but our work together stands on its own today, so whatever small differences we may have had, they are meaningless to me now. I'm very proud of what we created and happy to have been in the band for 32 years. Robert and I remain close friends.

Was the King Crimson era the most creative period of your career? Why? Why not?
Adrian:  Certainly one of the most, especially since I was making solo records during the same period. King Crimson was meant to "push the boundries" for each of us personally and as an entity. It was full of moments for personal growth, challenging, but I feel as creative and busy as ever these days. My creativity has never slowed but my maturity from so many different experiences has focused my habilties and it shows in my new work. I feel like I'm exploding with new ideas!


King Crimson (Pat Mastelotto, Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp and Tony Levin)


RS: Tell us which bands and musicians were the biggest influences on your career.
Adrian: My biggest influence was the Beatles and the music of the british invasion period, but my character was informed by powerful classical music from Stravinsky and Gerschwin as well. Movie scores, even cartoon music affected me. I absorbed everything.
As I became a guitarist I studied the techniques of others outside my realm such as Segovia, Les Paul, and Chet Atkins. But my main guitar influences were Jimi Hendrix , Jeff Beck, and the Beatles. Along with Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, anything to do with rock guitar was covered by those few players.
After I learned to emulate those guys I turned my sights on finding my own voice in the world of guitar playing, a diffcult task indeed. It seemed like everything had been done, but over time I found that making the guitar sound like things was a big passion and lead me to do things my own way. I have always loved to analyze sound.

RS: As a personal preference, do you prefer to work solo or in a band?
Adrian: I need a dose of both to keep me balanced, but if I had to chose to do only one thing I would lock myself in my studio and paint musical pictures alone. It's only natural since I play so many instruments and write, sing, and produce to want to do everything myself. It's very rewarding.



Adrian playing with your Parker Fly Signature

RS: Is there a conceptual link between "Side One" , "Side Two" , "Side Three" , "Side Four" and " E" ?
Adrian:  During a period of on and off touring which had me spending only a few weeks at a time in my studio at home, I eventually had compiled 35 songs and pieces of music. I realized they would be better served to be divided into 3 categories and seperated on to 3 records; side 1, 2, and 3. Those were conceptually meant as one piece of work. Side 4 was an afterthought, but it was convienient to put it within the same packaging to represent 4 sides of my music instead of 3.

RS: If you had to name the three most memorable shows of your career, which ones would they be and why?
Adrian: Not possible. there have been so many great shows and unique moments they run together in my mind like one long movie. I have loved all of it.

RS: You played in many stages around the world , tell us your opinion on the south american audience.
Adrian: The first time the power trio played South America we were noticably stunned by the amount of energy poured back at us from the audiences. I can honestly say that was a high point in my touring life especially because it was my solo works and I didn't expect them to know the music nor care about it so much. it made us feel so good!


The Crimson Projekct


RS: What plans do you have for the future (tours , new album , etc)
Adrian:  If you go to my facebook page you'll see the upcoming schedule goes like this: December, Power Trio in South America, January: Crimson Project in Australia, February: a Cruise to the Bahamas with the Power Trio, March and April: touring Europe with Crimson Project, and in August we will do our annual band camp in upstate New York. In between all those events I will continue to finish my new solo project FLUX and hope to launch it early next year.

Thank you very much for your time Adrian, and we hope see you in december in Buenos Aires.