Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Adrian Belew

Today in Music History:

In 1973, The Mamas and the Papas filed a lawsuit against their record label Dunhill for a million dollars in unpaid royalties.
Adrian BelewAdrian Belew has played with some of rock's biggest names over the years (Frank Zappa, David Bowie, the Talking Heads, King Crimson, etc.). He is also one of the most underrated and overlooked guitarists of recent times. Belew has a distinctly recognizable style/sound which tends to be quirky and off-the-wall at times. He's always found a way to make his signature style fit into a wide variety of musical genres: hard rock, funk, new wave, experimental, Beatlesque pop, and more.

Belew was discovered by Frank Zappa in 1977, where he was playing in Nashville with a band called Sweetheart. Zappa invited Belew to audition for an open spot for an upcoming tour which he landed easily. It was during Zappa's lengthy 1978 U.S. tour that David Bowie came to see a performance, which resulted in Belew being invited to join Bowie's touring band when the Zappa tour wrapped up. Once more, Belew accepted, touring the world alongside Bowie and appearing on his 1978 live recording, Stage, and 1979 studio effort, Lodger. Just as Belew's Bowie gig was about to wind down, he received an offer he couldn't refuse from another artist, Brian Eno, who introduced the guitarist to the Talking Heads, who were in the middle of recording their classic 1980 release Remain in Light. Belew was invited to lay down guitar for the songs, which led to his participation on the album's supporting tour. Belew just kept falling into somegreat gigs because of his versatile guitar work. Ity was around this time that Belew also began work on his first solo album, issued in 1982 as Lone Rhino.

It wasn't long before Belew was offered his next gig, this time with a newly reconstructed King Crimson. Belew handled lead vocal duties in addition to guitar. Belew continues to work on solo material in addition to working with King Crimson. His first couple solo albums are a quirky mix of different styles of music. Today's track comes from his first solo album Lone Rhino, and is an adventure in sonic guitar virtuosity. My first encounter with this song came back in the day when MTV used to play music videos during it's fledgling years. Having a party? Slip on Big Electric Cat and crank up the volume and watch your guests reactions.

Big Electric Cat by Adrian Belew

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