Great rock guitarist Adrian Belew brings quartet to the Bay Area – CBS San Francisco
By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A guitarist who has performed and recorded with a who’s who of rock giants over the past four decades, including Frank Zappa, David Bowie and King Crimson, six-string hero Adrian Belew brings his current quartet in the bay area. for shows in San Francisco and Mill Valley.
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Belew went from being a high school guitarist in his hometown of Kentucky to the music capital of southern Nashville in the 1970s to pursue his dream of becoming a professional musician. He was playing with a popular local cover band when he was discovered by rock experimenter Frank Zappa in 1977 and was eventually invited to Los Angeles to audition for Zappa’s band.
Belew would end up playing with the guitar iconoclast for over a year, touring extensively and appearing on the 1979 studio album. Sheikh Yerbouti as well as the cult film of the concert baby snakes which was filmed at the New York Palladium on Halloween in 1977. It was during his tenure with Zappa that producer Brian Eno recommended Belew to his regular collaborator David Bowie, who would poach the guitarist for his band.
Belew joined Bowie’s group for their 1978 tour, appearing on the live double album Steps and contributing what became his signature unleashed solo guitar to songs on Tenant. While Belew would leave Bowie’s band a year later, he would reunite with the songwriter a decade later, serving as guitarist and music director during his Sound + Vision Tour retrospective in 1990.
As the 1970s turned into the 1980s, Belew’s business became a constant whirlwind. After moving to Illinois and forming the group GaGa in 1979, the guitarist befriended the Talking Heads and began appearing as a guest at their concerts. The group (and their producer Eno) finally asked him to add guitar to the songs of the Stay in the light album and was eventually invited to join the Heads live ensemble. Belew toured with the group in 1981 in addition to recording with related side projects including solo efforts by David Byrne and Jerry Harrison and the Tom Tom Club, a group led by Tina Weymouth and Chris’ Talking Heads rhythm section. Frantz.
Belew had also developed a friendship with King Crimson founding guitarist Robert Fripp, who would ask Belew to join a new version of the band starring monster drummer Bill Bruford and bassist Tony Levin. The band will record a trilogy of critically acclaimed albums and tour with rave reviews, writing a groundbreaking new chapter in the history of the revered progressive rock band. Although this would only last until another separation in 1984, Belew also began a successful solo career at the same time that ranged from melodious but angular rock to more accessible pop both alone and as part of his band The Bears, culminating in MTV’s left-field solo “Oh Daddy,” a duet with his pre-teen daughter Audie, in 1989.
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The ’90s would be occupied with King Crimson’s return to touring and recording activities from 1994, although Belew would also remain busy with continued solo recordings and the start of an extended collaboration with Trent Reznor. by Nine Inch Nails, who would use Belew as a session guitarist on a series of albums starting with the historic recording The downward spiral.
While Belew is not on tour with the last version of Crimson that Fripp summoned in 2013 – after a period of public acrimony, last year Fripp announced that his differences with Belew had been resolved, opening the door to a possible future collaboration – the guitarist has maintained a steady production of solo efforts, mainly supported by his touring group since 2006, the Adrian Belew Power Trio. Earlier this year, the guitarist expanded the trio with drummer Jordan Perlson and bassist Julie Slick to a quartet with the addition of keyboardist and guitarist Saul Zonana.
This group performs a mix of solo tracks – some taken from Belew’s latest effort. Pop-face which came out last spring – and the King Crimson covers on their return to the Bay Area, headlining San Francisco’s Mission District Chapel on Tuesday before performing at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley on Wednesday . Zonana opens both shows with a solo set.
Tuesday, Sept. 17, 8 p.m. $ 32- $ 35
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Wednesday, Sept. 18, 8 p.m. $ 32- $ 37
Sweetwater Music Room