THANKS IN ADVANCE (2008)

 


Five years after his acclaimed debut album View, renowned bassist Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, Mike Keneally, Dethklok) creates an emotionally charged, personally definitive jazz/rock compositional statement about breaking through anger and finding gratitude. Drawing on disparate influences from jazzer John Scofield to Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, and even Rage Against The Machine, Beller cranks up the instrumental intensity with fellow heavyweights Mike Keneally (solo artist, Frank Zappa); drummers Marco Minnemann (world-famous clinician), Toss Panos (Larry Carlton, Robben Ford), Joe Travers (Zappa Plays Zappa), and Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard, Tears For Fears); and special guests violinist Ann Marie Calhoun (Jethro Tull; 2008 YouTube “My Grammy Moment” winner) and saxophonist Scheila Gonzalez (Zappa Plays Zappa).

“Beller engaged in some sonic soul-searching for his sophomore effort ‘Thanks In Advance’, and the welcome result is a bona fide entry for bass album of the year.” – Chris Jisi, Bass Player Magazine 

“I love Bryan’s playing! He’s solid, supportive and creative with tone for days. ‘Thanks in Advance’ is full of cool ideas, inspired performances and deep grooves. I definitely recommend it.” – Michael Manring

“Every tune sounds unique and compelling.” – Walter Kolosky, Jazz.com 

“As well-written as it is well-played.” – Nick Zaino, Skope 

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The Story Behind Thanks In Advance

Bassist Bryan Beller seemed to have it all: a storied sideman career (Mike Keneally, Steve Vai), regularly published articles in Bass Player Magazine, an acclaimed debut solo album (“View”, 2003 Onion Boy), and an executive corporate position running SWR bass amplification for Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. But the untimely death of a close friend in early 2005 exposed deep fissures in his own identity, and instigated a period of intense and sometimes painful self-examination. One year later, Beller had quit his day job, returned to life as a freelance musician, moved from L.A. to Nashville, found love, and experienced an epiphany that forever shifted his view of life, and his role in it.

Thanks In Advance is the musical manifestation of that journey. Set to Beller’s highly detailed, rock-infused, jazz/fusion compositional voice, it’s an intense trip through the heart of personal darkness – from the lushly dissonant orchestral arrangement of “Casual Lie Day,” to the searing, grinding dirge of “Cave Dweller,” and culminating with the frenzied “Love Terror Adrenaline/Break Through” featuring renowned virtuoso guitarist/composer Mike Keneally (solo artist/Frank Zappa) and recent Modern Drummer cover subject Marco Minnemann – before finally reaching a state of personal and musical peace in the title track and the album’s unexpected close.

“I was constantly unhappy, even angry, about my everyday life, wondering why this or that was all ‘happening to me,'” says Beller. “Only after a shock to my system did I get that, ultimately, I was the source of it all. Where I am now is infinitely more satisfying. So Thanks In Advance really completes View, which I now realize was a well-crafted complaint about things, and tries to convey how I got to being grateful for life’s everyday content, whatever it brings, as opposed to being angry with it. It sure wasn’t a painless process, but it’s been deeply, profoundly rewarding, and it’s a message I’d like to share with others. That’s what I’m up to with this record.”

More comfortable than ever in his own playing skin, Beller worked fretless, fretted, acoustic/electric, boutique and vintage basses into the mix, and contributed piano and guitar tracks as well. But he left plenty of spotlight for a stylistically diverse all-star cast: the aforementioned Keneally and Minnemann; drummer Joe Travers and saxophonist Scheila Gonzalez (Zappa Plays Zappa); violinist Ann Marie Calhoun (Steve Vai); View veteran guitarists Rick Musallam (Mike Keneally, Ben Taylor) and Griff Peters; keyboardist Jeff Babko (James Taylor, Robben Ford); and drummers Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard, Tears For Fears) and Toss Panos (Michael Landau, Larry Carlton). And that’s just the L.A. contingent; Beller tracked a whole separate group of Nashville musicians, including some veteran R&B grease in guitarist Bruce Dees (James Brown, Ronnie Milsap) and keyboardist Clayton Ivey (Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin) to complement the virtuosic firepower. There was also a personal touch, as Dees and Ivey previously recorded with the woman Beller moved to Nashville for: R&B singer/songwriter/keyboardist Kira Small, who also played Rhodes on the album’s title track.

While recording occurred in eleven different studios (primarily in Nashville, Los Angeles and San Diego), Beller bucked the remote-album file-swapping trend and personally attended nearly every session, bringing cohesion to the production and personally preserving the album’s narrative. “After a year of seclusion writing the material, I was more than ready to get out of the house and interact with the people I trusted to bring this music to life. Driving back and forth from Nashville to SoCal, with a van full of gear and basses and hard drives, going from studio to studio…it was really exhilarating to feel it all come together. That’s an easy one to be grateful for.”

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Thanks In Advance features performances by:

Guitarists

Mike Keneally (solo artist, Frank Zappa)
Rick Musallam (Mike Keneally Band, Ben Taylor)
Griff Peters (featured guitarist on Beller’s first album “View”)
Chris Cottros (Nashville session cat)
Bruce Dees (James Brown, Ronnie Milsap)

Keyboardists

Jeff Babko (James Taylor, Robben Ford, Jimmy Kimmel Live)
Jody Nardone (Crimson Jazz Trio)
Kira Small (solo artist, Martina McBride, Wynonna Judd)
Clayton Ivey (Wilson Pickett, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin)

Drummers

Joe Travers (Zappa Plays Zappa, Lisa Loeb)
Toss Panos (Michael Landau, Larry Carlton)
Marco Minnemann (solo artist/clinician)
Nick D\’Virgilio (Tears For Fears, Spock\’s Beard)
Marcus Finnie (Diana Ross)

Special Guests

Saxphonist Scheila Gonzalez (Zappa Plays Zappa)
Violinist Ann Marie Calhoun (Steve Vai)

released September 30, 2008 

Produced by Bryan Beller

Mixed by Mark Niemiec at Muggytone Studio, Nashville, TN
Key editing by Mark Niemiec on all tracks except “Cave Dweller” key editing by Erich Gobel
Mastered by John and J.J. Golden at John Golden Mastering, Ventura, CA

All songs written by Bryan Beller © 2008 Panorama Ataraxia Music BMI
*except “Thanks In Advance” by Bryan Beller © 2008 Panorama Ataraxia Music BMI/Mike Keneally © 2008 Spen Music BMI/Griff Peters © 2008 Pointy Peak Music BMI/Joe Travers © 2008 Travers Tunes ASCAP.

CD booklet design and layout by Mike Mesker

Photography by Griff Peters (all except noted), Wes Wehmiller (tray card) and Leigh Ann Villanueva (booklet back page)

Infinite and profound thanks to Wes Wehmiller, to whom this record is dedicated.

(c) 2008 Onion Boy Records, All Rights Reserved.

all rights reserved

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2 weeks ago

Bryan Beller

And here it is, the cover of the fourth Aristocrats studio album, "You Know What...?". Release date is set for June 28! More details below...Our fourth studio album, “You Know What…?” is complete! This might just be our most ambitious release yet. During the writing and recording of this album we feel like we inspired each other as songwriters and musicians to do things we've never done before as a band. Yet still, it's totally, completely an Aristocrats album. We think it may be the coolest thing we've done yet and we can’t wait for you to hear it! “You Know What…?” will be released on June 28th, with pre-sales available in early June. Whether you prefer a physical product, digital download or streaming, we’ve got you covered. And continuing our Aristocratic tradition of illustrated artwork, Graphic Artist Hajo Müller has created this awesome cover art for us. We’ll be sharing some audio clips and other details with you soon so make sure you check in on us here, or if you want to be certain you’ll receive news of everything Aristocrats-related you can sign up to our mailing list: www.reverbnation.com/page_object/join_mailing_list/artist_6281141 ... See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Bryan Beller

THEY. ARE. BOTH. DONE.
#primalscream

I will have a lot to say about this very soon. For right now, I’m just stunned, elated, exhausted and grateful.
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2 weeks ago

Bryan Beller

I want to speak with Francis Dunnery's accent, just for a day. Maybe at Aristocamp I'll learn how to do it. ... See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Bryan Beller

Many more Aristocrats North America tour dates just announced! Southeast, Texas, Southwest, this is for you....This is the post many of you have been waiting for. Phase 2 of our North America tour!! Here are the dates (with a couple more yet to be announced):

09-Aug, Asheville, Isis Music Hall
10-Aug, Nashville, City Winery
11-Aug, Atlanta, Aisle5
14-Aug, Orlando, SoundBar
15-Aug, Boca Raton, Funky Biscuit
16-Aug, Tampa, Brass Mug
17-Aug, Jacksonville, Nighthawk's
19-Aug, New Orleans / Metarie, Southport Hall
21-Aug, Houston, Scout Bar
22-Aug, San Antonio, Sam's Burger Joint
23-Aug, Austin, The Dirty Dog
24-Aug, McKinney, Guitar Sanctuary
27-Aug, Albuquerque, Launchpad
29-Aug, Phoenix, Club Red
30-Aug, Mexicali, Bol Bol
31-Aug, San Diego (Ramona), Ramona MainStage

The excellent Travis Larson Band will be opening for us at all of these shows. Full details and ticket links will be available soon at the-aristocrats-band.com
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3 weeks ago

Bryan Beller

Guess what? Michael Manring will be a guest instructor at The Aristocamp! I've been a fan and admirer of Michael for so many years - one of the few *truly* unique voices on the instrument. He does so many things I could never dream of doing - it's almost like he bends time and physics on the bass! And it's always in a beautiful, shimmering manner. Plus, his mental/spiritual approach is very enlightening. It's my honor to have him joining our little shindig up near Woodstock, NY on June 18-21. Please go to www.aristocamp.com for more information! ... See MoreSee Less

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