BRYAN BELLER


Bryan Beller has maintained a multi-faceted career as a bassist, composer, solo artist and clinician for over 25 years, earning his reputation as a uniquely talented yet supremely tasteful team player for instrumentally-minded artists. In the power super-trio The Aristocrats (with uber-players Guthrie Govan on guitar and Marco Minnemann on drums) he’s a part of one of the hottest world touring acts in rock/fusion today; their 2019 release You Know What…? debuted at #2 on the Billboard Jazz Chart. He’s been Joe Satriani’s touring bassist since 2013, marking three trips around the world and a fourth to come in 2020 for the Shapeshifting World Tour. He was Steve Vai’s choice for the 2009 live CD/DVD Where The Wild Things Are, and he also toured and recorded in the “band” Dethklok, a tongue-in-cheek extreme metal band borne of the hit Cartoon Network “Adult Swim” show Metalocalypse. He’s been a musical partner of freak/genius guitarist Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa) for over 20 years and 10 albums.

On his own, Beller’s solo album catalog includes 2003’s View, 2008’s Thanks In Advance, and 2011’s Wednesday Night Live, as well as an Alfred instructional DVD, all released to widespread acclaim. His 2019 solo release – the progressive concept double album Scenes From The Flood featuring Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Guthrie Govan, Mike Keneally, Gene Hoglan (Dethklok), Ray Hearne (Haken) and many more was hailed by multiple outlets as an instant classic: “A colossal artistic statement and a career triumph…one of the year’s most intriguing and staggering albums, it will for sure end in our 2019 best of lists.” (Scott Medina, Sonic Perspectives)

As a pure player, a composer, a masterclass clinician, a former Contributing Editor for Bass Player Magazine, and a former VP of SWR bass amps, Bryan Beller brings a holistic perspective to the world of bass, and music.

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LONGER BIO

Bryan Beller has maintained a frenetic, multi-faceted career as a bassist, composer, solo artist, writer and clinician for over twenty-five years. 

Beller’s reputation as a uniquely talented yet supremely tasteful team player for adventurous instrumentally-minded artists is clearly evidenced in his work for some of the industry’s top names. He’s been Joe Satriani’s touring bassist since 2013, notching three world tours (including a G3 with John Petrucci and Phil Collen of Def Leppard), several cuts on Satch’s 2015 release Shockwave Supernova, and a feature appearance in Satriani’s tour documentary film Beyond The Supernova. Beller will be joining Satch on his Shapeshifting Worfld Tour in 2020. Beller’s also the bassist of the rock/fusion super-trio The Aristocrats (with uber-players Guthrie Govan on guitar and Marco Minnemann on drums), one of the hottest acts in the genre today. The Aristocrats released six critically acclaimed albums in five short years, with their sixth (2019’s You Know What…?) debuting at #2 on the Billboard Jazz Chart. Their four successful world tours even included joining Satriani and Steve Vai for a G3 run in Europe. This high profile work has landed Beller on the pages of numerous music magazines, including cover features in Bass Player and Bass Musician magazines.

As a solo artist, Beller’s most current release (2019) is the epic-scale modern progressive double concept album Scenes From The Flood. The massive 2CD/2LP work gathered an all-star cast of 26 musicians (including Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Guthrie Govan, Mike Keneally, Gene Hoglan (Dethklok), Ray Hearne (Haken), Joe Travers, Nili Brosh, Mike Dawes, Janet Feder, and many more) to explore themes of ambition and loss, intentionality and reality, hope and disillusionment. It uses every second of its 18-song, 88-minute running order to tell an emotionally consuming and unforgettable musical story. Scenes From The Flood was hailed by multiple outlets as an instant classic: “A colossal artistic statement and a career triumph…one of the year’s most intriguing and staggering albums, it will for sure end in our 2019 best of lists.” (Scott Medina, Sonic Perspectives)

Before then, Beller released his debut solo album View in late 2003 to widespread acclaim, earning the monthly feature in Bass Player Magazine (“…it’s a thrill to witness an artist like Beller find his voice with such a self-assured debut…”). His second album Thanks In Advance (2008) garnered even more critical praise (“…a bonafide entry for bass album of the year” – Chris Jisi, Bass Player Magazine). Beller’s first live album Wednesday Night Live – a raw, powerful, intimate document of his 2010 touring lineup playing the world-famous Baked Potato in Los Angeles – was released in 2011 on both CD and DVD. His first instructional DVD, Mastering Tone And Versatility, was released by Alfred Publishing in early 2012, and he’s a featured artist on the instructional website Jamplay.com.

Beller’s additional sideman gig experience includes being Steve Vai’s choice for the 2009 live CD/DVD Where The Wild Things Are, a tour-de-force document of the six-piece Vai live band Beller anchored on bass in 2007. He’s also toured with the “band” Dethklok, a tongue-in-cheek extreme metal band borne of the hit Cartoon Network “Adult Swim” show Metalocalypse; Beller’s tracked on the last two Dethklok releases (Dethalbum III; The Doomstar Requiem) and has joined the band for three nationwide tours to date, alongside metal monsters Mastodon and Machine Head, among others. And he’s been a musical partner of freak/genius guitarist Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa) for over 17 years and 10 albums.

Beller’s 16-year span as a freelance writer includes cover stories on bass luminaries such as Justin Chancellor (Tool), Christian McBride, Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse) and Chris Wolstenholme (Muse), as well as a landmark cover feature on the state of heavy metal bass involving ten different interviews. In 2010, Beller interviewed former Governor of Arkansas and 2008 Republican Presidential candidate (and part-time bassist) Mike Huckabee for Bass Player Magazine. He’s also interviewed a veritable who’s who of the modern bass world: Jonas Hellborg, Victor Wooten, John Patitucci, Lee Sklar, Neil Stubenhaus, Jay DeMarcus (Rascal Flatts), Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Nine Inch Nails), Bill Laswell, Jimmy Haslip, Stefan Lessard (Dave Matthews Band), Matt Garrison, Adam Nitti, Oteil Burbridge, Dave LaRue, Miroslav Vitous, Billy Sheehan, Emmy-award winning television scorer W.G. “Snuffy” Walden (The West Wing), and myriad others.

Beller’s earliest days on bass were as a Westfield, New Jersey pre-teen on upright in the school orchestra. It was short-lived, as he switched to electric at 13 to better play Rush, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Metallica tunes. Concurrently, a couple of years of classical piano lessons morphed into his own self-taught ear training regimen, as he learned to play those same classic rock and metal songs on the piano completely by ear. Once he landed at Berklee College Of Music, Beller focused solely on bass, and eventually joined a blues-rock band called 100 Proof, which played originals mixed with blues and Allman Brothers covers in Boston’s dirtiest bars. Beller’s rootsy, earthy, groove-oriented approach (as opposed to some of the more shred-oriented players of the time) had found a welcome home – and the original lineup of the band went on to do interesting things: One (Dylan Altman) wrote a #1 hit song for Tim McGraw; another (Jon Skibic) served as the touring guitarist for The Eels and the Gigolo Aunts; and the other (Ben Sesar) ended up as Brad Paisley’s touring drummer for ten years and counting.

But it was when Beller met drummer (and Frank Zappa fanatic) Joe Travers at Berklee that his career first ventured onto its current path. Joe knew Mike Keneally, who was in Dweezil and Ahmet Zappa’s band Z. Eventually Joe moved to Los Angeles, joined that band, and got Beller an audition in 1993, which Beller won, thereby entering the world of Zappa-influenced and independently-minded musicians he still calls fellow travelers to this day. 

As a pure player, a composer, a masterclass clinician (sponsored by Mike Lull Custom Basses, Gallien-Krueger Amplification and D’Addario Strings), a former Contributing Editor for Bass Player Magazine, and a former Vice-President of SWR Sound Corporation, Beller brings a holistic perspective to the world of bass, and music.

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2 days ago

Bryan Beller

BEHIND THE SCENES FROM THE FLOOD - “BUNKISTAN”: I made the album demos in sequence, and after the intensity of “The Flood” and finishing the first half of the album, I took a month-long break to freshen up my head. This was the first song back, and it flew out of me. I’m pretty sure the demo only took five days. And I remember after it was done, thinking for the first time, “I wonder if some of that isn’t good enough to keep?” Turns out I kept everything but the drums and percussion.

The guitars were all done fingerstyle, played as I would play a bass. The main and counter guitar melodies went down smoothly, and the keyboard layers quickly followed (god bless the Korg Kronos Rhodes and String Ensemble patches, they’re just gorgeous). I broke out the dark, vintage-y Mike Lull passive P/J 5 (alder body/rosewood fingerboard) and flew through the take, including the solo. And then for the guitar solo, I felt strangely liberated, and imagined myself as a cross between David Gilmour and “clean jazz guitar guy” capable of soloing in 9/4. I could hardly believe it was me when I played it back. You take these where you can get them. To top it off, I thought it would be cute to have drummer Ray Hearne (HAKEN) play against type and play a fairly simple trance-like groove throughout the whole thing.

But the real inside bit of “Bunkistan” isn’t really how I tracked it. It’s what it’s about. It’s a love song for touring musicians, specifically with a tour bus. What happens is that, after the show, everyone gets on the bus as it prepares to roll through the night. At some point, people retreat to their little bunk spaces for eventual sleep, and the smartphones come out. Some text their spouse, or their sweetheart, or maybe even their possible hookup in the next city.

Zoom in on one bunk, one particularly tender thread, and that’s the sound of this melody the first time around. Sweet somethings back and forth.

Zoom out again and imagine two people, in two different bunks, doing the same - that’s the second melody, with more accompaniment. The bass enters melodically, and the keyboards become lush. A third bunk starts their own thread as the second chorus begins.

The bus enters a long mountain tunnel - perhaps the Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland - and the outside atmospheric noise changes. This is the breakdown and bass solo. The original thread is more exposed now, and yearning expressively, even earnestly. Missing someone.

The bus exits the tunnel, the guitar solo begins, and now everyone on the bus is texting. Sweet late night bits and bytes headed in different directions all over the globe. Hour after hour, text after text, kilometer after kilometer.

Eventually, dawn breaks, and one by one, the folks on the bus turn off their phones, and turn over to go to sleep. The music breaks down, bit by bit, and eventually stops. But the bus keeps rolling on, somewhere in Europe, into the early morning, and beyond.

“Bunkistan” is the album’s final nod to unqualified optimism. After this, it sets off on the long, inevitable march to its ultimate ending,
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3 days ago

Bryan Beller

Olomouc, Czech Republic. You are pretty and have great food and Pilsner Urquell. Thanks for being good! ... See MoreSee Less

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3 days ago

Bryan Beller

BEFORE THE MAYHEM BEGINS: A candid shot from an Aristocrats soundcheck. The chicken is keeping watch.

Heading for a day off in Olomouc, CZ before our show there. Thanks so much again to everyone in Bochnia and Warsaw Poland for two more amazing shows.
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4 days ago

Bryan Beller

GOING DUTCH: When it comes to supporting the progressive instrumental community, nobody does it like the Dutch music press. There are *five* reviews of “Scenes From The Flood” that I haven’t shared yet and they are ALL from The Netherlands. The picture on this post is from the recent issue of Gitarist (NL), and I’ll share links to the other four articles below.

Progwereld (NL), unsigned - www.progwereld.org/recensie/bryan-beller-scenes-from-the-flood/
RockPortaal.nl (NL), Hans Ravensbergen - www.rockportaal.nl/bryan-beller-scenes-from-the-flood
DPRP.nl (NL), Mark Hughes - www.dprp.nl/reviews/2019-074
Background.nl - Pedro Bekkers - www.backgroundmagazine.nl/CDreviews/BryanBellerScenesFromTheFlood.html

The Netherlands has always had a special place in my heart ever since my early career days in Hilversum and Groningen working with Mike Keneally, Steve Vai, Co de Kloet and the Metropol Orchestra. With the kind of care and attention the Dutch music community gives to expanded releases like “Scenes From The Flood” and other progressive artists, hopefully you can see why. 🙂

BB WEBSTORE LINK FOR CD, VINYL, & HI-RES DIGITAL VERSIONS OF
"SCENES FROM THE FLOOD":
bryanbeller.com/index.php/shop/

Thanks so much to everyone in The Netherlands for their great support, and I look forward to seeing you on January 18 and 19 when The Aristocrats come to De Boerderij in Zoetermeer!
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5 days ago

Bryan Beller

Thank you Vienna (this pic) and Kosice, Slovakia for two great shows! On to Poland for the next two nights...

The Aristocrats Guthrie Govan (Official) Marco Minnemann
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Such an amazing album. Between The Buried And Me's "The Great Misdirect" is one of the hidden influences of "Scenes From The Flood". It was subliminal even to me until I saw this and thought about the whole album again. It's just great. If you haven't checked it out, do so!

Tommy Rogers@tommybtbam

The Great Misdirect is 10 years old today! 🎉
Btw, @paulbtbam this guitar part still kicks my ass.
#btbam @btbamofficial @prsguitars

BEHIND THE SCENES FROM THE FLOOD: "BUNKISTAN" - a love song for musicians. Read the backstory here (top post): https://t.co/uinoIWbMhz

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