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 World 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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19 hours ago

Bryan Beller

SELF-EXPRESSION SUPERNOVA: Joe Satriani just dropped three albums' worth of music-minus-guitar backing tracks. And then he called some friends to see how they'd play over some of them, with predictably awesome results.

Playing "Rate My Skype Room: Home Studio Edition" for a moment, I give the "most gear" award to Steve Vai, and the "most elegant atmosphere" award to Lari Basilio. Some excellent hatwear as well going on here.
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4 days ago

Bryan Beller

LESSONS, SESSIONS & CONFESSIONS: This is a good a time as any to restate for the record that I - a primarily touring musician spending lots of time at home these days - am available for Skype private lessons and remote bass tracking sessions. Look at all those shiny basses - now including a certain special instrument I recently reacquired. 😉

Looking further on the bright side, it’s been quite rewarding revisiting some of the denser material in my bassist repertoire (Aristocrats, Mike Keneally, Steve Vai, etc) from an educational perspective. Sometimes I forget everything I went through to learn this stuff in the first place! For the brave souls who want to enter that process, many treasures and surprises await. Regarding sessions, it’s always exciting to bring new instruments to the table, as well as revisiting some old ones. As I’ve said many times, the song will always tell you what to do.

I admit that the “confessions” bit was just to complete a clever headline. (Wait, that *was* a confession, wasn’t it?) I don’t have anything to confess, other than, like so many of you, I have no idea when life will return to normal. It’s a crazy world out there right now. Stay safe, and if you’re a musician, somehow, keep playing.
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5 days ago

Bryan Beller

SCENES FROM THE FLOOD, ONE YEAR LATER: Hard to believe, but “Scenes From The Flood” dropped exactly one year ago today. (What a year, right?) I’ve said plenty about it, so I’ll turn it over to the folks who’ve heard it: How does it sit for you one year on? And if somehow you haven’t heard any of it yet (always possible!), I’m re-posting this one-minute promo clip for the album as a little birthday celebration. (Protip: If you’re thinking of purchasing this fine musical product, my website webstore is the best place to do it - vinyl, CD, or hi-res digital. There, I said it.)

For my part, I remain grateful it exists, grateful to everyone on the massive team that helped make it happen, and even more grateful for the incredibly generous reaction from so many folks who took the time to check it out. I know I have a tendency to be a bit wordy in text, so in an effort to avoid that, I’ll just say this: Aside from the video I’m working on right now (and hope to release in the coming month), “Scenes From The Flood” says everything I could possibly want to say about our Very Strange Year. It’s all there in the music, and one year on, I wouldn’t change a single atom of it.

(Want to know more? Read more about it here: bryanbeller.com/index.php/scenes-from-the-flood)
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1 week ago

Bryan Beller

TOBIAS UPDATE - THE INTERNET DESERVES A BETTER CLASS OF STORY: But, in this case, I can’t really give it to you. Or, to keep going with The Dark Knight meme language, the tale of my stolen-and-returned Tobias Lacewood Tobias #1402 isn’t the story we need in 2020, but it’s the story that 2020 deserves. And now I’m going to have to break My One Rule: Never tell a boring story. But I’m going to, right here, with as little drama as possible. In a timeline:

1991: The bass is built in Michael Tobias’ shop in Los Angeles. Luthier/finisher/musician Paul Slagle becomes the original owner.
May 1992: I reach out to Tobias via phone during my senior year at Berklee College Of Music . Somehow (I can’t remember this part) I am connected with Paul Slagle, who has one for sale (probably because there was a long backorder on new Tobias basses). I fly from Boston to Los Angeles to meet Paul, watch him play it at The Robin Hood Pub in Sherman Oaks, and buy it from him the next day.
May 1992-December 1994: It becomes my #1 instrument. I play it in a Metallica tribute show at Berklee, my Berklee Senior Recital, gigs with the blues-rock band 100 Proof, the Dweezil/Ahmet Zappa band Z (two tracks from 1993’s “Shampoohorn”, plus a 3-week tour of the USA), and Mike Keneally (a few gigs in San Diego, and the recording session for 1994’s “Boil That Dust Speck”).
December 31, 1994: The instrument is stolen (with no forced entry) from my North Hollywood apartment by a recently fired maintenance worker at the complex, who kept his uniform and made key copies. He had been in my apartment a week before to fix something (while still employed by the complex), and the instrument had been left out on display. Several eyewitnesses saw him entering and leaving my apartment minutes before I got home, dressed in uniform, carrying white garbage bags filled with “something”.
Early 1995: He was arrested, tried, and found “not guilty”.
August 2017: I posted this message in the Talkbass.com forum, along with a picture of the bass:

“This beautiful 1986 Tobias Basic with a lacewood maple top was stolen out of my apartment by a building maintenance worker in 1994. I bought it three years before and it was my #1 at the time I first moved to Los Angeles in 1993. The serial number is #1402. Somehow it never turned up at the local pawnshops, and since this was the pre-internet era, it's hard to know what happened to it.

23 years later, it's entirely possible that this instrument has ended up in the hands of someone who has no knowledge of its troubled provenance. If that person happens to be you - I will gladly pay a fair price for it. It's more than likely that the instrument stayed in California somewhere, but you never know.

What say you, TalkBass community? Any chance this shot in the dark hits light?”

September 1, 2020: A person e-mails me to say “I do actually own that bass”. He is located just blocks from where the bass was stolen and bought it from someone locally in 1997.
September 5, 2020: I buy the Tobias back from this person, for the fair price I said I would in the TalkBass post.

And there it is. Or as Paul Harvey would say…now you know the rest of the story.

The only post-script is that I have just learned - literally as I was writing this post - is that Paul Slagle passed away in March 2020 after a long battle with leukemia. I had no idea as I hadn’t been in touch with Paul since 1992, and I was planning on reaching out to him today. Rest in peace, Paul, and thanks again for being the first person to sell me this amazing instrument.

(Picture from March 9, 1994, at A.L. Gators in Baltimore MD, live from the Z “K.A.O.S.” tour)
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LESSONS, SESSIONS & CONFESSIONS: Now = good time to restate that I'm home at lot these days, and available for Skype private lessons and remote bass tracking sessions. Look at all those shiny basses - now including a certain special instrument I recently reacquired. 😉

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