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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10 hours ago

Bryan Beller

INDIE ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Our "stay at home" moment is a great time to showcase some artists you may not have heard of. Nicola Denti is an excellent guitarist/composer from Parma, Italy. I tracked bass for his song "Awakening" on his just-released album "Egosfera". It's great instrumental guitar-oriented rock, with killer tones, riffs, and melodies to last for days. And amazing playing by Nicola, of course!

The whole album is available at Bandcamp right here:
nicoladenti.bandcamp.com/album/egosfera
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3 days ago

Bryan Beller

FOR THE CREATIVES (with bonus Dunlop Bass Wah action): I’m posting a video to say it’s ok not to post a video just because everyone’s posting a video, and also that it’s great that everyone’s doing that. Huh? Just watch. And stay safe. 🙏🙏
@jimdunlopusa #performanceiseverywhere #dunlopartist
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4 days ago

Bryan Beller

MONGOLIAN METAL: Well, maybe it's more hard rock than metal, but alliteration always achieves. This is The HU and they're perfect for those #stayhome moments we're all enjoying. Make sure you turn on the closed captioning/subtitles! 😉🤘

(Hat tip: Skippy Goyle)
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6 days ago

Bryan Beller

LATE SEPTEMBER DOGS ONLINE RECORD RELEASE *THIS SATURDAY NIGHT*: I was really excited to play with Zappa Vaultmeister/drummer Joe Travers at The Whisky on March 28 for Late September Dogs' record release gig for their new album "Learning To Fall". It's hard-grooving straight-up rock fronted by two female lead singers, Liz Teisan and Jackie Farrar, and featuring Liz's brother Dan Teisan and Jay Smith on guitar. Welp, that got cancelled along with everything else on my calendar. But you can check out the whole new album during their *online* record release watch party tomorrow (Saturday) night at 6:00pm Pacific. It will be a full album streaming video, kind of like I did with the "Scenes From The Flood" premiere events (not saying I invented this format or anything, just for reference!).

We're all looking for something to do while sequestered indoors, right? So I invite you to check it out, and hopefully one day when this all blows over, Travers and I can rock this material properly live. 🤘🤘THIS COMING SATURDAY! VIDEO PREMIERE WATCH PARTY! 6 PM PST www.facebook.com/lateseptemberdogs

Want to hear @lateseptemberdogs new album in its entirety while watching a brand new, album-length video? Want to get more information on how and where to purchase CDs, vinyl and other merchandise? Join us on Facebook at 6:00 PM PST THIS COMING SATURDAY and we will tell you more!
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1 week ago

Bryan Beller

ATTENTION ASIA: As you can see below, the COVID-19 situation has forced the postponement of the upcoming Aristocrats Asia tour. We're working on a reschedule plan right now. I think my face in this poster says it all. 😉Dear Aristo-crowd in Asia!:
Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to postpone our upcoming June-July tour in Asia. We announced shows in Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and had many more to announce, but we had to hold back in light of the recent developments. Currently many borders are closed, countries have cancelled all public events, and most crucially, visas have been cancelled or have become impossible to obtain for the short term future. So we are currently planning the new dates with the promoters in your country as we speak, and we'll inform you as soon as we can about the rescheduled shows. In the meantime, let’s all do our part, keep a safe social distance, stay informed with advice from local health experts, and together we’ll beat this so we can make this all happen again as soon as possible!

Thanks again and stay safe,
The Aristocrats
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