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 days ago

Bryan Beller

LOOKING AHEAD IN PORTLAND: Had the pleasure of visiting Five Star Guitars recently and meeting the one and only Geoff Metts. Great vibe! Hoping to be back in early 2022 for a thing. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile - if you got an RSVP to the Mike Lull Custom Guitars & Guitarworks clinic tomorrow in Seattle, see you soon!It was nice having @bryanbellerbass in the shop yesterday. He's a fantastic bassist and all around great person. We hope to have him back for an in store event in 2022. Stay tuned for details!
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1 week ago

Bryan Beller

WHERE ARE THEY NOW - JAMIE HOTLYXX: A year ago, I made a video for the song “A Quickening/Steiner in Ellipses” featuring a few special characters. How’s the last year been for them?

No one really knows what happened to Jamie Hotlyxx after he climbed that mountain with his guitar and got struck by lightning. They said no one could survive a direct hit like that, but they never found his body. Some say he’s still up there, and if you come at the right time of night, you can, even now, hear an echo of the high note that shook the heavens and lit up the sky.

The original video for “A Quickening/Steiner In Ellipses” is linked in the first comment.

Special thanks once again to Liz Teisan (filmed every BB shot!), #ZZSatriani (video editor/co-director), Mike Keneally, Rick Musallam, Gene Hoglan ''Official Page'', Dan Teisan, Jay Smith, Kyle Hughes Drums, Forrester Savell and Steve Brogden for bringing this ridiculous and wacky video to life.
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2 weeks ago

Bryan Beller

WHERE ARE THEY NOW - MIMI PAAMBIDOU: A year ago, I made a video for the song “A Quickening/Steiner in Ellipses” featuring a few special characters. How’s the last year been for them?

Mimi Paambidou deleted all of the music content on her various social media accounts, and has been traveling the country in a converted van, documenting her experience. Her following has quadrupled, but she swears she doesn’t check the comments anymore. Most of the time.

The original video for “A Quickening/Steiner In Ellipses” is linked in the first comment.
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2 weeks ago

Bryan Beller

WHERE ARE THEY NOW - CHAD DOUCHERY: A year ago, I made a video for the song “A Quickening/Steiner in Ellipses” featuring a few special characters. How’s the last year been for them?

Chad Douchery spent the past year trying to become an influencer for a company that makes scarves and body spray for men. His band broke up when they refused to wear the products in the video they were shooting at home during the COVID lockdown. Lately he’s been “doing his own research” and working up a solo acoustic act.

The original video for “A Quickening/Steiner In Ellipses” is linked in the first comment.
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2 weeks ago

Bryan Beller

WHERE ARE THEY NOW - B. HARRISON FIRESTONE: A year ago, I made a video for the song “A Quickening/Steiner in Ellipses” featuring a few special characters. How’s the last year been for them?

B. Harrison Firestone (C.P.A.) had his best year ever at work. His accounting firm was so busy managing the special COVID-era loan programs and tax reporting that he had to turn away clients. He had tickets for the Dream Theater tour this fall, but it got postponed and he’ll have to wait for next year. In the meantime, his wine cellar is fully stocked.

The original video for “A Quickening/Steiner In Ellipses” is linked in the first comment.
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