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

1 day ago

Bryan Beller
LAST DUCKLING TOUR SHOW TONIGHT: Amazing show with The Aristocrats in Mill Valley on Thursday at Sweetwater Music Hall - what a beautiful venue! Great crowd and great time. Tonight we bring the all-too-brief and totally-sold-out DUCKLING tour to a close back home in Los Angeles at The Echo. But stay tuned for news about a much bigger Aristo-tour coming up...soon-ish. 😉Also, thank you for all the kind words on the shows and the new album DUCK. What songs should we do for the upcoming DUCK tour cycle? ... See MoreSee Less
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2 days ago

Bryan Beller
There is going big, and then there is going BIG. Film/TV composer Bear McCreary (Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, The Walking Dead, Metalocalypse's The Doomstar Requiem) has crossed over to the other side and made a rock concept album with the most ridiculous lineup ever. (I'm on most of the tracks - a total thrill.) See below! ... See MoreSee Less
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3 days ago

Bryan Beller
DUCK WEEK ONE: Thank you for the incredible show of support for The Aristocrats' new album DUCK, which has landed in the mailboxes of the awesome folks who pre-ordered directly from us and/or bought the digital download on Bandcamp, iTunes or Amazon Music. (If you haven't gotten your order yet, it should be there very soon.) Let's hear what you think about it so far!Meanwhile the DUCKLING tour rolls on to Mill Valley (San Francisco) tonight and finishes in Los Angeles on Saturday. Thank you Redding for a great show this past Monday night! ... See MoreSee Less
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5 days ago

Bryan Beller
NILI BROSH TOURS EUROPE: Specially-timed post for my friends in Europe - don't miss guitar phenom Nili Brosh as she embarks on her first-ever tour of Europe coming right up in March! I know fans of The Aristocrats and Joe Satriani and Steve Vai will dig Nili's next-gen take on instrumental guitar rock/fusion. And with a great rhythm section - my dear friend Steve Lawson on bass, and drummer atma anur - she'll be lighting up some of the same stages The Aristocrats have played in Europe over the years. Not only did Nili and I recently flank frontman Brendon Small for Dethklok on the massive 2023 BABYKLOK tour of the US, we've both played on each other's solo albums. I'm on several tracks of her 2014 album "A Matter Of Perception", and she blazes on the track "World Class" from my 2019 solo album "Scenes From The Flood", alongside John Petrucci on the same cut. She's played Coachella and The Hollywood Bowl with Danny Elfman, she's done the Cirque Du Soleil "Michael Jackson One" show for years, and more - just an amazing career.But this is the first time she's touring Europe, and she's laying it all on the line to get there. If you're anywhere closeby, I cannot recommend this tour highly enough. Go see it!Nili Brosh Band with Steve Lawson (bs) and Atma Anur (dr)March 4 - Hamburg, Germany - LogoMarch 5 - Fürth, Germany - KofferfabrikMarch 7 - Kassel, Germany - Kulturzentrum SchlachthofMarch 8 - Rüsselsheim, Germany - Kulturzentrum das RindMarch 9 - Waldbronn, Germany Soundcheck OneMarch 10 - Esch-sur-alzette, Luxembourg - RockhalMarch 12 - Nancy, France - Music Academy International (CLINIC)March 13 - Tourcoing, France - Espace De Formation Trades De La Musique (CLINIC)March 14 - Zoetermeer, Netherlands - De BoerderijMarch 16 - Larvik, Norway - Larvik Guitar Festival ... See MoreSee Less
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6 days ago

Bryan Beller
SHOW #2: Thank you PORTLAND for a loud and sold out show with The Aristocrats at the beautiful Mississippi Studios! We're having a blast playing these new tunes for you, and breaking out some catalog stuff we haven't played in a while as well. Tonight we bring it to the most intimate venue of the tour - The Dip in Redding, CA. Meanwhile, DUCK is rolling out worldwide! 😉 ... See MoreSee Less
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