VIEW (2003)

 


Long known as a uniquely talented yet tasteful hired gun bassist for the more adventurous rock guitarists of recent times (Mike Keneally, Steve Vai, Dweezil Zappa, Wayne Kramer), Bryan Beller ventures out on his own with his debut solo album, View

Those familiar with his main body of work – nine years, five albums and countless tours with former Frank Zappa guitarist Mike Keneally – are well aware of his ability to navigate the complex, sometimes impossibly dense forms and styles present in Keneally’s work…all with the polish, simplicity and accessibility one might expect from a pop bassline. Both a repeat feature subject and three-year columnist for Bass Player Magazine, Beller has long drawn the attention of music fans with a discriminating taste for high-caliber playing. 

But far from aspiring to bass heroism, Beller instead builds a carefully crafted emotional tapestry of interweaving themes and styles – a true album in the old-fashioned sense. Drawing on influences as disparate as John Scofield and Rage Against The Machine, Michael Landau and Pink Floyd, Nine Inch Nails and his mentor, Mike Keneally, the resulting body of work runs the gamut from hardcore jazz/rock to vocal pop to world beat while somehow staying thematically intact, all the while displaying equal parts density and sensitivity, melody and dissonance, tranquility and furious release. 

Musicians include guitarists Mike Keneally, Rick Musallam (Ben Taylor Band), Griff Peters and Yogi; drummers Toss Panos (Toy Matinee, Steve Vai) and Joe Travers (Dweezil Zappa, Lisa Loeb). 



“Just when you thought Beller couldn’t possibly be good at another thing, he releases a solo album so good it makes you wonder why he bothered doing anything else…View shows how terrific Beller is as a bassist, but it also establishes his real musical talent as a writer. It’s a thrill to witness an artist like Beller find his voice with such a self-assured debut.” – Bill Leigh, Bass Player Magazine 

“Seven Percent Grade shows that charging fingerstyle fusion is as comfortable for [Beller] as a fine rock riff…and both “Bite” and “See You Next Tuesday” show he can rock with the best….Inventive solo pieces such as “Elate” & “No” show that Beller isn’t going to fall into any clichés either. Inventive and creative, View end[s] up as a complete and compelling album, which I’m still enjoying right now.” – Adrian Ashton, Bass Guitar Magazine (U.K.) 

“Bryan is one of those bass players who just knows how to put the right note in the right place at the right time…monster playing and good vibes.” – Michael Manring (solo artist, Attention Deficit) 

“A unique blend of solid old school playing with modern sensibility and lots of edge.” – Andy West (Dixie Dregs) 

“Every expectation you may have about this album is going to be blown clear out of the water when you hear it. It’s really, really good, unique and intricate and ballsy and beautifully performed.” – Mike Keneally 

released October 28, 2003 


all music and lyrics written by Bryan Beller 
© 2003 Panorama Ataraxia Music BMI 
except 

*Backwoods 
music by John Patitucci 
© 1990 Universal MCA Music 

**Bite 
music by Wes Wehmiller 
lyrics by Colin Keenan 
© 1995 Maximum Music BMI 

produced by Bryan Beller 
recorded and mixed by Nick D’Virgilio 
additional engineering and key Pro Tools engineering by Ed Monsef 

tracked and mixed at 
Lawnmower Studio and Garden Supplies 
Pasadena, CA, April-June 2003 
key editing performed at 
Ear Kandy Studio, Toluca Lake, CA 
mastered by Jay Frigoletto at 
Mastersuite, Hollywood, CA 

art design and title concept by Katy Towell 

road photography by Wes Wehmiller 
cityscape photo in cover window by Stanley Leary 
© Georgia Tech Research Corporation/Georgia Institute of Technology
sound effects – Creative Sound Design/The Recordist.com 
documentation and cartage – Wayne Perez 
charts – Chris Opperman 
movie dialogue excerpts from “in the company of men” © 1998 Columbia/Tristar Studios 
additional sound effects – Wayne Perez and Ed Monsef of Team Burl Core, LLC (Respect Division) 

thanks and love to everyone who helped make this a reality and to all who provided support along the way 

(c) 2003 Onion Boy Records, All Rights Reserved

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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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