Bassist/composer and sideman extraordinaire Bryan Beller (Dethklok, Steve Vai, Mike Keneally) will release his first live album as a solo artist, Wednesday Night Live, on March 31, 2011 through his own label, Onion Boy Records. It’s a raw, in-your-face, up-close-and-personal recording of Beller’s 2010 live band at the world famous Baked Potato in Los Angeles, and a serious statement from an artist who’s quickly establishing himself as one of the elite bass playing and compositional voices in the rock/jazz fusion scene today.
It started modestly, with Beller’s band opening for longtime compatriot Mike Keneally’s band using the same five musicians (including themselves) for five shows in the Northeast. The plan was for the Keneally/Beller “They’re Both The Same Band” tour to then hit the west coast, but scheduling got sticky. “We were able to confirm one date that worked for everyone: Wednesday, September 15, 2010, at The Baked Potato,” says Beller, who turns 40 this May. “And I said, screw it, let’s record it and see what happens. This is what happened.”
The album is Beller’s 6-song, 45-minute live set from the tour, plus bonus material consisting of a performance of “View” from the WesFest 2 benefit concert, and a rowdy, live-to-two-track rendition of “Cave Dweller” from the Thanks In Advance record release gig.
Bryan Beller already has two critically acclaimed studio releases under his belt: 2003’s View (“A solo album so good it makes you wonder why he bothered doing anything else.” – Bill Leigh, Bass Player ) and 2008’s Thanks in Advance (“A bonafide entry for bass album of the year.” – Chris Jisi, Bass Player). With a collection of intricately composed, multi-track layered tunes in his repertoire, and a true touring band for the first time in his career, Beller saw the issue of live vs. studio arrangements as a balancing act.
“I see myself as a rock/jazz fusion artist, with the rock part coming first. And I remember going to see Pink Floyd shows and wanting to see them honor the songs and individual parts I loved so much, while at the same time digging it when they stretched out in certain spots. That’s the balance I wanted the band to strike. So you’ll hear little parts and even some solos of mine that stay close to the record version, because I consider them a part of the song to some extent, and I want to honor that. But there’s also a lot of room to push the boundaries when we want to, and having such great players and friends in the band – guys I know and trust deeply, like Rick, Griff, Joe and Mike – just makes those moments extra special.”
Though there’s plenty of intensity in the funk/fusion workouts “Greasy Wheel” and “Seven Percent Grade” (to say nothing of the emotional low-to-high rollercoaster segue of “Life Story” and “Get Things Done”), Beller’s landmark ten-minute composition “Love Terror Adrenaline/Break Through” stands out as the set’s high point. “We’re talking about a studio cut with tons of tracks and layers and overdubs, and an impossibly complex melody played by Mike Keneally, and we condensed it into a five-piece arrangement that I’m quite proud of. The band played their asses off on that. They played their asses off all night. That’s why I wanted to put this out – because I think the way they played this material really deserves to be heard.”
Wednesday Night Live will also be released as a full-length live concert DVD in late spring 2011. For the latest information on all things Beller, visit www.bryanbeller.com.