Bryan Beller | Thanks In Advance

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Thanks In Advance

by Bryan Beller

The renowned bassist for Steve Vai, Mike Keneally and Dethklok creates an emotionally charged, instrumentally intense, and personally definitive jazz/rock compositional statement about breaking through anger and finding gratitude.
Genre: Rock: Instrumental Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Snooze Bar
3:18 $0.99
2. Casual Lie Day
6:29 $0.99
3. Greasy Wheel
6:30 $0.99
4. Cost Of Doing Business
1:48 $0.99
5. Blind Sideways
4:18 $0.99
6. Life Story
1:56 $0.99
7. Cave Dweller
7:52 $0.99
8. Play Hard
3:50 $0.99
9. Love Terror Adrenaline/Break Through
10:22 $0.99
10. Thanks In Advance
8:52 $0.99
11. From Nothing
4:39 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Bryan Beller - "Thanks In Advance"

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).


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."


Thanks In Advance features performances by:

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)

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)

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)


Bryan Beller - biography

Bryan Beller has maintained a frenetic, multi-faceted career as a bassist, composer, writer and clinician for nearly twenty years. On his own, Beller released his debut rock/jazz fusion solo album View in late 2003 to widespread acclaim, earning the monthly feature in Bass Player Magazine ("…it's a thrill to witness an artist like Beller find his voice with such a self-assured debut..."). His second album Thanks In Advance (2008), a definitive compositional statement about breaking through anger and finding gratitude, garnered even more critical praise (“…a bonafide entry for bass album of the year” – Chris Jisi, Bass Player Magazine). Beller’s first live album Wednesday Night Live – a raw, powerful, intimate document of his 2010 touring lineup playing the world-famous Baked Potato in Los Angeles – was released in 2011 on both CD and DVD.

As a sideman, he's earned a reputation as a uniquely talented yet supremely tasteful hired gun bassist for adventurous rock guitarists and singer/songwriters alike. He was Steve Vai’s choice on bass for the live CD/DVD Sound Theories – a collaboration with Holland’s renowned Metropol Orchestra – and toured worldwide with Vai throughout 2007, resulting in the 2009 live CD/DVD Where The Wild Things Are. Showing his range, Beller’s also in the live "band" Dethklok, a tongue-in-cheek extreme metal band borne of the hit Cartoon Network "Adult Swim" show Metalocalypse; work with Dethklok includes a track on The Dethalbum II and three nationwide tours (one co-headlining with Mastodon). He’s also been a musical partner of freak/genius guitarist/composer Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa) for fifteen years, eleven albums, countless tours, and millions of notes. Other sideman experience includes tours with Wayne Kramer (MC5) and Dweezil Zappa, as well as more intimate duo performances with Keneally and, more recently, his wife, Nashville-based R&B/soul singer/songwriter Kira Small, with whom he’s played house concerts and listening room venues in 33 states in just 18 months.

Beller's work as a freelance writer includes cover stories on bass luminaries such as Justin Chancellor (Tool), Christian McBride, and Chris Wolstenholme (Muse), as well as a landmark cover feature on the state of heavy metal bass involving ten different interviews. In 2010, Beller interviewed former Governor of Arkansas and 2008 Republican Presidential candidate (and part-time bassist) Mike Huckabee for Bass Player Magazine. He’s also interviewed a veritable who’s who of the modern bass world: Jonas Hellborg, Victor Wooten, John Patitucci, Lee Sklar, Neil Stubenhaus, Jay DeMarcus (Rascal Flatts), Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Nine Inch Nails), Bill Laswell, Jimmy Haslip, Stefan Lessard (Dave Matthews Band), Matt Garrison, Adam Nitti, Oteil Burbridge, Dave LaRue, Miroslav Vitous, Billy Sheehan, Emmy-award winning television scorer W.G. "Snuffy" Walden (The West Wing), and myriad others.

As a pure player, a masterclass clinician (sponsored by Mike Lull Custom Basses, SWR Amplification and D’addario Strings), a Contributing Editor for Bass Player Magazine, and a former Vice-President of SWR Sound Corporation, Beller brings a global perspective to the world of bass, and sits at the intersection of many of its current pathways. After thirteen years in Los Angeles, he now lives in Nashville with his wife Kira (and their cat Lucian), and continues to travel often.



to write a review

Ian Perge

The Thanks should be from our side
It's been a good few years for Bryan: the successful "Guitar Therapy" tour with The Mike Keneally Band for the release "DOG" that was taped and released in both audio and video form with a multi-camera/multi-tracked shoot that gave us the "Guitar Therapy Live" CD and DVD in beautifully performed and mixed 5.1 Surround Sound, touring Europe and North America with guitar virtuoso Steve Vai's "String Theory" backing band (a unique concept with two equally skilled violinists as opposed to his typical "Wall of Guitars", and in my opinion the most unique concept and interesting set of musicians Vai's ever chosen), touring twice in the "real world" version of the animated band "Dethklok" for Cartoon Network's acclaimed "Metalocalypse" television show, and finally the completion of his sophomore album "Thanks In Advance" and the Special Edition Making-of DVD "To Nothing".

On the making-of DVD Beller explains how he went to great extremes to record and mix "Thanks In Advance" to separate it from its predecessor, only to realize at the end of the process that it sounded very much like "View", and that the improvement only lay at his increased experiences as a Producer and given more time to mix and master than "View". Indeed, "TIA" sounds as it should - the natural follow-up to "View", given the large amount of carry-over of players from the first album and internal "concept" of the album that is the natural extension from "View" and the turns that his life has taken him (which Beller explains on the DVD and I could hardly sum up). So to those of you worried about a radical left-turn, fear not. But certainly be prepared for some new experiences...

What personally draws me to Beller's releases and performances is that they are hardly your typical "Solo Bassist" album, full of generic L.A. Slap-Funk and lead bass. Bryan writes SONGS first, lead and solo bass a distant second. A great addition to "TIA" is the Nashville-based musicians that Beller recruited for the album (as he now lives in the area), giving songs such as "Casual Lie Day" an natural blues feel. However, the Rock/Fusion side that was a part of "View" as well as his longtime work with Mike Keneally is apparent in such songs as "Blind Sideways" and the emotional apex of the album, "Love Terror Adrenaline / Break Through". Other standouts (a hard word to use when its an album full of them) are "Play Hard", a 3:50 pop gem that has far more depth to the lyrics when immersed as a whole in "TIA", the Nine Inch Nails-esque "Cost Of Doing Business", and the multi-tracked acoustic and electric bass-only "Life Story". One bass-related point I *would* like to focus on Beller's inclusion of fretless bass on several tracks. Bryan has said publicly in multiple places than "I barely have a handle on the whole concept of fretless playing". I can vouch firsthand that besides his live work, "TIA" shows than statements such as the above are an utter fallacy. He can play fretless with the intonation and melodic "center" than lifelong "name players" have. Methinks the bassist doth protest too much.

"Thanks In Advance" is certainly not a one-play release: it's dense, and takes a few listens to get into your head full. But once it does, it's not likely to leave. As someone who still have "View" on daily internal repeat 5 years after it's release, I'm very confident in making that statement.


Absorb Carefully
This cd is amazing. You pop it in and instantly groove. The problem is that it is like a really hot pepper that sneaks up on you. By the time you hit Love Terror Adrenaline/Break Through, you may be literally on fire. Keep a glass of ice water near. You will thank me later... Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Thank you for this, Bryan!


Buy two copies!
Ever since receiving \"Thanks in Advance\" a few weeks ago in the mail, it\'s been a constant, and thoroghly enjoyable companion. Even when the disc isn\'t spinning, I find the tunes running through my head - that\'s how memorable to compositions and musicians are on this recording.
There are quite a few reviews that mention the incredible caliber of musicians on this release, and several that give explanation as to what Mr Beller is conveying with \"TIA.\" Those are all worth taking time to read. As an \"end user\" - all I can say (with great emphasis) is buy it - buy two in fact, in case the copy you loan out doesn\'t return quickly enough. In my music library, this is rated a two thumbs up, both feet tapping.

Steve Wonchoba

Instrumental jazz rock at its finest
This album is a terrific mix of jazz and rock. It is largely an instrumental album -- only one song has vocals -- and there are such a variety of moods here that when you listen to the album front to back you feel like you\'ve been on a winding emotional journey.

The album starts a little slow, easing in with the bluesy \"Snooze Bar\". It’s a very nice song, and although it doesn\'t immediately scream \"album opener\", it actually works very well in that position when the album is taken as a whole, as it appears that it is meant to be. After \"Snooze Bar\", the album runs the gamut of group performance.

-There are progressive studio-driven pieces like the incredibly complex, scorching epic \"Love Terror Adrenaline / Break Through\" which features several stylistic changes, and truly inspired playing by guitarist Mike Keneally. Now, I have to mention, there is one section in particular in this song that defies explanation. It\'s a minute or so long bit starting at about the 0:45 mark, and it’s later reprised at about the 6 minute mark. It is a series of staccato notes that Keneally races through at a blinding pace. From what I can tell, the drumming and chord progression appears to be in a straight 4/4 time, but the melody line flies by so quickly that it appears to be jumping through several different time signatures. And lest you think that Keneally is just ad-libbing here, the reprise of the section at the 6 minute mark features Bryan playing the same riff on the bass in unison with Keneally’s guitar. It is truly a jaw-dropping bit of music, and it’s worth the price of admission all by itself.

-There are tight R&B quartet pieces like \"Greasy Wheel\" (featuring some really tight percussion from Joe Travers). The refrain of this song is highlighted by an absolutely infectious drum lick that makes great non-intrusive use of the cowbell (of all things). The album proper version of this song is a full quartet performance, with keys & guitar in addition to the drums & bass; but it\'s worth noting that the bonus DVD accompanying the CD features an outstanding live-in-studio \"trio version\" of the song with just drums, bass and guitar. Travers, Beller, and Rick Musallam really put on a clinic here. It\'s also worth noting that if you liked \"7% Grade\" from View, you\'ll like \"Greasy Wheel\". It\'s by no means a carbon copy, but there are definite rhythmic and melodic similarities between the two songs. A great tune

-There are full jazz ensemble pieces like \"Casual Lie Day\", the frenetic album closer \"From Nothing\", and the absolutely fantastic \"Blind Sideways\" (this reviewer\'s personal favorite, along with Love Terror Adrenaline). While you have to give the 10+ minute “Love Terror Adrenaline” the nod for album cornerstone, “Blind Sideways”, clocking in at just over 4 minutes, may well be the most exciting track on the album. Great chord changes in this song.

-And there is even one solo bass piece \"Life Story\". This is a very beautiful, very short piece that you would never guess without reading the liner notes that it was performed entirely with bass guitars.

The aforementioned only song with vocals, \"Play Hard\", is sung very masterfully by Jude Crossen, who shows off a very broad vocal range, moving very adeptly from a low register during the verses into a higher, pipe-stretching varied vocal melody during the refrain. It\'s got a bit of an 80’s arena-rock vibe to it, and the lyrics (which I\'m choosing to believe are over-the-top tongue-in-cheek) provide a nice giggle or two.

All in all, a terrific album. Best tracks are “Blind Sideways”, “Love Terror Adrenaline”, “Greasy Wheel”, and ”Life Story”, but there really isn’t a miss in the whole lot.

liam tierney

thx n adv
to me it seems musicians spend thier almost whole life writing and recording thier first album. if it kicks ass, they are expected to repeat this moment quickly for us all to enjoy, a tough act to follow for most. bryan beller has surpassed my expectations, and hope him all the best, may the riches and good stuff come to him. thx liam t.


Bellar is here
I first discovered Bryan through listening to Mike Keneally. I also saw him with Vai on the last tour. I thought his 1st release \"View\" was excellent so.........
In theory the 2nd project should not be as good as the 1st because the 1st project may have years of idea\'s, songs and sounds etc and the 2nd is done in far less time for preperation and development. But I have to say without going track by track \"Thanks in Advance\" is serious heartfelt emotional music. Byran displays a lot of depth in his compositions and is not shy showing world class chops.
So, Byran is not a sideman, he has arrived he is here.