I remember quite distinctly the first time I heard Adrian Belew. I was working on a crew painting the dorms at UNC, and somebody on our small team threw this very odd, buzzy, noisy song (it was Big Electric Cat) into the tape player. (Yeah, tapes! 1988.) I kept saying “This is really bizarre” and then the next day, I said, “Hey, put that one back in again.” The next year I had a roommate who had the albums Lone Rhino and Twang Bar King, and I was hooked.
You might or might not know who Adrian Belew is. But if you’re my age, you’ve heard him, because he’s played guitar with Zappa, Bowie, King Crimson, Talking Heads, Nine Inch Nails and so on. His solo work is a bit kooky – particularly the early bits where he makes animal noises with his electric guitar. Elephants, rhinoceros etc. Yes, very kooky.
Anyway the video clip on his home page is well worth a spin. It’s a short narrative, his life in a nutshell, but also a selective chronical of rock over the last twenty years (plus). At the end, he says, “Too much of today’s music is fashionable crap dressed as artistry. It’s mostly about how you look or the way you dance….But things go in cycles. Maybe creativity will become fashionable again….I can’t wait to see what happens next.”