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Adrian Belew

On 23/12/1949: Adrian Belew was born in Covington, Kentucky. His full birth name was Robert Steven Belew. He would initially be known to his classmates, when growing up, as Steve. Belew learned to play the drums when he was a teenager. He would play with a high school covers band called The Denems. Inspired by Jimi Hendrix, he switched to guitar, whilst he was bedridden with mononucleosis. He would teach himself and would learn various techniques to sound different and to replicate studio effects manually.
In the mid-1970s, Belew moved to Nashville, having by then changed his name formally to Adrian.
By 1977, Belew was playing with the cover band, Sweetheart. In the same year, Frank Zappa discovered him whilst he was playing a gig with Sweetheart. Zappa invited him to audition for him. Belew felt he messed up the first audition but successfully got a second more one to one audition. Zappa hired Belew for a year on the back of the audition. Belew then went on tour with the Zappa band.
In 1978, David Bowie hired Belew after the end of the Zappa tour, on the recommendation of Brian Eno. Belew then went on Bowie's Isolar II world tour.
In 1979, Belew appeared on Zappa's album "Sheik Yerbouti". In the same year, Belew appeared on Bowie's album "Lodger".
In 1980, Belew formed the band GaGa. Belew became friends with the band Talking Heads and would join them on stage for occasional guest performances. He would also meet Robert Fripp from the band King Crimson, at a Steve Reich concert. GaGa were invited to support Fripp's band The League of Gentlemen for a few New York concerts. Still, in 1980, Belew appeared on The Talking Heads album "Remain in Light" produced by Brian Eno. He joined Talking Heads for their late 1980 and early 1981 tour.
In 1981, Belew appeared on Jerry Harrison's debut album "The Red and the Black". He would also appear on David Bryne's soundtrack to "The Catherine Wheel". Also in 1981, Belew worked with Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz's spin-off band Tom Tom Club for their debut album. The recording engineer Steven Stanley for the album didn't like distorted guitar and subsequently removed the majority of Belew's solos in the mix. Belew was also refused songwriting credits for the project by Weymouth. Belew signed a solo record contract with Island Records in 1981. Fripp asked Belew to join him in a new four piece band called Discipline. The band included Bill Bruford on drums and Tony Levin on bass and chapman stick. Whilst touring, the band decided to change their name of Fripp's old band King Crimson, as it felt more appropriate. Still in 1981, King Crimson released the album "Discipline".
In 1982, Belew released his debut album "Lone Rhino" with members of GaGa backing him. It also included Belew's four-year-old daughter Audie's improvised piano. In the same year, King Crimson released the album "Beat".
In 1983, Belew released the solo album "Twang Bar King".
In 1984, King Crimson released the album "Three of a Perfect Pair". Fripp and Belew clashed over sound and the group's direction leading up to the album but resolved their differences. Fripp decided to disband the group in the same year.
In 1985, Belew formed the pop band The Bears with guitarist/singer Rob Fetters, drummer Chris Arduser and bass guitarist Bob Nyswonger. They signed to I.R.S Records subsidiary Primitive Man Recording Company.
In 1986, Belew released the solo album "Desire Caught By the Tail".
In 1987, The Bears released their debut album "The Bears".
In 1988, The Bears released their second album "Rise and Shine".
In 1989, The Bears split up after three years of constant touring, recording and the collapse of PMRC. The other three members of The Bears became the psychodots and would be Belew's support act and backing band in 1994. In the same year, Belew released his solo album "Mr Music Head". He would play everything except for the double bass on the album.
In 1990, Belew released the solo album "Young Lions".
In 1992, Belew released the solo album "Inner Revolution" which included Arduser on drums.
In 1994, the 1984 King Crimson including Belew reunited along with Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn. In the same year, Belew released the solo album "Here".
In 1995, King Crimson released the album "THRAK".
In 1996, Belew released the solo album "Op Zop Too Wah".
In 1997, King Crimson disbanded. Belew would continue to work with Fripp in several of his side acts known as ProjeKcts where he would mostly play electronic drums. Belew would also release an experimental guitar album called " The Guitar as Orchestra: Experimental Guitar Series, Vol. 1".
In 1998, Belew wrote two songs on Rob Fetter's album "Lefty Loose - Righty Tight". In the same year, Belew released the solo acoustic album "Belew Prints: The Acoustic Adrian Belew, Vol. 2".
In 1999, Belew released a solo acoustic compilation called "Salad Days".
In 2000, Belew joined King Crimson again. This time with Fripp, Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto. In the same year, King Crimson released the album "the construKction of light".
In 2001, The Bears reunited to release the album "Car Caught Fire".
In 2003, King Crimson released the album "The Power to Believe".
In 2004, King Crimson would disband. In the same year, Belew collaborated with Kevin Max on the instrumentation album "Raven Songs 101".
In 2005, Belew released the first two of a series of albums called Side with "Side One" and "Side Two".
In 2006, Belew released the album "Side Three". In the same year, Belew also performed on The Acoustic Planet Tour with Bela Fleck & The Flecktones and Umphrey's McGee. Later in 2006, Belew formed a trio called The Adrian Belew Power Trio. It included Eric Slick on drums and Julie Slick on bass.
In 2007, The Bears reunited again to release the album "Eureka". Belew released the album "Side Four".
In 2008, King Crimson with Belew returned with Fripp, Levin, Mastelotto and Gavin Harrison. Belew also played at the Adelaide Guitar Festival.
In 2009, King Crimson disbanded. Belew would not be part of the next King Crimson lineup in 2013, with Fripp wanting to change the style. Also in 2009, the Adrian Belew Power Trio released the album "e". Belew also released the album "A Cup Of Coffee And A Slice of Time" with Michael Clay credited to Clay & Belew.
In 2013, Belew joined Nine Inch Nails as their guitarist on tour. Belew was credited as a session musician on the Nine Inch Nails album "Hesitation Marks" that year.
Belew has recently been working on mobile apps called FLUX: realtimeFX which contain three hundred audio tracks and pieces of artwork which never play the same way twice. real-time audio manipulation app. In 2015, the apps were honoured twice in the Webby Awards and received a Red Dot Design award.
Belew has contributed session work to artists such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Joan Armatrading, Peter Wolf, Jean Michel Jarre, Cyndi Lauper, Mike Oldfield, Paul Simon, Laurie Anderson, Crash Test Dummies, Sara Hickman, William Shatner, Man on Fire and Porcupine Tree amongst others.
Belew has acted as a producer for The Raisins, The Elvis Brothers, Jars of Clay, The Irresponsibles, Caifanes, Santa Sabina, Jaguares and Kevin Max.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
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