Bassist Bryan Beller, part one

Living the Dream

Bryan Beller
Too cool for the Berklee school. Photo by TJ Lambert.

Bryan Beller is a bass player’s bass player, musician’s musician, and man’s man. I’ve knownBryan since we were students at the Berklee College of Music in the late 80s. I would attend his recitals and be blown away by the musicianship and intense rock energy and he’d go to my shows and hope to avoid being covered in saliva and fecal matter. 20 years down the road and not only is Mr.Beller making a living from his music, he’s got gigs that most players would kill for, including touring with Steve Vai, virtuoso/songwriter Mike Keneally, and Dethklok. The sweetest gig, though, has to be playing with his wife, singer/keyboardist (and fellow Berklee alum) Kira Small.

I caught Bryan between tours and during planning for Wesfest in Los Angeles.

Al Natanagara: So how you doing?

Bryan Beller: I’m doing good. I’ve barely been home since July. I’ve been on the road on a variety of projects–some of them huge bus tours and some of them driving from truck stop to truck stop. But it’s all been fun.

AN: Are you living the dream?

BB: No one’s been living the dream as much as I have, in every sense of the word. I can’t believe some of the stuff I get to do.

AN: It helps that you’re a fuggin’ monster on that bass. What’s the biggest thing you have going right now?

BB: You know, it’s funny that right now, I’m more wide open than I’ve been in years. For the last three years, I’ve been making my own second record (Thanks in Advance, available from Onion Boy Records), getting married, touring with Steve Vai, and touring with Dethklok–twice. I’ve been talking with Steve and I think there’s a project coming up, but to say more than that would be… premature.

Bryan Beller Band
Bryan Beller Band - "Greasy Wheel" - Live At The Baked Potato - 1/22/09

AN: Let’s just get to what all the kids want to know: Any Dethklok stuff coming up?

BB: I think so. At some point. It’s tricky because Brendan (Small) has to finish doing the television show before he can work on a tour.

I’ve been touring with my wife, Kira Small, doing house concerts and duo shows, writing for Bass Player Magazine, and organizing the fifth annual WesFest, which is a benefit show for a Berklee scholarship fund.

AN: I get the emails for this every year, and every year it seems to get bigger. With your rock star life, how do you handle it all?

BB: My role on stage this year will be limited compared to what I’ve done before. I’m playing with Kira and with I, Claudius, which was Wes’ riff-rock band. It’s me and a bunch of Berklee guys and I take Wes’ place–it’s a bit trippy, but someone’s got to do it. The headliner this year will be Tal Wilkenfeld, who’s been playing for a few years now with Jeff Beck.

The show is on Sunday, February 28, 2010 at the Roxy in Hollywood, California. More information is available at the Wesfest 5 page.

The Bryan Beller interview will continue with stories of life on the road with Dethklok, Mastodon, and Kira Small. There’s also some good stuff about Bryan’s days at Berklee. Keep checking back at tubgoat.com for more.

Hit me. I can take it.

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