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A former Contributing Editor to Bass Player Magazine, Bryan Beller has been writing professionally since 1996. His published works as a freelance writer include feature interviews, instructional pieces, CD reviews, and cover stories on folks like Justin Chancellor (Tool), Chris Wolstenholme (Muse), Christian McBride, Emmy-award winning television scorer W.G. "Snuffy" Walden (The West Wing), and Victor Wooten, among many others. He also wrote official marketing copy for SWR Sound Corporation for approximately four years, his long-form personal blog The Life Of Bryan (1994-2005) predated the genre, and his own voice as a musician's lifestyle full-page columnist ran in Bass Player Magazine for three years. 

Interested in Beller's services as a freelance writer? Just click here to contact him.

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History Of Published Works

(Linked article titles below show complete article text; for additional writing samples, contact Bryan at the link above.)

General Articles
First-Person Point-Of-View (The Bass Player Columns)
CD Reviews
The Life Of Bryan
Beller Website Literature Archives

General Articles

Month Year Article Title Publication Subject/Article Type
Winter 1996 "Keep Your Options Open" Fender Frontline instructional bass article with music examples
August 1996 "Basso Ja Kitara-Kimpassa Kiemuroita"
(translation: Bass and Guitar - Twisting It Together)
Rytmi (FINLAND) instructional bass article with music examples
March 1997 "On Your Mark...Get Set...Audition!" Bass Player feature article about auditioning
Spring 1997 "The Life Of Bryan" Wood & Steel I interview myself
Winter 2001 "Prime Time Players:
The Acoustic Guitar In TV And Film Scoring
Wood & Steel feature article, multi-subject interview
February 2001 "Ten Things I Hope Not To See In The Future" Bass Player list-style short article, humor
April 2001 "Bass Tales" short contribution to feature article
May 2001 "Mark Meadows: The Cat In The Hat" Bass Player short feature
Winter 2001 Bassics Series: "Billy Sheehan Interview" Wood & Steel feature interview
January 2002 "Joe Travers: At The Center Of Zappa's Universe" Modern Drummer short feature
Summer 2002 "Life Beyond The Money Notes" Berklee Today instructional article w/music examples
March 2006 "Studio Legend Lee Sklar Gets Nasty" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
May 2006

"Cold Fusion: Neil Stubenhaus On Vinnie Colaiuta's
‘I'm Tweeked/Attack Of The 20lb. Pizza'"

Bass Player instructional article/short interview
July 2006 "Scophile - The Patitucci Code" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
November 2006 "'Please Don't Feed The Bear' -
Edgar Meyer's Tasty Treats
Bass Player instructional article/short interview
January 2007 "Michael Rhodes - Of Sessions & Real Estate, Part 1" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
January 2007 "[Bass Player] Live! - Licks" Bass Player short article/transcription excerpts from live concert
February 2007 "Big Sir's 'Blutrausch (Smooth Interlude)' & The Mars Volta's 'Day Of The Baphomets' - Juan Alderete Goes Full Throttle" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
March 2007 "Michael Rhodes - Of Sessions & Real Estate, Part 2" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
March 2007 "Beck's 'Sexx Laws' -
Justin Meldal-Johnsen's Complete Bass Line
Bass Player full transcription/interview article
April 2007 "Dave LaRue - Hub City Monster" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
May 2007 "Arthur Barrow - Audition Absurdities:
Frank Zappa's 'St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast'"
Bass Player instructional article/short interview
July 2007 "Adam Nitti's Rhythmic Jujitsu - 'The Divine Wind'" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
July 2007 "No Limits - Tool's Justin Chancellor
Pushes Rock Bass Into Wild New Frontiers"
Bass Player cover story
July 2007 "Tool Time - Superimposed Time Signatures
& Heavy Syncopation"
Bass Player instructional sidebar to cover story
August 2007 "Oteil Burbridge - Making Peace With Oteil" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
September 2007 "Rufus Philpot - The X Factor" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
September 2007 "Jonas Hellborg - Vanishing Act" Bass Player feature article
September 2007 "Jonas Hellborg's Journey Into
South Indian Carnatic Music"
Bass Player instructional sidebar to feature article
October 2007 "Fretboard Freak Show -
Tackling Steve Vai's 'Freak Show Excess'"
Bass Player instructional article (on Beller w/Vai)
November 2007 "Matt Garrison - In The Moment Of Improvisation" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
December 2007 "Stevie Wonder's 'Boogie On Reggae Woman' -
The Complete Synth-Bass Line
Transcribed For Bass Guitar"
Bass Player full transcription article
March 2008 "Nirvana's 'Lithium' -
Krist Novoselic's Complete Bass Line"
Bass Player full transcription article
March 2008 "The Tuning From Hell -
Strapping Young Lad's Byron Stroud"
Bass Player instructional article/short interview
May 2008 "Radiohead's 'Airbag' -
Colin Greenwood's Complete Bass Line
Bass Player full transcription article
June 2008 "Improv Intensive - Ric Fierabracci" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
June 2008 "Victor Wooten's Latest Lesson -
Palmystery, Track-By-Track"
Bass Player instructional article/short interview
August 2008 "Jamiroquai's 'Virtual Insanity' -
Stuart Zender's Complete Bass Line"
Bass Player full transcription/interview article
September 2008 "Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'Tightrope' -
Tommy Shannon's Complete Bass Line"
Bass Player full transcription/interview article
September 2008 "Viktor Krauss - Creating The 'Golden Section'" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
December 2008 "Anthony Wellington - On The Power Of Teaching" Bass Player short feature/interview
December 2008

"Beyond Brutality - Cannibal Corpse's Alex Webster
Stretches Out In The Metal/Fusion Of Blotted Science"

Bass Player feature article/interview
December 2008 "David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' -
Herbie Flowers' Complete Bass Line
Bass Player full transcription/interview article
January 2009 "Catch Him If You Can -
The Elusive Genius Of Linley Marthe"
Bass Player short feature/interview
January 2009 "No Joke - The Sudden Zig-Zag
Ascent Of John Spiker"
Bass Player short feature/interview
April 2009 "Cleveland Soul - Doug Johns Brings The Nasty" Bass Player short feature/interview
April 2009 "Frank Zappa's 'Alien Orifice' - Scott Thunes' Complete Bass Line" Bass Player full transcription/interview article
May 2009 "Alex Bershadsky - Israel's Jazz Rebel Comes Clean" Bass Player short feature/interview
May 2009 "Twelve Years Deep In The Groove - A Me'Shell Ndegeocello Style Study" Bass Player feature instructional article
June 2009 "Seven Year Swing - Adam Nitti Finds a Deeper Groove on Liminal" Bass Player short feature/interview
June 2009 "One Hemisphere Under Groove - Melvin Gibbs Unifies African Peoples On Ancients Speak" Bass Player short feature/interview
June 2009 "Ultra-Dextrous - Inside The Restless Mind Of Trey Gunn" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
July 2009 "Pretty Sweet - Sugarland's Annie Clements Lands A Dream Gig" Bass Player short feature/interview
July 2009 "Swinging Away - Restless Jazz Master Eric Revis' Challenging Second Album" Bass Player short feature/interview
July 2009 "Phil Chen Masterclass - Timeless Grooves From Jeff Beck's Blow By Blow" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
August 2009 "Cliff Burton's Fingers Power The Metallica Classic 'Battery'" Bass Player instructional article
August 2009 "Rudder's Tim Lefebvre - Achieving Retro-Quirky Bass Tone" Bass Player instructional article/short interview
September 2009 "Tweet Beat - Steve Lawson Tranforms His Career With Twitter. Srsly." Bass Player short feature/interview
September 2009 "Still Learning - From Stadiums To The Studio, Stefan Lessard Isn't Done Exploring" Bass Player feature article/interview
September 2009 "Just In Case You Forgot - Christian McBride Comes Full Circle With His New Straightahead Masterwork Kind Of Brown" Bass Player cover story
October 2009 "Early Adopter - The Jonas Brothers' Greg Garbowsky is a World Touring Vet - At 22" Bass Player short feature/interview
November 2009 "Roy Vogt - Those Who Can, Teach" Bass Player short feature/interview
November 2009 "Too Much Is Never Enough - Muse's Chris Wolstenholme Reinvents Art-Rock Bass For The 21st Century" Bass Player cover story
Holiday (Dec.) 2009 "The Mars Volta's Juan Alderete - Shining In The Relative Simplicity Of Octahedron" Bass Player short feature/interview
Holiday (Dec.) 2009 "The Revolution Will Be Improvised - Legendary Bass Alchemist Bill Laswell Lets The Message Be The Medium With Method Of Defiance" Bass Player feature article/interview
February 2010 "Ampeg Relaunches U.S. Manufacturing With Premium Heritage Line" Bass Player short article
March 2010 "Strike Force: The Foundation Of Hard Rock/Metal Bass Tone" Bass Player 1st person instructional article
April 2010 "The New Golden Age Of Metal" (broken links at article) Bass Player cover story/10-subject interview
May 2010 "Damien Erskine: Right Hand Drive" Bass Player short feature/interview
June 2010 "Amos Heller: On Making Connections" Bass Player short feature/interview
June 2010 "Learn To Play: Yes' 'Heart Of The Sunrise'" Bass Player instructional article
July 2010 "Pickless Trickery: Flicking & Muting" Bass Player instructional article
August 2010 "Monitors In Metal: Cleaning up The Low End" Bass Player instructional article
October 2010 "Pedalboard Primer" Bass Player instructional article
Holiday (Nov.) 2010 "Melodic Metal Breakdowns: Then And Now" Bass Player instructional article
November 2010 "Byron House: Bass Bliss With Robert Plant's Band Of Joy" Bass Player feature article
January 2011 "Tech Yourself" Bass Player instructional article
February 2011 "Red, White & Bass: Is Mike Huckabee America's Ultimate Weekend Warrior?" Bass Player feature article
February 2011 "Jonathan Hischke: On Being Game" Bass Player short feature/interview
March 2011 "Still Beyond Normal: Stu Hamm Releases His First Studio Disc In Ten Years" Bass Player feature article
April 2011 "Method To The Madness: A Masterclass With The Dillenger Escape Plan's Liam Wilson" Bass Player short feature/interview
April 2011 "Allen Whitman With Joe Satriani: Mortar Man" Bass Player short feature/interview
May 2012 "Alex Webster: To The Extreme" Bass Player cover story

First-Person Point-Of-View (The Bass Player Columns)

Month Year Article Title Synopsis
Fall 1999 "Finding Your Path To Success" The inevitable introductory column, along with an attempt to break down bassists into four unique kinds of beings: Players, Addicts, Pickers and Planners.
October 1999 "Touring 'Over There'" A salty list of "do's" and "don'ts" for use when on tour in Europe, which later inspired an angry Letter to The Editor: "Who would have imagined Bass Player providing advice on finding prostitutes in Europe?!"
December 1999 "Getting In Over Your Head" The closest thing to a conventional Bass Player column ever produced in this format, about improving technique in ways besides the monotonous drilling of scales.
March 2000 "To Thine Own Self Be True" Some poor bassist named Michael Morris gets roped in to attending a jazz jam with the hot local cats. Just how does he make it through without embarrassing himself and ruining his "reputation" around town?
May 2000 "Poor Man's Perfect Pitch" Think you have to be some kind of freak to develop perfect pitch? Think again, and don't send your certified check or money order anywhere, because this one's on the author.
July 2000 "The Meaning Of NAMM" An M.I. industry insider's special report on what everyone's favorite trade show is really like. Featuring a patent-pending Vicious Circular Theory(tm) on who attends and why.
October 2000 "Image Is Nothing?" The popular favorite of the lot, in which Beller explores how to create a more complete bass playing experience through attempted image transformation. The results are mixed.
December 2000 "A One Night Stand" The old cliché that playing bass is a hell of a lot easier than playing guitar turns out to be true. Someone we know finds out without even having to pick up one of those evil six-string things.
March 2001 "Crime & Punishment" Beller stands before the high court of musical opinion and faces charges ranging from benign negligence to wanton recklessness, with no "dream team" to save him when things go south. Which, of course, they do.
August 2001 "For The Love Of Money" What happens when Beller takes on the rare corporate gig that comes his way? You don't want to know. Actually, yes, you do, if only to see a "pro" have his lunch handed to him.
October 2001 "Tips From The Bargain Basement" Written before 9/11 but well after signs of economic slowdown were hitting the country. Includes tips for bassists everywhere with ways to save money during the tough times - and still have clean clothes and new strings every few gigs or so.
December 2001 "A Bass Prayer" There are no atheists in foxholes. Or on a low-budget tour of America. Featuring a special guest appearance by the God of Bass.
March 2002 "Dear Jane" Misogyny or sentimentality? You decide, as Beller addresses an old friend in epistolary form, and Bass Player runs it with a startling lack of editorial control.
April 2002 "The Legend Of Lightning Mac" What, you've never heard of Ansford McQuarters, from Pecks Mill, West Virginia? The best bassist you never heard in your life? Here's a hint: think Sidd Finch.
June 2002 "A NAMM Reporter's Notebook" This one's an M.I. (that's "Musical Instrument") industry special, as Beller went behind the scenes at the January, 2002 NAMM show with microcassette recorder in hand, asking but one simple question to anyone who crossed his path: "What's the first thing you think of when you think of NAMM?"
August 2002 "Bass Astrology" Sydney Omarr's got nothing on a humble columnist, who dons the cap of First Astrologer to the readership of Bass Player. So, baby, what's your sign?
October 2002 "That Studio Magic" Beller throws a curveball to the Bass Player readership - and flat-out shocks his editors - by writing a column that actually contains real-world, easily applicable knowledge for working bassists in the studio. Plus, the semi-answer to a pressing question: What would God's Direct Box sound like?
January 2003 "Keep The Change" The inevitable farewell column, in which Beller goes against type and advocates wholesale violent revolution against one's personal musical comfort level. And pulls a David Letterman with the mag's editors.
February 2004 "Don't Worry, Be Happy" A encore of Beller's original POV column, a discussion of the promise and perils of self-marketing. Ran as the back page Soapbox column

CD Reviews

Month Year Title Publication
March 2001 The Allman Brothers: Peakin' At The Beacon Onstage
April 2001 Elton John: One Night Only Onstage
Fall 2005 Barefoot Servants: Barefoot Servants 2 Wood & Steel
Winter 2006 Eugene Ruffalo: The Hardest Easy Wood & Steel
Spring 2006 Ali Handal: Breathing Underwater Wood & Steel
Summer 2006 Amy Speace: Songs For Bright Street Wood & Steel
July 2007 Trip Wamsley: Curve Bass Player
July 2007 Anthony Setola: Interstellar Appeal Bass Player
July 2007 Bernhard Lackner: Those Days Bass Player
August 2007 John Carey: undefined psycho-chromatic G.R.I.D. Bass Player
October 2007 Alex Machacek, Jeff Sipe, Matt Garrison: Improvision Bass Player
November 2007 Club D'Elf: Now I Understand Bass Player
December 2007 Chris Cornell: Carry On Bass Player
January 2008 Doug Johns: Doug Johns Bass Player
March 2008 Aram Bedrosian, Aram Bedrosian Bass Player
May 2008 Adrian Belew: Side Four Bass Player
May 2008 Meshuggah: Obzen Bass Player
June 2008 Paul Hanson: Frolic In The Land Of Plenty Bass Player
June 2008 Sean O'Bryan Smith: Tapestry Bass Player
July 2008 Gryphon Labs: The Blinded EP Bass Player
July 2008 Yellowjackets: Lifecycle Bass Player
August 2008 Todd Sickafoose: Tiny Resistors Bass Player
August 2008 Nine Inch Nails: The Slip Bass Player
August 2008 John McLaughlin: Floating Point Bass Player
February 2009 David Dyson, Unleashed Bass Player
April 2009 The Power Triplets, Ta-Da Bass Player
April 2009 John Montagna, Senza Bass Player
April 2009 Rewiring Genesis, A Tribute To The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway Bass Player
May 2009 Darren Michaels, Cumulo Bass Player
May 2009 The Jeff Gauthier Goatette, House Of Return Bass Player
July 2009 Hugh Masekela, Phola Bass Player
August 2009 Tamara Silvera, Departures Bass Player
August 2009 Sebastian Cornelissen, U-Turn Bass Player
September 2009 Travis Larson Band, Rate Of Change - Live Bass Player
September 2009 Mike Stern, Big Neighborhood Bass Player
October 2009 Stefon Harris and Blackout, Urbanus Bass Player
November 2009 Yellowjackets, New Morning: The Paris Concert (DVD) Bass Player
Holiday (Dec.) 2009 Seabrook Power Plant, Seabrook Power Plant Bass Player
Holiday (Dec.) 2009 Bernhard Lackner, In Between Bass Player
February 2010 King Crimson, Red (40th Anniversary Series) Bass Player
February 2010 David Pastorius & Local 518, Sense Of Urgency Bass Player
February 2010 Augury, Fragmentary Evidence Bass Player
March 2010 Converge, Axe To Fall Bass Player
March 2010 Evan Marien, Between Worlds Bass Player
March 2010 Keb' Mo', Live & Mo Bass Player
May 2010 Derek Frank, Let The Games Begin Bass Player
July 2010 Meshuggah, Alive Bass Player
July 2010 Garaj Mahal, More Mr. Nice Guy Bass Player
August 2010 Julie Slick, Julie Slick Bass Player
August 2010 Yves Carbonne, A Life Bass Player
August 2010 Various Artists, The Generosity Water Project Bass Player
September 2010 Trey Gunn & Marco Minnemann, Modulator Bass Player
Holiday (Nov.) 2010 Joseph Patrick Moore, To Africa With Love Bass Player
Holiday (Nov.) 2010 Steve Lawsom & Trip Wamsley, Slow Food Bass Player
Holiday (Nov.) 2010 John Mellencamp, No Better Than This Bass Player
November 2010 Dweezil Zappa, Return Of The Son Of... Bass Player
November 2010 Ray Riendeau, Atmospheres Bass Player
November 2010 Saul Zonana, Phatso Bass Player
February 2011 Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, I Learned The Hard Way Bass Player
February 2011 Carlo Mombelli & The Prisoners Of Strange, Theory Bass Player
March 2011 ElixirOnMute, EndOfSky Bass Player

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The Life Of Bryan

(If you're already hip to the LOB, just click here to go directly to the archive page. If not, reading on is strongly recommended.)

Bryan here - hi y'all. The Life Of Bryan is the cornerstone of the foundation upon which this sprawling website now rests. And it wasn't even my idea.

Back in the frontier days of the World Wide Web, Scott Chatfield was a true cowboy. When I met him in late 1993, he was already spreading the gospel about this Internet thing that was going to take over the world just as soon as everyone found out about it. By 1994 he was maintaining his own website, called Obvious Moose, and he happily showed it to anyone within ten miles of his pre-Chatfield Manor condo in Encinitas, CA. One early convert was Mike Keneally, whose own page on "Moosenet" debuted in 1994.

I didn't even have a computer back then. I was borrowing my roommate's when necessary, and in 1995 that meant using her online service, the quaint but almost-reliable Prodigy. Yes, friends, I experienced that same rush you did when I received my first e-mail, and something inside me stirred to life when I wrote Chatfield in particular; his replies were in a witty shorthand now very familiar to the masses. I had no such discipline, and would often painstakingly construct two-paragraph missives that were more communiqué than reply.

Chatfield put two and two together quickly and, seeing an opportunity for additional content on the Mike Keneally site, offered me a page of my own. Write anything you want, he said. Anyone with an Internet connection will be able to read it. (A brutally long conversation then ensued about how the Internet worked; he must have explained it eighteen different ways before I finally got it.) I'm pretty sure he came up with the name. He was, after all, a Promotions Director by trade.

The original LOB logo, used on Acts 1-15
The original Life Of Bryan logo, used from Acts 1-15

"Act 1" of The Life Of Bryan made its first appearance on Moosenet in November of 1995, with four short paragraphs and a promotional gimmick of my own: a full-page shot of me in drag from Halloween of that year. (Click here if you dare.) The Keneally phenomenon was in its infancy back then, and I was only a tiny part of that infant, so I was concerned that no one would ever read it. When the e-mails began trickling in to my own Prodigy account, I was thrilled, shocked...and, honestly, a little spooked. Someone from Finland wrote me within days of the initial posting. Finland.

Freed from years of neglect, the writer inside me exploded as I began spewing mountains of text. When Frank died, I wrote about that. When the release of Z's Music For Pets got delayed for the tenth time, I wrote about that. Crucially, when Keneally and I left Z - you guessed it - I wrote about that as well, and after receiving well over 100 e-mailed responses to that piece, I finally understood what Chatfield meant when he said the Internet was going to "change the world."

After buying my own computer, I turned The Life Of Bryan into a professional web journal (long before "blogging" was hip, I'm not too modest to boast), documenting tours, sideman work in Los Angeles, and everything else I could think of. By the time a truly life-changing event took place - my audition with Steve Vai in 1996 - it practically occurred in real time for the readers, with the details spilling out for all to see in Acts 15 and 16. By this time I was so addicted to the act of writing that I set out to compose what I hoped would be a first novel, and locked myself in a room for the better part of sixteen months doing so.

The Life Of Bryan Logo 2.0
The new, improved Life Of Bryan logo circa late 1996, with extra beefcake.

Ultimately the LOB's topics moved from "all Keneally all the time" to "all music all the time" to, eventually, whatever the hell I felt like writing about. What came out wasn't borne of the desire to post new content so much as a compulsion to write in some form or another, and it just so happened that I was the easiest thing for me to write about. You know what they say to aspiring writers: journal, journal, journal. Well, I did. By 1998, after completing 29 "Acts" and the manuscript as well, I was a different writer - and a different person.

I look back on some of the early Acts and cringe, but only for a moment; they feel like raw demo tapes to me now, the stuff from which an album eventually came in the form of a column in Bass Player and other published work. It's safe to say that none of this would have occurred had Chatfield not proposed the idea back in what he calls the "wild, wild west" days of the Internet, and for that he deserves my unending gratitude. For taking the time to maintain the page all these years, he deserves more than I can provide.

An important note about navigation: The Life Of Bryan, has so much material in the archive - over 40 official Acts in all - that to re-do it in the current website design would just be a ridiculous amount of work, so we've decided to preserve it in its original state. Besides, there's something "retro" about its formatting that I think is worth keeping around. The main navigational toolbar will be available to you on the main index page, but go any deeper and you'll need to have your browsing skills about you. In other words, use the back button or scroll to the bottom for handy excape hatches.

Now that the new website design lives and breathes, new writings can show up in any variety of places - not just the LOB as in the distant past. But if you're interested in The Big Bang that spawned this website - and my literary venture in general - you've arrived at the right place. I hope you have as much fun picking through it as I did creating it.



All site contents © Bryan Beller except where noted. All rights reserved.