Elevator.ca interview with Brian Bell - March 2002
By Kyle McDonald
Brian: Maladroit is completed as far as I know, although Rivers is still toying with some song structure edits. That's the beauty of recording to Pro Tools - or the danger, depending how you look at it.
Elevator.ca: Do you feel Maladroit was more of a collaborative effort writing wise than say, the Green Album?
Brian: Yes, but so many circumstances were different during the making of the Green CD. We had to have a hit album or we would be in danger of being dropped by our record label. Ricky O. really had a lot to do with the success of that album. I feel he is responsible for "Island's" sound. He really pushed us on making that feel right. Although, I remember he wasn't too crazy about "Hash Pipe". Maladroit is produced by us, so instead of having somebody else worry about all the boring stuff, we had to. Scott and I were left pretty much free reign to do whatever we wanted to Rivers songs, and we tried many different things. So Maladroit is more "hands on" which isn't necessarily the same thing as collaboration.
Elevator.ca: As mentioned, I just attended the Lowell, MA (02/08.02) show which had approximately 7,000 in attendance. Do you prefer playing the larger venues with thousands of people, or the bar/club shows which are much more intimate, with say 100-800 people?
Brian: I like playing the big shows now, especially the outdoor ones. The thing I miss about clubs is the easy access people had to meet us. Now you have to be a security guard or a stage hand. So after shows all I do is watch ex-cons load road cases onto pickup trucks.
Elevator.ca: With Weezer reaching this level of success, can you see there being another opportunity for a bar/club tour like in the summer of 2000?
Brian: There will definitely be a bar/club tour in other countries. I can't count anything out with this band, nor can I commit to any such proposition. I would like to do a theater tour.
Elevator.ca: Speaking of bar shows, we haven't heard much regarding the new full-length Space Twins release. Last I remember, you seemed to be quite anxious to finish up the album and do some touring. Would you say fans of the Space Twins will see that record anytime soon, and if so when can you imagine?
Brian: During they making of the Green record it was said by an Interscope big shot that a release date would be sometime in October 2002. Presently I'm working on new material and still need to mix the best songs with a very good engineer - someone who really understands stereo imaging, even if that's not in vogue at the moment. I want it to be the aural masterpiece I know it can be. But Weezer is a priority and I wouldn't be in this situation without it. Rivers has been very tolerant and cooperative helping me achieve my goal. Really it's his decision when the Space Twins release date will be. Maybe if enough people request it on the Weezer message board he might see it.
Elevator.ca: Are there any plans to re-press any of the Space Twins 7" releases, (in 7" or CD form) as Duck Butter Records has long since had them out-of-print?
Brian: No, those records will not be re-pressed. They will remain "collector's" records. There might be a slightly edited (for the better) "Goddess of Love" on the CD. It's too early to tell because there are so many great songs to choose from, and even more to record for Space Twins first full length.
Elevator.ca: Are the other members of the Space Twins currently in any other bands/projects, and if so are they possible to be purchased?
Brian: No, sorry. The brothers Tim and Glenn are from my home town and were in a band called Blooshrooms, They were rock stars to me. I don't think there is anything for sale, but maybe there's a tape floating around out there. They sounded like a cross between Pink Floyd and the Stooges.
Elevator.ca: Are the demos of Space Twins material that have surfaced on the internet, (i.e.: "Butterfly Collector," "There's Always Tommorow," "Rings Of Saturn") any of the songs that will appear on the future Space Twins full-length?
Brian: If they do make the album there will be mix changes for sure. Also, " Rings of Saturn" is a different song with only the title staying the same.
Elevator.ca: I remember hearing there were a few songs written by yourself that were in consideration for Weezer songs around 1999-2000, but Rivers never ended up using them as Weezer songs. (Maybe from Karl's Recording History, I think.) Are those songs also part of the new Space Twins record?
Brian: Wow! You really are informed. Well, we did try four songs: "Seventeen," "Butterfly Collector," "Trudy Truelove," and "Lara." I don't know Rivers' reasoning for not doing them or trying then in the first place, but they sound better recorded as Space Twins songs. I'll use other instruments that have yet to be explored in Weezer: trumpets, flutes, violins, balalaikas. I'm glad we didn't do them because it forced me to rework them into the Space Twins sound, where they are best suited. That doesn't mean we won't try songs of mine in Weezer ever again, they just probably wouldn't be on a record.
Elevator.ca: People seem to imagine with a name like the Space Twins that the band would be somewhat psychedelic before actually hearing them. The new demo of "Rust Colored Sun" seems to almost take on a psychedelic feeling. Does the full-length go somewhat in the direction of the feeling of that song, or would you say it's all over the map?
Brian: "Rust Colored Sun" is an experiment in song writing. I wanted to write a song using only one chord. I was influenced by Indian music during that period. So you can look at it like a George Harrison song on a Beatles record.
Elevator.ca: I've been keeping up with Pat's Special Goodness website, and he's been doing a great job on that and with the SG in general. Can you imagine an official Space Twins website ever taking form to at least give the fans some input on what is going on with the Space Twins, and possibly some demos or ideas or whatever happens to be on your mind?
Brian: I would do a website when we have a record in the stores. Keeping people informed of shows and the likes. Never will I post demos for people to hear. I don't want anything heard before its time.
Elevator.ca: Before the Space Twins, you were the bassist in a band called Carnival Art. Not many people seem to realize this band ever existed. Having been on Beggars Banquet and having distribution through BMG, one would imagine there would had been somewhat of a large following. Was this the case or no?
Brian: Carnival Art was not the huge success as bands today seem to be. But at the time it was successful for me. I was so young and it was great experience making records and touring the world. That's how Rivers heard about me and why I was chosen to be in Weezer. Thrumdrone is a record worth getting. Besides - there's a cool picture of me inside.
Elevator.ca: For some time now I've had the two Carnival Art full-length albums, Thrumdrone and Welcome to Vas Llegas; what ever happened to that band and its members?
Brian: I know the drummer Keith lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. And Ed lives in L.A. and San Diego. But I haven't seen or heard about Micheal in a long time. I know he did move to New Orleans for a while.
Elevator.ca: Did you enjoy playing in Carnival Art and can you ever see some sort of reunion show taking place?
Brian: I did enjoy it, times were fun then. No, there will never be a CA reunion. Not enough people care.
Elevator.ca: And finally, what would you say are a few albums you've been listening to a lot of lately?
Brian: I love the Wingspan record. McCartney's a genius. I love the mixes and the arrangements of those songs. I like Nick Cave's Let Love In, his lyrics are so descriptive it's like reading a classic novel. Also, I'm really into a mixed tape I found in Nashville called Good Country - it has amazing songs on it like Rodger Millers "You Don't Want My love," Jerry Reed's "Amos Moses," Porter Wagoner's "Carolina Moon Shriner," and so many others. It reminds me of my Tennessee upbringing. Also, I acquired an independent DJ record called Bandy while at a party in New York. It is the most insane mixture of beats and crazy lines from children's records. It reminds me of music that Karl makes. I had it played over the sound system in Tampa, FL and watched peoples disturbed reaction from behind the curtain. I can only listen to the Coldplay record so many times. It's so Summer 2001.
That's it. You hear Brian - post on the Weezer message board about the NEW Space Twins album to be released. Special thanks to Karl Koch (a killer guy) for helping me out, and to Brian for his time, and who most obviously kicks ass. Hope you all enjoyed the interview. Thanks!