Interview with Brian Bell - February 19, 2009

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Interview: Brian Bell (Weezer/The Relationship)
by Andrew Lindsay

Stereokilllers, today I give to thee an interview with one of my personal heroes, Brian Bell from Weezer.

Alongside his guitar and vocal duties in Weezer, Brian fronts The Relationship: a band both crunchy and melodic, with influences from rock’s many corners. The band’s MySpace profile simply states: “Longtime Friends Start Rock And Roll Band And Make Record…Hilarity Ensues,” so I got in touch with the man himself to discuss The Relationship, and their debut album, in a little more depth.

Stereokill: Why did you initially decide to form The Relationship, and how did the other band members get involved in the project?

Brian: I don’t know the exact date but it initially started as a song-writing partnership with my long time friend, Nate Shaw. The Relationship, was the name we called that partnership. We approached it like a 9 to 5 job, except we started at 11. The first song we wrote together was a tune called “Sweet On You”, then a song called “Oh, Allen”. We wrote many songs together for about a year, and unfortunately nothing really came to fruition with those songs, but we realized that we had a good working chemistry. It was the following year that we recorded the first Relationship LP. We recorded at Jason Hiller, our current bass player’s, 8 track analog studio, in the guest house of his parents Beverly Hills home. The record was very good, but in the end I felt it wasn’t cohesive enough for my liking and I scrapped it. The next year I worked on the record that will be The Relationship’s debut.

Stereokill: How is that album shaping up?

Brian: The album is everything that I wanted it to be. The record is completely finished, and I’m in the process of going to meetings etc. to put it out. I know we’ll find the right home for it. I’m working everyday on it, so it shouldn’t be too much longer.

Stereokill: When, roughly, can fans expect a release?

Brian: Soon, Not to worry; it will be worth the wait.

Stereokill: In your own words, how would you describe the album?

Brian: It’s a musical journey spanning many emotions, including joy and heartbreak.

Stereokill: With so many songs appearing on the The Relationship’s MySpace, do you forsee more albums in the future, perhaps featuring songs that didn’t make the final cut?

Brian: Possibly, there might be some that resurface, but I’m sure we’ll have many new ones too. With the addition of Eric J. Dubowsky [keyboards] to the band, the song-writing should be even stronger.

Stereokill: Will The Relationship version of “Thought I Knew” appear on the album? [Weezer recorded a version of the song on their most recent album, Weezer (2008)]

Brian: Yes, sir.

Stereokill: There have only been a handful of Relationship shows thus far. Are there plans for a tour following the album’s release?

Brian: We’ll do them when they make sense for us to do.

Stereokill: Can you discuss why Space Twins [Bell's project prior to The Relationship] disbanded?

Brian: I felt like it was time.

Stereokill: I think that “The End of Imagining” [Space Twins' sole studio album] is an underated classic, how do you feel about that album now in 2009?

Brian: Thanks. I think it’s a fine album and one that I’m proud of. I feel I’ve grown considerably as a song-writer and hopefully will continue to do so.

Stereokill: Do you still wish to release a “psychedelic children’s record” featuring Space Twins songs and newer compositions with [Space Twins bassist] Tim Maloof?

Brian: Sure, in a perfect world. The Maloofs are my closest and oldest friends.

Stereokill: As a musician, who are your main musical influences?

Brian: There are so many. Usually the ones people think are ones I hardly listened to. Recently, I was really into Stephen Sondheim. Yesterday, it was Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bookends” record. Presently, I’m listening to Cat Stevens on my iTunes for no other reason than that’s where it is at the moment. Dr. Dog was before him I think.

Stereokill: You’re in your room with an acoustic guitar. What songs, by other artists, do you perform to your walls?

Brian: Depends, I have a Leadbelly song book I like to pick up and do renditions of his songs, all the while pretending I wrote them to my imaginary audience.

Stereokill: What do you make of the music industry these days?

Brian: It’s a revolving door of the same people I’ve seen since day one.

Stereokill: Are there any bands out there that you think our readers should be listening to?

Brian: A band called Battles are quite exciting sounding. I can’t think of anything too eclectic right now. I want to pick up the Antony and the Johnsons‘ EP, but I haven’t yet because I always forget their name by the time I get to the record store.

Stereokill: Do you still buy physical albums, or are you a downloader?

Brian: I guess I just answered that question. I just started getting music online, but mostly for educational reasons. The sound quality of mp3’s are still no where near a CD’s. I’ve gotten into a vinyl revival and I’m preferring that sound. I need to purchase a high end turntable soon. Any suggestions?

Stereokill: What were your favourite albums of last year?

Brian: Sweeney Todd (from the movie, not the play)

Stereokill: Where do you see yourself in ten years time? Is there anything that you’d like to achieve?

Brian: Hopefully very happy and healthy. I might try scuba diving into the Bearing Straight by then.

Stereokill: Are you aware that you’re affectionatly known as the “Sass-Master” to fans. Do you think that you’re particularly sassy?

Brian: I am aware. I usually hear the word, “sassy”, referring to an independent woman, so in the future my goal is to change that to “Style-Master.”


Brian Bell interview with