Review Revue: Adrian Belew – Mr. Music Head

Guitar wizard/singer/songwriter Adrian Belew (remember him?) has popped up in the music news quite a bit lately, partly for things he is and will be doing, and partly for things he won’t be doing. He plays all over the excellent new Nine Inch Nails album and was going to play guitar on the current tour for said album until he wasn’t. A longtime (but not founding) member of King Crimson, he will not be a part of the new (triple-drummer!) lineup of that band recently announced by founder Robert Fripp, but next spring he will tour his own Crimson Projeckt, a double-trio celebration of the King Crimson music he’s been a part of over the decades. Got it?

But all of that (apart from centering around the astoundingly gifted Mr. Belew) has very little to do with Mr. Music Head, a delightful album of strange pop music that a) was quite formative and influential to me at the time as a budding musician and music fan and b) is proving impossible to hear online. I guess I’ll either have to dig up the tape and hope it still works, or pony up for a CD copy. (OK . . . I’m not normally an impulsive shopper, but I just found a very reasonably priced copy of the vinyl LP and went ahead and ordered it. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a used record online before; pray for me.)

I’ll be honest, these DJ comments could be more exciting. So I’ll start by sharing this video of the lead-off track, “Oh Daddy,” featuring Belew’s own daughter. Bonus: Audie Belew herself commented on the youtube video a couple years ago, in the first documented example of an intelligent, non-hateful youtube comment. Internet scientists are still studying it.

“It’s Father’s Day, so here I am watching this video for the first time in quite awhile. That’s me in the video 20+ years ago with my dad. And today I gotta say, Campy Eighties? Yes. But also? Really fun, cute, well-written, and I like it! :) I’m so glad to see that so many people seem to like this, too. Originally he wrote this for me AND my brother, Udo (“Ernie”) to sing as a trio. But alas, Udo preferred skateboards to the studio in those days. Ironically, now he’s a Sound Designer HA!”

Anyway, on to the DJ comments . . .

“Some nice-sounding cuts, but I wasn’t super taken aback by this.”

“But what about his history?! Should we care? He’s played w/loads of folks besides his solo stuff.”

“I liked ‘Hot Zoo.'”

“The piano provides the rhythmic vehicle for most of these tracks. It’s a ‘good’ record although one can’t help noticing that he’s given up his experimental flair. Being a middle aged ‘Daddy’ has finally hit.”

“[arrow pointing to ‘Daddy’] This offends me!”

“Adrian Belew raised me like a wild weasel in 1967. He always gave me extra potato salad when I was good which was all the time.”

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