Addicted to Noise article - June 10, 1997
Weezer's Bell Heading for the Ozone With Space Twins
Cool, another Weezer member doing the solo thing.
By Clare Kleinedler
For Weezer guitarist Brian Bell, what started out as sort of a Saturday afternoon space-filler has turned into a full-fledged side project band, the Space Twins.
"I started the band in 1993 with my then-girlfriend," said Bell, while in Portland touring with Weezer. "It was meant to be nothing more than a cute project...something where we would play children's birthday parties," said Bell. "We had monikers; I was Space Helmet and she was Moon Boot and we wrote crazy wacky songs about Snufulufugus and Bo Peep counting sheep. We made our own antennas out of headbands and wire and Styrofoam balls with glitter, and I would wear a blue Star Trek looking shirt at the gigs."
Well that was then. The Space Twins now have a new line-up (ex-girlfriend is out; three male buddies are in) and have just wrapped-up a six-song demo. Although the songs still have some of the original quirk, the musicianship has improved tremendously and it is clear Bell is serious about getting a record deal and taking the project to the same heights of his fellow-Weezer mate Matt Sharp's band, the Rentals.
"Rings of Saturn" has an incredibly catchy opening guitar riff that stays in your head all day after one listen; "Goddess of Love" takes a different spin and changes tempo a few times almost as if it were three songs in one. As far as lyrical style, Bell writes with fantasy-like metaphors - completely opposite of Weezer songwriter Rivers Cuomo's autobiographical verses. "Osaka Aqua Bus" has some pretty offbeat lyrics: "And the Tokyo sunset/ Reeks of octopus/so take a ride on the Osaka Aqua Bus/ Taste the fish egg slush."
"It's my whole take on the Japanese experience," says Bell, laughing. "When I was there on tour with Weezer, everything I ate had the taste of fish...fish shavings, fish eggs, fish heads. It was impossible to get by! It was a mix of things...one day I was walking back to the hotel in Osaka and I saw a sign, and I had woken up really early that day so I thought I was hallucinating, but it said, 'Osaka Aqua Bus,' and that name! I wrote the song the next day because the word just stuck in my head."
The odd lyrics combined with Bell's Lou Barlow-esque earnest-boy vocals and sophisticated guitar playing has the Space Twins sounding like a mix of They Might Be Giants and Sebadoh. The songs also have a bit of an educational-twist; although it is not his intention to be "preachy," Bell admits that a lot of his lyrics are inspired by subjects he doesn't completely understand.
"We have a song called, 'Here Comes the Sun,' which isn't a cover of the George Harrison song...it's more of an announcement of how much damage the sun can do to your skin," says Bell. "It's little issues like those that fascinate me, inspire me. But when I listen to music, I don't necessarily want to be educated. But I think I can find a way where people don't have to think when they listen to the song, but maybe the message is there and they'll get it a little down the road. I don't want to become a math lesson, though."
The Space Twins took their music to the people earlier this year playing gigs at various Los Angeles clubs, including one with Veruca Salt at the infamous Viper Room in Hollywood. According to Bell, the reception has been good, and he's eager to play more gigs after Weezer gets off the road this fall.
As for a proper record deal, Geffen Records (Weezer's label) has just gotten a copy and has 30 days to decide whether to sign the band or pass. "If it happens with Geffen, then great, if not, no problem," says Bell, always the optimist. "But I don't want to get a record deal because of the sole fact that I'm in Weezer."
With Bell's charismatic guitar and vocal styles and this demo, that shouldn't be a problem. Keep your eyes open for the Space Twins; they'll be coming to a galaxy near you very soon.