Daily Texan interview with Brian Bell - April 7, 2003
Weezer's Bell changes worldview with Space
By Ashok Chandra, Daily Texan (U. Texas-Austin)
AUSTIN, Texas -- As the guitarist of Weezer, Brian Bell has seen his share of musical success. Now, however, Bell is about to see the fruition of a personal musical dream that started prior to his involvement with one of the most influential bands in music today. Bell was better known for his involvement as lead singer of his band, the Space Twins, before "Buddy Holly" made Weezer a household name.
"We started playing together when we were teenagers. We grew up in Knoxville, Tenn. I grew up there, then they moved to California. When I moved to L.A. five years later, they moved down around 1996," Bell said.
The success of Weezer and the rigors of college life forced the Space Twins to be put on the back burner. But although the band wasn't working together full time, they still managed to meet whenever possible to practice and record.
"We've been working on songs and the dreams of making a record for years," Bell said. "It's something that has never went away. When I came back, we started to chip away at it. We chipped away at it for about five to six years. We used the time that I was gone to reevaluate and rework the material to create a sound that everyone agreed with.
"Between Weezer albums and Weezer tours, we did everything we could. Some members were going to college. There was a lot of working between schedules," Bell said.
After a series of seven-inch EPs that were released during the 1990s, the band is finally on the verge of releasing their first full-length album. Weezer fans expecting something similar to what they have been accustomed may be surprised by the sprawling soundscapes that Bell and his bandmates create. Songs like "Goddess of Love," with its surreal keyboard introduction and "Rings of Saturn," with its atmospheric melody, complement Bell's versatile voice to create something truly original.
With all the years and songs, one would have expected an album to have been in the works sooner.
"I believe that a first album should be your best work, and hopefully, your consecutive records from that should try to better the first album. I had plenty of songs for a record years before. I was unhappy with the recording quality, and it was my own belief that they were not as good as they could be. It wasn't until recently that I felt that the songs were as good as could be," Bell said.
"I feel as if a band has one shot, and I wanted to make sure that we put out something that would stand the test of time, and that is what an album should be. It should be a work of art that holds up, something that doesn't follow any trends. It shouldn't be passe in a year or a month. Something like that takes a long time. As far as the means that we were able to do it, doing it independently, this is the album that I wanted to create."
One problem in having so many years and songs behind a band is the process of choosing which ones will end up on the album.
"It's really hard to let certain songs go. Every song that we have ever recorded I have approached with the intent of putting it on an album. I never approach a song thinking that this is going to be the demo for a song that may be on an album. That is another reason that it took so long as well. The quality and time that we put into every single song required 100 percent effort from everyone. Stylistically and the overall flow of the record is the reason why I chose the songs that I did," Bell said.
The Space Twins debut album, "The End of Imagining," is currently being distributed through their Web site, www.spacetwins.com, but may find national distribution later on.
"That's an avenue that I am exploring at the moment. If we sell enough copies through the Web site, I think that the distributors will be much more interested. That's really the bottom line," Bell said.
The Space Twins recently played Austin, Texas's SXSW music festival. The large crowd at Aussie's seemed captivated by the band's stage presence. For a band that has had little publicity and done little touring, The Space Twins had a number of people singing along with their songs. This can be attributed to their growing Internet fanbase, caused by distribution of their music on message boards and music sharing sites.
Even with their growing popularity across the country, the Space Twins are not yet ready to embark on a nationwide tour on their own yet.
"We are not particularly gung ho about touring without any kind of album or support from people buying the record. We need to know that people want to see us, and we have to figure out a way to afford a tour. We're going to play around the L.A. area in the mean time. Without a doubt, we would like to do a U.S. tour," Bell said.
During last year's Enlightenment tour, Weezer drummer Pat Wilson's band the Special Goodness played the second stage for the masses of fans in attendance. With an upcoming release and a large scale tour likely to follow, it may be likely that the Space Twins will be in a similar position in the near future.
"Well, it does seem fair doesn't it? I definitely won't say no if given the opportunity," Bell said.
With the Space Twins possibly on the brink of success, could one of the founding members of Weezer be changing his plans for the future?
"I have obligations. I am in Weezer, which is a major-label act. It is my obligation and my priority," Bell said. "I think that I can do both."