George Bellas Interview
by Quintessence Metal Webzine
1. "Venomous Fingers" is another extraordinary piece of work like all of your previous material. Am I misleading you by saying it seems you really got more technical over the years with the ultra-fast picking and phenomenal sweeping techniques?
Thanks for the compliment on the new album. I don't think I've gotten more technical, maybe more refined and polished though. I always feel the need to learn more and try new ideas in new forms. So, hopefully, I should continue to progress and refine my ideas even further.
2. Take us through your upbringing musically and everything involved with learning the guitar and schooling.
Holy cow! OK, I'll try to sum it up... Billions of years ago stardust settled and formed 9 planets in a solar system located in what we have named the Milky Way galaxy. Water, carbon, hydrogen, energy and amebas began life as we know it, at least here on this floating rock we call Earth. Several years later, I was born and began playing guitar. I studied and practiced very diligently all through my upbringing. I have always been extremely fascinated with music, art, science, math and astrophysics. I enjoy reading and writing very much and always have.
3. Are you still associated with Shrapnel? If not, why the severed ties?
Yes, Mike Varney and I have a good working relationship. No severed ties, Mike and I will continue do do some work in the future, I'm sure. Mike Varney is a great guy and I am truly thankful for the doors that have opened up to me because of his help.
5. How did you hook-up with Lion Music; alot of Shrapnel people seem to be on there nowadays?
Lasse Mattson of Lion Music approached me with a deal and I accepted. I think Lion Music are really building a great name for themselves.
5. You seem to have a great relationship with Vitalij Kuprij (which I still consider better than Jordan Rudess!); can you rattle off all the albums you two did together and how this all came to be with the friendship?
Vitalij and I became good friends back in the early days at Shrapnel Records. Mike Varney introduced us. Basically, I was out there (California) doing a record and so was Artension, Vitalij and I talked a bunch, kept in touch, and wound up doing several records together.
6. This year's G3 is Satriani, Vai and Malmsteen; are you going to check it out? Your thoughts on all these players. The older G3's like Petrucci and Johnson? What G3 would you like to create with you included?
I think this years G3 line-up is awesome. All three of those guys are so unique in what they do it's incredible to see all 3 in one show. I would maybe like to do something with myself - George Bellas, Jason Becker and Michael Romeo. That would be pretty cool, I think.
7. What was the thought process in making "Venomous Fingers". Do you plan on doing any videos or DVD's in the future of your music or concerts (not sure if you play out at all)?
Venomous Fingers was, compositionally, very well thought out and filled with a ton of emotion. I wrote every single note for that album, and it wound up staying closer to my original creative vision than some of my previous works. There is a lot of improvised guitar, but compositionally every single note was scrutinized. And yes, I love playing live. Though, it is very difficult to find musicians capable of playing some of this crazy rhythmic music I write. It takes a lot of practice...
8. My friend got me into fusion back in 1986 when Friedman and Becker were getting a name for themselves and still today, it frustrates me to see how overlooked this genre is despite there's so many great musicians out there. How do you cope with this and what would you add to wake people up to this type of self-expression?
There is nothing to cope with. I do not care what is and is not popular. I hear a lot of people express concern in regards to that matter, but, it is not about fame and fortune to me, it is about the art and creativity, coming from a burning desire to do so. Why? - I don't have the slightest idea man.
9. Your plans for the rest of 2003? What's in store for 2004?
I have already begun working on new material for my next instrumental album. I have so many new ideas and ideas of using things that I have not yet on any previous releases. I have a hard time sleeping, I always have this need to create and compose. Inspiration is a mysterious thing, it seams mine never runs out.
10. Final comments, websites you recommend and anything you'd like to add?
Thanks to all my family, friends and fans around the world. Peace to you all and I hope you get some great pleasure out of my new album as I got making it. Enjoy! Please visit www.georgebellas.com for up to date info on my current activities. Thanks everybody!This interview can also be found here: Frets - Axes - Riffs