Adrian Belew and Stewart Copeland Say New Gizmodrome Band Project Was an ‘Immediate Lovefest’: Exclusive Interview
With former Police drummer Stewart Copeland and guitar virtuoso Adrian Belew in the lineup alongside Level 42 bassist Mark King and keyboardist Vittorio Cosma, Gizmodrome can hardly avoid being labeled a supergroup. But as Copeland and Belew tell Ultimate Classic Rock, their new band started out very simply.
In fact, as Copeland recalls during the duo’s exclusive interview with UCR, Gizmodrome have their roots in a pickup band he’d dubbed Gizmo — a combo that existed with “no album, no promotion, no product, no agenda,” and no motivation beyond getting together occasionally to play shows in Italy. Things only shifted into a different gear after Cosma told Copeland he thought he could lure Belew into the fold.
“That kind of raises the stakes,” Copeland points out. “In that case, we’d better get Mark King. Within about 20 minutes, the four of us are communicating, and we’re on our way to Milan.”
“I thought I was going over just to play on a couple of tracks. They kind of tricked me into believing it was mostly a holiday,” chuckles Belew. “I was dying to play with Stewart, of course. I didn’t know Mark and Vittorio quite yet, but once I arrived, it was kind of an immediate lovefest.”
Although a number of songs were already written by the time Belew arrived, they evolved once the quartet really got down to business. “We really dug playing together and we were having a great time,” says Belew. “We took those songs, kinda twisted them a little bit, had some fun with them, and midway through the process, we realized this is a band. It’s got to be a band — we’ve got to play this for the rest of the world.”
The just-released self-titled LP was recorded the old-fashioned way, with all four players in the same room — a setup that isn’t anywhere near as common as it used to be, but as Copeland argues, it’s the only one that made sense. “If you’re gonna record a band, I mean, nobody gave it a moment’s thought,” he points out. “Of course we’re going to be in a room together — that’s the point.”
Given the breadth of the band members’ backgrounds, it’s natural to wonder how they managed to fit it all in — and where the end result lands on the gamut between mainstream pop and knotty prog. It’s a question that, according to Belew, the members of Gizmodrome never asked each other, and one he isn’t particularly interested in facing now.
“As we made the record, there was no discussion whatsoever about charts or whether we were prog or punk or anything else,” he recalls. “We don’t label ourselves, we just get out at it, you know? The whole thing for me was a picnic of like-minded musicians having a great time and really getting to enjoy getting to know each other, loving the music you’re doing, and at the same time eating great food every night.”
Now that the album is out, Gizmodrome are starting to think about playing in front of people, which will require some adjustments in their presentation, since Copeland handles a lot of the vocals. Augmented by Level 42 drummer Pete Ray Biggin, their live lineup will be — as Copeland quips — more Foo Fighters than Eagles.
“When we go on the road, I’m going to get up front. People have been asking if I’m going to do a Don Henley — no, I’m gonna do a Dave Grohl,” he grins. “And while [Belew] plays the actual guitar, I’m gonna be doing the guitar face and the windmill.”
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