Weezer's Bell Bears "Twins"

Guitarist debuts spacey side project

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During Weezer's time off last winter, guitarist Brian Bell was hard at work with his other band, the Space Twins, putting the finishing touches on their full-length debut. The result is The End of Imagining, a twelve-song experimental pop album that veers from the melodic psychedelia of "Rust Colored Sun" to the Bowie-esque "Trudy Truelove" and features guest musicians like former Jellyfish member Jason Falkner and Arlo bassist Shmedly on piano.

"Anyone expecting it to sound like Weezer will be surprised," says Bell of the disc, self-released through his own Raga Drop label. "Truthfully, we don't want my Weezer affiliation to have any bearing on whether someone likes us or not. It's an entirely different thing. The Space Twins have our own chemistry."

Joining Bell are drummer Mike Elliott -- who he first befriended during a pre-Weezer stint as a record store clerk -- as well as brothers Tim and Glenn Maloof, on bass and guitar, respectively. Bell has known the Maloofs since they met at a Knoxville-area high school back in the ninth grade. "We were a basement band," Bell remembers. "We were not good at all, just learning Black Sabbath songs, and Black Flag songs, and I think the first Metallica record came out that year. So we learned those riffs. We would jam, like, [Metallica's] "The Four Horsemen" going into [Sabbath's] "Sweet Leaf," things like that."

Although Bell split from Tennessee for Los Angeles immediately after his high school commencement, he kept in touch with the Maloofs during Weezer's ascent. "I would go back and see them at Christmas and stuff," Bell says. "Then in 1997, sometime after Pinkerton and during one of Weezer's many lulls, the Maloofs moved to L.A.

"When I was thinking of people for the Space Twins, I wanted people who were sort of space cadets in the first place," Bell says. "I consider myself to be one. When we all got together and played things just flowed really easily."

More difficult was Bell's decision to include "Yellow Camaro" -- the hard-charging rocker that Weezer went so far as to demo last year and perform during its summer 2002 tour -- on the Space Twins' album. "Everyone [in Weezer] seemed excited about it," Bell says. "At the time I thought, 'Well, I'm going to save it for the next Weezer record. And then, when there didn't end up being a fifth Weezer album right away, I took it back. I needed a rocking song like that for the Space Twins live shows."

Surprisingly, the Space Twins have yet to license their first offering to a label or national distributor, although Bell says it's not out of the question. In the meantime, sales have been brisk through their official Web site, spacetwins.com, over the past few weeks, especially following a short stint on the West Coast as openers for the Irish band Ash. Says Bell, "There's been a lot of anticipation for our record and support from members of the Weezer community who are now also Space Twins fans."

Bell says he has a number of songs stockpiled with the Space Twins in mind, but, he says, "I'm letting Weezer have first shot at them. It's looking like Rivers [Cuomo] is liking them."

Of course, getting back to work with Weezer means the Space Twins' activities will be put on hold again. But Bell says that Elliott and the Maloofs are willing to work under those terms: "The guys in the Twins understand that the better Weezer does, the more people will probably care about us."

But will the Twins be afforded the same opportunity as drummer Pat Wilson, whose side band the Special Goodness had a support slot on Weezer's 2002 Enlightenment Tour? "When Rivers asked me how I felt about having Pat's band open, I said, 'I think that's great, but in the future I would like to have the same opportunity.' So I hope it's possible for the Space Twins at some point. Of course, Weezer would have to tour first."