Sweeping 9th Arpeggios

I'm personally thrilled to have SHRAPNEL recording artist George Bellas as guest columnist at the site. Thanks a million, George, for participating...can't wait to hear the new "Ring of Fire" project with George on guitar, vocalist Mark Boals, keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij, drummer Virgil Donati, and bassist Barry Dunaway!

Be sure to check out George's fabulous instructional series available at

the following bio material from

Chicago native George Bellas started playing guitar at age 7 on a Classical guitar his father had bought him. His influences include: Franz Liszt, J.S.Bach, L.V.Beethoven, Paganini, Debussey, Yngwie Malmsteen, Walter Piston, Ted Greene, Michael Schenker, Dream Theater, Magellan, Jason Becker, Robin Trower, Montrose, Van Halen, Tony MacAlpine...By the age of 12, George was playing live in local bands while studying Music Theory, Harmony, Rhythm, Counterpoint and Form. Soon after, George began teaching guitar and opened Prodigys School Of Music, during which time he continued to perform and compose. George had an affection for classical counterpoint and Odd Rhythms very early on.

George's compositions include progressive odd-meter/exotic scale pieces as well as simple straight forward rockin' vocal tunes and Classical Orchestral/Soundtrack Music. George exhibits great technical prowess and a beautiful sense of melody and finesse. George eventually got his first 4-track recorder and began recording day in and day out. George's catalog of music began to grow very rapidly.

George sent demos of his compositions to Shrapnel Records, and president Mike Varney immediately recognized George's talent and versatility. He signed George to a solo deal and flew him out to the west coast to record his first album. The musicians were: Deen Castronova/Drums, Kevin Chown/Bass, Matt Guillery/Keyboards, Brad Kaiser/Drums, Mike McCarron/Drums, George Bellas/Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Macintosh programing. He recorded in December, 1996 and his first album "TURN OF THE MILLENNIUM" was set to be released May 21,1997.

Days later George got a call from Mike Varney asking him if he would be interested in joining UFO, Phil Mogg and Pete Way decided on George after hearing George's playing and songwriting. George traveled to Pete Way's house and began writing and arranging the songs. After meeting several times and developing the songs, it was time to fly out to San Francisco and record the album. The recording took place February, 1997 at Prairie Sun Recording Studios, CA. The band consisted of Phil Mogg/Vocals, Pete Way/Bass, Ansley Dunsbar/Drums, George Bellas/Guitar. The band went under the name MOGGWAY and released their first album entitled "EDGE OF THE WORLD".

And in between those 2 albums George managed to write and record an album for John West entitled "MIND JOURNEY" that was recorded January, 1997 and released May, 1997.

George finished his 4th album for Shrapnel Records in November, 1997. It is an all instrumental, neoclassical album, rich in classical counterpoint and rippin' guitar. The line up was: Deen Castronova/Drums, Barry Sparks/Bass and George Bellas/Guitar & Keyboards. This album is titled "MIND OVER MATTER" and was released in February, 1998.

George has also written songs for the "2nd" John West CD "PERMANENT MARK" released in the 2nd quarter of 1998.

In March, 1998 world famous russian classical pianist Vitalij Kuprij flew to Chicago to record an all instrumental CD entitled "EXTREME MEASURES" for Shrapnel Records. George engineered all the keyboard and guitar tracks using Logic Audio and his PowerMacintosh. The album is Neoclassical in style and is a showcase of mindboggling chops performed by the two virtuosos along with Jon Doman/Drums and Jon Onder/Bass. Quite an incredible performance!!!

After finishing the album with Vitalij, George wrote music for an upcoming vocal band of his own, which will include this incredible singer out of New York named Matthew Guarnere. George and Matt are working under the name "AUDIODROME". They hope to have the album out by 2000.

As of June 1999 George Bellas just finished writing his next all instrumental album "IMAGINATION". It is a combination of Neoclassical and Progressive songs. He plans to have all the guitar tracks recorded by the end of July '99. This record will hit the stores sometime in 1999. Needless to say , George keeps extremely busy dividing his time between composing, recording and performing live, not to mention teaching guitar and trying to continue to learn and grow as a musician.