A wizard of sonic manipulation and texture, Belew has been the guitarist of choice for the art-rock crowd, playing with Frank Zappa, Talking Heads, David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, and Nine Inch Nails [see entries]. He has also fronted a version of King Crimson and sustained a lower-profile career as a solo artist.
In his hometown of Cincinnati, Belew was originally a rock drummer before developing his prowess on guitar. He was working the mid-American club circuit with his band Sweetheart when Zappa happened to attend a Nashville performance and tapped Belew for his band. Belew toured and recorded with Zappa (Sheik Yerbouti, 1979)