I was born February 19, 1969, at Saint Luke’s Hospital in downtown Houston, Texas.
I am the second born of twins, 10 minutes after Benjamin Marcus Bell. We were born during the heights of the space age in the USA. My father, James Neal Bell, was a local anchorman, and my mother, Beryl Christine Bentrup, was a violinist.
I grew up in Texas most of my childhood and teen years. The Texas culture and lifestyle influenced me greatly. My favorite places I lived were Austin and Houston.
I was always interested in the arts. I owe that to my mother, who is an avid art aficionado. She always supported my interest in any art; chorus, acting, painting, photography. Though I was usually in the gifted and talented programs of any school I attended, I was also involved in college prep courses from an early age.
My parents took my brother and I to movie theaters frequently. Fantasia is the first film I remember watching. My mother took my brother and I to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which sparked my interest in all things space.
My fascination with science fiction and the supernatural came from my father, the journalist. He liked to watch Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, and my brother and I would watch with him. The first scifi book I read was a Robert Heinlein story. I was in fourth grade, the same year Star Wars was released.
I enrolled in the school orchestra in seventh grade, where I became a percussionist. I loved rhythms. I soon worked my way to first chair percussionist, and held my rank there for a year and a half. In my eighth grade, I auditioned for the Houston All City Orchestra, where I landed a chair for the city wide performance.
My mother and stepfather moved the family to Northern Virginia in 1985, and that is where I completed my high school education. I received an art scholarship, and I used it to attend the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C.. I majored in Fine arts and minored in creative writing and photography.
Photography was my first passion as a child growing up. Since 1978 I was always capturing photos of landscapes and odd images, developing and printing my photographs, attending art classes and constant museum trips, to receiving a full scholarship to the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC. There I majored in photography my Foundations year, honing my knowledge and skills.
I attended the Corcoran for a year and a half before I dropped out. I was working part time at a record store and living up the night life. I started to attend more concerts, and hanging out at the original 9:30 club, where I watched many excellent concerts. This life was far more interesting to me than school was at the time.
In 1989 I moved from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles, CA. I was 20 years of age. There I made my way into the music scene. One of my first jobs was to help build Dayle Gloria’s Club With No Name, I worked at the world famous Tower Video on Sunset Blvd, where I was able to see and assist movie stars, rock stars, and directors. I attended every music club watching the bands I liked, and seeing up and coming bands that would eventually be massive stars.
In 1990 I joined my first band, HATEFACE. We did not have much of a following, but we did play some good shows at various bars around Hollywood. We were a New York Style noise band in L.A.. We played one cover, and that was Missing Foundation’s Jahmeel’s Turmoil. We did not fit in anywhere at that time. We played live twice on KXLU’s Psychotechnics.
It was 1990 that I met Dino Cazares. We became quick friends, and he attended a couple of HATEFACE gigs. He said he liked my style of vocals. After HATEFACE disbanded, he asked me to jam with him and a drummer he knew; Raymond Herrerra. Our first jam together was October 31, 1990. I was the one constant member of Fear Factory until my departure.
I have been fortunate to be part of many great recordings, and part of many different line ups, beyond Fear Factory. I was the vocalist on Geezer Butler‘s first “solo” album G/Z/R, Plastic Planet. I have recorded vocals on 3 Ministry albums; The Last Sucker, Co-Conspirators, and Amerikka. I was the vocalist for 2 City Of Fire albums; City Of Fire and Trial Through Fire. I created my labor of love project Ascension Of The Watchers, releasing the Iconoclast Ep, Numinosum, and Apocrypha. My musical career is currently moving forward into my next chapter.
I still love the arts, and I try to attend galleries and museums where ever I am in the world. I am working toward my goals to become an author and photographer as my second chapter of my life. I never intend to retire from creativity. I will also continue to write music and sing my songs.
A few of my favorite artists are Leonardo DaVinci, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, August Rodin, Salvador Dali, Mark Rothko, Gerhardt Richter, Lucien Freud, Ansel Adams, Todd Hido, Kore Flatmo, Jamie Schene, Dave McKean and Ben Templesmith.
Some of my favorite authors are Enoch, Thomas Jefferson, Edgar Allen Poe, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Phillip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Elaine Pagels, Cormac McCarthy, and Nick Cave.
In 2020, after years of contentious lawsuits, I decided to leave Fear Factory. I continue my endeavor with Ascension of The Watchers, where I am able to express my artistic nature through music and words. My focus is on my next chapter as a solo artist.
As far as I can remember I have been a a fan of science fiction. Watching episodes of Twilight Zone and Star Trek lead me to read Robert A. Heinlein by the time I was 8. I started writing concepts for Fear Factory during the DEMANUFACTURE writing process. The scifi element integrated itself into the band’s philosophy and concepts This early influence has directed my path of creativity to enjoy science and the future of humanity. I am fortunate to be able to write my ideas into music that I love.
During my career I have had the pleasure to work with great artists like Dave McKean and Ben Templesmith, which propelled me to write my first graphic novel. THE INDUSTRIALIST was independently released in 2015, in tandem with Fear Factory’s album, THE INDUSTRIALIST. Much like the story I wrote in the cd booklet for the Fear Factory album, OBSOLETE, The Industrialist album is the soundtrack to this graphic novel, and it follows the story within the cd booklet. The artwork was conceptualized by the UK based artist, Noel Guard . I only printed 500, and completely sold out upon release.
In 2021 Pantera asked me to write a story for their graphic novel commemorating the 30th anniversary for their album A Vulgar Dislplay of Power, which is set to be released February 2023.
My first gallery show for my photographic series of Milton, PA., titled PARADISE FOUND is scheduled to open on March 11, 2023 at Vincent Castiglia’s Gallery in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The show highlights my talents as a photographer, creating images I have termed Celluloid Impressionism.
-Burton C Bell