Bellah is thrilled with the response he's received from his first CD, "Think Outside The Burning Box" ("It's a 40-year dream finally realized," he said), especially from Jim Peterik, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter of the Ides Of March and formerly of Survivor.
And he's happy with the exposure his current band 8-Track is receiving.
"We've been playing some really great shows at some big venues, so we're making some headway there," Bellah said.
With the relative ease of recording music in the 21st century, why did Bellah wait 40 years?
"It's taken me this long to realize who I am as a musician," Bellah said. "You play all these cover songs your whole life. It's like being an actor in a play or a movie. You know who you are as Paul Rogers or Steven Tyler. You emulate other artists but you don't know who you are yourself musically.
"So I think it takes time for you to take all these musical influences and put them in the blender and go, 'OK, this is Dave being Dave. Not Dave being Steven Tyler or Paul Rogers or whoever.'"
Compounding the sorting out process was the wide amount of music Bellah enjoys, everything from blues to classic rock to John Denver.
"He's a great songwriter. He really is," Bellah said of Denver. "And he was a great singer. And he was definitely king of the musicians at the time. The hard thing was that I was a John Denver fan at the height of Kiss mania."
To record "Think Outside the Burning Box," Bellah spent 150 hours n the New Lenox studio Product Recording Company in New Lenox.
"Think Outside the Burning Box" does feature talent other than Bellah, and he gives them plenty of credit on his CD.
But "Think Outside the Burning Box" is, overall, a Bellah-driven project.
"I wrote every single song," Bellah said. "I wrote every single lyric. I did every single guitar notes. I did the vocals and the harmonies. I co-produced it. When I finally had it in my hand, I thought, 'Well, how did I do that?'"
Bellah said he "did that" by being prepared. He gave himself deadlines and wrote songs whether or not he felt like it. He scheduled studio time and gave himself more deadlines.
When Bellah felt tempted to watch a movie instead, he'd remind himself, "I can't go do this movie. I have to be at this space at this time and I'd better be ready."