Review: Zappa Plays Zappa, War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, Dec. 31, 2008

Kevin shares his thoughts on the show at Crush All Boxes, including a nice piece of art by Ward Shelley (don’t miss the hi res picture!) 

At one point, Les Claypool came out in a longcoat and chimp mask and played what looked like a segment of a bed frame with a string attached to it. He beat upon this device with a drumstick while modulating the tension on the string and sort of dancing around as the band provided a soundtrack. It was during KK that Dweez conducted the band a la Frank.

For me, the standout solo was that of guitarist Jamie Kime. As at the previous ZPZ show I attended, he offered some truly original and intense sounds on his guitar. It was deeply impressive – this guy is a major talent.

The more interesting parts are in the text itself – go on reading!

32 Responses to “Review: Zappa Plays Zappa, War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, Dec. 31, 2008”

  1. Clenn says:

    “He beat upon this device with a drumstick while modulating the tension on the string and sort of dancing around as the band provided a soundtrack.”

    The Whamola? Les named a track after this instrument on the Purple Onion album.

  2. Kevin Hoover says:

    Yes, exactly that’s what it was. Thanks.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whamola

  3. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    Excellent review Kevin — had it bookmarked for publication here but Balint beat me to it! 🙂

  4. P-Rip says:

    Jamie Kime’s playing has always been a highlight in both ZPZ tours that I have attended. He gets very little solo time, of course, but I find his playing more intersting than DZ or Vai.

  5. Kevin Hoover says:

    At first I regretted that Mike Keneally wasn’t second guitarist in ZPZ. But after seeing the direction it has taken, I doubt that Mike would be content to slavishly replicate old Frank interpretations or songs. Plus, him being independent means that he can bring the Mikeness.

    As I watched Jamie Kime, I had the definite sense that this is an artist with his own ideas, possibly of Keneallian stature, who we will definitely hear more of in the future.

  6. Matt says:

    I see that Trendmonger left one of his pretentious, condescending comments on the review page. What an asshat.

    ZPZ will never be equal to FZ, no matter how many decades they play. A copy is never equal to the original. End of story.

    Nice review, Kevin. I saw ZPZ last year, and I agree with you–they need to deviate, not replicate.

  7. Trendmonger says:

    Matt you interpret the English grammar incorrectly.
    Where I stated in reply to Kevin’s article

    “Your journalism and overall appreciation seem lost in carnival titillation as displayed in the 1932 film Freaks written by Rick Gregory. Give ZPZ 3 decades as FZ had toured and I expect ZPZ will for 3 decades display the blood and soul FZ put into his life work.”

    The fact is ZPZ has and always will always perform FZs works with the same blood and soul put into his life work. As time goes on,more and more concert goers are seeing the many ever expanding connections to the composers canon, while at the same time each show always minimally has a DZ conductor section.

    Only three tours and the achievements of performing those compositions of varied arrangements of many touring bands and many studio recordings is far beyond the general progression most expected could ever happen. The whole Jamband attitude and approach to FZs work is what I find condescending. Jamming becomes a crutch for lack of due diligence. There is a time for it but overindulgence and just playing it in the ball park is weak, pretentious and condescending .

    ZPZ will continue to evolve digging deep into the composer massive body of work. 3 tours into FZs touring career the musicians under his baton severely lacked the skill sets and never achieved the musical prowess of much of what ZPZ does.

  8. Kevin Hoover says:

    [quote comment=”3574″]ZPZ will continue to evolve digging deep into the composer massive body of work. 3 tours into FZs touring career the musicians under his baton severely lacked the skill sets and never achieved the musical prowess of much of what ZPZ does.[/quote]

    There are flaws with this argument. Frank had no money during those early tours, and had to work with bar-band blues musicians to make his music real. He immediately upgraded his musicians as his popularity and income increased.

    Dweezil can’t plead poverty. He can get any level of muso genius he needs. Actually, the people has in his employ now are surely capable of being more dangerous. But he has to make them take risks. It all comes from the top.

    As I sort of said in the review, Dweezil is limited by the needlessly reverential approach he has taken. He’s placing selected iterations of Frank’s songs on a pedestal, and inevitably deadening them to some degree in the process. Frank was never about standing still or repeating. In fact he hated that.

    As Frank’s genetic artifact, Dweezil has moral license to liberally reinterpret Frank songs. And he is capable of this. All of Dweezil’s solo albums are loaded with his own perfectly viable and original attitude. I wonder – is it a matter of confidence?

    Someday he will find a way to fuse his own very strong and original ideas with Frank’s music, and then we’ll see something remarkable. Something that goes far beyond excellent nostalgic exercises.

    Trendmonger, you speak with some authority on this subject. Do you have inside knowledge?

  9. Tredmonger says:

    Kevin,

    Once again I think you are just too rooted in some Jamband regalia
    but to give credence to one part and not give credence to a canon is like applying alcohol to the needle before the death injection. I mean what’s up with that. Don’t want the bastard to get an infection on his way to wherever he’s going now do we. And what if that convicted guy on the gurney was actually innocent. I don’t know maybe this is just a nod to George Carlin but George makes you think. Even though DZ is a focused and reserved personality his approach shoudl make you think beyond what you display in your review. But o get back to our little dialog

    Where you say

    “There are flaws with this argument. Frank had no money during those early tours….”

    This statement and where it was leading is like a guy who buys some future convicted criminal death pay per view special on DBO , yes you guessed right Death Box Office.

    You see only what you perceive through Zappa shows you have attended and records you own. Your literary license is clutched by Jamband regalia. It’s like you show up to see the execution for the excitement or some gun sling hanging of the old west where everyone shows.

    While some of what you mention has merrit in explaining what an FZ concert was about what you obviosly lack is comprehension adn appreciation of DZs outward commitment to performances of works by FZ the composer.

    Your lack of care when giving critical analysis of ZPZs ever expanding performances of a composers canon is just too rooted in some expected stage carnival environment.

    We can start here
    No only does ZPZ include lots of improv in each and every solo section , conducting sections and sprinkling of some hybrid arrangement techniques but they have the ability to as I have stated give due diligence to sections, time slices, of a composers canon. To only look at FZs financial limitations on what musicians he was performing with at any time is a minor premise of the overall syllogism. ZPZ could do an arrangement of anything from anytime of decades of works but even if they took it another step and did “Here Lies My Love” with lets say Scheila doing Lowell Georges vocal part its not as if Mr Undertaker comes along as says this Museum is too cold we need to breathe life into this place.

    My advise to you is to just take a step back and continue to look at the progression. It will always have the blood and guts and be far more than some reverential approach.

    The manifest of these live shows should not be Jamband. These tours do follow composer guidelines of composition and arrangement while and each show has exploratory solo and hybrid arrangement techniques. Once again solo’s, conducting sections and sprinkling of some hybrid arrangement techniques are all part of the program.

    As the tours continue more and more of the canon will be excavated.
    A museum may seem cold but these animals come to life. ZPZ is a Night at The Museum and each tours offering is uncovering the largest Dinosaurs known to man and bringing them to life and that is especially on key for those that want to relive that as close as possible to what they once may have seen or missed the boat on for whatever reason.

    I don’t even think that Leob and Leopold were around for each and every arrangement. I don’t know maybe if you ask DZ and continue to encourage him maybe at some point he will spit up some Pepsi all over you, for demonstration purposes you can also have him call you Mark, but one you really are missing something without looking at the bigger picture of the major elements of the progression of these performances of FZs works.

  10. Trendmonger says:

    And if anyone should wonder why I picked Here Lies My Love(Martin/Dobard) , originally released by Mr. Undertaker

    Oone month from today marks the 4tieth anniversary of the MOI performance of that song at Columbia University.

  11. Trendmonger says:

    Kevin,

    I furthelook deeper into your minor premise of the overall syllogism.

    Where you say,

    “Dweezil can’t plead poverty. He can get any level of muso genius he needs. Actually, the people has in his employ now are surely capable of being more dangerous. But he has to make them take risks. It all comes from the top.”

    There is no need to plead poverty but each member needs to give due diligence to learning compositions and specific arrangements selections from a life’s work. This is no different than when FZ had a touring band. There are arrangements for each band and the ZPZ band is every Zappa band all rolled in consummate professionalism.

    The time comes for ZPZ Band Member adventure cues but your mention of muso genius being attached to any ZPZ core member to suggest DZ limitations of pushing the envelope on any musicians abilities is no different than any musician under FZs baton.

    Don’t think for a minute FZ let Tommy Mars run off on self expressive jam band museo tangent fro Frank extremely frowned on such behavior adn woudl eyebrow whip any musician that did no follow specific protocols on performance.

    Frank placed limitation on how much he let any band member deviate from the program. ZPZs musicians just as FZs are only allowed to solo when given the cue and those cues came far less in any given FZ show as compared to the demands of following exact compositional guidelines.

  12. Bálint says:

    [quote post=”873″]This is no different than when FZ had a touring band. There are arrangements for each band and the ZPZ band is every Zappa band all rolled in consummate professionalism.[/quote]

    No, this is the opposite to the way I see it. There WERE arrangement for each FZ band, and it changed from lineup to lineup (from night to night, sometimes), according to the ability/personality of the given members. The ZPZ plays almost exclusively the album versions (!!!), which FZ almost NEVER did, and (as it seems from here) DZ is not about to change this habit of his. This is a strange kind of “respect”, what makes “archeological treasures” – instead of living music.

    BTW: the most exciting moments of ZPZ (in my opinion) is when they deviate, when thay make THEIR OWN version/orchestration: G-Spot Tornado and Dog/Meat, Black Page nr. 1,…
    I’ve seen them twice, they were REALLY good (the first one was the better one) – but at the moment I do not feel like travelling a few hundred kilometers to hear the album versions – again.

  13. Michael Pabst says:

    They try to be a living jukebox. Therefore I can stay home.

    And: is it possible to ban somebody at least from this nice place?

    M.

  14. Trendmonger says:

    Kevin,

    Where you stated,

    “As I sort of said in the review, Dweezil is limited by the needlessly reverential approach he has taken. He’s placing selected iterations of Frank’s songs on a pedestal, and inevitably deadening them to some degree in the process. Frank was never about standing still or repeating. In fact he hated that.”

    Your view is skewed by the perception looking at many arrangements
    and live performances over a career in linear perspective as compared to three tours where each tour has solidly achieved performance goals.

    ZPZ is three tours old evolving but whatever they play gives the highest due diligence into arrangements and leaving traditional FZ live show improv quotients in tact. As I have stated ZPZ has shown plenty enough imrov show quotient on a show by show basis for solo, conducting and hybrid arrangements.

    For some it will take more time to see through what you are outwardly and in my opinion wrongly implying but the so called pedestal is growing each and every tour and performance.
    Spend more time and you will see what you think is not there is there.
    After some time you will not see the pedestal but be at harmony with the composer. As I had suggested stick around for the ride. Each time you will see more and more of the composers life work.

    FZ: I, I can’t see you, but I know that you’re out there. It’s that little voice, that same little voice at all of the concerts, of the guy in the back of the room. It’s going, “Weh-ne-heh Hehn-weh-ni-heh-ni-heh. Mini-mini-heh mini-hehn.” Coupla years ago, there was a guy that used to come to all the concerts on the East Coast, I swore I heard him every night for a month, there he was somewhere in the audience, an’ he would– it’s this little voice, and he would say, “Freak me out, Frank! Freak me out! Freak me out, Frank!” OK, here we go! Arf, arf. “Weh-ne-heh.” Arf. –

    ZPZ should be looked as any FZ touring band or all of them rolled up into one. ZPZ approaches FZs work the same way as FZ and they do several arrangement’s of the same song not enshrining one arrangememnt.

    Pygmy Twilight for example, performances have included the well known Roxy Version and the Quaalude Thunder Version. Then we can take a look at Bamboozled By Love that is a Hybrid of 1979 through 1988 arrangements, then their is G-Spot that is totally unexpected perfection.

    Kevin again stated

    “As Frank’s genetic artifact, Dweezil has moral license to liberally reinterpret Frank songs. And he is capable of this. All of Dweezil’s solo albums are loaded with his own perfectly viable and original attitude. I wonder – is it a matter of confidence?”

    Kevin, please do not apply for the curator position for your display of these museum artifacts are cold. Yes you make some very nice observations but molding too much individuality into FZs work is not
    at all what FZ was about. FZ kept the reigns very tight on individual expression. He would fire or send a band member home if his protocols on performance was not met with the highest of due diligence of compositional ad arrangement guidelines. It’s not that band members did not get solos or have an individual expressive sense of attenuation and articulation of their perfrmance style but to imply bringing large Jamband quotients into ZPZ into performances of FZs work and additionally carnival atmosphere, which I perceive is what you have implied is entirely a bit too perposterous.

    It would be nice to continue to dialog as time catches up with the progression of ZPZ development but as of now the DVD from the first tour and progression of mass diversity in YCFOSA download will tell a story that will put your ideology to sleep.

  15. xorg says:

    Whenever I go to a concert (by whoever), I don’t want to hear the records played note for note. What’s the point? Especially when a ticket for an ‘A’ list artist costs upwards of 50 GBP. Live music has to be different from the recorded music.

    I realise classical music is a different and more subtle story, but the audience still expects to hear a distinctive performance.

  16. terje says:

    writing several long winded bullshit rebuttals isn’t going to make a cover band more than what it is.

    i’d pay 20 bucks max to see the zpz cover band.

  17. moggio's moldy Oreos says:

    >>>>>>>put your ideology to sleep.

    PLEASE DO.

  18. Bálint says:

    Hehe, I tend to agree with Terje, though I wouldn’t have used the words he used. 😉
    Trendy, the funny part of your comments are their seriousness – hey man, we’re only talking about music here, not about the Final Truth Of Life. We might have diverse opinions – so what? That makes the whole thing interesting. But with you… (even remembering your comments at zappa.com…) sometimes it seems you own the Truth Itself – and sometimes even The Knowledge Of The Future: “progression of mass diversity in YCFOSA download will tell a story that will put your ideology to sleep”.
    Do not take it so personal, as if you were some close relative of FZ or DZ – hey, relax. And listen to music. 😉

  19. Jessica says:

    “Give ZPZ 3 decades as FZ had toured and I expect ZPZ will for 3 decades display the blood and soul FZ put into his life work.”

    How old will DZ be 30 years from now? 70? If FZ had lived to 70, would he still be playing “the hits?” Are there really plans for ZPZ to keep clomping around in daddy’s shoes for the next 30 years? Until 2039?

    What would DZ’s music sound like if DZ put 30 years (and the tremendous amount of capital at his disposal) into his own music, as opposed to a music that was already done definitively decades earlier by someone else? Don’t you think with 30 years of work Go With What You Know could be a real contender?

    Because really now, it would be a tragedy (one of many) were DZ to devote his prodigious talents towards the pursuit of FZ’s catalog–a catalog (oops, pardon me, a ‘canon’) that was pursued gloriously to the very end by Frank Zappa himself (the creator of the ‘canon’ in question.)

    What would FZ’s music have sounded like if instead of creating his own body of work, he spent that time and those resources meticulously and “correctly” reproducing someone else ‘canon’ from the comforts of a multi million dollar home and studio?

    C’mon DZ, get that goddamn polka-dot Charvel out of storage (or was it a Jackson?)…do your thing! That way, 30 years from now, Zola Frank Zappa can play your ‘canon’ and respect your ‘composer intent’ with all the ‘due dilligence’ the ZFT so vigilantly protects! Frank Zappa plays the music of Dweezil Zappa–ZPZ phase II.

    “The fact is ZPZ has and always will always perform FZs works with the same blood and soul put into his life work.

    Well, there might be half the “same blood” as FZ put into his life work, but how do you, Trendmonger, quantify “soul?” Where does this “soul” come from? Is it genetic? Is is something you inherit (in a capital sense)? Is it something that can be emulated with the right digital equipment? Is it a result of social conditions? Because FZ and DZ DID NOT experience the same social conditions growing up Did The Mothers 3 years into their thing and ZPZ 3 years into their thing experience the same social conditions and day-to-day realities? 200 motels, or 200 5 star hotels?

    “Jamming becomes a crutch for lack of due diligence. There is a time for it but overindulgence and just playing it in the ball park is weak, pretentious and condescending .”

    Trendmonger, what instrument do you play? How long have you played that instrument? When was the last time you, Trendmonger, “jammed” with anyone? Do you have any music of your own creation on the web for us to hear? Trendmonger, if you don’t play a musical instrument, do you think your perceptions and values might be different than someone who does?

    As the tours continue more and more of the canon will be excavated.
    A museum may seem cold but these animals come to life.

    Do they keep animals in cold museums?

    This is no different than when FZ had a touring band. There are arrangements for each band and the ZPZ band is every Zappa band all rolled in consummate professionalism.

    Of course these arrangements changed with every tour, and sometimes show to show. You know this, right?

    ZPZ is three tours old evolving but whatever they play gives the highest due diligence into arrangements and leaving traditional FZ live show improv quotients in tact. As I have stated ZPZ has shown plenty enough imrov show quotient on a show by show basis for solo, conducting and hybrid arrangements.

    While it appears that quantitatively, the ZPZ has, with a precision we can all agree upon and be proud of, provided “plenty enough improv show quotient,” do you think it’s possible to discuss the quality or the convincingness of said “improv show quotient?” How is that arbitrated?

    Said another way, has the ZPZ’s “improv show quotient” qualitatively eclipsed that of the real thing that has already been done definitely, or is it the simulacrum of something we’ve all heard done definitively? (How much would you pay for a photograph of a painting?)

    Will the day come when “we” prefer DZ and the ZPZ’s reading/rendering of a work they did not create over the FZ’s reading/rendering of a work he created as a personal response to the gestalt of the time based upon his life and social conditions?–a time that is long gone and a social condition set that DZ has never experienced? Will that be a function of an even more complex and expensive effects rack, or will that have to be a function of something else?

    ZPZ should be looked as any FZ touring band or all of them rolled up into one.

    why? says who? Is that even possible? If FZ couldn’t be all of FZ’s touring bands at once, can we really (fairly) expect ZPZ to try to be all of the FZ touring bands at once? Has 24-bit technology really advanced to such a degree?

    If these question are too rooted in jamband irreverence, who can deny that FZ’s business plan (looking forward) and the ZPZ’s business plan (recuperation through retrospection) are two, fundamentally different missions–and as a result, produce two fundamentally different products?

    ZPZ approaches FZs work the same way as FZ and they do several arrangement’s of the same song not enshrining one arrangememnt.

    When researching these arrangements (so as to get them “right” and not to “disrespect” the “composers intent”) do they have access to materials and methods that, for example, the evil, dreaded arch-foe-in-the-ball-park-composers-intent-ignoring-alumni-quotient-fetishist Project Object do not?

    Another question not only for Trendmonger: What would you rather listen to–a Zappa cover band with all Zappa alumni and no Frank Zappa or a Zappa cover band with no Zappa alumi and no Frank Zappa? Me, I’d rather listen to neither, but don’t let my answer sway yours!

    FZ kept the reigns very tight on individual expression. He would fire or send a band member home if his protocols on performance was not met with the highest of due diligence of compositional ad arrangement guidelines.

    You can say that again. A music of control and consequence. Discipline and Punish A music not of golf and a good work out routine, but of cartons upon cartons of cigarettes, gallons upon gallons of coffee and pound upon pound of sugar–but FZ wasn’t a drug addict, and his diet had nothing to do with his relationship with his “employees” or the way he played the guitar or thought about music.

    It would be nice to continue to dialog as time catches up with the progression of ZPZ development but as of now the DVD from the first tour and progression of mass diversity in YCFOSA download will tell a story that will put your ideology to sleep.

    This may very well be true. Then again, your hypothesis might also very well be false. I suppose time will tell. I also suppose Trendmonger will tell, too.

    The question (my question, anyway) still remains: what is the end game of the ZPZ? Is it to exalt FZ? Is it to eclipse FZ? Is it to turn a buck off of FZ? Is it all three?

    Does anyone ever forsee the day when you “won’t need” those old FZ records because you have the new improved ZPZ recordings?

    Is ZPZ more of an “apocrypha” to the FZ bible, or is FZ’s “canon” a “dead sea scroll” to the latest King James ZPZ translation?

    Lastly, Mr. Trendmonger, if you would be so good as to take this test, the greater Zappa internet community might have a better understanding of your neurology and (depending upon the result) have less inclination to call you mean things like “STFU you asshat shill for the ZPZ and ZFT” and all the other not-so-flattering things you are routinely called over at that other forum.

    The test is easy, thorough and can be found here:

    http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php

    Thanks a bunch!

    Jessica

  20. Profusion says:

    Bit of a newcomer here, but a longtime Zappa fan on a recent bender of listening to nothing but Frank. 🙂

    I completely agree with Kevin’s review. I’m just slightly too young to have seen Frank play live–he played my hometown for the last time about six months before I became a fan–but I’ve seen all three tours in which ZPZ has played the DC/Baltimore area.

    The first show at the Warner in DC was revelatory–I was completely blown away by how good ZPZ was, and by how amazing Frank’s music is on stage. The second show in Baltimore was even better–that the was “Frank Zappa Day” show, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a better concert in person. But the third show at the Birchmere in Alexandria Va. started to seem a bit too familiar. I confess that I’m not overly fond of the Flo & Eddie band and didn’t really need “Billy The Mountain”, but the rest also didn’t grab me as much as the first two shows.

    Because of my experiences, I might even go a bit further than Kevin’s review: I think DZ *needs* to tweeze the music and arrangements from tour to tour in order for ZPZ to have a viable future. He needs to make it his own, in some fashion. It’s not optional.

    I certainly wouldn’t object to having some of DZ’s own music in there. I’m not a huge fan of his previous albums, but it would interesting to have ZPZ go into the studio to record some new DZ music. And I’m sure that ZPZ could put an interesting spin on DZ’s older music.

    I didn’t get through all the verbiage, but Trendmonger’s approach turns Frank’s music into nothing more than a moldy museum piece. Frank hated the idea of lazy-assed orchestras dusting off Beethoven’s Fifth from memory for the old ladies every year. I certainly don’t want *that* to happen to Frank!

    It’s not a “jam band” thing. It’s a living musical thing.

  21. P-Rip says:

    How ironic. An endless debate about how to interpret a dead guy’s music. What would Frank think? There must be plenty of classical music forums to carry on such discussions.

  22. Kevin Hoover says:

    [quote post=”873″]How ironic. An endless debate about how to interpret a dead guy’s music. What would Frank think? There must be plenty of classical music forums to carry on such discussions.[/quote]

    Not how ironic. How enjoyable. Did Frank’s music change when he died, and become irrelevant or off-limits for discussion?

    Questions, questions, questions flooding into the mind of the concerned young person today.

    Why shouldn’t we discuss Frank’s music? It’s enjoyable to do so. I learn things by talking about it. Like when Kevyn Dymond finally explained to me what “Baby Snakes” are. I thought they were… well, something else.

    Also, Frank Zappa’s music is classical music.

    Now as for you, Trendmonger… I take some of your points (in spite of your rather convoluted and obtuse writing style), but I can assure you that I have no interest in jam bands. Nor am I steeped in their culture.

    For one thing, I can’t tolerate the trendy chemical amusement aid dosage levels required to be sustain interest in that form. I respect bands like Phish and the innumerable Dead spinoffs, but would never sit down and listen to them. My preference is for more eventful and less droning music. (Not that there’s anything wrong with it.)

    One of the things we do agree on, though, is the perfection of ZPZ’s version of “G-Spot Tornado.” Now that’s my idea of a damn good time. I don’t believe Phish ever attempted that particular ditty.

  23. Profusion says:

    [quote comment=”3598″][quote post=”873″]Also, Frank Zappa’s music is classical music.[/quote]

    Some of it is.

    Although Frank himself didn’t like to make a distinction, I think one must be made between the pieces that were regularly performed by his touring bands (even the complicated ones) and the pieces intended strictly for orchestras. There is overlap, obviously.

    Frank seems to have been interested in creating relatively immutable versions of the orchestral pieces, undoubtedly based on the notion that orchestras are consistent with each other in scale and form. “Naval Aviation in Art” should ideally sound mostly the same when performed by orchestras in Prague or Peoria.

    But many of his live touring vehicles changed dramatically over time, based on the players involved–and of course many included lots of ad hoc vocal bits and improvisational sections. For me, it’s partly that tension between the unexpected and the highly composed that makes the Zappa “rock” music so exciting and unique.

    Speaking from experience, musicians tend to be either guys who want to wing it all the time (that’s me) or the guys who want to spend all their time working on the ability to play complicated little bits perfectly. Not many musicians are equally gifted at both, and that’s what makes both Frank and his various band members so special for me.

    ZPZ does a pretty good job of balancing improv and rehearsed music, but the ad hoc element is missing. For example, the way that Frank and Napoleon did the “hotel desk” routine differently every night. I can’t see Dweezil or the ZPZ band doing that.

  24. Profusion says:

    How did I manage to screw up the quote function so beautifully in that post? Let me count the ways…

  25. Michael Pabst says:

    Quote: “Naval Aviation in Art” should ideally sound mostly the same when performed by orchestras in Prague or Peoria. /Quote

    I do not agree. There is no reason why it should be.

    M.

  26. urbangraffito says:

    [quote comment=”3587″]Hehe, I tend to agree with Terje, though I wouldn’t have used the words he used. 😉
    Trendy, the funny part of your comments are their seriousness – hey man, we’re only talking about music here, not about the Final Truth Of Life. We might have diverse opinions – so what? That makes the whole thing interesting. But with you… (even remembering your comments at zappa.com…) sometimes it seems you own the Truth Itself – and sometimes even The Knowledge Of The Future: “progression of mass diversity in YCFOSA download will tell a story that will put your ideology to sleep”.
    Do not take it so personal, as if you were some close relative of FZ or DZ – hey, relax. And listen to music. ;-)[/quote]

    I also tend to agree with Terje, and to paraphrase Kevin: “Dweezil is limited…” Anyone who has collected or traded extensively in FZ field recordings (or attended at least one FZ concert) knows exactly what ZPZ is NOT replicating note-for-note, or otherwise:

    – on the spot improvisation (something for which FZ was universally known for, and fans absolutely relished)

    – extended band member solos (while not generally appearing on official releases) FZ allowed his musicians to “strut their stuff” live on stage; such as Tommy Mars on “Little House…” and “Pound for a Brown” @ Poughkeepsie. FZ, unlike DZ, was never the egoist that demanded 100% of the focus onstage.

    – stage/audience banter (sometimes it seems as though DZ is quite oblivious to what the fans are saying; while FZ was in tune with his fan base on an almost instinctive level)

    It is certainly my opinion that DZ and ZPZ have never been the arbitrators of all music Zappa that they attempt to be.

    Just a cover band.

    No more. No less.

  27. jane23 says:

    ZPZ should change their name to DPF, (Dweezil plays Frank).
    The only authentic version of Zappa Plays Zappa was FRANK ZAPPA.

  28. Rob says:

    I totally agree with jane23. There’s only one true original. No matter how talented the ZPZ band is, I can’t ever see myself buying their CDs of carefully reconstructed arrangements. I much prefer Frank’s bands taking us above and beyond the expected!

  29. Bálint says:

    [quote post=”873″]There’s only one true original.[/quote]

    Yes, but there are some other guys, who bring some new approach, adding new colours to it, make surprising arrangements…
    I never tire of praising the arrangements of ZW and Gabor on the Zappa Jam Session Page. Ed Palermo’s work is truly amazing. I love the album of the frech band LeBocal, playong FZ’s works. The Banned From Utopia’s latest album (2000?…) is just beautiful. Or Bogus Pomp, az it was mentioned before. Etc etc.. 🙂
    Fortunately its a long list.

  30. moggio's moldy Oreos says:

    >>>>>>“G-Spot Tornado.”….I don’t believe Phish ever attempted that particular ditty.

    They could play it and they could improvise on it. Bet on that. The were asked by the black widow not to play Frank’s music so they being nice guys they acquiesed. Phish’s music, in the early to mid 90s, was actually the closest thing to a Zappa cover band taking the music further of any band I’ve ever heard. Their love of his music is widely known to fans. Just a piece of info there, do with it what you will.

    I’ve seen ZPZ three times now. The best show I saw was probably Richmond ’07:

    I’m The Slime
    Dumb All Over (with Frank video)
    Eat That Question (impromptu sub for What’s New In Baltimore while techs fixed DZ’s volume pedal)
    Doreen
    Magic Fingers
    Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy
    How Could I Be Such A Fool
    Ain’t Got No Heart
    I’m Not Satisfied
    Pygmy Twylite
    Dupree’s Paradise
    Uncle Remus
    Willie The Pimp
    Dog/Meat
    G-Spot Tornado
    Joe’s Garage
    Wind Up Workin’ In A Gas Station
    San Ber’dino
    City Of Tiny Lights
    Cosmik Debris (with Frank video)
    Yo’ Mama

    Encore:
    Illinois Enema Bandit
    Muffin Man (with Frank video)

    The segment where they went from Willie the Pimp to Dog/Meat and G Spot Tornado to Joe’s Garage was a revelation! And that sort of left turn range of musicality and style was something Frank was famous for and the band pulled it off beautifully. The solo DZ played on Willie was worthy of the song, too. So, I felt like there was a modicum of “improve” that night, at least with the solos. This sort of thing is what I think ZPZ does beautifully.

    Anyway, though, I agree they should move away from the note for note renditions of Zappa albums. especially when DZ does the same things Frank did live in front of an audience way back when. That to me is pointless when there is a new live audience in front of DZ at that moment.

    The difference between jam bands like Phish and ZPZ is that Phish wouldn’t do note for note renditions of past live album versions (unless to do it as an ironic joke which Phish did a couple times) – they’d make the song their own arrangement wise and they’d make it live in the moment of the setting where they were performing the song. That approach is a huge part of the jam band thing that the Grateful Dead perfected. Jam band fans also love FZ music, but ignore it all if you wish.

    Just remember, PLENTY of fans saw Frank while tripping balls or more stoned than Stonehenge back when he was alive. His music and live shows were a stoner’s wet dream, whether he liked it or not. :^)

  31. Bálint says:

    “Hello Friends,
    I thought it might be worth it to respond to a post regarding the most recent Vancouver concert. The thread mentioned that we played a repeat set from 07 with the exception of 2 new songs and that there was some confusion as to why this happened.”

    Dweezil had made the post above – I dont think he ever did at ZPZ forum -, readthe whole about setlists, repeating, and forecoming releases.

  32. Phil J says:

    terje says:

    January 14th, 2009 at 5:30 pm » Quote
    writing several long winded bullshit rebuttals isn’t going to make a cover band more than what it is.

    i’d pay 20 bucks max to see the zpz cover band

    absolute Bullshit terje

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