Some News From The ZPZ World

Scott Thunes on his guest-appearence with ZPZ:

All in all, I had a wonderful time and I would do it again. In fact, if they come back, I’ve already asked Dweezil if I can play Echidna’s Arf with them to make up for fucking it up on Zappa’s Universe. He said that if they had it ready (in their repertoire) I’m welcome to try my hand at it.

 

 Thank you for reading this.

Dweezil about some recent changes in the lineup:

In other news we have encountered a glitch in the matrix! ZPZ has suffered the departure of Aaron Arntz. Obviously that changes the material we can readily perform and requires some shifting of duties within the band.

And now for something completely different:

- The Filthy Habits Ensemble – three FZ tunes, check them out. Good.

All of the above from the Idiot Bastard. Thanks!

18 Responses to “Some News From The ZPZ World”

  1. George says:

    Anyone have some background on Arntz’s departure?

  2. Bálint says:

    Not at the moment. I’ve checked Pete Griffin’s blog also, but still nothing. Well, I’m not sure that we’ll ever know anything about it – but anyway, 3 years in a row in a band might be just enough if he has some other plans too.

    *

    and jus one more thought on this:
    Sorry, I dont want to offend anyone, but now that Dweezil said that they will have to change the setlist now without Aaron Arntz one thought from years before came back to my mind: There are lineups when I see the reason for such a lots of musicians on stage, because I hear every one of them and this gives a colorful, rich texture to the whole thing – I think now of the 73-74 lineups, the Petit Wazoo band, the 81-82 band, and so on.

    But there are some other cases, when the music is still fine, but there are some instruments that I don’t understand the role of. Why 2 keyboards in’78 and ’84?… Most of the time I don’t hear the difference, I dont hear THIS or THAT player. To me the role of Mike Keneally is sometimes a question, because might he be a big musician – I simply CANNOT HEAR him on the ’88 recordings (as opposed to Steve Vai, whose line is always clearly audible). It’s strange, because everyone says that Keneally is such a great musician – might be, but most of the times I just do not hear him!

    The same with Arntz: okay, while I’ve enjoyed his soloing, I stil don’t know what tunes they cannot do now with one keyboard only? The band is still full of musicians and some multiinstrumentalist, so… Or am I totally wrong?

  3. George says:

    I know what you’re saying, but I think Arntz role was a significant piece of the band. While he did not do a lot of leads, his foundational support to the whole mix was critical on a number of tunes. Add the fact that he had the material completely wired ( easily could have been in a number of FZ’s bands), and Dweezil’s in a short term pickle and he knows it. It will be interesting to see how they go forward.

  4. Mom says:

    no big mystery here. Aaron gave notice to Dweezil in December that he would be leaving the band at the next big break to pursue creating some of his own music. Dweezil decided the best time was after the March leg of the tour. The musicians are talented but this band needs the foundation of the keyboard Aaron provided. For example, he was the only one other than Dweezil playing the entire G-Spot Tornado and he made alot of music in many of the songs.

  5. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Bálint:

    Not at the moment. I’ve checked Pete Griffin’s blog also, but still nothing. Well, I’m not sure that we’ll ever know anything about it – but anyway, 3 years in a row in a band might be just enough if he has some other plans too.

    *

    and jus one more thought on this:
    Sorry, I dont want to offend anyone, but now that Dweezil said that they will have to change the setlist now without Aaron Arntz one thought from years before came back to my mind: There are lineups when I see the reason for such a lots of musicians on stage, because I hear every one of them and this gives a colorful, rich texture to the whole thing – I think now of the 73-74 lineups, the Petit Wazoo band, the 81-82 band, and so on.

    But there are some other cases, when the music is still fine, but there are some instruments that I don’t understand the role of. Why 2 keyboards in’78 and ’84?… Most of the time I don’t hear the difference, I dont hear THIS or THAT player. To me the role of Mike Keneally is sometimes a question, because might he be a big musician – I simply CANNOT HEAR him on the ’88 recordings (as opposed to Steve Vai, whose line is always clearly audible). It’s strange, because everyone says that Keneally is such a great musician – might be, but most of the times I just do not hear him!

    The same with Arntz: okay, while I’ve enjoyed his soloing, I stil don’t know what tunes they cannot do now with one keyboard only? The band is still full of musicians and some multiinstrumentalist, so… Or am I totally wrong?

    If I learned anything from all my listening to Zappa through the years, Balint, it is this one inescapable truth: there was not a single musician in any of his bands that were not replaceable. Surely, each one had their own particular identity, musically, and even more so from one band to the next. That said, one really shouldn’t compare what Vai did in Zappa’s band with what Keneally did. By the time Keneally became Frank’s stunt guitarist, the entire flavour of Zappa’s band had changed hadn’t it? Gone were the dueling solos between Zappa and Vai. One would have to say the Keneally’s duties in the 88 band were more varied than say Vai’s during his stint. I do agree, though, that Keneally never shone during his stint with Zappa like Vai did (perhaps this, too, has to do with the sizes of the bands which allowed the personalities and talents of the members of the smaller combos to shine beside Zappa – while the 88 band always remained in the background). If you want to hear Keneally shine, though, just listen to Nonkertompf. I promise, you won’t be let down.

    Getting back to the topic of the post, though, I’m certain Dweezil will find a replacement. If the past is any indication, people would travel far distances just to audition for Zappa (or just the chance to).

    I’m sure Dweezil knows this.

  6. Bálint says:

    Mom: thanks for the info!
    *
    Urb:
    Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll try that album!
    But one thing: I do not say that Keneally was worse or shined less than Vai did, just that i simply CANNOT HEAR HIM PLAY! :-) Thinking of the 88 tour I do not remember 1 or 2 songs in which I would say: oh yes, THAT one is the guitar line! Its interesting because at the meantime everybody says that he played an important role there, being a wondeerfiul player; Sure he is, I’m not against it, but I just cannot HEAR his playing! :-)
    (as opposed to some bass players, for example, whose role were always the role of an accompanying musician, “only”).

    *

    Dweezil says he’ll talk to guys living in Los Angeles exclusively, and the new keyboard player will have to practice 4 month before his/her very first group rehearsal…

  7. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Bálint:

    I do not say that Keneally was worse or shined less than Vai did, just that i simply CANNOT HEAR HIM PLAY! :-) Thinking of the 88 tour I do not remember 1 or 2 songs in which I would say: oh yes, THAT one is the guitar line! Its interesting because at the meantime everybody says that he played an important role there, being a wondeerfiul player; Sure he is, I’m not against it, but I just cannot HEAR his playing! :-)
    (as opposed to some bass players, for example, whose role were always the role of an accompanying musician, “only”).

    *

    Dweezil says he’ll talk to guys living in Los Angeles exclusively, and the new keyboard player will have to practice 4 month before his/her very first group rehearsal…

    I didn’t suggest that you did, Balint. But you quite correct, I think, in your assessment that Keneally’s playing cannot be heard. I’ve listened to quite a number of field recordings from the 88 band, and it definitely takes a well trained and seasoned ear to distinguish Keneally’s playing. Why is that? Or more to the point, why can we listen to Them or Us, or Buffalo, and say, yes, that is Vai playing? What occurred in the interim between the two manifestations of Zappa’s touring bands?

    If Dweezil says he will only talk to musicians living in L.A., then that’s very self limiting don’t you think?

  8. Jamez says:

    I know..what about Bob Harris as a guest keyboard player/vocalist for a few months?

  9. Sterbus says:

    Anyway, it’s Keneally playing the Eat the question intro… :)

  10. Matt says:

    Thanks, Sterbus. You beat me to it. Keneally played a good amount of keyboards on the 88 tour. Guitarwise, you can hear him clearly playing the solo in Stairway to Heaven along with the horn section. Maybe it’s hard to pick out his playing compared to Vai because he didn’t have that kind of recognizable tone yet that Vai did.

    Obviously, it’s easier to tell who’s playing what when you’re at a concert. Hearing a concert on disc makes it a lot harder, especially when musicians have similar tones or are using similar keyboard/synth patches. For example, there were many parts of recent King Crimson songs that I assumed were played by Robert Fripp, when it really was Trey Gunn.

  11. Thinman says:

    Most guitar parts with a more clean tone are Keneally – he played a Telecaster. Others with a more fuzzy tone are Willis.

    I remember one show with Keneally playing the solo in Cosmic Debris – with Frank fucking up because he (Frank) came in with the vocals to early at the end of the solo (Bremen or Dortmund).

    Th.

  12. xorg says:

    If Aaron told Dweezil back in December that he was leaving and they set the end of March as his departure date, why didn’t Dweezil recruit a replacement earlier thus giving him or her time to learn the parts and begin rehearsals now? Not so much a glitz in the matrix as poor forward planning!

  13. Mom says:

    If I had to guess, I would say it’s a money thing.

  14. metafunj says:

    When Keneally joined the band there was a horn section and that made a huge difference. Frank wouldn’t hire 5 horn players (i think?) and then let the guitar cover all the melody. Often the guitar is blended with the horns in the melody.

    But keneally did get some small solos in there. He plays the first short solos on the MAJNH “stinkfoot” the melody of “Harry you’re a beast”, “the theme from lumpy gravy” “big swifty melody” “sinister footwear” first little into lead on “stevie’s spanking” melody on “a. orfice” and some rhythm on “cruising…”

    He plays some little licks at the end of “zombie woof” and nasty parts at the end of “bolero” there is definetly more but you should be able to hear some of this.

    Another reason Vai stands out more is he’s more expressive in his articulation and had a lot personality in his playing. Keneally wasn’t even originally a guitarist to begin with and wasn’t as obsessive about figuring out every little weird noise u could make on it like vai. So for pyrotechnics and articulation Vai definetly stands out.

    As for his keyboards vs. bobby martins part, I can’t tell. Same with the other two keyboard tours. I don’t hear why it was so necessary to have to people playing.

  15. epistrophy says:

    I listened to Disc 2 of Make A Jazz Noise Here yesterday and you can clearly hear Mike Keneally’s guitar playing on Alien Orifice, Sinister Footwear II, Cruising For Burgers & Strictly Genteel.

    …and it’s jaw-dropping!

  16. Bálint says:

    Everybody: thanks for the infos, all of you! It was really helpful and brought me some new experiences – and will bring, since I’m just about to listen Disc 2 of Make A Jazz Noise Here! :-)

  17. Sterbus again says:

    …also don’t forget the odd guitar lines in The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue and the Johnny Cash imititations on TBBYNHIYL !!

  18. Hugh says:

    This quote from Aaron is compliments of “The Evil Prince”, over at zappateers.

    Quote:
    First, I would like to say thank you for all the insightful and nice comments you have left on this forum for the past three years in regards to ZPZ’s artistic choices and execution of Frank’s music. I really appreciated reading what you thought of our shows, and your opinions of my personal contribution to the band on a nightly basis. I made the decision in December to dedicate full time to my own composition and art career, and told Dweezil before the final Roxy show that I would be leaving ZPZ by the end of April. I left on completely good terms with nothing but gratitude for my inclusion in this project, and to the whole Zappa family for trusting me to be a representative of Frank’s legacy. Understandably, the tour could not afford to take me to Australia and Japan considering the cost of traveling there, and that I was leaving the band at the end of April anyway. So, I finished my ZPZ career in Santa Rosa, CA, and drank some quality Zinfandel with my close friends in the ZPZ family.

    Thanks again, folks. See you soon.

    Peace,
    Aaron

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