Archive for March, 2009

Meeting Mr. Zappa

A really nice story by Morgan Argen, from 1988:

When the Big Swifty theme came we left our seats, and walked backstage. After convincing one of the guards that we were about to go up and play with Frank, my next problem was I desperately needed to go to the toilet. I had lost the ability to feel needs like that – I had other things to think about. Another 5 min passed and I really had to go. I started to feel pain, I got totally confused; what would happen if Frank introduces us for 10 000 people, and I’m at the toilet unable to even hear him ?…

You might as well be interested in his other fine story called Being in Zappa´s Universe. Including some funny moments by Scott Thunes.

Zappa, Palais des Sports, Paris, 1980

This particular concert took place at the Palais des Sports, Paris, France on June 11th, 1980 and was first broadcast on France’s Antenne 2 in late 1980, and later rebroadcast on Europe2 TV on May 10, 2007.

It features Zappa’s Rockin’ Teenage Combo:

Frank Zappa–lead guitar, vocals
Ike Willis–guitar, vocals

Ray White–guitar, vocals 

Tommy Mars–keyboards, vocals

Arthur Barrow–bass, keyboards, vocals

David Logeman–drums

Besides the three clips posted above — “Chunga’s Revenge”, “Outside Now” and “Pound For A Brown”, respectively — I have endeavoured to link the following setlist to available videos from that concert:

• Chunga’s Revenge
Keep It Greasey
• Outside Now
City Of Tiny Lites
• Pound For A Brown
Cosmik Debris
• You Didn’t Try To Call Me
• Ain’t Got No Heart
• Love Of My Life
You Are What You Is
Easy Meat
• Mudd Club
The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing/Heavenly Bank Account
Suicide Chump/Jumbo Go Away
If Only She Woulda (Pt 1)
If Only She Woulda (Pt 2)
• I Don’t Wanna Get Drafted
Joe’s Garage/Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?
Dancin’ Fool/Bobby Brown/Ms Pinky
Stick It Out
Illinois Enema Bandit

Information Is Not Knowledge identifies many highlights in this concert, one of which:

There’s a lot of guitar in this concert.. nearly every song has an extended guitar solo, so if you like that sort of thing you’re definitely in luck. Ike sang really well on Outside Now, and then Ray did his usual fantastic singing of City of Tiny Lites. John Smothers runs out a couple of times and shines his flashlight into the crowd. Then something curious happens. In the middle of Pound For A Brown, Frank “brings the band on down” and says that he’s going to give a demonstration to a mystery guest… this would be Pierre Boulez, whom both Frank and Tommy Mars got to meet personally and show off their electronic effects, which Boulez seemed to enjoy.

Much thanks to “YourArf”, “bongolampo”, “zw”, “berthy75”, and “justanotherbrick” for posting all these videos.

Zappa — The Lost Interview

Barry, our most kind and benevolent webmaster, posted this seven part interview in July, 2008. However, when I sought it out both here at KUR and on the web, I came head-on to many dead links. Seems as though certain parties, which shall go nameless, have been quite busy on YouTube having particular Zappa-related material removed (It seems to me that it won’t be too long when finding anything Zappa-related on YouTube will be either (a) impossible, or (b) costly).

Information Is Not Knowledge describes it as such:

The total interview runs about an hour and covers music politics and popular culture from 1950s through 1990. This interview was never released. It was recorded in 3 segments 1990 in LA, but never completed as a final project. Intended to be kind of retrospect of what happened to the personal growth and idealism of 60’s as it whitewashed into the self indulgence of the 70s and 80s and the corporatism of America. It was never completed upon his death.

Fortunately, I was able to track down live links to Zappa’s Lost Interview. “Part 1: Early Influences” and “Part 2: McCarthy, Elvis & Racism” are above, respectively. The rest are as follows:

Part 3: The Presidential Elections(09:52 min.)
Part 4: Beatles, Stones & Censorship(09:31 min.)
Part 5: Hendrix, UFOs & Sex(09:52 min.)
Part 6: Problems with Democracy(09:36 min.)
Part 7: Message to the Future(00:53 min.)

Watch ’em before they’re gone for good.

The Tom Waits Book Has Materialized

You’ll remember my going on and on about the Tom Waits book Sharl and I illustrated. Ah, well a couple of days ago we finally got our copy:

tw 1

The front- and back-cover with some of the postcards.

tw 2

Some more postcards.

It really turned out to be a wonderful book — great attention to detail, typography, paper choice as well as an excellent print job. More, larger pictures are available here. Call me biassed but Sharleena and I are really proud to have been part of this project.

As of now, the book is available for purchase at the publisher’s site for a mere 15 euro. Place your order fast enough, and you’ll get all twelve chapter illustrations in postcard form shipped along for free!

The Tubes – Trouble Every Day

The Tubes cover Frank Zappa‘s “Trouble Every Day” at BB Kings, NYC, April 9th, 2008.

Roger Steen (Lead Guitar) takes on vocal duties (I suspect, while Fee Waybill is off stage during one of many costume stages) while Rick Anderson (Bass) are backed up by drummer Jonathan Mover (filling in for an absent Prairie Prince — and he definitely looks like he’s having a ball!). A great version of this classic Mothers of Invention tune.

Roger Steen is another truly underrated guitarist. Click here to find out what he’s currently up to with The Roger Steen Band, as well as links to some online songs and his interview with Ultimate Guitar.

Though, technically, no longer performing with The Tubes, original group founder, Bill Spooner has been keeping busy with his own project, The Folk-Ups. Click here to learn more.

Finally, let’s end off this post where it began, with Frank Zappa and band performing “Trouble Every Day” at KCET Sound Stage B on August 27, 1974.

The Monks — Bad Habits

Remaining with the theme of satire and parody in popular music, The Monks were an English punk band formed in the 1970s by former members of StrawbsRichard Hudson, John Ford and Terry Cassidy, along with Clive Pearce (drums). Their debut album, Bad Habits, a spoof of punk rock released in 1979, then re-released on 28 December 1999, had a very successful run in Canada and the UK, where the single “Nice Legs Shame About Your Face” reached number 19 on the UK Singles Chart.

Notice the superb acting and musicianship on the second video. What incredible lip syncing abilities. I am awed.

Thinga-mah-ding! Thinga-mah-Quongo!
Bad Habits by The Monks

Gruppo Sportivo — Live @ P60, Holland, 2008

The Band:
Hans Vandenburg – guitar/leadvocal
Peter Calicher – vocals/keys
Max Mollinger – drums
Joris Lutz – bass
Lies Schilp – (lead)vocals
Inge Bonthond – (lead)vocals

Gruppo Sportivo, a Dutch pop band from The Hague, formed in 1976, enjoyed some measure of international success in the late 1970s and 1980s. They specialized in combining familiar rock riffs with outrageous humor. Their satirical parodies of pop music and occasional humorous cultural commentary gave them a cult following.

Both videos, “Beep Beep Love” and “Superman is Back” are from ‘Live @ P60 Amstelveen, Holland, 24 Oct 2008’.

To order Gruppo Sportivo CDs, click here.

Tip of the hat to Roland.

Has He Offended Someone?

This morning, I heard “Copycat” on the radio, the song that will represent Belgium at the Eurovision Song Festival:

Belgium being Belgium, its Eurovision Song Contest candidate is being elected in turn yearly, between the Flemish and the Wallonian region. This year it’s the Wallonian’s turn, and so the Flemish press is kind of “hush hush, who cares anyway” about it.

The Flemish Elvis-fan-club “ElvisMatters” however was so outraged, they decided to send a letter to the organisation of the festival, demanding a disqualification because the song’s lyrics include the phrase “he’s too fat to rock ’n’ roll” and because, well, it’s an overall mockery of The King.

Now I don’t give a shit about that festival, but I think it’s a wonderful piece of satire, and funny too! Should be a winner!

What do you think? You decide! Vote now:

• If you like the song, comment with: Thinga-mah-ding!
• If you don’t like it, comment with: Quongo-quongo!

Sorry, no fancy poll widget, I am a busy woman…

Keneally Minnemann Beller (KMB)

In 2008, Mike Keneally (guitar, keyboards), Marco Minnemann (drums), and Bryan Beller (bass) formed the jazz rock fusion power trio, Keneally Minnemann Beller (KMB) and began touring.

Keneally cut his teeth as the stunt guitarist in Frank Zappa‘s 1988 band. He went on to record over a dozen of his own albums and appeared on dozens more by Zappa, Steve Vai, Henry Kaiser, and many more. Keneally is the National Music Director of the Paul Green School of Rock, and the Music Director of the new San Diego branch. The All Music Guide considers Keneally “the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era.”

When asked by the San Diego Reader in a recent interview to describe his music, Keneally said:

“It’s essentially rock, with equal emphasis on improvisation and strictly composed things. There’s a lot of guitar in it. I’m mainly known as a guitarist, although keyboard was my first instrument, and I play a lot of different instruments on my recordings. Dynamically, melodically, rhythmically, and lyrically, it’s real diverse and eclectic. I love a lot of different musical styles, and it all gets mashed in.”

Minnemann’s career began in his native Germany and has toured with the likes of Nina Hagen, the Buddy Rich Big Band, Necrophagist, Terry Bozzio, and now, Keneally Minnemann Beller. He is known for his amazing four-way independence, along with his unusual drum kit set up (multiple foot pedals, a gong, electronics and unique cymbal configurations).

Bryan Beller landed a gig with Dweezil and Ahmet Zappa’s tweaked rock project Z, straight out of Berklee College in 1993. Also on board was Mike Keneally, and in a lasting gesture of solidarity with his avant-garde pop/rock/fusion musical vision, Beller left Z when Keneally did in 1996. Twelve years, seven albums, and countless tours later, their musical partnership continues to this day. He still found the time to work and tour with Steve Vai and Wayne Kramer, has released two solo albums, and is a Contributing Editor for Bass Player magazine.

In the first video, (KMB) perform Keneally’s classic instrumental “Cheddar” (Hat, 1992) live at The Baked Potato in Studio City, CA on November 1, 2008. In the second and third videos, KMB perform “Dolphins” and “Bullys” (both from ‘Boil That Dust Speck‘, 1994) live at Channel-25, El Cajon, CA, July 20, 2008.

These are really quite amazing videos. To paraphrase a very famous quote, “Jazz rock fusion isn’t dead, it’s lurking somewhere in California under the name of Keneally Minnemann Beller. To view other KMB videos click here.

As an extra related tidbit of trivia, does anyone recognize the narrator in the following Chris Opperman track, “Ain’t Got No Beef”(Oppy Music Vol.1: Purple, Crayon, 1998):

Roy Harper – Kangaroo Blues (2004)

Some new Roy Harper tunes on Youtube – this one is from the DVD Beyond The Door. Man, he’s heavy! – just check out his One Man Rock And Roll Band, again…