Archive for May, 2009

Humor in Music — Z


Does humor belong in music? During this particular Z gig (NAMM, Hilton, Anaheim, CA) in late January, 1995, it did.

Bryan Beller:

The Z show was a private party for Peavey, with a special guest appearance by Dick Clark. We all got dressed up in fake costume stage tuxes and wore ZZ Top beards for a planned skit, before playing our only song of the evening: an even newer medley, one that spanned the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. It was fun, it was silly, it was Z in a nutshell.

Here are Parts III, IV, and V.

Z is:

Dweezil Zappa – guitar, vocals
Ahmet Zappa – vocals
Mike Keneally – guitar, vocals
Bryan Beller – bass
Joe Travers – drums

Frank Zappa as KPFA-FM Disc Jockey

Part 1:

In 1968, Tom Donahue interviews Frank Zappa about his life and work, while Zappa spins some of his favorite music ranging from surf music, doo-wop, jazz, the blues, to the works of Pierre Boulez.

The song selection is very informative for any fan of Zappa’s music, as one can easily trace the influence of all these styles on his own creative output, be it the cheesy harmonies of 1950s pop songs or the intricate percussive patterns of Boulez’s avant-garde classical compositions. The role that such songs had on Zappa’s own musical evolution is made all the more clear at the end of this hilarious program when a selection of satirical songs from the Mothers of Invention are also heard.

Zappa’s musical selection:

Agency ManThe Mothers of Invention
Handsome Cabin Boy [traditional] – A.L. Lloyd and Ewan MacColl
Grunion RunThe Hollywood Persuaders
Le Marteau Sans MaîtrePierre Boulez
When We Get MarriedThe Dream Lovers
Memories of El MonteThe Penguins
Goodbye Pork Pie HatCharlie Mingus
Lucy Mae BluesFrankie Lee Sims
The LetterVernon Green & the Medallions
Daddy Daddy – Richard Berry and the Dreamers
TwilightThe Paragons
FlorenceThe Paragons
Florence Don’t Leave Me – The Paragons
Later That Night – The Mothers of Invention
I’ll Be Forever Loving YouThe El Dorados
Cheap Thrills – The Mothers of Invention
Stuff Up The Cracks – The Mothers of Invention

Click here to listen to remaining three parts.

Frank Zappa Day on KPFA-FM

Part 1:

On February 10, 1986, as part of it’s fund raising marathon, KPFA dedicated an entire day of programming to the music of Frank Zappa, including the four hour long segment available for audio streaming (part one above).

Zappa joins Charles Amirkhanian, live in the studio to talk about his work and his fight against censorship, as well as to take part in an hour long panel discussion on gang violence and its relationship to rock music and Satanism. Zappa manages to insert his brand of sardonic humor into all the activities, be it personally promising donors will go to heaven, or urging the police to investigate the crimes committed by born-again Christians. The give and take with KPFA listeners during a call-in period following the panel discussions is not to be missed. Zappa also reveals a few nuggets of trivia including the origin of those crazy conversations found in the classic Mothers of Invention album, “Lumpy Gravy” and the meaning of the Chinese Kanji characters on the “Zoot Allures” album cover.

Musical selections include: Porn Wars, Outside Now Again, Tinsel Town Rebellion, Chunga’s Revenge, Jailbait by Andre Williams, Cocaine Decisions, The Dangerous Kitchen, The Radio Is Broken, Mōggio, Francesco Zappa, Dance Contest, The Blue Light, Sad Jane, Speed Freak Boogie, The Story of My Life by Guitar Slim, Teen Age Prostitute.

Conversations with Jimmy Carl Black

An exceptional interview with Jimmy Carl Black by Calvin Krogh recorded at the Grand Café in Oslo in January, 2007, as well as a second interview in another hotel in Oslo later that August – and broadcast on Krogh’s new website. Now you can both play the interviews on site or download the edited sections (12 in total).

On the eve of his 69th Birthday (February 1st), having just been diagnosed with leukemia, Black was extremely open and vivid with his reminiscences. For instance, we learn how Black first becomes acquainted with Jon Larsen, his opinion of Zappa cover bands, Zappa Plays Zappa, playing with Captain Beefheart, Zappanale, Mike Keneally, and, of course, the source of his bitterness towards the ZFT:

JCB: And you know, I appreciated that out of Frank. I… to tell you the truth, man, I always loved Frank Zappa, man. Even with the lawsuits and all the fucking trouble and with all the shit and all that, it doesn’t even fucking matter, man. I still tried to get hold of him before he… you know, when I was getting ready to move over to Europe. 1992. I called Motorhead, and I said “Motor, would you do me a favour. Would you call Frank, or call Gail, and find out if it’s at all possible that I can call Frank.” I’d like to… you know, wish him good luck with his problems, and, you know. Basically, what it would have been at that time, was just “Hey, man. It’s been a pleasure knowing you. You taught me a lot.” And he did, man! I learned a lot of different things about music that I didn’t know.

CK: Hm… But what happened?

JCB: No… she said no. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t want to have anything to do with her. And the kids… the kids only know one side of the story. They don’t know our side of the story. You know, they only know her side… what she says. How bad we are. What could we have possibly done to them? We didn’t take any money from them! We didn’t steal anything from them! What could we possibly do to them? Say things? Say the truth? You mean you’re not allowed to say the truth? Fuck you, man! I will say the truth! I’ll tell you what happened! I mean, I’ll tell you the way I saw it happen! The way it happened to me.

These interviews are a rich source of oral history for any Mothers fan, in general, and Jimmy Carl Black in particular. A must listen.

Interviews are also available in transcribed text.

Friday Mix: Tweezer Glint – Part Four

Here it is my fellow KUR-Meisters — “Friday Mix: Tweezer Glint (Studio-ized Concert Versions) Part IV” — the last in the series. I have endeavoured to leave some of the best tracks for last. Fifty of them in their full unedited glory.

Go ahead. Dig in. Enjoy.

Click here to listen to the mixtape.

Warning/Guarantee: the first five tracks just might lift you into spheres of utter Zappa ecstasy.

Zappanale (Then & Now) — Capt. Cheese Beard & The 7 Sisters Of Prevention



I had nearly forgotten about Capt. Cheese Beard & The 7 Sisters Of Prevention after Barry first posted their video of “Black Napkins” here at KUR back in 2007. Frankly, this ten piece band blows me away with their musicianship and their enthusiasm for the material they are playing (just check out the first two clips from their performance at Atelier210 – the aforementioned “Black Napkins” and “More Trouble Every Day”).

Captain Cheese Beard & the 7 Sisters of Prevention are a ten piece fusion band from Brussels, Belgium, formed by Johan De Coninck in May of 2006 after a year of pondering whether the whole project was actually feasible and worth all the trouble of managing a production of its size.

About three years ago, after riding pygmy ponies for many hours at the Pygmy Pony Riding club and smoking a whole pack of Wellfields (these are very dodgy Togolese cigarettes, by the way) Capt. Cheese-Beard went into a trance and had a vision in which he was visited by his long-time idol Frank Zappa who died in 1993. The great man himself told the captain that it was clear that his oeuvre was at risk of being lost, as it was not being exposed to the music listening youth of today. This was of course totally unacceptable. Maybe it was the side-effects of the Wellfields, temporally disabling the captain’s sense of reason, but during that cerebral meltdown he swore as a proud member of the pygmy pony riding club that he would do everything within his power to bring Zappa’s music back to life. Of course this was easier said than done. The media, regulated for many years now by the central scrutinizer, the sort of person who smells of cabbage, hired by so-called friends of the music biz, wasn’t going to be very receptive to the idea of putting the great composer’s “subversive” music back on the air. To make things worse, the central scrutinizer’s roll consists in making sure that the minds of our young consumers are continuously bombarded with tasteless, lukewarm, prefab pop. The captain, who by now had come back to his senses, realized he had to come up with a different, more daring plan. He decided he would find 9 other crazy musicians (preferably with prior pygmy pony experience) who would join him on a quest to go out there and attempt to play Zappa’s music themselves. He scratched his beard, put his fingers up his nose and smelled that it was good.

The Band:

Didier Demeestere – drums
Pascal Hauben – bass
Sara Corsius – keyboard
Johan De Coninck Corsius – guitar & voice
Rojah Lao – vocals (first 2 gigs only)
Abil Khazzaka – vocals
Vanessa Spy 007 – lead vocals
Katja Maes – melodic percussion
Ansje De Groef – flute
Thomas Van Gelder – alto & soprano sax
Kristof Kerremans – sax
Ludovic Jean-Mart – sax

This band certainly does have it’s groove down. From “Sofa #1” and “Sofa #2” (in German) to such Zappa classics as “Cosmic Debris“, “Inca Roads“, “Yo Mama“, “Andy“, “Pygmy Twylyte” and “Peaches En Regalia“.

The following rehearsals of “Cosmic Debris” and “Peaches En Regalia” show the band at work (and having fun):


Capt. Cheese Beard & The 7 Sisters Of Prevention will perform on Zappanale 20′s Main Stage on Friday, 14. August 2009.

Inca Roads a la Mike Keneally


Before you vote comment on the Ben Thomas rendition of Inca Roads with ZPZ, I suggest you watch these two clips: the first has Mike Keneally performing Inca Roads in Swindon, UK, in October of 2008; the second clip is an acoustic cover of Inca Roads (with Brian Beller) performed at Guitar Center, Seattle, Washington, October 7th, 2002.

ZPZ Featuring Ben Thomas

Posting this here now for later viewing (work etc): Ben Thomas and ZPZ perform Inca Roads at l’Olympia, Paris, 18/05/09:

Your verdict?

(via)

Zappanale (Then & Now) — Jazzprojekt Hundehagen


Thomas Brünnich, Thomas Käckenmeister and Michael Käckenmeister had already made music together while attending the conservatoire in Rostock in the mid-1980s, before ever conceiving of forming a band together. In the autumn of 1990, the three musicians again became active, playing in Blues and Rock bands surrounding Doberan. Around approximately 1996, was when the lasting foundation was forged to what would eventually constitute the main character of Jazzprojekt Hundehagen.

Michael Käckenmeister emerged as the group’s musical head. The group’s inspirations were rooted in interaction with his brother Thomas Käckenmeister and the musician companion Thomas Brünnich. Thomas Käckenmeister brought the experienced Guitarist Harald Werner into the group, along with the Quintet’s only woman, Pianist Katrin Werner.

The band took their name from the village they rehearsed in – an interim solution for several gigs at first – but the name stuck and it seemed like nonsense to change it.

Jazzprojekt Hundehagen play successfully in the northern part of Germany. They do standards as well as own compositions and themes of Frank Zappa.

Click here to listen (or download) various mp3′s at Jazzprojekt Hundehagen website, including “Black Napkin” “Zoot Allures”.

Jazzprojekt Hundehagen have performed at the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th edition of the Zappanale festival. They are scheduled to appear at Zappanale 20.

Note: Many of the webpages are in German. Use Babelfish to translate.

Four Chords

… that will get you a hit! With a bullet! Behold:

For those interested, my ears tell me they are, in order:

  1. E major
  2. B major
  3. C# minor
  4. A major

Go ye and make ye hits!