Archive for May, 2009

In France – and more (from ’82)

In France:

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Mystery Song #4:

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Approximate/Tinseltown:

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All the tunes above from a rehearsal in 1982 (04 06). I had to make a few cuts, because of the tape stops and restarts and laughters. But I hope it cannot be noticed (too much). 🙂 Enjoy! (infos about the Mystery Song #4 here!)

Warren Zevon Collector’s Edition

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Warren Zevon was already a ten-year music industry veteran who had written songs for the Turtles, backed up Phil Everly, done years of session work and been befriended by Jackson Browne by the time he cut this self-titled album for Asylum Records in 1976.

Even though Warren Zevon was on good terms with L.A.’s Mellow Mafia (The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac most notably of these), his songs were quite unlike any of them. Zevon’s music was full of blood, bile, and mean-spirited irony which even Jackson Browne’s production values were unable to disguise. Zevon’s songs were a rogue’s gallery of reckless souls: thieves and gunfighters, ambitious pimps, lonesome junkies, hard-living lunatics, and dastardly womanizers. For all their darkness, Zevon’s songs also possessed a steely intelligence, a sardonic wit, and a sophisticated melodic sense, made certain by the high-priced help who backed him on the album (members of the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac).

In late 2008, Rhino Records released a remastered and expanded version of Warren Zevon accompanied by a bonus disc of 15 demos, alternate takes, and live performances of every song from the original release. These early demos confirm that Zevon’s creative vision was clearly evident long before he had the budget to make a “real” album. The 1974 recording of “Carmelita” boasts an extra verse which didn’t make it to its “official” recording. Otherwise, the alternate material is often rougher and less precise than the final cut, which sometimes works in its favor and occasionally does not (yet even the weakest of the archival performances are still quite intriguing).

Of the demos, alternate takes, and live performances, these are indeed newfound treasures:

Carmelita (1974 Demo)

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Join Me In L.A. (Take 2, 11-20-75)

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Poor Poor Pitiful Me (Alternate Version)

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For general interest concerning the relationship between the young Warren Zevon and Howard Kaylan of the Turtles, visit Crystal Zevon’s blog for March 29, 2007.

Why would a successful group like the Turtles grant the B-Side of their single, “Happy Together” to a young upstart like Zevon?

Friday Mix: Tweezer Glint – Part Three

Welcome to the third KUR mix of four, presented on four consecutive Fridays in May, entitled “Friday Mix: Tweezer Glint (Studio-ized Concert Versions) Part III“. As with the two prior Tweezer Glint mixes, this week’s mix is full of tracks from various FZ live concerts before they were edited into albums of his official catalogue.

Click here to listen to the mixtape. Enjoy.

The Fourth and last part of “Tweezer Glint” will be posted next Friday, May 29th.

Beat The Boots III

Available only from Amazon for now, Beat The Boots III, a six disc continuation of the original Beat The Boot series, is confusing the heck out of just about everybody. Official? ZFT endorsed? Zappa.com is not helping much as it’s currently down. Andrew says: “Back in 2003, Gail said we “can expect a new batch” of Beat The Boots. And here they finally are.”

Strange News From Mars — Jon Larsen

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Written, arranged and produced by Jon Larsen in its entirety, and recorded in Los Angeles in March 2007 with former Frank Zappa band alumni — Tommy Mars, Bruce Fowler, Jimmy Carl Black and Arthur Barrow (also engineered the recording) — Strange News From Mars tells the story of the spacecraft Big Ear III’s voyage to the red planet:

You are now onboard spaceship Big Ear III on the first surrealistic expedition to Mars. We have left the Earth behind, and passed the point of no return.

Three decades ago Big Ear I received an inexplicable signal from space, the mysterious WOW-signal. Whatever it was, our quest on this expedition is no less than to explore this phenomenon and try to answer two other questions that have confused our civilization for millennia.

The crew members are carefully chosen among the finest surrealists of our time, and we aim to please. However, we are in terra incognita, so be prepared for the unexpected.

Capt. Zurcon

Larsen is a guitarist, composer and painter. Painting was his first vocation, and from studying Dali and surrealism in the late 70s he eventually started infusing much of that spirit into music, especially when he took up composing in the nineties. What luck then when individual members of Zappa’s old crew, who Larsen so admired, should approach him with a desire to play on his Mars concept (when they heard of the project) when Larsen went over to LA to start the sessions.

Even though the compositions are all Larsen’s, there is no doubt that the spirit of Zappa infuses the entire album (listen to “Mutant Fromage” and “The Eons Are Closing” on Larsen’s Myspace page). This is made most evident by the key roles that these former Zappa alumni have on the record (Strange time changes, unexpected changes, extended vamps, jumpy bursts of marimba, comedic interjections and Zappa-inspired textures). Needless to say, it is Larsen’s core band of Norwegian musicians that so effectively mimic Zappa’s more jazzy excursions, whom along with and from the gathered alumni are able to build upon the Zappa oeuvre.

One of my favorite tracks on the album, “Dachs Reduction” exemplifies this:

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Musicians on Strange News From Mars:

Jon Larsen – guitar, martian
Tommy Mars – keyboards, telephone
Bruce Fowler – trombone
Arthur Barrow – general magic & bass
Rob Waring – marimba
Jimmy Carl Black – vocal, percussion
Knut Reiersrud – guitar, harmonica
Ole Morten Vågan – bass
Håkon Mjåset Johansen – drums

Strange News From Mars was the first release of Larsen’s new label Zonic Entertainment.

Note: This was a difficult album to track down. Even my usual CD ordering service had to order this one in. To save you time, I suggest you order Larsen/Zonic titles from here.

Zappanale (Then & Now) — Sex without Nails bros

Masterminded by the Austrian legend Wickerl Adam, and formed as an offshoot of the Hallucination Company in 1998 (an Austrian rock music theater project also founded by Wickerl in 1977 that operated in a “Frank Zappa-oriented, modern rock music performance theater with political demands”) along with guitarist Conrad SchrenkSex without Nails bros performed the first full Musical adaptation of Zappa’s Joe’s Garage on the tenth anniversary of the artist’s death in 2003.

S.W.N.B.’s Joe’s Garage MuZZical performance at Zappanale 14 (July 26th, 2003) performing “Stick it Out”:

S.W.N.B. also performed at Zappanale 18 (August 4th, 2007) as a rock band with Napoleon Murphy Brock on guest vocals. In the following clips they perform “Penguin In Bondage”, “Pygmy Twylyte” and “Yellow Snow Suite”:



Sex without Nails bros bandmembers:

Margit Schoberleitner – Percussion, marimba
Hannes Kerschner – Keyboards
Jil Y Creek – Guitar
Werner Laher – Bass
Sigi Meier – Drums
Angie Reisinger – Vocals
Anzo Morawitz – Vocals
Peter Dürr – Vocals
Conrad Schrenk – Guitar
Wickerl Adam – Vocals, MC

Sex without Nails bros will be performing again on the Zappanale 20 Main Stage.

Sex without Nails bros

Sex without Nails bros

Ed Palermo CD Release Party @ Iridium

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This just in via email from Ed Palermo, himself, regarding the release of his new Zappa CD, “Eddy Loves Frank” from Cuneiform Records:

As most of you know, this is my third tribute album in dedication to the music of Frank Zappa. I’m extremely proud of it and consider it to be my best one yet.

You can buy it directly from me or the CD label, Cuneiform. Cuneiform charges $15 plus shipping. I charge $20 but that includes shipping, so it’s pretty even.

Just send a check made out to ED PALERMO to

Ed Palermo
27 Westwood Drive North
West Orange, NJ 07052

The CD release party is all set for Wednesday, June 3 at NYC’s Iridium night club. I have a killer show planned, so I hope you can make it. We don’t play out that much, so it’s a rare opportunity to see this band in action.

Thanks, everybody, for all your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

ed

If you are in New York City on June 3rd, be sure to catch the release of Ed Palermo’s third Zappa CD, and review this “one-of-a-kind” Big Band Zappa experience.

Listen to Ed and band on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Zappanale (Then & Now) — PGSOR All Stars feat. Denny Walley

Denny Walley, slide guitar player and childhood friend of Bobby and Frank Zappa, Don Van Vliet, and Jim Sherwood (Motorhead) was asked to tour with The Paul Green School of Rock (PGSOR) All Stars. As he says in the clip above, “I jumped at it [the chance].” Walley also talks about his musical origins, influences and jamming with the PGSOR All Stars. Of particular interest is a statement he makes at the 4:27 point in the video:

If it hadn’t of been for other people, bands, and people that loved his [Zappa’s] music, playing it, nobody would know who he is anymore.

The PGSOR All Stars is a group of the best students from the entirety of the program:

The program consists of year-round, weekly individual lessons as well as full band rehearsals for seasonal shows. Instructors are encouraged to stress the fundamentals of both popular music and music theory in their teaching. Instruction is available in electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, keyboards, and vocals. Students are encouraged to play other instruments as well with instruction from other sources. Students learn songs from popular bands/artists like Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, 80’s hair metal, punk, and grunge. Those songs are eventually played at themed live shows held throughout the year. There are occasional workshops featuring accomplished musicians, and include discussions about past experiences, songwriting, live performance and fame in general. To be admitted, students generally must be between the ages of 7 and 18. No musical training or experience is necessary to attend the school.

They go on tour to play such venues as BB Kings in Times Square, The Knitting Factory in LA and NYC, The Roxy and Crash Mansion in LA, Stubbs in Austin, Hard Rock Cafes, House of Blues, and many of the biggest festivals in the country such as Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. They tour and play with famous musicians from rock’s past and present, including Jon Anderson, Peter Frampton, Alice Cooper, Adrian Belew, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Stewart Copeland, Ike Willis, and Ann Wilson. The All-Stars consist of five nationally touring groups.

Denny Walley appeared as a special guest with the PGSOR All Stars at Zappanale 19 on August 15th, 2008 in Bad Doberan, Germany presenting a special Zappa/Beefheart program. In the following clips they perform “Dog Breath/Uncle Meat”, “One Shot Deal” and “Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man”:



The Paul Green School of Rock All Stars will return to the Zappanale 20 Main Stage on Saturday, August 15th, 2009. Denny Walley will appear with the Mats & Morgan Band on Sunday, August 16th.

Read an interview of Denny Walley conducted by Idiot Bastard at Zappanale 19. Click here.

Mats & Morgan Play Beefheart

In keeping with the general Beefheartian theme of recent posts, I recently found this video of the Mats/Morgan Band performing Captain Beefheart’s “Lick My Decals Off, Baby”.

Line Up:

Freddie Wadling – lead vocals
Morgan Ågren – drums
Denny Walley – guitar, vocals
Jimmy Ågren – guitar
Rolf Hedquist – bass
Mats Öberg – keyboards, harmonica, vocals

This is largely the same line-up that appears on Denny Walley’s album, Spare Parts (a blues album with backing by the Mats/Morgan band).

Click here for more information on the Mats/Morgan Band’s new CD and DVD release from Cuneiform Records, “Heat Beats Live/Tourbook 1991-2007“.

Beefheart Night at the Knitting Factory

Back on April 9th, 2008, Gary Lucas curated “Beefheart Night at the Knit“, a salute to the Music, Poetry and Art of Don Van Vliet, a/k/a Captain Beefheart.

Click here to view highlights of that night and backstage interviews with the evening’s many and various participants (thanks to Culture Clash).

Don Van Vliet might have been absent in body on this particular evening, yet his presence, and his affect on popular culture, art, and music is unquestionably undeniable.