Archive for November, 2009

Captain Beefheart – Hoodoo Hoedown


For as long as I can remember, I’ve been just as big a Captain Beefheart fan as a Mothers of Invention fan. True, his is not exactly the music for your everyday, run-of-the-mill music listener who relies on a steady diet of Top 40. Still, the very same can be said about much of the Mothers music. That’s exactly what drew me to Beefheart’s music – the very same eclectic playfulness and creative adventure seldom found elsewhere. That Beefheart (as well as the many musicians who made up the various incarnations of The Magic Band) was so overlooked for so long is, indeed, criminal. As the tracks in this mixtape certain attest, Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band were far, far ahead of their time.

Genius? Egoist? Madman?

Listen and decide for yourself.

Click here to listen to the mixtape, “Captain Beefheart – Hoodoo Hoedown

Update: Belated thanks and apologies to rik walton – the fantastic photographer of the above photograph of Don Van Vliet – for not asking his permission for the use of said image and for not linking to his site. Both of which I have remedied. Fellow KUR-Meisters, go forth and check out rik’s wonderful photographic images at his website here.

Knick Knacks

Some links, sent in by some kind readers:

The Radio Is Broken – Rehearsals, UMRK, 1980

A unique glimpse into Zappa‘s creative process as Frank Zappa and members of his Rockin’ Teenage Combo rehearse “The Radio Is Broken” from ‘The Man From Utopia’ on September 27th, 1980 at the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen.

The Sensitive Female Chord Progression

You’ve heard variations of The Carlos Santana Secret Chord Progression of course, but did you know about The Sensitive Female Chord Progression?

Here’s an easy way to see if a song uses the Sensitive Female Chord Progression: Just sing Joan Osborne’s lyrics: ‘What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us?’ over the suspect four chords.

That’s right, and Boston Globe columnist Marc Hirsh, quoted above, has an entire blog devoted to the SFCP, including an ever growing list of songs that use this particular chord progression, by artists as diverse as The Doors, Alice Cooper, Britney Spears, Toto and Guns ‘n Roses.

So what’s the secret of the SFCP? Jack Perricone, chair of Berklee College’s songwriting department, says:

The mixture of chords gives the progression emotional heft. It starts on a sense of maybe disquiet. In a sense, it’s three-quarters major and one-quarter, but a very important quarter, being minor. And I think that has to do with credibility, what people experience in life… I mean, that’s not a bad mixture, one-quarter sadness or darkness and three-quarters light.

How about Zappa? I can’t think of an FZ tune that goes Am-F-C-G right this very minute, but I’m sure you will.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have tickets to book for next year’s Lilith Fair!

Billy the Mountain, Martyrs’ 2009

Just prior to an unauthorized performance of “Joe’s Garage” at Martyrs’ in Chicago on July 27th, 2009, The Chicago Zappa Collective performed an exceptional version of “Billy the Mountain” as an opening set:

Billy the Mountain – The Chicago Zappa Collective, Martyrs’

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The Chicago Zappa Collective:

Colby Beserra, Matt Reed, and Ben Wilson – vocals
Chris Siebold and Mike Pinto – guitars
Paul Mutzbaugh – keyboards
Chris Clemente – bass
Rick Vitek – drums

The Beatles Never Broke Up…

Ha! Picture this:

On Sept. 9, 2009 I experienced something that I still am having trouble believing happened to me. I came into the possession of a cassette tape containing a Beatles album that was never released. I dont expect you to believe what happened to me, I sure wouldn’t, but thats why I grabbed the tape as proof that my experience was real.

The Beatles never broke up!

Zappa Symphonies, Crowning Glory

The New Dutch Academy’s new Super Audio CD “Zappa Symphonies, Crowning Glory” (PentaTone) is available in The Netherlands from October 2009. (…)

With world premiere recordings of symphonies by Francesco Zappa, Graaf, Stamitz and Schwindl, the disc is the first to document the rich symphonic tradition of the 18th century Court of Orange in The Hague.

Hah! Hit it, Francesco!
CD from the New Dutch Academy, with sound samples.

Dick Barber Interview, 1990


Dick Barber was the Mothers‘ road manager in the late 60’s and early 70’s. He also played with great emotion the role of the industrial strength Gypsy Mutant Vacuum Cleaner that Motorhead falls in love with in “200 Motels“. He is also mentioned as one of the people whose name is checked on the cover of “Freak Out!” under the heading “These People Have Contributed Materially In Many Ways To Make Our Music What It Is. Please Do Not Hold It Against Them“.

Jack Conte & Pomplamoose

Musician and YouTube phenomenon Jack Conte has two rules when it comes to his videos:

  • What you see is what you hear (no lip-syncing for instruments or voice).
  • If you hear it, at some point you see it (no hidden sounds).

… with rather cool results, I dare say:

If you’re slightly familiar with Conte, you’ll know about Pomplamoose, a duo that Conte has produced some tracks for. They stick to the same rules:

This DIY attitude toward recording combined with the instant world wide audience YouTube provides got me thinking: is the next musical revolution taking place on YouTube, right under our noses?

Son of Tweezer Glint – Part 3B Finale

Before I send my own personal, private pair of Zircon Encrusted Tweezers into the shop for some serious re-encrusting — I have one last installment of the Son of Tweezer Glint series, the finale, to present. Among the alternative edits, proto versions, and various live versions are particular titles of note (in my opinion):

“Easy Meat” performed at the Fillmore West in 1970.

“Wonderful Wino” performed at Picnic Piknik, in Uddel, Netherlands in 1970 includes a rare vocal performance by Jeff Simmons.

A rare performance of “Magdalena” in Montreux, Switzerland in 1971 at the Montreux Casino. The Montreux performance (and this mixtape) also includes the complete “Sofa Suite” which includes proto versions of “Sofa #2” and “Stick It Out” in German.

A pre-200 Motels version of “Penis Dimension” performed at the University of Maine at Gorham in 1970. “King Kong Medley” at the same concert, complete with extended solos.

Click here to listen to the mixtape.