Archive for March, 2010

Tunes, Treats & Torrents – The Muffin Men

Anyone who has followed my posts knows that I’m a avid downloader of torrents from Zappateers (and a fantastic bunch of freaks they are – I tip my hat to them for all the excellent Zappa torrents I’ve downloaded through the years). That said, I am also an avid collector of many exceptional Zappa tribute bands (far too numerous to name here, though). Periodically, though, I come across a particular group of musicians that I feel I just have to share. For that purpose, I’ve begun an irregular series entitled, “Tunes, Treats & Torrents” to highlight these groups and their exceptional covers of Zappa compositions.

The first of those bands in this series are The Muffin Men, an incredible group of musicians from Liverpool, UK. When I recently downloaded a torrent of an excerpt of their Kirchheim Tech, Germany show on April 24th, 1993 featuring guests Don Preston, Bunk Gardner, and Jimmy Carl Black I knew I had to share it (especially since live recordings of Bunk Gardner are so incredibly rare anyway). Give these covers a listen and decide what you think:

King Kong – The Muffin Men (Kirchheim Teck, Germany, 24 Apr 1993)
[audio:20100331_01 King Kong.mp3]

Don Whanks It Out – The Muffin Men (Kirchheim Teck, Germany, 24 Apr 1993)
[audio:20100331_02 Don Whanks It Out.mp3]

Son of Mr Green Genes – The Muffin Men (Kirchheim Teck, Germany, 24 Apr 1993)
[audio:20100331_03 Son Of Mr Green Genes.mp3]

Willie the Pimp – The Muffin Men (Kirchheim Teck, Germany, 24 Apr 1993)
[audio:20100331_04 Willie The Pimp.mp3]

The Muffin Men (circa Spring/Summer 1993):

Roddie Gilliard: guitar, vocals
Ian Jump: stunt guitar
Andy Jacobson: keyboard
Mike Kidson: sax, toys, vocals
Andy Frizell: bass, vocals
Steve Belger: drums

Download torrent from Zappateers here.

P.S. Denny Walley has confirmed he is joining The Muffin Men for their performance at Zappanale in August, 2010.

Varèse At The Southbank

Our pal MagicFingers writes:

Any of you KUR afficionados who happen to be in the London area over the weekend of April 16-18 might be in for a bit of a treat. There’s something rather special happening down at the Southbank.

He continues:

The awful irony being that it also happens to be Mrs MF’s birthday that weekend, so on the Friday night, rather than Deserts for wind, piano, percussion and tape, I am destined for an evening of Priscilla Queen of the bloody Desert. Life’s an ironic bitch. Still, I shall be there on the Sunday, so mustn’t grumble…


Revised Music for Marimba and Orchestra

From Simon Boyar:

We didn’t get the whole thing and its kind of wobbly but here is about 2/3 of The World Premiere (2/20/10) of Frank Zappa’s Revised Music for Marimba and Orchestra conducted by Jonathan Haas with The NYU Zappa Pickup Orchestra.

Yellow Shark Rehearsal – September 16, 1992

Although in obvious pain and discomfort (you can hear it in his voice) – in this five part, never broadcasted rehearsal footage, one can easily see the tenacity with which Frank Zappa approached all of his musical endeavours, and the sheer enjoyment he’s having directing the Ensemble Modern the day before the opening night of the Yellow Shark tour, rehearsing such pieces as “Food Gathering In Post-Industrial America, 1992”, “G-Spot Tornado”, and “Welcome to the United States” at Alte Oper, Frankfurt, Germany, on September 16th, 1992 (By the way, the dancer in Part 4 is Louise Lecavalier, a well known Canadian dancer from Montreal, best known for her work with La La La Human Steps).


Cucamonga Era Recordings Re-released

This just in, by way of Andrew:

Crossfire Publications is making the first six of 32 download-only albums taken from Paul Buff’s recordings made at Pal Studios and Original Sound Studios available at and iTunes (others companies will also get these albums soon).

Here are details of the first batch as provided by Greg Russo, who says: “It took more than three years of work to restore and master more than 400 recordings, but we’re almost there.”

RIP Herb Cohen

Herb Cohen, the tough, litigious manager and label operator who introduced such notables as the Mothers of Invention and Tom Waits during the ’60s and ’70s, died Tuesday of unknown causes in Napa, Calif.

He was 77.

The Don and Bunk Show

This just in via Andre Cholmondeley:

The Don and Bunk Show…on tour!!

THIS SUNDAY – for those of you in the Wilmington DE, Philly, Baltimore area — Don’t miss an amazing and rare show with the two and only DON PRESTON & BUNK GARDNER from the Mothers Of Invention…

These guys have been playing jazz, rock, and experimental music for around 50 years! They know what they are doing!! Do not try this at home — instead – catch their shows….. I’ve had the pleasure of touring and recording with these gentlemen, and there is…simply nothing like it.

The tour opens at SCHOOL OF ROCK in Wilmington DE, General Admission only $10.

Other shows…
The Don & Bunk Show East Coast Tour
Mar 21 The Garage-Willmington, MD
Mar 24 Bearsville theater Woodstock NY
Mar 25 Rongovian Trumansburg, NY
Mar 26 The Magic Room Boston, MA
Mar 27, Toads Place New Haven, CT
Mar 31, The Hi Hat Providence, RI
Apr 1, Sullivan Hall, NYC



The Senate Committee Hearing Video

Have you ever wanted to watch the entire testimony of Frank Zappa, John Denver and others on the PMRC hearings? Because since C-SPAN has opened its massive 160,000 hours archive of videos dating back to 1985, now you can. Say goodbye to the next five hours of your life:

The Voice Of Cheese Revisited

Those of you who’ve been hanging around here long enough will remember KUR’s The Voice Of Cheese project. It ran for a couple of months back in 2007, featured some great music created by you and generally got wonderful feedback. Michael Pabst, one of the participants, dropped me a note yesterday saying his band, The Research Institute, now has its own official homepage — do check it out!

Now then… This got me thinking about putting together a “round two” of sorts, where the same principles would apply: your music featured here, up for scrutiny to KUR’s 1000-or-so daily visitors. As with the first VoC, there would be no restriction on genre or recording quality. With this post I’m just testing the waters to see if there would be enough (if any) interest from you – yes you! – to send in tracks.

All in favor: post a comment or drop us an email. Let’s see if we can get this show on the road! In the mean time, why not browse 2007’s Voice Of Cheese edition to get your creative juices flowing. 🙂

Chat Roulette Piano Improv

Ah, the wonders of Chatroulette: advertised as “instant video-chat” with complete strangers, in my experience it’s mostly a place where young desperate men log on to, erh, yank their crank for all the world to see. That and loads of badly lit, pasty white fat guys with watery eyes wearing day-old underwear. Some fun to be had there too though:

(via Marco)