Archive for January, 2011

ZAPPATiKA! – Strictly Frankly

Everyone knows I’m always game for fresh new covers of Frank Zappa music, no matter the source, so when Zap Mcinnes of ZAPPATiKA! sent KUR an edited mix (ready for streaming) as a sort of belated Xmas present of their December 18th, 2010 performance at the QBUS Concert Hall, in Leiden, Holland, The Netherlands, where they headlined an event called The Ultimate Rock Party – along with Okham’s Razor who tackled the Stones catalog and Bald As Love, a no-hair Hendrix tribute act – performing 100% Zappa, I was thrilled to hear it.
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Flo & Eddie interviewing FZ

About the ’88 tour, about 200 Motels, about remixing CDs… you’ll love it.

Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #9

As I chose today’s Sunday Big Note Listening Session, I was struck at how, over time, the details of many of these concerts and broadcasts are either lost or omitted by successive trader, poster, torrenter. Venue. Date. Location. Line-up. Important details. Indeed, most of the live music I have collected throughout the years has lacked some, if not all, of these details. Almost as important a hunt than that of the music, itself, are the details behind each concert. So was the hunt for the details behind today’s Sunday Big Note.
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Freak Out In Cucamonga: An Update, Long Overdue

Those of you who’ve been reading this weblog for more than just a couple of years may remember our coverage of Adam Fiorenza’s documentary on FZ’s Cucamonga days, aptly titled “Freak Out In Cucamonga”, featuring interviews with the likes of Paul Buff (PAL Studios), Dick Barber, Jim “Motorhead” Sherwood, Don Preston, Roy Estrada, and Weird Al Yancovic. Although at the time, seven years ago no less, this project had gained traction and interest, it sort of withered away and went into hibernation. Here’s the initial trailer, with artwork from Sharleena and me:

Having [re]discovered this rather sublime trailer on my hard disk drive just a week ago, I had to email Adam to find out if the project is still en route in some way, making its way to an official release.

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Mo’s Vacation

Funny how some people who adore FZ’s “regular” music tend to shy away from his “more serious”, “classical instrumental” music. They tend to see it as impenetrable, obscure, entirely inscrutable — in short, way over their heads.

Not so.

The key, I think, is to listen to Zappa’s instrumental tunes as if they were cinematic accompaniments to one’s very own imaginary movie. They are visceral soundtracks wanting to cater to the stories that are in your very own mind.

Case in point: this rare, unreleased version of Mo’s Vacation below. I’ll hit play, close my eyes, listen, and make up my very own story – you try it too:

There… Was it as good for you as it was for me?

What was your story?

Ed Palermo: We’re Only In It For The Music

It’s got to be love, hasn’t it? Why else would someone bother to transcribe 200 of Frank Zappa’s tunes? For what other reason would someone dedicate himself for over 15 years to presenting his arrangements of Zappa’s music in the setting of a 17-piece jazz big band, and at a loss to boot?

A fantastic interview with the fantastic Ed Palermo – about music, about transcriptions, about his first time he saw the Mothers, about rehearsals, about his goals… (have you heard his latest album, Eddy Loves Frank?)

Once all the notes are down the way Frank Zappa’s band played them, then I think to myself: “Right, what do I want to do with this?” I wanted to use all the parts that Frank wrote but to juggle them around, to make it more interesting for me but mainly so that the hardcore Zappa fans can listen to it and be surprised.

Night School, 2009:

Me loves Eddy.

Women Drummers – The Black Page

Once considered a boy’s only club, more and more women are taking up the drums as an instrument of choice – such as Lucy Landymore* (above) who performs Frank Zappa’s “The Black Page Drum Solo”, as well as Heather Thomas (below) who also performs “The Black Page #1” with the Central Washington University Percussion Ensemble. It bodes very well for equality of the sexes behind the drums.
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Francesco Zappa – His First Homepage In Over 200 Years

Indeed, Francesco Zappa really lived and wrote much more music beyond that rearranged in the posthumous record.

Yes of course – and finally he has a website now (in italian and english). Looking pretty nice, and the content is quite all right, too. And of course it is “dedicated to Frank Zappa, who discovered Francesco Zappa”. Great work!

Some extras:

KUR’s Vinnie Colaiuta Primer Mix

Back on November 26th, 2010, I suggested the idea of a Vinnie Colaiuta inspired mixtape. Little did I know at that time the actual extent of Colaiuta’s extensive recordings. Although he only played with Zappa from Spring 1978 to Fall 1980 as his principal drummer for studio and live performances, Colaiuta played on some of Zappa’s most successful albums up to that time – Joe’s Garage, Tinseltown Rebellion, and Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar (The Series). After leaving Zappa , Colaiuta went on to play for Sting, Joni Mitchell, and has been a much sought after studio session musician in between his own individual and collaborative projects with Jeff Beck, Karizma, Jing Chi, The Royal Dan, and the Five Peace Band to just name some of the projects with which he’s been involved.
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Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #8

For as long as I have been a Zappa/Mother‘s freak – going four decades strong and showing no evidence of slowing down – almost every fan of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention I’ve encountered has also been a fan of Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull. Odd, since in the 1970s Frank Zappa, himself, stated in the press that he didn’t care for the music of Jethro Tull. In a Montreal Mirror interview, Ian Anderson was asked about this:
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