What do you think about the late Frank Zappa’s criticism of your work as simply “operating a guitar like a machine gun?” Do you think that Zappa was right when he said that the whole trend in the music business was that faster is better?
I think he was just jealous! I toured with Frank, and while I’ve always enjoyed his recordings, on tour he would take very, very long guitar solos, and he just didn’t have what it takes to play long guitar solos. That said, he has every right to his opinions, and in earlier days, I’m sure he had some validity in his criticisms of my playing.
I met John. I think he’s a great guitar player and I think that he’s probably done a lot to educate American audiences to some aspects of Eastern music that they wouldn’t have come into contact with before. We did a tour with McLaughlin and old Mahavishnu, we did 11 concerts with them.
update: here’s the original quote FZ said in an interview called “One Size Fits All” (1977):
Steve Rosen: What about the contemporary heavies, like Jeff Beck or John McLaughlin? Frank Zappa: I like Jeff, yeah. I’ve listened to “Wired” [Epic], and there are a couple of solos on there that I like. And I like some of his stuff on “Rough and Ready” [Epic]. A person woud be a moron not to appreciate McLaughlin’s technique. The guy has certainly found out how to operate a guitar as if it were a machine gun. But I’m not always enthusiastic about the lines I hear or the ways in which they’re used. I don’t think you can fault him, though, for the amount of time and effort it must have taken to play an instrument that fast. I think anybody who can play that fast is just wonderful. And I’m sure 90% of teenage America would agree, since the whole trend in the business has been “faster is better.”
This is yet another great release from the Zappa family trust. Excellent material (yes, one of my favorite line ups), great sound, not as “close” as Frank used to make them, but the sound is clear and the balance between the intruments and voices is very good. In some selections the vocals are a little too low though.
The sound is compressed BUT it’s not overdone, like on the Buffalo album. It’s more like the Philly ’76 album.
To celebrate the 70th birthday of Frank Zappa, Hunchentoot presents a group show featuring the work of Pit Noack, Stefan Roigk, Heidrun Schramm, Oliver Schmidt and Nicolas Wiese. All of whom are working with sound installation. Like Zappa they use eclectic assemblage and deconstruction to develop an open form of individual references to Zappa and his multifarious work. Using comic, collage, diapositive projectors and sounds the artists create a joint collage of five individual positions. In the tradition of Frank Zappa they create a situation, in which bicycle sounds, grotesque laughter, guitar solos, notation and utopian ideas combine to an oeuvre between composition and improvisation.
All this happens in Berlin (I love it, I love it!) this december at Galerie Hunchentoot (as I see it this program is not yet on their homepage). Otherwise it opens right before FZ’s birthday:
Group Show 04.12.2010 – 12.02.2011
Opening 03.12.2010 19 – 22 Uhr
Tim Smith composer, principal songwriter, lead singer and guitarist of Cardiacs and other seminal music projects suffered a severe stroke in 2008. Two years on he continues to be treated in hospital.
A tribute album entitled Leader Of The Starry Skies – A Tribute To Tim Smith is slated for release in December:
All profits from this album will go towards a fund to help get Tim home. The artists appearing have generously given their time and creativity freely. This is a testament to the love we all have for Tim. Your pre-order will entitle you to download a free, exclusive album of Tim’s songs covered by friends and family.
If you enjoy the music of Cardiacs and wish to support a worthy cause, pre-order today, why don’t you.
September 19, 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of Zappa’s testimony on Capitol Hill and at Annapolis against the censorship of free expression by artists. In commemoration of this event, Zappa Records is preparing to release ‘Congress Shall Make No Law,’ a CD containing Frank Zappa’s testimony.
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