Originally conceived as an interruption in the “Son of Tweezer Glint” series for we schmucks who couldn’t make it to Zappanale 20 in Bad Doberan — “Musicians Play FZ – Part I” is the first of a two part series which will run concurrently for the next 4 weeks (my own virtual Zappanale, of sorts, you might say, plucked from my own collection), at which time the “Son of Tweezer Glint” series will resume.
Does humor belong in music? During this particular Z gig (NAMM, Hilton, Anaheim, CA) in late January, 1995, it did.
The Z show was a private party for Peavey, with a special guest appearance by Dick Clark. We all got dressed up in fake costume stage tuxes and wore ZZ Top beards for a planned skit, before playing our only song of the evening: an even newer medley, one that spanned the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. It was fun, it was silly, it was Z in a nutshell.
An exceptional interview with Jimmy Carl Black by Calvin Krogh recorded at the Grand Café in Oslo in January, 2007, as well as a second interview in another hotel in Oslo later that August – and broadcast on Krogh’s new website. Now you can both play the interviews on site or download the edited sections (12 in total).
On the eve of his 69th Birthday (February 1st), having just been diagnosed with leukemia, Black was extremely open and vivid with his reminiscences. For instance, we learn how Black first becomes acquainted with Jon Larsen, his opinion of Zappa cover bands, Zappa Plays Zappa, playing with Captain Beefheart, Zappanale, Mike Keneally, and, of course, the source of his bitterness towards the ZFT:
JCB: And you know, I appreciated that out of Frank. I… to tell you the truth, man, I always loved Frank Zappa, man. Even with the lawsuits and all the fucking trouble and with all the shit and all that, it doesn’t even fucking matter, man. I still tried to get hold of him before he… you know, when I was getting ready to move over to Europe. 1992. I called Motorhead, and I said “Motor, would you do me a favour. Would you call Frank, or call Gail, and find out if it’s at all possible that I can call Frank.” I’d like to… you know, wish him good luck with his problems, and, you know. Basically, what it would have been at that time, was just “Hey, man. It’s been a pleasure knowing you. You taught me a lot.” And he did, man! I learned a lot of different things about music that I didn’t know.
CK: Hm… But what happened?
JCB: No… she said no. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t want to have anything to do with her. And the kids… the kids only know one side of the story. They don’t know our side of the story. You know, they only know her side… what she says. How bad we are. What could we have possibly done to them? We didn’t take any money from them! We didn’t steal anything from them! What could we possibly do to them? Say things? Say the truth? You mean you’re not allowed to say the truth? Fuck you, man! I will say the truth! I’ll tell you what happened! I mean, I’ll tell you the way I saw it happen! The way it happened to me.
These interviews are a rich source of oral history for any Mothers fan, in general, and Jimmy Carl Black in particular. A must listen.
Interviews are also available in transcribed text.
Before you vote comment on the Ben Thomas rendition of Inca Roads with ZPZ, I suggest you watch these two clips: the first has Mike Keneally performing Inca Roads in Swindon, UK, in October of 2008; the second clip is an acoustic cover of Inca Roads (with Brian Beller) performed at Guitar Center, Seattle, Washington, October 7th, 2002.
Keneally cut his teeth as the stunt guitarist in Frank Zappa‘s 1988 band. He went on to record over a dozen of his own albums and appeared on dozens more by Zappa, Steve Vai, Henry Kaiser, and many more. Keneally is the National Music Director of the Paul Green School of Rock, and the Music Director of the new San Diego branch. The All Music Guide considers Keneally “the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era.”
When asked by the San Diego Reader in a recent interview to describe his music, Keneally said:
“It’s essentially rock, with equal emphasis on improvisation and strictly composed things. There’s a lot of guitar in it. I’m mainly known as a guitarist, although keyboard was my first instrument, and I play a lot of different instruments on my recordings. Dynamically, melodically, rhythmically, and lyrically, it’s real diverse and eclectic. I love a lot of different musical styles, and it all gets mashed in.”
Minnemann’s career began in his native Germany and has toured with the likes of Nina Hagen, the Buddy Rich Big Band, Necrophagist, Terry Bozzio, and now, Keneally Minnemann Beller. He is known for his amazing four-way independence, along with his unusual drum kit set up (multiple foot pedals, a gong, electronics and unique cymbal configurations).
Bryan Beller landed a gig with Dweezil and Ahmet Zappa’s tweaked rock project Z, straight out of Berklee College in 1993. Also on board was Mike Keneally, and in a lasting gesture of solidarity with his avant-garde pop/rock/fusion musical vision, Beller left Z when Keneally did in 1996. Twelve years, seven albums, and countless tours later, their musical partnership continues to this day. He still found the time to work and tour with Steve Vai and Wayne Kramer, has released two solo albums, and is a Contributing Editor for Bass Player magazine.
In the first video, (KMB) perform Keneally’s classic instrumental “Cheddar” (Hat, 1992) live at The Baked Potato in Studio City, CA on November 1, 2008. In the second and third videos, KMB perform “Dolphins” and “Bullys” (both from ‘Boil That Dust Speck‘, 1994) live at Channel-25, El Cajon, CA, July 20, 2008.
These are really quite amazing videos. To paraphrase a very famous quote, “Jazz rock fusion isn’t dead, it’s lurking somewhere in California under the name of Keneally Minnemann Beller. To view other KMB videos click here.
As an extra related tidbit of trivia, does anyone recognize the narrator in the following Chris Opperman track, “Ain’t Got No Beef”(Oppy Music Vol.1: Purple, Crayon, 1998):
When one thinks of the ever expanding web of musicians who both directly played with Frank Zappa, then those who have then played with those musicians in turn, it’s not very surprising the enormous effect that FZ had on the musical forms and musicians with which he came into contact. Just check out my own personal sampling of Zappa alumni, along with those who have recorded and performed live with him in my mixtape, “Thursday Mix: Mothers Auxiliary”, to get your own idea.
Perhaps now that Zappanale successfully fought off the ZFT’s ill-conceived litigation, we just might see some of the names in this mixtape perform at the Zappanale in the coming years?
Click here to listen to the mixtape (Be prepared, fellow KUR-meisters, it’s a BIG one).
Note: If anyone feels we are infringing their copyright, contact us and we will remove the item in question.
Our pal Kevin Hoover once again hits the airwaves on Friday with his Zappa infused radio show “Zappa’s Grubby Chamber”:
Apart from the Frank musicks, I have a few other special moments planned, and they mainly consist of non-Frank items that I know in my heart will appeal to Zappa fans. This is Radio Without The Rules, y’know. Besides, what’re they gonna do, fire me?