Clue #1

Well I guess by now you’ve all had z.com’s Barfies email. For those who haven’t, here’s the poot: “Coming right up in June (not to be interfered or confused with our schedulement of a petite Wazoo outbreak in July) to your very doorstep is the First in a bold, new, Series created at UMRK by your friendly neighborhood Vaultmeister. This is Clue #1. And this can be in your mailbox soon. It will be completely surrounded by music.” Let’s hear it believers & non-believers!

11 Responses to “Clue #1”

  1. Bob Again says:

    Nice sweater.

    (Is that a real sweater? . . . I mean, is that a Irish sweater or is that a LLBean sweater? Hmmm . . . no foolin’ . . . )

    My experience is when they lay the phoney Frank speak on the thickest, the disappointment and underwhelmment is the greatest. My curmudgeonly .02 euros…

  2. Nigey says:

    The ZFT’s fake Frankspeak reminds me of English translated into Chinese and then into Serbo-Croatian…something definitely gets lost in the process.

  3. SOFA says:

    My what a flurry of activity from the ZFT…
    Here’s a bit of the thanks we “believers” received yesterday, along with the ‘promising’ announcements:
    Original Message

    From: Zappa Preorder Discount
    To: sofa@thebignote.com
    Sent: Monday, June 21, 2004 6:15 PM
    Subject: $4 Discount TERMINATION
    OFFICIAL NOTICE
    Hello,
    We noticed that some of you have not taken advantage of your $4 discount.
    This is to notify you that it will expire 31 October 2004. This is also to advise that the discount cannot be applied to Joe’s Corsage.
    Kisses,
    The Barfies
    BARFKO-SWILL

    As I had no interest in the Halloween DVD, my option of using the $4 credit (that I EARNED from the OZ preorder debacle) seems to be slipping away.
    Unless the cryptic message of a Petite Wazoo in July actually means something…
    I guess I could just buy the Ensemble Modern disk, as I’m sure I would enjoy it, but I’d like some Frank, uh frankly.
    I’m still a believer, but the ZFT makes it kinda hard sometimes.
    SOFA

  4. Nigey says:

    What exactly is the ZFT promising to do in this e-mail? Basically, they’re promoting “Joe’s Corsage”. They claim, somewhat ambiguously, that sometime in July they may be releasing something from the Petit Wazoo era. And they admit they don’t have a release date for the Roxy recordings. None of this is very clearly stated, but that seems to be the gist of the message.

    Here’s the problem, from my standpoint. A lot of people experience a Pavlovian reaction when they hear the terms “Roxy” and “Petit Wazoo”. Up to this point they have probably heard soundboards, audience recordings, and of course the “official” releases from those periods (which in the case of the Petit Wazoo, are represented solely by a couple of studio safeties which appeared on the “Lost Episodes” CD). They’re probably hoping for mind-numbingly good recordings of killer performances, hopefully unedited.

    However, the truth is that these recordings don’t exist in any finalized form. The Roxy sessions, for instance, comprise audio and video that was recorded not only at the Roxy nightclub but also during a week’s worth of shooting at KCET Public Television studios, as well as considerable studio overdubbing. Frank was never satisfied with the overall quality of any of the recordings, which was why he released the “Roxy and Elsewhere” album (with heavy editing and numerous post-production touches) and let it go at that. I suspect the various recordings and videotapes from this period are scattered to the four winds. They may or may not all be somewhere in the vault on Woodrow Wilson Avenue, but even if they were all easily accessible, it would be a major undertaking for Frank, were he still alive, to go over everything on them and assemble a representative audio CD…let alone a DVD with video footage. A third party can’t hope even to find all the bits and pieces, not to mention create a final product which reflects something approaching Frank’s trademark style.

    The Petit Wazoo represents another problem. Certainly live recordings from the period exist, but they vary widely in both recording and performance quality. How can a third party round up every possible recording, listen to them all (many are on badly oxidized tape which will require extensive repair before it can be critically evaluated), and make a final judgment on what material to release and in what form? Again, Frank himself would find that a monumental task. How, then, can someone who wasn’t around back then take it on himself to make these technical and esthetic judgments?

    That is basically the dilemma faced by the ZFT in undertaking any program of “Vault” releases. Such a program first requires the involvement of someone with the technical and artistic background to pull it all together. This individual is simply not Joe Travers. In all fairness, such an individual probably doesn’t exist. However, an effective team could definitely be assembled. But for various reasons, this isn’t a likely scenario.

    The ZFT faces many obstacles in keeping Frank’s music alive. I certainly don’t envy them the job. My cynicism is based on the quality of their previous releases, and my firsthand knowledge of the difficulties of such a project. It would be great if they finally got on track and undertook true conservatorship of the material in the vault, evaluating and releasing it in a systematic manner. This, however, doesn’t strike me as being at all likely under the circumstances.

  5. xorg says:

    Gail and the ZFT must have a load of money. If I ran my business the way they do I’d be broke within a month.

  6. Jeff says:

    Nigey, you’re above post is mistaken in several ways.

    1. “Lost Episodes” does not contain any material from the “Petite Wazoo” band.

    2. THe Roxy sessions do not include material from the “KCET” performance. Rather, “One Size Fits All” contains material from this concert (much of Inca Roads and Florentine Pogen).

    3. What do you know about the recordings that exist of the “Petite Wazoo” band? Surely, you aren’t referring to the audience bootlegs that are available. The ZFT release will be taken from recordings that Zappa took of the shows (good quality recordings I hope). The only chance that the ZFT will use the bootleg recordings is if there are some wholes in the master recording. Also, I believe that in the FAQ section of the zappa.com site, Gail says that Zappa put together 2 CDs of “Petite Wazoo” stuff. Therefore, the person making the decisions on what will be included is Zappa himself.

    4. Also, in my opinion, the ZFT releases have been of a very high quality so far. My only problem is that the Halloween DVD is only 1 DVD-A. I hope the ZFT will release more of this crucial and excellent material in the future.

    5. Finally, I am not at all cynical about the upcoming Roxy DVD. Apparently, the DVD will include the entire 3 shows, unedited as far as length goes. It shouldn’t be too difficult to edit together the film. Let’s just be patient.

  7. Nigey says:

    Hi Jeff…taking your points one at a time:
    1. “The Lost Episodes” includes “RDNZL” and the original (instrumental) version of “Inca Roads”, which were recorded at Whitney Studios in Glendale by the band that is known to FZ fans as the “Petit Wazoo” (not Frank’s term, by the way). This group was formed shortly after the dissolution of the Grand Wazoo in late 1972. Frank recorded a great deal of material with this lineup (Ian and Ruth Underwood, Bruce Fowler, Tom Fowler, George Duke, Jean-Luc Ponty, etc.), both live and in the studio, but was unhappy with much of it. Also, I think he felt the music played by this particular band was not “commercial” enough — he was doing all the lead vocals, and as a result, a lot of the “book” was made up of long instrumentals, which he had doubts about releasing as-is on an album. Ultimately he wound up incorporating some of the “Petit Wazoo” material into the “One Size Fits All” and “Apostrophe'” albums, but almost none of it was released as it was recorded.
    2. I attended the Roxy and KCET tapings and can attest that there is definitely some KCET material intercut into the “Roxy” album tracks. There is also a considerable amount of studio overdubbing (i.e., “Cheepnis”) and instrumental doubling. Frank’s idea was to release a film that incorporated the visuals from KCET with audio from both performances (with some studio cleanup). After struggling for a long time with audio and visual tracks that didn’t sync up, and being generally unhappy with the audio quality, he finally gave up and shelved the project. Personally, I don’t see how someone could edit together a decent program from these disparate sources. The technical problems haven’t gone away, and the sources have only disintegrated over the past 30 years. But maybe if we just believe in miracles…:)

  8. Nigey says:

    P.S. I realize that there was another “Petit Wazoo” — the interim lineup that featured key members of the Grand Wazoo. But this group was in existence for less than three months, in autumn 1972. The band was reformed at the end of the year, and by the beginning of ’73 the transition was more or less complete (basically it had become the band heard on “Over-Nite Sensation” and “Apostrophe'”). I have heard both of these bands referred to as the “Petit(e) Wazoo”. If Frank intended to release a 2 CD set of the first “Petit(e) Wazoo,” it must have been much later…at least I don’t remember him discussing such a project in 1972-3.

  9. Bálint says:

    (just one addition: since the Roxy album was released in september ’74, and the KCETV recordings were in august ’74, it seems to be impossible that the Roxy album has anything from the KCETV show.)

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m quite sure (not positive I guess) that “Petite Wazoo” will be the smaller version of the Grand Wazoo band as opposed to the Ponty band. The FZ shows database lists the “Petite Wazoo” orchestra as the band I am referring to. http://home.swipnet.se/fzshows/72b.html
    Although I would be pleased to receive a release from either of these bands (I love the Ponty band as well), the “Petite Wazoo” release should hopefully include songs like IMAGINARY DISEASES, LITTLE DOTS, ROLLO.
    Also, check out http://www.thebignote.com/archived/bald_headed_johns_vault.php, which includes a bootleg from the Petite Wazoo band.
    I’m not familiar with the Ponty band being called the “Petite Wazoo” band (I’m sure someone has referred to them as such, but not to any great extent).

    Further, Roxy does not include anything from KCET-TV. I have a tape of that show. YOu may be thinking that “Orange County Lumber Truck-More Trouble Every day” is from that show. The KCET-TV show does include performances of those songs but they are different performances. Also, Zappa lists these songs in the Roxy CD as being from Chicago and Pennsylvania.

    I didn’t realize the Roxy movie was meant to be a Roxy/KCET mix. Where did you hear this?

  11. vrnzr says:

    Any more infos on the BBT – Billy Bob Thornton “Clue”? What’s the special link to ZFT ? What’s the tracklist ??
    Thanks.

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