Imaginary Releases Continued

In Relix, with the eternal question, again: “So what’s in the vault and when will you let it out?”

9 Responses to “Imaginary Releases Continued”

  1. Birdman! says:

    Unusually straightforward info from GZ. I’ll try to pick up this mag tomorrow. Has anyone here read the full interview?

  2. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    For posterity’s sake (there’s no permanent link to that interview), I’m copy/pasting it here:
    Gail Zappa: There was a ten-year holdback that prevented me from getting into a distribution deal with any recording involving a touring band. Which means we can start releasing a lot of stuff we were unable to release. Until now I could only release it in cooperation with Ryko—but that word does not apply to my relationship with them. We could always put out anything we wanted through mail order, but that’s the land of diminishing returns no matter what you do. There are all sorts of considerations the person who would like to consume Frank’s unreleased music really doesn’t appreciate. Some do, don’t get me wrong. But it’s expensive to maintain the technology needed to reconstitute what’s in the vault, and we had to put the studio back together.
    So what’s in the vault and when will you let it out?
    Gail: We’d never, ever done an inventory of the vault. That inventory existed in Frank’s head, and it went with him. You could say there’s X number of boxes in the vault, but there’s no way you can represent what the hell’s in them. You can make a cursory evaluation by going through and looking at what kinds of tapes there are. But there’s also a lot of visual stuff that had nothing to do with the Ryko deal. And even if you see a box that says, “This contains X,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that X is in there, or X is complete or X is retrievable from the format it lives in or that we had any way to transfer it at the time. So we’ve rebuilt the ancient technology and we have our little convection oven…
    Joe Travers: It’s not little.
    Gail: …And the prescribed baking formula. How many muffins have you produced, Joe?
    Joe: Forty or more reels over the past couple of years. From 1968 to ‘75, anything recorded on Scotch tape will play; anything on Ampex won’t and needs to be baked.
    Gail: Apart from boxes labeled with a recording or event, you also have all these boxes filled with “build” reels, where Frank’s transferred stuff to make into something else. Or you’ll find a box that just has a group of things in it, stuff stacked together that was mixed at a particular time. Every variation you can think of, we find. Question is, how do we put them together and respect Frank’s intentions?

  3. xorg says:

    Stop moaning and get on with it!

  4. Bob Again says:

    blank, empty space…
    …well, yes, it’s somewhat straight-forward…
    …however, we’ve heard this all before, in some form or another, haven’t we?
    This looks like another slow dribble in the info stream. How many magazines can they sell with this crap? I’m with xorg – the expression, “shit or get off the pot (stage?)”, seems to apply.

  5. Bob Again says:

    Who the fuck is Joe Travers?

  6. Balint says:

    Maybe we should collect the promises this far: “5-6 releases a year”, “Releasing Trance Fusion”, “Roxy DVD”, “hundreds of possible releases in the vault”…. etc.

  7. I promise not to come in your mouth says:

    A sensitive instrumental ballad for late-nite easy listening.

  8. Keith Veelee says:

    For those who ask, Joe Travers is the vaultmeister who helps go through all the tapes, restores them onto digital format and/or mixes them in digital format for release. That way none of the Zappa’s even have to listen to it!

  9. Pulpio says:

    The new issue of the American magazine Relix you
    contains a nifty 22-page tribute to the life, music, and afterlife of Frank Zappa. I guest edited the section, which contains interviews with Gail and Dweezil Zappa,
    we-was-there recollections by Steve Vai and Mike Keneally, Zappa 101 and 102 (and 201) introductions to his music, and apprecations by many of your favorite yamband stars — not to mention Weird Al Yankovic and Yoko Ono.
    Please check it out. I truly believe you’ll find it worth the effort.