ZPZ On Conan O’Brien

As you probably know, ZPZ appeared on Conan O’Brien’s show last October 30th, playing Willie The Pimp. Took a while for that video to appear on YouTube, but here it is now:

Smokin!
Hat tip: Ryan McNealy

30 Responses to “ZPZ On Conan O’Brien”

  1. Harmless Ted says:

    Lovely! Is that Ray White on vocals?

  2. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    Yep!

  3. Harry Barris says:

    Nice solo from Dweezil and smoooth Ray vocals– the rest completely anonymous sounding.

  4. Harry Barris says:

    forgot to say, when didn’t they do “I’m The Slime” or even “Camarillo Brillo”… just a basic nofrills reading of “WtP”.

  5. SCOTT says:

    Echidna’s Arf or Dog Meat or some other more challenging piece would have been my preference…but who gives a FUCK what I think.
    I did notice a bump in the audience reaction when ZPZ got mentioned.
    I wonder how the audience will respond when Project/Object plays Late Night with Conan O’Brien? How exciting.

  6. Jamez says:

    “And, on vocals, the world famous… RAY WHITE!!” Yes! Yes! Yes!

  7. la-de-friggin-da says:

    and all that rubbish-talking about other zappa cover bands that “don’t get it right” for this? pleeeeeeeeeeeeeezze… wow, what “accuracy”…
    i’ve been to high school already motherfucker, i can make my own choices, c’mon IKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Another Barry says:

    Ah yes, I didn’t get the see this when it was on. Thanks for bringing it back to my attention.
    I agree it’s not the most accessible song to most listeners. Plus, I really didn’t like the tone Dweezil had. Still, it was nice to see them on there, playing some good music!

  9. urbangraffito says:

    This performance reminds me why I love Frank’s music so much (twenty days until I see them live).

  10. jane23 says:

    here’s the problem
    uh-oh, here we go:
    zappa was always about pushing music to the limit
    moreover, pushing his own music to its illogical extreme
    i love that dweezil is out there performing his dads music
    i love it
    no doubt when frank would have been too old and feeble to carry on, the dweez would have been the de facto bandleader with special guest appearance by FZ Hizzownself.
    BUT, they could have played something more challenging
    don’t forget when frank was on SNL he played i’m the slime which was a direct critique of the medium in which he was being featured.
    zappa was always about taking chances, whether it workd or not he put himself on the line and flatly stated: I tried, if it sucked, so what?
    at least I made the effort.
    So, although i see nothing innovative in what Son of Frank is doing, at least he tried.

  11. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    jane23 Says:
    November 4th, 2007 at 5:07 am
    BUT, they could have played something more challenging
    don’t forget when frank was on SNL he played i’m the slime which was a direct critique of the medium in which he was being featured.
    zappa was always about taking chances

    Let us not forget that when FZ was on SNL in the 70s he had a week of rehearsals to get things right. How much time did Dweezil and ZPZ have to prepare for Conan? If you ask me (and I think you are) it’s an unfair comparison. The 70s are gone. We cannot go back, and we shouldn’t. DZ and ZPZ are the product of an entirely different time.

  12. urbangraffito says:

    By the way, look at Dweezil’s face: does anyone see an imperial? A goatee? Dweezil is not Frank. It’s about the music, not the character created by the media.

  13. HairFarmer says:

    If you’re willing to put up with a couple of commercials you can see a much better quality stream of this on NBC’s website.

  14. Hugh says:

    To attract the next generations of FZ fans, Dweezil picks “Willie the Pimp”. What 15 year old boy wouldn’t dig that? Personally I’d draw the kids in with tasty licks like “Ship Ahoy” and such.
    Halloween night, Dweezil was busting out some “note for note” Frank solo’s that any kid would flip over!

  15. Balint says:

    Just one thought: while I really like and appreciate what Dweezil does, there’s one thing I’d argue with him: I don’t think it to be a good thing to always play the songs note-by-note, to play (almost exclusively) the album versions. Not only because FZ himself NEVER did that, but its totally unneccessary, and gives the show a „memorial” feeling. I think what these tours should represent, is that these tunes ARE alive – and that is what FZ did year after year: made them alive. „I have a diferent band? Okay, I’ll rearrange the whole setlist!” „Do I have a wonderful soloist? Okay, I’ll reorchestrate the stuff to make him/her be in the front.” „Do I have some funny guys around me? Let’s have fun, lets make some jokes of some songs!” „Do I have a stupid idea right now? I will stop or change the whole song RIGHT NOW!”
    The way Dweezil does it makes one feel it to be a kind of a replica thing, and that is no good. I’m not interested in all the words heard in the song Joe’s Garage, I get bored. I’m not interested in the re-reciting the – othervise funny – words after America Drinks and Goes Home. Etc. It should be live, it should be on the spot, it should NOT be replica. I think.
    The funny thing is, that in spite of the above they’re making it good, so I have mixed feeling inside me: the „replica feeling” disturbs me, the fine quality gives me joy.
    One last word: the territories Dweezil makes REAL things are the songs he rearranges. As an example: G-Spot Tornado and Dog-Meat are just fantastic! I cannot overestimate the value of his two arrangements. And I’d be glad to see ZPZ to understand that value, and to understand that they dont have to (they shlouldn’t) be a replica band, they should be more brave, arrangementwise.

  16. urbangraffito says:

    If DZ plays a song “note for note” someone’s unhappy about it. If Joe Travers misses a beat, or doesn’t perform like a drummer of Zappa bands of the past, someone else’s unhappy about. Isn’t anyone ever satisfied? Zappa’s music is being performed live again. Talk about a wet dream come true (I could swim in all this jazz).

  17. Carnelian says:

    i thought this was great. It’s not Fz it’s Dz and he’s not pushing music to the limits like Fz but he IS doing a fucking great job of realising Fz’s MUSIC (and only the music) to a new generation.

  18. Balint says:

    urbangraffito: maybe it’s my fault (wasn’t I clear enough, maybe?), but if that’s the only conclusion you get from my comment, you totally misunderstood me.

  19. jane23 says:

    Dweezil certainly has the right to perform these tunes and keep his dad’s music alive. no one can fault him for that. And, if it brings Zappa music to a whole new audience, fantastic.
    I know a 17 year old kid who will be perfoming G Spot Tornado at a show in 2 weeks. I have no idea what it will sound like but the mere fact that he is motivated to learn how to play this fairly complex piece of music in order to play it in front of an audience is a good thing, a very good thing.
    If you play music, try to include at least one zappa tune in your set.
    How about even if you are in a wedding band try to perform “Love of my Life” and see how it goes over.

  20. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Balint Says:
    November 4th, 2007 at 5:44 pm
    urbangraffito: maybe it’s my fault (wasn’t I clear enough, maybe?), but if that’s the only conclusion you get from my comment, you totally misunderstood me.

    And the point of your comment is? Would you make these same assumptions of, let’s say, Ensemble Modern? Of course you wouldn’t. So why Dweezil and Zappa Plays Zappa? Is it because of the last name?

  21. Balint says:

    Hey, urbangrafitto, I was not clear enough – I think were on the same side! :-)
    So, my point is:
    - The ZPZ band is just great, the best band today playing FZ’s music. That might be the reason I travelled all through Europe (Hungary -> Belgium) to see them live. :-)
    - It is worth speaking about FZ, it is WORTH speaking about ZPZ. The point is not glorifying or hating somebody – the point is: talking and thinking about music.
    - And: one might think good and bad things about FZ, about Gail, about ZPZ – about anything. We are not here to make judgements, only to talk about our thoughts. And yes: we (means also: I) might be wrong sometimes.
    - About ZPZ again: they’re just great, BUT I think there are some things they might do differently (just a thought :-) ). One of these things is NOT to play songs as they are on the albums (Like solos, or spoken words, maybe). Not because of FZ, but because its more fun to make it live, to make new arrangements, etc. BUT: it doesnt mean that this band is bad!! :-)
    - About Ensemble Modern: the same assumptions, thats right!!! That is the reason I do not really like some of their things – and that is the reason I prefer the ZPZ’s version of G-Spot Tornado! By far the best arrangement I’ve ever heard! Ensemble Modern is fine in some arrangements, but (to me, sorry) they are still “serius musicians” playing “from scores”. Yellow Shark is mostly okay (to me), but Gregary Peccary… sorry, I don’t like that one. I can tell it in details sometimes, but that’s another story. :-)
    And again: I’m not talking about “satisfying everybody”, I’m talking about my thoughts – I think that its really great to talk about music.
    What do YOU think? :-)

  22. jane23 says:

    i don’t think
    i know
    anyone who plays one of frank zappa’s musical compositions
    has elevated themselves musically
    and also enlightened everyone else who has heard it.
    zappa is the best.

  23. urbangraffito says:

    Balint Says: What do YOU think?
    Balint, if you go back far enough in these posts about Zappa Plays Zappa you’ll soon discover that I’ve come 180 degrees in my thinking about them (and cover/tribute bands that perform Zappa’s music in general). As an older Zappa freak, I confess I brought a lot of baggage along with me when I first listened to ZPZ and other cover/tribute bands. Everything they did, or tried to do, or failed to do, was initially filtered through a massive preconception of what FZ would’ve done (or had done). Simply put, no one could ever hope to measure up. So I put my love of FZ to one side (along with all my baggage), and began listening to ZPZ et al without any preconceptions beyond my interest in how they would interpret FZ’s work. And there are a lot of interpretations out there. Some good, some not so good, some downright hideous, some absolutely fantastic. It’s all a matter of personal taste. You make many excellent points as well, Balint, the last being the best of all: “I think that its really great to talk about music.”

  24. Hugh says:

    Over the last 4 ZPZ shows I’ve seen, Dweezil has given us a combination of true renditions and interesting new arrangements (I found adding lyrics to “What’s New in Baltimore?” quite amusing). To learn just one of Frank’s tunes takes a multitude of time. To play the shit out of it live in front of Zappa maniacs like us, impossible for most. Over the last 2 tours ZPZ has given us over 60 of Frank’s best tunes. To hear these songs live again and done well, fills a great musical void for me. I do look forward to the evolution of this band. I’m sure when Dweezil starts to feel they have a hold on all those little black notes (if that’s possible) they will spread their wings more creatively. For now, I’m along for the ride. I trust Dweezil behind the wheel of that mother. It’s good to be Zappa fan again! I wonder if Ahmet will ever get involved. That boy is a wild man behind the mike!

  25. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    jane23 Says:
    November 5th, 2007 at 2:40 am
    i don’t think
    i know
    anyone who plays one of frank zappa’s musical compositions
    has elevated themselves musically
    and also enlightened everyone else who has heard it.
    zappa is the best.

    jane23, if i could set what you said to music, i’d dance to it (hell, i’ll dance to it anyway).

  26. Dan DiPaolo says:

    Zappa without taking any chances or playing at the margins of decency? I’m with Jane here: this performance is barely recognizable as the “official” Zappa, as we are endlessly reminded by the ZFT.
    And I have a question, if anyone’s still reading. I’ve seen ZPZ three times, twice with Vai/Bozzio/NMB (Toronto, NYC) and once with Ray (Long Island). And I have to say that I left EARLY from the LI show for the first time in my life, any kind of concert. Does anyone else think the tour lost a lot of interest with the departure Vai, Bozzio and Nap and the addition of Ray and the rather rock-ish repertoire? Are Dweezil’s solos so interesting that we should countenance so many and at such length?
    And please, I don’t want to be accused of whining on this page (again); after the Toronto and New York shows, it is easy to forgive them for not catering to my personal tastes.

  27. Stratoblogster says:

    One of the longest guitar solos on late night talk show history not interrupted by a commercial! Maybe the longest. That shows respect!
    DZ should grow a fu-manchu!
    What do YOU think?

  28. jane23 says:

    we all loved frank
    now imagine how much dweezil loved him
    your dad is the coolest guy in the world
    and he croaks on you
    you can’t talk to him anymore
    you can’t play music together
    you can’t ask his advice
    this is a labor of love for dweezil
    it sounds great
    and he loves doing it
    but what a loss for him when frank died
    and what a loss for the rest of us
    I remember it like it was yesterday
    I called the Zappa Hotline
    there was no message
    Just music
    Watermelon in the easter hay being played over and over
    I knew in an instant what that meant
    frank had died
    i was speechless
    and it makes me sick to even think about it now.

  29. Jamez says:

    Dan DiPaolo Says:
    “Does anyone else think the tour lost a lot of interest with the departure Vai, Bozzio and Nap and the addition of Ray and the rather rock-ish repertoire.”
    What’s wrong with Rock?!..or Ray White even?!

  30. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    Well Dan’s just making an observation, not a judgement of the material/line-up. I tend to agree: if you compare the number of reviews the first ZPZ tour got (over 160 comments on the topic here at KUR), with the second tour (30 something, last time I checked), it does suggest a decline in interest. Partly because of the absence of Vai, Bozzio and Nap yes, but also because the novelty has worn off by now. Much of the excitement around last year’s tour was about whether and how they’d pull off playing FZ’s music. By now we know!