Archive for January, 2008

PERFECT and Corny

Nowadays I happen to meet really nice people. Does it have anything to do with nice music? I don’t know. But the thing is that conductor Tom Trapp was kind enough to answer my few questions about the 100% Zappa project.

Nice text – the keywords are: arranging, first Zappa-experience, WAZOO, rehearsals, imrovisation, Gail Zappa, love of music… Have fun! (Thank You, Mr. Trapp!)

The Continuing Saga Of Franko Zappacio

1. part
Gail Zappa discovers that Isaak is Jane23’s real child’s father. Jane23 asks his husband not to take away Gail Zappa’s position, together wanted it to make jump they. Paul Sempschi obliged to reveal the old secret. His mother just turns up in this moment, that let Dweezil Zappa put his cloak out from the house. Xorg and Jane23 decided that they go abroad again.

“A telenovela is a limited-run television serial melodrama of the type made famous in Latin America.” Oh yes. And this is our cheap version – a story generated totally and exclusively by machines: after I’ve given the names, the thing called Brazilizator made up the story, and after it (“I’m also programmed for conversational English!”) an online translator - voilá! – turned it into “English”. No “human elements” or other ulterior motives added! :-)

Curious? (more…)

Where’s Zappateers?

I’ve had a couple of emails asking me this, and I’d noted their site had gone offline myself sometime yesterday. I’ve no idea what’s happening but a quick domain name lookup says:

Domain Status: Registered And No Website

Perhaps a minor domain name hick-up — we’ll see…

Links For Jan 13th

Petition: Aggressive Action by the ZFT

First, read it:

We the undersigned petition the Zappa Family Trust (ZFT) to cease and desist from making threats of legal action against FZ tribute bands, FZ fan sites, Zappa music festivals and other related activities that are designed first and foremost to honour and promote Frank’s music, despite not being ‘approved’ by the ZFT.
While we applaud the work that the ZFT has done – especially in recent years, with the Zappa Plays Zappa tours and the release of CDs & DVDs such as Buffalo, Wazoo and Baby Snakes – we do not see those threatened by the ZFT as being in any way detrimental to Frank’s legacy. Indeed, while recognising that there truly can be no real substitute, we perceive any attempt to curb such alternative activities will be more likely to have a detrimental impact on the legacy.
We consider that the ZFT would be better targeting those who produce and sell Zappa bootleg recordings and pirate memorabilia – of which there are a numerous examples on the Internet. If the ZFT are to unleash the lawyers, they should be aimed at them and not us – the truly devoted fans.

Next: sign it!

Zappa Alchimiste

affiche_zappa_killo.gif

Something pour nos amis français: the Ensemble de Basse Normandie is on tour during January with a show called The Big Note, Zappa Alchimiste. Because I’m lazy, find all the information at zappa.hu.
Toot your own toot, Balint!! Toooot!!

Zappa University

Every summer for the last seven years, Arthur Barrow has served as a valuable resource in Joseph Klein’s classroom, where Klein immerses UNT students in the world of Frank Zappa — from the music of The Mothers of Invention to the political and social implications of the lyrics.

A nice article in North Texan Online with Barrow’s story (did I mention he’s my favorite bassist?) Some more:
Frank Zappa’s band played for BBC Radio in 2003 on the 10th anniversary of his death:

Frank Zappa Anniversary Session Mar Vista Philharmonic
Albert Wing: tenor sax
Bruce Fowler: trombone
Walt Fowler: trumpet and flugelhorn
Kurt McGettrick: baritone sax, bass clarinet and flute
Tommy Mars: Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes and vocals
Vinnie Colaiuta: drums
Arthur Barrow: bass

Recorded by Bob Stone
Produced and mixed by Arthur Barrow
Recorded at Lotek Studio, Mar Vista, Los Angeles on 7 th November 2003

Gee… ever heard about it, anyone?

Pictures Of You

reading-14-me-oh-dear.jpg

reading-10-evening-at-the-camp-site.jpg

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These photos here were taken by our own very esteemed Magic Fingers on the Reading concert during 1975 (OMG!! WTF!!!8888 There he is…! Awesome!!!) :-)

I’m very fond of this sort of pictures, and given the fact that the core of this website is the fans, and their experience as such, we could have a gallery potraying such an experience. It doesn’t have to be pictures with the *Artist* necessarily, but those who show the general athmosphere of the concerts you’ve ever attended… This could be a new feature updated periodically and with time it could be interesting to see the results.
So, if you like the idea, I’d like to ask you for your old/recent pictures, with or without you or the artist of the concerts you attended. Doesn’t have to be related with The Man himself, this is about you as A FAN. And, also, memorabilia, signatures anything that you think might be interesting. Got the Valley Girl colouring book? A lighter or a pin? An old ticket? Send me your pictures: sharleena@gmail.com, why dontcha?

“Thank you very much for coming to the concert. Hope you liked it. Goodnight!”

On Being A Zappa Completist

So you’ve bought the entire “official” catalogue (and in the case of some of us more silver-tinged freaks, more than once, and in many different formats: vinyl, cassette, compact disc), what do you do now? Just sit back and listen and leave it at that? Or do go on to collect every different variation and remix of those albums available to the rabid Zappaphile, comparing each and every CD release to its vinyl era counterpart? Do you collect every available bootleg and field recording (a much easier task now with the advent of the internet than during the era of “tape trading” and snail mail – those Zappa completists are a very tenacious bunch, indeed). Where does one draw the line? Is there a line? At what point did this simple enjoyable pastime become an obsession of epic proportions? When did this freak I see in the mirror suddenly become a completist? Tell me, Doctor Barry, is there any hope for me?

Crunching Numbers

Yesterday was let’s mess with WordPress plugins and see if they stick day at Barry Towers.

As you may have noticed, it’s now possible to easily quote someone else’s comment when writing a comment yourself (click the aptly dubbed “Click to quote this comment” link next to every reply and watch how magic unfolds!).

At long last: a proper contact form where you may, you know, contact us!

Over at the FZ discography section, there’s now a “Highest Rated Albums” feature. Here’s how the collective beehive mind (that would be you) have been going about rating so far:

  1. One Size Fits All (9.76 out of 10)
  2. Roxy & Elsewhere (9.45 out of 10)
  3. The Grand Wazoo (9.22 out of 10)
  4. You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol 2 (9.13 out of 10)
  5. Apostrophe (’)/ Over-Nite Sensation (DVD) (9 out of 10)
  6. Sheik Yerbouti (8.91 out of 10)
  7. We’re Only In It For The Money (8.8 out of 10)
  8. Läther (8.75 out of 10)
  9. Zappa In New York (8.73 out of 10)
  10. The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life (8.73 out of 10)

I’d say #1 and #2 are obvious. Interestingly though:

  • The Grand Wazoo reaches #3
  • There’s an YCDTOSA in the top ten, at #4 no less
  • No Freak Out!, no Hot Rats, no Apostrophe/Over-Nite Sensation, no Waka/Jawaka and no Joe’s Garage
  • The Apostrophe/Over-Nite Sensation DVD is apparently more entertaining than the records themselves!

More number crunching? Here you go:

  • Total Users Voted: 1,923
  • Total Average: 7.03

“Good student, needs to put in more effort” :)

Hit Me Baby One More Time

Terry Bozzio Clinic, December 15th 2007:

I really like it – and enjoyed his solo on the Z*Z DVD, too. I like his dry sound, his rich, sensitive touch. See him also from 1988.

Uri Balashov On The Making Of The Cover of Civilization, Phaze III

Nice interview with the artist – thanks to Vladimir Sovetov.

Well, Frank said that it’s very special record in his life, the very last. He said that his disease is incurable. In fact I know that he is seriously ill, but really hoped that US medicine can cope with this type of cancer. But unfortunately it hadn’t worked in Frank case. So he felt it and would like to see some sort of grave mound as a basic image on the cover. I thought it over and decided that I may try to put some soothing kind variation of this theme. I mean, that may be subconsciously some therapeutic role was also assigned to me by this job. That’s why I decided to make some sort of cheer up, you know, the reminder, very obvious for anyone with some mystical experience, that even after a physical death there are a lot of adventures ahead for your soul, and the symbol of it is Egyptians.

And it continues:

Yes, it was modeled after frescoes in Egyptian pyramids with scenes of pharao family having some royal fun like, you know, Nile’s alligators hunt. Everyone here have microphones and electric wires are everywhere, and everybody listen how and where it sounds. The wires winded in loops and coils which are an essential part of the Egyptian system of symbols and should remined about eternity and infinity. Zappa himself is a pharao and like in a mirror, here and there at once, passing his endless wire from one universe to another, the wire on which everything is suspended…

Gee, it’s nice. I did not know this story. I wish I had it as a good quality, big poster.

By the way: one of these days I was just thinking about the graphic works on the albums (of You-Know-Who). In CD-size these are not very good – wouldn’t it be a great idea to make a big picture-book with all the (best) covers? (Ever seen the graphic works in the vinyl version of Joe’s Garage???? Unbelieveable!!!)

Cease & Desist: YouTube Edition

This just in via The Idiot Bastard: guy posts little clips taken at a live ZPZ show on YouTube, receives The ZFT Treatment ™ we’ve all come to know so well:

(…) come on, my vids of the show were far from professional and none of them were even full songs… I was just excited to share another great Zappa experience with other music-lovers. Gail Z taught me a lesson and I will be sure to never to help promote another Zappa Plays Zappa tour again! You win, Gail.

Isn’t it good to know GZ’s crusade against the well-intentioned fan outthere continues undaunted, while those who sell bootlegs or put up official releases for download, remain untouched.

Better get used to it: it’s a way of life…

Homage to a Freak

I first met Royce in the summer of 1977 at a second-hand record shop. Greg, the gray haired, pony-tailed, slightly obese proprietor had just gotten a mint vinyl copy of Mothermania, and had absent-mindedly promised it to both of us. His solution: to the highest bidder would go the spoils. Being that I was still in my teens, and Royce was about 12 or so years older and far more gainfully employed, he quickly outbid me and paid for the album. Dejected, I was just about to leave when he suddenly invited me over to his place to listen to the album while he taped it. “Sure,” I said.

By taping, I figured Royce had meant cassette tapes. But when we arrived at the house he rented with his girlfriend, Keri, I found out by taping he meant reel-to-reel tapes. Royce taped every LP record and 45 he had ever bought onto reel-to-reel tapes. I’d later find out why. His stereo was an elaborate mixture of different components, some German, some Japanese, some American. The sound it produced made me ashamed of my own little dinky stereo. I heard things on his stereo I never heard on mine. By the time we finished listening to Mothermania, I was almost glad that he had outbid me. Almost.

Given that I’d first discovered the music of Frank Zappa and The Mothers as an eight year old on my cousin’s turntable, I was a pretty cocky teen when it came to the music of FZ, and I was rather proud of my ever growing collection. Royce soon put me in my place, though, when he revealed his own private vault. On the main floor of the house his rented (and any other subsequent house he rented) was a room whose sole purpose was to store and protect of all the albums he collected over the years. Beyond a door secured with two deadbolt locks, and behind windows which had been blackened and insulated, was a room that was filled with at least five or six thousand albums (I never had the chance to actually count them). Among them were more Frank Zappa and Mothers of Invention albums than I even knew existed. All in mint condition. Official releases. Bootlegs. Royce was more than just a collector. He was a completist.

Over the rest of that summer and into the winter, Royce and Keri became not just fellow freaks, but good friends, too. I received my education in all things Zappa and the Mothers listening to their reel-to-reel tapes, and their sordid stories about the times they saw them live at the Kinsmen Field House here in Edmonton in 1970 and 1971. Or the years they saw Zappa live in Vancouver at the Agrodome and again at the War Memorial Gymnasium. “It was like Christmas whenever we got back,” Royce would say. “We’d always come home with brand new boots to tape.”

It was through Royce’s vault that I first discovered the works of various Mother’s alumni like Lowell George in Little Feat, Henry Vestine in Canned Heat, Jean-Luc Ponty, George Duke, Flo & Eddie, and Captain Beefheart.

Two years later, in 1979, when Royce and Keri got married, I had an old Serbian painter I knew paint a 4:1 scale copy of the cover of Shiek Yerbouti in oil on canvas as their wedding present. It cost a pretty penny, but it was worth every cent.

Zappa Legacy

With all the verbose verbiage over the Zappa legacy lately, I found the posting “on pop 13: mike keneally & the zappa legacy” over at Eugene Baak’s weblog, Another Beautiful Day, quite insightful.