Archive for the ‘Frank Zappa’ Category

From Zappa To Lenin

Found on the Where On Earth blog (via zappafan.net), about FZ’s bust in Vilnius, Lithuania:

A few years ago, I had the good fortune to share some beers with one of the students responsible for this very odd monument. He explained to me in a dark Vilnius pub how he and his friends, caught up in the early 1990s euphoria of post-communist freedom, decided to honor one of their favorite American singers whom they clandestinely listened to during communism because authorities banned his decadent western music.

Amazingly, during a crazy time when all things seemed possible, the students were able to convince the city government of their worthy Zappa cause. Even more remarkable, was that the students commissioned local sculptor Konstantinas Bogdanas to create the bust. Prior to this commission, Bogdanas sculpted only what the state told him to sculpt, which was mostly Lenin statues and other heroes of the socialist revolution.

And here is an interview with the sculptor:

In the far right corner is Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, while rock legend Frank Zappa stares from the left. But the subject that made Bogdanas best known, Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, is noticeably absent from the cluttered display.

So Dangerous to Society at Large

This is URBANGRAFFITO . . . it is my responsibility to research all the laws that haven’t been passed yet. It is also my responsibility to alert each and every one of you to the potential consequences of various ordinary everyday activities you might be performing which could eventually lead to Incarceration (or affect your parent’s credit rating). Our criminal institutions will soon be full of little creeps like you who do wrong things . . . and many of them were driven to these crimes by a horrible force called MUSIC!

Our studies have shown that this horrible force is so dangerous to society at large that laws are being drawn up at this very moment to stop it forever! Cruel and inhuman punishments are being carefully described in tiny paragraphs so they won’t conflict with the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (which, itself, is being modified in order to accommodate the Intellectual Property Protection Act).

I bring you now a special presentation to show what can happen to you if you choose a career in MUSIC . . . The WHITE ZONE is for uploading and downloading only . . . if you have to upload or download copyrighted material, go to the WHITE ZONE . . .

Imagine if you will legislation that enjoys the support of such large copyright holders such as the Recording Industry Association of America (amongst them, no doubt, a recent litigant against this very weblog) known as the Intellectual Property Protection Act, expected to be introduced in the very near future.

This bill will give the U.S. Justice Department the ability to combat Intellectual Property crime in bold new ways. It would soon become a new federal crime just to attempt to commit copyright infringement. All attempts, even if they fail, could be punished by up to 10 years in prison. This legislation would also permit the bypassing of copy protection even for “fair use” purposes.

It would permit wiretaps in investigations of copyright crimes, and would establish a unit within the FBI itself with budgets of $20 million which would create advanced tools of forensic science to investigate copyright crimes.

This legislation would amend existing law to permit criminal enforcement of copyright violations even if the work in question was not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. It would boost criminal penalties for copyright infringement originally created by the No Electronic Theft Act of 1997 from five years to 10 years (and 10 years to 20 years for subsequent offenses), for the noncommercial piracy and posting of copyrighted photos, videos or news articles on a Web site if the value exceeds $1,000.

This legislation would also create civil asset forfeiture penalties for anything used in copyright piracy. Computers or other equipment seized will be disposed of, for instance, at a government auction following the rules established by federal drug laws. Copyright holders will be able to impound records documenting the manufacture, sale or receipt of items involved in infringements, including server logs, IP addresses, and everything that person has ever downloaded.

It appears the future that FZ envisaged with the release of Joe’s Garage has arrived as of 2008. Quite soon we’ll all have two computers: a clean one we all do our internet business on, and a dirty one that will never ever be connected to the internet.

Big brother is watching. He wants to know what’s on your hard drive.

Wirtschaftliche Notwendigkeiten

ZFT’s Cease & Desist against the Zappanale festival made it into this week’s issue of leading German magazine Der Spiegel. When asked for her reasons to fight a worldwide juridical war against Zappa fans, Gail’s answer was she “needs to do this for profitable needs“.

Ho fucking hum.

Which reminds me: have you seen this as well as this?

Paradise, Pomp & Puppets

David Ocker writes in to point out his “longest blog post ever” — about performing FZ’s orchestra music. An interesting read, coming from a man who obviously knows what he’s talking about; with an appreciative tip of the hat to the recent Hungarian 100% Zappa concert.

Status Back Baby

If you haven’t already, we still urge you to sign the petition regarding the ZFT’s recent “Aggressive Actions”. 1208 signatures at this time of writing — not too shabby for a petition that’s been online for 4 days, but the more the merrier, obviously. You’ll find yourself in the company of such illustrious names as Jon Naurin, Robert Kevorkian, Don Preston, Jimmy Carl Black, Nigey Lennon and Candy Zappa.
For those of you who wish to be kept abreast (now there’s a wonderful expression): there’s a direct link to the petition at the right of this page. See that little banner with Dr Sharl’s hand waving at you? Indeed.

Meanwhile, these litigations have been gaining interest on several weblogs who specialize in intellectual property and fair use. Couple of links:

Now, when people who are actually knowledgeable in this particular legal field begin to express their doubt as to the validity of the ZFT’s claims, that has to mean something, right?

In other news, a couple of new-ish DVD releases, available on Amazon:

How questionable are these? You tell me.

Boy, I sure hope the ZFT won’t crack down on Amazon.com! :D

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?

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” :)

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!!!)