Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Baby Your Face Is Mutated

The Tubes are a San Francisco-based theatre rock band founded in the early 1970s and known for their live performances which combined lewd quasi-pornography and wild satires of media, showbiz excess, consumerism and politics.

Influenced by the Mothers of Invention and Captain Beefheat & his Magic Band — The Tubes performed covers of Frank Zappa’s ‘More Trouble Every Day’ and ‘King Kong’ in a 1972 concert, and recorded a cover version of Beefheart’s ‘My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains’ on their 1977 album, NOW.

Their 1978 album, What Do You Want From Live, is considered by many to be the quintessential “live” album. I tend to agree. I was also fortunate enough to see The Tubes live myself in 1981. I was not disappointed. Their live shows are legendary. After they broke up in the late 80s I thought that was it for The Tubes, but fortunately for new fans, after the release of their 1996 “return to form” album, Genius of America (after several disappointing efforts in the 1980s), a reformed line-up of The Tubes began touring again, including:

Fee Waybill (lead singer/songwriter)
Roger Steen (lead guitar/vocals)
Prairie Prince (drums/percussion)
Rick Anderson (bass)
David Medd (keyboards)

(Note that David Medd was invited to sing on Genius of America by Gary Cambra who has since left The Tubes to do solo projects).

If you can’t see The Tubes live, yourself, there’s always The Tubes Wild West Show on DVD (Unlike the live album, it doesn’t have any of those nasty “bleeps” the record company censors loved so much in the late 70s).

BTW, I know who I’d like to dedicate this particular video to…

Italy Passes Law Allowing P2P Music?

The Italian parliament passed a new copyright law in both houses that would allow citizens to share noncommercial and degraded music over the internet freely.

That’s going to hurt – but some say it happened totally unknowingly – we’ll see what happens.

Nick Harper: Titties and Beer


Nick plays a cover of Frank Zappa’s ‘Titties and Beer’ for his encore at Greenbelt 06. Interesting choice of song for a Christian festival!

From another source:

Roy’s son Nick regularly features a version of ‘Titties and Beer’ in live concerts (at which Roy has taken the role of the Devil), and has also been known to break into a snippet of ‘St. Alphonso’s Pancake Breakfast’. Well worth seening live – an excellent guitarist & witty songwriter in his own right. His latest double live album is selling for a very reasonable price now at Quixotic Records, and latest news is that the ZFT have given permission for TAB to appear on a future album.

By the way, the whole thing started with this find:
International Moustache Month. :-)

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.

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!)

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.

The Year Of The Freak Is Imminent

Oh yes it is. Let’s see which sites, bands and organisations have had legal action taken against them by the ZFT in recent weeks, shall we?

Quoth The Idiot Bastard:

Apparently Gail has even threatened to remove and destroy the likeness of FZ that is in Bad Doberan – “Yes, we would definitely consider having it replaced with something we do approve,” she said.

I know you’re getting sick and tired of this dear reader — so am I.

That’s the point.

Spread the word if you can, by any means.

A permanent page, objectively documenting the progression of any of these Law Suits is in the works, and will be published as more information becomes publicly available.

Update: had to add tribute band Ugly Radio Rebellion to the list as they too are now being sued by the ZFT for alleged copyright infringement.

These Boots Were Made For Talkin’

This post is about how legal, or illegal, it is to offer up a non-officially recorded and/or released live show for download.

Let us examine who is likely to download one of these shows in the first place. No, let us first examine the audio quality of the show in question. More often than not, it will suck. B+, A-, they are euphemisms for “bad quality audio”.

Next, on to the profile of the “Potential Downloader”. Debby from around the corner, who is into Beyonce sure doesn’t fit that profile (the poor girl’s in for a big surprise if she downloads any of this “depraved music”). This leaves us with two main categories: (1) the Curious Neophite Zappa fan — a potential customer, and (2) the Completist — a registered customer, one who has bought pretty much all of the official releases, interested in hearing any one single note difference between show A (say, November 15, 1973) and B (November 16, 1973, Late Show).

These are our demographics — agreed?

Explain to me then, how it is deemed a crime to make these live shows freely available for download online. The Curious Neophite, at best, will end up buying official releases, that have much better quality. The Completist will gently nod his head while puffing his pipe, dreaming of the next official release. Moreover, if these shows are not presented freely, some asshole on eBay will be making a profit off of selling them — regardless of how much the audio quality sucks.

A closing quote, if I may. It comes straight from the liner notes of FZ:OZ, as written by GZ:

Bill Lantz, thanks (you bastard) for (not saying by what means you came by) this tape and cooperating (anyway).

These unofficial live shows, in circulation right this minute in so many places, even if we at KUR no longer publish them, serve as food for thought and conversation. They are an essential part of keeping alive the musical legacy of Eff Zee. They provoke discussion among the Completists, lure the Curious Neophite into buying official releases; and as such, should not be banned from the net in my opinion.

Your thoughts?

Conceptual Continuity Circle

The last few days I’ve been listenning the wonderful CD of the Banned From Utopia (the best ever versions of some tunes!), and that led me to create this continuity-chain (or circle):

Chad Wackerman plays beautifully on drums -> surprise: his brother, Brooks Wackerman (a drummer, also!) plays on the new KoRn album -> the KoRn album also features Terry Bozzio (see the video) -> yes, he (TB) was the guest of the ZPZ tour -> but if you check the page of that tour, you’ll se only ONE update (=1) from 2007: one single picture of Ray White – of whom answers.com says that also played in the Banned From Utopia – sang in Jailbait Babysitter (thanks for The Idiot for the info!).

Otherwise Dweezil says:

Speaking of new material, I plan to release a live ZPZ album from the 07 tour early next year. I am also in the process of reviewing footage that was shot by my good friend Charlie Boswell in Austin Texas for another ZPZ DVD. We filmed 30 new songs – different from the last ZPZ DVD.

David Ocker About 100% Zappa

I really like it when someone speaks about something that is really close to him. And I’m also glad when it has something to do with a fine concert that I saw.

…the results were as good or better than the studio LSO recordings which Frank edited repeatedly. But these live unedited recordings were light years beyond what the LSO produced at the Barbican in 1984. Very encouraging.

David Ocker about the 100% Zappa concert. Nice text. Thank you!

The Mp3 Encoding Debate: Results Are In

A follow-up to this post: Cognitive Daily yesterday published its rather (un?)surprising results:

For both recordings, there was a significant difference between ratings of the 64 kbps sampling rate and the 128 kbps sampling rate, but no difference between ratings of the 128 and 256 kbps sampling rate. It’s looking like the 256 kbps MP3s offer no advantage over the much smaller 128 kbps MP3s.

Out of nearly 700 participants, 33 were able to detect a difference in audio quality between both sampling rates. I bet those 33 will be identified as being avid KUR readers! :)

An mp3 Is An mp3 Is An mp3?

Cognitive Daily is carrying out an online poll to determine just how audible the fluctuation in quality is between mp3′s that have different encodings:

I created three different versions of two song clips — 64, 128, and 256 kbps MP3 format. Then I re-encoded all of them at 256 kbps so the files are all the same size. Can you identify which recording sounds better? Is there a difference between the listening skills of “audiophiles” and ordinary listeners? Now we’ll find out.

There have been numerous mp3-vs-lossless debates here and elsewhere, so I’m quite curious to see the results of this test. To participate, keep your ears and headset at the ready and click here. The results should be posted at Cognitive Daily next Friday, November 30.

Via Duncan.

Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Yes, the way it was played in San Diego, 12.12.1981 (late show).
Some more interesting facts: the very last show of the tour, with Frogs With Dirty Little Lips as a closer, but Whipping Post as a second (!) tune (From aaafnraa.de).

Rufus At The Circus

Dr Sharl and I went to see Rufus Wainwright last night at the Cirque Royal in Brussels.

rufus-legs.jpg

Nuff said? :)

Seriously though, here’s one talented singer/songwriter if ever I heard one. To switch effortlessly from rock to folk to campy Judy Garland to nigh operatic arrangements — and to somehow keep it all together: that is not a small achievement. Yet Rufus pulls it off, with brilliance and exuberance.

rufus-judy-garland.jpg

… and a dash of subversive humor. I’m sure Wainwright would’ve brought a big fat approving grin on Zappa’s face — and rightly so.

Now where did I leave my earrings…

Zappa Radio at zappa.com

After a few months of “coming soon”, here it is finally: the Zappa Radio. A fine mix of FZs music, constantly playing online. Unfortunately the playlist shows only what you have listened 5 minutes ago.