Posts Tagged ‘Zappa’

Year of the Freak: February (the weesa)

In honor of that special individual who has stuck by the freak through the long years of freakdom — be it a friend, a girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, mate, ex-wife or ex-husband (hey, you can’t expect everyone to stick around: twenty years is a very, very long time) — for helping to steal hub caps, for listening to those same favorite FZ/MOI albums and tracks over and over again, for hearing those same FZ/MOI anecdotes for the umpteenth time: this post is for you.

The weesa (she’s so divine)

Year of the Freak: January (the rat)

In honor of our friendly neighborhood webmaster, Barry, and due to unfortunate circumstances beyond his control whereby the discography section can no longer post images of a thumbnail nature, I post the above.

Hey, any excuse for a guitar solo is a good excuse.

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.

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?

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.

New FZ @ Wolfgang’s Vault

The Friday Boots may be history, but Wolfgang’s Vault still has concerts and interviews aplenty.

tip of the hat to hipbone

From Counterculture to Consumer Culture

As early as the 1960s, Frank Zappa already knew that to get to the “real” truth one had to go to the underground, because the mainstream was just out to sell you something you probably didn’t need in the first place, or so says the article, “Going Underground” at Computer Arts:

“The mainstream comes to you, but you have to go to the underground,” said Frank Zappa, that extraordinary songwriter, singer and guitarist whose music spanned three decades and who was known for despising organized religion, was passionate about freedom of speech and advocated the abolition of censorship. Zappa understood that if you wanted to avoid the mainstream, the ordinary and the mundane, then going underground was where it was at.


The underground isn’t dead, it just smells funny…

Burnt Weeny Sandwich, 1969

This document of the original Mothers of Invention, mostly set to the music from Uncle Meat (with the exception of “The Theme from Burnt Weeny Sandwich” from Burnt Weeny Sandwich), originally broadcast on April 30th, 1969, as part of The Dilexi Series for KQED TV, San Francisco, California, shows a young Gail, early Blackouts footage, Mothers live with the GTOs, Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, the Berlin 1968 riot, and much more. Total length: 18 min. B&W and color.
1/3

2/3

3/3


Thanks to jane23 for the tip…

Edmonton Eargasmic Extravaganza: ZPZ Plays The Big Empty

zpz pic

Dweezil and Company finished the North American leg of their tour in Edmonton last night to a small yet appreciative audience of diehard Zappa freaks (some of which who, by the way, have waited since 1971 for this chance to hear Frank Zappa’s music performed live again).

Mike Ross in his special to Sun Media:

It was clear what kind of concert this was going to be before the first note fell. Or at least, what it wasn’t going to be – a by-the-numbers rock concert.

It was more like a jazz show. From the opening of I’m the Slime, Dweezil and band pulled out insane arrangements like San Ber’dino and What’s New in Baltimore, threw in crazy-ass jazz romps like Filthy Habits, unleashed dad’s biggest bubble into pop culture, Joe’s Garage. A hopped-up crowd shouted out requests. Dweezil came off like a laid-back hipster – having inherited a knowing smirk – playing the role of the ringmaster instead of rock star, his guitar solos excepted.

Zappa Coverbands on MySpace

Directly from Michigan, U.S.A. is Mokum and Yooper with their unique cover of “Directly From My Heart To You.” And from Pavia, Italy, is the tribute band MN e i CONTENUTI with covers of “The Grand Wazoo,” “Dirty Love,” “Eat That Question” and “Peaches en Regalia.” Smooth listening.


No foolin’…

Remember Remember The 7th November

On this day…

  • … 150 days of a Belgium without a governement, facing an unprecedented political crisis
  • … in 1991 Frank Zappa announced to the world that he suffered from prostate cancer
  • … at around 8:30 in the morning I had a minor accident, when a car bumped against mine, as I was getting out of the garage (just some scratches on the front bumper)

Can we fast-forward to November 8th please?

Viva Zappa

Viva Zappa

From the moment of Frank Zappa’s untimely passing due to prostate cancer until the formation of Zappa Plays Zappa, the only way anyone could hear Zappa’s music performed live was via one of the multitude of cover/tribute bands. From rock, jazz, baroque to big band, wind quintets, and classical ensembles, the variety of musical approaches and bands were just as eclectic and varied as much of the music itself — with names like Project/Object, FiDO, The Muffin Men just to name a few. In Canada, if you wanted a live Zappa fix, the band to see and hear was Viva Zappa, based in Quebec. You can download individual Zappa covers interpreted by Viva Zappa, or download their entire CD, Viva Zappa: The Purple Lagoon Sessions 2006 & 2007, at Zappateers (Sorry, Torrent).


What’s your favourite Zappa Tribute Band(s)?

Moggio Jazz Band Plays RDNZL

An excellent cover of a FZ classic. The only thing missing is Ruth Underwood.

A Zappa-picture

A nice picture. I’ve found it on David Ocker’s blog, but it’s originally from Richard Emmet’ homepage (go there to see some more), and the pictures were taken possibly in ’81, one of these used for the cover of You Are What You Is (the same hat!)

Posing for the sake of the photographer (we weren’t really playing any notes).

Richard Emmet, John Steinmetz, FZ, David Ocker

Pictures made by John Livzey.