Posts Tagged ‘1980’

Frank Zappa: New York & Elsewhere, 1980, Excerpts


In this 1980 Austrian TV Documentary, interviews with Frank Zappa are interspersed with concert footage from New York’s Mudd Club on May 8th, 1980 (“Mudd Club” and “Chunga’s Revenge“) and Upper Darby Township’s Tower Theatre on May 10th, 1980 (“Beauty Knows No Pain“) as well as an interview (of sorts) with hardcore fans (including Al Malkin) backstage at the Mudd Club. Despite poor video quality and bad overdubbing – it is still a great artifact of Zappa‘s 1980 tour and New York’s infamous Mudd Club which opened in October of 1978, quickly became a fixture in downtown Manhattan’s underground music and counterculture scene, until its closure in 1982.

Tunes, Treats & Torrents – The Grandmothers

The first version of The Grandmothers came into being in 1980, formed by original Mothers of Invention and Soul Giants alumni Don Preston, Jimmy Carl Black and Bunk Gardner. From almost the start, the group was a thorn in Zappa‘s side (who’d probably thought he’d seen the last of his former bandmates when he forced them into the cold when he disbanded the original Mothers in 1970) when Zappa himself became the target of the new band’s on-stage satire and was apparently particularly upset over a dummy of himself that was being used in various provocative ways. Thus began a pattern of the Zappa family and its legal minions fighting with various members of the Grandmothers over the right to perform and record original Mothers of Invention compositions. At one point in the early ’90s, the Zappa estate quashed a new recording deal for the Grandmothers with a major label that was unfortunately not interested in working with the band unless it was allowed to use the name of the Mothers of Invention.
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The Radio Is Broken – Rehearsals, UMRK, 1980

A unique glimpse into Zappa‘s creative process as Frank Zappa and members of his Rockin’ Teenage Combo rehearse “The Radio Is Broken” from ‘The Man From Utopia’ on September 27th, 1980 at the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen.
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Captain Beefheart VPRO Radio Interview, 1980

beefheartcigar

During the European leg of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band‘s tour promoting ‘Doc at the Radar Station‘, Don Van Vliet was interviewed by VPRO Radio (Amsterdam) on November 1st, 1980 (no doubt prior, or just after the infamous Paradiso show during which Beefheart was heckled by a drunken patron).

Anyone interested in discovering what Beefheart fans find so appealing about Don Van Vliet need only listen to this interview. His peculiar individualism shines throughout while he playfully teases his interviewers. It’s clear that a lot of what Vliet says goes right over their heads. I suppose the same can be said about Beefheart’s music. Either you get it, or you don’t – it’s that simple.

Beefheart VPRO Interview (Part 1)

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Beefheart VPRO Interview (Part 2)

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Beefheart VPRO Interview (Part 3)

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In addition, I recently came across an interview of John ‘Drumbo’ French – interviewed in mid 2005, when French was fronting a reformed Magic Band, and touring in support of their CDs ‘Back To The Front‘, and ‘21st Century Mirror Men‘ – on the weblog, The Funky Goat:

He [Vliet] was in competition with Frank Zappa, I think that’s one of the reasons he went so far out. Frank was actually playing accessible music. Another thing was that being in Frank’s band had a sort of prestige, the instrumentalists would go on and play in other groups, they were wanted. Who was going to want a Beefheart musician? Half the public didn’t even think we knew how to play!”

A very illuminating interview for any fan of Beefheart’s music. Read the transcribed interview here.

Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band – Chorus TV, Paris, 1980

Recorded at the Theatre de L’Empire, in Montmartre, Paris, on November 7th, 1980, for the French TV program ‘Chorus’ – promoting their eleventh studio album, Doc at the Radar StationCaptain Beefheart & the Magic Band performed a 30 minute set.
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Zappa, Palais des Sports, Paris, 1980



This particular concert took place at the Palais des Sports, Paris, France on June 11th, 1980 and was first broadcast on France’s Antenne 2 in late 1980, and later rebroadcast on Europe2 TV on May 10, 2007.

It features Zappa’s Rockin’ Teenage Combo:

Frank Zappa–lead guitar, vocals
Ike Willis–guitar, vocals

Ray White–guitar, vocals 

Tommy Mars–keyboards, vocals

Arthur Barrow–bass, keyboards, vocals

David Logeman–drums

Besides the three clips posted above — “Chunga’s Revenge”, “Outside Now” and “Pound For A Brown”, respectively — I have endeavoured to link the following setlist to available videos from that concert:

• Chunga’s Revenge
Keep It Greasey
• Outside Now
City Of Tiny Lites
• Pound For A Brown
Cosmik Debris
• You Didn’t Try To Call Me
• Ain’t Got No Heart
• Love Of My Life
You Are What You Is
Easy Meat
• Mudd Club
The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing/Heavenly Bank Account
Suicide Chump/Jumbo Go Away
If Only She Woulda (Pt 1)
If Only She Woulda (Pt 2)
• I Don’t Wanna Get Drafted
Joe’s Garage/Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?
Dancin’ Fool/Bobby Brown/Ms Pinky
Stick It Out
Illinois Enema Bandit

Information Is Not Knowledge identifies many highlights in this concert, one of which:

There’s a lot of guitar in this concert.. nearly every song has an extended guitar solo, so if you like that sort of thing you’re definitely in luck. Ike sang really well on Outside Now, and then Ray did his usual fantastic singing of City of Tiny Lites. John Smothers runs out a couple of times and shines his flashlight into the crowd. Then something curious happens. In the middle of Pound For A Brown, Frank “brings the band on down” and says that he’s going to give a demonstration to a mystery guest… this would be Pierre Boulez, whom both Frank and Tommy Mars got to meet personally and show off their electronic effects, which Boulez seemed to enjoy.

Much thanks to “YourArf”, “bongolampo”, “zw”, “berthy75”, and “justanotherbrick” for posting all these videos.