The Fowler Brothers [Tom & Bruce] got a call from a festival in Stuttgart to play a set of Zappa music. This became the Banned From Utopia. I was called at the last minute to be a guest, so I played a couple of tunes with them at the festival. We then went into the studio and recorded various Zappa tunes and originals over a five year period, and the result was the CD, So Yuh Don’t Like Modern Art.
Agreeing to the project at the last minute, the ten members of Band From Utopia formed for and headlined the 1994 festival. The concert was recorded on 32 track mobile digital and also filmed for broadcast on german television (from which the above clips, “The Illinois Enema Bandit” and “Be-Bop Tango” were recorded). This was the first time all of these musicians collectively had taken the same stage at the same time.
Update (11/05/09): Thanks to Andrew for enlightening me on the difference between the CD (that contains 15 tracks from the festival) and the DVD (which only replicates three on the CD). Thus the DVD is not a complete performance.
In the above clip, an audio interview circa 1984, Frank Zappa talks about soloing on the guitar, his attitudes toward live performances, and his relationship with his audience (listen closely at the 7:05 point for a relevant opinion of Frank’s regarding the performing of his solos “note for note”). Quite enlightening.
News of the initial broadcast caused a hubbub, of sorts, among a sinister group of listeners of Jazz File who, euphemistically, referred to themselves as “The Friends Of Radio 3” or “FoR3” who were up in arms over the station’s decision to devote an edition of Jazz File to Zappa’s work:
“If they put Frank Zappa on,” a FoR3 spokesperson warns direly, “they are likely to alienate jazz fans the way they have classical fans.”
Actually, it’s worse than FoR3 feared. The Zappa special in question, Jazz From Hell, which [Murray] wrote and will present, takes up three Jazz File programmes on successive Saturdays. That’s three occasions on which unsuspecting listeners risk exposure to Zappa’s unique musical universe. And all at the taxpayers’ expense!
Click here to read Charles Shaar Murray’s response to the hubbub his audio documentary stirred up.
Note: In order for this documentary to be allowed to be uploaded to YouTube, most of the FZ music had to be removed first. The original poster, ‘fruhko’, apologizes for the uneven editing, but the content is there. This editing also accounts for the shortened time duration.
explores Zappa as a composer, and is told through the memories of some of those who knew him best — family, his friends, and some of the musicians who worked with him. You’ll hear from Zappa’s wife, Gail Zappa, Ruth Underwood, the percussionist who first heard him at a famous concert at New York’s Garrick Theatre in 1967; Elliot Ingber, a guitarist in the early Mothers of Invention, and Joe Travers, drummer and vaultmeister of the Zappa archives.
Part Three of which has been copied and uploaded to YouTube (Thanks to ‘tomtiddler’) in the clip above (and in Parts 2/3/4/5).
Enjoy! Especially if you didn’t hear it the first time around!
The audition was very simple. He had me play a couple of odd muted things and groove for a while, and then he said ‘OK, you’re it’. That was a really good band. I then just did Frank’s stuff for a few years until I broke my hand in the middle of a tour which was my downfall. We were playing football and I broke this bone right in the middle of the tour in Dayton, Ohio.