Posts Tagged ‘don preston’

78 Years Ago Yesterday…

In a house that someone used to live in, little Donny Preston, also known as little Dom DeWilde or little Biff Debrie, was born on September 21st, 1932 in Flint, Michigan.

Happy Birthday, Don!
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Grande Mothers Re:Invented Embark On EU Tour

Warning: You’re about to enter a zone heavy with nostalgia. Take with a very large grain of salt.

In the late 70s and early 80s (yes, when Dinosaurs roamed the city streets wearing Walkmans and eating veggieburgers) – when a Zappa tour was an almost regular (if not annual) occurrence, and a Zappa fan might expect sometimes multiple releases from the maestro, and my own rabid obsession with the Mothers of Invention (and all things Zappa) was at least at a somewhat manageable level – myself and my fellow freaks had devised a method of determining the level of freakdom of a given Zappa fan by what albums they had in their collection.
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Mothers In Da House – The Don & Bunk Show

In the last few years, with the cost of touring becoming so high, musical acts (to my knowledge Mike Keneally is also performing these intimate concerts) have had to innovate, playing whenever and wherever feasibly possible – including community halls, church basements, and, yes, fans’ living rooms.

On March 28th, 2010, The Don & Bunk ShowDon Preston and Bunk Gardner performed an intimate concert at Maclean Studio (aka his living room).

In macleanstudio’s words:

“If you ever get the chance to host a concert at your house with these guys, take it. Such genuinely nice fellows bringing with them musicianship from another dimension. It was great hearing those Zappa tunes. We were all pretty much spellbound. We can’t wait to have them back here on Cape Cod. I hope I’m that cool when I’m 77 !!!”

Note: The Don & Bunk Show, A Zappa Retrospective, Sullivan Hall, New York City, NY, 1 Apr 2010 is available to torrent at Zappateers here.

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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Tunes, Treats & Torrents – The Muffin Men

Anyone who has followed my posts knows that I’m a avid downloader of torrents from Zappateers (and a fantastic bunch of freaks they are – I tip my hat to them for all the excellent Zappa torrents I’ve downloaded through the years). That said, I am also an avid collector of many exceptional Zappa tribute bands (far too numerous to name here, though). Periodically, though, I come across a particular group of musicians that I feel I just have to share. For that purpose, I’ve begun an irregular series entitled, “Tunes, Treats & Torrents” to highlight these groups and their exceptional covers of Zappa compositions.

The first of those bands in this series are The Muffin Men, an incredible group of musicians from Liverpool, UK. When I recently downloaded a torrent of an excerpt of their Kirchheim Tech, Germany show on April 24th, 1993 featuring guests Don Preston, Bunk Gardner, and Jimmy Carl Black I knew I had to share it (especially since live recordings of Bunk Gardner are so incredibly rare anyway). Give these covers a listen and decide what you think:

King Kong – The Muffin Men (Kirchheim Teck, Germany, 24 Apr 1993)

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Don Whanks It Out – The Muffin Men (Kirchheim Teck, Germany, 24 Apr 1993)

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Son of Mr Green Genes – The Muffin Men (Kirchheim Teck, Germany, 24 Apr 1993)

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Willie the Pimp – The Muffin Men (Kirchheim Teck, Germany, 24 Apr 1993)

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The Muffin Men (circa Spring/Summer 1993):

Roddie Gilliard: guitar, vocals
Ian Jump: stunt guitar
Andy Jacobson: keyboard
Mike Kidson: sax, toys, vocals
Andy Frizell: bass, vocals
Steve Belger: drums

Download torrent from Zappateers here.

P.S. Denny Walley has confirmed he is joining The Muffin Men for their performance at Zappanale in August, 2010.

The Grande Mothers & Guests in L.A.

On Saturday, April 25th, 2009 – in preparation for their Norwegian Tour – The Grande Mothers Re:Invented were joined by very special guests, Not Your Fathers Mothers String Quartet, for one performance only at The Music Recital Hall, L.A. Harbor College.
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You Ef What You Zee — The Eternal Question

In one of the previous posts, “The MOI – Conflicted Histories“, I was struck by one of the questions posed to Jimmy Carl Black:

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The Mothers of Invention – Conflicted Histories

As time has passed since the publication of The Real Frank Zappa Book, and more interviews of original band members have emerged whose individual recollections contradict was had been written (and often taken as factual history) — it further sheds light on the complexity of this band, and the need for an ongoing, objective, and scholarly view of the Mother’s history from those who were actually there (well beyond the usual pop culture biographies and rock critic hokum), the musicians themselves.

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News from Andre’ — Project/Object

This just in via email from Andre’ Cholmondeley:

PROJECT/OBJECT – the music of Frank Zappa
featuring IKE WILLIS & DON PRESTON
and special guest RAY WHITE (on July 4 only)

Sat 4th July – Western, Pa
The Church Of Universal Love and Music
Doors: 10 AM – 2 sets – All ages Tickets/Advance: $30 DOS:$ $40

Andre’ Cholmondeley plays guitar in this band, a tribute to the music of Frank Zappa. P/O also has Eric Svalgard (keyboards), Eric Slick (drums), Robbie “Seahag” Mangano (bass). Ray White will join P/O on their July 4 date only.

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Zappanale (Then & Now) – The Grande Mothers



Between now and August 16th, 2009, the start of Zappanale’s 20th Jubilee, I am going to feature both past and present participants of Zappanale, beginning with The Grande Mothers.

The Grande Mothers feature Zappa alumni, Napoleon Murphy Brock (lead vocals, tenor sax, woodwinds and choreography), Don Preston (vocals, keyboards and transformations), and Roy Estrada (vocals, bass and pachuco falsetto), along with musicians Chris Garcia (drums, percussion and vocals) and Miroslav Tadic (electric guitar and all the difficult Zappa licks). Over the last few years they have toured to enthusiastic audiences in the US, Canada, Great Britain, as well as various stops in West and Eastern Europe showcasing their special blend of musical mayhem, virtuosic playing, bizarre humor, and as always, their playful love of the music, itself, and each other. And the feeling is contagious and infectious (or so was the sensation when they performed in my little neck of the woods last year).

Just don’t just take my word for it, though. Listen to the interview with the group (first clip). Watch them perform “Pygmy Twylyte” at the Pacific Road Arts Centre, Birkenhead, UK on the 12th March 2008 (second clip). Or perform “Peaches en Regalia” at the Sugar Nightclub for Victoria’s JazzFest ’08.

If those aren’t enough to convince you, click here, here, and here.