Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

Frank Zappa as KPFA-FM Disc Jockey

Part 1:

In 1968, Tom Donahue interviews Frank Zappa about his life and work, while Zappa spins some of his favorite music ranging from surf music, doo-wop, jazz, the blues, to the works of Pierre Boulez.

The song selection is very informative for any fan of Zappa’s music, as one can easily trace the influence of all these styles on his own creative output, be it the cheesy harmonies of 1950s pop songs or the intricate percussive patterns of Boulez’s avant-garde classical compositions. The role that such songs had on Zappa’s own musical evolution is made all the more clear at the end of this hilarious program when a selection of satirical songs from the Mothers of Invention are also heard.

Zappa’s musical selection:

Agency ManThe Mothers of Invention
Handsome Cabin Boy [traditional] – A.L. Lloyd and Ewan MacColl
Grunion RunThe Hollywood Persuaders
Le Marteau Sans MaîtrePierre Boulez
When We Get MarriedThe Dream Lovers
Memories of El MonteThe Penguins
Goodbye Pork Pie HatCharlie Mingus
Lucy Mae BluesFrankie Lee Sims
The LetterVernon Green & the Medallions
Daddy Daddy – Richard Berry and the Dreamers
TwilightThe Paragons
FlorenceThe Paragons
Florence Don’t Leave Me – The Paragons
Later That Night – The Mothers of Invention
I’ll Be Forever Loving YouThe El Dorados
Cheap Thrills – The Mothers of Invention
Stuff Up The Cracks – The Mothers of Invention

Click here to listen to remaining three parts.

Frank Zappa Day on KPFA-FM

Part 1:

On February 10, 1986, as part of it’s fund raising marathon, KPFA dedicated an entire day of programming to the music of Frank Zappa, including the four hour long segment available for audio streaming (part one above).

Zappa joins Charles Amirkhanian, live in the studio to talk about his work and his fight against censorship, as well as to take part in an hour long panel discussion on gang violence and its relationship to rock music and Satanism. Zappa manages to insert his brand of sardonic humor into all the activities, be it personally promising donors will go to heaven, or urging the police to investigate the crimes committed by born-again Christians. The give and take with KPFA listeners during a call-in period following the panel discussions is not to be missed. Zappa also reveals a few nuggets of trivia including the origin of those crazy conversations found in the classic Mothers of Invention album, “Lumpy Gravy” and the meaning of the Chinese Kanji characters on the “Zoot Allures” album cover.

Musical selections include: Porn Wars, Outside Now Again, Tinsel Town Rebellion, Chunga’s Revenge, Jailbait by Andre Williams, Cocaine Decisions, The Dangerous Kitchen, The Radio Is Broken, Mōggio, Francesco Zappa, Dance Contest, The Blue Light, Sad Jane, Speed Freak Boogie, The Story of My Life by Guitar Slim, Teen Age Prostitute.

Conversations with Jimmy Carl Black

An exceptional interview with Jimmy Carl Black by Calvin Krogh recorded at the Grand Café in Oslo in January, 2007, as well as a second interview in another hotel in Oslo later that August – and broadcast on Krogh’s new website. Now you can both play the interviews on site or download the edited sections (12 in total).

On the eve of his 69th Birthday (February 1st), having just been diagnosed with leukemia, Black was extremely open and vivid with his reminiscences. For instance, we learn how Black first becomes acquainted with Jon Larsen, his opinion of Zappa cover bands, Zappa Plays Zappa, playing with Captain Beefheart, Zappanale, Mike Keneally, and, of course, the source of his bitterness towards the ZFT:

JCB: And you know, I appreciated that out of Frank. I… to tell you the truth, man, I always loved Frank Zappa, man. Even with the lawsuits and all the fucking trouble and with all the shit and all that, it doesn’t even fucking matter, man. I still tried to get hold of him before he… you know, when I was getting ready to move over to Europe. 1992. I called Motorhead, and I said “Motor, would you do me a favour. Would you call Frank, or call Gail, and find out if it’s at all possible that I can call Frank.” I’d like to… you know, wish him good luck with his problems, and, you know. Basically, what it would have been at that time, was just “Hey, man. It’s been a pleasure knowing you. You taught me a lot.” And he did, man! I learned a lot of different things about music that I didn’t know.

CK: Hm… But what happened?

JCB: No… she said no. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t want to have anything to do with her. And the kids… the kids only know one side of the story. They don’t know our side of the story. You know, they only know her side… what she says. How bad we are. What could we have possibly done to them? We didn’t take any money from them! We didn’t steal anything from them! What could we possibly do to them? Say things? Say the truth? You mean you’re not allowed to say the truth? Fuck you, man! I will say the truth! I’ll tell you what happened! I mean, I’ll tell you the way I saw it happen! The way it happened to me.

These interviews are a rich source of oral history for any Mothers fan, in general, and Jimmy Carl Black in particular. A must listen.

Interviews are also available in transcribed text.

Zappanale (Then & Now) — PGSOR All Stars feat. Denny Walley

Denny Walley, slide guitar player and childhood friend of Bobby and Frank Zappa, Don Van Vliet, and Jim Sherwood (Motorhead) was asked to tour with The Paul Green School of Rock (PGSOR) All Stars. As he says in the clip above, “I jumped at it [the chance].” Walley also talks about his musical origins, influences and jamming with the PGSOR All Stars. Of particular interest is a statement he makes at the 4:27 point in the video:

If it hadn’t of been for other people, bands, and people that loved his [Zappa’s] music, playing it, nobody would know who he is anymore.

The PGSOR All Stars is a group of the best students from the entirety of the program:

The program consists of year-round, weekly individual lessons as well as full band rehearsals for seasonal shows. Instructors are encouraged to stress the fundamentals of both popular music and music theory in their teaching. Instruction is available in electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, keyboards, and vocals. Students are encouraged to play other instruments as well with instruction from other sources. Students learn songs from popular bands/artists like Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, 80’s hair metal, punk, and grunge. Those songs are eventually played at themed live shows held throughout the year. There are occasional workshops featuring accomplished musicians, and include discussions about past experiences, songwriting, live performance and fame in general. To be admitted, students generally must be between the ages of 7 and 18. No musical training or experience is necessary to attend the school.

They go on tour to play such venues as BB Kings in Times Square, The Knitting Factory in LA and NYC, The Roxy and Crash Mansion in LA, Stubbs in Austin, Hard Rock Cafes, House of Blues, and many of the biggest festivals in the country such as Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. They tour and play with famous musicians from rock’s past and present, including Jon Anderson, Peter Frampton, Alice Cooper, Adrian Belew, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Stewart Copeland, Ike Willis, and Ann Wilson. The All-Stars consist of five nationally touring groups.

Denny Walley appeared as a special guest with the PGSOR All Stars at Zappanale 19 on August 15th, 2008 in Bad Doberan, Germany presenting a special Zappa/Beefheart program. In the following clips they perform “Dog Breath/Uncle Meat”, “One Shot Deal” and “Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man”:



The Paul Green School of Rock All Stars will return to the Zappanale 20 Main Stage on Saturday, August 15th, 2009. Denny Walley will appear with the Mats & Morgan Band on Sunday, August 16th.

Read an interview of Denny Walley conducted by Idiot Bastard at Zappanale 19. Click here.

Captain Beefheart — Revisited


A couple of my favorite Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band videos, “I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby” (The Spotlight Kid/Clear Spot, 1972) and “Hard Working Man” (Dust Blows Forward – Anthology, 1999) — and a reminder to revisit Barry’s Monday, September 29th, 2008 post of BBC’s documentary on The Captain, narrated by the late great John Peel. Click here.

Frank Zappa — Composer & Guitarist

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.

In the clips below, a radio documentary about Frank Zappa’s bizarre relationship with Jazz, culled from various sources and interviews (some with Zappa himself, just before his passing) with various alumni (Arthur Barrow, Adrian Belew, Mike Brecker, George Duke, Bruce Fowler, Ralph Humphrey, Tommy Mars, Patrick O’Hearn and Don Preston), entitled, albeit, ironically “Jazz From Hell” (presented by Charles Shaar Murray for Jazz File, BBC Radio 3).

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.

Zappa Radio Interview, New York, 1978

Frank Zappa, on the air with Mark Simone, October 30th, 1978, at WPIX-FM, New York, just prior to one of his annual (and albeit, infamous) Palladium concerts. It’s quite easy to see why these Palladium concerts were of the must see variety.

I wonder if the Warren that FZ is saying hello to “on air” is the same Warren Cuccurullo who later joined his band?

Three FZ Alumni Interviews



During the same week in April, 1996, while in Los Angeles, California, Juha Rompannen recorded several private interviews with Frank Zappa alumni.

On April 20th, Rompannen conducted his interview with Tommy Mars (first clip). Mars talks about his musical schooling, his time with Frank, synthesizer and keyboard technology and current projects. Mars is a keyboard player who played piano, organ and synthesizers in Frank Zappa’s touring and recording band between 1977 and 1982.

Remaining parts of interview: 2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9

On April 17th, Rompannen conducted his interview with Robert “Bobby” Martin (second clip). Martin talks about his musical development, early music career, his time with Frank and composer jobs. Martin is a vocalist and multi instrumentalist who sang and played keyboards, saxophone and french horn in Frank Zappa’s band during the tours of 1981, 1982, 1984 and 1988.

Remaining parts of interview: 2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12

On April 14th, Rompannen conducted his interview with Bruce Fowler (third clip). Fowler talks about his time with Frank, the movie business, the music scene, and his musical schooling among other things. Fowler is a trombone player that played in Frank Zappa’s touring and recording band during 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 and also during Franks last tour in 1988.

Remaining parts of interview: 2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13

All three alumni are members of The Band From Utopia. Partly known under that name, The Mar Vista Philharmonic: No Forest Fire, released this year (2009) also features Tommy Mars and Bruce Fowler (Walt Fowler, Larry Klimas, Kurt McGettrick, Arthur Barrow and Vinnie Colaiuta).

I have No Forest Fire on order, as well as Strange News From Mars (Jon Larsen/Tommy Mars/Bruce Fowler) and The Jimmy Carl Black Story (Jon Larsen/Jimmy Carl Black) from Zonic Entertainment which I’ll review in future posts as they arrive in my mailbox.

Thanks to ‘YourArf’ for posting these interviews.

Some Articles on FZ

Found on the FZ In Hungary Page:

Great rock solos of our time (NME – 1970, maybe?…)
Songwriting: Frank Zappa (Guitar Magazine, 2001)

The latter has some score-samples, too.

Zappa — The Lost Interview


Barry, our most kind and benevolent webmaster, posted this seven part interview in July, 2008. However, when I sought it out both here at KUR and on the web, I came head-on to many dead links. Seems as though certain parties, which shall go nameless, have been quite busy on YouTube having particular Zappa-related material removed (It seems to me that it won’t be too long when finding anything Zappa-related on YouTube will be either (a) impossible, or (b) costly).

Information Is Not Knowledge describes it as such:

The total interview runs about an hour and covers music politics and popular culture from 1950s through 1990. This interview was never released. It was recorded in 3 segments 1990 in LA, but never completed as a final project. Intended to be kind of retrospect of what happened to the personal growth and idealism of 60’s as it whitewashed into the self indulgence of the 70s and 80s and the corporatism of America. It was never completed upon his death.

Fortunately, I was able to track down live links to Zappa’s Lost Interview. “Part 1: Early Influences” and “Part 2: McCarthy, Elvis & Racism” are above, respectively. The rest are as follows:

Part 3: The Presidential Elections(09:52 min.)
Part 4: Beatles, Stones & Censorship(09:31 min.)
Part 5: Hendrix, UFOs & Sex(09:52 min.)
Part 6: Problems with Democracy(09:36 min.)
Part 7: Message to the Future(00:53 min.)

Watch ’em before they’re gone for good.