Best (or Worst) FZ Covers – The Four Directions perform “Lonesome Cowboy Burt”

Jeff and Diane of The Four Directions perform “Lonesome Cowboy Burt” at the Bolton Street Theater in NewCastle, Australia – complete with trumpet and harmonica solos, as well as an improvised tap interpretation. I kid you not. Personally, I don’t know whether this cover belongs as one of the best, or worst FZ covers I have ever heard. They certainly deserve marks for nerve and enthusiasm, though. For bookings or info please contact their agent [], or contact Diane []. I dedicate this post to Gail.

Best FZ Covers: Battle of the YouTube Muffins, Or, Some People Like Cupcakes Better…

I’m really not certain which of these groups belongs in a compilation of best FZ covers – each has something different and unique in their version of Frank Zappa‘s Muffin Man that the other two groups do not. Give them a hearing and decide for yourself. MazMyth at LMCS Auditorium on January 9, 2009; Zappa Plays Zappa at Villa Arconati, July 15, 2008; or Pappa Plays Zappa at The Upperfloor (known as Stalloftet) in Hamar, Norway, August 3, 2008:
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Chat Roulette Piano Improv

Ah, the wonders of Chatroulette: advertised as “instant video-chat” with complete strangers, in my experience it’s mostly a place where young desperate men log on to, erh, yank their crank for all the world to see. That and loads of badly lit, pasty white fat guys with watery eyes wearing day-old underwear. Some fun to be had there too though:

(via Marco)


The BBC is currently broadcasting a superb documentary series about the internet and how it will change any and all of us in the future.
Last night’s episode, Homo Interneticus, was all about social networks such as Facebook and how they influence our lives.

At the end of this episode, an online test was mentioned which attempts to determine how you behave when online, in animal terms.

Of course, I had to take it. My result:

You are a Web Hedgehog

HedgehogSlow-moving – Web Hedgehogs are careful internet users, taking their time to find the right information – just as the real-world hedgehog carefully searches out insects and berries.
Solitary – Hedgehogs lead mainly solitary lives and are happiest foraging for food of their own. In the ecology of the Internet, you also prefer to go it alone, rarely relying on information on social networks or other sites whose content is created by its users.
Specialised – The hedgehog relies for protection on its highly specialised ability to roll into a spiky ball. Similarly, your test suggests you are a specialised web user, best suited to concentrating on one thing at a time rather than attempting to multitask.

Test requires (painless) registration and about 20 minutes of your time.

Die Beistelltische – Are You Hardcore, Enough?

Die Beistelltische is a German sextet (from Göttingen) that performs Frank Zappa’s music a cappella. In 2007, they contributed a special edit of their a capella version of ‘The Idiot Bastard Son’ to “20 Extraordinary Renditions”, that was released on Cordelia Records. Check out their hilariously funny and offbeat a capella version of ‘Billy the Mountain’ which bounces back and forth between German and English. Are you hardcore, enough?
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Can You Play It Backwards?

Funny little anecdote about Zappa’s typical way of dealing with musicians. Act one goes like this:

Just to be sure that Mr. Piano had a fair chance at the reading part of the audition, Frank gave him 2 pieces of music to work on a week before the audition was to take place. One of these pieces is called “The Black Page” which was pretty dense with notes and a real challenge to play. Challenge enough that Mr. Piano kind of gave up learning it as precisely as needed and decided he was good enough to wing it during the audition instead.

Fatal mistake #1! Keep reading for a nice twist at the end.

(Via Paul Carr)

LA Phil Plays Zappa

Concert details to be found here. Some more information over at EarBox, written by the conductor. Gotta love the introductory paragraph:

OK, all you Zappa heads out there in the audience. I can recognize you a mile away because of all the midriff bulge, the surfeit of facial hair and that “show me” scowl on your faces. I just hope you’ve not already been served for illegally making your own unlicensed “Burnt Weeny Sandwich” tee shirts.


(Hat tip: David Ocker)