Steve Hillage is an English musician, best known as a guitarist. He is associated with the Cambridge psychedelic scene and has worked in experimental and avant garde music since the late 1960s. Besides his solo recordings he has been a member of Gong, Khan and System 7.
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.
I had nearly forgotten about Capt. Cheese Beard & The 7 Sisters Of Prevention after Barry first posted their video of “Black Napkins” here at KUR back in 2007. Frankly, this ten piece band blows me away with their musicianship and their enthusiasm for the material they are playing (just check out the first two clips from their performance at Atelier210 – the aforementioned “Black Napkins” and “More Trouble Every Day”).
Captain Cheese Beard & the 7 Sisters of Prevention are a ten piece fusion band from Brussels, Belgium, formed by Johan De Coninck in May of 2006 after a year of pondering whether the whole project was actually feasible and worth all the trouble of managing a production of its size.
About three years ago, after riding pygmy ponies for many hours at the Pygmy Pony Riding club and smoking a whole pack of Wellfields (these are very dodgy Togolese cigarettes, by the way) Capt. Cheese-Beard went into a trance and had a vision in which he was visited by his long-time idol Frank Zappa who died in 1993. The great man himself told the captain that it was clear that his oeuvre was at risk of being lost, as it was not being exposed to the music listening youth of today. This was of course totally unacceptable. Maybe it was the side-effects of the Wellfields, temporally disabling the captain’s sense of reason, but during that cerebral meltdown he swore as a proud member of the pygmy pony riding club that he would do everything within his power to bring Zappa’s music back to life. Of course this was easier said than done. The media, regulated for many years now by the central scrutinizer, the sort of person who smells of cabbage, hired by so-called friends of the music biz, wasn’t going to be very receptive to the idea of putting the great composer’s “subversive” music back on the air. To make things worse, the central scrutinizer’s roll consists in making sure that the minds of our young consumers are continuously bombarded with tasteless, lukewarm, prefab pop. The captain, who by now had come back to his senses, realized he had to come up with a different, more daring plan. He decided he would find 9 other crazy musicians (preferably with prior pygmy pony experience) who would join him on a quest to go out there and attempt to play Zappa’s music themselves. He scratched his beard, put his fingers up his nose and smelled that it was good.
Didier Demeestere – drums
Pascal Hauben – bass
Sara Corsius – keyboard
Johan De Coninck Corsius – guitar & voice
Rojah Lao – vocals (first 2 gigs only)
Abil Khazzaka – vocals
Vanessa Spy 007 – lead vocals
Katja Maes – melodic percussion
Ansje De Groef – flute
Thomas Van Gelder – alto & soprano sax
Kristof Kerremans – sax
Ludovic Jean-Mart – sax
Thomas Brünnich, Thomas Käckenmeister and Michael Käckenmeister had already made music together while attending the conservatoire in Rostock in the mid-1980s, before ever conceiving of forming a band together. In the autumn of 1990, the three musicians again became active, playing in Blues and Rock bands surrounding Doberan. Around approximately 1996, was when the lasting foundation was forged to what would eventually constitute the main character of Jazzprojekt Hundehagen.
Masterminded by the Austrian legend Wickerl Adam, and formed as an offshoot of the Hallucination Company in 1998 (an Austrian rock music theater project also founded by Wickerl in 1977 that operated in a “Frank Zappa-oriented, modern rock music performance theater with political demands”) along with guitarist Conrad Schrenk – Sex without Nails bros performed the first full Musical adaptation of Zappa’s Joe’s Garage on the tenth anniversary of the artist’s death in 2003.
S.W.N.B. also performed at Zappanale 18 (August 4th, 2007) as a rock band with Napoleon Murphy Brock on guest vocals. In the following clips they perform “Penguin In Bondage”, “Pygmy Twylyte” and “Yellow Snow Suite”:
Sex without Nails bros bandmembers:
Margit Schoberleitner – Percussion, marimba
Hannes Kerschner – Keyboards Jil Y Creek – Guitar Werner Laher – Bass
Sigi Meier – Drums
Angie Reisinger – Vocals
Anzo Morawitz – Vocals
Peter Dürr – Vocals Conrad Schrenk – Guitar Wickerl Adam – Vocals, MC
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”:
In 2009, Unverschämtheit (Insolence) Vol. 2, is due for release. A particular focus of the album are songs with the woodwind phrase “Horny Hornz”. Estimated track of the album include: Heavy Duty Judy, Brown Shoes Do Not Make It, The Grand Wazoo, Tinseltown Rebellion, The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing, and Strictly Genteel. Recorded over the last 3 years at various concerts, including the band’s 15-year anniversary at Café Hahn, Koblenz.
On Tuesday, the 11th of August, 2009, in the St.Katharinen Kirche in Hamburg, Sheik Yerbouti will team up with Napoleon Murphy Brock for a “live and unplugged“ session that will kick off Zappanale #20. They will play the festival, itself, on Saturday, the 16th of August.
In the three clips above, Sheik Yerbouti with Napoleon Murphy Brock at the German club Objekt5, in Halle (Saale) on October 14th, 2008, perform “Village Of The Sun”, “Black Page #2”, and “St. Etienne”.
Sheik Yerbouti performed at Zappanale 4,5,8,10, and 14.
Bogus Pomp began in August, 1994, when guitarist Jerry Outlaw and keyboardist Rick Olson got together for some informal jamming. It started out as a quartet (Jerry Outlaw: guitar, vocals – Rick Olson: keyboard – Alex Pasut: bass – Tom Mccowan: drums), but quickly grew to a 10 piece ensemble. The Bogus Pomp Orchestra consists of Bogus Pomp (the 10-piece electric band), plus a 15-piece chamber ensemble. They’re based in Tampa Bay, Florida, USA.
The band has performed concerts with New York Big Band leader Ed Palermo, and in 1998 and 1999 performed with Zappa alumni, Ike Willis. Since October 1999, Napoleon Murphy Brock has been a permanent member.
In the clip above, performing as the “Bogus Pomp Semi-Acoustic Orchestra” feat. Napoleon Murphy Brock at the St. Katharinen church in Hamburg, Germany, on August 13th, 2008 (organized by the Arf Society and opener for Zappanale 2008), the band performs “The Idiot George Bush Son” and “Sleep Dirt”.
Click here to download or listen to German radio broadcast of this Hamburg concert (It’s well worth the listen).
DBRK is a Parisian collective of obedience “Fun First” composed of amateurs and professionals musicians. Real Cover Band, DBRK revisits the work of artists from the sixties to the eighties according to a basic principle: to explore each title must seduce each of the 9 members of the collective. It’s repertoire ranges from David Bowie to Frank Zappa, through Patti Smith, Bob Marley, Roxy Music, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Joy Division, Jimi Hendrix, The Fall, The Wolfgang Press, Brian Eno, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Talking Heads, Wire, Robert Wyatt, Martin Circus, Cream, John Lennon, Genesis, Nick Cave, etc… The commercial potential is not the main objective of DBRK, so do not you cross animating a wedding or a bar mitzvah, though… In a wink to Zappa, DBRK means: Delicious Band Research Kitchen.
In the first clip, DBRK performs a fantastic jazz-infused version of “Uncle Remus” live in Paris at the “Les Fils de l’Invention” FZ festival on July 5, 2008 (now my favorite version of this Zappa/Duke composition). In the second clip, they perform “Wino Man”.
Click here to catch up on the other goings on in Paris, in general, and in France, in particular (a pretty lively bunch of Zappa freaks, I must say). It’s entirely in French, so you’ll need to translate the page (use babelfish)