FZShows v. 7.1

Under the highly competent maintainance of Oscar Bianco, the document has undergone some Massive Improve’lence, and FZShows v. 7.1 is now to be found [in a new place, under zappateers]. Make sure to update your links and bookmarks!

FZShows v. 7.1 was created by Jon Naurin and is maintained by Jon Naurin and Oscar Bianco – thank you guys! Keep up the good work!!!

Zappa University

Every summer for the last seven years, Arthur Barrow has served as a valuable resource in Joseph Klein’s classroom, where Klein immerses UNT students in the world of Frank Zappa — from the music of The Mothers of Invention to the political and social implications of the lyrics.

A nice article in North Texan Online with Barrow’s story (did I mention he’s my favorite bassist?) Some more:
Frank Zappa’s band played for BBC Radio in 2003 on the 10th anniversary of his death:

Frank Zappa Anniversary Session Mar Vista Philharmonic
Albert Wing: tenor sax
Bruce Fowler: trombone
Walt Fowler: trumpet and flugelhorn
Kurt McGettrick: baritone sax, bass clarinet and flute
Tommy Mars: Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes and vocals
Vinnie Colaiuta: drums
Arthur Barrow: bass

Recorded by Bob Stone
Produced and mixed by Arthur Barrow
Recorded at Lotek Studio, Mar Vista, Los Angeles on 7 th November 2003

Gee… ever heard about it, anyone?

Touring Can Make You Crazy

Adrian Belew continues to publish amazing anecdotes on his Elephant Blog. Take anecdote #37 which he dubs The Fourth Day Of My Professional Touring Life. In it, he tells the tale of FZ’s “then-new” tour manager Ron Nehoda:

the morning after our show at the Aladdin Pancho came around 9 AM to pick up the bags. when he got to Ron’s room there was no answer. eventually he had a security person open the door. Ron was sitting quietly in a bathtub full of water and blood. he had slit his wrists. evidently Ron had a serious gambling addiction as well as a taste for coke. he had gotten himself so coked up the night before he had gambled away frank’s earnings from the concert (reportedly about $15,000.00). as they took him from the tub he was still alive. he said to poor Pancho. “I’ll tell you about it later”.

Not so much as an oblique reference to this incident to be found in any of the FZ-books I’ve read. Weird.

Mad Scientists

Any article that starts off by stating that “Every artform, and every genre within a given artform, needs its Frank Zappa” is sure to provide an interesting read. Another quote:

Even when attempting to encompass the whole world in a single work of art, and then trying it again from a radically different angle within six months of the first effort, the Zappas are comic. They see the futility of trying to take it all in at once, but do it anyway. They’re prolific and protean because they understand that a single lens only gives us one view of the world, but a multiplicity of viewpoints might show us the full spectrum of life.

Eat that, Justin Timberfake.

Anecdote #464 (Scene One)

it begins in late 1977 in the basement of frank zappa’s hollywood home. it’s a saturday and as usual I’m learning the material for next week’s rehearsals. being the only “non-reader” in the band this was a common way for me to prepare. today’s lesson is a brand new song frank has just written called flakes.

— Adrian Belew, Anecdote #464 Scene One.

Smart Diva

Just read a nice little article over at the wiki. A quote:

One day Diva refused to go to school. In fact, she refused to leave her room. Gail spent quite some time trying to persuade the obstinate child to get up and go, but to no avail. Then it was Frank’s turn. He ordered Diva to take a piece of paper and list her two most prized possessions. He told her that if she didn’t leave for school immediately, those two things would be taken away from her. From under the door slid the piece of paper. On it, Diva had written: Mom and Dad. Frank then told her, “Okay, you’re smart enough. You can stay home.”

My Time With Frank Zappa, by Richard Emmet.

A Lesson For Zappa

What would happen if FZ had a lecture from Edgar Varèse?

EV: I must confess that my favorite rock song you did was “What’s the ugliest part of your body? [Here Edgard stands up, grabs an imaginary microphone, adapts a strikingly campy look on his face and sings], some saaay your nose, ba ba ba some saaaaay your toes, I think it’s your mi-hind, think it’s your mind, think it’s your mi-i-i-i-i-i-nd.”
FZ: Gosh Mr Varese, I’m flattered.
EV: I also like very much your Uncle Meat, not so much Yellow Snow.
FZ: It’s all about the big nasty.
EV: See. It’s your nasty obsession.

Reviewing A To Z

Disclaimer: this page is not written by from the point of view of a Frank Zappa fanatic and is not generally intended for narrow-perspective Frank Zappa fanatics. If you are deeply offended by criticism, non-worshipping approach to your favourite artist, or opinions that do not match your own, do not read any further.

Got a couple of hours to spare? This chap’s Zappa review page, which grants our man a Class C should keep you occupied. And when you’re done, there’s this. (via)

Margarita Fridays

Rip Rense wrote an interesting account of the “salon evenings” that were held at Zappa’s house near the end of his life, and of how they came to be:

At Gail Zappa’s behest, the blenders roared every Friday evening about 6. In short order, Frank’s staff of invaluable studio wizards and office workers became duly sloshed, and took to verbally slaying the dragons-of-the-week in tones that can be gently described as rollicking. At first, the Boss merely tolerated this; grudgingly accepting it as a necessity for non-workaholics (…) This soon proved problematic. Running leviathan computerized keyboard systems required assistants — assistants who were not snockered — so in time, the labor fiend was forced to observe the Friday breaks.

He actually took a Margarita in hand.

Meeting Zappa

Two college kids get to interview FZ. Exciting! All goes moderately well, and then…

Frank held the album with both hands and glared at it with his beady, black eyes. Clouds of what looked like dry ice vapor seemed to be coming out of his ears.
“Mistah Zappa wanna buy that record from you,” Smothers rasped in my ear.
“That’s a really great album, Frank!” my clueless, yet status-seeking friend remarked.
“How much ya want for it?” Zappa monotoned.

Halloween Bound

Experts to unmask spooky goings-on:

ECCENTRIC rock legend Frank Zappa, zombies and the spookiest day of the year will be explored at an international conference. Among the topics to be discussed will be the Halloween Zappa concerts, which took place in New York in the 1970s and 1980s. They attained iconic status thanks to the costumes on and off stage.

The Preston-Disney Connection

An interview with Don Preston, who just turned 74.
On how his love for dissonance came to be:

“When I was a kid, I saw Fantasia. Like 25 times. My favorite part was the dinosaurs, and behind them was Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring.’ It was one of the most dissonant pieces Stravinsky ever wrote. And it’s probably what led to me thinking like that. It was one of the most powerful things in my life.”

(via David Ocker)