Strange News From Mars

Put away your tinfoil helmets, the above title is an album written, arranged and produced by Jon Larsen. Recorded in Los Angeles in March, it features Zappa alumni Tommy Mars, Bruce Fowler, Jimmy Carl Black and Arthur Barrow.

Surrealism is a key word for Larsen, as it was for Zappa himself, and even if the compositions are all Larsen’s, there is no doubt that the spirit of Zappa infuses the album. This is evident in the air of the compositions, but most of all it is the presence of The Mothers of Invention which Larsen eventually gave key roles in the conceptual make up of the record.

Now There’s An Auction

An Incredible Two-Hour Zappa Audio Snack!

The winning bidder will be allowed an exclusive visit to The Vault at Utility Muffin Research Kitchen (UMRK) in Los Angeles, famously, the home of all Frank Zappa Masters. An opportunity to be one of the few insiders in history, but more importantly, you will be the personal guest of Gail Zappa and Joe Travers (…) to tour The Vault and listen to selections of Zappa music that have not been previously released.

Opening Bid: $250.00.
Time Left: 12 days 3 hours 25 minutes.

Frank, Gail & Ravel’s Gardener, Sitting In A Tree

At’s forums, Wiki Jawaka contributor Maroual asked a question with regard to the omission of Ravel’s Bolero on TBBYNHIYL, and got an answer — from Gail, no less.


I don’t actually know from an official source why the Bolero had to be removed from TBBYNIYL, do you ? Maybe the ZFT did not want to pay royalties and prefered to remove the track.


Interestingly you have used Ravel as an example. Ravel’s Bolero was removed from FZ’s Master in the countries where it was not public domain. We (yeah, I know you trustbusters hate this when I mean me and FRANK) had to ‘post’ a public apology in the newspaper for “perverting” the intent of the composer by FZ’s arrangement and make sure that that the number of copies sold over the course of the following 2 years was limited – when it then went into public domain in the rest of the world. Since Ravel had no progeny his heirs as I recall were related to his gardener and or housekeeper. You live and you learn. — gz

For those who hadn’t heard it yet, here’s FZ’s magnificent version of Ravel’s Bolero. If memory serves, this bit is taken from the Barcelona ’88 gig, as broadcast on Spanish TV.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk

There’s a topic over at MetaFilter about legendary saxplayer Rahsaan Roland Kirk. According to TRFZB, he appears to have joined the Mothers at the 1968 Boston Globe Jazz Festival, and was on the same bill as the MOI for a ’69 jazz tour of the East Coast. Questions:

  • Does anyone know of any footage of these gigs?
  • Does anyone know of any written accounts of them?

Madamjujujive says thanks.

In Memoriam: David Walley

A reminder to one and all that it was one year ago today that we at KUR said a final goodbye to one of our regular contributors, a man who gave us some rare insights into the early years of the Mothers. I am, of course, referring to the late lamented David Walley.

He was a good friend to all of those fortunate enough to get to know him. I always remember, a few years back when he was invited to become a member of those reprobates over at The Big Note, he kept saying how honoured he was to be invited, and that he wondered whether he would be able to contribute anything useful to the discussions! I had to reassure him that the honour was entirely ours and that I was quite sure that his posts would find an interested audience, but it took a while to convince him.

He was a thinker; he had his opinions, and enjoyed expressing them , but in my experience he was always willing to listen to others’ viewpoints, always willing to offer encouragement and support. He was that kind of guy, and he is sorely missed.

It Sounds Just Like A Telefunken U47 (Again)

The restoration of Frank Zappa’s vintage mic collection, begun in 2005, is now complete:

“We went through three Telefunken U47s, four Neumann M49s, a beautiful matched pair of Neumann M50s, circa 1950, and four AKG C24s, circa 1960. We also worked on an AKG C-12A that was missing a cable and power supply and rebuilt a custom Telefunken Ela M251 using the existing capsule. It was an impressive collection, but if microphones are unused they tend to deteriorate, so we’ve given them a renewed life and got them up and running for Dweezil’s upcoming projects.”

The Inauguration Of Frank-Zappa-Strasse

For those of you who are a bit bummed out by the fact that Napoleon Murphy Brock won’t be playing any of the ZPZ shows, here’s some good news (if you can make it to Berlin). From a press release I received:

Frank Zappa band alumnus Napoleon Murphy Brock will perform at the dedication of Frank-Zappa-Strasse in Berlin on July 28, appearing with German Zappa tribute band Sheik Yerbouti. They will join 17 other musical acts paying tribute to the rock and roll legend. The dedication ceremony will take place at the ORWOhaus, a former photographic film plant that is now home to a musicians’ collective. It will be the first street in Germany named for a rock musician, and the first street in a world capital named for Frank Zappa.

Nappy will also appear at this year’s Zappanale:

Thomas Dippel, president of Arf-Society, said, “Napoleon Murphy Brock joining us is just one more reason why the Zappanale will be the world’s premiere Zappa experience this summer. Fans will be able to see four Zappa alumni who have their own musical ventures and also choose to honor Frank’s legacy with their presence.” This year’s festival headliner is renowned former Zappa drummer Chad Wackerman. Former Mother of Invention Don Preston will appear with his Akashic Ensemble, and long-time Zappa front-man Ike Willis will perform with his protégés Project/Object.

Idiot Bastard Son Redux

The Idiot Bastard, in conjunction with Cordelia Records, is concocting a pretty cool project:

(…) to produce a CD of 20 different versions of Frank Zappa’s The Idiot Bastard Son to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the release of the album it first appeared on (We’re Only In It For The Money) next January – which also happens to be when The Idiot’s 50th birthday is!

Which reminds me: would you guys be interested in a double/triple/quadruple release of The Voice Of Cheese? Fancy artwork and superior mixing included?


Cal Schenkel has a MySpace profile:

About me: Calvin blah blah blah bl-blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blahblah, blah blaaaaah blah. Blah eggs, blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah teeth, blah blah bla. Blah blahhh blah blah. Blah blah blah, blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah. Blah, blahblah blah hitch-hikers blahblah. Blah blah blah.

Heh-heh. (via Duncan)


Anthill Trading announces a deal with the ZFT allowing them to handle all aspects of merchandising not only for Frank Zappa but also for Zappa Plays Zappa:

Anthill recognizes not just the musical contributions Frank Zappa made but also the enormous visual impact his work contains. It is therefore with pride that we will work alongside Frank’s wife Gail in memorializing the entire Zappa legacy through a comprehensive assortment of lifestyle products that will appeal to his legions of fans worldwide.

Pipco shirts, hot-pink overalls, Bowler hats: coming soon to a retail store near you!