Who IS The REAL Frank Zappa, Anyway?

Sometimes I am quite delighted to discover a fan-made Frank Zappa video like the one posted above. It reinforces my belief that the future of FZ’s public image is in the right hands: creative, open-minded, technology embracing hands. This is how I always envisioned Zappa’s legacy being spread.
Continue reading “Who IS The REAL Frank Zappa, Anyway?”

Sieg Zappanale!

Remember a certain lawsuit issued by a certain dead rockstar‘s widow against a certain fan-organized tribute festival? As it turns out, said widow just lost the appeal. Robert who mailed in the story, says:

Sorry, currently only available in german. But the message is simple: GZ had appealed against the negative decision from some time ago, this appeal has now been denied, which completes the lawsuit in favor of Zappanale.

From my understanding, the Zappanale festival even retains the right to use FZ’s trademark imperial in its promotional material.

Greasy Love Songs: “Cruising With Ruben & The Jets” Vinyl Version Re-released

Email from the ZFT, christal clear and full of detail as usual (click to enlarge):

The blurb at Barfko Swill:

Yum & Cheap Thrills together at last. It’s 40+ years later for this Anniversary FZ AudioDocumentary in the project/object series. Cruise again with Ruben & The Jets playing all your favorite greasy love songs.

Pre-order at $21 a pop.

Update: This press-release has more info (thx Tim!):

Among additional tracks included are alternate mono mixes, an unreleased cover of “Valerie” which enjoyed heavy rotation in the Mothers’ concerts circa 1967 and a version of “Love of My Life” from Studio Z, bringing this CD from 40 minutes in the vinyl release to well over an hour of “the stuff of teen-age legend,” according to Gail Zappa’s text. “The thrall, the threnodies, the three and four part harmonies, the keys to the kingdom of sociological and panchromatic sexual edification.” The package, #3 in the FZ Audio Documentary Series, also contains Cheech Marin’s highly evocative liner notes recalling his 1968 audition for Zappa.

The Case Of The Zappa Family Trust

Paul Carr has written an excellent paper on the clash between the ZFT and tribute bands. Looking at both conflicting points of view in depth, he comes to this conclusion:

How would Zappa himself have learnt his trade if his heroes Varèse and Stravinsky had asked him to stop appropriating their music into the popular music canon? How can musical ability and indeed our culture grow if we are not allowed to experience from the inside what the great masters have already achieved? Zappa was outspoken about this very process, as typified by the Central Scrutinizer character in Joe’s Garage. This album features the voice of Ike Willis as the voice of ‘Joe’, in a rock opera about the dangers of political systems that are ironically and alarmingly similar to those adopted by the ZFT. According to Miles, Zappa’s coverage of the suppression of freedom of speech in music was inspired in part by the Islamic revolution that had made music illegal within its jurisdiction at the time and this is something he continued in his much publicized confrontation with the Parents Music Resource Centre. It seems that the ZFT are attempting to implement precisely the type of restrictions that Zappa despised, and in doing so conflicting with his legacy. As discussed at the start of this paper, Zappa himself liberally incorporated the music of his heroes such as Ives, Stravinsky and Varèse in particular into his creative idiolect, and to restrict musicians and the public’s access to music goes against the impetus of the post modern culture we live in.

Note: I’m not posting this as flame bait — I just think it’s a really well thought through essay. Give it a read and decide for yourself.

Napoleon M. Brock In Der Spiegel

Nice little interview with NMB in der Spiegel where he speaks about touring with Frank Zappa and, of course, Zappanale where he will be performing this weekend. Money quote:

Gail Zappa should recognize that these music enthusiasts, like the initiators of the Zappanale festival in Germany, are not doing this to become millionaires. These friends of Zappa are ensuring that Zappa and his superb work do not fall into oblivion. Anybody playing around with the Zappa logo for T-shirt advertising or toilet seats should be given a warning, I agree. But anybody seriously performing this music should receive backing from the widow. After all, she is earning the performance fees. And her husband collected inspiration from all styles of music and interpreters and was himself a great plagiarist, before making something entirely his own.

Tiny Vilnius Tears

With a ZPZ concert imminent in the town of Vilnius, Lithuania, Dweezil, Diva and Gail reckoned it would be a nice opportunity to pay an emo-sho-null tribute to the iconic FZ statue present there. Check out the TV coverage.

‘t Would appear then that not all Zappa statues are created equal

Via Uni-Muta, where you’ll find more footage from ZPZ’s Vilnius gig.

Beat The Boots III

Available only from Amazon for now, Beat The Boots III, a six disc continuation of the original Beat The Boot series, is confusing the heck out of just about everybody. Official? ZFT endorsed? Zappa.com is not helping much as it’s currently down. Andrew says: “Back in 2003, Gail said we “can expect a new batch” of Beat The Boots. And here they finally are.”

A Lumpy Legacy

Yesterday, an eight minute feature aired on NPR entitled Frank Zappa: A ‘Lumpy’ Legacy’. From the intro:

Gail Zappa is going after cover bands she accuses of “identity theft.” Her lawyers have sent scores of cease-and-desist letters. But many of the people who continue to perform Frank Zappa’s music say they don’t need permission.

The mini-docu contains quotes from Andre Cholmondeley, Ike Willis, David Fricke, and of course: Gail Zappa… Happy listening! 😉
(thx John W. & Rick W.)

Update 04/11: From the NPR page: “After our story aired, NPR was asked to take down the two Frank Zappa pieces we had been given permission to stream.” Part of the ZFT marketing department’s effort to further promote Zappa’s music, I reckon?

French FZ-Fans To Boycott ZPZ’s Paris Concert

This just in via Uni-Muta: French FZ fansite Les Fils de l’Invention are calling for a boycott of the upcoming ZPZ Concert in Paris. Translation:

Just after last month’s dismissal of the case of the ZFT against the Arf Society, the ZFT is back with a new complaint against the organisers of the Zappanale Festival. In order to:

  • react against this unreasonable juridical harassment
  • show solidarity with our friends
  • make it clear that we are determined to protect the works realised by organisations, artists and writers, who make sure that the works of Frank Zappa will not be forgotten,

we ask you TO BOYCOT the concert that Dweezil Zappa and his band ZpZ will be doing on the 18th of May at the ‘Olympia’ in Paris.

Wow… Meanwhile, this year’s edition of Zappanale is already starting to take shape.