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YOU CALL THAT NEWS?
(Hot Poop, Lukewarm Poopfinal poop)

(Last updated 19 October 2021)

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Hot Poop

 

·        The FZ bust in Vilnius may have to be moved, and the plinth destroyed, to make way for an extension to a nearby clinic. If you don’t want this to happen, sign the petition! [Added: 19 October 2021]

 

·        Gizmodrome (that is, Stewart Copeland, Mark King & Adrian Belew feat. Vittorio Cosma) have a live album coming out next month. As well as a number of tracks from the supergroup's eponymous debut album (the limited edition EP Riff Tricks – The Instrumentals Vol. 1 was better IMHO), it also features their renditions of ditties by The Police, King Crimson and Klark Kent. [Added: 19 October 2021]

 

·        Dweezil is promising lots of new stuff coming soon to his website, now that his home studio has been ‘plugged in’. This will include a further volume in his Live In The Moment series. [Added: 19 October 2021]

 

·        For those unable to view the making of Freak Out! episode in the Classic Albums series, shown on Sky Arts last Friday: it features new interviews with Elliot Ingber, Terry Gilliam, Matt Groening, David Fricke, Ahmet Zappa, Pamela Des Barres, Joe Travers, Cheech Marin, Ruth Underwood, Carl Franzoni, Mike Keneally and Del Casher. Ahmet and Travers play isolated tracks from the original master tapes (lovely to hear just Ray & Frank's vox on Hungry Freaks, Daddy). There is also rare footage of Frank with his first wife, Kay. And Mike Keneally plays some riffs and licks from album. It's a must watch, made with the full co-operation of the Zappa Trust. Hopefully it will reach a wider audience soon. Meantime, there's a trailer on Facebook here. [Added: 16 October 2021]

 

·        Ahmet is currently co-hosting a show called ‘Rock My Collection’ on AXS TV, which looks at unique music memorabilia. In Episode 7, he featured some of his father’s collection – including handwritten lyrics, Aynsley Dunbar's bass drum head from 200 Motels, Bruce Bickford clay figures and the ‘Baby Snakes SG’. You can see the trailer here – but unfortunately not the actual episode. [Added: 16 October 2021]

 

·        Alex Winter’s Zappa movie will be shown on BBC Four TV on 22nd October. [Added: 16 October 2021]

 

·        Mikko Keinonen is making a ‘short film and music video trilogy in five parts’ for new music by Mike Keneally. You can back the project here. [Added: 16 October 2021]

 

·        Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains has sadly passed away. As you may recall, Frank met Paddy at the BBC on his last visit to London in the summer of 1991. You can read a transcript of part of their meeting here. After this, Frank invited the Chieftains over to the UMRK, where they recorded several pieces for their albums, The Celtic Harp and The Long Black Veil (see here for more). It is believed that their rendition of The Green Fields Of America was played at Frank's funeral. [Added: 16 October 2021]

 

·        Another preview track from next month’s 200 Motels 50th anniversary box set has just been unleashed – hear here. [Added: 08 October 2021]

 

·        Four more official Zappa Band live albums are now available to stream/download from Qobuz: their recent shows from Boston, Washington DC (which features guest appearances by both Gavin Harrison and Jakko Jakszyk of King Crimson, on What's New In Baltimore?), Philadelphia and New Haven. There's now a total of 12 releases – see ‘em all here. [Added: 08 October 2021]

 

·        Check out this cool version of Chunga’s Revenge by Robby Krieger, featuring Arthur Barrow, Sal Marquez and Jock Ellis. If you haven’t already, you should also check out Robby’s The Ritual Begins At Sundown album. [Added: 08 October 2021]

 

·        New KCET documentary Con Safos is a tribute to Rubén Guevara, in which he recounts his youthful experiences in Santa Monica during the 1940s. The film also covers his collaborations with Cheech and Chong as well as his time as lead singer of Ruben And The Jets. Airs on PBS in the US next week....and hopefully over here at some point. Here's the trailer – and my Rubén essay from last year. [Added: 08 October 2021]

 

·        In January, the cream of London’s emerging jazz talent will celebrate the life and music of FZ at London's Jazz Cafe. Billed as ‘The Genius of Frank Zappa’, it will be performed by Nostalgic Orange, a rotating collection of London’s finest improvised players led by Pyjæn’s Ben Vize. Here's Ben playing a section of Inca Roads on an electronic wind instrument. [Added: 08 October 2021]

 

·        Just as The Specials unleash their version of Trouble Every Day comes news that Sky Arts in the UK will premiere another in its Classic Albums series next Friday (8 October): Frank Zappa: Freak Out! Should be interesting. [Added: 01 October 2021]

 

·        A new, re-structured and updated version of Pauline Butcher's memoir will be published in a slightly smaller paperback format this November. Provisionally re-titled Freak Out! My Life With Frank Zappa At The Log Cabin 1968-1971, it also adds a dossier of what happened to the cast of characters and a new chapter about the Tate-LaBianca murders. [Added: 01 October 2021]

 

·        Four more official Zappa Band live albums are now available to stream/download from Qobuz: their recent shows from Huber Heights, Holmdel (which features a guest appearance by King Crimson drummer Jeremy Stacey, on Village Of The Sun), Cleveland and Milwaukee. All four include the ‘new’ track, What’s New In Baltimore? [Added: 01 October 2021 / Updated: 08 October 2021]

 

·        The 200 Motels 50th anniversary box set has now been officially announced. Sadly (as forewarned below) it does exclude the film on Blu-Ray and accordingly there’s a slight delay in its release. Any road up: to get you juiced for it, a first preview track, Mystery Roach (Dialog Protection Reel), can now be streamed on YouTube and Spotify (and probably elsewhere), plus there’s my special 200 Motels article, interviews and more here. [Added: 27 September 2021]

 

·        The softcover version of my FZ88 book with Sergio Albonico is now available from Wymer UK (or there’s a few signed copies available from my online store). For those who bought the limited edition hardback, you don't need this one too: yes, it has a different cover, I've corrected a few typos and added the Last US Show to the discography plus one ‘new’ quote from Chad Wackerman about how the band was initially put together for a TV show that never happened. But that's it. Save your money for gas! [Added: 27 September 2021]

 

·        Dweezil has gifted another Mini Concert to Silver Subscribers of his Reward Music thang…but you can still buy and download the songs à la carte if you have yet to subscribe. It includes a live in London 2017 version of Manx Needs Women with the Norwegian Wind Ensemble and two servings of Who Are The Brain Police? (“the rocking teenage combo version from the early 70s, and the original Freak Out! style.”). These F.O.H. mixes have been spiffed up in Dweezil's new home studio. [Added: 27 September 2021]

 

·        The Girls In The Magnesium Dress – that is, Anna Astesano (harp) and Valentina Ciardelli (double bass) – are working on their first CD, and you can help them Kickstart it here. The album, to be called Rūtsu, will comprise classical repertoire inspired by Japanese culture, with a rendition of FZ's Cheepnis as an added bonus track. As many will know, Valentina (aka Zappawoman) has previously recorded her versions of Frank’s Echidna's Arf Of You and Mysterioso, and arranged a number of Zappa pieces that were performed with Inventionis Mater and Napoleon Murphy Brock in Hamburg in 2018 (ahead of her appearance at Zappanale #29). The Girls have their own website here. [Added: 27 September 2021]

 

·        L. Shankar is releasing his first ever holiday album, Christmas From India, a brand new set of recordings where he recreates some of the most treasured holiday classics with the sound of tablas, sitar and, of course, violin and vocals to craft a Christmas album like no other. The album also includes two original compositions by Larry. He says, “It was a thrill and pure joy to work on my new album. It brought back fond memories of working on the music for both of the Jesus movies, first with the legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese and Peter Gabriel on The Last Temptation of Christ, and then with Mel Gibson and John Debney on The Passion of the Christ. Christmas From India is like a third chapter.” [Added: 27 September 2021]

 

·        The Idiot is reliably informed that the inclusion of the 200 Motels film on Blu-ray in the 50th anniversary box set has hit a snag. Hopefully this will get resolved, but if not I’d be happy to see just The True Story… included, with a standalone release of the movie later. Let’s keep everything crossed, though. [Added: 21 September 2021]

 

·        A little more on Alan Clayson's authorised Zappa biography, from the Little, Brown Book Group: "Mother Superior will cover the early years – 1964 to 1973. It will both re-assess the old yarns and bring to the surface new and rediscovered information via an array of interviewees from every trackway of Zappa's fifty-three years on this planet. It will draw on a huge archive, some of it quite obscure, from public domain and personal collections. It will animate not only Zappa but also those who interacted with him, and the social, cultural, economic and environmental contexts in which this much misunderstood cultural icon lived and worked." It runs to 320 pages, and is published next June. [Added: 21 September 2021]

 

·        Three more live albums from The Zappa Band’s guest spot on the recent King Crimson US tour have just been unleashed. Grab ‘em while they’re hot! [Added: 21 September 2021]

 

·        To celebrate the 50th anniversary of 200 Motels, I have put together a sort of true story of the making of the fillum by those involved. It includes a few previously unpublished quotes. I have also reposted my interview with Martin Lickert and The Idiot Bastard Shop is offering a modest discount on the Would You Like A Snack? CD (all orders come with a free ‘auto-rip’, including a mystery bonus track not on the album and digital booklet). [Added: 17 September 2021]

 

·        Finally, unofficial confirmation that Zappa Records, UMe and MGM will present an extensive 7-disc 200 Motels box set next month. It contains the original soundtrack remastered by Bernie Grundman along with never-before-heard demos, studio outtakes, work mixes, interviews and movie ads. Also included is a Blu-ray disc featuring the film in 1080p high-definition with its intended screen-crop-ratio and the digital premiere of the 1987 documentary The True Story Of 200 Motels. Finally, the package contains a replica of the movie poster, a custom motel keychain, Do-Not-Disturb motel door hanger and the original 1971 soundtrack packaging along with new liner notes by Pamela Des Barres, Ruth Underwood and Joe Travers. (This info popped up on Amazon, then swiftly disappeared. Fortunately a Zappateer copied it. You can see the full spiel with tracklist here.) [Added: 17 September 2021]

 

·        As noted down below, The Zappa Band, with special guests, will play at the Baked Potato in LA this Halloween. The dates are 28-31 October. [Added: 17 September 2021]

 

·        Tower and HMV in Japan are listing a 6CD version of 200 Motels, to be released on 29 October. (And yes, there are vinyl and 2CD editions too!) As reported below, Pamela Des Barres has written the liner notes for this 50th anniversary reissue. More as and when. [Added: 10 September 2021]

 

·        Italian guitarist/songwriter Marco Mattei releases his debut solo album, Out Of Control, in November. It features Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta, Pat Mastelotto and Chad Wackerman. [Added: 10 September 2021]

 

·        Ike Willis, courtesy of Dr Dot, gives us an update on his battle with prostate cancer here. (Winning!) He also reveals that he has been asked to guest with the (unbanned-from-utopia) Zappa Band in LA later this year. Good news all-around! [Added: 07 September 2021]

 

·        As well as catching up with Ike, Dot also had a Zoom chat with the always healthy Robert Martin. Robert reveals that (all being well) Ike will guest with the Zappa Band at one of its four shows at the Baked Potato this Halloween. And the pair also have a burp-off! Check that one out here. [Added: 07 September 2021]

 

·        The Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra has mixed, mastered, sequenced and shipped off to Cordelia Records its fifth album, called Make An Arf Noise Here. This features many of the usual suspects, including Prairie Prince, Ike Willis, Sandro Oliva, Fred Händl – and even yours truly – plus  the latest stellar addition to the ZERO auxiliary, Randy Hansen! [Added: 07 September 2021]

 

·        The Zappa Band (currently on tour with King Crimson) is capturing performances in hi-res quality. You can stream (or download, without subscription) a live album from Saratoga Springs right now, from  Qobuz. Says Mike Keneally, “More shows coming soon! Follow the sound from town to town! No post-show mixing or fixes possible! Hear the unalloyed reality of the musics we are creating on this very tour at this very moment!” [Added: 05 September 2021]

 

·        Zappa book news: Podmeister Scott Parker's PREPOSTEROUS! Frank Zappa On Stage 1977-1978 should finally start shipping in September; Peter Van Laarhoven's The Others Of Invention books are now readily available via print-on-demand through Amazon; Candy Zappa is writing a book about her time with Nolan Porter, called If I Could Only Be Sure, which will be published by Crossfire Publications (Crossfire will also be reissuing updated versions of Candy's My Brother Was a Mother (Take 4) and Greg Russo's Cosmik Debris in December); the Chicago Press Review has now cancelled publication of Paul Zollo's Zappa On Zappa tome; and finally, out next month is the affordable softcover version of FZ88 (the visual documentary of FZ's final tour) – pre-order now, and save a fiver! [Added: 26 August 2021]

 

·        Ed Mann recently removed his Facebook posts about his two Gonzo Today articles, commenting that he was going away for a while as he was "stunned" about something. It very sadly transpired that his 27 year old daughter Anaïs had passed away. My sincere condolences go to Ed and the family and friends of Anaïs. How terrible. [Added: 26 August 2021]

 

·        More sad news: those of you who attended Frank’s 1984 shows at London's Hammersmith Odeon will know of PR man Roland Hyams. (You can hear FZ's opening spiel about him from the 24 September late show here; this followed an article by Alan Rusbridger in the Grauniad.) Well, poor Roland today really is in deep shit – his wife posted on Facebook: “Roland was diagnosed with cancer last year. He had his cancer operation March this year and was making a remarkable recovery. He went into hospital two weeks ago for a small procedure. Two days later he had a cardiac arrest and a massive stroke. He won’t be able to walk again. All we can do now is pray. I am devastated and heartbroken.” Here’s hoping for a recovery of some sort for the poor chap. [Added: 26 August 2021]

 

·        The Specials will release a new album, Protest Songs – 1924-2012, on 24 September. It includes 12 new versions of protest songs by artists like Bob Marley, Leonard Cohen, and...FZ's Trouble Every Day! [Added: 19 August 2021]

 

·        Chapter Two of Ed Mann’s Hired by Frank Zappa tale is here. A great read. [Added: 19 August 2021]

 

·        The 15-piece Stinkfoot Orchestra has re-scheduled it’s San Jose gig, with special guest Napoleon Murphy Brock, which was planned to celebrate Frank's 80th last year: it will now take place on September 11. Read a new interview with Napi here, and visit the ensemble’s website for more. [Added: 19 August 2021]

 

·        The virtual Zappanale has been…but it’s not gone. If you want, you can still check out my personal highlight: Patrick O’Hearn‘s solo bass rendition of Twenty Small Cigarshere! [Added: 14 August 2021]

 

·        Interesting new article here about Tom Wilson and his move to MGM/Verve and working as producer on albums by the Mothers, The Animals and The Velvet Underground. And who can forget Pamela Zarubica's reminiscences here? [Added: 14 August 2021]

 

·        Australian pianist Michael Kieran Harvey, who previously recorded Ruth Is Sleeping and 48 Fugues For Frank: A Homage To Frank Zappa, has a new FZ influenced project. Catalogue des Errances Bibliques/Bible Stories, for eight keyboardists and four percussionists – together with spoken narration, written and spoken by Arjun von Caemmerer – has just been released on CD. Check it out here – and over here also. “The influence of Zappa – both on the music and text – exceeds that of frozen beef pies,” says Arjun. [Added: 14 August 2021]

 

·        Cherry Red subsidiary él Records will release I’d Love to Turn You On, Vol. 2, a 4-CD set, in October. It “explores the relationship between 60s pop and classical music, free jazz and the avant-garde; providing many examples of how popular music evolved, matured and became liberated under the influence of apparently deeper, more expansive genres.” Representing FZ's influences, it collects together Igor Stravinsky’s L`Histoire du Soldat, Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16 by Arnold Schoenberg and selections from Music On The Desert Road: A Sound Travelogue by Deben Bhattacharya. (Vol. 1 included Varèse's Hyperprism.) [Added: 14 August 2021]

 

Lukewarm Poop

·         Check out this behind the scenes footage of preparations for the 2019 Bizarre World…/Hologram tour, featuring Frunobulax - and FZ, in many animated forms! [Added: 30 July 2021 / Spotter: Corné van Hooijdonk]

 

·         Typically gonzo article by Ed Mann about how he finally got hired by the ‘evil and demonic’ FZ. [Added: 30 July 2021]

 

·         Ben Watson played three tracks from the Would You Like A Snack? album on his 30-vii-2021 OTL Show on Soho Radio. Check it out here. [Added: 30 July 2021]

 

·         Read about an almost lost episode when in 1974 Frank and the Roxy band went to Westminster College in Salt Lake City (where Albert Wing and Walt Fowler were students) here. [Added: 24 July 2021]

 

·         The Ed Palermo Big Band's full headlining set from Zappanale 2019 – with special guests Napoleon Murphy Brock and Candy Zappa – is now up on YouTube with remastered audio. Give you eyes and ears a treat. [Added: 24 July 2021]

 

·         Chato: “This Sunday (25/07/2021) at 7pm German time, my composition In Memoriam, Frank Zappa will be released on YouTube as a premiere! It's my tribute to my greatest hero Frank Zappa. Because of him I wanted to compose and it's no wonder it's in a similar style as his. I had the post-solo section of Sinister Footwear Mvt. 2 and Black Page #2 in mind when I wrote this. It would be great to watch this together, so here is the link.” [Added: 24 July 2021]

 

·         The Spanner Big Band livestreamed their gig at the Gunners Pub in North London last week, and paid tribute to the then imminent virtual Zappanale festival by playing a splendid version of Waka Jawaka. Check it out here. And don't forget you can listen to their version of Son Of Mr Green Genes over here (full album available from my webshop!). Oh, and Dan Spanner’s solo rendition of Daddy, Daddy, Daddy from the new Would You Like A Snack? album was part of the virtual Zappanale too! [Added: 24 July 2021]

 

·         Suddenly available (in good time for the 50th anniversary): Would You Like A Snack? – an album of choice cuts from 200 Motels, as performed by a bunch of my Zappa friends. Buy it here. Read all about here. Listen to the title track here. [Added: 14 July 2021]

 

·         A number of you responded to the quiz below re. the FZ references in Simon Prentis's book promo vid. I can now reveal the winner. Step forward Corné van Hooijdonk. And here is what Corné spotted (in order of appearance in the video):

o   Arf! (The ever recurring theme of the dog barking)

o   Stinkfoot: "Here Fido!" and "This is the dog talking now"

o   I'm So Cute!

o   Stinkfoot: "Bring the slippers!"

o   Arf Arf Arf!

o   Arf?

o   Honey Don't You Want A Man Like Me: "She had an Irish setter!"

o   The Poodle

o   The Radio Is Broken

o   Muffin Man

o   I'm Using The Chicken To Measure It

o   Greggery Peccary, little pig.

o   Penguin In Bondage: stitched up little penguin.

o   Lumpy Gravy: "I hear you are having trouble with Pigs & Ponies!"

o   The back-cover of One Size Fits All

o   Mudd Club: "And all the rest of whom for which to when

o   So ever of partially indeterminate bio-chemical degradation

o   Seek the path to the sudsy yellow nozzle of their

o   Foaming nocturnal parametric digital whole-wheat

o   Inter-faith geothermal terpsichorean ejectamenta"

o   Fido again.

o   Scratch & Sniff

o   Florentine Pogen: Chester's Gorilla

o   The Blue Light: "You can't even speak your own fucking language"

o   The adventures of greggery peccary: "What?"

o   The Grand Wazoo

o   Inca Roads: "Did a vehicle come from somewhere out there?"

o   Shall we takes ourselves seriously?

o   The Crystall Ball sound from "Cosmik Debris"

o   Dinah Moe Humm: Do you know what I'm really telling you - Is it something that you can understand

o   Fido - again

o   I ain't got no heart: "There Ain't No Such Thing As Love"

o   Jumbo Go Away

o   The whistle in the beginning of "Find Her Finer" (Which I inserted during the Rotterdam May 3rd performance, that caused FZ to give me a fowl look)

o   I Don't Even Care (from FZ Meets The Mothers of Prevention)

o   The Air (we breathe)

o   Sofa: "FZ: A light shines down from Heaven, a dense ecumenical patina at the right hand of God's big sofa."

o   Church Chat (the organ sound)

o   The Poodle Story: God created man, wooo-man, and the poodle.

o   Bobby Brown: "Women's liberation, came creeping all along the nation".

o   The Big Note: FZ's take on the Big Bang theory.

o   Ding-Dong: the doorbell from "The Perfect Stranger"

o   The Illinois Enema Bandit: "No pooh-pooh jokes!"

o   Wino Man

o   The Poodle

o   In France

o   Greggery Peccary: The construction of a thrilling new trend: The Calendar! Monday, etc.

o   Punky's Whips: ""He's a little fond of chiffon in a wrist array-ee-ay-ee-ay"

o   Ko-Ko the female gorilla was also able to communicate. FZ dedicated TRFZ book to her.

o   Bark: Barking Pumpkin Records

o   Gibson SG guitar on stage

o   Sound of a cow: used in the Yellow Shark

o   1348: the year of the plague, on the skull of the backcover of Uncle Meat

o   Bamboozled: "Bamboozled By Love"

o   Aura: Dinah Moe Humm

o   Bizarre: "Our Bizarre Relationship", "Bizarre", the record label.

o   Wazoo: "The Grand Wazoo"

o   Yellow Snow (Dog on the brink of peeing in the snow)

o   What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body: "Some say your toes"

o   "We Are Not Alone", Man From Utopia

o   "Hope you enjoyed the show!": many times, FZ ended a concert with those words, or similar.

Simon sez, “He pretty much spotted everything (and a few I hadn’t noticed myself!) – the only notable lacuna in his list being that the Morse code message being tapped out at 0.26 actually spells F-R-U-N-O-B-U-L-A-X. Of course it does!” Very well done, Corné. [Added: 14 July 2021]

·         Chato’s performance of Marque-son’s Chicken at Zappanale in 2017 can now be obtained via Bandcamp. And here’s the video of said performance. [Added: 14 July 2021]

 

·         Ed Palermo (of Big Band fame): “I’m so happy to announce the release of our 2019 headlining performance at the Zappanale Festival in Germany. We'll premiere the entire gig (with newly remastered audio) on the 2nd anniversary, Tuesday, July 20th, 2021. Meanwhile, enjoy a stroll down Inca Roads with our special guest, Napoleon Murphy Brock. Crank it up, the sound quality is out of this world!” [Added: 14 July 2021]

 

·         The 2012 remaster of Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band’s Trout Mask Replica is finally being unleashed on streaming services. To tie-in with this, the Duck Foot Brewing company has produced a limited edition (wait for it) Stout Mask Replica beer. [Added: 14 July 2021]

 

·         Interesting li’l nugget for yez: the Bruce Bickford exhibition currently happening in New York (see below) is curated by artist Eric White. Some time after FZ passed, Eric befriended Gail Zappa and she wrote an essay for his book of paintings, It Feeds Itself (2003). He in turn provided the cover artwork for the posthumous Zappa releases, Trance-Fusion (2006) and The Dub Room Special (2007). Eric today is the boyfriend of actress Patricia Arquette. I just felt you needed to know this. [Added: 14 July 2021]

 

·         A couple of people have written to me to point out that Zappa 88: The Last US Show went straight into the German album charts at number 9. How mad is that? I seem to recall Ahmet commenting on the number of sales of some of the other recent releases too. There’s hope for the future! [Added: 14 July 2021]

 

·         The Married Widow: My Journey With Bob Zappa by Diane Papalia Zappa is now available from Amazon (in paperback and on Kindle). It includes a chapter on 'Frankie And Bobby' as well as one on 'Hanging with Moon and Dweezil'. Says Dick Barber, “Read how Diane was able to cope with a cruel turn of events and turn her life from loss to a loving memory of her husband Bobby.” [Added: 14 July 2021]

 

·         From the Zappanale website: “What can you expect next year at Zappanale #31? Here are some clues: Co de Kloet ... Lisa Popeil ... Valentina Ciardelli ... Marco Paccasoni Group ... John McLaughlin ... Mike Keneally ... Robert Martin & Zappa All Stars Band ... HILO feat. Dweezil Zappa.” See you there? [Added: 09 July 2021]

 

·         The Muffin Men: Roddie is taking a break from gigging this year. He’s having a bit of trouble getting his kex on, so in the interest of public decency, we’ve got new boy Phil Oakes to stand in for him. Phil’s a great player and a massive Zappa fan, and he jumped at the chance to play with us. We’ve been rehearsing all through spring and are very much looking forward to playing some old favourites and some new stuff at the few gigs we'll be doing this summer.” Keep checking the Bastard’s Diary for the dates. [Added: 09 July 2021]

 

·         Here's a little ditty from my tenth collaboration with Cordelia Records – the title track from the Would You Like A Snack? album, a selection of choice cuts from 200 Motels recorded by friends old and new. The track is performed by Johnny Hawk & The Pavement Oysters, and features Sam Ward (guitar/engineering), Kevin Crosby (bass), John Parkinson (drums), yours truly (vocals/whistling), and artwork by ArtForDinosaurs. The full album will be available from the Cordelia Record Shop next week. Full details on the album can be found here. [Added: 09 July 2021]

 

·         Chanan Hanspal: “I've just uploaded a video to YouTube on Zappa's concept of time and space in which I talk about xenochrony, fractals and the subliminal, I thought it might be something of interest to you and your readers. I've also recently completed an album called Culture Sculpture which follows a similar conceptual framework to Lumpy Gravy. It can be downloaded from Bandcamp where the buyer can nominate the amount they wish to pay for it. It features jazz musicians John Medeski and Jeff Lorber.” Impressive stuff! [Added: 09 July 2021]

 

·         Dweezil will be uploading a live album – “Dweezil Kn'Evil” LIVE in Kansas City 2018 – to his website. Pre-order it now to save $10, and at the end of July you'll have access to 32 songs – both audio and video. [Added: 04 July 2021]

 

·         The virtual Zappanale later this month will include three bands (Jazzprojekt Hundehagen Trio, Die Reise and Coogans Bluff) performing live in front of an audience in Bad Doberan. The online programme is divided into pre-recorded videos (throughout 16-18 July) with the live concert taking place on the Saturday evening. Some info can already be found on the revamped Zappanale website here, with more detail to follow. [Added: 04 July 2021]

 

·         You can now watch the Don Preston Trio performance mentioned below on YouTube. [Added: 04 July 2021]

 

·         The Uplands, Bruce Bickford’s first ever solo exhibition in New York, opens on 12 July at the Andrew Edlin Gallery & Electric Lady Studios. [Added: 04 July 2021]

 

·         Earlier this week, I conducted a short interview with the director of 200 Motels, Mr Tony Palmer. [Added: 30 June 2021]

 

·         The Don Preston Trio will play a virtual concert at The World Stage on 2 July 2021. Read all about it here. [Added: 30 June 2021]

 

·         Listen to Umphrey’s McGee playing Dirty Love at the Red Rocks Ampitheatre on 19 June 2021 here. [Added: 30 June 2021]

 

·         Fred Händl, best known for his unique renditions on solo piano of the works of FZ, has just “launched a Kickstarter campaign for my new solo piano album, TOVARISHCHI. My goal is to raise €1,900 which will allow me to fund production, artwork and sound engineering.” See if you can spare him a dime. [Added: 30 June 2021]

 

·         Adam Minkoff, and three other members of Dweezil's Hot Rats Orchestra, have made an EP in honour of the late great  Bernard Herrmann’s 110th birthday. Check out Citizen Herrmann here. [Added: 30 June 2021]

 

·         Some of you older folk may remember an image of FZ as Batman that I provided for the back cover of Issue 10 of the British Zappa Fanzine, T'Mershi Duween, in November 1989. Well, I have just recycled it for use on the front 'cover' of Fred Händl's new ‘single’ on Bandcamp. This is a revised reading of FZ's little known gem, Boy Wonder, I Love You. This version, unlike the one on the Lost Meat album (currently on sale at a modestly discounted price in The Idiot Bastard Shop!), features lead vox by the affable Mark Watson. The Idiot also makes an appearance. Check it out here – and buy and download a copy too! [Added: 20 June 2021]

 

·         Dutch newspaper Het Parool recently spoke with Ahmet Zappa who revealed that as well as the 200 Motels set scheduled for later this year, there will also be a Bongo Fury box (“ear melting stuff”), a Synclavier project (“with a visual component”) and much more. Says Ahmet, “I could easily spend the rest of my life doing this!” (Thanks to Daniël Janssen for this.) And you can watch Mark Ellen and David Hepworth ask Ahmet, “What's life like when Frank’s your father?” here. [Added: 20 June 2021]

 

·         The long-awaited official FZ bio may finally appear in June next year. The working title ('Project X') seems to have been replaced by Mother Superior: The Saga of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention: The Authorised Biography. 320 pages written by Alan Clayson. Keep them fingers crossed. [Added: 20 June 2021]

 

·         As we cautiously but irreversibly emerge from lockdown, I have been able to update the Bastard’s Diary a tad. [Added: 20 June 2021]

 

·         Dweezil has recently added a bunch more songs on his website, including a few from his Hot Rats Live! tour. [Added: 20 June 2021]

 

·         The latest episode of the ZappaCast features an incredibly revealing interview with the wonderful Chad Wackerman – ahead of the imminent release of Zappa '88: The Last U.S. Show (here's another preview track, by the way: I Am The Walrus). Chad mentions that Frank allowed Allan Holdsworth to use UMRK where Mark Pinske remixed three of his Road Games tracks; these can be found here. [Added: 13 June 2021]

 

·         French FZ tribute band Zappy Birthday Mister Frank are playing two FREE concerts this summer: July 2nd at La Guinguette Blois (41) Loire Valley, and August 14th at Longwy (54) North East. Get there if you can. [Added: 13 June 2021]

 

·         King Crimson will be accompanied by the Zappa Band for the whole of the second leg of the tour from 22nd August-11th September, and also for the concerts in Concord and Los Angeles on 5th and 6th August.” Details here. [Added: 09 June 2021]

 

·         Watch Alice Cooper and Pamela Des Barres take part in a discussion about Miss Mercy's new book, Permanent Damage: Memoirs of An Outrageous Girl. (My review of the book can be found here.) [Added: 09 June 2021]

 

·         Simon Prentis, ‘The Semantic Scrutinizer’ (see Läther, The Crux Of The Biscuit), has a new book: SPEECH! How Language Made Us Human. Check out this promo video and see how many FZ references you can spot. (Send your lists to me and I'll forward them to Simon – the one who spots the most will get a free signed copy of the book!) [Added: 09 June 2021]

 

·         GoldmanT at Zappateers has posted a lovely bunch of high school snaps of Zappa alumni here. (Tap and scroll up – or click and select i – to reveal the names of any you're unsure of.) [Added: 01 June 2021]

 

·         Zappawoman Valentina Ciardelli now has some v nice FZ shirts for sale, here. [Added: 01 June 2021]

 

·         Dweezil has just revamped his website, adding new music (including tracks featuring Ray White) and merch. He has also announced a new series of audio documentaries about his own albums and music – coming soon. [Added: 01 June 2021]

 

·         L. Shankar: Darlene is a song I wrote for my solo album Touch Me There in 1979, produced by Frank Zappa for Zappa Records. This is a different version I recently did.” Three more 'different versions' of songs from Touch Me There can be found on the Cordelia Records album, Lost Meat –available here! [Added: 28 May 2021]

 

·         Listen to Dr Dot (a member of The Long Island Ballet Company!) in conversation with Ray White here. Ray answers questions from, inter alia, Scott Thunes, Robert Martin, Steve Vai and the Idiot Bastard (although he didn't actually have an answer for me). He also chats about the song he wrote for FZ’s children. Great listen. [Added: 28 May 2021]

 

·         Hear Mike Keneally and Joe Travers talk about the imminent Last US Show album – as well as the fact that the Trust is working on two anniversary releases for this year (we know about the 200 Motels set, for which Miss Pamela has written liner notes: could t'other possibly be Fillmore East related? I expect we'll learn more after 18 June. [Added: 28 May 2021]

 

·         You can now pre-order Podmeister Scott Parker’s next book here. Says Scott: “This one follows the exploits of the beloved Baby Snakes/Sheik Yerbouti band as they levelled North America and Western Europe with some of the greatest live performances of Frank Zappa’s (or anyone else’s) career. This was an amazing era for Frank, who triumphed despite nearly drowning in legal troubles during this period.” [Added: 28 May 2021]

 

·         Here’s my review of former GTO Miss Mercy’s book, which is due out next month. [Added: 22 May 2021]

 

·         On Sunday May 23, Radio Venice does Zappa! Guests include Chris Opperman, André Cholmondeley and Gerry Fialka. Go here. [Added: 22 May 2021]

 

·         Chad Wackerman has just been interviewed for a future ZappaCast episode. [Added: 22 May 2021]

 

·         To celebrate next month's release of Zappa '88: The Last US Show, I am offering some modest discounts on ‘Broadway’ products at my webstore. You can also now get another taster from the album here. [Added: 22 May 2021]

 

·         Double-bassist Valentina Ciardelli now has just launched her new range of Zappawoman t-shirts, here. More will be added soon. [Added: 22 May 2021]

 

·         I am very excited to announce that this Idiot has been invited to take part in this year’s virtual Zappanale (#30.75) – by two different bands! Stay tuned for more closer to the time. [Added: 22 May 2021]

 

·         Vinnie Colaiuta has released another streaming-only album via Extreme Music – this time in cahoots with film composer Mark Isham. [Added: 22 May 2021]

 

·         Everybody Loves Me is a book of photos taken by bass legend Leland Sklar. It features – among many, many others – Michael Brecker, Dweezil Zappa, Steve Vai and Howard Kaylan, all flipping Leland the bird. For those of you who might not know, Sklar's first band, Wolfgang, featured one Ricky Lancelotti. You can hear Leland reminisce about Ricky here. And if you’re interested in Zappa-related artwork, check this piece out by ‘Mr Natural’! [Added: 22 May 2021]

 

·         Dweezil says he “was forced to re-invent my whole approach to creating a sustainable way to support my family” as a result of the pandemic. He writes in a new blog that he will soon have his own ‘Sound Laboratory’ that will enable him to “create new music, collaborate with different artists, perform live stream concerts and one off events with multi-camera set ups paired with studio quality audio.” He also says he'll “be able to mix live concert audio like never before and create Live Concert Specials (the equivalent of DVDs) from years of filmed shows. I'll also be able to complete What The Hell Was I Thinking? Here’s hoping he finally does! [Added: 08 May 2021]

 

·         You can now pre-order the softcover version of FZ88: A Visual Documentary (Zappa's Final Tour) here – and save a fiver! [Added: 08 May 2021]

 

·         Last September, I mentioned 3DD Entertainment’s Birth Of Invention TV programme (go on, have a look below). Well, Sky Arts finally aired it for the first time in the UK on Thursday 6 May 2021. For those critical of Alex Winter condensing FZ’s life in his two hour movie, compare it to this half hour programme which additionally covers the work of Captain Beefheart and King Crimson . Contains nothing we didn’t already know (as well as a few factual errors); you can check it out again on Sunday. See here for more. [Added: 08 May 2021]

 

·         The June 2021 issue of Guitarist magazine celebrates the life and music of FZ (across eleven of its pages), with the help of Ahmet, Alex Winter, Guthrie Govan, John Etheridge, Steve Vai and Mike Keneally. And here’s a bonus article from Co de Kloet. [Added: 02 May 2021]

 

·         On June 18, Zappa ’88: The Last U.S. Show will be Official Release #119. The 2 CD/4LP 180-gram vinyl box set features Frank's final American show at Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY on March 25, 1988. The renditions of Whipping Post and Stairway To Heaven with Dweezil as special guest have been replaced by earlier recordings from the tour; the Trust says, “We honoured Dweezil's wishes to remove his performances.” (Brother A West’s monologue during Pound For A Brown has gone AWOL too – more can be found on him in Zappa The Hard Way.) The album is notable for containing the first official release of The Beatles Medley, and also includes liner notes by Chad Wackerman (who celebrated his 28th birthday on stage that night). Having written two books (ZTHW & FZ88) and curated an album (On Broadway: Covers Of Invention) commemorating the tour, I can say I am officially excited! Here’s the press release. [Added: 24 April 2021]

 

·         “One thing that can be said about the Ensemble Modern is that there hasn't been anything that I've presented to them which they can't play. And that's amazing.” So said FZ at the press conference launching The Yellow Shark concerts in 1992. I have just interviewed five members of Frank’s last ‘band’ about their time working with the maestro. Wanna read it? Answer Yes or No. Well, it's here. [Added: 20 April 2021]

 

·         Here’s my review of the fab second album from Orange Claw Hammer. [Added: 20 April 2021]

 

·         With the paperback version of FZ88 coming out later this year, Wymer has now sold out of its limited edition hardback version (in custom-made presentation box with a set of prints). The Idiot Web Shop still has a few left if anyone is interested. [Added: 20 April 2021]

 

·         Drumbo's marvellous book, Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic, is being reissued in hardback and digital formats on April 23. His City Of Refuge solo album (featuring ex-Magic Band members Bill Harkleroad, Mark Boston, John Thomas and Greg Davidson) is also being reissued with new artwork – including on vinyl, for the first time. [Added: 20 April 2021]

 

·         Sadly, Zappanale #31 has again had to be postponed. “Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain all the necessary permits. However, we are working for you on “Zappanale # 30.75” in July.” All being well, the next Zappanale-proper will happen on 15-17 July 2022. [Added: 04 April 2021]

 

·         Ahmet and Travers reveal a little more-a about the hi-res re-releases of 29 official Zappa albums currently appearing on Qobuz here. [Added: 04 April 2021]

 

·         An update on Ike Willis' prostate cancer diagnosis from his manager, Hank: “Ike has been to several doctors and has been told that this is not a terminal condition. Ike will be taking medication as directed. The need for radiation or chemotherapy is also not required. Ike is however experiencing some body pain and is taking steps to relieve the pain and discomfort. Ike would like to thank Dr. Dot for her help with the recent Go Fund Me drive on Ike’s behalf. The drive was a great success and Ike thanks each of you who contributed. Also Ike wants everyone to know that all of your best wishes and kind words are uplifting and positive, giving him support in this time of need. He is resting, and anxious to return to the road as soon as possible.” [Added: 04 April 2021]

 

·         Scott Parker's new book will be coming out in June. The title is PREPOSTEROUS! Frank Zappa On Stage Volume 8, 1977-1978. [Added: 04 April 2021]

 

·         Co de Kloet's Frank And Co is now available as an eBook. My review of the book is here. [Added: 04 April 2021]

 

·         Mats Öberg's Frankful is now available on double vinyl as a numbered limited edition. Grab one here. [Added: 04 April 2021]

 

·         Ike Willis needs our help: he has just been diagnosed as having prostate cancer. He obviously hasn't been able to tour for over a year and has no funding to buy the medication needed to fight this. Please contribute what you can here. [Added: 26 March 2021]

 

·         Ronnie Williams, the man who saved his numies on a window in his room and introduced FZ to Paul Buff, has sadly passed away. He latterly became a Tik-Tok sensation it seems – here’s some highlights from his grandson. Find more here. [Added: 26 March 2021]

 

·         ZappaCast #49 features the wondrous Robert Martin reflecting on his early career playing classic Philly soul, his audition for Frank, the 88 tour and more. [Added: 26 March 2021]

 

·         There has been a lot of confusion and misinformation about the Zappa movie from the get-go, and that seems to be continuing right up to the end. For your info, the bonus material on the backer DVD/Blu Ray comprises: four Vault nuggets (FZ demonstrating the Synclavier, Haskell Wexler & Uncle Meat, Frank and the pig, and The Way It Was); three interview outtakes (with Mike Keneally, Steve Vai and Ruth Underwood); the TV ad for Apostrophe ('); and a Q&A Zoom session featuring Alex Winter and associate producer Mike Nichols, moderated by “Weird Al” Yankovic. And here, from our friends at IINK, is a breakdown of the various soundtrack releases. Hope that helps clear a few things up. [Added: 26 March 2021]

 

·         Later this year, Wymer UK plans to issue in paperback the visual documentary of Frank's final tour, FZ88, featuring ooodles of previously unseen photos by Sergio 'Milo' Albonico. But you can still get the original limited edition hardback (in its custom-made presentation box and a set of prints) for just £30 here. [Added: 26 March 2021]

 

·         Hi-res versions of the 2012 UMe Zappa albums are now appearing on HDtracks and Qobuz. [Added: 26 March 2021]

 

·         Serious FZ 45 collector (and former Chicago guitarist), Dawayne Bailey, has revealed his part in the Cucamonga-era compilation, Rare Meat: “Harold Bronson, the president of Rhino, called me explaining that they had just acquired Bob Keane’s archives, but couldn't find the master tapes for the early Zappa stuff. They knew I had the cleanest 45s and asked if I would take those to a studio in Redondo Beach to have them recorded so they could release them. I did as they asked, but I told Harold to not include my name on the back cover in the credits because I had just been to Zappa’s home and his rehearsals and I did not want to burn a bridge with him as I had a feeling Zappa was going to sue Rhino as soon as that album came out.” Which of course, he did – but for using artwork by David McMacken (who did the illustrations for Over-Nite Sensation & 200 Motels, and sadly passed away a couple of years ago), creating an album cover that looked too much like an official Zappa release. For those of you who might not know the full story, look here. [Added: 20 March 2021]

 

·         While recovering from trigger finger surgery, Steve Vai decided to write something for one hand only. His new song, Knappsack, is here. [Added: 20 March 2021]

 

·         The latest in the Allan Holdsworth live series features Allan at the Leverkusen Jazztage Festival in Germany on October 16, 1997, accompanied by drummer and long-time collaborator Chad Wackerman. Chad also wrote the liner notes for Leverkausen '97, and is featured in a bonus interview on the DVD. [Added: 20 March 2021]

 

·         The bonus material on the Zappa movie backer DVD/Blu Ray comprises four Vault nuggets, three interview outtakes (with Mike Keneally, Steve Vai and Ruth Underwood) and the TV ad for Apostrophe ('). Hope to get my copy real soon. [Added: 09 March 2021]

 

·         You may have heard FZ read The Talking Asshole from William Burroughs' 1959 novel, Naked Lunch, But have you actually seen him read it? You can now. [Added: 09 March 2021]

 

·         The Arf Society is still planning for a 'live' Zappanale in July. “At the end of March, the board will meet to be able to react early to the current situation. After this meeting we will inform you.” Realistically, should the event go ahead, it is unlikely to have any overseas participants. But I live in hope. [Added: 09 March 2021]

 

·         I have just interviewed Karen Sperling, who had a relationship with Frank between 1971 and 1975. They met during his annus horribilis (at a recording of What’s My Line?) and she was with him in Montreux and at the Rainbow. She is mentioned in a number of books about FZ, but no one has spoken to her about this period before. Read all about it here! [Added: 24 February 2021 / Updated: 28 February 2021]

 

·         Mike Keneally has clarified the title of one of the 'new' FZ pieces performed on the Bizarre World/Hologram tour, which was alternated with #2 each night, and was previously thought to be called Van Moldred. It is in fact titled, "Piano Transcription Van Morrison <phone number>, which was a printed out score of some music Frank had written – I don't know the origin of the piano that was transcribed, or why Van Morrison's name and phone number were part of the title. I'm assuming it was written around the time that Van was doing vocals on Dead Girls Of London, and somehow his info leaked into the title…[it] is really suitable for performance by small ensemble." [Added: 28 February 2021]

 

·         The first three albums by Missing Persons (that is, Zappa alums Warren Cuccurullo, Patrick O'Hearn, Chuck Wild and Dale & Terry Bozzio) have been reissued as a limited edition box set, wittily titled The Album Collection. [Added: 28 February 2021]

 

·         New Beef Dreams! by Orange Claw Hammer suddenly available from Bandcamp. All Beefheart, including a live vershum of Willie The Pimp! [Added: 28 February 2021]

 

·         Irresponsible RockNRoll Shenanigans - Live in Texas by The Chadbourne/Gonzalez Collusion (featuring Eugene Chadbourne, of Jack & Jim Show infamy) includes a cover of Who Are The Brain Police? (plus a pair of Beefheart songs). Listen on Bandcamp. [Added: 28 February 2021]

 

·         Alex Winter’s Zappa movie can now be viewed in the UK and Ireland – here! The fillum has received positive reviews from the Grauniad , Stuart Penney and Mark Kermode. [Added: 24 February 2021]

 

·         Fellow Webmeister Peter Van Laarhoven (of United Mutations fame) has compiled a book or three! The Others Of Invention lists bands and artists who have recorded and released compositions written by FZ. It also includes recordings that Frank contributed to and more. Available in three volumes. Read all about it direct from PvL’s ‘pen’ here. [Added: 24 February 2021]

 

·         Co de Kloet’s fab book, Frank & Co, is now available from G&S Music in the UK. [Added: 24 February 2021]

 

·         Well Festival MOO-AH isn't happening on 19/20 March, but Fred Händl will still be playing the music of FZ on solo piano then. Click and go! [Added: 24 February 2021]

 

·         There seems to be some confusion online regarding the 5LP vinyl version of the Zappa – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. It is (and always was) scheduled to be released in May. The CD version is available now. [Added: 24 February 2021]

 

·         On Facebook, Miss Pamela said she's writing the liner notes for the 50th anniversary reissue of 200 Motels. [Added: 15 February 2021]

 

·         An Italian language version of Geoff Wills’ excellent Zappa And Jazz book has just been published by Auditorium Edizioni. [Added: 15 February 2021]

 

·         Here’s my review of the audio version of Pauline Butcher’s Freak Out! My Life with Frank Zappa. [Added: 15 February 2021]

 

·         Say what you like about Steve Vai, he doesn't just churn out instrumental guitar records. The Sound Theories series is set to continue ("I've got about four hours of orchestra music. Once it's recorded, I'll have enough for probably Vol. III, IV, V, VI...maybe VII. I'm really excited about that."), plus he is planning an acoustic vocal record ("Just me playing acoustic guitar and singing. Whenever I come across a song idea that falls into that category, I kind of put it on the shelf under a different category. I have a whole bunch of these, so that's what I'm working on."). Looking forward to both. [Added: 15 February 2021]

 

·         Hal Leonard is now offering FZ guitar tabs for instant download here. [Added: 15 February 2021]

 

·         Zappa movie global release dates (UK excluded) can be found here. [Added: 06 February 2021]

 

·         Here’s my review of the book, Frank Zappa – The Nordic Stories. [Added: 06 February 2021]

 

·         Very sad to learn that R&B singer/songwriter Nolan Porter – who married Frank’s sister ‘Candy’ in 2007 – has  passed away. Nolan's 1970 debut album No Apologies featured former Mothers Jimmy Carl Black, Roy Estrada and Lowell George. His follow-up album, titled simply Nolan (1973), spawned the UK northern soul hit If I Could Only Be Sure – which featured Johnny “Guitar” Watson on guitar and background vocals. At one time, Nolan was related to Napoleon Murphy Brock: he told me, “My mother was married to his uncle, between 1959-1961. So it was just by marriage.” In 2005, Nolan appeared alongside Napoleon (though not on the same tracks) on Greg Russo’s Neonfire album, which also featured contributions from Candy, The Tornadoes and the late Nigey Lennon. He was a very nice guy and will be much missed. My sincere condolences go to Candy and all of his family and friends. [Added: 06 February 2021]

 

·         Night pianist, and all round good egg, Fred Händl has written this lovely opened lettuce to the lovely Ruth Underwood. [Added: 06 February 2021]

 

·         Rolling Stone just posted this fantastic interview with drummer Chester Thompson, in which he talks at length about his time with FZ (as well as a bunch of other interesting stuff). [Added: 06 February 2021]

 

·         ZappaCast, Episode #48 sees AZ/JT answer all your questions on future video releases and such. And I can answer the question, ‘why wasn’t Ed Mann on the 1984 tour?’: Ed told me, “I was touring with Shadowfax a little bit – beginning to write some, teaching at Cal Arts, and playing live locally in LA quite a bit. I saw that band play live at the Palace in Hollywood. They were good, but of course I thought it would sound better with marimba!”  [Added: 02 February 2021]

 

·         While he’s selling some of his guitars, here you can see some of the ones Dweezil is keeping – including a few that belonged to his dad. Interesting watch. [Added: 02 February 2021]

 

·         Pamela Zarubica wrote this tribute to the late Phil Spector. [Added: 02 February 2021]

 

·         Dweezil is selling a selection of his guitars, amps and pedals, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Feeding America charity. “I have some really great things that haven't been out of the case in about 10 or 12 years,  so I figured why not let somebody else enjoy those things.” Included is his green Charvel S-Type, of which he said, “Under normal circumstances, I would keep that guitar but like most musicians, I'm not immune to the problems related to the live music shutdown stemming from Covid.” Visit his shop here. [Added: 28 January 2021]

 

·         The Zappa movie will be available to purchase on DVD and Blu-Ray in the US in early March, and can be pre-ordered now from many outlets. Digital and physical Kickstarter copies of the movie will be sent to backers at the same time (this version will contain exclusive bonus material not included in the publicly available version).For those outside the US, the roll out is starting in theatres and digitally beginning in February in certain territories. [Added: 28 January 2021]

 

·         Edinburgh based tribute band Pygmy Twylyte have re-scheduled some shows for later this year. Check the Bastard’s Diary…and keep everything crossed! [Added: 28 January 2021]

 

·         Zappawoman Valentina Ciardelli has just produced this homage to Frank: Questi Cazzi di Bicordo. [Added: 28 January 2021]

 

·         In 2020, I wrote 12 essays that provided answers to some of those questions that no one ever asks me! While researching these FUQs (Frequently Unasked Questions) I learnt a lot – including: the identity of the girl at Frank's feet on the cover of Roxy & Elsewhere (Joan Lou Gatt, mother of Lala Sloatman); that Frank’s composed an unreleased 'doo-wop rocker' for Ruben And The Jets; the name (and nationality!) of the lady who played The Countess in the Uncle Meat home movie; where Dweezil took the photo on the cover of Zappa In New York (from one of the World Trade Center towers), and a whole bunch more. I hope you did too. In case you missed FUQ #4, about Zappa’s London, here ‘tis. I will happily send one of any of the other FUQs to anyone who purchases a Zappa’s London map from my new webstore! [Added: 23 January 2021]

 

·         Spot the Idiot: here's a great little vid of the band EAK (Eric Trøim, guitar/Armin Beck, drums/Kevin Crosby, bass) playing Zoot Allures. [Added: 23 January 2021]

 

·         Tubist/baritone saxist Howard Johnson, who was the live band conductor of the Saturday Night Live Band in the 70s, has passed away. He can be seen and heard on the Halloween DVD-A, and was apparently FZ's first choice to play the title role in his planned Hunchentoot musical. RIP. [Added: 23 January 2021]

 

·         The Official Keith Emerson Tribute Concert – which featured performances by Eddie Jobson, Vinnie Colaiuta and Joe Travers – will finally be unleashed on DVD and Blu-Ray (with a bonus 2-CD set) in March. Pre-order here. [Added: 23 January 2021]

 

·         Here’s my review of Co de Kloet’s excellent new book, Frank & Co. [Added: 12 January 2021]

 

·         A lengthy but interesting Zoom interview with Mike Keneally and FZ techs Bob Rice, Thomas Nordegg & Merl Saunders Jr can be viddied here. As well as lots of great Zappa tour stories and such, Keneally also reveals that he’ll release his first new solo album in five years in 2021, which will feature special guest appearances by the likes of Steve Vai and Gentle Giant’s Malcolm Mortimore, plus some archival stuff from the last 20 years (including material with his Euro friends Jaan Wessman and Schroeder) that will be repurposed into a lengthy suite, featuring narration by David Ossman from the Firesign Theater. In the meanwhile, MFTJ – Mike’s ‘band’ with Scott Schorr – has just unleashed its second album, My Mom's Getting A Horse. [Added: 12 January 2021]

 

·         The death of British-American rapper and record producer Daniel Dumile – aka MF DOOM – was announced by his widow on the last day of 2020. For those who may not know, Dumile sampled Would You Like A Snack? on the track Gumbo from his 2004 album Mm..Food and Sleeping In A Jar on Meat Grinder from the Madvillainy album he created with producer Madlib that same year. He is also featured on J Dilla’s Mash's Revenge, which samples Dance Contest, on the 2007 Peanut Butter Wolf compilation, 2K8 B-Ball Zombie War. And then in 2013, Grip Grand produced an MF DOOM remix album, which saw his song Melody renamed But How? (Jesus Pizzas), and added a sample from Peaches En Regalia. May Doom rest in peace. [Added: 12 January 2021]

...and finally, Esther...

...coming soon!

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Contact: disco.boy@blueyonder.co.uk