(Last updated 23 June 2016)
· Wanna schedule a tour of the Zappa Estate – and maybe even own this piece of music history? Look here. [Added: 23 June 2016]
· Dweezil has impishly decided to rename his band ‘Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever The Fuck He Wants’ for his upcoming Cease And Desist Tour. He recently talked about this and the origins of the current family spat during an emotional WTF interview with Marc Maron. [Added: 23 June 2016]
· Moon reunited with her Uncle Bob during a promo tour for the Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words documentary. In a damning Facebook post, she refers to the “years of GZ brainwashing, believing my dad was estranged from his brother, another spell has been broken. The journey of undoing all the lies and madness of my mother is a strange one, including her untrue, altruistic brag about paying for Bobby’s son’s cancer treatments.” She also ponders “the complex layers of my mother’s undiagnosed and hidden-to-the-public mental illness. Is that why my dad stayed away so much of the time?” On a slightly lighter note, here’s a cool video chat with Moon and ETQ director Thorsten Schütte. [Added: 23 June 2016]
· Mike Keneally assures us “there’s a sizeable amount of really good unreleased material coming” on the Uncle Meat project/object. But when, we ask? While we wait to find out, you can order Mike’s long-awaited Scambot 2 album here and now. [Added: 23 June 2016]
· On 15 July, Zappa Records will release two new albums: Frank Zappa For President (a rag bag of “unreleased compositions realized on the Synclavier, along with other relevant tracks mined from the Vault, with a political thread tying it all together”) and The Crux Of The Biscuit (the belated 40th Anniversary Apostrophe audio documentary project/object). Full details here. [Added: 10 June 2016]
· DZPFZ has a brand new band member for its imminent Summer dates: Mikki Hommel (www.mikkihommel.com), who opened one of Dweezil’s recent Via Zammata’ shows, will be on hand to sing some of the high notes. [Added: 05 June 2016]
· Sony Pictures has posted a new trailer for the Eat That Question documentary. The film will be shown in various US cinemas from 24 June 2016. [Added: 05 June 2016]
· Trombonist Glenn Ferris says has yet to be paid for his contributions to Imaginary Diseases and Wazoo. [Added: 05 June 2016]
· Turns out Road Tapes, Venue #3 is Official Release #102 – after Roxy – The Soundtrack was #102.2. That’s Zappalogical. [Added: 30 May 2016]
· The 25th Anniversary Edition of Steve Vai’s Passion And Warfare comes with Disc 7 of The Secret Jewel Box: Modern Primitive by The Classified - featuring Tommy Mars and seen as the ‘missing link’ between Steve’s first two solo albums. You can hear one of the bonus tracks on the Passion And Warfare disc here. The package will be released on 24 June 2016 [Added: 30 May 2016]
· Those of you in Western Canada and that top left bit of the US of A might want to look out for Jooklo Zappa, touring your way soon. [Added: 30 May 2016]
· Guranfoe (formerly Gumbo Variation, who opened the inaugural Moo-ah, supported Ike Willis & ZAPPATiKA in Grays and contributed to Rare Episodes and Weasels Re-Ripped) will be playing in Bad Doberan on 14 July 2016. [Added: 30 May 2016]
· After Moon referred to Ahmet as “evil incarnate” on Twitter, Dweezil finally posted his riposte to his kid bro’s open letter. (So glad that Gail got all the profits from those shitty ZPZ mugs that the lettering fell off after a couple of washes.) [Added: 17 May 2016]
· Looks like the Adrian Belew Power Trio will be touring Europe again in July – coupla dates int Diary. [Added: 17 May 2016]
· Ed “One Star” Mann will also be joining the Muffin Men live on stage at Zappanale - along with Denny Walley and Candy Zappa. [Added: 17 May 2016]
· The biggest developments in the ‘Zappa Pay$ Zappa’ saga this week are Ahmet’s opened lettuce to his brother and Moon’s Mother’s Day missive. Both pretty extraordinary, and sadly there’s more to come as Dweezil says he will be setting out his side of things in a blog. [Added: 10 May 2016]
· Somewhere down below, I mention that the Czech National Symphony Orchestra will perform Musics By Frank Zappa at the Prague Proms. I am now informed that the orchestra will be joined by a rock band. Scoremeister Kurt Morgan now provides us with a little more info: “I am putting this entire programme together. The band is Joe Travers, Scott Thunes, Jamie Kime and Ian Underwood.” Sadly the unreleased orchestral version of Sinister Footwear, 2nd Movement will not be included, but still sounds like summat not to be missed. [Added: 10 May 2016]
· You can buy some mighty fine Dave McMacken art and illustrations here. [Added: 10 May 2016]
· Tickets for Festival Moo-ah #3 are available now. Remember, if we don't sell enough to break-even by Halloween, it won't happen. Go buy a few here. [Added: 02 May 2016]
· Following Dweezil’s comment (on Facebook) that “Gail Zappa controlled everything about the music catalog and Frank’s name and likeness…the ZFT changed hands this year, and there is no change in the operating procedure,” it’s sad to now read a little more about the family rift (in the New York Times), which sees ZPZ having to be re-branded as ‘Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa’. I will continue to support Dweezil, all future ZFT releases and Alex Winter’s plans to save the vault, and hope that the family can resolve its differences soon. [Added: 02 May 2016]
· Road Tapes, Venue #3 will be issued by Universal on 27 May 2016. It consists of two complete shows from the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, recorded on stereo reel-to-reel on 5 July 1970. The Mothers at this time featured Flo & Eddie, George Duke, Ian Underwood, Aynsley Dunbar and Jeff Simmons. For the tracklist and more, go here. [Added: 27 April 2016]
· The Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra featuring Ike Willis and Prairie Prince with special ZAPPATiKA envoy and keyboardist, Fred Händl along with Rupert Kettle, Rob Morgan and Kevin Crosby are putting together a quick tour of the Pacific Northwest for September 2016! And you you can help ZERO continue its efforts to perform and record the music of Frank Zappa by joining the ZERO Support Group - right here! [Added: 27 April 2016]
· Patrice “Candy” Zappa will be the special guest of the Muffin Men featuring Denny Walley at Zappanale in July. [Added: 27 April 2016]
· On 18 June, as part of the Prague Proms, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra will perform Musics by Frank Zappa: Orchestra En Regalia at the Rudolfinum in Prague. Check out the spiffingly good programme here. [Added: 19 April 2016]
· Free Express-O Machine is the title of the album taken from the sessions recorded three years ago by The Rose Vortex (that is, Warren Cuccurullo, Azar Lawrence, Tommy Mars, Alex Alessandroni, Doug Lunn and Joe Travers). Warren tells me it’s now finally mixed and sequenced: “it was done in a day, with three additional days of vocals, horn, keyboards and guitar overdubs…‘makes it own sauce’ kinda thing. Planning on releasing it by myself July 4th - same as N’liten Up, basically.” [Added: 19 April 2016]
· The line-up for Festival Moo-ah #3 in 2017 looks complete. Here ‘tis: The Muffin Men, The Wrong Object, Orange Claw Hammer, Zãþþã Éårlý Rênáissánçê Ørçhêstrå, span'nər-tāte, MagNiFZnt, The Goodges and Charlie’s Gorilla. [Added: 19 April 2016]
· Steve Vai will embark on a Passion And Warfare 25th Anniversary World Tour in June, and there will be an announcement about a 25th Anniversary Edition of said album shortly. [Added: 19 April 2016]
· The Banned From Utopia will play this year’s Zappa Union in Oslo with very special guest Lisa Popeil. BFU will also play Camden’s Underworld in October. Details in the Diary. [Added: 19 April 2016 / Updated: 27 April 2016]
· Across five concerts of music, dance and drama, the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen will explore the storytelling that lies at the heart of the music of Igor Stravinsky, in a series entitled Stravinsky: Myths And Rituals on London’s South Bank and elsewhere. Find out more here. [Added: 19 April 2016]
· Interesting excerpt from Zubin Mehta: A Musical Journey, the new authorised biography of the world renowned conductor: “When he was with LA Philharmonic, Mehta did a rock concert with Frank Zappa. Critics took it apart. So did he. ‘It was the worst piece of music I’d ever heard, but I’d given him my word so we performed it,’ he said about Zappa’s composition.” This of course refers to the excerpts from 200 Motels ‘for Mothers & Orchestra’ performed during Contempo 70. [Added: 12 April 2016]
· Zappa Plays Zappa will be back out on the road in 2016 celebrating the 50th anniversary of Freak Out! Several Euro dates now in the Diary. [Added: 21 November 2015 / Updated: 12 April 2016]
· Banned From Utopia will also be back touring Europe – a few dates in the Diary. [Added: 31 March 2016 / Updated: 12 April 2016]
· After getting our wires crossed summat chronic last time around (maybe The Idiot’s Guide To Sprechen Zee Swedish didn't help?), we are now incredibly delighted to advise that the magnificent twosome MagNiFZnt will definitely, positively play the third Moo-ah...assuming we sell enough tickets by Halloween, that is! [Added: 12 April 2016]
· Dweezil plays on the track Damn This Groove on Oz Noy’s new album, Who Gives A Funk. In other news, Dweezil says the 2008 ZPZ YCFOSA mixes have finally been completed, and “a release date for download from http://nugs.net/ is imminent.” [Added: 12 April 2016]
· This mural of Frank was painted several years ago by graffiti artists James Mayle and Leigh Drummond, on London Road in Newark, Nottinghamshire. It can be found here, but James tells me “it’s looking a little worse for wear now.” [Added: 12 April 2016]
· As well as playing both the pre-Zappanale Hamburg church gig and in Bad Doberan itself, that great Italian double act Inventionis Mater will also have a new long player ready in July. “Zapping! will be an album dedicated to Frank’s Wonderful World mixed up with other composers who inspired him: from Stravinsky to Varese to themes often quoted by Frank. All the arrangements are original. Original and crazy artwork, as usual, by Antero Valerio. On the track list you’ll find Zappa pieces like G-Spot Tornado, Echidna’s Arf, Wet T-Shirt Nite and Son Of Mr Green Genes.” Go here to help them make it. [Added: 12 April 2016]
· Denny Walley says he will be “playing Zappanale #27 along with those wild Liverpool gents, The Muffin Men! This is one that you don't want to miss. Hope to see you there!” [Added: 07 April 2016]
· Ike Willis has announced plans to record an album of Beatles/John Lennon songs with ZAPPATiKA. Here’s hoping there’s room for Norwegian Jim, Louisiana Hooker With Herpes and Texas Motel! There will also be a live album taken from Ike & ZAPPATiKA’s recent Spring Tour, entitled Live In the Starlight Lounge. [Added: 07 April 2016]
· Arthur Barrow: “SURPRISE! I wrote a book called Of Course I Said Yes! It’s about my life in music from my earliest memories up to the present. A lot of it is about my time with Zappa, so you FZ fans are gonna love it! I also talk about my experiences with Giorgio Moroder, Robby Krieger and much more. It is available from Amazon.” [Added: 07 April 2016]
· We are excited to announce a third Festival Moo-ah, featuring the Muffin Men, The Wrong Object, the Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra and more still to be announced. It’s scheduled for 31 March & 1 April 2017. We will be sticking to the ‘Moo-ah Formula’: tickets will go on sale soon, but we will need to sell enough to break-even by 31st October 2016 before we can confirm with the bands, venue, etc. The Raven Hall in Corby has been booked again, and a discounted rate for 60 rooms in nearby hotels has been negotiated. The ‘Uncle Ian Guarantee’ will apply again: if we don’t sell enough tickets to break-even before Halloween, WeGotTickets will refund you IN FULL and Uncle Ian will pay the admin charge. Keep your eyes on www.festivalmoo-ah.com for more. Hope to see as many of you as possible there! [Added: 31 March 2016]
· For those that have still to lob-in to Alex Winter’s wondrous Kickstarter project, the emphasis just changed slightly: the first £1M (or whatever gets raised up to that figure by 8 April) will ALL go towards saving, cataloguing and digitising the contents of the Vault. Pledgers will also gain exclusive access to “a dozen brand new clips that have never been released, featuring concert performances, interviews, news features, personal videos and more. This is stuff that Joe Travers has already been working to protect and digitize...we’ll have a brand new clip every single day for the rest of the campaign, which we'll release exclusively to our backers through PRIVATE Kickstarter updates.” The first nugget from the mine was the Lady Bianca line-up performing Chrissy Puked Twice. There’s also some very cool add-ons to be had. So what are you waiting for? [Added: 31 March 2016]
· Warren Cuccurullo says he has “just completed a Q&A for a forthcoming book release by author Chris Wade titled The Music Of Frank Zappa: 1978-1993. He enjoyed reading my 1400 words and I'm sure you all will too. It was such a trip for me going back 40 years and beyond to the night when I met Frank and even as far back as when I first heard his music. No cobwebs yet!” Wade of course published The Music Of Frank Zappa: 1966-1976 last year via Wisdom Twins Books. Wonder if he’ll be covering 1977 in isolation? [Added: 21 March 2016]
· Sadly, Bogus Pomp will not now be playing at Zappanale this year…but ZERO still are, and they’ll have their second album out very soon on Cordelia Records too! [Added: 21 March 2016]
· We are very proud to present a new ZappaCast featuring Alex Winter, talking ’baht that there forthcoming Zappa movie an’ all that Kickstarter malarkey – totally non-egregious! Listen here. And don’t forget to keep an eye on all the groovy updates Alex and his team are providing over at www.zappamovie.com. [Added: 17 March 2016/21 March 2016]
· Roxy: The Movie is being screened in London on 5 April: be there – it’s for a great cause! [Added: 17 March 2016]
· Reporter David Allen of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin has been trying to find out if FZ attended eighth (and part of ninth) grade at Claremont High from Autumn 1953 to late 1954. He appears to have found out. Is this a picture of the 13-year old Frank’s signature in the school’s yearbook? Read more about it here. [Added: 17 March 2016]
· ZPZ will be playing some Euro dates in July – a few in the Diary now (including the band’s return to Germany!); hopefully more to follow. [Added: 17 March 2016]
· Since the launch of the Who The F*@% Is Frank Zappa? Kickstarter project, Ahmet has clarified the ZFT’s stance on it, Dweezil has denied any involvement with it, Winter has been ferociously updating the FAQs, Travers has taken us on a tour of the UMRK, and the film is over half-way to getting started. [Added: 12 March 2016]
· Record Store Day on 16 April 2016 will see the limited release of two Zappa singles: Joe’s Garage b/w The Central Scrutinizer, on limited green marble-effect vinyl and (as mentioned below) mono recordings of My Guitar and Dog Breath on coloured vinyl. [Added: 12 March 2016]
· If you can bear to listen to Mark Maron, his WTF interview with Dweezil is worth checking out. [Added: 12 March 2016]
· The Budapest Organ Festival in May will feature the Frank Zappa Project. Check it out here. [Added: 12 March 2016]
· The Zappa documentary announced by Alex Winter late in 2015 is now part of a Kickstarter project, called Who The F*@% Is Frank Zappa? Winter invites fans to help save Frank’s archives, make the definitive movie and even buy the Zappa house! The movie now has its own dedicated website and you can check out everything you need to know about the project here. Anyone got $9M to spare an old Idiot? [Added: 8 March 2016]
· Finally, confirmation of more acts playing Zappanale this year. [Added: 1 March 2016]
· After all them recent rock casualties, here’s better news: Howard Kaylan tweeted “Thanks for all of your positive thoughts. Here to tell the world, Mark (Flo) Volman is cancer free!” [Added: 1 March 2016]
· Ike Willis & ZAPPATiKA’s London gig on 26 March will take place at Under The Bridge – with Acton Zappa as special guests. [Added: 18 February 2016]
· Eddie Jobson has put together a 16-disc U.K. Ultimate Collectors’ Edition box set, which includes the band’s first two studio albums, the live album Night After Night expanded by 50 minutes, and loads more. Read all about it here. [Added: 18 February 2016]
· Project/Object featuring Ike Willis and Don Preston are touring the US this April. Here’s the press release. [Added: 18 February 2016]
· Pauline Butcher’s Freak Out! My Life With Frank Zappa is now available in Spanish. [Added: 18 February 2016]
· Here’s my review of the new Beat Club Lost Broadcast DVD. [Added: 12 February 2016]
· John French on Facebook: “Although I don't have a signed and sealed contract as of yet, it looks very much as though we [The Magic Band] will be playing Zappanale again this Summer, and a possible London show.” [Added: 12 February 2016]
· Resonance FM wants to raise some dosh and is offering this unique wax bust of our Frank. [Added: 12 February 2016]
· Ahmet has opened up the UMRK for an art exhibition, named after the spoken word track on Civilization Phaze III, ‘Someplace Else Right Now’. This article in the Hollywood Reporter talks about the possibility that the Zappa house might be put up for sale soon, and ponders Barack Obama’s lack of a vagina. [Added: 12 February 2016]
· The press notes for Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words confirm that it has the continued support of the ZFT. To quote Ahmet, “Gail collaborated with Thorsten Schütte and Estelle Fialon for many years on this project and had great respect for both of them. The film that Thorsten has made provides a new way for old and new Frank Zappa fans to discover more about FZ — in his own words.” [Added: 4 February 2016]
· It’s February and we only have Bogus Pomp and the Lex Bronkowitz Orchestra formally confirmed for this year’s Zappanale. However, it’s highly-very that Inventionis Mater will play at the church in Hamburg, that sound engineer Guy Bickel will present his Behind The Garage Door paper at the Kamptheatre, that the Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra feat. Alli Bach will play the Mystery stage, and that Paul Green’s Rock Academy feat. Ed Mann and The Grandmothers will appear on the Main stage. Confirmation (or otherwise) as soon as. [Added: 4 February 2016]
· For those who pull one-off about such things, the next Zappa vinyl release on Record Store Day (16 April 2016) is likely to be another coloured vinyl 7" single comprising remastered 1969 mono recordings of My Guitar and Dog Breath. [Added: 4 February 2016]
· Mark Pinske has posted another soundboard snippet – this time Why Does It Hurt When I Pee? from London’s Wembley Arena in 1980…I was there! [Added: 4 February 2016]
· Check out the King Kong Orcheztra’s A Brass Tribute To Frank Zappa EP on YouTube. [Added: 4 February 2016]
· Since their appearance at Zappanale (with Ike Willis, Ed Mann, Denny Walley, Jeff Hollie and Craig ‘Twister’ Steward) there have been big changes in the ZAPPATiKA camp and the band is approaching its upcoming Spring tour (again with Willis, Hollie & Steward on every show) with a very new line-up and quite different sound and dynamic. With the amazing Jeff Hollie now a fixed member of the band, there is less need of ‘surplus’ guitars and this has given way to much more keyboard interaction as well - between Hieronymus and Fred Händl, all the keys are covered! Band leader Zap Mcinnes puts it this way: “So the instrumentation and musicians we have now has really altered the ‘general harmonic structure’ of the band, and with a totally revamped rhythm section - due to the arrival of our little Italian drum virtuoso, Diego Mocci - everything has become much, much more dynamic and the whole band has worked REALLY hard this Winter to bring it all ‘into the pocket’. I am also enjoying the chance to further explore all the guitar parts for the first time, and the interaction between drums, sax and guitar in the solos has become something we are all quite excited about. This version of Zappatika is, without doubt, rather more evolved than previous incarnations, something I have been trying to move towards for quite some time. Then, when you add Ike and Twister back into the mix, it’s headed for something pretty awesome on this tour.” ZAPPATiKA & Friends will kick off the 15 date Spring tour in Osnabruck on 17th March and go through Paris and then eight shows in the UK before heading back to Germany for four more shows and finishing off in The Netherlands on April 1st. All of the dates can be found in the Diary - and you can hear a sneak preview of the new line-up in rehearsal right here. [Added: 4 February 2016]
· Watch the trailer for Thorsten Schütte’s Eat That Question - Frank Zappa In His Own Words documentary. Sony Pictures Classics has announced that it has acquired the worldwide rights to the film (excluding France and Germany). “I’m delighted and I’m thrilled that Sony Pictures Classics believes in the film, and I feel we’re in very good hands,” said Schutte. “The news of the acquisition is really the cherry on the cake of our world premiere at Sundance.” Here’s a short review of the documentary. [Added: 24 January 2016]
· Caballero Reynaldo is celebrating 20 years in the music biz this year, and is “re-recording, re-mixing, re-friting his discography. The first step of his evil master plan, obviously, is the volume dedicated to the music of Frank Zappa, with which he toured around Europe in 2010 thanks to records such as The Grand Kazoo, Traca/Matraca or Marieta y Los Jetas. In Reynaldo plays Zappa? he squeezes and minimalises the original music up to the limit of non-recognition.” Do yourself a favour and grab one of these. [Added: 24 January 2016]
· After x and ê, let’s get the Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra to #3 in the charts! Download Who Are The Brain Police? and Montana (which features Tubes’ drummer, Prairie Prince, the talents of Thriftshop vocalist, Macklemore...and The Idiot too) NOW! [Added: 12 January 2016]
· Sad to learn that composer/conductor Pierre Boulez passed away on 5 January 2016 - at the grand old age of 90. [Added: 12 January 2016]
· ZappaCast #27 marks the passing of Gail Zappa, and can be heard right now and here. [Added: 12 January 2016]
· After his wife lost her battle with cancer, Chad Wackerman now faces huge medical and funeral costs. Please help if you can https://www.youcaring.com/chad-wackerman-485395 [Added: 30 December 2015]
· So far confirmed for Zappanale #27: Lex Bronkowiz Orchestra and Bogus Pomp! [Added: 30 December 2015]
· During my interview with Dweezil in October, he said he'd like to have his band play some of FZ’s orchestral/major instrumentals with a brass section, and also work with Vinnie Colaiuta. And so it came to pass that on 1 and 2 November, ZPZ were joined by the 20-piece Norwegian Wind Ensemble (for Regyptian Strut, Imaginary Diseases, Sinister Footwear and more) and, at LA’s Saban Theater on 11 December, Vinnie was one of a number of special guests. He still hasn’t worked with Mike Keneally either. [Added: 30 December 2015]
· Mark Pinske has now posted a soundboard recording of Outside Now from FZ’s 11 December 1980 shows at the Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica. The Resentemnt Listener has all this and more here. [Added: 30 December 2015]
· A new documentary DVD, Frank Zappa - In His Own Words, will be released in March. Presumably nothing to do with the film of the same name by Thorsten Schütte. Anyone know more? [Added: 30 December 2015]
· Just for shits and giggles, here’s some things we might be lucky enough to get on the next AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle: Flambay (Lucy Lawless); Dr Acula (Diva Zappa); Uncle Sam (Ascolta Plays Zappa); Drowning Witch (Fireworks Ensemble); What’s The Name Of Your Group? (200 Motels outtake, 1971); Cosmik Debris (Petit Wazoo, Capitol Theatre Passaic, 1972); Montana & Dupree’s Paradise (Roxy, 1973 - video download). [Added: 15 December 2015]
· Here’s the press release for the imminent Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention - The Lost Broadcast: The Beat Club ’68 DVD. [Added: 15 December 2015]
· From Me To You - A George Duke Experience - featuring Napi, Mats & Morgan, Josie James and Byron Miller - is finally happening, in Sweden in January. More here. [Added: 15 December 2015]
· Here’s a trailer for Tim Corvin’s forthcoming documentary, Frank Zappa’s Greater Ontario. [Added: 15 December 2015]
· And now for your delectation, ladies and gentlemen, Ms Eryka Badu will perform a tender little ballad for you. This is dedicated to all the Republicans in the audience – it’s Cock-Suckers’ Ball. A one, a two, a one-two-three-four… [Added: 15 December 2015]
· Thorsten Schütte’s FZ documentary, which he discussed with Gail at the Roundhouse in 2010, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah next month. Now named Eat That Question — Frank Zappa In His Own Words (its working title was ZAPPED), the blurb says it’s “full of rich and rare archival footage...and dashes a few myths about the man himself”. I always wondered what became of this – especially since Alex Winter’s documentary, due out in 2017, was announced. Now we have two docs to look forward to. Lucky us. [Added: 8 December 2015]
· Engineer Mark Pinske has posted (at pinske.com) a few soundboard samples from Frank’s St Paul Civic Arena Bowl show on 18 November 1980. Check out the Intro Panty Rap, Love Of My Life and City Of Tiny Lites. Thanks, Mark! [Added: 8 December 2015]
· Howard Kaylan seems a tad miffed that his and Mark’s ‘special material’ has been removed from 200 Motels – The Suites. Here’s what he said, “Great idea - NOT. Let’s do 200 Motels onstage with hired hands singing. Then, we’ll remove all of the solos and the humour. Sorta like listening to Australian Pink Floyd. Heard it. Laughed at the ‘performances’ of our vocal parts; even the use of our names, just as FZ had written it. Weezer should have done this. Or at least, Ryan Adams. Something very sad and desperate here. Sadder if this music sells WITHOUT the genius who conceived it. Good luck, Family Trust and Universal. Hope it sells a billion downloads. But you should own the original soundtrack. That one doesn't suck.” Personally, I’m happy to have both versions J. [Added: 8 December 2015]
· Warren Cuccurullo: “To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the NON-RELEASE of my concept album N’Liten Up we’re making it available to everyone TODAY [8 December 2015], my 59th birthday. Visit www.nlitenup.com for a trip you'll never forget!” The album features Shenkar, Dale Bozzio, Nick Rhodes and Joe Travers, among many others, and is cheap as chips to download. [Added: 8 December 2015]
· Dweezil will play some Stateside ‘solo’ shows in support of Via Zammata’ next February. Details here. [Added: 5 December 2015]
· Read all about Terry Bozzio’s new ‘life project’ here. [Added: 5 December 2015]
· James Richardson and Zappa And Jazz author Geoff Wills both attended the recent ‘Britten Sinfonia plays Frank’ gig at the Barbican. Read what they thought here. [Added: 5 December 2015]
· 200 Motels – The Suites (Official Release #101) is out now – and streaming on Spotify. Here’s the official trailer. You can also listen to the pre-concert chat here (including a reading of Drool Britannia). [Added: 21 November 2015 / Updated: 5 December 2015]
· My review of Geoff Wills’ Zappa And Jazz: Did It Really Smell Funny, Frank? is here. [Added: 21 November 2015]
· Zappa Plays Zappa will be back out on the road in 2016 celebrating the 50th anniversary of Freak Out! But before that, Dweezil is planning a short solo tour to support Via Zammata’. [Added: 21 November 2015]
· Suddenly available: VaiTunes #9. Flash Mob is an epic guitar anthem created and recorded by Steve Vai & The Vai Academy Army, featuring a bounty of licks and guitar solos by 155 campers that Vai skillfully mixed into one track. All proceeds from the download will be donated to The Make A Noise Foundation. Vai Academy Special Guest Artists/Clinicians: Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Guthrie Govan and Vernon Reid. More at: www.vai.com/discography-vaitunes
· For those confused about the number of shows performed at the Roxy by FZ and The Mothers in December 1973, the Vaultmeister has kindly clarified the situation: there was “...one soundcheck/invite-only type show on the 8th. Then two shows on each night after.” So five in all. Dummy Up, featuring Jeff Simmons, was recorded at the first show.
· When I interviewed Dweezil at Bush Hall, it seemed pretty clear that he had something in mind as regards ZPZ performing a show that focused on Frank’s major instrumentals with “a bigger brass section”. And so it was that on 2 November at the Sentrum Scene in Oslo the band were joined on stage by The Norwegian Wind Ensemble (aka ‘The Brass From Utopia’) to perform Regyptian Strut, The Grand Wazoo, Imaginary Diseases, The Evil Prince, Sinister Footwear II, Big Swifty, Peaches En Regalia and I’m The Slime. Dweezil apparently said he hopes to tour with the ensemble next year. I’m keeping everything crossed!
· Sketches Of Spam, the 16-track, 69-minute, genre-surfing debut release from Spaghetti Eastern Music (aka New York-based guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Sal Cataldi) includes a variation of Sleep Dirt, “which is also a tribute to one of my other favourite guitarists, Jan Akkerman, of Focus.” Hear Nap Dust here.
· Sorry to hear that Naomi Star (Australian actress and wife of Chad Wackerman) has lost her lengthy battle with cancer. My sincere condolences go to Chad and their two children.
· There are (at least!) two ‘easter eggs’ to be found on Roxy The Movie: select ‘And But Also’, press up button, click FZ’s moustache, and you’ll see the Cheepnis Monster Movie; select Titles>Next>Back, press up button, and click ‘sun’ icon for sped-up footage of the band sound-checking. There’s also an image of Official Release #101 in the ‘Discography’ – yes, 200 Motels–The Suites by the LA Phil is slated for a 4 December release.
· Okay, first up, the second part of our Bob ZappaCast is now ready for your listening pleasure. Secondly, I recently conducted a short interview with Bob for this here website – check it out. And finally, Bob’s book is now available to buy from Amazon. What are you waiting for?
· In 2014, Gonzo Multimedia pulled a planned DVD (Mothers Of Invention - Lost Broadcasts) at the last minute. Now they’re trying again, with Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention - The Lost Broadcast: The Beat Club ’68 (Full Show) hopefully out on 18 December.
· As well as the Barbican gig in November, the Britten Sinfonia & Eddie Gomez will also spank some Frank at the Saffron Hall in Saffron Walden (on 21 November).
· Here’s the interview I conducted with Dweezil before his recent Bush Hall show.
· Mike Kidson is joining the MufFinZ power bunch on their upcoming November dates; the original Muff-saxman is currently inbetween tours with the Oz Pink Floyd. The band’s 25th anniversary party gig at the Cavern is likely to see at least 13 old and current UK Muffin Men performing. Will three hours be enough to fit it all in? (The Cavern gig takes place between 3-6pm on Sunday afternoon on 20 December - exactly 25 years since the original ‘one-off’ gig 25 years ago.)
· Wymer UK will have Roxy in stock - as well as a few other FZ items ;-) Looky here.
· Project Object feat. Ike Willis & Denny Walley are about to tour the US – see the dates in the Diary. Also now out on the road is the GrandMothers Power Trio: sadly, guitarists Max and Eric are not with Don & Bunk & Chris “due to last minute mishaps of individuals hired by the band…”
· Very sad to hear of the death of Gail Zappa, reportedly from lung cancer, aged just 70. While I didn’t agree with a few of the things she did in the name of protecting Frank’s legacy, she was responsible for ensuring we got some fantastic posthumous releases and always came across as an intelligent, witty and thoughtful person. She also knew FZ better than anyone on earth, and now those memories are gone forever. If there is a heaven, Frank waits for her - not us. Sincere condolences to Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva.
· The MufFinZ April Fools 2016 UK tour dates now in the Diary.
· Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! My Adventures In The Alice Cooper Group by Dennis Dunaway reviewed.
· Here’s my review of Bob Zappa’s book: http://www.idiotbastard.com/reviews.htm#BZ
· After the first live DVD got funded in the blink of an eye, the second Magic Band fillum project (Singing Through You - Live in London) seems to have stalled. Come on chaps, we need this one out there! Get to it. See all of the band’s November dates in the Diary!
· Here’s a very wonderful interview by Make Weird Music with the very wonderful Mike Keneally.
· Dweezil’s solo show at Bush Hall in London’s Shepherds Bush on Saturday 17 October has now been confirmed. Says the Dweez: “I’d like to perform more of my own music to live audiences and I’m beginning to plan for that to happen. I’ve always been grateful to the UK fans who have supported me since even before Zappa Plays Zappa and the show at Bush Hall is going to be an intimate gig where I perform my own music - old and new. This show is very much a one-off and a fun break from my current Zappa Plays Zappa One Size Fits All tour – we are playing the Royal Festival Hall the following night.” The show will include the premiere of Dragon Master. Get tickets here.
· Sadly, Mark “Rockette Morton” Boston will not be part of The Magic Band’s November 2015 tour: keyboardist Brian Havey will be filling his boots. Read all about it (and more) here.
· Another trailer for the Roxy Movie here – hopefully they’ll never be another!
· Watch Son Of Mr Green Genes performed by the LA Guitar Quartet feat. Dweezil here.
· Part One of our ZappaCast chat with Bob Zappa is up here!
· Most of the posthumous FZ releases are now streaming on Apple Music and Spotify, with a three-track Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison sporting an alternate cover (presumably the artwork - by John Alexander - for the vinyl version mentioned below?).
· Here’s a cool review of Cordelia’s Weasels Re-Ripped CD.
· Singing Through You - The Magic Band Live Under The Bridge is the band’s second live DVD pledge campaign. Help them raise the dosh – go here.
· Following the release of the Sun Zoom Spark box set, Rhino Records are now issuing the ‘remastered’ versions of Captain Beefheart’s Lick My Decals Off Baby, The Spotlight Kid and Clear Spot as separate CD albums.
· One of Dweezil’s Via Zammata’ pledge perks was a download of Demos And Rarities, which has now been delivered. This companion album (which is actually a gnat’s longer than VZ’) includes an early, instrumental version of Dragon Master, the guitar piece DZ plays in Summer 82: When Zappa Came To Sicily, You Can’t Judge A Girl By The Panties She Wears (from the Vanity EP), Z’s legendary 70s Medley, and lots of other fun stuff.
· Because I could not be arsed, Arjun von Caemmerer has written this review of Dance Me This.
· Want to celebrate Frank’s 75th birthday and Halloween in Paris? You can, with ‘Zappy Birthday Mister Frank’. Or you could go and see Burger And The Beast (“the best band you never heard in your life”) at the St James’ Wine Vaults in Bath. Or visit Apeldoorn…
The long awaited Roxy
movie is very nearly here. A couple of websites have advertised the Halloween release,
which will see it available on a single Blu-Ray disc as well as a CD/DVD combo.
The track listing is as follows:
(Blu-Ray/DVD) Cosmik Debris/Medley: Penguin In Bondage-T’Mershi Duween-The Dog Breath Variations-Uncle Meat-RDNZL/Inca Roads/Medley: Echidna’s Arf (Of You)-Don’t You Ever Wash That Thing-Cheepnis (Percussion)/Cheepnis/Medley: I’m The Slime-Big Swifty/Be-Bop Tango (Of The Old Jazzman’s Church)/Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow/Father O’Blivion.
(Bonus Features) Medley: Pygmy Twylyte-The Idiot Bastard Son/Dickies’s Such An Asshole.
(CD) “Something Terrible Has Happened…”/Cosmik Debris/Medley: Penguin In Bondage-T’Mershi Duween-The Dog Breath Variations-Uncle Meat-RDNZL/Medley: Echidna’s Arf (Of You)-Don’t You Ever Wash That Thing-Cheepnis (Percussion)/Cheepnis/Be-Bop Tango (Of The Old Jazzman’s Church).
· You can now pre-order Bob Zappa’s memoir – from here.
· Want to help The Magic Band produce a DVD of their gig at Lincoln’s Engine Shed in 2014? Here you go.
· Dweezil’s Via Zammata’ (his new album, featuring Dragon Master and more) is now shipping to them what pledged.
· Here’s an interesting article from Rolling Stone in which Gail and Ahmet appear to take slightly different views regarding Zappa fandom.
· After over two decades in the making, Bruce Bickford is finally able to present for your delectation: CAS’L’ - for the first time on DVD. Snare a copy here.
· Coming in April 2016 from Backbeat Books is Frank Zappa FAQ: All That’s Left To Know About The Father Of Invention by John Corcelli. Now this Idiot had the opportunity to pen this here tome hisself, but was just too darn slow putting together a proposal. Any road up, John is a good friend of Kevin Courrier (author of The Dangerous Kitchen: The Subversive World Of Zappa and the 33⅓ book about Trout Mask Replica) and I reckon it will be well worth the read. More here.
· Chris Wade, who published his booklet The Music Of Captain Beefheart earlier in 2015, now has his 110 page book The Music Of Frank Zappa: 1966–1976 published by Wisdom Twins Books. It includes interviews with Pauline Butcher, Tony Palmer, Randy Brecker and Carol Kaye. More here.
· More GrandMothers, Banned From Utopia and Magic Band dates in the Diary!
· Goodheart, the film Pamela Zarubica has been working on these past few years, will have its world premiere at the Pop-Up Cinema in Acklam Village (as part of the Portobello Film Festival) on 16 September 2015.
· Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison may be issued on yellow vinyl on the next Record Store Day, whenever that is.
· It looks like Eagle Rock (acquired by the Universal Music Group in 2014) will be issuing Roxy: The Movie just in time for Halloween: look at this. As noted a while back, the main feature clocks in at around 90 minutes, and there’ll be 20 minutes of extras. Word is there may be a limited theatrical run of the fillum first.
· The Munchkin Music page at Zappa.com has been updated and now includes links to “instrumentation and other information”.
· Bob Zappa has received proofs back from the printer of his memoir, Frankie And Bobby: Growing Up Zappa. The book is 356 pages long with 21 chapters and an epilogue. A pre-order link should appear at bobzappa.com real soon. Scott Parker and I have just interviewed Bob for an imminent ZappaCast.
· Dweezil confirms: “I am going to do a Dweezil Zappa show in London in October that features a lot of material from [Via Zammata’] and from some of my other records.” The Idiot understands this will take place the day before the ZPZ show at the Royal Festival Hall, on 17 October.
· Zap McInnes: “I once wrote an original concept surrounding My Little Pony. The pony is actually representative of the east European prostitutes who end up in the darkness of the red light district in Amsterdam, never to return to the forests of Lithuania and Rumania having been trapped into this lifestyle by manipulative pimps. Now, in our first ever collaboration, Ike Willis and I have orchestrated a completely new work incorporating elements of that original pony concept mixed with some newer ideas and some of Frank Zappa’s lyrics. The music is written and orchestrated by Mr Willis and myself. It is performed by ZAPPATiKA, featuring both Jeff Hollie and Craig Twister Steward. Ike features very strongly of course. The Pony Suite is pompous comedy, it is even operatic in parts but can best be described as prog-jazz-classical-rock. This new recording both evolves the Pony concept to fruition and also introduces some new characters such as the Beastial Boys and the Black Ninja. The Pony Suite has now gone into final mixing and will be released on 1 September.”
· The ZFT has struck a new deal with Universal that will see Ahmet take over the reins from Gail and the release of Joe’s Garage, The Musical (presumably a DVD of the 2008 LA stage production starring Ben Thomas), the The Roxy Movie (oh joy!) and the LA Philharmonic’s performance of 200 Motels (supposedly Official Release #101). But the first release will be a remastered edition of One Size Fits All, which comes out on 14 August on 180-gram vinyl. Says Gail, “This is literally an opportunity of a lifetime for me. I am universally thrilled with this partnership because the fans will have unparalleled access to Frank Zappa’s works. The doors to the vault are now officially wide open.” Adds Ahmet, “The fans of Frank Zappa will have more music and more access – when they want it and how they want it. With Universal as our partner, I look forward to bringing to life Joe’s Garage, The Musical, the release of The Roxy Movie, the release of the Disney Hall performance of 200 Motels under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen and so many more projects of this caliber. I couldn't be more excited about the future.” Here’s the press release.
· Ike Willis will be back in the UK next March – see dates in the Diary.
· I somehow missed that Frank’s first wife, Kay (aka Kathryn J. Sherman), commented on the PBS website regarding the The Drum Shop collage. For those who also missed it, read what she said here.
· A ZFT-approved documentary about FZ is now in development. To be directed by Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston, Esq. from the Bill & Ted films), the ZFT is giving him and partner Glen Zipper exclusive access to the Vault’s collection of unseen visual and audio recordings, in addition to previously released video clips, interviews and concert recordings. Winter says, “Our tale will be told primarily in Frank's own words; he will be our guide through this journey.” The film is due in 2017.
· Cameron Piko has made an interactive map tracking FZ’s conceptual continuity over 63 of his albums; you can see it here http://www.in-disciplined.com/in-disciplined/network-zappa/
· The next IBS/Cordelia collaboration is up and running. Behold: www.idiotbastard.com/IBSOMGG.htm
· Here’s my Zappanale #26 picture diary. The provisional line-up for Zappanale #27 includes The Magic Band, The GrandMothers Of Invention with The Yellow String Quartet, Gong II, Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra feat. Alli Bach, and Bogus Pomp feat. Ed Mann.
· Bob Zappa says of his forthcoming memoir, Frankie And Bobby: Growing Up Zappa, “We are in the final stages of editing and proofing and expect to have bound books by late August. When it is available there will be a link on this site for pre-orders.”
· Dweezil has posted this video ‘sneak peak’ of audio excerpts and information on every track on his forthcoming album, Via Zammata’.
· Theodore Bikel, Rance Muhammitz in 200 Motels, has passed away at the grand old age of 91.
· Loads of new dates in the Diary – including those for Zappanale #27 in 2016!
· While most are pulling one off over Frank’s final album, his early years are about to get a bit of a seeing to: filmmaker Tim Corvin is working on the documentary Frank Zappa’s Ontario Years (which features this clip of the late Paul Buff talking about Tijuana Surf); Gonzo Multimedia is to release Masked Turnip Cyclophony (Rare And Wonderful Gems From The FZ Archives) – a single CD of highlights from the Highlights From The Pal and Original Studio Archives (pre-order here); and, as mentioned below, Bob Zappa will have his memoirs published shortly. Add to that the display of Frank’s Drum Shop collage at Zappanale #26, it all amounts to some interesting shit.
· Issue 57 of PROG is worthy of your shilling: as well as an article penned by Beefheart author Mike Barnes on the Bongo Fury tour, Gail also talks about Dance Me This and the magazine recommends twenty Zappa tracks prog fans should check out. Also out now is the Summer 2015 edition of Classic Rock with a lengthy article by Mark Ellen focusing on Frank in the 70s. It includes this choice quote from GZ: “The worst moment was when the Mothers tried to sue him over the late-60s recordings. After all he'd done for them. He’d just been diagnosed with a terminal cancer and those motherfuckers tried to sue him! The idea that Jimmy Carl Black is now hanging out with Frank [in heaven] is appalling.”
· Robby Krieger is recording a new solo album with Arthur Barrow, Tommy Mars, saxophonist Larry Klimas, Chad Wackerman and new Banned From Utopia drummer Joel Taylor.
· The next Cordelia/IBS CD project will be multiple versions of Son Of Mr Green Genes by Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra, Spanner Jazz Punks, Wrong Object, Todd Grubbs, Alan Jenkins, Hans Annellsson, Evil Dick, Fred Händl, Caballero Reynaldo and Inventionis Mater.
· Here’s Bob Zappa talking about his long-awaited book, Frankie And Bobby: Growing Up Zappa: Who Frank Was; Stage Incident; Rewarding Personal Experiences; and Composition Class. Hopefully the book will be available before the end of July. Bob now has his own website at www.bobzappa.com
· Watch The Music of Frank Zappa featuring guest artist Arthur Barrow with The College Rhythm Band performing live at the University of North Texas on 23 April 2015 https://youtu.be/E0Pw7aPElqA
· Here’s a video report of The Muffin Men with Silke Gonska in Berlin May 2015 https://youtu.be/pIvKTD7cY7U
· Wa-wa-wee-wa! Saw The Spiders Of Destiny perform at The Oval Tavern in Croydon on 6 June - and they were fantastic. Catch them if you can.
· Ahead of his appearance at Zappanale next month, I talked to Craig ‘Twister’ Steward about his time with Frank.
· …and here’s a fun Zappanale exhibition trailer: https://youtu.be/ny4xE-SXhZ4
· The Muffin Men have a new website at http://muffinmen.esy.es
· Dance Me This has been delayed a few weeks more, but the next official release has been announced already: a recording of 200 Motels: The Suites by the LA Philharmonic and LA Master Chorale, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Are we to assume that this is the “Treat of a new Vaulternative Concert” mentioned last Halloween? Anyway, here’s the memo.
· Another book: Zappa And Jazz: Did It Really Smell Funny, Frank? by Geoff Wills, is due to be published by Troubador on 28 September 2015. Geoff takes a look at Frank’s widely assumed antipathy for the jazz genre - and throws up some very interesting facts along the way. Guaranteed to appeal to all Zappa fans who seek new insights into his music, to open-minded jazz listeners and to anyone with an interest in the melting pot of 20th century music.
· Saxophonist Tom Tallitsch’s new album All Together Now features his instrumental take on the Zappa/Duke composition, Uncle Remus.
· Diva Zappa has created an Instagram account for her scarf.
· Suddenly available: ZaFTIG - The Zappa Family Trust Issues Guide, written by Ed Komara with Scott Parker. Available here and now. Plus we still have the following to look forward to: Zappa’s Gear by Mick Ekers (Halden Books); The Frank Zappa FAQ by John Corcelli (BackBeat Books); and Project X: The Authorized Biography of Frank Zappa by Alan Clayson (Flatiron Books). And furthermore, I am aware of two other FZ books in the pipeline, both of which will have ‘special assistance’ from yours truly. Stay tuned.
· Weasels Re-Ripped – the fantastic new album from Cordelia Records, featuring Spanner Jazz Punks, Inventionis Mater, ZAPPATiKA, Muffin Men, Zappatistas and more - is now on Spotify!
· Banned From Utopia, Terry Bozzio and the GrandMothers Of Invention are all touring Europe in October/November 2015: there’s a few dates in the Diary.
· Check out this clip of The Magic Band performing Electricity from a forthcoming DVD project. That song was of course co-written by Herb Bermann, who has a book called The Mystery Man From The Magic Band published by Brass Tacks Press in June – with an introduction by John ‘Drumbo’ French.
· RIP Bobby Jameson (see here for his involvement with FZ), who passed away on 12 May 2015.
· The Adrian Belew Power Trio live in Leverkusen fillum, that storeBelew was flogging up until recently, is to be released as a spiffed-up DVD/CD combo by Repertoire Records in June. Grab a copy here.
· 200 Motels is about to be released as a ‘manufactured-on-demand’ DVD by MGM. Looky here.
· Weasels Re-Ripped is now available from CD Baby.
· Another Mothers Day single download from the ZFT comes in the form of an alternate version of Pick Me I’m Clean by the Logeman band, recorded at the Olympiahalle in Munich on 3 July 1980 - and mastered this year by Frank Filipetti. Grab it.
· The Muffin Men are about to head off for dates in Germany, but will be playing a few UK gigs later in 2015 – see the Diary.
· At the start of 2015, Alan Clayson said, “The Frank Zappa biography is leaving the runway at last.” But it will be a year or so before Project X reaches its final destination (see Tweet). It will be published by Flatiron Books, who say of it: “Written with full co-operation of the Zappa estate, veteran rock journalist Alan Clayson shines new light on the full spectrum of Zappa’s life and career, drawing on a huge archive of new material and personal recollections from those who knew Frank best.” Should be worth the wait.
· Check out Tash And A Guitar by Captain Cheese-Beard featuring Robert Martin: https://youtu.be/v9ahoWyqR0E
· Available NOW! Weasels Re-Ripped by various friends, who have re-imagined The Mothers’ 1970 masterpiece. For more information and samples, check out this page.
· The release of Dweezil’s new album, Via Zammata’, will be delayed a few months to allow him to return home from the current ZPZ tour “and work directly with the mix engineers to complete my total vision for the record”. Fair enough.
· Following the Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra’s Money? What Money? CD release multi-event in Seattle (‘Ground ZERO’), you can now lay your grubby little rookers on some cool merch - look. And read what United Mutations has to say about the album here.
· On 9 May, there will be a cool tribute to FZ - on a church organ in Belgium. More here: www.mixtuur.be/offsite-5/page17/index.html
· Brand new ZappaCast in which Tom Fowler speaketh unto us...funny as hell!
· Eduardo Kusdra has recorded a fantastic version of Zoot Allures - with Vinnie Colaiuta and Tony Franklin. Check it our here. – then donate a dollar or two to the guy!
· Prog-Fusion With Balls by CHATO! is here.
· About bleedin’ time: “We are pleased to bring you in this 75th year in the Life and Times of Frank Zappa, the 100th Album in the Official Discography, Dance Me This. An extreme case of east meets East, this was originally conceived as a Work for modern dance. It is the last title FZ finished in 1993 along with Trance-Fusion; the last chapter in his Master Work, Civilization, Phase III; and of course, The Rage & The Fury, The Music of Edgard Varèse.” You can read all about the album’s protracted history here. The cover artwork is by the late Dan Eldon, whose Estate provided permission to the ZFT to use it. According to Alicia Dougherty of the Creative Visions Foundation, “Kathy Eldon (Dan’s mother) and Gail Zappa connected in 1994 and bonded over the whimsical nature of both Frank’s work as well as Dan’s. They became friends after that and Gail was drawn to Dan’s elephant piece for the album cover as she is quite passionate about ivory poaching. We are currently working on a series of the Tusker-Slide prints that should be available for purchase on www.daneldoncollection.com.”
· The Gamma Memorial Barbecue Ben Watson promised at Gamma’s wake but never delivered, is finally about to happen. Says Ben: “It’s Sunday 17th May upstairs at The Enterprise pub just opposite the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm...with Evil Dick & the Banned Members, Charles Shaar Murray, impromptu turns/events/madness and the AMM All-Stars featuring Jair-Rohm Parker Wells on bass.” It’ll cost just £5 to get in.
· Doug Sax, the mastering engineer responsible for many of the 2012 UMe FZ remasters (as well as a bunch of Pink Floyd stuff), passed away on 2 April 2015.
· An original oil on burlap painting by FZ was offered up by Julien’s Auctions in its Music Icons auction in New York in May 2015. Titled ‘Abstract Self-Portrait’, Frank gifted it to his sister Candy “many decades ago, so I imagine it was painted when he was in his late teens or early twenties [possibly] while Frank lived in Ontario with his first wife Kay.” It didn’t sell.
· Zappa Plays Zappa Euro 2015 dates now in the Bastard’s Diary.
· Singer/songwriter/actress Nellie McKay’s new collection of psychedelic pop covers, My Weekly Reader, includes her take on Frank’s Hungry Freaks, Daddy - with Dweezil on guitar.
· Howsabout a set of MOI autographs on burger receipts from May 1966, anyone?
· Captain Beefheart’s Ice Cream For Crow and Doc At The Radar Station get a limited edition SACD release in May.
· Denny Walley now has his own website: www.dennywalleymusic.com
· Uncle Ian and the IBS would like to thank everybody who attended the second Festival Moo-ah - particularly those who bought their tickets before 1 November 2014. We put it together, but YOU made it happen. We are also grateful to all of the fantastic bands, Danny and his sound guys, and of course the splendid Moo-crew. We were also humbled by the distances many people travelled to enjoy the delights of Corby. Naturally, we both had a blast and are very much looking forward to doing it all again in two years time. For this year, we had far more bands approach us than we could entertain, so we hope to offer another great line-up in 2017. But again we will only do that if we can make it financially viable. We've learnt a lot since 2013 and will continue to fine-tune the whole operation. As ever, we welcome your suggestions and ideas on how we can make the festival even better. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
· “That devastating little motherfucker” Paul Buff just left the building. Here’s an obituary. And Johnny Rotella, who played various woodwinds on Freak Out!, Absolutely Free, Lumpy Gravy and Grand Wazoo, died in September 2014 (sorry, bit late with that one).
· Craig “Twister” Steward and Peter Wolf will be joining Ike Willis, Denny Walley, Jeff Hollie and Ed Mann on stage at Zappanale in July to play excerpts from Joe’s Garage. Our pals from String Trash will also make an exhibition of themselves again at the festival.
· Listen to Dweezil’s version of Dragon Master here.
· The Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra’s album, Money? What Money?, has landed. Kevin and Rupert from ZERO guested with two of the bands at Moo-ah, and the CD sold out there! Read about it here – then grab one from the Cordelia record shop while you still can.
· Latest Banned From Utopia line-up change (for Zappanale): Jamie Kime out; Robbie “Seahag” Mangano in.
· There’s an interview with Jeff Simmons in Issue No. 46 of Shindig! Magazine (apparently he’s getting Easy Chair back together).
· Steve Vai on the 25th anniversary of Passion And Warfare: “I’m doing a very special package with a remastered version of the album and a disc of material that was recorded in between Flex-Able and Passion And Warfare. And then there’s a DVD in there that’s footage from that period. I think that package will come out early next year and I’ll do a big tour for it with about fifty shows in America and fifty shows in Europe.”
· Here’s some more-a on the April 2015 Record Store Day 200 Motels single: “In October 2013, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of conductor Essa-Pekka Salonen, recorded the music of composer Frank Zappa which he had originally scored for his cult-classic movie 200 Motels. This limited-edition, purple-colored 7” single contains the opening piece from the concert, Overture (from 200 Motels) and another gem from the Zappa canon on the B-side; the previously unreleased recording of What’s the Name of Your Group? from the original score performed in 1971 by Zappa with the Royal Philharmonic.”
· Brand new supergroup, BHW - comprising Jennifer Batten, Stu Hamm and Chad Wackerman - are touring Europe in March and April 2015. Details here.
· Eddie Gomez and the Britten Sinfonia (conducted by Kristjan Järvi) will spank a bit of Frank as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival at London’s Barbican on 18 November 2015.
· New book, I’ve Always Kept A Unicorn: The Biography Of Sandy Denny, supposedly reveals that Frank had a brief fling with Sandy in 1968 - even though Linda Thompson said as much in an interview some ten years ago.
· A few months ahead of the Euro leg of their 2015 tour, ZPZ will play the Jazz à Juan festival in Juan-les-Pins, Côte d'Azur, France on 15 July.
· In an interview last year, Nolan Porter (Candy Zappa’s husband) mentioned that his cousin Napoleon played in one of Frank’s groups. I asked Nolan if he was referring to NMB, our Napi. Indeed he was: “My mother was once married to his uncle, between 1959-1961, so it was just by marriage,” he tells me.
· Neil LeVang passed away on 26 January 2015, aged 83. LeVang played guitar on six songs on Freak Out! (Who Are The Brain Police?, Go Cry On Somebody Else’s Shoulder, Motherly Love, Wowie Zowie, Any Way The Wind Blows and You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here).
· Alan Clayson says “The Frank Zappa biography is leaving the runway at last.”
· Oh no! I’m losing track: Joel Taylor will be on the revolving drum-stool for Banned From Utopia’s Fall Tour 2015 (but Morgan Ågren will definitely play at Zappanale…though Jamie Kime may not).
· Check out these original FZ music manuscripts - from the collection of Marty Perellis, handwritten by the man himself.
· Out in Japan now, a box set containing audio and video of the Eddie Jobson Four Decades retrospective concert recorded in Kawasaki, Japan on 9 November 2013. It includes his version of Läther, but it’s all a tad pricey – look. Eddie however hopes the DVD alone will be released in Europe to coincide with UK’s Final Concert at the end of April. On the US leg of the band’s final tour, the band will feature two drummers: Mike Mangini and Chad Wackerman.
· Dweezil appears on the track S.A.T.O. on the new various artists compilation album, Immortal Randy Rhoads – The Ultimate Tribute.
· Read how FZ ruined Jeb Bush’s wedding photographs here.
· Read about The Music Of Captain Beefheart by Chris Wade, featuring new interviews with Art Tripp, Drumbo, Robert Williams, Zoot Horn Rollo, Cliff Martinez and others.
· Available now: Feats First - The Life & Music of Lowell George, a DVD documentary.
· Due to local pressure, we are now selling a limited number of ‘single day’ tickets for Moo-ah - but still hope that most can make the whole fest! Go here: www.festivalmoo-ah.com/Tickets.htm And do ya wanna buy an official Festival Moo-ah t-shirt? Go here. We’ll have a limited supply on sale at the event for those of you who can wait.
· As well as Cynthia Plaster Caster and her little beauties, this year's Arf exhibition at Zappanale will also have on display Frank’s original collage, The Drum Shop - as featured on the History Detectives.
· Happy to see that ZAPPATiKA - along with Ike Willis, Jeff Hollie, Ed Mann and Denny Walley - will be playing the music of Joe’s Garage at Zappanale in July. And there’s more: Robert Martin will be making his first appearance at the Zappa Spielt Für Bach concert at St. Catherine's Church, Hamburg ahead of the festival on 15 July - together with Albert Wing, Michael Gross (trumpet on The Yellow Shark, CP III & EIHN) and the String Trash harpist Siglinde Koch-Sembdner. Along with compositions by Zappa and Bach, the concert will also feature Devil Dance, an orchestral piece Robert wrote in 1973 (inspired by a nightmare) and arranged by Robert specifically for the instrumentation present in this year’s concert. Hoopla!
· Yoghurt - that is ‘Yo’ Travers and ‘Gurt’ Morgan, with Scheila Gonzalez, Jamie Kime and Jonathan Sindelman - played Zappa at the Baked Potato in LA on 19 February. Gail, Diva, Beverly D’Angelo, Ruth Underwood and Ralph Humphrey were in attendance, and Pete Griffin joined-in. Set list: Phyniox/Marqueson’s Chicken/Dog Meat-RDNZL/Village Of The Sun (1978 version)/Lonely Little Girl/Big Swifty/Farther O’Blivion/Be-Bop Tango.
· Hans Annéllsson has recorded a new album with Mats Öberg, called Från A till Ö (“‘From A to Z’ in English, which refers to our second names and the fact that there’s an extremely wide range of music styles on the record,” Hans tells me). It includes a new version of Penisens Storlek sung by the same woman that did the original one on Hans’ 1993 Tra-La-Larsson album, Pia Aprea. Get the new album here.
· New Steve Vai live in LA CD/DVD sets - Stillness In Motion - to be released 7 April 2015.
· Yet another grey area live Zappa album for you to avoid: Halloween In The Big Apple.
· The ‘newly orchestrated’ Zappa pieces to be performed by Decibel in Bangor on 5 March are Flambay, Time Is Money, Envelopes and Uncle Meat.
· Dweezil’s new album will be called Via Zammata’, “the name of the street in Partinico Sicily where my father’s family emigrated from”. Read all about (and pre-order) the album here.
· The amazing Morgan Ågren will be back on the drum stool when Banned From Utopia play Zappanale. Here’s a sample of what you might hear from the lads in July: www.multimartinmusic.com/bfu.mp3
· RockRadio.DE’s special preview for Festival Moo-ah can be heard again here.
· At Halloween, the ZFT told us “ROXY, the Movie, has been sent off to SXSW for consideration for their Film Festival. We’ll let you know if they accept it.” Sadly, it looks as though they might’ve rejected it - see if you can spot it here: http://sxsw.com/film/screenings/2015-lineup
· Read my review of the String Trash and AEMOM (featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock) album, why not? http://idiotbastard.com/reviews.htm#Bach
· Cynthia Plaster Caster will be exhibiting some of her “sweet babies” at Zappanale in July, including those supplied by Aynsley Dunbar and John Smothers.
· Coming soon, documentary DVD Feats First - The Life & Music Of Lowell George.
· Dr Paul Carr and the Muffin Men are no longer involved in this year’s Bangor Music Festival – read why here. Talking of the Muffins, they have added another UK date to their March tour (see Diary) and will feature special guest Silke Gonska on German vocals on their German tour of Germany in May.
· Here is a letter from Frank, with self-portrait: http://imgur.com/FkssEwI
· Peter Lovio, who was a member of The Omens alongside Captain Beefheart and Motorhead, has sadly passed away. Writes Nolan Porter: “He was a proud native American, my new close friend and musical companion. This was a man that introduced me to the original Frank Zappa band, the Blackouts. I used to love talking with Peter about his interactions with Frank who was his close personal friend and musical associate. Some of the stories I heard about Peter, Frank and the other Blackouts taking place in Lancaster, CA in the the late 1950s were priceless. Peter should have written his own book. Wherever he went I noticed he would share his heart and soul to the point of opening up your heart and soul. What a caring sharing man who loved Frank and his family, but he loved his own family most of all and I know they will miss him as I will too.”
· Hot on the heels of their fantastic Kong’s Revenge album, Inventionis Mater are playing concerts in Italy in February (at Sarzana and Lovoleto), at Festival Moo-ah in March, and in July “we're planning our European tour Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany (at Zappanale). We’re going to evaluate the possibility of a US tour in August.”
· Ahmet’s been up to some twisting and dodging: www.bleedingcool.com/2015/01/27/edgar-wrights-dodge-twist-tony-lees-dodge-twist/
· The Bangor Music Festival is celebrating the life and work of FZ on Thursday 5 March 2015 - with a performance of Drool, Britannia, a screening of the Summer 82 documentary, a Q&A with the ZFT (GZ, Kurt Morgan & Joe Travers live via videolink) and music by Decibel. Look here.
· Fred Händl of ZAPPATiKA is set to record a piano CD of the music of Frank Zappa (Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Piano). Pre-order your copy here.
· Sad to hear that Kim Fowley has passed away. Probably more famous for Nut Rocker and association with the Runaways, but he also duetted with one Gail Sloatman before contributing some vocals to Help, I’m A Rock.
· Mike Keneally is currently working on his third Joe Satriani studio album - alongside Bryan Beller and Marco Minnemann - and this time, he gets to play a bit of guitar too!
· Here's a great new article on Del Casher and his time with FZ.
· Steve Vai has named a new guitar in honour of Thomas Nordegg www.vai.com/thomas-the-ultra-jem/
· There’s to be a percussion-heavy Zappa tribute in Singapore in March - look: www.sistic.com.sg/events/zappa0315
· Here’s the String Trash Project performing Sleep Dirt: http://youtu.be/f_2cZFRP08k
· Dweezil: “The editing for the Apostrophe LIVE concert is complete now. There are other things to do finalize the project, such as finish the stereo and surround mixes and do all of the artwork and authoring for the DVD. I am planning a PLEDGE campaign for the DVD so that anyone who may be interested can get their copy before it is released to the public. DVD set list: Gumbo Variations/Yellow Snow/Nanook Rubs It/St Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast/Father O’Blivion/Cosmik Debris (with FZ)/Excentrifugal Forz/Apostrophe/Uncle Remus (with George Duke)/Stink Foot/RDNZL (with George Duke)/Pygmy Twylyte (Quaalude Thunder Version with George Duke)/Echidna’s Arf (with George Duke)/Inca Roads (with George Duke and FZ)/City Of Tiny Lites/I Promise Not To Come In Your Mouth/Cruisin’ For Burgers. Encore: Eat That Question (with George Duke)/Baby Snakes/Chrissy Puked Twice/Muffin Man (with FZ).”
· Paul Lemmens of The Big Note/Little Umbrellas website, has written some very kind words about the CDs I have compiled for Cordelia Records here.
· Gonzo Multimedia is now touting The Real Porn Wars, a paperback book by FZ. This likely contains material from the Z-Pack, parts of which appeared Congress Shall Make No Law. Given that Gonzo didn’t go ahead with releasing a Mothers Of Invention - Lost Broadcasts DVD in 2014, it mightn’t be long before the ZFT weighs in and stops this too.
· As noted over at G&S Music, official release #100 (Dance Me This) and the Vaulternative release expected in December (Road Tapes 3?) have been delayed until “early next year”. So, in the ‘Year of Zappa’, we got Joe’s Camouflage, Roxy By Proxy and a few nice downloads.
· We have a further addition to the Festival Moo-ah line-up in the beautiful shape of none other than Denny Walley! Denny was of course part of the Bongo Fury band. After the aborted Joe’s Camouflage rehearsals, he joined Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, only to return to play with Frank in 1978-79 - appearing on Joe’s Garage and You Are What You Is, among other albums. For the past decade, Denny was a key part of The Magic Band. He is married to “Janet the Planet” (who appears in the Baby Snakes film), and loves Magnum ice cream bars. As well as playing Moo-ah, Denny will also be joining the Muffin Men in March for a short trek oop north (keep an eye on the Bastard’s Diary).
· The Rose Vortex - whose line-up includes Warren Cuccurullo (gtr, vox), Azar Lawrence (soprano & tenor sax), Joe Travers (drums), Tommy Mars (organ, fender rhodes, synth) and Doug Lunn (bass) - posted a birthday tribute to Frank on SoundCloud called Muckin’ Fusstache/Guess What right here.
· Gumbo Variation’s version of Toads Of The Short Forest is here http://youtu.be/CLfJOriz5UA
· The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA 2014 Birthday Bundle is here. It consists of an alternate mix of Down In De Dew, a live recording of the Mothers circa 1966 (featuring Del Casher and Don Preston), a cover by Mexico’s 3NSAMBL3, and a video from the legendary Palermo ’82 gig. Very nice.
· Our end of 2014 ZappaCast has Frank hosting - and answering some of our questions!
· Easy Chair’s 1968 twenty-minute one-sided album is finally readily available - from World In Sound. It features the wonderful Jeff Simmons.
· And now, the third (and probably final) addition to Festival Moo-ah’s previously announced stellar line-up. Ladies, put your legs together...it’s Acton Zappa. The band comprises Hymenoptera-lovin’ Mike Fox on guitar and vocals, the young and mond Tomáš Indyján Nejedlý from Václavhaveland on bass, and the perky neither-from-Southend-nor-Ealing John Parkinson on drums and vocals. They have only been playing together for a wee while, but...they’re pretty good musicians! Unless we suddenly sell a shedload more tickets, Acton Zappa finalises the line-up for Moo too. We think you’ll be surprised!
· The Jimmy Carl Black documentary, Where’s The Beer And When Do We Get Paid?, is now out on DVD. Buy one from here www.wheresthebeer.de/heres-the-dvd/ Email the girls if you’re unsure about anything – they’re ever so nice and helpful.
· The NDR Sinfonieorchester are playing Varèse & Zappa in Hamburg on 17 April - look here.
· And the second addition to the already announced stellar Festival Moo-ah line-up is: Evil Dick And The Banned Members. At Moo-ah, EDBM will comprise Evil Dick, Little Pete, Tim Clampo, James Murphy, and possibly some others. In one form or another, they have played ICE-Z, A Concert For Jimmy and Zappanale #22, and are probably Ben Watson’s second or third favourite group still living today. Evil has of course appeared on all of the Zappa cover elpees I’ve compiled for Cordelia Records, putting his unique spin on every darn one of ’em (start here and work your way backwards...which you'll find is pretty apt). And here's Evil’s re-imagining of Frank’s first ever composition, Mice: http://youtu.be/W_qH9zpULXo.
· The Aristocrats’ Culture Clash Live - a two-disc CD/DVD compilation taken from the band’s last tour - will be released on 20 January 2015. On the same day, they'll unleash Secret Show: Live In Osaka, a 2CD limited-release “official bootleg”.
· Get your Zappanale #26 tix at a pre-Xmas special price here.
· Those of us who attended Zappanale #20 well remember Rudi Dolezal. In the past, Rudi and his DoRo film company produced a couple of documentaries about FZ (Cadillac Extravaganza and New York & Elsewhere), and here’s a couple of interesting short films from the DoRO website: 41 Seconds With F.Z. (from Vienna 88) and Frank Zappa Rides Arthur Honegger. Enjoy.
· Great googly moogly! There’s a new Zappa covers outfit in the UK, The Spiders Of Destiny. Don’t know too much about them other than that the line-up includes Oliver Browne (guitar), Guthrie Thrushmore (aka Cheb, who played drums with Gong recently) and Josh Perl from Knifeworld. Sound interesting. More details as and when.
· Mike Keneally: “I’ve had a hankering to return to the trio format for live gigs with Bryan Beller and Joe Travers for some time, so in 2015 we’re going to be doing some gigs in the US and abroad. The Keneally/Beller/Travers trio did tons of Beer For Dolphins gigs in the 90s. The name Beer For Dolphins has been in retirement for well over a decade now but I had the urge to resurrect it for these trio gigs.” Mike is also in Night Gallery, “a group consisting of Joe Travers on drums, Marc Bonilla on guitar and vocals, Jonathan Sindelman on keys, Bryan Beller and Travis Davis trading off on bass, and myself on keys, guitar and vocals.” They will play “a bunch of the stuff that we all grew up loving – Tarkus by ELP, Utopia Theme by Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, and a medley of some of our favourite Chicago tunes, along with a selection of Marc’s and my originals.” Hopefully they’ll play more than the planned two gig at LA’s Baked Potato on 11 December.
· Mr Sting’s tour hits the UK in April. His band again includes the wondrous Vinnie Colaiuta.
· Napoleon Murphy Brock has joined Facebook, whereon he informs us that - after the George Duke tribute tour - he’ll embark on a tribute to FZ summer tour from 1 May to 30 September 2015 with Peach Noise www.facebook.com/pages/Napoleon-Murphy-Brock/330106493841446
· U.K. (that is, Jobson, Wetton, Machacek & Donati) will embark on their ‘Final Tour’ in 2015, with a last concert in Tokyo on 30 April. European dates in the Bastard’s Diary.
· Now that we know Festival Moo-ah can definitely happen, we are finally in a position to add a few more bands to the already announced line-up. The first of these we have been in discussions with from day one: the String Trash Project. Comprising Siglinde Koch-Sembdner (harp), Peter Görs (guitar & Arf Dossier!), and our good friend and mainland brother Amaretto Mick Zeuner (bass), STP joined Napoleon Murphy Brock, Mats Öberg & Benoît Moerlen at St. Katharinen in Hamburg ahead of this year’s Zappanale (where they played the festival's exhibition). Mick of course appears on my On Broadway: Covers Of Invention album. All being well, we should be able to announce two more bands before Xmas. Please remain calm.
· Nolan Porter’s first two albums – featuring Jim Gordon, Larry Carlton, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Jimmy Carl Black, Roy Estrada, Lowell George, Richie Hayward and Bill Payne – are to be packaged together on one CD with 3 bonus tracks, available here: www.crossfirepublications.com/nolan2fer.html
· Noel Fielding: “I love the image of the traditional ghost: a white sheet with eyeholes, like a Pac-Man ghost. The Zappa ghost was a variation on this theme. Frank Zappa is a big part of my life, creatively and personally. I know the Zappa family and love them. It’s a tribute, really.” And here is Noel’s Traditional Ghost Vs Zappa Ghost.
· Col. Bruce Hampton, who appears on Lumpy Gravy, is the star of a new documentary (Basically Frightened: The Musical Madness of Colonel Bruce Hampton)in which he talks about meeting FZ. Watch: http://youtu.be/5gHPpUBEyNw
· Dweezil will commemorate 10 years of ZPZ in 2015 with a world tour, performing One Size Fits All in its entirety (on its 40th anniversary). Plus there will be “more Zappa music” – but Dweezil’s or Frank’s? Hopefully both! (UPDATE: South and Midwest US dates have now been announced: www.dweezilzappaworld.com/pages/tour-section)
· The George Duke Tribute Band (touring 16 April to 16 May in 2015) will comprise Byron Miller (bass), Sheila E (percussion), Ndugu Chancler (drums), Paul Jackson Jr (guitar), Patrice Rushen (keyboards), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Josie James (vocals) and Napoleon Murphy Brock (vocals/sax).
· The Idiot has heard a rumour that anyone expecting Roxy - The Movie to be any longer than 90 minutes will be sorely disappointed.
· Over at alt.fan.frank-zappa, Mick Ekers answered a question about the whereabouts of the ‘5-track Studio Z tape recorder’ as follows: “The tape recorder is long gone, but FZ kept the unique 5 track head. It’s still in the possession of the Zappa Family and I’ve seen it and photographed it! There is a piece on it in my Zappa’s Gear book which, Gail willing, should finally be published next year.”
· Dweezil says he has just “recorded the Master take for Dragon Master. It’s a super heavy Iron Maiden style rocker. It sounds like there is an enormous Dragon swinging his tail around the studio. For those unfamiliar, Dragon Master is the only co-write I ever got to do with my dad. He wrote the lyrics in 1986. I can’t wait for you all to hear them!” For those that can’t wait, there’s this.
· Universal Music is to release a 7" single (limited to 350 copies) comprising the 200 Motels Overture and What’s The Name Of Your Group? on Record Store Day’s Black Friday (28 November 2014). Were these recorded at last year’s 200 Motels performances, perchance?
· Dweezil’s new album can be pre-ordered already! His first in 10 years will feature Zappa Plays Zappa band members Scheila Gonzales, Kurt Morgan, Ryan Brown, Ben Thomas and Chris Norton. Find out all about it here.
· Former ZPZ and current BFU guitarist, Jamie Kime, has his debut album Alleys - produced and co-written by Mike Keneally - available to buy now. Try here, for starters: www.cdbaby.com/cd/jamiekime
· Italian jazz pianist Stefano Bollani has a new CD, Sheik Yer Zappa, out now for your delectation. (And no, that’s not Howard Kaylan on the front cover: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NTDLHMA)
· Trick or treat? Here’s the latest esoteric missive from the GZ. No definite Roxy news; Dance Me This in your hands if you’re lucky before ‘The Year Of Zappa’ is out; and Road Tapes didn’t make a Halloween release this year.
· Denny Walley: “I have left The Magic Band. I’ve devoted 13 years to playing this amazing music with some of the most brilliant musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with but I felt that it’s time to move on. I’ve made hundreds of good friends on the road over the years and hope to see you all when I tour in 2015. This will not be a ‘Tribute’ band, although I will be performing some select material from both FZ & Captain Beefheart, mainly material I have played and recorded with them. I will not attempt to sing like Don van Vliet as I think John French definitely owns that territory!” The Idiot understands Denny’s place is being taken by ‘Mad’ Max Kutner - who of course also plays with the Magic Band’s Eric Klerks in the Grandmothers.
· Shuggie Otis has just had his album, Live In Williamsburg, released on Cleopatra Records. Shuggie’s live band includes Albert Wing. The CD will be followed by a DVD version of the same concert. Sony Music recently issued The Very Best Of Shuggie Otis 1969-1974 on CD.
· Very sad news about the mighty Jack Bruce. May he rest in peace.
· So far confirmed for Zappanale #26: Banned From Utopia, Magma, Napoleon Murphy Brock & Peach Noise, Inventionis Mater, Norwegian Wind Ensemble and The Z3 featuring Ed Mann.
· Moon Unit won an award at the 2014 Austin Film Festival for her script (co-written with Molly Stein) for The 700 Year Itch.
· Check out the Fantastic Mr Fox and Acton Zappa: http://youtu.be/1mrWrwhCZQs
· Diva’s made another film: in The Bloody Indulgent “a Zappa Zombie tries to kill a Backstreet Boy Vampire”. Read more here.
· Dates for the MufFinZ ‘May Blitz’ tour of Germany are now in the Bastard’s Diary.
· Drew Friedman has produced this fine art print of FZ: http://drewfriedman.net/prints/zappa.html
· Prog-fusion guitarist Jane Getter’s next album will feature the dynamic rhythm section of Bryan Beller and Chad Wackerman.
· Read this very interesting interview with Gail Zappa, in which (inter alia) she slams Zappanale and reveals that Official Release #100 will be Dance Me This.
· Wanna replica of a guitar strap used by FZ? http://rvrb.io/honeycomb-blue-yel-t49
· Shindig! issue #42, published in September, features an article by Neil Hussey on FZ & the original Mothers - including new interviews with Don Preston...and Howard Kaylan www.shindig-magazine.com/SD42.html
· The new Stanley Clarke Band album, Up, features a version of Brazilian Love Affair and a re-recording of School Days. You can hear the former track - dedicated to Stanley’s old mucker, George Duke - here http://youtu.be/P-jXegiLiNQ
· Here’s some great silent footage of The Mothers at the Newport Jazz Festival in July 1969: www.historicfilms.com/tapes/2338_2046_2547
· Jeff Simmons tells me his pre-MOI Easy Chair material will be coming out on the World In Sound label this Autumn...and also that his “new bits” (recorded with Howard Kaylan) will be released “Stateside as soon as we get the glass master”.
· Here’s an extract from the second volume of Danny Baker’s autobiography, Going Off Alarming, which features all the grizzly details of an interview NME attempted to conduct with FZ in 1980: www.waterstones.com/blog/2014/09/read-going-off-alarming/
· Dweezil has blogged about ZPZ not touring Europe this autumn, their 2010 live Apostrophe tour DVD (featuring George Duke), his future musical direction, and the completion of the Roxy movie! - here: www.dweezilzappaworld.com/posts/1968884-zpz-2014-and-beyond
· Check out the Flat Earth Society performing FZ’s Solitude on Belgian TV: www.een.be/programmas/hotel-m/mauro-pawlowski-en-de-flat-earth-society-solitude
· Want a tote bag, wall clock or shower curtains adorned with Diva Zappa’s art? I saw you coming here: http://society6.com/divazappa
· Episode 20 of the ZappaCast features a tribute to Ray Collins, an interview with Don & Bunk and David Parlato, and…it’s wonderful, Goddammit! http://zappacast.podomatic.com/entry/2014-09-16T09_01_32-07_00 (Btw, Magic Bandsman Eric Klerks will be stepping up once again to play bass for the Grandmothers when they tour mainland Europe in November.
· TV presenter Matthew Wright has purchased tickets for Festival Moo-ah. He told me, “I met some lovely Moo-ah supporters at the Grandmothers Under the Bridge concert last spring, and I really wanted to help make the event go ahead!” It’s not too late: you can do the (*cough*) Wright thing too: www.wegottickets.com/festivals/f/7782
· Dweezil says he’s “getting ready to record an album of new DWEEZIL ZAPPA material. More details soon!” While we wait, check out this video of ZPZ doing the ‘ice bucket beat down’: http://youtu.be/DC7krSpY2lo
· Here's a groovy promo video for the Zappanale book, We Are The Other People, in which I appear very briefly (clue: Ben Watson can be seen dancing behind me) and in which my name is spelled rong! http://youtu.be/XjIBjxNrMrc
· A pristine, rediscovered recording of the FZ-hosted tribute to Edgar Varèse at New York’s Palladium on 17 April 1981 can now be heard here: www.wqxr.org/story/archives-frank-zappa-hosts-edgard-varese-concert/ The page also includes links to Frank’s letter to the idol of his youth and other cool ‘bonus’ items. Here’s the direct link to the 1981 performance.
· Out on 4 September 2014 is a new book titled The Greatest Albums You'll Never Hear: Unreleased Records By The World’s Greatest Musicians. I provided three entries for the book, including one on Frank’s Läther. The book was edited by Bruno MacDonald, who some may recall from the Amazing Pudding Pink Floyd fanzine. Makes an ideal gift for Christmas!
· The Kindle e-Edition of Jimmy Carl Black’s most excellent autobiography, For Mother’s Sake, has been updated with 50 or so photos added. If you have already bought a copy from Amazon, it should be automatically updated. If you haven’t, it's currently selling for a mere £2.47. Get in! www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00I6HKM6Q
· Want to help acoustic Zappa duo Inventionis Mater make their second album, Kong’s Revenge? Of course you do! Click away: www.indiegogo.com/projects/inventionis-mater-zappa-duo-kong-s-revenge
· A new 4 CD set by Captain Beefheart, Sun Zoom Spark 1970 To 1972, appears to be an official release featuring remastered versions of Lick My Decals Off, Baby, The Spotlight Kid, Clear Spot and a fourth disc of alternate versions, rehearsals and outtakes from the sessions for the two ‘Spot’ albums www.spincds.com/cds/smile-cd-43038
· With two months to go before Festival Moo-ah Decision Day, we’ve sold half the tickets we need to break even. Big thanks to all those who’ve already put their money where their mouths are. We now need the rest of you to put your hands in your pockets and help ensure this UK Zappa Festival goes ahead: it’s in the lap of you sods! Please please please, if you want Festival Moo-ah to happen, buy your ticket now. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of places for you to stay, and we’ll advise on that in due course. But you have nothing to lose by buying a festival ticket NOW! Remember the Uncle Ian Guarantee: everyone will get a 100% £60 refund if we have to cancel the event. But let’s make sure it doesn’t come to that and we can all enjoy Ike Willis, John Etheridge’s Zappatistas, The Muffin Men, ZAPPATiKA, Inventionis Mater and more next March.
· The Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra has been hard at work recording a collection of music by FZ, and has just come to an agreement to release a full length CD on Cordelia Records sometime early in 2015. The tracks, performed in ZERO’s own inimitable style, will feature a number of special guests - including Prairie Prince and Alli Bach. Keep tabs on progress via http://zeroensemble.com/
· Violinist Zach Brock’s new album, Purple Sounds, features his version of Frank’s Twenty Small Cigars - hear a snatch here: http://secretfortmusic.com/track/twenty-small-cigars
· This Is Our Youth, a new Broadway play at the Cort Theatre, includes three Frank Zappa songs as well as new music penned by Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij.
· Another new gray area Beefheart release - but one that finally sounds worthwhile: www.beefheart.com/live-1966-67/
· Long time readers of idiotbastard.com may recall me asking various Zappa alums to list their top ten Beatles songs. While I was writing The Beatles…, I decided to revisit their various inputs (now long-since removed from IBS) and add to them. I was lucky enough to cajole my publisher into appending this little bit of self-indulgence to the end of my book. So if any FZ fans are interested in learning which of the Fabs tunes Warren Cuccurullo, Don Preston, Pamela Des Barres, Mark Volman, Joe Travers, Jimmy Carl Black, Arthur Barrow, Scott Thunes, Essra Mohawk, Mike Keneally, Candy Zappa, Thana Harris, Albert Wing and Robert Martin enjoyed, you may want to beg, borrow or...no, not steal!...buy a copy of my latest book.
· And while I’m bigging myself up, you may be interested to know that I have a new solo radio show on Thurrock Community Business Radio (www.thurrockradio.org.uk/): Anything Anytime Anyplace For No Reason At All airs every Tuesday and Saturday at 17:00 GMT – and will feature at least one Zappa piece per show! This is in addition to Lee & Andy’s Rock Show that I co-host every night on TCBR at 21:00 GMT. In both instances, new shows are added fortnightly.
· Don Pardo (who delivered a special Illinois enema bandit-type announcement) sadly passed away in his sleep, aged 96.
· A bit late in mentioning this, but John Tabacco signed a deal with Muffin Records and they have released his latest CD, Unfulfilled Shopping Carts Syndrome. It contains two Zappa covers: How Could I Be Such A Fool and Jelly Roll Gum Drop. Here's a link to the disc: http://muffinrecordsproductions.com/muffin-records-productions-blog/john-tabacco-news-blog/ John has also put some music up at Bandcamp. Here’s the link for a three CD set called Suburban Hermit, recorded from 2009 to 2012, and the whole thing can be purchased for a mere $5.00.
· Ahoy! Nigey Lennon needs your help to complete her new Ship In A Bottle album. Go here, me hearties: http://igg.me/at/nigey-lennon-ship-in-a-bottle And while yer about it, why not pick up a copy of her Being Frank: My Time With Frank Zappa - a snip at £3.80 on Kindle: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0057ZQLXS
· In case any of you are interested in that popular 60s beat combo from Liverpool, I have just had my second book published by Wymer UK, titled The Beatles… The Easy Way: A Guide To The Official Recordings. It’s readily right now available from Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, Waterstones, Wymer and elsewhere. You can also like it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BeatlesTheEasyWay
· The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra has a new Hybrid SACD album out called Perfect Strangers. It features nearly 40 mins of Frank. Check it out here: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00KFU2YTK
· Check out this cold cast bronze bust of FZ by Stephen Paterson: www.stevepaterson.co.uk/frank-zappa?show=slide
· Zoot Horn Rollo (Bill Harkleroad) has a new 4-track download available, titled The Mask Tracks. Read more about it: www.zoothornrollo.com/news/four-new-tracks
· Read my review of the new Tom O’Dell film, Frank Zappa 1969-1973: Freak Jazz, Movie Madness & Another Mothers: www.idiotbastard.com/reviews.htm#FreakJazz
· Scott Parker’s A Freak Out In The Making has just been published. You can get it on Kindle right now. Also just out as an eBook is Pauline Butcher’s Freak Out! My Life With Frank Zappa.
· If you can’t make it to Norway for the Zappa Union on 8 November, why not enjoy the Zappa Experience with The FoolZ and the Percussion Ensemble KNA Lunteren in Barneveld, Holland instead?
· ZAPPATiKA have remastered and added some vocal “tweakz” to their version of We Are Not Alone, which originally appeared on the Rare Episodes album. This has been issued as a ‘single version’ on iTunes, CD Baby, etc. And here’s a preview/download link at the band’s Reverbnation page.
· Want a copy the amazing We Are The Other People – 25 Years of Zappanale book, featuring your truly and some other folk? Get one here: www.arf-shop.zappanale.de/product_info.php?products_id=193
· Zappanale #26 (16-19 July 2015) should feature Banned From Utopia, The Z3 (with Ed Mann?), Bogus Pomp, Peach Noise (with Napi?), Ozric Tentacles, Magma and many more.
· Brand new documentary DVD from Prism Films, Frank Zappa 1969-1973: Freak Jazz, Movie Madness & Another Mothers, available now: www.chromedreams.co.uk/frank-zappa---1969-1973-1075-p.asp
· Check out the excellent Gumbo Variation live at Old School Studios II on 26 June 2014 http://youtu.be/Y--s2uPRTwM
· So. The 40th Anniversary Edition of Apostrophe(’) will be available on 180-Gram Vinyl at the end of September - but no mention of other formats or the Record Store Day single bonus tracks www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2070691
· Warren Cuccurullo’s latest project, The Master with Ustad Sultan Khan, is now out. Featuring Joe Travers on one track, you can grab it from iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-master/id891816788), Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/qh4vma4) or Bandcamp (http://tinyurl.com/k5tnqlm). And here's the press release.
· Festival Moo-ah! Band accommodation sorted! A big thank you to those who cancelled their rooms at the Raven Hotel to allow the Bands to stay there. We now have enough accommodation for the Bands that are booked for 20/21 March 2015. Co-organiser Uncle Ian said, “There are three or four rooms we haven’t obtained yet and if we are able to book more bands we will need these too. But I am pleased to say we are back in business – subject to selling enough tickets by 1st November!”
· Wolfram Klug’s Bert, The Nerd – featuring Ike Willis, Tommy Mars, Ed Mann, Robert Martin, Arthur Barrow and Albert Wing - is now available. Try here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/burt-the-nerd/id897002990, or here www.amazon.de/dp/B00LLCH41Y
· The second part of our chat with Pauline Butcher Bird makes up the bulk of ZappaCast, Episode 19. Your ears await: http://zappacast.podomatic.com/entry/2014-07-08T10_16_52-07_00
· You can see the Celebrity Wife Swap episode featuring Dweezil here: http://youtu.be/Y66lab0ogps
· Look, Ben Watson places me side-by-side with Dweezil and confronts us with the Dreadful Face of Bishop Brown – here.
· Here’s a great interview with original Magic Band bassist Jerry Handley: www.beefheart.com/interview-with-jerry-handley-by-steve-froy/
· Al Jarreau has recorded a tribute album, My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke. It features Stanley Clarke and Mac Rebennack, among many others.
· Mike Keneally has unleashed a downloadable album, Dancing Demos - “a nine-song, 37-minute collection of the demos I recorded in 2000 to distribute to the members of Beer For Dolphins, prior to beginning the rehearsals for the album Dancing.”
· Rare Episodes is now available at G&S Music – along with all the other Zappa-themed albums I’ve compiled for Cordelia Records: www.gandsmusic.com/IBS.htm
· Another Cordelia/IBS collaboration in the offing – featuring many of the stars of MOO-AH! www.idiotbastard.com/Weasels.htm
· Guess I should mention the recent physical release of last year’s Puttin’ On The Ritz - The Classic NYC Broadcast 1981 download. Also coming is a vinyl release in November (www.moonunitrecords.co.uk/frank-zappa-puttin-on-the-ritz-limited-colour-4lp-deluxe-hardcover-collectors-edition.html). Of course, you shouldn’t pay for any of these.
· Tickets for the second Festival Moo-ah! are available from WeGotTickets NOW: www.wegottickets.com/festivals/f/7782
· Chrome Dreams has issued Beefheart Vs. Zappa - When Don Met Frank, a two DVD set that comprises its Captain Beefheart - Under Review and From Straight To Bizarre - Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Alice Cooper And LA’s Lunatic Fringe documentaries. At less than £12, this represents great value for money if you haven't already got them. They feature exclusive interviews with John French, Alan Clayson, Jeff Simmons, Bill Harkleroad, Mark Boston, Elliot Ingber, Doug Moon and Gary Lucas among many others. Grab one today www.chromedreams.co.uk/beefheart-vs-zappa---when-don-met-frank-1063-p.asp
· Frank Made Me Do It by Clark Colborn is here: http://store.clarkplaysguitar.com/album/frank-made-me-do-it
· In November 2013, John ‘Drumbo’ French appeared at Rough Trade East in London to talk about the early days of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band and the new Magic Band Under The Bridge live album. Here's a video from that night in which John describes working with Don Van Vliet and how the beat came about for the song Bat Chain Puller. It also features a number of friends! http://proper-records.co.uk/2014/05/watch-john-drumbo-french-of-captains-beefhearts-magic-band-in-conversation-rough-trade-east/
· Warren Cuccurullo’s recordings with the late great sarangi player, Ustad Sultan Khan, will finally be released in July. Read all about it here.
· The wonderful Rare Episodes album is now available from CD Baby: www.cdbaby.com/cd/rareepisodesfrankzappasu
· In this documentary, Gumbo Variation discuss the process of practice, set building and improvisation while sharing their thoughts about Frank Zappa and his music. The film also follows the build up to their support show for Ike Willis and ZAPPATiKA at the Thameside Theatre in Grays: http://youtu.be/JWBCcwHSqVY
· Watch how to create a Zappa beard: http://youtu.be/YmiKNB_4STk
· The Banned From Utopia line-up is changing some more: out go Arthur Barrow and Ed Mann, in comes former ZPZ guitarist Jamie Kime. They will be on tour at the end of 2014. Meantime, the rest of the boys (Ray White, Chad Wackerman, Albert Wing, Tom Fowler and Robert Martin) will be touring and recording as part of the band Roister.
· Live versions of Cosmik Debris (essentially an outtake from Road Tapes, Venue #2) and Zoot Allures (largely from Hammersmith Odeon 18 June 1982, with Chad later overdubbing his drums at UMRK) were released as downloads by the ZFT to commemorate 10 May 1964.
· Terry Bozzio is selling some of his art…including this one of FZ: http://terrybozzioart.com/canvas10.html
· Our latest ZappaCast features the return of the delightful Pauline Butcher (who asks me a few questions about my Zappa The Hard Way book before we get onto more important matters!): http://zappacast.podomatic.com/entry/2014-04-30T09_14_46-07_00 The radio play adaptation of Pauline’s Freak Out! book, Frank Zappa And Me, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 6 May. It featured Ronan Summers as FZ, Lucy Briggs Owen as young Pauline, and Richenda Carey (who appeared in Mike Leigh’s wondrous but-still-not-readily-available-on-DVD, Nuts In May) as present-day Pauline. More here www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b042jhlc (including a two minute clip).
· Read more about the Roxy By Proxy licensees: www.idiotbastard.com/RoxyByProxy.htm Incidentally, GZ’s reference to “yet another lawsuit” in her liner notes relates to Ryko – not Universal. Phew!
· Billy Mundi (“yak & black lace underwear”) sadly passed away on 29 March 2014. RIP Billy.
· Great clip of the new Grannies playing The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue here: http://youtu.be/GC0PeOeqyMY
· Coming soon from SPB Publishing: ZaFTIG - The Zappa Family Trust Issues Guide by Edward Komara, a handy print reference guide to the 2012 CD reissues of the Zappa catalogue - and more!
· A nice little memory of Martin Lickert.
· New ZappaCast now up, featuring the second part of our chat with the mighty Scott Carter Thunes. Grab it: http://zappacast.podomatic.com/entry/2014-04-08T07_04_00-07_00
· American rock guitarist, composer and recording artist Clark Colborn releases an EP on 11 May (the 21st anniversary of the release of Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar) called Frank Made Me Do It. It comprises “four of my songs that FZ inspired me to write, plus a cover of his immortal My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama.”
· Gail and Dweezil appeared in The Sunday Times’s ‘Relative Values’ column on 6 April 2014. Here’s the full article.
· “Ritual Of Pope Decapitation is not a biopic of Frank Zappa - although he’s the hero of the story.” Read all about it here. And here’s a teaser: http://vimeo.com/54462339
· 2014’s Record Store Day Zappa release was the single edit of Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow b/w Down In De Dew (previously unreleased alternate mix): www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialRelease/6790
· Tommy Mars has uploaded a “ragtag transcription of FZ’s Wild Love” to Musescore. (Thanks Sexy MF!)
· Jon Anderson: “I’m going to get a band together with Jean-Luc Ponty...one of the great violin players. We start work in June. Then we’re going to tour next year. I love the violin.”
· FZ’s official biographer, Alan Clayson, was interviewed backstage at the Royal Festival Hall last year “for a forthcoming DVD”
· On 11 March 2014, Moon Unit tweeted: “It’s funny how a parent’s hospital stay can reinvigorate gratitude, refocus priorities and rekindle enthusiasm for the right people.” Here’s hoping @ZappaGail’s okay.
· Tommy Mars and Arthur Barrow are participating in a live performance of Jon Larsen’s Willie Nickerson's Egg at the Molde Jazz Festival in Norway on 14, 15 & 16 July 2014. Look: www.moldejazz.no/2014/index.php?page_id=19775
· The first part of my good friend Tim Op Het Broek’s interview with Robert Martin can now be heard here on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/#zappa-project/bobbymartinpart1
· New album by ‘Indonesian guitar icon’ Dewa Budjana, Surya Namaskar, features one Vinnie Colaiuta hitting things.
· Out latest ZappaCast takes a look back at last year’s performances of 200 Motels – with very special guest Scott Thunes: http://zappacast.podomatic.com/entry/2014-02-28T09_59_22-08_00
· Here’s a great little clip of ZPZ playing Zomby Woof with a special guest late last year (with audio provided by Dweezil, from the mixing board): http://youtu.be/s9kDlgRFIAc
· Out of the shower, she squeezes her spots – possibly caused by Zappa(e).
· The Vaultmeister (over at the Zappa Forum) has confirmed that “of course” the ZFT has plans for an official release of the Ritz 1981 show.
· Check out (the bottom left of) this page of the latest Berklee Today alumni magazine...a mention for Cordelia Record’s Rare Episodes CD! http://berkleetoday.epubxp.com/i/247249/34
· Joe’s Camouflage has now been formally announced/released by the ZFT.
· Swiss Zappa-tribute band, FiDOplaysZAPPA, have released the concert-movie FiDO wird 10 und feiert - Live at Gare du Nord & More: 100 minutes, 23 songs & some studio/tour/rehearsing-insights of FiDO’s breakneck big dipper ride through the big Z’s nutty cosmos in the last decade 2003-2013. The movie is available on USB-Stick (16GB) or download on www.fidoplayszappa.com/wordpress/fidoshop
· The Kindle edition of For Mother's Sake: The Memoirs And Recollections Of Jimmy Carl Black 1938-2008 was published by Amazon on 1 February 2014, to commemorate Jimmy’s birthday. The list price is £4.37. Between 1 and 8 February, buy the print edition through Amazon and get the Kindle for FREE! Read my review: www.idiotbastard.com/reviews.htm#FMS
· You there - listen to Z3 with special guest Ed Mann: https://archive.org/details/Z32014-01-23.SBD-AKG483
· Listen to The Best Of Talking Zappa with Tony Trombo, featuring excerpts from his chats with Howard Kaylan, Lisa Popeil, Bob & Thana Harris and Ed Mann.
· The world première of The Yellow Sound - a ballet with music by FZ - takes place at the Nationaltheater in Munich on 4 April.
· Andrew was very happy to learn that, as at the end of 2013, his Zappa The Hard Way book had sold over 2,000 copies. Thank you very much if you’ve purchased at least one copy!
· Right here is a picture of God that Frank drew for Moon.
· Some nice snaps of FZ and the Captain in 1975, from the files of Herb Cohen, got sold on eBay recently.
· Out on 3 February 2014 was the first album collaboration by Peter Hammill & Gary Lucas, Other World.
· An interesting blog on Frank and Finland…and elsewhere.
· Chris Charlesworth remembers FZ at The Rainbow.
· Pre-Experience Hendrix Tour interview with Dweezil, in which he talks about the burnt Fender Strat http://youtu.be/Drpxl68pxgQ
· Who knew? – a relative of Frank’s was born and raised in Sarf London.
· Here’s a review of the Uncle Meat vinyl reissue for all you ‘sound fanatics’: www.analogplanet.com/content/uncle-meat%E2%80%94frank-zappas-soundtrack-album-movie-he-correctly-predicted-you-would-never-see
· A message from the main-man regarding the future of Zappanale: www.zappanale.de/en/news/569-r-jahresrueckblick.html
· Out in February, Oh No! Not Jazz!! by The Ed Palermo Big Band - half FZ, half EP.
· Hurry! The Mothers Of Invention - The Ultimate Listening Guide (Part One: 200 Motels And More) by Dave Thompson is now available on Kindle www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00F3NSR36
· Here’s an, umm, interesting interview with former Grandmother Napoleon Murphy Brock: http://youtu.be/cYekMMe6DuI Now that Napi has gone, why do the Grandmothers keep up the pretence that the band started in 2002? Don and Bunk ‘consistently performed’ as Grannies in the 80s & 90s (with Jimmy Carl Black), and Dave Parlato can be heard on the first Grandmothers ‘anthology’ album from 1981 (on tracks recorded with Don in the 70s). I’m really excited about seeing the latest incarnation, and the band should be proud of its long history.
· Robert Martin tells me “BFU did a 24 track recording of the concert in Frankfurt last month, and the mix is coming together superbly”. More when I get it.
· Wolfgang’s Vault now has the video of Frank’s late show at the Capitol Theater from 13 October 1978: www.concertvault.com/#frank-zappa/video/track-1_1009907.html
· Born 15 weeks early on what would have been Frank’s 53rd birthday, blind multi-instrumentalist Rachel Flowers has just produced this amazing cover of Inca Roads on which she plays every instrument: https://soundcloud.com/#rachelflowers-1/inca-roads
· Here’s a clip of George Duke playing Zappa stuff on his old piano as filmed by Frank Scheffer: http://youtu.be/JzpZgyaFPD4
· Frank’s Horny has been spruced-up. Read all about it here.
· Funny or what? http://youtu.be/ZbMpagpPVvU
· 2013’s AAAFNRAA bundlement is “a documentary of the making of a recording and performance of Cheepnis”. Available from iTunes - grab it if you can.
· We venture inside the piano for Episode 15 of the ZappaCast, - yes, it’s the BIG one for Zappadan: http://zappacast.podomatic.com/entry/2013-12-17T06_59_55-08_00
· The Grandmothers have re-invented themselves once more! New line-up as follows: Don Preston (piano, keyboard synthesizers, electronics, gongage, magic and vocals), Christopher Garcia (drums, percussion, marimba and vocals), "Mad" Max Kutner (electric guitar, what-nots, pedals, hats and hair), Bunk Gardner (tenor sax, EWI, flute, straight man, commentary) and David Parlato (electric bass). More here: www.miooow.com/artists/live-artists/the-grandmothers-of-invention.html
· Gail’s talk a few days before the UK premiere of 200 Motels can now be heard at here.
· A spiffy ‘new’ video for the song Fine Girl: http://youtu.be/9GNN-5zY0CI
· Fantom Records is “finishing two new albums, both FOH material sourced from recent ZPZ shows, as well as the LA shows DVD featuring George Duke - which is in final edit stage…we hope to make these all available in March 2014.”
· Frank Filipetti was responsible for recording the LA performance of 200 Motels. Read more about it here.
· The Thurston Lava Tube have a new album, The Poodle Collector, comprising 20 tracks that aren’t on their other albums, including Mr Green Genes, The Idiot Bastard Son and Caravan (with a drum solar, natch).
· One of the bonus features on the new Jimi Hendrix documentary DVD/Blu-ray, Hear My Train A Comin’, is a 30 minute fillum about the Miami Pop Festival. According to Stuart Penney, “at the start we see Don Preston walking backstage and then it cuts to onstage footage of the MOI. Great colour footage, but no sound unfortunately. It’s just setting the scene for Hendrix’s appearance. Frank appears for maybe 10 secs.” And of course Dweezil (who is again part of the ‘Experience Hendrix’ tour in Spring 2014) appears in the main feature.
· The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra performed Dupree’s Paradise at the National Concert Hall in Dublin on 28 January 2014. (This was then broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm on Sunday 2 February, 8-10pm.) See more here.
· Nice little tribute to his dad on the 20th anniversary of his passing - Dweezil Zappa as guest DJ on WYEP: www.wyep.org/audio/dweezil-zappa-guest-dj
· Fellow Zappa author (heh-heh!) Michael Gray has a blogspot.
· The Theory Of Zappa with Paul Carr, Richard Hand and Evil Dick from Nottingham Contemporary, 28 November 2013: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6ObCjj0TXU&feature=share
· Issue 41 of PROG magazine featured 11 pages on FZ, including interviews with Dweezil, Gail, Don Preston, Mike Keneally and Adrian Belew, ‘The Last Interview’ (from Cutting Edge) and a buyer's guide. www.progrockmag.com/news/prog-41-new-issue-on-sale/
· Here’s the latest in Zappa releases from G&S Music: www.idiotbastard.com/News/G+S.pdf Who knew that Official Release #97 was the soundtrack to A Token Of His Extreme? Longer tracks include Montana and Flo Po.
· Dweezil: “This is the very first time I ever played Watermelon In Easter Hay. It was very challenging to play on many levels. It has always been a highly emotional song for me. Matching my father’s phrasing is very difficult as well.” http://youtu.be/yI7G5-BNY6k Now I’m very happy to say, I witnessed the second time ZPZ performed this song – at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Armistice Day. Here’s a very nice two-cam clip of that: http://youtu.be/g2NCiNKdCYU
· Tom Brown went to the LA production of 200 Motels – read his report here. As I’m sure you all will appreciate, the opinions and views expressed by ‘guest reviewers’ on this website are the opinions of the designated authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of myself or any other individual. Enjoy!
· Out now: Willin’: The Story Of Little Feat by Ben Fong-Torres. Includes interviews with (among many others) Roy Estrada and Elliot Ingber, and pooh-poohs Jimmy Carl Black’s story (in his own autobiography) that he was responsible for naming the band.
· Mike Keneally has reissued his 1997 album Sluggo!, remixed in stereo & surround, in a variety of formats featuring a great deal of unreleased audio and video material. Grab one here: http://store.keneally.com/
· Gary Steel reviews the orchestral premiere of 200 Motels here.
· Inkanish Publications are pleased to announce that For Mother’s Sake, the epic, blockbuster of a memoir from the one and only ‘Indian of the Group’, the unforgettable Jimmy Carl Black, will be available from November 1st to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Jimmy’s sad demise. Copies can be purchased at the outrageous but reasonable price of $19.95 plus postage through CreateSpace.com as a print on demand service. Click here to purchase. Click here for a sneak preview. The ‘last written interview’ mentioned is of course here.
· David Ocker has some great insights into the recent staging of 200 Motels on his Mixed Meters blog: http://mixedmeters.com/2013/10/frank-zappas-200-motels-suites.html
· New interview with Moon Zappa here: www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episodes/episode_434_-_moon_zappa (starts around the 17 minute mark). Among other things, she reveals that she is currently writing a book about her upbringing.
· Mick Ekers: “I’m very pleased to be working with the Zappa Family Trust to make Zappa’s Gear an official ZFT book. Gail Zappa has approved the cover design. Watch the skies for an official announcement in the next few weeks.”
· Ahmet on Twitter: “I’m conflicted about how I should feel about Lou Reed’s death. He was a great songwriter but also such an asshole to my father. I’m certain Frank never cared about what Lou Reed said about him, but as my father's son, Lou’s words put him on my permanent shit list.” Meanwhile at Zappa.com: www.zappa.com/whatsnew/ofconsequence/lou-reed/index.html
· Now available for free download from the BBC, ‘Freak Out – The Frank Zappa Story’.
· This explains a lot: a ‘Zappa Year’ lasts more than 12 months...and note the careful wording re. Roxy: it simply says the 1973 concerts were filmed (fact) - no longer are they linking the movie’s completion to the ZPZ shows there.
· Hear GZ talk about 200 Motels on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24649949
· Despite its rather naff cover - plus the fact that My Human Gets Me Blues, When It Blow's Its Stacks, Steal Softly Thru Snow and Alice In Blunderland will have appeared on all four Magic Band reunion CDs - this still sounds worthy of your attention.
· The annual Chadfest will this year include a special Halloween performance by The Doc Chad All Dead Jazz And Pop All Stars, featuring (among others) Eugene Chadbourne as Jimmy Carl Black, Evan Gallagher as Thelonious Monk and Louie Pearlman as Cab Calloway. Wacky. Takes place at New York’s The Stone.
· Yay! The UK is also getting Diva Zappa for 200 Motels - but over here she’ll be playing Groupie 2 (Lucy). And but also: Tony Guilfoyle (accident-prone Father Larry Duff from the TV comedy Father Ted) will play Frank. Paul Carr has blogged some more about his programme notes for the event here. (I can reveal that the ‘someone else’ referred to is none other than Frank’s official biographer, the very agreeable Mr Alan Clayson). And here, GZ sez, “This score is more refined and it is actually very close, if not exact, to all the notes Frank actually wrote, in the order that he wrote them - and that’s what we’re presenting.” Initially this article said that, “Mrs. Zappa is advocating to include Lonesome Cowboy Burt as a tribute to Jimmy Carl Black.” But that got edited out pretty swiftly.
The Norwegian Wind Ensemble (Det Norske Blåseensemble) will launch its new CD - The Brass From Utopia: A Frank Zappa Tribute - at three concerts in Oslo, Horten and Sarpsborg. According to its Facebook page, “The release has been very well received by the Zappa family, who actually want it to be made available for sale both on the official website of theirs and when ZPZ is touring.” Great news...This from the LA Phil’s Facebook page: “A cast of renowned soloists and a band that includes Ian Underwood, Scott Thunes, Joe Travers and Jamie Kime will join us for the world premiere of the iconic musician’s 200 Motels. The performance will be the first complete realization of Zappa’s musical vision.” Joe will be joining Scott for the UK performance, too. Full band (and more) for US premiere here: http://laphil.com/200Motels ...What am I bid for this ‘Burnt Weenie (sic) Sandwich 1969/70 Film Production File’? www.ebay.com/itm/FRANK-ZAPPA-Burnt-Weenie-Sandwich-1969-70-Film-Production-File-/350892873650 Hurry, hurry - betting ends, November fifth...The Magic Band has a bespoke website once more: http://magicband.org/ ...Here’s the trailer for Summer 82: When Zappa Came To Sicily: http://youtu.be/RCYjJvk7QbA ...Hope they fix the sub-titles before it’s released...The cast for the US premiere of 200 Motels includes Mister Pamela Des Barres, Bob Fossil and Diva. There will also be a presentation of the Drool, Britannia chapter from The Real FZ Book prior to the show...LA singer/songwriter Holland Greco, who sang Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance on The FRANK ZAPPA aaafnraaaa Birthday Bundle, has her debut album Volume One released on Zappa Records next February...Read a nice little article on FZ – ‘American Composer’ - in Canada’s La Scena Musicale here: www.calameo.com/read/0002521967169d4ae26e8 Includes new interviews with Dweezil and Kent Nagano. Interesting that they should discuss Sinister Footwear; when I interviewed Kent 23 years ago (really?), he described it as “one of the best pieces that he’s written and it doesn’t exist in a recording...done with an orchestra”. Full interview at http://idiotbastard.com/Interviews/KentNagano.htm ...Dr Paul Carr reveals that he was asked to pen programme notes for the UK premiere of 200 Motels…and more: http://paulcarrmusings.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/back-to-blogging-more-zappa-i-am-afraid/ ...Radio New Zealand will be exploring “the life and music of the incomparable Frank Zappa” on 16 October: www.radionz.co.nz/national/comingup/2498996 ...Some cast details for the UK premiere of 200 Motels later this month: Richard Strange (of proto-punk rock band The Doctors of Madness): narrator, Rance; Ian Shaw (Welsh jazz singer and stand-up comedian): Mark; Brendan Reilly (London-based American singer-songwriter): Howard; Sophia Brous (exotica diva/pop auteur): Groupie 1 (Janet); Bridget Christie (stand-up comedienne): Good Conscience, Donovan; Jay Rayner (food critic, son of Claire): Bad Conscience, Ginger; and Scott Carter Thunes (bass player/shit-disturber extraordinaire): Jeff…and talking of Jeff, this just in from Howard Kaylan: “Hang onto your dentures, Zappa fans...the long-awaited Jeff Simmons NEW studio album is finally DONE! We're a mix away from your ear holes.”...Dieter Jakob, who compiled the book Vinyl Is Not Dead - It Just Smells Funny: The Frank Zappa Singles, is currently helping put together a non-profit tome for the Arf Society, to help celebrate Zappanale’s silver jubilee next year. It will contain a collection of stories and pictures from those who’ve visited the festival over the last 25 years - including some reminiscences from yours truly. If you have any interesting photos from Zappanale’s #1 to #12, please get in touch with email@example.com ...Carl King’s documentary, Morgan Ågren’s Conundrum: A Percussive Misadventure, is here!: http://vimeo.com/ondemand/morgan ...Hear Barbara Flaska talk about growing up with FZ in Claremont http://rockcritics.com/2013/09/29/zappa-10-interview-with-barbara-flaska/ ...Cool Roxy & Elsewhere official z-shirt www.oldskoolhooligans.com/frank-zappa-t-shirt-roxy-elsewhere-100-official-us-import.html ...This from Michael Brenna: “Norway’s oldest orchestra, founded 1734, plays FZ at Janitsjarhuset, Sarpsborg, Norway on 26 October. They performed the same programme at Larvik’s Yellow Snow Festival in 2012. After sorting out copyright issues, The Blåseensemble [The Norwegian Wind Ensemble] has finally been allowed to release a CD with Zappa material – arranged by Stian Aareskjold. The album will hopefully be released in conjunction with the concert.” www.sa.no/kultur/article6830176.ece ...On 28 November 2013, Dr Paul Carr presented The Theory Of Zappa at Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery. His guests were Richard Hand and Evil Dick. The event was absolutely free, and tied-in with Geoffrey Farmer’s Let’s Make the Water Turn Black ‘sculpture play’ on display at the gallery. Read more: www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/event/theory-zappa ...Incredibly saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Glenn Leonard (former drummer with Project/Object, and more recently the mainman from Pojama People). It was nice that he clearly had so much fun at Zappanale in August, and I was hoping we’d meet up once more out in BD in a year or two. My thoughts are with his family and friends – especially his dear wife and musical partner, Alli Bach. RIP, Glenn...Ignoring the fact that this includes live clips from the Royal Festival Hall in 1968, here’s an interesting video from Pamela Zarubica about the Mothers at the Royal Albert Hall in 1967: http://youtu.be/OIbZWUJwb6o ...The WDR Sinfonieorchester premiered FZ’s Four Pieces for solo drummer and orchestra, arranged by Andrew Digby, Hubert Steiner (trombonist and guitarist respectively with the Ascolta Ensemble) and Ali N. Askin on 4 May 2014 in Cologne...Smooth jazz keyboardist Jeff Lorber has a new album, Hacienda, featuring Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta and, on a cover of Frank’s King Kong, Jean-Luc Ponty and Ed Mann. Says Lorber, “It’s a song I’ve always loved. What you hear on the record is actually just a really quick arrangement that I put together, but a lot of stuff happened spontaneously in the studio that became part of the arrangement. It was almost an accident, but it came out great, and it became one of my favourite songs on the record when Jean-Luc Ponty, who also used to work with Frank Zappa, and Ed Mann, who was a member of the Mothers of Invention, both agreed to play on it.”...As noted below, harpist Lou Anne Neill (Zoot Allures/Zappa In New York/Orchestral Favorites/QuAUDIOPHILIAc, etc.) is a member of the LA Philharmonic. I recently asked her if she would be involved in the forthcoming US premiere of 200 Motels at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on 23 October. This is what she told me: “I have known for about a month that there will be a harp part in 200 Motels. I picked up the part the other day. There are quite a few pages, so I will have some practicing to do. I was happy to see that it ‘looks’ nothing like The Black Page! The Philharmonic doesn't know that I was Frank’s harpist. A few years back, we played G-Spot Tornado on a Green Umbrella concert. John Adams conducted. It was so well received by the audience that we played it again. Never have seen that happen before on a LA Phil concert! Gail Zappa came to that concert and I enjoyed saying 'Hi' to her afterwards. At the time, I told John Adams about my infamous past. He seemed intrigued.”...William Shatner, who previously worked with Adrian Belew (on 2004’s Has Been) has a new album out in October. Ponder The Mystery includes guest artists Steve Vai, George Duke and Zoot Horn Rollo, alongside Rick Wakeman, Al Di Meola, Robbie Krieger and Edgar Winter...Suddenly available: Chris Opperman’s Studio House EP featuring his ZFT-approved rendition of Blessed Relief, as well as contributions from Jordan Shapiro, Liz Cary and the mighty Marco Minnemann. Here: www.cdbaby.com/cd/chrisopperman3 ...Billy Connolly talks about FZ here: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01g2ktz Wildly inaccurate in places, but never mind...Gary Lucas’ latest project ‘The World of Captain Beefheart’, featuring Nona Hendryx, will hit the road in 2014. Meantime, here's a clip of the gang performing When Big Joan Sets Up http://youtu.be/ZMILWDI4VB4 ...In Episode 13 of the ZappaCast we chat awhile with Nigey Lennon and her long-time partner in crime, John Tabacco, about Reinventing The Wheel: Reinvented. There’s also a brief tribute to George Duke (Episode 14 will be a full-blown one). Check it out: http://zappacast.podomatic.com/entry/2013-08-29T10_07_10-07_00 ...Mr McFall’s Chamber will perform some Zappa (Echidna’s Arf/G-Spot Tornado) and Beefheart (Ice Rose/Suction Prints) in Scotland in September - see here www.mcfalls.co.uk/Gigs/Sep-2013-Tour ...Robert Martin has set up a bespoke Banned From Utopia webpage at http://multimartinmusic.com/bannedfromutopia.htm ...Ensemble Ascolta played some of Frank’s Synclavier works at the Lucerne Festival, Switzerland on 6 September 2013...and then again at the Stuttgart Liederhalle, Germany on 1 November...Dweezil now accepts that ZPZ is a tribute band: http://youtu.be/LePxOFWzDMQ ...Kevin Crosby of Pojama People has put together this nifty vid of the band’s trip to Bad Doberan in August: http://youtu.be/Vun4PQrYSkg ...Nice pro-shot video on the GrandMothers Of Invention in Budapest last April here: http://youtu.be/rFhHTb4MN8k ...Now available for download, They Saved Zappa’s Moustache, the full, official, re-mastered 38-track album sound collage mixed live on the air by Don Joyce and Phineas Narco in March 1995 on Negativland's KPFA radio show, Over The Edge: http://nationalcynical.bandcamp.com/album/they-saved-zappas-moustache ...A couple of bits of Beefheart news for ya: (i) the mono edition of Safe As Milk is being reissued by Sundazed Records (on vinyl and CD): www.sundazed.com/shop/safe-as-milk.php; and (ii) the long out-of-print book, Lunar Notes: Zoot Horn Rollo’s Captain Beefheart Experience by Bill Harkleroad with Billy James, is available once more...German music promoter Fritz Rau has sadly passed away, aged 83...Available now (at CDBaby and at iTunes), Timothy Carey presents The World’s Greatest Sinner (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by FZ. Coming soon on CD too, apparently (scroll to the foot of this page). You can also check it out on Spotify right now...The 24th album from Mike Keneally, You Must Be This Tall, was released on 27 August 2013. Go here: http://jamplify.com/dmf8Rd ...Nice one, Dweezil: “This video presentation was culled from our 2010 Los Angeles concert that featured a soulful guest performance from George Duke. I wanted to share a portion of that evening with everyone (prior to its official release) and respectfully pay tribute to George and offer a resounding thank you to him for all of his musical contributions in this world.” http://youtu.be/XIE57gCyKTM ...For those of us lucky enough to have seen Böller & Brot’s most excellent Jimmy Carl Black documentary, Where’s The Beer And When Do We Get Paid? (it was shown during the recent Zappanale), the gals tell me there will eventually be a DVD “with tons of bonus material”, and that there is an English sub-titled version. Yippee! Meantime, it will be shown in German cinemas next month and will premiere in the UK at the The Fifth JCB Memorial BBQ in November...Finally available on Kindle is my Zappa The Hard Way book. For you anoraks out there, there are no major changes from the physical renderings. The eBook does though include more photos from the limited edition hardbacks than the paperback version did (and in colour, should your reader allow it), the discography has also been updated, and a few more errors have been corrected (Pete Townsend – who were you?!)…oh, and I have added a very, very short piece on C. Everett Koop. But that’s it...I understand the track played on the ‘In Memoriam Kongar-ol Ondar’ page at Zappa.com is Dance Me This’s last track, Calculus...Got back from a crackin’ Zappanale to be greeted with the very sad news about George Duke. He was being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and passed away 12½ months after the death of his wife of over 40 years, Corine - also from cancer. Awful news. Nice that his passing has been commemorated at Zappa.com: www.zappa.com/whatsnew/ofconsequence/george-duke/index.html ...Kobalt Music Group (Kobalt) has concluded a worldwide agreement to administer the Zappa catalogue. Along with global copyright administration services, Kobalt will also represent the catalogue for synchronization in film, TV, games, and other media (www.kobaltmusic.com/page-news-detail.php?id=WN1421) ...Another slip-up by iTunes: Puttin’ On The Ritz - The Classic NYC Broadcast 1981 can be purchased from https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/puttin-on-the-ritz-live/id678917731 It’s the show with Al Di Meola. You can also check it out on Spotify...Back in black (at Rock Music Memorabilia): the ‘Not another boring old Knebworth’ FZ t-shirt: www.rockmusicmemorabilia.com/productdetails.php?catid=2&pid=29 ...Here’s an article from The Times, in which Mrs Zappa hails her husband as “the HG Wells of rock’n’roll”: www.zappateers.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=280493#280493 ...Eagle Rock issued Baby Snakes, The Dub Room Special and The Torture Never Stops as a 3-disc DVD set in October 2013. You can order here: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00DVFI43G ...Tuvan throat singer Kongar-ol Ondar (who may or may not appear on Dance Me This, but certainly featured in the UMRK Salad Party ’93 footage) has sadly passed away. Ondar died after emergency surgery to treat a brain hemorrhage. He was only 51...Lengthy - yet interesting - blog from Dweezil: www.dweezilzappaworld.com/posts/1968630-part-4-of-4 This is the final part of the blog he started last year to “give more insight into my mission statement” for Zappa Plays Zappa...Episode 12 - the request show - of ZappaCast is now available at http://zappacast.podomatic.com/entry/2013-07-18T05_41_06-07_00 Thank you to all those who’ve told me how much they appreciate these podcasts – I seem to have had more feedback on these in the last few years than I’ve ever had regarding this here website in the last 12! But for both, it’s invariably positive, so mustn’t grumble...Paul Morley on Frank: http://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/article/52411-frank-zappa-tribute-set-for-2013-edinburgh-international-festival/ ...Nigey Lennon’s Reinventing The Wheel: Reinvented will be available for digital-download from Saturday 20 July 2013, via the resurrected Muffin Records. It comprises the whole of the original RTW album - featuring Mike Keneally et al - plus three original demos from 1997 and a ‘slick’ studio version of Stolen Cadillac, the fab ‘Western Swing’ duet betwixt Jimmy Carl Black and Candy Zappa (sadly, Jimmy’s final recording). Oh, and cover art by one Don Van Vliet!...An English language book made by a collector for fans and collectors, Vinyl Is Not Dead - It Just Smells Funny: The Frank Zappa Singles by Dieter Jakob can now be pre-ordered by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost is 110 Euros plus shipping (dependant on where you live). On more than 500 full coloured pages: every single, maxi and EP with contributions big and small by FZ. More than 3000 photos of the rarest test pressings, acetates, cover and label variations, a price guide, and a lot of other weird stuff. Features a preface by Jeff Simmons and Napoleon Murphy Brock, and a cover design by Cal Schenkel...Mick Ekers has completed his Zappa’s Gear book: “262 page high quality hardback, over 200 original photos, index and glossary, full colour throughout…I’m now waiting on a couple of things outside my direct control, but will be getting the first run to print as soon as humanly possible.” Hip-hip!...Sing Like Frank Zappa (Karaoke Version) by La-Le-Lu, anyone?...come on - you know you want it: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sing-like-frank-zappa-karaoke/id667283640 ...John ‘Drumbo’ French on Facebook: “Had a charming conversation with Gail Zappa, who assured me that The Magic Band was not going to have any problems with playing ‘The Music of Captain Beefheart.’ She said to tell you who are concerned that ‘We have an understanding.’ She gave me several reasons for the Trademark legalities. For instance, Frank wrote a movie script called Captain Beefheart Vs. The Grunt People, which is where Don actually got the name. Captain Glasspack And The Magic Mufflers was one of the names that Frank came up for a group that Don and Frank were going to have. Also, she owns the rights to two albums (BCP and TMR). Her main reason seems to be just what I thought: to nail people like Ozit who put out low quality crap to exploit the name. She also will relinquish ANYTHING to Jan Van Vliet that Jan would ever want, but she has shown absolutely no interest in anything. She also gave me some very sound advice about a couple of things I need to do business-wise and suggested a couple of money-making ideas to me that I had never thought of doing. She talks to me like I’m her kid brother, and I love her like a sister, so that’s it. I think if I were to actually have focused on the business end of this industry as she has done, people would be demonizing me too. It’s very cut throat, and Gail just decided to cut back. Good for her.” And here’s some related reading: http://webtm.com/can-gail-zappa-stop-anyone-from-using-the-name-captain-beefheart/ ...The Financial Times’s Peter Aspden asks why FZ is being embraced by the classical community 20 years after his death: http://video.ft.com/v/2490893100001/Frank-Zappa-s-classical-comeback ...What would Ike Willis like to see at Zappanale that hasn't happened yet? “More opportunities for serious discussion of the huge impact FZ has had on America”. And so, there may be a ‘huge semi-academic/aesthetic conference’ in two years - for the 75th anniversary of Frank’s birth...Boulevard Entertainment is releasing 200 Motels on DVD on 1 July (www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00D2S7FYQ). I first asked director Tony Palmer if this might be the same as the version he issued in 2010; his response, “Your guess is as good as mine. There are endless versions of the film, unfortunately.” So next I asked Boulevard, who confirmed that it is indeed a re-release of the ‘Palmer’ version (“we are running off his master”). Despite this confusion, this is the cheapest the DVD has ever been sold for in the UK...Here’s my review of the new Lex Bronkowitz Orchestra album: www.idiotbastard.com/reviews.htm#LBO ...In 2012, Mrs Zappa trademarked the name ‘Captain Beefheart’ - for reasons unknown (she apparently has until 18 December to clarify) – see here: www.trademarkia.com/captain-beefheart-85695177.html What’s interesting is, you can search that site for trademarks belonging to the ZFT and find a bunch – both dead and live - but ‘Zappa Family Trust’ itself does not appear to have been taken. Anyone got a spare $159?...The Adventures Of Dr. Mumbai features Marco Minnemann, Arthur Barrow, Aaron Arntz, Scheila Gonzalez, Bryan Beller, Pete Griffin, Dweezil Zappa, Billy Hulting and many more. Check it out at www.drmumbai.com/ ...Keep On Keepin’ On: A Short Film About Soul features Nolan Porter - check this: www.leecogswell.co.uk/ ...Here’s Gail on Roxy By Proxy and more: http://therumpus.net/2013/06/swinging-modern-sounds-45-the-distribution-problem-part-one/ ...and there’s a little more-a at www.zappa.com/gzsez/questions/re-roxyminusdistribution/ ...Here's an article about Freak Out! being remastered for vinyl at Bernie Grundman’s www.mi2n.com/press.php3?press_nb=165076 When Gail says, “We don't need to re-write history and reinvent Frank Zappa for today,” I can confirm that Paul Buff has been reinstated on the ‘contributors’ list (he was omitted from the 2012 UMe reissue) and that it includes the ‘hot spots’ map. I’m not sure what that statement says about ZPZ, though.) And here’s Freak Out! being pressed at Furnace Records: http://youtu.be/HYGrkxFspZg ...Adrian Belew is no longer part of NIN’s 2013 tour: “It didn't work,” he says...The Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival features Ensemble Modern playing some Yellow Shark and Greggery Peccary (at the Sentrum Scene on 5 September 2013 - http://ultima.no/#/program/05-09/apningskonsert-ensemble-modern-spiller-zappa) and the Oslo Philharmonic performing Sad Jane (at Oslo Konserthus on 13 September - http://ultima.no/#/program/13-09/gartiskonsert-med-oslo-filharmonien-zappa-ives-grenager - a free gig, that one). EM will repeat its performance at the Tinning Plant of ArcelorMittal, Krakau, Poland on 21 September...There’s a new eBook: Frank Zappa Buying Guide by Rev. Keith A. Gordon. This from the introduction: “…let’s be honest, though, shall we? Frank Zappa was also frequently a real prick…” ZFT approved? Probably not...ZappaCast, FUCK YEAH! Coming again, to save the mother-fucking-day yeah. In Episode Eleven, the fab four illustrate the greatness of the Bongo Fury album with a huge slab of live performances. Get in! http://zappacast.podomatic.com/entry/2013-05-29T09_09_52-07_00 ...Some of you older readers may recall that the early days of this Idiot Bastard website had an IBS midi file play when you logged onto the home page. That file was supplied by one Kevin Crosby of The Squirrels. After many years of not meeting, the Idiot will finally get to high-five Master Crosby at Zappanale, where he’s playing bass guitar with Pojama People. In what spare time Kevin has, he also performs with The Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra (aka the ZERO Trio), playing stripped down rearrangements of early Frankie...Hopefully Thorsten Schütte’s documentary, Zapped, will actually be shown this year during the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam (20 November to 1 December): www.idfa.nl/industry/tags/project.aspx?id=AED4277D-6C91-49AF-A23C-9E1A01C8BFD0 The Crimson ProjeKCt now has two live in Tokyo, March 2013 official bootleg digital albums available. Check 'em out: http://iapetus-store.com/album/live-in-tokyo-march-16-2013 ...my review of the latest batch of Unmatched CDs from Hall Of Fame Records can be viewed here: www.idiotbastard.com/reviews.htm#Unmatched ...Watch Cal Schenkel talk about the Uncle Meat album cover: http://youtu.be/sjopXMhEb0E ...Check out Gumbo Variation, live in the studio without a net http://youtu.be/n_1TphR6dsw ...In his recent blog about the ‘new guy’, drummer Ryan Brown, Dweezil mentioned a track they’d recorded for a DWEEZILA project. This imminent ‘CD bundle’ will feature original music by ‘Guest Guitarists’ Tom Quayle, Chris Buono, Derryl Gabel, Oz Noy, David Wallimann, James Santiago and Matt Piccone...Help I’m A Rock/It Can’t Happen Here and Who Are The Brain Police? (two versions) were released together as a 12" single on Red Vinyl to celebrate Mother’s Day. In July! Cover art by Noel Fielding...Bass player Antoine Fafard’s second album, Occultus Tramitis, features Terry Bozzio and Chad Wakerman (as well as a host of other special guests). Listen to snippets at www.antoinefafard.com ...Drummer Joe Travers has left ZPZ and will be replaced by Ryan Brown on the upcoming Roxy & Elsewhere 40th Anniversary Tour. Joe assures me he will continue in his most excellent Vaultmeistering role with the ZFT, and is also looking forward to more musical adventures elsewhere. Dweezil has now blogged about the change...Gibson has now formally launched the ‘Roxy’ SG: http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/SG/Gibson-USA/Frank-Zappa-Roxy-SG.aspx ...Hey, I didn't realise that Quarteto Nuevo, the band that features Grandmother Chris Garcia, included a rendition of T’Mershi Duween on their second, self-titled album. Track it down...The ZFT has formally announced the release of three FZ albums on vinyl: Finer Moments (out now), with Freak Out! and Over-Nite Sensation to follow...Check out this great video of the BIT20 Ensemble playing a bit of Zappa and Varèse: https://vimeo.com/63818800 ...GZ sez “Uncle Meat is next” project/object audio documentary, “but can’t say when...Here’s my review of Tom Brown’s wondrous Confessions Of A ZAPPA Fanatic book: http://www.idiotbastard.com/reviews.htm#TomBrown ...…and here’s my thoughts on Howard Kaylan’s splendid autobiography, Shell Shocked: http://www.idiotbastard.com/reviews.htm#Howard ...This just in from George Duke: “For you fusion fans, I must let you know that I've finally found the time to work on the tracks from the original Billy Cobham/George Duke band featuring Al Johnson on bass and John Scofield on guitar. Not having heard this band and music in a long time I must tell you the playing is pretty amazing! I think I'll be able to release two volumes of music from these recordings so watch out for the first release sometime early next year! By the way, I have a new CD DreamWeaver to be released July 16th.”...Touched By Grace - My Time With Jeff Buckley, the book by Gary Lucas which appeared last year in Italy, will be published in English by Jawbone in the UK and US this September. Drumbo’s Through The Eyes Of Magic will also be issued in paperback (and on Kindle) later this year...Bonhams is auctioning an original FZ painting, from 1961. It depicts a pair of brass instruments and is entitled (*cough*) Horny. Bid ...Shhh! Don’t tell the Barfies that Trout Mask Replica had been available on CD for years (only very recently becoming OOP); they’re reissuing it on Zappa Records! I understand that, like the recent UMe Zappa releases, it’s sourced from the original tapes and sounds fab but is otherwise a straight vanilla release (ie. no bonus material). In other related news, the iTunes version of last year’s Bat Chain Puller replaces the alternate rendition of Hobo-ism by Donnie & Denny with the more widely known bootlegged version. How queer…yet how cool!...Check out Gumbo Variation’s Festival Moo-ah video diary here: http://youtu.be/Oxe0la4l9go ...Suddenly available: Wing Beat Elastic: Remixes, Demos & Unheard Music by Mike Keneally…and Andy Partridge, who appears on some of the demos. Get yours here http://store.keneally.com/products/mike-keneally-wing-beat-elastic-remixes-demos-unheard-music My On Broadway: Covers Of Invention CD of Zappa-inspired covers of the songs Frank covered on the Broadway The Hard Way tour (all fully documented in my Zappa The Hard Way book, soon to be obtainable as an eBook – yes, really) is now available from CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/onbroadwaycoversofinvent ...Pauline Bird remembers Frank (BBC World Service interview): http://youtu.be/vnpLipibl9M ...Professor Mick Ekers has posted a snap of the teenage Frank’s piccolo snare drum, possibly the one he composed Mice (http://globalia.net/donlope/fz/songs/Mice.html) on. Have a look. Mick says progress on his Zappa’s Gear book is going well and he’s “still on track for being in print in May!” Yippee!...Joe Satriani’s album, Unstoppable Momentum features a studio band comprised of “Mike Keneally on keyboards, Chris Chaney on bass and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. The chemistry between these awesome players was fantastic, and we blazed through all the tracks with everyone laying down amazing performances.” His Euro touring band to support the album will consist of “Mike Keneally on keys and guitar, Bryan Beller on bass, and Marco Minnemann on drums. I’m so excited about tearing it up on stage with this new band! See you out there on tour...” Ahmet Zappa has a new book, Because I’m Your Dad, out. “I wrote this book for anyone who is a father, has a father, or hopes to someday be a father,” he tweets...Guitarist Todd Grubbs, who has contributed to all three of the Idiot Bastard's FZ tribute CDs for Cordelia Records, has a new Best Of The Guests compilation album out. It features his collaborations with Mike Keneally, Don Preston, Jerry Outlaw, Blues Saraceno, Derek Sherinian and others, plus a brand new bonus track featuring Bryan Beller. Check her oot: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/toddgrubbs6 ...Sony Pictures plans to turn Ahmet Zappa’s conceptual reinterpretation of Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist into a feature film called Dodge & Twist. Set 20 years after the events of the classic novel, Dodge & Twist finds Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger at odds with one another as Oliver, now a police officer, tries to prevent the Dodger from a plan to steal the Crown Jewels...As well his memoirs, 2013 will see the release of a documentary on Jimmy Carl Black. Titled Where’s The Beer And When Do We Get Paid?, you can see more at http://www.wheresthebeer.de/ ...During his stint with Duran Duran, Warren Cuccurullo worked on a side-project with keyboardist Nick Rhodes entitled TV Mania: Bored With Prozac And The Internet? An album is finally being released, in a variety of funky formats, on 11 March. Here’s a little more-a...I asked Muffin Man Roddie Gilliard why the band has just started posting ‘Lost Episodes’ from the Muffinz Moovies on YouTube. Here’s what he said:
RG: The simple answer to that is they were lying around, so we decided to throw them onto the site.
The complicated answer is many layered, but the advances in media technology and access are main factors. Add the fact that Jimmy left us - we just stopped doing stuff for a while...DVD suddenly became last year’s model - yet it was still expensive to compile/edit/produce to a professional level.
IB: You’ve issued DVDs of Zappanale #14 and a tour report from the April 2011 Euro Tour with Denny. Why not just compile all of these into Vols 4-6 of Muffinz Moovies, and continue the story of those silly old fools from Liverpool?
RG: Both those “items” were limited edition, private runs for in-house, a few were used in promotion - but basically they were done for band/management archive.
We are fortunate to have a fairly comprehensive video/audio archive of the band activities. The period from 1990-2005 was made available in volumes 1-3 of the Muffinz Moovies DVDs. Volume 3 included the complete 90 minute Cropredy set from 2005. Countless hours were spent transferring various formats of video using the latest Apple Macs, with programs like Final Cut. The sequences were then compiled for DVD. The first DVD contained 3¾ hours of footage, and cost a fortune to be authored into DVD-9. The following discs we completed in-house after we acquired the software.
In order to (re)compile the more recent material into DVD format is not cost or time-effective. Upgrades to the systems would mean we’d have to start from scratch. We would sooner rethink everything as new forms of archive retrieval become available.
So the story does continue. We have posted various tour reports over the last few years. And now we have made these ‘Lost Episodes’ available for free. We would stress that they are rough edits, missing captions, credits and final audio mastering. What they supply is the general smell of the period.
Don’t forget, today’s culture allows a fanbase to post any clips onto YouTube - ignoring any copyright issues relating to content. That is the way things are now. Something that a punter thinks is good (mainly because they were there) is not always what the artist would consider fit for consumption - but that subject is for a separate discussion.
...out now: www.idiotbastard.com/Weasels.htm