RDNZL – the beer

RDNZL

This is it. The RDNZL label.

There’s still some numbers left – so if you want to get yours, please send me an email: RDNZL@jazzappa.com. Let me know if you want the just the label or the whole thing (the labeled bottle).

Like I said before of Facebook: I will just charge the packaging and shipping costs – for the bottle(s) the shipping costs are: Netherlands 10 euro, rest of the world: 25. If you want just the label, 5 euros (worldwide). I do expect you to stick the label on a bottle and post that picture on Facebook (and tag me in it).

When you mail me, please include your address, so I can get the package (or enveloppe) ready.

NOTE: For those coming to Corby in March and want me to hand the beer over in person, please also send me a mail and let me know – even if you have already told me. Thanks, guys and gals!

Assorted Tales, Assorted Dates

Zappa-cigaretteBy Dawayne Bailey
My name is Dawayne Bailey. I have been a pro guitarist/singer/writer my whole life and I’ve toured and recorded with such artists as Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, CHICAGO (the band, not the Broadway show), French music legend Veronique Sanson, Stuart Hamm, Jimmy Carl Black and many others that you can read about at http://www.dawaynebailey.com The following is a rough draft of my time (so far) as not only a Zappa fan, but as a participant in the far-reaching effects of his influence on millions of lives. And his ever-weaving influence throughout my own life, art and career.

My first time to see FZ was at Cowtown Ballroom in 1970 or ’71 in Kansas City with Flo & Eddie. I grew up with Kerry Livgren of Kansas and http://www.protokaw.com and Kerry was there that same night. Kerry walked up to FZ and gave him a tape of Kansas. This was the original Kansas that played Zappa cover songs, as well as their own original material. These are the songs that were on the tape that Kerry gave Zappa: http://cuneiformrecords.com/bandshtml/protokaw.htmlIt was a great show, as usual.

 ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫
My second Zappa show was in early December 1972 in Wichita, Ks at Century II convention center. Steely Dan was the opener. FZ was walking with a serious limp after being in the hospital for many months – he was pushed from a stage in London to a concrete floor by a demented fan. I got in free to the show because a trumpet player friend of mine knew Earl Dumler, the woodwind player in the Grand Wazoo band that night. Earl is originally from Russell, KS – home of Bob Dole.
After the show, FZ, my friend, me and a bunch of folks went out to a club where an all black band was funking out. I remember seeing FZ walking up to the band and talking to the lead singer. Later, FZ slow danced with this really tall “hooker” looking lass. After we left there, we all ended up at a small club called Ceaser’s Palace – where all the Wazoo band members, including guitarist Tony Duran, were onstage. All the horn players were there jamming with the house band. That’s the night FZ met Wichita harmonica player, Craig Twister Steward, who FZ later hired to play on several CDs. I got to witness the whole evening and FZ finally got up and sat in, sitting on a stool to play guitar. They played a long shuffle.The next day, befor they left Wichita to head to Kansas City to play Cowtown Ballroom, Earl Dumler drove me out to a K-Mart, where he purchased a copy of Grand Wazoo for me and autographed it. I was just a kid, so the evening was quite the mind blower.
♪ ♫♪ ♫
Zappa-laughMy 3rd time of seeing FZ live was in 1975 in Kansas City at (I think) Memorial Hall. Frank was dressed in all white, with a white fringe top thingie. They did a lot of choreography during the show, which was an odd sight to see FZ prancing about.  A friend of mine from Corpus Christi/Austin named Coy Featherston got a gig with FZ around that time – running stage lighting.

♪ ♫♪ ♫My next FZ show was in Wichita at Henry Levitt Arena in April 1980. Craig Steward sat in with them that night. Dave Logeman was the drummer. Before the show, we got to hang with FZ in his dressing room, thanks to Craig Steward. By this time, Craig and I had been in several bands together. We also share the same birthday – October 3rd. So thanks to Craig we got to ask FZ lots of questions about the Ayatollah, the origins of the FZ toilet poster, the gold guitar strings on his Les Paul Custom, etc….After the show, we went to pick up Ray White and Ike Willis at their hotel room. We hung out with them there and then all went to Craig’s home and sat around talking all night.♪ ♫♪ ♫

Before I left Wichita in Sept 1980 to move to LA, I got Jimmy Carl Black’s phone number in Albuquerque. I called him at work, where he worked in a record store called Sound Warehouse. I asked him if he would autograph all of my Mothers albums when I drove through Albuquerque. He said he would, if in exchange, I would write him a song for his new album. I wrote it all on the way there as I drove my moving truck. He liked it, signed my albums – and later recorded the song on the A side of a rare 45 called Albuquerque Bound.

It was not about my trip there – it was about Jimmy’s move there from LA. One of the verses is about how Jimmy was sick of LA and goes like this: “Life in the city, can drive a man to drink – it don’t smell pretty but who said it had to stink”. Jimmy and I have since written many songs together – he writes the words and I write the music – all usually about his Cherokee heritage. They’ve been on his solo albums and some Grandmothers as well. You can hear one called Chief Old Fox, with me doing all the vocals, guitars, etc at http://www.dawaynebailey.com You can also read where Jimmy mentions the song here: http://jimmycarlblack.com/dframebio.htm

♪ ♫♪ ♫

Zappa-trailerIn 1981, Jimmy invited me to a house he was staying at in the Hollywood Hills. Later that night, he and The Grandmothers were playing a show at The Roxy in Hollywood.

Earlier that day, Jimmy had been up at FZ’s house where FZ had recorded a new song called Falling In Love Is A Stupid Habit for Jimmy on a little ghetto blaster.

When Jimmy got back to his house, he let me make a copy from his master copy. I still have that tape too. It’s a simple recording of FZ sitting at his Bosendorfer grand piano, singing it into the mic of a boom box.

Later that same year, Craig Steward took me up to Franks’s house on Woodrow Wilson in Laurel Canyon – Hollywood Hills. I got to hang with Frank that night, as he and (I think) Bob Stone were mixing a live version of Florentine Pogen.

I asked FZ if I could go out the studio area and look around. He said “Sure, fine….just don’t step on anything!”I went out and sniffed around at everything – the underground drum booth, the grand piano (played it for a bit too), checked out elaborate Zappa orchestral scores sitting there by the piano, saw a cover of an Italian music magazine with FZ on the cover – wearing a gold dress, his hair in barettes – tied back, with makeup on , holding a lit cigarett up to the mouth of a Barbie doll.I thought it was funny and told Frank so. Craig and the engineer wanted to see it, so we all walked out into the studio and FZ showed it to them.As we were standing there, I saw FZ’s newly designed signature Frank Zappa series Fender Strat, sitting on a guitar stand.

I asked FZ about it and he said “Well pick it up and play it!”

I bent down to play it, since there was no strap or pick. FZ bent down right beside me to listen to me play. I was nervous and too nervous to ask for a guitar pick.

I played Zappa tunes all the time and had been working on my own version of Twenty Small Cigars, so that’s what I played for Frank. Nothing was really said after I played, so I sat the guitar back down and we walked into the engineer booth and talked some more – then Craig and I left.

♪ ♫♪ ♫

I also saw part of a Zappa show in late 1981 at the Santa Monica Civi Auditorium -the same night Lisa Popeil sat in with them to do Teeage Prostitute. I had to leave early because I had a gig to play that was an hour’s drive away.

♪ ♫♪ ♫

Also in 1981, I met a composer from Switzerland named Steff Signer. He was very Zappa-influenced. He came to the USA and stayed at my house. We went over to Don Preston’s house and hung out all night talking and playing.A few years later, back in Switzerland, Steff recorded an album with Craig Steward, with songs on it that mentioned my name, as well as Jimmy Carl Black. Pretty rare and funny too.♪ ♫♪ ♫Also in 1981, I had finally found the ultra rare 45 by Ron Roman called Love Of My Life. One night, Gerald Fialka took me to a Zappa rehearsal at Zoetrope Studio in Hollywood.

During a break, I walked up to Frank with a copy of the 45 and asked FZ to give me the details/background on this rare little sucker. He told me all the details and I sent the story to a Zappa fan mag called Mother People and they published it a few months later.

♪ ♫♪ ♫

Zappa-wallMy name is also in the ‘thank you’ credits for the 1981/82 Rhino published Zappalog – for helping the German author with lots of info about my specialty at the time – rare FZ/Mothers 45s. That FZ 45 expertise of mine was told to the head of Rhino, Harold Bronson, who called me personally at home to ask me to provide my extremely clean 45s of some of the DONNA label stuff because they couldn’t find the original master tapes.

Harold had me take my 45s to a recording studio in Redondo Beach, CA and there, they recorded my 45s onto tape – and that tape resulted in an album released later on Rhino records called Rare Meat.The original cover looked just like the cover for Overnite Sensation, which bugged me. I called Harold and told him to please not put my name in the credits for providing the 45s. He asked why and I told him that I had a gut feeling FZ would sue them over this EP.Sure enough, FZ threatend to sue if they didn’t change the cover to a not-so-FZ-looking cover – they changed the cover – and I didn’t have to sweat that FZ might have found out I was involved in that EP. I’d sure like the credit now though.***

In 1982, a Zappa employee named Gerald Fialka, was also my manager.

Gerald financed my first solo record called The Captain Beefheart Ceremonial Shuffle. I hired Craig Steward to play harmonica. Craig and I are also pictured on the front cover that you can see here: http://www.beefheart.com/datharp/albums/related/dawaynebailey.htm

You’ll notice the A side is called Revenge Of The Nurds. I did not take this title from the movie. I had never heard of this movie because it didn’t even come out until 1984 or 85. My record was written and released in 1982.

A guy named Rip Rense did a story about the 45 in an LA newspaper called The LA Herald Examiner, which also ran the cover photo. I figured some movie studio writer or producer saw this and got an idea for a movie – it certainly wasn’t the other way around.

***

The engineer of my Nurds 45, Hil Bren Swimmer, was also working for Bob Seger as an engineer at Rumbo Recorders in Canoga Park, CA. (a studio owned by the Captain & Tenille) in late 1982. He called me to see if I wanted to answer phones at the studio that day for some spare pocket change.

I did it and got to meet Seger’s producer, Jimmy Iovine, at the studio.

A few weeks later, Hil Swimmer called me and asked if I’d like to audition for the lead guitar spot with Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. I asked if the audition was in a couple of weeks. Hil said it was in a couple of months.

I figured they would find someone by then, so I blew it off and never learned his songs. I was too busy collecting Zappa records anyway to go buy Seger records that I would rarely listen to.

Sure enough, 2 months later, Hil called and told me Seger’s office was going to call me in 5 minutes and he asked if I’d ever learned the songs. I told him no and he advised me to just do my best.

They called me, they flew me to Detroit, I got the gig and toured and recorded with them for the next 3 years.

Right around that same time, Jimmy Carl Black had called me to ask if I would be interested in doing a European tour with The Grandmothers, but I had already comitted to the Seger gig. I did receive a tape of the Grannies performing a song I wrote with Jimmy called The Great White Buffalo, with Mike Miller on guitar.

♪ ♫♪ ♫

My next Zappa show was in July 1984 at The Palace when FZ played a week long stint there in Hollywood. The night I went, George Duke, Johnny Guitar Watson and a few other stars sat in with FZ. This was my very last FZ show.♪ ♫♪ ♫In 1985, right after I had recorded a song with Bob Seger called “Like A Rock” (later used as a Chevy truck television commercial), I started a band called Private Parts – named after a song on Steve Vai’s Flexible album called Bill’s Private Parts.I was back living in Wichita at this time. In 1986, we recorded a CD in LA called Dancing The Marmara, which features our version of FZ’s My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama.

Also, in 1986 we changed drummers. Our new drummer was fellow Wichita native – Aaron Brown, who is also an amazing painter/artist.

The very same Aaron Brown who has painted so many amazing Steve Vai album/CD covers like The Ultra Zone, Flexible, Flexible Leftovers, Passion & Warfare and lots of Vai guitar books.

Private Parts broke up when I was offered to join the band CHICAGO in July 1986 and I moved back to LA.

In 1993, CHICAGO and I recorded an album that Warner Brothers refused to release. I wrote and sing lead on the title track called Stone Of Sisyphus.

The album was produced by ex-Zappa keyboardist Peter Wolf. Peter also played lots of keyboards and helped write and arrange. It’s still unreleased to this day, but my song, SOS, was recently released by Rhino Records on the new CHICAGO boxset.

♪ ♫♪ ♫

The very last time I saw Zappa alive was in 1987, at the Wiltern Theater in LA. FZ was in the audience as a fan himself, as was I, for a concert by The Bulgarian Women’s Choir.

Later that same year, FZ was rehearsing for his final 1988 tour in Dec. 1987. One of his roadies was also a roadie for CHICAGO.

In 1988, that roadie knew I was a serious Zappa fan and gave me a soundboard tape from a Dec 23, 1987 FZ rehearsal.

In 2004, I finally dug that tape out and shared it with the international Zappa fan community.

There’s lots more to tell, but this has gone on way too long.

By the way, one of my dear musician friends, also from Wichita (by way of his home in Beirut, Lebanon) is now guitarist for Mike Keneally – Rick Musallam.

And seeing many shows by Dweezil & Z, and lots of ex-FZ employees….

It’s a very small Zappa world out there….

Der Krachhaus, Augsberg Germany – 29 June 1999 – by Bill (not Lantz)

Hot Rats 30 Concert Review

Songs

Peaches En Regalia
Willie The Pimp
Son of Mr. Green Genes
Little Umbrellas
The Gumbo Variations
It Must Be A Camel

(intermission)

Dead Girls Of London
Kiss My Ass, Monica
Twenty Small Cigars
Big Swifty
Eat That Christian
Slobodon The Killer
Encore #1
Bobby Brown
Sofa No. 1
My Macaroni
Encore #2
Kashmir
Encore #3
My Macaroni #2

Band

Frank Zappa: vocals, guitar, percussion, synclavier
Ike Willis: vocals, guitar
L. Shankar: 7 and 13 string violin
Mike Keneally: vocals, guitar, keys, macaroni
Bruce Fowler: trombone
Walt Fowler: trumpet, flugel horn, keys
Paul Carmen: various saxes
Kurt McGettrick: various saxes and clarinettes
Arthur Barrow: bass, keys, acoustic guitar, synclavier
Patrick O’Hearn: double bass, cello, synclavier
Ruth Underwood: percussion, keys
Aynsley Dunbar: drums
Jeff Buckley: guest vocals (Kashmir), dancing (My Macaroni #2)

As noted in previous reviews in this newsgroup, Frank’s highly political, economic and sociological (albeit from an American capitalist point of view) Y2K tour has added/dropped personnel for its European leg in order to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Hot Rats. So, of course, we are treated with some fantastic music, mostly instrumental, some of which was premiered at this show. And, ladies and gentleman, the unexpected second encore (Kashmir!!!!) blew everyone away …. but more on that later.

Zappa-pamphletSome of you have been disappointed that there has been no full-time keyboardist on the tour. Well, all I can say is Mike Keneally is splendid when the arrangements call for the keys to come to the forefront and the others are more than adequate when the songs call for no more than extra texture. L. Shankar is a god. If his excursions on “Willie The Pimp” and “The Gumbo Variations” haven’t convinced you yet, then his contribution to “Kashmir” (world premiere) certainly will. But more on that one later.

The horn section really shines during the first part of the show and it’s a joy to see musicians have as much fun on stage as these guys do – even during some later arrangements where they have less to do musically, they are having a good time sniffing panties with Ike. Dunbar has lost none of his strength in his years since leaving Zappa’s “stern employ”, and, after a few miscues earlier in the tour, his maturity has nurtured a rhythnic and lyrical finesse that was merely hinted at 30 years ago.

What more can be said about “My Macaroni”, the mutant marraige of “My Sharona” and “The Macarena”? The crowd loves it. The band fall all over themselves dancing and switching intruments and Frank looks like he’s going to keel over from laughing.

Jeff Buckley is sometimes compared to Robert Plant. That’s like comparing Sarah Vaughn to Whitney Houston. (No e-mail now, I consider both Houston and Plant very good singers. I am just disappointed that their potential is so often wasted on sub-par material, cliche vocal mannerisms and overwrought histrionics.)

Well, it seems that Jeff and Frank ran into each other the night before the concert at the airport and both expressed a mutual admiration. Frank suggested they work on an arrangement of one of Tim Buckley’s tunes and Jeff demured, suggesting something less related, so to speak, to either artist. Jeff mentioned that he was working on an arrangement of Kashmir with his small band but was unable to muster the required majestic, ominous crunch the song called for with his small ensemble. Frank liked the idea, and the afternoon was spent working on an arrangement with the band.

The 20 minute arrangement is faithful to Led Zep’s original. Propelled by the basic riff supplied by drummer Dunbar, guitarists Keneally and Willis, bass player O’Hearn and Underwood on synth (with additional color on the chorus suppied by the horns), Buckley and Shankar weaved a trancendental, lyrical duet on voice and violin.

Throughout the song was the the metallic, extrement low-pitched, hollow, industrial sample supplied by Barrow on the synclavier, which as the song went on, became more and more ominous. The song’s natural tension increased ten-fold until the explosion (if not total release) provided by Frank playing a snaking, slow variation of “Republicans” by way of the “Sheik Yerbouti Tango” which led into a duet/duel between Frank and Shankar, and then into a complemetary, simulateous trio between Frank, Shankar and Buckley’s wordless, haunting vocalizing, and then a return to the main part of the song until its conclusion, when the crowd erupted with hoots and applause.

I suppose ending the show with a repeat of “My Macaroni” (this time with Buckley and everyone switching instruments), could be seen as anti-climactic. But, hell, everyone danced on their way out to the parking lot, laughing – which you would not have seen if the last song were “Kashmir”.

Cabrillo Music Festival – The Perfect Stranger – 16 August 1998

Cabrillo Music Festival does “Perfect Stranger” in Santa Cruz – by Gary WorshamWell, this was last night (8/15/98) and so I went with my wife down to the Santa Cruz Civic for one of the last concerts of this series. It’s an annual summer thing composed of symphony musicians from various Western states who are VOLUNTEERING their services. So how d’you like that.

They are conducted by Marin Alsop and do not all dress in black clothes.

The name of this show was “Perfect Strangers”. Mostly it was an evening dedicated to Joan Tower music. I’d never heard of her but she would appear to have some success and renown. She was there to accept kudos and explain her songs.

Then there’s a real young geeky guy called Michael Hersch (26?) who was also there and was nervous and seemed genuinely amazed that his piece was being played. It looked like he was getting some potential groupie action too.

Tower – Fanfare No. 1 for the Uncommon Woman – 1986
Hersch – Prelude and Fugue for Orchestra – 1995
Tower – Music for Cello and Orchestra (Lee Duckles, cello) – 1984

– Intermission –

Zappa – The Perfect Stranger- 1983
Tower – Duets – 1994

Tower introduced her pieces (which I liked) and did several excerpts in advance as a demonstration of what she was trying to accomplish compositionally. In fact this added to the experience of hearing a completely new piece, because as it was later unfolding you could more easily discern the patterns and say ah-ha ooooh ahhhh.

Ms. Alsop introduced the Zappa piece and excerpted the Door-bell (duh) but it did get a laugh!! and the eybrows (swooping string lines), the salesman’s pitch (klangorous horns), and then went on to mention that the housewife especially liked the vaccuum attachments which we really can’t talk about here, or something to that effect. She got a little tongue tied at that point and claimed that she couldn’t really figure out the bit about the dog in the high chair but oh well. Perhaps she needs to groove on “Evelyn, a Modified Dog”.

I’d listened to TPS from the album of the same name a couple times in the last two days so I’d be somewhat more familiar with it. So what can I say except they appeared to do a fine job of it and enjoyed playing it. The percussion lines were played cleanly which is of course always nice to hear. Frank sure loved that stuff.

It was very strange in that it required about 40% of the orchestra to change position. In a ring around the conductor were woodwinds: oboes, clarinet, bass clarinet, flutes. The harp was placed dead center of the stage. Most of the cellos moved to the left of the harp but some of them stayed over on the right by the basses.

From where I was sitting that’s about all I could see. Within the context of all the other pieces, TPS did not stand out as being exceptionally weird at all, in fact it was practically Milli Vanilli!!!

Before the last Tower number, Ms. Alsop called Ms. Tower to the stage, saying something along the lines of, “are you still here?….. or did that vacuum cleaner send you over the edge?”

They also put the orchestra back in its original position.

So finally, if you really dig Zappa’s orchestra stuff, maybe Joan Tower might do something for you, and to a somewhat lesser extent Michael Hersch but hey what’s my opinion worth??? 8^)))))

Zappanale report, phaze 3

Zappanale #13
Various Artists
July 26 – 28, 2002
© 2002 by Jon Naurin

I couldn’t help but feeling a little sorry for Jazzprojekt Hundehagen, the first band on the last day of Zappanale #13. Due to program changes, their concert had to start at 11 a.m already, when many were still asleep. The few of us who were there chose to stay in the shade under the big circus tent because of the burning sun, and the fact that they only played 2 or 3 FZ songs didn’t exactly help getting people out in fron of the stage. I will admit I didn’t pay too much attention, but it was an all-instrumental, 90%-improvisational set. One song was based on the Torture Never Stops motif, and one was Watermelon In Easter Hay, but neither thrilled me that much.

The second band was listed as Vaclav Cesak in the program, but I got the impression that they actually had another name (Ya Hozna?). Vaclav Cesak is the sculptor of the Zappa monument, and if I recall correctly, he played the drums in this Czech band. I remember that I liked this band, but at the same time, this is the concert that I remember the least. I’m pretty sure this was the band that played Clownz On Velvet, where the guitarists seemed to be doing an Al Di Meola impression in his solo. But other than that, I don’t remember much, except that I enjoyed their show. Concert #3 was Beistelltische from Germany. Like the previous two, I knew nothing about them, so it was quite a nice surprise to find out that they were a vocal quintet, doing an a capella set. They started out with a great Dead Girls Of London, and as second song (I think), their big achievement: Billy The Mountain! Yes, they did the whole song, with the story told in German and the sung parts in English. Impressive, to say the least. Many other nice interpretations too – never thought I’d hear a Doreen cover without missing Ray White, for example. A very good concert, which had me search all over the festival area for a copy of Beistelltische’s CD, without success.

Next, Sweden’s contribution to the Zappanale: Arne Fruit Quartet. And there was no reason to be ashamed of being Swedish here, as the five (!) guys delivered a mighty fine set. Nice and original setlist, and everything played with lots of humour and energy. Strangely enough, I can’t remember that many of the songs that were played, but they did include Jones Crusher, I’m So Cute and We Are Not Alone. I know the band had hardly any time to rehearse, so they just said “Let’s play the songs we know”, and under these circumstances, they did an excellent show. Nasal Retentive Orchestra is from France, and they played mostly old MOI songs. Everything sounded quite OK, except for the lyrics. As Charles pointed out, it was apparent which songs came from albums that don’t have lyric sheets. Status Back Baby, for example, was obviously learned phonetically, rather than word-for-word.

Only two shows left, the first of which was with Nigey Lennon, John Tabacco and a band made up by Ed Palermo & Co. The audience seemed rather sceptical at first, with much mumblings about “another attempt at getting money out of her relationship with Frank”, but Nigey and her band seemed to convince most of them. Aside from a handful of Zappa songs (incl. Any Way The Wind Blows and Cosmik Debris with Candy on vocals), they did some Tabacco songs and “It Must Be A Cigar” an old Nigey composition that Frank was supposed to have produced. I liked this show, and in the end, it seemed most people did too.

Finally, The Grandmothers. A brand new incarnation that had never performed before, and while it did show, it sounded much better and tighter than the concerts I’ve heard from last year, with Billy Mundi on drums. Now, the band consisted of Don Preston, Bunk Gardner, Roy Estrada, Jimmy Carl Black, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Bob Harris and Glenn Leonard on drums. Seeing these guys together is really awe-inspiring, and Napoleon once again helped making a great concert into something really special. They did all of the oldies that Napi sung with FZ in 1974-76, and they were all excellent. I’ve often been heard complaining about how he treated Ain’t Got No Heart, How Could I Be Such A Fool and I’m Not Satisfied back then, but I am now willing to take it all back. With NMB’s showmanship and stage presence, it was quite an experience to hear them. They also did beautiful versions Duke Of Prunes, Holiday In Berlin, and some of their own songs, such as Immaculate Deception and The Eternal Question. The biggest surprise was Village Of The Sun/Echidna’s Arf, and O In The Sky, which was quite a pleasure to see Roy do live. JCB only did a few songs – possibly just Lonesome Cowboy Burt. As the show reached its end, almost everyone who had performed came onstage and did a final Love Of My Life. All in all an excellent Grandmothers concert, and an terrific ending to a marvellous Zappanale.

(There, I ran out of adjectives. Still, I will be back with a phaze 4, with some various impressions of the Zappanale. You have been warned.)

– Jon

Zappanale report, phaze 2

Zappanale #13
Various Artists
July 26 – 28, 2002
© 2002 by Jon Naurin

One of the many nice things about a happening such as this is getting to meet so many like-minded people (well, at least people who share your obsession). I’ve spent much time with some of the people I got to know at the Holland Festival 2000, and with some of the few affz folks who were there – Charles Ulrich and his wife Donna, Hasi and BengoFury, all very nice people. Never got an opportunity to say hi to Steve Auerbach (everytime I saw you, you were on stage, Steve).

Saturday, Jul 27:

Before the musical events started, there was a big ceremony in central Bad Doberan: the dedication and unveiling of a Zappa statue and opening of an FZ exhibit. Charles, Donna and I went into town early to eat lunch first, but instead ended up at a press-conference. With empty stomachs, we then watched the ceremony. Speeches en masse, first by the major and a bunch of local politicians, then by Bob & Candy Zappa, Bill Harris (childhood friend of Frank, today a Hollywood reporter), the sculptor and probably lots of people I forget. Also a cool, short performance of Help I’m A Rock/It Can’t Happen Here by Don Preston, JCB, Roy Estrada, Napoleon and Bob Harris. After the unveiling, all of the “important people” went up to rub Frank’s nose for good luck – in addition to everyone already mentioned, this included Nigey Lennon and Pamela des Barres.

After this we had to have lunch, which meant that we missed the first band, Landplage. From what I’ve heard, they did German translations of Zappa songs.

The first concert I saw was Pierrejean Gaucher/Christophe Godin, a french guitar duo. A nice change to all the typical rock settings we’d seen the day before. Really good playing too, and good song choices including Sleep Dirt, The Idiot Bastard Son and a little bit of Sinister Footwear. Ossi Duri is an italian band of teenagers, and with their age in mind, it’s hard not to be impressed. These boys can really play, and since Ike is with them, they have strong vocals too. Still, there’s something missing. I thought the sound was rather bad, and they probably suffered from playing the day after Project Object – we’d heard many of the same songs before, with the same instrumental setting and the same vocalist. Flawless musicianship, some nice song choices, but this didn’t really thrill me.

The next concert, however, did. “Ed Palermo Band – Nigey Lennon/Tabacco/Candy Zappa” was yet another enigmatic band name, that I didn’t really know what to expect from. I never dared to hope that it would have anything to do with Ed’s Big Band, except for Ed himself, so when I realized that the EP Band actually was 40% of the EPBB (five horns + keyboard, bass & drums), I was in heaven. This concert was to me, and several people I spoke with, musically the highlight of the Zappanale. Nothing but great songs, including RDNZL, Sleep Dirt, King Kong, Toads Of The Short Forest, Directly From My Heart To You (with Candy Zappa on vocals), Magdalena (with John Tabacco), Spider Of Destiny (with Thana Harris!), Run Home Slow, Lucy’s Seduction and We Are Not Alone. Candy sang on at least two more songs – someone please remind me about which ones! Let’s Make The Water Turn Black?

I don’t think many people knew what to expect from The Lewinskys either. I knew Mike Keneally and Scott Thunes would be in it, which was exciting enough for me. In addition to them, the band consisted of 4 girls (one of which is Stacy Thunes, Scott’s sister) who sang (one of them played sax too) a male singer and a drummer. They normally don’t have a Zappa repertoire, but for this occasion they had. I Have Been In You, Jewish Princess, Willie The Pimp (with JCB, as seen on the photo on keneally.com) and Valley Girl are the songs I can remember, and all were played and sang quite well. Valley Girl was the highlight, with Stacy doing Moon’s vocals, and another girl who was german, did some “Tal Mädchen” talking too. I’ve always been a big fan of the bass playing on this underrated song, and hearing Scott playing it here was wonderful. Altogether, this was another great concert, very entertaining even though it wasn’t an all-Zappa set. Scott stayed in the background, just playing great bass, which was enough for me.

The final concert was Ozric Tentacles from England, which was not my cup of tea.

That’s it for today, thank you for reading this far. Will try to write the final part tomorrow.

– Jon

Zappanale report, phaze 1

Zappanale #13
Various Artists
July 26 – 28, 2002
© 2002 by Jon Naurin

Seems I’m the first one to write something about the spectacular events that took place in Bad Doberan the past weekend. Zappanale #13 featured 18 concerts, hundreds and hundreds of fans and lots of ex-Mothers and other people from FZ’s life. An overall mind-blowing experience, and for someone who lives in a country where Zappa tributes are rare, it was a dream-come-true to see all these bands and people I’ve heard on tapes and read about on this newsgroup.

First a disclaimer: 18 concerts (and probably as many pints of beer) in 3 days is a lot, and much of my memory has been blurred. I didn’t bother to write any setlists or details down, as I expect to get recordings of everything. Second, let me just say that the entire arrangement was a huge success for the Arf-Society. Everything worked perfectly, even the weather was with us. Huge thanks to everyone who was involved with arranging this happening!

I arrived on friday with three friends from Sweden, and missed the first two events that took place in Bad Doberan before the actual start of Zappanale: “Going Back Home”, a presentation in German of Roxy & Elsewhere by Jim Cohen, featuring Miss Pamela, and “Alles Über Frank”, a musical performance by Daniel Rohr and Theater Neumarkt from Zürich. The first concert was by Dwarf Nebula from Germany, and didn’t leave any lasting impressions. The second song (I think) was Dancin’ Fool with lots of wrong chords, and I wondered if it was an interpretation or simply lack of musicality. As it turned out, it was probably the former, since many of the other songs were obviously “interpreted”, although not very well if you ask me. OK, the fast Torture and the soft City Of Tiny Lights had their points, but what I will remember from this concert was the female singer, who was quite good.

Next, Cosmik Debris from Hungary (the band names would become more imaginative later on), a band that I enjoyed quite a bit. A good, charismatic singer and an excellent 15-year-old sax player helped, but the song choices left some to desire.

Concert #3 was the first real highlight: “Thana Harris – Don Preston – Mike Keneally” was what the program told us – exciting to say the least, but giving us no idea what to expect. As it turned out, the show also featured Bob Harris (yes, #2) plus Seahag & Glenn Leonard from Project Object on bass/drums. And it started off with Flambay! Thana sang it beautifully, hitting the high notes perfectly (as I recall, she moved them down an octave in one place), and Don’s piano accompaniment was really fine. A stunning experience to hear this live. Next, they did Planetary Tango, the best song on Thanatopsis, with Mike playing some beautiful guitar. And then a kicking version of The Boy/Girl Song from Steve Vai’s Flexable, including a great joint Bob/Thana scat solo. If my memory serves me, this was when Jimmy Carl Black entered the stage for the first time. Everyone joined in on an a capella Love Of My Life, and hearing Bob Harris’s falsetto (as good as ever, much to my delight) here was lovely. As encore, the Harrises did a nice unaccompanied “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, which apparently was an audition song for Thana.

Euphorium Freakestra w/ Günter “Baby” Sommer had the difficult task of playing between Harris/Preston/Keneally and Project Object, and well, they seemed to amuse a large part of the audience. I wasn’t very impressed, though – a singer who tried to sound like Frank-doing-his- funny-voice in every song (even in songs like Absolutely Free), and long, rather pointless improvisations. Some surprising song choices, like Ya Hozna and You Call That Music?, didn’t really help to make this concert more than so-so.

And so it was time for Project Object, the final band on friday. I had heard and seen a lot of these guys on concert tapes/videos, so I knew what to expect. And they did not disappoint – man, what a show! So much have been said about these guys here already, so let me just add to all the praise they’ve been given: these guys rock!

I was a little worried when Napoleon’s name wasn’t in the program, but as the show started, Ike promised that there would be many surprise guests, and I felt relieved. Napoleon came on stage after a few songs, and made an already great show something really extra. His voice sounds better than ever, and he puts so much energy and “show” into his performance. Seeing and hearing Napi doing Cheepnis is simply one of my best concert experiences ever (although there were several more competitors this weekend).

The other special guests were the drummer of Ossi Duri (on Black Page drum solo/#1), Ed Palermo on sax (played some fine solos), and Bob Harris, who sang with Ike on Keep It Greasey, Outside Now and probably some more that I forget. No setlist surprises that I can think of right now – recordings of these shows will probably be on the binaries groups soon, so I won’t even try to list the songs that were played at each show from my hazy memory.

OK – more ramblings to follow soon. Hasi, Charles, Bengo and Steve (and other affzers who were there – ?) are more than welcome to fill in and correct the above.

– Jon

Banned From Utopia – 9 November 1996

By Gary Worsham

OK here’s my obligatory mini-review of said BFU show last night (Nov. 9, 1996) in San Francisco

Setlist:
Andy-Inca rds-Got no heart-pound for a brown-beautiful guy-bamboozled-eric dolphy mem bbq-lucille-be-bop tango-easy meat break – snore – I can’t stay awake this late anymore. Actually many folks in the balcony appeared to have gone to sleep. Filthy habits-Idiot bastard Son-Yo cats-village/echidna/don’t you ever wash that thing?-Peaches-Sofa-Outside Now-Zomby Woof

Highlights of the show

#1: Easy parking on street in San Francisco 1/2 block from show. This is not to be underestimated.

#2: Totally sock-adelick light/video show with Fillmore-style colored oil blobs and computer generated wildness combined with footage from 200 Motels and Baby Snakes and DHBIM (with Japanese subtitles) and G-d Knows what else videos.

#3: No $3.50 BASS service charge at Maritime Hall. Hooray!

#4: Met 4 or 5 fellow affz citizens. Supposedly Konrad was there but did not see him.

#5: Spoke with Tommy Mars for a couple minutes. He said they’d played in Lake Tahoe the night before and that their tour consisted of those two shows. He and Ike and Bruce Fowler were loungin round like regular guys b4 show. They pretended like they didn’t recognize me (again).

Musically, I thought Idiot Bastard Son was pretty interesting. Everyone left the stage except Tommy and Ike. Tommy played piano sound and went wild jazzing up the harmonies which IMHO was very successful. Jay Dittamo on drums was fine and did some bg singing as well. I think the drummer has the most fun playing Zappa music. It’s berserk to watch what they’re doing.

Beyond that I’d say they were a little less tight than last year’s show but still very good. Also their set list was nearly identical to last year (though they said they hadn’t done Filthy Habits since 1988 and it showed in spots). So I guess their repootwah is not incredibly large, and perhaps they don’t devote full-time energy to this project (which has to be the case).

Also it should be said that Ike’s a pretty good rock guitarist. His voice is not quite as flexible as 2000 years ago.

Lineup:
Kurt McGettrick-Walt Fowler-Bruce Fowler-Mike Miller-Jay Dittamo-Ike Willis-Tom Fowler-Tommy Mars

Final analysis: see them if they miraculously materialize at a hall near you.

The Show in Budapest, Hungary – June 30 1991

© 1998 Eddie Persson

The show

Me and my ex-girlfriend were in Budapest on holiday. One day downtown Budapest I saw a poster that said “Taban jazzfestival, with special guest Frank Zappa.” I didn’t beleve it! I ran around in recordstores and tried to find out if it was true. It was, everybody I spoke to told me that it was the truth. I couldn’t belive it anyway.

Anyway, my girlfriend and I went to the park where the show was going to be. A stage was built and we were the first people in the audience. It was abuot 10 o’clock AM. A couple of hungaryan freaks came. They had FZ t-shirts on so I felt more sure that it really was true. I tried to speak with them but they didn’t understand so much english. At least I understood that this is going to happen, FZ is in town! they showed me pictures of FZ from the airport the night before.

By noon, things started to happen. Movement backstage, people were beginning to get excited, something was going on. Suddenly people ran backstage to welcome FZ as he was getting out of the limo. He entered the stage, as the king that he was, and the soundcheck started. All my pictures is from the soundcheck. There were four musicans on stage excluding FZ. Drummer, base, keyboard and another guitarist. They were all Hungarian jazzmusicans. Gail Zappa stood at the side of the stage during the soundcheck and so did the bodyguard from the 88-tour (Dave?).

FZ left again and there were nothing to do but wait for the concert to begin.

The festival started of with a lot of jazz-groups and FZ was the big event that night. After a very, very, very long time he came! He and the band from the soundcheck didn’t play any FZ-tunes. The band was playing in the background and our common friend played the sologuitar. I cried.

I tried to take some pictures but I had no flash so they didn’t get so well. The FZ-gig were about an hour long and then it was over. After the concert I went up to the stage and found one of FZ’s smoked cigarettes. I took it as a memory of him and I still have it.

Eddie

Warner Theater, Washington, D.C., 2/8-10/88 Pittsburgh, Syria Mosque, March 8, 1988 by Dan Snyder

“The Guitar That Wouldn’t Work” / “Mr. Uncle F-ing Remus”

We were DC guys in our early 20’s, total misfits who were also among the most intelligent group getting through school. Musicians, athletes, and general party animals. Thus our attraction to Zappa’s music, from a standpoint of what he did technically with his bands, his composing style(s), and the unbelievable improv. While most people that age at that time were trying to get tickets to see some glam-band idiots like Motley Crue or Queensryche, we were waiting in the cold to see Frank Zappa. And I am very glad we did. We waited for hours to get seats for the three Warner Theater shows, which were unlike anything I had ever seen. I had seen 80-90 Dead shows by that time, and dozens of other shows by the likes of the Allman Brothers, Little Feat, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Stanley Jordan, Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola, Clapton, Vaughan, Santana, Jeff Beck, and on and on. The ’88 Zappa band was immediately the best musical ensemble I had ever seen. The internal struggles were totally invisible to the audience at this early stage of the tour. Hell even in Europe when the atmosphere was terrible, the ’88 band absolutely blew doors. That is the only band I ever saw, and arguably the only band Frank had, that could play absolutely anything. Not just anything in his catalog, I mean anything. Every base was covered – general vocals (only the ’84 band compares with Willis, White, and Martin), high vocals, the horns – not just one sax or brass like in ’73 or ’74 with Underwood and Fowler – this was a full 5-piece horn section. Not even the original Mothers lineups had 5 horns. Since the ’88 repertoire covered his whole career, Frank had to write horn arrangements for songs that had never had horns originally. And the solos from the horn section were awesome. And of course Ed Mann. Plus every band member had done at least 3 tours with Zappa with the exception of Keneally.

The DC shows at the Warner were phenomenal. Killer jazz and plenty of scorching FZ solos, especially the second night 2/9/88. That is the best concert I saw by anybody. High energy, tight band, Frank in vintage form in the nation’s capitol in a theater 3 blocks from the White House, tons of guitar solos and plenty of improv thrown-in. There was a monster Black Napkins that night and the Pound for a Brown was mind-blowing, this one is well documented. Other memories from that night are a killer One Size Fits All medley with Sofa>Florentine Pogen>Andy>Inca Roads. This was one of only 2 or 3 performances of this full medley on the entire tour. A monster Bamboozeld by Love with Frank wearing a hat given to him from the crowd during the solo – “this is a bad hat, a bad hat…” Then during Crew Slut he brought one of the tour regulars on stage to play with the band – imagine that shit for a second. My roommate David made a very nice sounding master recording that night. He taped the 8th but it was not as good, we were right in the middle on the 9th, and the acoustics in the Warner are phenomenal. (I also saw Hot Tuna, Roy Buchanan, Chet Atkins, and a few other shows there.) On the 8th we caught one of only 2 or 3 US performances of Cosmik Debris. Our tape of the 9th stacks up very well against all the other bootlegs from that tour I have acquired. After the show my buddies met Frank and the band, shot the shit, got autographs, all that good stuff. I was somewhere else, so on the last night 3/10 I wanted to see if I could pull it off, to get the “full effect”. There was only one exit at that time onto E street, about 20-30 of us were waiting after the show. About 30-40 minutes after the show a bodyguard came to the door (not Smothers, some blonde guy with a British accent) and said “any pushing and we’re going straight to the car”. A moment later Dweezil, Moon and Diva walked past us into the limo. Then Frank popped out. He was wearing an overcoat with a black MTV baseball cap, Dweez was working there as a veejay at the time. (I am proud to say I have watched MTV for a total of about 2 hours in my entire lifetime.) It was a very low-key, special scene. FZ stopped for everybody. He signed my tour program while making the comment “the guitar that wouldn’t work”. At the beginning of the second set that night his guitar went silent not once, but twice when he was ready to solo. No need to describe the glare on his face, I’m sure his guitar tech. got fired that night. Needless to say I will never, ever forget those minutes. I was two feet from greatness, and he spoke to me.

So being totally blown away we bought tickets for the remaining “local” shows – Philly, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Towson. Actually for the Philly (Upper Darby) Tower Theater show 2/13 we found tickets on the sidewalk, me and my late friend Nestor, after a spur of the moment road trip. There were no tickets available that night, it was meant to be. We caught the only Jezebel Boy and an awesome show – Zomby Woof, Advance Romance, Eric Dolphy…, Watermelon in Easter Hay, Heavy Duty Judy to name a few. I still have the ticket for the cancelled Spectrum show (3/24??).

Editor’s Note – Yes, the 3/24/88 Spectrum/Philly, PA show was cancelled. Speaking of Nestor, he had a habit of yelling “encouragement” to the bands we saw. He was a musician, a huge music fan, and an absolute Zappa fanatic. It was never LITTLE FEAT!! It was LITTLE F’-ING FEAT!! So we all drive up to the 3/8 Pittsburgh show, great seats, great theater. Another 3-5,000 seat deal with good acoustics, actually the sound in that place was not as good as the others, which isn’t saying much sine these were all beautiful small theaters. Another great show, another hot Stinkfoot, another smoking City of Tiny Lites>Pound for a Brown. They did Montana that nght, Guitar wants to Kill Your Mama, Willie the Pimp and a scorching Sharleena and Crusing for Burgers. They come out for the encores, FZ doing his deal. When he announced that they would perform Uncle Remus, Nestor belts out “UNCLE F’ING REMUS!!”. Frank looks at us (1st row stage right) and says “That’s Mr. Uncle f-ing Remus to you.” Check out the tape some time. A truly, truly special and hilarious moment, and that turned out to be the final performance of that song. Rest in peace brother Nestor. May the spirit of all of our lost friends and FZ last forever.

Attributed to Dan Snyder
dsnyder9@carolina.rr.com
2005