I love the video interviews of composer and music educator, Samuel Andreyev. He shares an obsession with Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica and he has so far conducted one-to-two-hour interviews with Magic Band members John French (Drumbo), Bill Harkleroad (Zoot Horn Rollo), and Mark Boston (Rockette Morton), all specifically on the making of Trout Mask. He's also done a brilliant half-hour analysis of the Trout track, Frownland.
In this installment of the Beef series, he talks with Zappa and Beefheart drummer, Art Tripp, about working with the crazed Captain, Frank, John Cage, and other avant-garde composers.
Image: YouTube Read the rest
After quitting The East Village Other, John takes Art Kunkin up on an offer to manage editorial at the LA Free Press. Featuring Frank Zappa, Eve Babitz, Marcel Duchamp, and a phone cameo with Charles Bukowski. From John Wilcock, New York Years
Richard Metzger is Boing Boing's current guest blogger.
Utterly astonishing clip of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention at the BBC studios in 1968 performing a nine-minute workout of "King Kong."
I realize that the music of Frank Zappa tends to be what is called "an acquired taste" but in my never so humble opinion, this is one pretty darn tasty performance! I'm someone who considers him a genius, but I have reservations about the "smutty humor" aspect of his work. My own preference in Zappa's material tends to this era and the original Mothers of Invention. The collective "character" of the original Mothers can only really be compared to Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, if you ask me, where every musician was contributing an absolutely unique voice to the proceedings. It wasn't just the music, which was wonderful, but the personalities of the players themselves that made it so special. The Mothers came from diverse backgrounds, a bunch of SoCal n'er-do-wells who were tending bar, driving trucks and pumping gas by day, and by night, willing participants in Frank Zappa's quest to meld a bunch of wild men R-n-B freaks into a disciplined avant garde orchestra capable of playing Stravinsky-inspired free jazz on electronic instruments one minute, a sea shanty the next and then following that up with a little 50s doo wop sung in a helium falsetto. This performance of "King Kong " (taken from a BBC series called "Colour Me Pop" one of the first pop shows to be broadcast in color) and a second performance from French TV that same year show just how magnificently honed this group was. Read the rest
Frank Zappa sent a long, fascinating letter about the "Parental Music Resource Center" (a mid-80s music censorship outfit) elaborating on why he objects to censorship. The scanned letter, including its hand-addressed envelope, is available on Flickr.
Update: Paul sez, "This link has Frank Zappa's full testimony before the Senate Committee on
Commerce, Science and Transportation, back in September 1985. It includes a
great prepared statement of Frank's. You can also read the testimony of
musicians John Denver, and Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister (God, I wish I'd
been on a field trip in D.C. on THAT day.) In addition to the historic value
of the testimony given (remember these were the hearings that led to the
'voluntary' labeling that is in widespread use today) there is also great
comedic value in hearing, for instance, Jeff Ling of the PMRC (Parent's
Music Resource Center, Tipper Gore's little hellspawn) read lyrics from the
Mentor's song 'Golden Showers' before a panel of senators ('Bend up and
smell my anal vapor. Your face is my toilet paper.') This hearing was
masterfully remixed by Frank on the twelve-minute-plus 'Porn Wars' track on
the release 'FZ Meets the Mothers of Prevention' to great effect." Read the rest