Friday, September 23, 2016

Adrian Belew


Adrian Belew (born Robert Steven Belew, December 23, 1949) is an American musician, songwriter and record producer. A multi-instrumentalist primarily known as a guitarist and singer, Belew is noted for his unusual, impressionistic approach to guitar playing (which frequently involves sounds more akin to animals and machines than to standard instrumental tones). He is perhaps best known for his period as the frontman for the progressive rock group King Crimson between 1981 and 2009.

In 1977, while playing at a Sweetheart gig at a bar in Nashville called "Fanny's", Belew was discovered by Frank Zappa, who had been tipped off regarding the band's talents by his chauffeur. Zappa approached Belew and discussed auditioning him for an upcoming tour, although Belew did not receive an official invitation to audition for the better part of a year. During this time Sweetheart split up. Once the formal invitation came, Belew flew out to Los Angeles and found himself auditioning alongside more formally trained musicians. Believing that he'd messed up his first audition, Belew persuaded Zappa to give him a second one. Belew's second audition was a more intimate one-on-one experience which took place in Zappa's living room. Zappa was impressed enough to hire Belew on a handshake deal for a year.

Belew toured with the Zappa band and appeared on Zappa's 1979 album Sheik Yerbouti - most notably performing a Bob Dylan impersonation on the song "Flakes". He also appeared in Zappa's 1979 concert film Baby Snakes. While with Zappa, Belew was mostly credited as rhythm guitarist although he also played lead, melody or noise lines as well as singing lead on a couple of songs ("Jones Crusher" and "City of Tiny Lites"). Belew has described his year in Zappa's band as a "crash course" in music theory due to Zappa's rigorous rehearsals and often technically demanding music, and has commented, "I went to the Frank Zappa School of Rock."
Belew and Zappa


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Captain Beefheart

Captain BeefHeart
Don Van Vliet (/væn ˈvliːt/, born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American singer, songwriter, musician and artist best known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work was conducted with a rotating ensemble of musicians called the Magic Band (1965–1982), with whom he recorded 13 studio albums. Noted for his powerful singing voice and his wide vocal range, Van Vliet also played the harmonica, saxophone, and numerous other wind instruments. His music integrated blues, rock, psychedelia, and jazz with contemporary experimental composition and the avant-garde;[4] many of his works have been classified as "art rock". Beefheart was also known for often constructing myths about his life and for exercising an almost dictatorial control over his supporting musicians.

An artistic prodigy in his childhood, Van Vliet developed an eclectic musical taste during his teen years in Lancaster, California, and formed "a mutually useful but volatile" friendship with musician Frank Zappa, with whom he sporadically competed and collaborated.

By the fall of 1975 the band had completed their European tour, with further US dates in the New Year of 1976, supporting Zappa along with Dr. John. Van Vliet now found himself stuck in a web of contractual hang-ups. At this point Zappa had begun to extend a helping hand, with Vliet already having performed incognito as "Rollin' Red" on Zappa's One Size Fits All (1975) and then joining with him on the Bongo Fury album and its later support tour. Two Vliet-penned numbers on the Bongo Fury album are "Sam with the Showing Scalp Flat Top" and "Man with the Woman Head". The form, texture and imagery of this album's first track, "Debra Kadabra", sung by Vliet, has 'angular similarities' to the work he would later produce in his next three albums. On the Bongo Fury album Vliet also sings "Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead", harmonizes on "200 Years Old" and "Muffin Man", and plays harmonica and soprano saxophone.

In early 1976 Zappa put on his producer hat and, once again, opened up his studio facilities and finance to Vliet. This was for the production of an album provisionally titled Bat Chain Puller. The band were John French (drums), John Thomas (keyboards) and Jeff Moris Tepper and Denny Walley (guitars). Much of the work on this album had been finalized and some demos had been circulated when fate once again struck the Beefheart camp. In May 1976 the long association between Zappa and his manager/business partner Herb Cohen ceased. This resulted in Zappa's finances and ongoing works becoming part of protracted legal negotiations. The Bat Chain Puller project went "on ice" and did not see an official release until 2012. After this recording John Thomas joined ex-Magic Band members in Mallard.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dale Bozzio

Dale Bozzio
Dale Frances Bozzio (née Consalvi; born March 2, 1955) is an American rock and pop vocalist. She is best known as co-founder and lead singer of the '80s new wave rock band Missing Persons and also known for her work with Frank Zappa. While with Zappa, she performed significant roles in two of his major works, Joe's Garage (1979) and Thing-Fish (1984). In her current solo career, Bozzio has released four albums and one EP so far.

Bozzio co-founded Missing Persons in 1980 with former Zappa musicians Warren Cuccurullo and Terry Bozzio (her husband from 1979 to 1986). In addition to being the band's lead vocalist, she also contributed lyrics. Missing Persons released one EP and six albums, including Spring Session M (1982), which achieved gold record status.


Frank Zappa for President

Frank Zappa for President
With two unreleased synclavier pieces taking up half the album is wonderful...keep them coming! The remix of "Brown Shoes..." is interesting and more dynamic. Two live cuts from the '88 touring band...also excellent! Frank speaking about how he would run for office over synclavier music..a gem! Finally...Napoleon Murphy Brock singing over "Amnerika"...Yowza! This a full length album (not an e.p.) for next to no $$ to spend...Excellent record all around! Thank you!

Latest Zappa Family Trust release..Joe Travers does a great job finding nice little Zappa nuggets to think on during this election year..If Only Frank were here to trump them all.. This would have been his year ...Either way we hear Frank during an interview (Frank's been gone 22 years ) speaking on elections and it's as if it's today's world..Always So far ahead of the best of us ..This is worth a listen just to hear Frank Zappa Speak..Plus alternate versions of some of his politically motivated songs.Fairly priced For all listeners who like great music , laughing ,thinking ,learning ........
 
 
 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Tommy Mars



Tommy Mars (born Thomas Mariano on October 26, 1951)is an American keyboard player known for his work with Frank Zappa.

Mars began piano lessons at age eight, and later his instrument range expanded to various keyboards and synthesizers. Mars graduated in 1972 from the Hartt College of Music in West Hartford, Connecticut. From there he struggled to hold a variety of musical jobs including choirmaster, church organist, movie accompanist and more. In a 1980 interview in Keyboard Magazine, Mars described one of the more unusual jobs he had as follows - "I was working in this revolving organ bar in Kodiak, Alaska, with Japanese and Russian fishermen kicking me in the back if I couldn't play an ethnic folk song to their drunken satisfaction".

Knowing nothing about Zappa except for the songs "King Kong" and "Peaches en Regalia", Mars was asked to audition for Zappa's band with the help of percussionist Ed Mann, also a member of Zappa's group. From 1977 to 1982 he was part of Zappa's touring band, appeared in the movie Baby Snakes, and recorded a number of Zappa albums.

After his work with Zappa, Mars alternated between teaching and touring with Steve Vai or Stuart Hamm. In mid 1990s, Mars formed The Band From Utopia, a group consisting of 10 Zappa band alumni, performing Zappa's music as a tribute band.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Vinnie Colaiuta

Vinnie Coluitta
Vincent "Vinnie" Colaiuta (born February 5, 1956) is an American drummer based in Los Angeles. Originally from Republic, Pennsylvania, he began playing drums as a child and received his first full drum kit from his parents at the age of fourteen. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1996.

After attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston for a year, Colaiuta had his first big break as a member of the Christopher Morris Band in 1976–77. In 1977, he relocated with the band to Los Angeles. After leaving the band, he played with lounge bands. His next break came in April 1978, after auditioning for Frank Zappa. The audition entailed performing "The Black Page". Colaiuta went on to work with Zappa as his principal drummer for studio and live performances. He played on the successful Zappa albums Tinsel Town Rebellion, Joe's Garage, and Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar. Joe's Garage was named one of the top-25 drumming performances of all time in a 1993 Modern Drummer article.

After leaving Zappa's band in 1981, Colaiuta appeared on Gino Vannelli's album Nightwalker, and soon afterwards he became a frequently working studio drummer in Los Angeles. He also toured with Joni Mitchell in 1983.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Warren Cuccurullo

Warren Cuccurullo
In December 1978, at the age of 22, Cuccurullo was invited to audition as a guitarist for Zappa's new road band, in which many members were replaced (including Bozzio and O'Hearn). Several shows on the early 1979 "Human Jukebox" European/Asian tour were recorded for Zappa's live albums. After the tour, Cuccurullo returned to the studio with Zappa to work on the Joe's Garage albums, for which he provided rhythm guitar and several vocal parts. Terry Bozzio's wife Dale Bozzio also contributed vocal parts to the album. Cuccurullo and Dale Bozzio began writing songs together, and eventually they convinced Terry Bozzio that the three of them should launch their own band.

Zappa asked Cuccurullo to play on his 1988 tour, but the latter's involvement with Duran Duran had begun by then and so he declined.

Cuccurullo is name-checked four times on Zappa's Joe's Garage, first by (Dale Bozzio's character) Mary in "Catholic Girls", by Zappa (in character here as Larry) in "Crew Slut", when reassuring Mary, "of course I'll introduce you to Warren!", in the track "Sy Borg" when Ike Willis sings "little leather cap and trousers – they look so gay... Warren just bought some," and once again by Zappa during "A Little Green Rosetta" 'Then everybody moves to New York and goes to a party with Warren. hey!'