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!'

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ray White

Ray White
Ray White is an African American soul vocalist and rock and blues guitarist, best known as a member of Frank Zappa's touring ensembles. He was drafted into Zappa's band in late 1976, being featured on rhythm guitar and vocals, forming a vocal harmony partnership with Ike Willis on later tours in 1980 and 1984. White's vocals can be heard on Zappa in New York (March 1978), You Are What You Is (September 1981) as well as others. White can also be found on a The Torture Never Stops and Does Humor Belong in Music?; the former a DVD set in one of Zappa's last tours (without Ike Willis) and the latter a VHS filmed at the pier in New York; the video features White and Ike Willis' vocal harmonies. According to Zappa, White, who was deeply religious, was uncomfortable with the atheistic views of some of the other band members, which led to his departure.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Lowell George

Lowell George
Lowell Thomas George (April 13, 1945 – June 29, 1979) was an American songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, who was the primary guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the rock band Little Feat

 George joined Zappa's Mothers of Invention as rhythm guitarist and nominal lead vocalist; he can be heard on both Weasels Ripped My Flesh and the first disc of You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 5. During this period, he absorbed Zappa's autocratic leadership style and avant garde-influenced conceptual/procedural-oriented compositional methods. He earned his first production credit (in conjunction with Zappa and Russ Titelman) on Permanent Damage, an album recorded by "groupie group" The GTOs. George later asserted that "he performed no real function in the band" and left the group in May 1969 under nebulous circumstances. GTOs member Pamela Des Barres has claimed that George was fired by the abstemious Zappa for smoking marijuana, while he claimed at a 1975 Little Feat concert that he was fired because he "wrote a song ["Willin'"] about dope." On the contrary, biographer Mark Brend asserts that Zappa "liked the song" but "thought there was no place for it in the Mothers' set"; George himself alternatively claimed that "it was decided that I should leave and form a band" by mutual agreement.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ike Willis

Ike Willis
Ike Willis, Zappa and ?

Isaac "Ike" Willis (born November 12, 1955) is an American vocalist and guitarist who was a regular member of Frank Zappa's studio and touring bands from 1978 until the last tour in 1988. He did not tour with Zappa in 1981 and 1982 because he wanted to be home for the birth of his two children, but returned to touring with Zappa for his final two tours in 1984 (which Zappa intended at the time to be his final tour) and 1988. He currently tours with the Frank Zappa tribute bands Bogus Pomp, Ossi Duri, Project/Object, Pojama People, Ugly Radio Rebellion and ZAPPATiKA. He also performed several times with the Brazilian Zappa cover band, The Central Scrutinizer Band, The Muffin Men, and with the Italian bands Ossi Duri and Elio e le Storie Tese . Additionally, he has appeared multiple times at the annual Zappanale Festival in Bad Doberan, Germany. He is most recognized for his involvement in Zappa records such as playing Joe in Joe's Garage, providing vocals on Tinsel Town Rebellion, You Are What You Is, and The Man from Utopia, and as the title character and narrator in Zappa's off-Broadway-styled conceptual musical Thing-Fish.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Terry Bozzio

Terry Bozzio
Terry John "Ted" Bozzio (born December 27, 1950) is an American drummer best known for his work with Missing Persons and Frank Zappa. He has been featured on nine solo or collaborative albums, twenty six albums with Frank Zappa, and seven albums with Missing Persons. He has been a prolific sideman, playing on numerous releases by other artists since the mid-1970s. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1997. His daughter, Marina, is also a drummer and a member of the heavy metal band Aldious.

He recorded and toured with Frank Zappa beginning in 1975, and appeared, also as a vocalist, on a number of Zappa's most successful albums, including Zoot Allures (1976), Zappa in New York (1976), Sheik Yerbouti (1979) and Thing-Fish (1984), and in the concert movie Baby Snakes (1979) (which includes him singing lead on a portion of the song "Punky's Whips"). He is noted for performing Zappa's "The Black Page", a piece of music designed to be a "musician's nightmare", a page so dense with notes it was nearly solid black.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Napolean Murphy Brock

Napolean Murphy Brock
Napoleon Murphy Brock (Robert Brock) (born June 7, 1945) is an American singer, saxophonist and flute player who is best known for his work with Frank Zappa in the 1970s, including the albums Apostrophe, Roxy and Elsewhere, One Size Fits All, and Bongo Fury. He contributed notable vocal performances to the Zappa songs "Village of the Sun" and "Florentine Pogen."

Brock's numerous performances with Zappa include the role of the "Evil Prince" on the Thing-Fish album. He has also performed with George Duke, Captain Beefheart and more recently with Neonfire . He remains a regular performer at Zappanale.

Brock appeared in the 2005 film Rock School, a documentary about The Paul Green School of Rock Music, an extracurricular music program that he and Project/Object have closely supported for several years.

In 2006, he toured with Frank Zappa's son Dweezil on the latter's Zappa Plays Zappa shows He also regularly tours with fellow Zappa alumnus Ike Willis and others with Andre Cholmondeley's Project/Object. Other Zappa related projects he's been involved with include the Tampa, Florida based band Bogus Pomp, and the 16 piece Ed Palermo Big Band from New York City.

He is a registered sex offender in the State of Californai for Rape by Force,

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ed Mann

Ed Mann
Mann formed a band with Tommy Mars in mid 1973. By the end of that year he was studying with John Bergamo at CalArts. In 1977 Frank Zappa asked Bergamo to do some overdubbing on the Zappa In New York album and Bergamo in turn recommended Mann.

A few months later Ruth Underwood told Mann that Zappa was looking for a second keyboard player. When Ed called to recommend Tommy ("at midnite, the only time when you could reach Frank by phone"), Frank invited him to "come up to the house". Mann went to the house, where Terry Bozzio, Patrick O'Hearn, and Adrian Belew were jamming with Zappa. By 2:00am Ed was "in the band". Ed Mann later commented: "It took a few days for that all to sink in."

Road Tapes Venue 2

Road Tapes Venue 2
This concert, drawn from two shows, essentially is the new Mothers of Invention personnel, which after May, 1970, Zappa hired Dunbar as drummer, and was introduced to Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan in Hollywood. Zappa then hired keyboardist George Duke and with Ian Underwood set out to perform older Zappa material, along with new compositions found on "Chunga's Revenge" album. This show, which the Mothers had recently arrived back to the U.S. from their European tour, and the massive Bath Festival in England, is an early example of these wonderful musicians working together with Frank, showing off their skills, and leaving audiences in stitches (thanks to bassist Jeff Simmons). These 1970 shows are very hard to find on "bootleg" recordings, the most reticent is Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 1970 being the best example of the chemistry forming between the band members. Another show, that is widely available on bootleg is the Fillmore East NYC concerts which is soundboard. This particular live show is a must for Zappa fans of the early 70's. An excellent addition to the sparse catalog of 1970 shows featuring this lineup. 

Don Preston

in 1966 Preston began a long collaboration with Frank Zappa as the keyboardist of the original Mothers of Invention. Preston performed and recorded with Zappa until 1974. During that time he was music director for Meredith Monk[3] (with whom he had previously shared a house) and started recording and performing electronic music.

He is a co-founder of the Grandmothers and is still active with the band, completing an extensive tour in 2000 and later tours through 2016.
Don Preston 2009

Preston also appeared on-stage as a guest keyboardist with the Zappa tribute band Project/Object (featuring Zappa alumni Ike Willis and Napoleon Murphy Brock) for several shows in 2001, 2002 and 2016.

In 2002, Don Preston joined forces with Frank Zappa alumni Roy Estrada and Napoleon Murphy Brock, along with guitarist Ken Rosser, and drummer/percussionist Christopher Garcia to form the Grande Mothers Re:Invented.

Since then they have performed at numerous concerts and festivals throughout America, Canada and Europe, including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Germany, Holland, Italy, Norway, and Switzerland. (In 2005, guitarist, Miroslav Tadic replaced Ken Rosser in the lineup.) Guitarist/Bassist Robbie "Seahag" Mangano has filled in for Miroslav Tadic on Grande Mothers tours in 2009 and 2010, and Tom Fowler is scheduled to replace Roy Estrada. Recently Preston has lectured at Cornell, Harvard, Yale, Sarah Laurence, University of Arizona, and the University of Belfast.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Bunk Gardner

John Leon Guarnera, professionally known as "Bunk" Gardner (born May 2, 1933, Cleveland, Ohio, United states) is an American musician who most notably played for Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention until the group disbanded in 1969. He plays woodwinds and tenor sax.

Gardner started playing music at the age of seven by taking piano lessons. When he was a teenager he started playing the tenor sax. In 1959 he played with Bud Wattles & his Orchestra's album Themes from the Hip. Later he played with Joanna & the Playboys in 1962. By late 1966 Gardner had joined Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, playing woodwinds and tenor sax. Success came along for the Mothers with top chart albums Absolutely Free and We're Only in It for the Money. In late 1968 his brother Buzz Gardner joined the Mothers until the group disbanded a year later. Gardner played with Menage A Trois with Buzz and John Balkin. Later he recorded with Geronimo Black and the Grandmothers.

In 1980, Gardner and some of the members from the Mothers of Invention reunited to form the Grandmothers, recording a few albums and reuniting again in 2002. Gardner has done a few projects with Don Preston, a band member of the Mothers, by making a few albums and tours together.

Gardner also plays flute, piccolo, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, and bass and soprano saxes.

Gardner and his wife Bonnie married in 1977 and have two daughters. Don Preston remains Gardners' close friend. In 2010 he recorded his autobiography (audiobook) "The Bunk Gardner Story" (featuring Don Preston), in Arthur Barrow's lotek studio, produced by Jon Larsen for Zonic Entertainment.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Jimmy Carl Black

Jimmy Carl Black
Jimmy Carl Black (February 1, 1938 – November 1, 2008), born James Carl Inkanish, Jr., was a drummer and vocalist for The Mothers of Invention.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Black was of mixed Native American heritage. His trademark line was "Hi Boys and Girls, I'm Jimmy Carl Black, and I'm the Indian of the group." The line can be heard several times on the The Mothers of Invention's album We're Only in It for the Money (for example, on the tracks "Are You Hung Up?" and "Concentration Moon"). He was also addressed as such by Theodore Bikel in the film 200 Motels. He has been credited on some Mothers albums as playing "drums, vocals, and poverty".[1][3]

He appeared in the movie directed by Frank Zappa, 200 Motels, and sings the song "Lonesome Cowboy Burt". Black also made a few more appearances with Zappa in 1975 and 1980,[1] and also appeared as guest vocalist on "Harder Than Your Husband" on the Zappa album You Are What You Is (1981). The same year, 1981, he performed the very same song at the discothèque Aladdin, Oasen, Bergen, Norway, as part of The Grandmothers, after their release Grandmothers (1980), an anthology of previously unreleased recordings by ex-members of The Mothers of Invention.

Jimmy Carl Black on Frank Zappa:

    I would have told him that I appreciated his friendship through the years and that I had learned a lot from him.
    I really loved Frank like you do a brother.

In 1972, he played with Geronimo Black, the band he founded with Mothers wind player Bunk Gardner. In the summer of 1975 he played drums for Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band under the stage name Indian Ink, notably at the band's appearance at the Knebworth Festival. In the eighties Jimmy and Bunk and Don Preston performed under the name "The Grandmothers" along with a bunch of other ex-Zappa musicians, but the band soon disbanded. Then Jimmy moved to Austin, Texas, where he met English singer Arthur Brown. The duo recorded an album of classic R&B songs, Black, Brown and Blue, and performed live together.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Roy Estrada

Roy Estrada
Roy Estrada (also known as "Roy Ralph Moleman Guacamole Guadalupe Hidalgo Estrada" and "Orejón"; born April 17, 1943 in Santa Ana, California) is an American musician and vocalist, best known for his bass guitar work with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention and for having been a founding member of

Little Feat, playing on their first two albums.

He is also a convicted sex offender, having had two criminal convictions for molesting a child in 1994 and 2012, and he is currently incarcerated,

ineligible for parole until he is 93 years old.  Estrada served six years in prison after he was convicted of committing lewd acts with a child in Orange

County, California, in December 1994. In January 2012, he pleaded guilty to a charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child which happened in March 2008. In the plea bargain agreement, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison and is not eligible for parole.

Jailed Sex Offender

Friday, July 1, 2016

Ray Collins

Ray Collins (November 19, 1936 – December 24, 2012) was an American musician.

Collins grew up in Pomona, California singing in his school choir, the son of a local police officer. He quit high school to get married.

Collins started his musical career singing falsetto backup vocals for various doo-wop groups in the Los Angeles area in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including Little Julian Herrera and the Tigers. In 1964, Collins, drummer Jimmy Carl Black, bassist Roy Estrada, saxophonist Dave Coronado, and guitarist Ray Hunt formed The Soul Giants. Hunt was eventually replaced by Frank Zappa, and the group evolved into the Mothers of Invention Ray was the lead vocalist on their early albums, including Freak Out!, Absolutely Free, Cruising with Ruben & the Jets and Uncle Meat and provided harmonica on Freak Out!. In 1968 Ray quit The Mothers of Invention, but continued to contribute to other Zappa projects through the mid-1970s.

Collins resided in Claremont California, until his death on December 24, 2012. He was 76 years old.

Ray with Frank

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ian Underwood

Ian Underwood
Ian Robertson Underwood (born May 22, 1939) is a woodwind and keyboards player, perhaps best known for his work with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.  Underwood graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor's Degree in composition in 1961 and a Master's Degree in composition at UC Berkeley in 1966. He began his career by playing San Francisco Bay Area coffeehouses and bars with his improvisational group, the Jazz Mice, in the mid 1960s before he became a member of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention in 1967 for their third studio album, We're Only in It for the Money. He speaks on Uncle Meat; on the track "Ian Underwood Whips It Out" he relates how he first met Zappa and demonstrated his capabilities on the saxophone at Zappa's invitation. Underwood later worked with Frank Zappa on his solo recordings, most notably on 1969's Hot Rats.[1] He married Ruth Komanoff (Underwood), marimbist/percussionist from the Mothers of Invention in May 1969. Underwood left the Mothers of Invention in September 1973. He and Ruth divorced in 1986.