Archive for the ‘tribute’ Category

I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia - Franz Albanese (director) Napoleon Murphy Brock Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento
Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia – Franz Albanese (director)
Napoleon Murphy Brock
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

.

On April 23, 2016 an orchestral/electric, Napoleon driven Zappa tribute took place at Teatro Studio Borgna, at the Rome Auditorium. A remarkable event if you consider the effort needed to blend an all flutes orchestra (50 elements) with and electric big band (11 elements), although with the great help of Napoleon Murphy Brock (on his real birthday! more about this later).

However in this case it seems that size didn’t matter and such a large band performed in one of the rehearsal rooms of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and very little promotion preceded the concert.

Nonetheless the performance was effective, some flutes arrangements were particularly colorful, the electric band was tight and Napoleon body and soul on stage were exactly what such a large ensemble needed to complete the picture, mainly focused on the Roxy era.

Here are the main credits:

Tribute to Frank Zappa

I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento
Ugo Maccari: keyboards, minimoog
Carlo Amberti: guitar
Gianluca Marchetti: hammond organ, lead vocals
Francesco Pititto: bass
Pier Paolo Ferroni: drums
Matteo Flori: vibraphone, marimba, glockenspiel, percussion
Massimo Muratori: trumpet
Francesca Menchini: flauto
Monika Wolf: alto sax
Damiano Fabbrini: tenor sax
Giorgio Parri: baritone sax
Angelo Adamo: harmonica

Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia
(Flutes Orchestra of the Santa Cecilia Music Conservatory)
with
Deborah Kruzansky, Francesco Baldi, Eugenio Colombo, Catia Longo, Francesco Leonardi, Monica Limongelli
(for the full flute players list, see the concert program here)

Franz Albanese: director

special guest
Napoleon Murphy Brock: vocals, tenor sax, flute

Program
Penguin in Bondage
Pygmy Twylyte
Peaches en Regalia
Son of Orange County
More Trouble Every Day
Village of the Sun
Echidna’s Arf (of You) (with drum solo)
Sofa
Strictly Genteel
Uncle Meat Suite (Uncle Meat/Dog Breath/Pound for a Brown)
Florentine Pogen
Andy
Inca Roads (includes Bolero)

Encores
Montana

I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento brass section Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento
brass section
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

.

Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia Flutes Galore Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia
Flutes Galore
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

.

Franz Albanese Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Franz Albanese
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

.

Napoleon Murphy Brock Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Napoleon Murphy Brock
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

.

Two videos are available via YouTube, outstandingly low-fi, flutes galore is too far into the wall of sound, but with good headphones and some imagination, you’ll be able to get the picture. Here they are, Echidna’s Arf (of You) and Inca Roads, featuring a nicely transplanted Bolero.

Flutes Galore – Echidna’s Arf (of You) / drum solo

Flutes Galore – Inca Roads / Bolero

.

It would have been nice to hear their rendition of Strictly Genteel again, the flutes arrangement was rich, especially for “the majestic section towards the end”, as Steve Vai paraphrased the composer in the Frank Zappa: 200 Motels – The Suites booklet, referring about the answer of the composer to what was his favorite thing he ever wrote.

The right night to honour Napoleon Murphy Brock on his birthday!

In fact Napoleon wrote a moving facebook post for the occasion reported by Zappateer TPS (thank you!). Here is his zappateers post.

TPS
Napi wrote this last night and posted it on his facebook page. I thought i would share it here for those that wouldn’t see it. (The ‘real’ birthday reference I presume come from the wiki/google ‘fact’ that he was born June 7, 1945 (age 70). Actually it’s April 23, 1943.)

NMB
TO ALL OF YOU ANGELS OUT THERE, WHO HAVE WRITTEN ME TODAY, AND YESTERDAY, AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, PLEASE LET ME TRY, AND THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE JUST DONE FOR ME.

Those of you who took the time out of your busy lives, to write and send me such heart felt greetings on this day, my real birthday, I want to say thank you, and to say that I love you more than what the words were meant to express.

Your timing was such that I know you all had to be touched by the spiritual gods that surround us all. This last year for me has probably been the most difficult, and trying that I can ever remembering experiencing in all of my lives combined. And your reaching out to me, probably without even knowing that I was having such difficult times right now, causes me to view you all as angels that have come to my rescue.

Within the last year, I have lost seven close blood family members, Aunt Bertha Brock Nelson, Bernadine McCoy, Milton Brock, Aunt Ruth Murphy Harper, Uncle James Murphy, Gary Murphy Harper, and maybe one of my most beloved family member to whom I owe my present physical life, Richard Lewis. And two years ago three extended family members, George Duke, Corine Duke, and Ricky Lawson. Seven very close musician friends from when I was a teenager, Bobby Ingram, Billy Ingram, Douglas Ingram, Art Chavez, Ray Guzman, Vic Beam last week, and the beloved George Pezzolo. I don’t mean to make this seem too heavy, but it has been deeply disturbing to me, and I consider myself a very ultra positive, and happy human being. But this many, in this short span of time?

So for the Mariani’s Resturant Dancers who threw me two surprise birthday parties for the last two weeks that I performed there, because they knew that I would be performing in Europe on April 23rd, and I don’t know how they found out, because I didn’t tell them. Let me say Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, and I love you very much.

And for the organizers of last nights performance, with the Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio “Santa Cecilia”, who created last nights performance a TRIBUTE TO FRANK ZAPPA, with also Ugo Maccari, and “I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento”, Deborah Kruzansky, Direttore Franz Albanese, and 70 of the finest musicians that I have ever had the pleasure to create love through music, with at least 50 of them all playing every type of flute that exist, with me as the featured artist. Your presence last night in my life, and those lives to follow, will never be forgotten. And to top it off, when they scheduled the concert for last night almost a year ago, Saturday April 23rd, 2016, had no idea the it was my birthday, until I had to submit my passport to them so that they cold pay me for the performance.

And last by not least, to all my friends, that I have not kept in contact with over the past year, I ask you to please understand my situation, and forgive me for my not contacting you. But this has brought me back, and you will soon be hearing from me, I promise. Blessings to all of you. And may the love of God and life shine on you forever. And remember what Frank said, “MUSIC IS THE BEST”, AND SO ARE YOU!!!

 –       ;- {=      –

Also, at spaziofermo photo-blog: Napoleon. My personal tribute to Napoleon Murphy Brock on his birthday!

–       ;- {=      –

And for the whole ensemble, more photos follow (click to enlarge):

Ugo Maccari - I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Ugo Maccari – I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Gianluca Marchetti - I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Gianluca Marchetti – I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Carlo Amberti - I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Carlo Amberti – I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Francesco Pititto - I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Francesco Pititto – I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Pier Paolo Ferroni - I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Pier Paolo Ferroni – I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Matteo Flori - I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Matteo Flori – I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Angelo Adamo Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Angelo Adamo
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia Flutes Galore Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia
Flutes Galore
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia Flutes Galore Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia
Flutes Galore
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia Eugenio Colombo Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia
Eugenio Colombo
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia Franz Albanese Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia
Franz Albanese
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia Franz Albanese Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia
Franz Albanese
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Napoleon Murphy Brock Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Napoleon Murphy Brock
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Napoleon Murphy Brock Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Napoleon Murphy Brock
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Napoleon Murphy Brock Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Napoleon Murphy Brock
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia Franz Albanese Napoleon Murphy Brock Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016

I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento
Orchestra di Flauti del Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia
Franz Albanese
Napoleon Murphy Brock
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016

I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento blurred brass section Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento
blurred brass section
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

Carlo Amberti - I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016 (photo: spaziofermo)

Carlo Amberti – I Virtuosi dal Pianeta Talento
Teatro Studio Borgna, Auditorium, Rome, April 23, 2016
(photo: spaziofermo)

–       ;- {=      –

.

 

Advertisements
Sonata Islands, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

Sonata Islands, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

.

As part of The Trentino Jazz Festival, on November 7, 2015 Sonata Islands and Giordano Montecchi performed their A Spasso Con Frank (“Walking With Frank”) at Casa Depero in Rovereto, Italy. Giorgio Casadei and Emilio Galante arranged a group of compositions by Frank Zappa for a chamber, electro-acoustic, percussion-less ensemble:

Sonata Islands
Alessio Alberghini: baritone sax
Giorgio Casadei: electric guitar
Emilio Galante: flute
Simone Pederzoli: trombone

Sonata Islands and Giordano Montecchi, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

Sonata Islands and Giordano Montecchi, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

.

The program is interspersed with a text written by Giordano Montecchi who dramatizes it as Part Time Minister of the Church of Zap-o-logic Music-Is-The-Best Humanism. Wherefore the subheading: “melologo undergound intorno al grande Frank Zappa da Baltimora” (“underground melologue around the great Frank Zappa from Baltimore”).

.

Giordano Montecchi as Part Time Minister of the Church of Zap-o-logic Music-Is-The-Best Humanism, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

Giordano Montecchi as Part Time Minister of the Church of Zap-o-logic Music-Is-The-Best Humanism, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

.

Here is the musical program:
1 Peaches en Regalia
2 Chunga’s Revenge
3 Inca Roads
4 Holiday in Berlin
5 Little Umbrellas
6 The Idiot Bastard Son
7 Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
8 Son Of Mr. Green Genes
9 Dog Breath
10 Uncle Meat
11 Mom & Dad
12 Blessed Outside Relief Now

An extract of the Casa Depero performance is available on video

The concert has been performed at the first floor of the museum in a gorgeous large room, with a bizarre bottom-up low lighting. Such an obscure choice resulted in a dark video shooting that gives a vague idea of the place. Fortunately the audio track is good enough to give back the overall sound of the ensemble, warm and earthy due to baritone sax and trombone (a would say a tone of brown), with a bright flute to keep it light and an electric guitar to sustain the rhythmic framework and the speech vamps. I do hope a work in progress aimed to tune a little bit the performance and to enrich the speech vamps, too smooth at the moment. The band is too much behind Giordano whose text would gain more strength from a clearly defined rhythmic background.

Montecchi’s text is of great interest because gives back an accurate portrait of the composer, shedding light on the essential traits of the Zappa approach to music and to THE REAL WORLD, with a taste for the religious bizarre: a Zappa discography litany sometimes suspends the biographic account.

Sonata Islands and Giordano Montecchi kindly provided this blog with the Italian libretto of the melologue: “A Spasso Con Frank“.

Here are some excerpts:

Rock tough guys claim him as their private property, as their anti-establishment prophet.

Academics tolerate him as a composer… an exception! for the world of rock.

Somebody considers him a jester, a symbol of the most anarchoid transgression.

Others think of him as a committed radicalism guru.

Jazzophiles as a failed jazz musician.

Petty politicians as a subversion leader.

Respectable women committees reckon him as the embodiment of the corruption that threatens their children.

Music industry executives as a Plague of Egypt.

However Frank Zappa is not here anymore. Controversies, insults and complaints belong to the past. Today sanctification prevails.

[…]

Tonight there are no songs. We have called it melologue, underground melologue actually, so it nearly seems a smart something.

It should work for a classical music audience: although they consider themselves high and mighty, few of them know what a melologue is. And furthermore they often enjoy listening to what they do not understand a shit.

And it should also work for a rock audience, because the “underground” moniker stuck to music is like the “organic” label attached to supermarket fruits.

Matter of the fact is that about lyrics, yes: Frank had a precise idea also on this, as about almost everything.

Broken Hearts are for Assholes.

Stupid lyrics? Of course, furthermore: demented! Since Zappa’s stupid lyrics have a really special purpose.

Not only as a ferocious caricature of hit songs, but also as a detector, as a Geiger counter adjusted to get the level of background idiocy.

Yes, this is true, but Zappa’s stupid lyrics serve further purpose also.

First to transform a piece of music into a SONG, and then, to let it EXIST in that musical world where, in fact, only songs exist. And maybe make it well edible for that 90% [majority of eating-songs people]. Sometimes it happened.

However stupid lyrics also meet his understatement attitude, they serve to conceal the music he really care for, what he calls the “musically uncompromising” category, that is music … out and out, no compromises.

On the other hand, if lyrics are serious, important, in such a case … he explains: “I don’t build an elaborate accompaniment because it gets in the way of the words.”

All of the above ultimately means one only thing to Zappa: if you have in mind something complicated or difficult, and you want listeners to appreciate it, you have to combine it with something simple:

“Music is based on contrasts, contrasts between things that are very simple and things that are very complicated. If everything is complicated all the time, there is no contrast”.

Furthermore, there is not even contact with the listener, who is not able to understand anymore.

Since centuries, music worked just this way: put what is easy in the service of what is difficult.

[…]

In music, as in Zappa’s lyrics you never know where virulence of speech, make-believe and cynicism exhibited as a mask end, and where what he calls THE REAL WORD begins.

That is, stuff that are really important, the crucial question, the real disillusion.

It always seems that he hates and despises everything and everyone.

Or that he madly loves the universe most deranged stuff.

It is not like that, though.

That is his way to say that the emperor has no clothes, his way to stick his words straight into the stomach, into the belly.

It is his way to denounce all the filth in the world, or to bury it with a laugh.

These are his parables: who knows that you will eventually understand what is really happening.

That’s what the lyrics are for.

[…]

Zappa did know he could not win his war against the Leviathan.

A no appeal conviction of the outrageous flaws of American society and a bitter disillusion were concealed behind his cynicism mask.

As musician and citizen he was more and more pissed off about what he called fascist theocracy, his last Reaganian nightmare.

Much worse than the Dangerous Kitchen, where bananas turn black, where everything rot, where everything is disgusting.

But the worst was yet to come, and he was spared.

1966: Freak Out! … 1993: Civilization Phaze III, not even thirty years. Too little.

There are artists who have had a much longer career. Unfortunately, sometimes.

Not even thirty years: ten thousand days ceaselessly: music and passion against stupidity, stereotypes, hypocrisy, prejudice, corruption and aberration.

It was too much, even for someone like him.

[…]

It is no coincidence if the journey of Zappa comes to an end in Europe with the Ensemble Modern, in love, at last, with an astonishing orchestra.

And it is not even by chance that his last album, his last completed composition, is entitled Civilization Phaze III.

This opera-pantomime in two acts ends with an episode with a disturbing title: Waffenspiel, “weapon game” in German, but the translation does not give back the actual meaning.

It is not music, it is a soundscape.

Something that sounds, perhaps, as a farewell to life, or perhaps as the last riddle.

Reading from the album liner notes: “Life goes on outside the piano – more rain, excitable dogs, automatic weapon fire, traffic, building demolition, etc. THE REAPER, much to the dismay of the dancers in the previous piece, arrives (when the car door slams) to claim them. ACT TWO ends with a large model of a crop-dusting plane, spraying the audience with a toxic substance.”

Just in closing, however, as the plane departs, something else can be heard … but Zappa does not say it.

.

Emilio Galante on flute, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

Emilio Galante on flute, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

.

Giorgio Casadei on guitar, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

Giorgio Casadei on guitar, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

.

Giorgio Casadei on guitar, Simone Pederzoli on trombone, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

Giorgio Casadei on guitar, Simone Pederzoli on trombone, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

.

Emilio Galante on flute, Alessio Alberghini on sax, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

Emilio Galante on flute, Alessio Alberghini on sax, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

.

Alessio Alberghini on sax, Giorgio Casadei on guitar, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

Alessio Alberghini on sax, Giorgio Casadei on guitar, Casa Depero, Rovereto, November 7, 2015

.

Giordano Montecchi some more: Rock as compositional practice

Son of Giorgio Casadei: Orchestra Spaziale meets Zappafrank

The Return of the Son of Sonata Islands:

Amy Denio and Sonata Islands Kommandoh live @ La Scighera, Milan, November 14, 2015
Emilio Galante, Giovanni Venosta, William Nicastro, Roberto Zanisi

.

Some alternate cover images for this post here: Underground Melologue.

More pictures taken the same day at the museum that hosted “A Spasso con Frank”: Casa Depero.

.

"pagan absurdist" Gail Zappa, nee Adelaide Gail Sloatman, as portrayed in her tribute page into the "of consequence" section of zappa.com

“pagan absurdist” Gail Zappa, nee Adelaide Gail Sloatman, as portrayed in her tribute page into the “of consequence” section of zappa.com

.

1966 was the year Gail Sloatman met Frank Zappa while working at the Whisky a Go Go nightclub on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. Earlier the same year she also met Kim Fowley and recorded with him as Bunny and Bear. In 2009 Gail Zappa recalled those days with Alan Clayson (Frank Talk, Record Collector, May, 2009):

My recording career! (laughs) My father played blues harmonica, and taught himself guitar, banjo and piano. Yet I didn’t play anything – although I’m wondering now about taking guitar lessons. However, when I left school – in Surrey – in 1962, 1 became caught up in what I can only describe as an evolutionary experience – that shift in consciousness in the early to mid-1960s.

As an example of the type of things what were happening around me, I remember being struck by a photograph of Lenny Bruce above a little newspaper article about how, after his appearance at the Establishment Club in London, he’d been refused re-entry into the country for obscenity ñ which was ironic given the freedom of speech you theoretically enjoy in Britain that we did not have in the United States.

I didn’t grasp it at the time, but this proved to be a clue, almost, to my immediate future. By the time my family moved to New York in 1965, I’d been on the periphery of the British music industry. In fact, I went to a party thrown for The Rolling Stones when they came back from their first US tour and I briefly dated Chris Stamp, the co-founder of Track Records.

After a friend of mine, who’d worked for Track, and I hitch-hiked to Los Angeles, I was pretty much ready for anything. Somebody told me that A&M wanted to start an R&B subsidiary, and were looking for songwriters. So, though I wasn’t actively seeking such a career, I went to their offices, and brandished a sheaf of paper containing some of the lyrics and poetry that I’d always written. Then I was installed in a room with an upright piano and a guy called Chester Pipkin, who’d been in various groups of that kind in the 1950s. Frank was familiar with his output.

Chester and I would grind out supposed R&B songs in this tiny room. We finished several, and maybe four got recorded, but I don’t have copies. I was actually present in some shack of a studio in the Valley when an outfit called Wooden Nickel did one of our compositions. I even worked at the Brill Building in New York for a while, but I was so naive then. I had no idea about the business side at all, and didn’t give much thought about making serious money as a songwriter. I was busier getting jobs as a secretary, stuff like that, to pay the rent.

Then I was walking along Sunset Boulevard one day when Kim Fowley approached me and asked if I wanted to make a record … He was always wanting to be the power behind an all-girl rock group – which he was much later on with The Runaways.

 

On January 22, 2015 Billy Miller and Miriam Linna from Norton Records joined forces with Dave the Spazz (Dave Abramson) on WFMU with stacks of rare, seldom heard Kim Fowley 45s, for “a surprising and illuminating peek into the early years of this legendary rock ‘n roll icon”, during a Kim Fowley Tribute week.

Kim Fowley

Kim Fowley

.

The playlist for that “Music To Spazz By” show included: Bunny and Bear, America’s Sweethearts, 7″, living legend, 1966.

Bunny and Bear, America's Sweethearts, 7", living legend, 1966

Bunny and Bear, America’s Sweethearts, 7″, living legend, 1966

.

This single has been aired between 1:19:16 and 1:22:10 into the show, and it is avalilable through the pop-up player into the January 22 show page.

Hear a candid Gail as Bear perform with Kim Fowley as a bizarre Bunny!

There should be 50 printed copies of this single, said Billy Miller, a really rare item!

.

To complete the picture is also worth to recall that Kim Fowley appeared on Freak Out! on ” hypophone”. And this is what FZ told Sandy Robertson in 1978 about his encounter with Fowley (Zappa Digs Sabs Shock!, Sounds, January 28, 1978):

He was just one of those people who was wandering around the street in Los Angeles in those days. The hypophone is his mouth, ’cause all that ever comes out of it is hype. I don’t listen to much of what he does now. I happen to like ‘Popsicles & Icicles’ by the Murmaids on the Chattahoochee label, I dunno about his recent stuff.

 

.

in memory of Gail Zappa (January 1, 1945 – October 7, 2015)

she kept on providing “stimulating digital audio entertainment for those of you who have outgrown the ordinary”

.

Gail Zappa with a handful of motel keys at her Laurel Canyon home in 2013 (via Los Angeles Times)

Gail Zappa with a handful of motel keys at her Laurel Canyon home in 2013 (via Los Angeles Times)

.

un D.T., art by Ale Sordi, muddyfatty

un D.T., art by Ale Sordi, muddyfatty

.

Since the end of the ‘80s, Luca Venitucci has been acting like musician, singer, improviser and composer/arranger. Co-founder member (1995) of Ossatura, he was part of Zeitkratzer Ensemble for several years. He has participated in projects carried out by composers, musicians, sonic artists like John Zorn, Alvin Curran, Christian Marclay, Margareth Kammerer, Mike Cooper, Butch Morris, Francisco Lopez, John Duncan, Manuel Gottsching, Keith Rowe, Merzbow/Masami Akita, Phill Niblock, Radu Malfatti, Terre Thaemelitz, Zbignew Karkosky. Also, he has collaborated with musicians like Peter Kowald, Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M, Thomas Lehn, Michael Renkel, Axel Dorner, Jerome Noetinger, Cristoph K Roll. He has carried out multidisciplinary projects with writers (Jonathan Coe, Lidia Riviello), actors and directors (Federica Santoro), and dancers (Alessandra Cristiani, Samantha Marenzi, Maddalena Gana).

See also the his “Artist Biography” by Eugene Chadbourne available at allmusic.com.

In 2001 Luca produced a remarkably peculiar tribute to Frank Zappa, based upon a reading of a William Burroughs text given by Frank Zappa in 1979, included in The Nova Convention (2LPs, Giorno Poetry Systems (GPS 014-015), 1979, available on line through the UbuWeb site).

The name of the piece is Un D.T. and, after more than ten years of obscurity, is available through the following link.

.

THANK YOU LUCA!

Luca Venitucci told the story behind his piece in an article published by Debra Kadabra, the Italian Frank Zappa fanzine (“Note a Un D.T.”, DK issue n.25, December 2001). What follows is my translation into English.

.

A note to un D.T.
By Luca Venitucci

When I was proposed to write a piece to pay a tribute to Frank Zappa, I hesitated. The American composer represents a case on his own to me, his music is so full of intuitions, his project had such a development, that he determined an innovative influence toward all the music of the XX century. For these reasons I have initially considered such a tribute a desperate endeavour.

Soon after, two ideas brought me on the right path. First of all I knew Zappa has paid attention to the human speech phrasing, especially in terms of rhythm, bringing some of such elements in his improvisation style as a guitarist (for instance, that is why his guitar phrasing, often rhythmically irregular compared with the main beat, displays always a remarkable cohesion as a whole picture). As a consequence, I thought to take into account a speech by Zappa as a starting point for a composition. Thanks to a suggestion by Francesco Gentile I came across a recording of a William Burroughs tribute which includes a Frank Zappa reading of The Talking Asshole, an excerpt from Naked Lunch (from The Nova Convention, 1979). The dark and aloof writing of Burroughs fantastically adheres with mutant and alien sonic landscapes which often belong to a certain electroacoustic aesthetics I know I am really familiar with. Also considering such a specific input, strictly connected to the general one, I decided to conceive and produce the piece as a solo hard disk electroacoustic composition. I think that the main elements of the vision of Zappa as composer are tightly focused on instrumental and orchestral writing, both in a contemporary classic and in a rock sense. His electronic works are no exception, being inspired by the same compositional strategy. Hence my second idea: to use such elements of the Zappa vision for an electroacoustic composition, which is a context that lately has shown both great potential and open issues, from disco music to cutting-edge research.

And here started the merely compositional question. Our man designed his conception passing through all main XX century musical genres, no matter if considered low or high art, deconstructing them and taking from each one of them what he needed to build a new and highly stratified stylistic perspective, distinguished by overwhelming formal tensions and by a burning sarcasm, sustained by a project logic always and absolutely lucid and coherent. How to transfer such a conception to the computer editing operations I was going to start? Could his innovative spirit in dealing with the instruments timbre and with orchestras, derived by Edgard Varese, translate into a special computer treatment of the timbre of the sonic material? The road to go through was the route of Varese towards his pioneering electronic phase of Poéme èlectronique and Déserts, riding as Zappa would have done. Also, the very well-known stylistic incursions between various “low” popular American genres (blues, funky, doo-wop), idioms enthusiastically beloved by Zappa since his adolescence, could have successfully done between all kind of electronic dance music genres and subgenres (drum’n’bass, house, trip-hop, etc.), of Afro American origin as those considered by Zappa. Having kept a link with a modal compositional approach (thus far form the serial and atonal abstract logic), the fragmentation of the compositional thread and the fierce use of collage techniques during the editing process, are further typical Zappa elements I tried to take and rework, my way.

Perhaps the most significant trait that distinguishes Zappa music from 90% of contemporary musical experimentation is his pervasive ability in intimately tying, and with great candor, a highly unclassifiable sonic venture, apparently illogic, to a narrative thread that, on the opposite, always arises clear and well defined, I would say in a classical way. Zappa always tells a story throughout his compositions, and that was what I could try too, putting into music the grotesque and horrific parable of The Talking Asshole by Burroughs, the story of a poor devil who, having taught his own asshole how to talk as for an harmless game, will eventually succumb at the immense emancipative impulses of his anal duct that, not any more inclined to be subdued to orders of the brain, will manage to defeat it and take control over the entire body of the underdog.

The voice of Zappa has been initially divided in single phrases, afterwards it has been transformed into MIDI impulses (that take the pitch, adjusting it to the well-tempered system, and the rhythmic details). Listening to the piece, everybody can perceive how the speech of Zappa is musically rich per se, hence the relationship between his guitar phrasing and the speech is no surprise! The harmonic baseline has been crafted upon the speech, then all the other compositional details have developed both taking into account the text (sometime starting from a single word or phrase, obtaining an astounding insert or a whirling change, as really often happens in Zappa writing) and following a path of free associations between the main traits of the Zappa speech, and a specific formal elaboration (namely gaining from the speech some musical phrasing near to blues or jazz throughout the same discretionary procedure that can be used to associate the shape of a cloud to a rabbit or England). Similar voice elaboration procedures have been already used, in works by Renè Lussier and Hermeto Pascoal for instance (not by chance, composers who share various elements with the compositional method of our man). In both cases the voice has been used according to a logic leaning toward linearity, in such a way as to strongly adapt the compositional structure to the voice profile, highlighting it. Instead, I have preferred playing with stratification and complexity, inserting the voice in a composite set of events, compared with whom it emerges as a reaction, a contrast or a difference, even though it provides all the basic material for the compositional work. Composing through a computer is related to specific procedures, that is why I had to renounce to a certain complexity derived from contemporary music writing praxis, that has sometimes influenced Zappa, such as the use rhythmic subdivisions connected with well-defined mathematical structures. Instead, I tried to obtain sonically complex material, also throughout the blast of apparently chaotic elements (meticulously pondered and studied, actually) following intuitive procedures. From this point of view, to elaborate sonic material through an audio editing program is nearer to freely engrave a marble block, or to draw a picture on a paper, roughly developing all proportions, than to write music using an abstract code, precise and highly formalized, such as the traditional notation system. In this regard, the piece extensively develops the idea of stratified overlapping, called “xenochrony” by Zappa, namely the editing of material from various sources, especially if independent and not equivalent from a rhythmic point of view, to combine a coherent set.

After a truly short introduction, conceived as a “commercial” that brings to foresee what is going to happen, the piece settles in a vaguely trip-hop pattern, upon which the story told by Zappa twists and turns (similarly to Zappa pages like Punky’s Whips). Next to the first part of the piece an instrumental interlude follows. Upon a seven-four time base, that aims to be a synthetic version of those typical pseudo-stravinskyan ostinatos used by the Mothers, a pseudo-guitar solo winds (I wonder why in today sequences based music, of drum’n’bass origin and alike sorts, they do not ever use patterns based upon multi-part times, or anyhow different from four-four time, since they unceasingly state that this genre is emancipating from the strict functionality of moving somebody’s cheeks on a dance floor …), which actually is a “xenochronic” editing of spoken phrases taken from the Zappa speech. Those phrases has been pitch-transposed (leaving the time intervals structure intact) to adapt to the ostinato tone, and transformed in MIDI impulses that control the pitch and the rhythmic scan of a synthesizer, while dynamics and contours are obtained from the original recording of the Zappa speech, passed through the synthesizer input, in synchronous with the MIDI impulses. The shape and the atmospheres of the piece experience growing disassociation and complexity while the mutation of the talking asshole progresses, until the final outbreak and agony. It is important to note how “grain” and inflections proper to the Zappa speech have had a fundamental influence to set the descriptive climate of the piece. I think that few would have succeeded the way Zappa did in delivering such a text, wrapped in a sort of aura of disgust and insane disease, with the same outstanding balance made of debunking irony and meaningful tension, that I tried to adequately transpose at music and sonic level.

.

The Talking Asshole
(from Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs)
as performed by Frank Zappa at The Nova Convention, NYC
December 2, 1978

Emcee: Just sending up for the great uh, Frank Zappa.

FZ: Hiya. How you doin’ tonight? Alright, um, as you know, I’m not the kind of a person that reads books, I’ve said this before many times, I’m not fond of reading. But, I do, I have in the past made exceptions, and uh, one of these exceptions was this part of the, the book that, I’m sure you know, called Naked Lunch, and I’ve received permission to read the part about the talking asshole. So . . .

Before I do, uh, I’ve discussed with Mr. Burroughs before we came out here some of the details that led to the construction of this section of the book. I asked him where he got the idea for this part, and he said that it was derived from the ventriloquist scene in The Dead Of Night, if you know that film. And I had a little bit of trouble following that, for a moment there, until he made it all very clear to me by saying that uh, it was like uh, when you have a ventriloquist dummy and suddenly the dummy starts talking for you. And so, with that introduction, I start on page 132, and it goes like this (ahem.):

Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to talk? His whole abdomen would move up and down, you dig, farting out the words. It was unlike anything I ever heard. This “ass-talk” had a sort of gut frequency. It hit you right down there like you gotta go. You know when the old colon gives you the elbow and it feels sorta cold inside, and you know all you hafta do is “turn loose”? Well, this talking hit you right down there. A bubbly, thick, stagnant sound. A sound you could smell. This man worked for a carnival, you dig, and tos tart with, it was like a novelty ventriloquist act. Real funny, too, at first. He had a number he called “The Better Oh”, that was a scream, I tell you. I forget most of it, but it was clever, like, “Oh, I say, are you still down there, old thing? ‘Nah, I had to go relieve myself!'”

After a while, the ass started talking on its own. He would go in without anything prepared and his ass would ad-lib, and toss the gags back at him every time. Then it developed sort of teeth-like little raspy incurving hooks, and started eating. He thought this was cute at first, and built an act around it. But the asshole would eat its way through his pants, and start talking on the street, shouting out it wanted equal rights. It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags, nobody loved it, an’— and wanted.. and it wanted to be kissed, same as any other mouth. Finally, it talked all the time, day and night. You could hear him for blocks, screaming at it to shut up, and beating it with his fist, and sticking candles up it. But nothing did any good, and the asshole said to him, “It’s you who will shut up in the end, not me. Because, we don’t need you around here any more. I can talk, and eat, AND shit”.

After that he began waking up in the morning with a transparent jelly like a tadpole’s tail all over his mouth. This jelly was what the scientists call “un D.T.”, undifferentiated tissue, (herr) which can grow into any kind of flesh on the human body. He would tear it off his mouth and the pieces would stick to his hands like burning gasoline jelly, and grow there. Grow anywhere . . . on him . . . grow anywhere on him a glob of it fell.

So finally his mouth sealed over, and the whole head would have amputated spontaneous.. did you know there is a condition occurs in parts of Africa, and only among negros, where the little toe amputates spontaneously?

Except for the eyes, you dig? That’s the one thing the asshole couldn’t do, was see. It needed the eyes. But nerve connections were blocked and infiltrated and atrophed, so the brain couldn’t give orders any more. it was trapped in the skull, sealed off. For awhile, you could see the silent helpless suffering of the brain behind the eyes, then finally the brain must have died, because the eyes went out, and there was no more feeling in them than a crab’s eye on the end of a stalk.
.

William Burroughs and Frank Zappa

William Burroughs and Frank Zappa

.

Rome, Blutopia record shop (blutopia.it), Luca Venitucci (accordion), “o vivere o ridere” a tribute to Enzo Jannacci, June 2013 (photo: spaziofermo)

Rome, Blutopia record shop (blutopia.it), Luca Venitucci (accordion), “o vivere o ridere” a tribute to Enzo Jannacci, June 2013 (photo: spaziofermo)

.