Archive for the ‘visual arts’ Category

Who the F*@% is Frank Zappa? by Alex Winter

Who the F*@% is Frank Zappa? by Alex Winter

On March 8, 2016 Alex Winter has launched a 30 days kickstarter campaign for his hopefully soon to come documentary Who the F*@% is Frank Zappa? (all details available here, I for one pledged for 200$).

On March 9, 2016 Ahmet Zappa has posted the following on facebook:

People have been asking so I just wanted to clarify that the family is proud to give Alex Winter and his project our complete support, as well as unrestricted access to the Vault. This is the first time we’ve ever opened the Vault to someone outside of our family, but Alex is an exceptional filmmaker and storyteller, and we are excited to see him tell Frank’s story.

While we appreciate that the Kickstarter will help us with the larger project of preserving the Vault, I want to make sure everyone knows that this is NOT our project but we absolutely SUPPORT the project and Alex, and that the Zappa Family Trust will not receive any of the funds Alex raises during the Kickstarter (though if someone makes the $9 million pledge, which would obviously be awesome, a portion of that pledge will be used to purchase the house from the family at its market value).

Alongside the rest of you, we’re excited to see what Alex & his team will find.

These are some photographs of Zappa family house available through the Alex Winter kickstarter page as well as through the eBay Zf house page.

Zappa family house: Alex Winter at the courtyard

Zappa family house: Alex Winter at the courtyard

Zappa family house: Tape Library and desk

Zappa family house: Tape Library and desk

Zappa family house: living room

Zappa family house: living room

Zappa family house: library

Zappa family house: library

Zappa family house: library view from the corridor

Zappa family house: library view from the corridor

Zappa family house: Tape Library and living room

Zappa family house: Tape Library and living room

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Back to the kickstarter documentary page, it is for sure worth watching the campaign launch video. Here it is too:

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As far as visual art is considered the following frames are particularly intriguing.

Frank Zappa actual artwork (circa 2:16 frame)

Frank Zappa actual artwork (circa 2:16 frame)

Frank Zappa actual artwork (circa 2:16 frame)

Frank Zappa actual artwork (circa 2:16 frame)

Frank Zappa actual artwork (circa 2:17 frame)

Frank Zappa actual artwork (circa 2:17 frame)

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Finally, pay attention to the Drowning Witch on the background (spot the Z roof)!

Zappa family house: Alex Winter at the pool (circa 3:07 frame)

Zappa family house: Alex Winter at the pool (circa 3:07 frame)

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Go Ahead Alex!

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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William Burroughs and Frank Zappa

William Burroughs and Frank Zappa

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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)

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Zappa as a visual artist

Posted: May 26, 2014 in visual arts, zappa
Frank Zappa, Untitled, 1967, etching for an album artwork (from the exhibition "The Art of Hard Rock", Rome, September 2011)

Frank Zappa, Untitled, 1967, etching for an album artwork (from the exhibition “The Art of Hard Rock”, Rome, September 2011)

In 2011/2012 the exhibition “The Art of Hard Rock” toured Europe “to celebrate 40 years of Hard Rock Cafe“. “40 pieces of art by artists such as: Michael Jackson, Pete Townshend, Frank Zappa, Alice Cooper, Billy Idol, Lou Reed and more.”

The exhibition included a painting (supposedly?) by Frank Zappa, with the tag “Untitled, etching for an album artwork” (see above).

Here is a relevant pinterest page from the Cologne Hard Rock Cafe.

On September 2011 “The Art of Hard Rock” was on display in Rome, at Chiostro del Bramante. Here are two more pictures of “Untitled” I took at the Chiostro, unfortunately the glass reflected a little bit.

Frank Zappa, Untitled, 1967, etching for an album artwork (from the exhibition "The Art of Hard Rock", Rome, September 2011)

Frank Zappa, Untitled, 1967, etching for an album artwork (from the exhibition “The Art of Hard Rock”, Rome, September 2011)

Frank Zappa, Untitled, 1967, etching for an album artwork (detail, from the exhibition "The Art of Hard Rock", Rome, September 2011)

Frank Zappa, Untitled, 1967, etching for an album artwork (detail, from the exhibition “The Art of Hard Rock”, Rome, September 2011)

The second one is a detail where “December 1967, Mothers Segment” can be read near the FZ sign. I’m not sure about the word “segment” actually, any other clue?

For other information about FZ as a visual artist, go to the “Frank Zappa Paintings & Drawings” page, at the Information Is Not Knowledge web site.

Concerning the “Drum Shop” collage (already mentioned in this blog), a History Detectives video (from season 10 of the PBS TV show) is really worth watching. The Zappa segment starts at 37:54.

Frank Zappa, Drum Shop, late 1950s/early 1960s, ink,  watercolors and collage

Frank Zappa, Drum Shop, late 1950s/early 1960s, ink, watercolors and collage

Towards the end of video, the detective meets Gail Zappa at the Professional Drum Shop in Hollywood, a Zappa favorite since the 60s. At 49:53 Gail shows a picture of Bob Yeager, one of the founders of the shop in 1959, with a sport jacket really similar to the one wore by the main character on the right side of the collage! Gail also says “for Frank music was visual. And that’s how he saw music. Like, mobiles, you know, floating, things crossing each other.” Once Again the Calder mobile analogy from the The Real Frank Zappa Book, already mentioned in this blog (in the RAMME’s ZAPPA post). The script to the Zappa episode is available as a pdf file through the PBS web site.

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“The most important thing in art is the frame. For painting: literally; for other arts: figuratively – because, without this humble appliance, you can’t know where The Art stops and The Real World begins. You have to put a “box” around it because otherwise, what is that shit on the wall?”

Frank Zappa, The Real Frank Zappa Book, page 140, Frank Zappa and Peter Occhiogrosso, 1989 —

From the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln – Freunde facebook page

From the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln – Freunde facebook page

On May 4, 2014 WDR Sinfonieorchester conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer performed music by John Adams, Bernhard Gander, Hans Abrahamsen, Steve Reich, Frank Zappa and György Ligeti. The concert belongs to the “Acht Brücken Festivals” and has been titled “Musik der Zeit: Stop Nonstop”. The program has been defined upon a fascination for technique and pace (“Das Programm lebt von der Faszination für Technik und Tempo”, from the WDR Sinfonieorchester web pages). Here it is in detail:

Soloists:
Tamara Stefanovich: piano
Dirk Rothbrust: drums
Thorsten Johanns: clarinet
Nicola Jürgensen: clarinet

Studierende der Musikhochschulen NRW
WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln

Jonathan Stockhammer: conductor

John Adams
Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986)
Fanfare for Orchestra

Bernhard Gander
Orchannibal Corpse (2013)
for Orchestra
commissioned by WDR
world premiere

Steve Reich
New York Counterpoint (1985)
for clarinet and tape or 11 clarinets
(11 clarinets version)

Hans Abrahamsen
Concerto for piano and orchestra (1999/2000)

Frank Zappa
Four pieces for drums solo and Orchestra
arranged by Andrew Digby and Hubert Steiner (2014)
world premiere

György Ligeti
San Francisco Polyphony (1973-74)
for orchestra

An mp3 recording of the concert has been available for streaming for 30 days starting May 4 through a WDR3 web site (the link was here).

Of course I’m going to concentrate on the Zappa performance, but the whole concert deserves attention, the program has its own coherence, and presents some classics and less known pieces. The Gander premiere, for instance, effectively combines powerful orchestra blasts with low dynamics passages. There is a careful use of dissonance in a context where rhythmic references are always clear. Gander is known to possess a great pop background, heavy metal being one of his favorites, hence probably the “hard-dark” nature of the piece.

It would be interesting to ask Frank Zappa about such a program, since it is well known that he was not very fond of most 80s minimalism. As he said to Florindo Volpacchio (“The Mother of All Interviews: Zappa on Music and Society”, Telos, Spring, 1991):

“Minimalism, I think, is a perfect form of music to express the spiritual condition of the 80s.”

And here is what’s behind 4 Stücke fur Solodrummer und Orchester (4 pieces for drums solo and Orchestra, timings refer to the mp3 WDR3 recording):

1:25:57 – 1:29:45 (3:48) – Aerobics in Bondage
1:30:12 – 1:32:59 (1:47) – Navanax
1:33:27 – 1:36:08 (2:41) – Naval Aviation in Art?
1:36:32 – 1:42:21 (5:49) – Put a Motor in Yourself

And these are the timings for the respective reference versions (album title in parentheses):

Aerobics in Bondage
3:23 (Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention)
Navanax
1:40 (Civilization Phaze III)
Naval Aviation in Art?
1:22 (Orchestral Favorites)
2:45 (The Perfect Stranger)
2:28 (Greggery Peccary & Other Persuasions)
Put a Motor in Yourself
5:13 (Civilization Phaze III)
5:20 (Greggery Peccary & Other Persuasions)

As far as I know, Aerobics in Bondage and Navanax have been executed by a human ensemble here for the first time, and thanks to the arrangers and the Orchestra, they reveal a great acoustic impact. In both pieces the “quasi-solo” (as defined by the speaker) drums parts are in evidence and give them a peculiar sound. The Naval Aviation in Art? arrangement is directly related to those presented by the Ensemble Intercontemporain (Boulez) in 1984 and by the Ensemble Modern (Stockhammer) in 2002, these three version have similar durations but slightly different orchestrations. For instance, it is interesting to note that this arrangement goes back to the Orchestral Favorites 1975 recording for the beginning, with the very first notes played by winds instead of the full strings start of both 1984 and 2002 versions. On a first listen, the arrangement of Put a Motor in Yourself sounds close to the Ensemble Modern one, i.e. it is quite loyal to the original. However Andrew Digby and Hubert Steiner introduced a lot of variations in the orchestration. To mention an evident one, there are neither synthesizer nor electric bass. A more defined recording would reveal much more details. The drums arrangement of this version is also distinctive, as far as the approach and general sound are concerned, Dirk Rothbrust often plays as for a progressive band, taking all related risks. During the first minute of the performance not everything went well, but later on the piece goes as fluid as the original, and with powerful drumming.

Andrew Digby and Hubert Steiner work with the music of Frank Zappa since 2007 at least, being members of Ensemble Ascolta who has a well known Zappa project in repertoire (will it ever become an album?). Jonathan Stockhammer is a renowned conductor and was in charge with the Ensemble Modern for the Greggery Peccary & Other Persuasions album. Conceiving an effective approach for the drums, an instrument that has a lead role in the whole production of the man from Baltimore, and delivering a solid performance, the arrangers, the director and the Orchestra designed a short but relevant Zappa episode worth to be known and continued.

This is particularly good news, if compared to a 2011 Rome concert, a project far below any expectation that involved both Stockhammer and Steiner, and that cause me to shout this blog.

Considering the release of Roxy by Proxy, the percussion oriented performances of Ensemble musicFabrik and this “Technik und Tempo” WDR Sinfonieorchester execution, 2014 seems a good year for Zappa and the drums.

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Frank Zappa, Drum Shop, late 1950s/early 1960s, ink,  watercolors and collage

Frank Zappa, Drum Shop, late 1950s/early 1960s, ink, watercolors and collage

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LANCASTER, CA - CIRCA 1957: Frank Zappa plays drums with his first band 'The Blackouts'; (clockwise from the bottom right) Wayne Lyles (on bongos), Dwight Bennett, Ernie Thomas, Terry Wimberley (on piano), John Franklin, Frank Zappa (on drums) [gettyimages.com]

LANCASTER, CA – CIRCA 1957: Frank Zappa plays drums with his first band ‘The Blackouts’; (clockwise from the bottom right) Wayne Lyles (on bongos), Dwight Bennett, Ernie Thomas, Terry Wimberley (on piano), John Franklin, Frank Zappa (on drums) [gettyimages.com]

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MOTHERS DAY 2014

Posted: May 10, 2014 in album review, visual arts, zappa

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Two new download only tracks are available at Barfko-Swill ($1,99 mp3 or $2,99 FLAC, each).

Zoot Allures (6:12)
Cosmik Debris (8:12)

More info at zappa.com.

Zoot Allures 1982
Frank Zappa: lead guitar
Ray White: guitar
Steve Vai: guitar
Scott Thunes: bass
Chad Wackerman: drums (overdubbed at UMRK)
Bobby Martin: keys
Tommy Mars: keys
Ed Mann: percussion

Zappateer pbuzby noted that “Zappa’s solo in Zoot Allures is from 1982 06 18 London”. Great sound! The solo grows upon a relaxed rhythmic support. The fade out is the cruelest part of the song, as it is in the original!

Post Scriptum (May 13, 2014): a further note from Zappateer boguspomp
Good ears Flam,
ZA goes as follows:
0 – 59.03 19th early,
59.03 – 1.04.05 Frankfurt late,
1.04.05 – 2.04.62 19th early,
2.04.62 – 2.52.45 Frankfurt late again,
Rest 18th.
All times are approximate!

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Cosmik Debris 1973
Finlandia Hall, Helsinki
Frank Zappa: lead vocal, guitar
George Duke: keys
Ruth Underwood: percussion
Bruce Fowler: trombone
Jen Luc Ponty: violin
Ian Underwood: woodwinds, synth
Tom Fowler: bass

From the same concerts released as Road Tapes, Venue #2, “a song about a guru who maybe visiting you!”. Unfortunately the vocal track is a little bit distorted and winds seem too low in the mix, but the rest is great and relaxed too.

Two excerpts from the guitar solos to the two songs are available through the Barfko-Swill shop. Here are the direct links:
Zoot Allures (1982) excerpt
Cosmik Debris (1973) excerpt

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Lastly, a memorabilia from the 90s, it is a Mother’s Day card by Cal Schenkel. Unfortunately only low quality images are available on the net.

Mother's Day by Cal Schenkel, a 1995 RYKO card

Mother’s Day by Cal Schenkel, a 1995 RYKO card

Mother's Day by Cal Schenkel, a 1995 RYKO card

Mother’s Day by Cal Schenkel, a 1995 RYKO card

Mother's Day by Cal Schenkel, a 1995 RYKO card

Mother’s Day by Cal Schenkel, a 1995 RYKO card

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Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, 1983, cover art by Tanino Liberatore (back and front)

Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, 1983, cover art by Tanino Liberatore (back and front)

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Gil Chaya has a collector page at comicartfans.com: “I collect Liberatore, Ranx, and Bisley from 1990 to 1994, I have a very big collection of artwork to trade or buy”.

He has a nice collection of Tanino Liberatore sketches, including some from The Man from Utopia cover art, that shows Zappa as RanXerox, the cyborg-punk character created by Stefano Tamburini and drawn by Liberatore.

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, front cover sketch, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, front cover sketch, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, back cover sketch, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, back cover sketch, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

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On the left side of the sketch above, note the placeholder for a six sides tracklist!

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

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Here is an excerpt of a 2012 interview given by Tanino Liberatore to Pubblico (November 20, 2012, clippings available here) :

The cover of The Man from Utopia is Zappa as RanXerox!
It was him who wanted it, he liked the idea of Frank Xerox.

It was him who told you about the stories depicted or did you witness all those scenes?
I was at the Naples and Rome concerts where nothing special happened. After the Naples concert we went dining together to discuss the cover. In the beginning it should have been a six pages comic strip, but the project was later reduced. Since I don’t like covers with a lot of details or messages, and I prefer a strong drawing to leave a powerful impact, I proposed to draw the front cover according to my approach, leaving to him any decision concerning the back cover. Frank accepted. So in the back I drew the promoters who worry only about sniffing cocaine, The Pope, the gal who let Zappa know about RanXerox. Also, the famous “3-1 Vaffanculo” banner (referred to the 1982 FIFA World Cup Final, editor’s note), the infamous Palermo tear gas riot and the sun with the face, because he loved an Italian olive oil with a similar logo.

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The astral object on the right top corner of the back cover looks more the moon to me, there must be a misunderstanding here. Anyways, a six pages comic strip seems to get along perfectly with a three lps set: Frank Xerox live in Italy, 1982?

In another interview given to the Italian Magazine XL (n.80, October 2012), also documented in video on the XL blog, Tanino explains that it was a young woman who showed a copy of RanXerox to Zappa after the 1982 Rome concert.

XL, n. 80, October 2012, "Frank Xerox"

XL, n. 80, October 2012, “Frank Xerox”

The Man from Utopia back cover detail, a woman holding a copy of Frigidaire

The Man from Utopia back cover detail, a woman holding a copy of Frigidaire

She said she was a Frigidaire (the Italian magazine that first published the adventures of the cyborg-punk hero) journalist and showed the freshly published album fully devoted to RanXerox. Zappa was so amused by the comic album that asked his friend Massimo Bassoli to put him in touch with the authors. And here they are in 1982, with a copy of RanXerox.

Stefano Tamburini, Frank Zappa, Tanino Liberatore, Rome, 1982

Stefano Tamburini, Frank Zappa, Tanino Liberatore, Rome, 1982

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Michael Hodsdon

Posted: January 29, 2014 in visual arts, zappa

Michael Hodsdon from Minnesota, #1 Pat Hingle fan and fabulous painter, has drawn some great ones of interest here.

Follow him on twitter!  @michael_hodsdon
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Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan by Michael Hodsdon

Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan by Michael Hodsdon

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Frank Zappa by Michael Hodsdon

Frank Zappa by Michael Hodsdon

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A Frank Zappa sketch by by Michael Hodsdon

A Frank Zappa sketch by by Michael Hodsdon

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A Frank Zappa sketch by Michael Hodsdon

A Frank Zappa sketch by Michael Hodsdon

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