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YOU CALL THAT NEWS?
(Hot Poop, Lukewarm Poopfinal poop)

(Last updated 9 December 2022)

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Hot Poop

·        Treacherous Cretins will tour Great Britain next February with very special guest vocalist Robert Martin! Dates in the Diary – meantime, here’s a taster. [Added: 09 December 2022]

 

·        Tim Carey’s 1962 film, The World’s Greatest Sinner, has been restored by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation. It receives its ‘restoration world premiere’ at the Ted Mann Theater in Wilshire Blvd. on 10 December. There will be a post-screening conversation with Tim's son, Romeo. Details here – but no word on whether FZ’s soundtrack has been spiffed up. [Added: 09 December 2022]

 

·        Now confirmed for Zappanale next year: The Zappa Band featuring Mike Keneally, Scott Thunes, Ray White and Robert Martin, plus surprise guests; Jon Andersen of Yes with the Paul Green Rock Academy will present Close To The Edge; Billy Cobham Band; and Gong. More to come. [Added: 04 December 2022]

 

·        For the whole of Zappadan (4-21 December), I am offering copies of my updated/expanded Zappa FUQs eBook for just a fiver – and The Idiot will donate one pound from each sale to Prostate Cancer UK. For those who previously purchased a copy, the download link and password remain unchanged. Any problems, let me know. The Idiot has other special offers too – check 'em all out here. [Added: 04 December 2022]

 

·        Love by George Duke, demo produced by FZ, from the imminent Waka/Wazoo box set. [Added: 04 December 2022]

 

·        Check out this reinterpretation of Uncle Remus by Yorkshire-based singer songwriter Nick Dunne. [Added: 04 December 2022]

 

·        One Shot Deal (that is, former ZPZers Scheila Gonzalez, Pete Griffin, Billy Hulting, Jamie Kime, Ben Thomas and Joe Travers with Matt Rhode plus guests) will play Zappa at the Baked Potato in February next year. Dates in Diary. [Added: 04 December 2022]

 

·        People have been asking when Dweezil might tour again. After he talked about the trials and tribulations of being a band leader in his Audio Documentary series and aired his recent concerns about inflation and the econony, it may be some time. Especially when you consider that his band members have been making a living elsewhere since the Hot Rats tour ended prematurely in 2020: Kevin Bents (keyboards) has been touring with John Fogerty; Peter Jacob Jones (DZ's long time tour manager and stunt vocalist) has been on the road with Lindsey Buckingham; Adam Minkhoff has been working on tracks with Graham Nash for a new album; and Scheila Gonzalez has been part of Colin Hay's Men At Work for several years. So adding to his worries about the fiscal challenges of going back on the road, he probably would also need to audition, hire and rehearse a brand new band. However, the fact he's playing the Hendrix 80th birthday bash is encouraging and, who knows, it may even get him juiced-up again. Here's hoping. [Added: 30 November 2022]

 

·        Here's Dweezil with Z performing My Beef Mailbox on the Conan O’Brien show in 1994. [Added: 30 November 2022]

 

·        Down below I mentioned the 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Captain Beefheart's Clear Spot album. I can now advise that this includes the following previously unreleased tracks (all instrumental rough mixes): Clear Spot/Crazy Little Thing/Dirty Blue Gene/Big Eyed Beans From Venus/Sun Zoom Spark/Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man/Low Yo Yo Stuff. A review of the whole caboodle can be read here. [Added: 30 November 2022]

 

·        Nearly six months on, and we still haven't really had any clarity on the ramifications for the Zappa Trust of its sale of Frank's cock and balls to Universal. Scott Thunes is now talking of his tenure as ScoreMeister in the past tense (from Reddit: “Are [sic] used to work for the Zappa Trust, and my job was to look at arrangements and tell if they were any good or fix them...”). In the same month that the deal with Universal was announced, Diva became a Licensor at Funko (so presumably signed off on the Zappa doll) and Ahmet became CEO of I LIKE YOU, a pop culture management group, who ‘help music artists, photographers, brands and entertainment properties expand their audience, increase their revenue and grow their emotional value for future generations.’ Melanie Starks has now placed an end date of July 2022 on her Presidency of Zappa Records, after a 20 year association with the label. Holland Greco similarly ceased to be President of Munchkin Music Co. and is now Director, Art & Media at UMe. Obviously we're getting the fine releases that Mr Travers had already worked on, but the Zappa Forum has still to find a new and improved home and nothing is being said about where what's left of the Trust stands in regards to new projects and plans. [Added: 25 November 2022]

 

·        While Summer '82: When Zappa Came To Sicily is still available to rent on Amazon Prime, it is now free to view on Netflix. For those who have still to see it, here's my review of the Blu-Ray. [Added: 25 November 2022]

 

·        Dweezil has uploaded another nice mash-up with the ‘Brass from Utopia’ to his website: “We played Twinkle Tits mixed with Dupree’s Paradise in Oslo on 11-25-19 with the Norwegian Wind Ensemble. Nearly three years to the day, it's fully loaded and ready to play.” [Added: 25 November 2022]

 

·        Turbulator, who appear on my Lost Meat and Would You Like A Snack? albums, has posted its version of Duodenum here on YouTube. [Added: 25 November 2022]

 

·        The official FZ YouTube channel has recently been uploading ‘visualizer’ videos for the tracks on Hot Rats, Apostrophe and Sheik Yerbouti. These feature small animated elements from the albums’ artwork (like Miss Christine moving up and down in the drained pond of the abandoned Italian villa in Holmby Hills). A question has been posed over at Zappateers about what album covers would make an interesting animation. My vote goes to Everything Is Healing Nicely, with FZ’s teeth dancing à la Monty Python's Conrad Poohs. What do you think? [Added: 20 November 2022]

 

·        After posting a new video for Back In 1981 (see below), Warren Cuccurullo followed this up with one for another track from his Missing Person album: 4U. [Added: 20 November 2022]

 

·        Dweezil (in response to a question on his website): “I hope to be able to tour again but inflation and the economy aren't helping matters.” In the meanwhile, if you want to hear Dweezil and Craig Parker Adams chat about Edward Van Halen, look here. [Added: 17 November 2022]

 

·        The Thurston Lava Tube’s set from A Concert For Jimmy in 2008 has just been made available on Bandcamp. It features psychedelic experimental surf renditions of a few FZ numbers as well as much other wonderment. [Added: 17 November 2022]

 

·        Warren Cuccurullo just posted a video for his song Back In 1981 on his YouTube channel. The track is featured on his 2019 album Missing Person and was performed during the Bozzio-O'Hearn-Cuccurullo Power Trio’s renowned Zappanale performance the previous year. The song is a tribute to Prince. [Added: 17 November 2022]

 

·        Mike Fox (of the London Zappa Collective): “My annual Zappa party/jam will be at AGVA on Friday 9th December 7.30pm till 9.30 or later. It's 50 years since Zappa released his jazz album Waka/Jawaka and so the plan this year is to make it 50% Jazz and 50% Zappa. I’m augmenting my Zappa band with Mike Saunders (bass) and Graham Leeson (keys) from Acton Jazz and inviting a number of other musicians. I'm hoping you might know some musicians that might like to join in. If so, please put them in touch with me.” Email the Idiot if interested. [Added: 17 November 2022]

 

·        Your Mouth (Take 1) from Waka/Wazoo can now be heard here. Read my interview with vocalist Kris Peterson here. [Added: 11 November 2022]

 

·        Steve Vai on his ‘new’ album, Vai/Gash: “This record was written and recorded in somewhat of a stream of consciousness in 1991 within perhaps a 2-week period as an answer to my desire to have a particular kind of music to listen to when I was riding my Harley-Davidson Motorcycle with my friends. It’s reminiscent of a certain type of rock music I enjoyed as a teenager in the 1970s. These recordings sat on the shelf for over 30 years... it's about time.” Steve’s collaboration with friend/vocalist John "Gash" Sombrotto (killed in a bike accident in 1998) will be released on 27 January 2023. Meantime, here's taster track In The Wind. [Added: 11 November 2022]

 

·        Cordelia Records has now added the Mappa Zappa EP to its Bandcamp page. Read all about it here. [Added: 11 November 2022]

 

·        On Monday 5 December, the Frank Zappa Memorial Day will take place at Idiots Records in Dortmund, Rheinische Str. 14, Germany from 11:00. An annual event (and meeting point for many Zappa fans) that commemorates the death of the deceased music legend: from 19:00, a slide lecture will take place with the former catering man (Maggi) of the 88 Tour; he reports about his experiences on the tour with plenty of anecdotes. Entry is free of charge! [Added: 11 November 2022]

 

·        Steve Hackett's late 90s live album The Tokyo Tapes is about to be reissued together with a region free DVD of one the concerts plus bonus rehearsal footage. Steve's band for these recordings was John Wetton, Ian McDonald, Chester Thompson and Zappa: A Biography author Julian Colbeck. [Added: 11 November 2022]

 

·        Dweezil will play at a Jimi Hendrix 80th birthday celebration concert in Austin, Texas on the first day of Zappaween next month. [Added: 07 November 2022]

 

·        In the new fillum Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, there's a pool party scene at Dr Demento’s pad that features an actor playing FZ...and the end title song, Now You Know, features Weird Al’s long-time gal vocalist, Lisa Popeil (of Teen-age Prostitute fame). [Added: 07 November 2022]

 

·        Joe Travers posted on YouTube the Peavey Party/NAMM Show from 1995 when “Z” (AZ/DZ, Keneally, Beller & JT) performed a special one-off version of The Medley. [Added: 07 November 2022]

 

·        Scott Thunes is the executive producer of Wine Club, a film written by his sister Stacy and starring his niece (Stacy's daughter) Isabella. For those of you who may not know, Stacy performed at Zappanale in 2002 with her band The Lewinskys (and featured guests Scott, Mike Keneally and Jimmy Carl Black). More recently, Stacy appeared on our TV screens in an episode of Killing Eve. Wine Club will be released early next year. [Added: 07 November 2022]

 

·        Swedish trumpet player Jonas Lindeborg recently recorded and released versions of The Black Page #I & #II. Hear here. [Added: 07 November 2022]

 

·        Here's a great video of Scotland's finest Zappa tribute band, Pygmy Twylyte, performing Penguin In Bondage – at numerous locations! [Added: 04 November 2022]

 

·        Check out Pauline Roberts cover of The Black Page #1 here. And here Gerry Fialka interview's Pauline. Gerry was introduced as ‘Gertitol Fialkaseltzer’ and performed a short rant before the 8pm Sunday show of The Zappa Band at the Baked Potato on 30 October: here’s a transcription. [Added: 04 November 2022]

 

·        Zappanale news: the Arf Society is negotiating with Billy Cobham, Gong, Randy Brecker and The Zappa Band with a view to them performing at the festival next year. Fingers crossed for that. Because of rising costs, the organisers say they can no longer offer camping for free – so separate tickets will be on sale for the Green and Sun camps. These will now include free use of the toilets and showers. [Added: 04 November 2022]

 

·        For those not signed up to Dweezil's website: following a lengthy period of non-Zappa related activity (I understand he's currently remastering Van Halen’s back catalogue), he recently started posting some ‘new’ FZ songs for download. The most recent are live recordings featuring the Norwegian Wind Ensemble: 200 Bogus Motel Rooftops (a Zappa/Morricone mash-up) and – for Halloween, and free to all comers – Zomby Woof 2.0, from his 2017 Royal Festival Hall concert. These sit nicely alongside the NWE’s excellent Brass From Utopia album, which you should definitely check out if you haven't already. [Added: 04 November 2022]

 

·        American jazz clarinettist, saxophonist, and flautist Tony “Bat Man” Ortega, who can be heard on The Grand Wazoo and Joe's Domage (plus the forthcoming Waka/Wazoo set), recently passed away at the grand old age of 94. [Added: 04 November 2022]

 

·        Julien’s Auctions, who sold a bunch of stuff belonging to Frank & Gail, will shortly be flogging ‘Property from the Archives of Steve Vai’. This includes Steve’s transcription notes for a number of FZ pieces, his handwritten set-lists for gigs he played with Frank (including the infamous Palermo show in 1982) and a whole lot more. Visit this page and have a snout around. And in case you haven’t already checked it out, here’s the track Eco Warrior Goddess from the new Todd Rundgren album that features Mr Vai. [Added: 04 November 2022]

 

·        Galway based singer songwriter Niamh Regan has just covered Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band’s Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles. She says, “I first heard this song in the film The Big Lebowski, but never looked up the artist. I remembered really liking the short snippet I heard. Then one evening I was watching a documentary on Frank Zappa when I discovered Beefheart. Exploring some of Captain Beefheart’s bizarre, fun and strange catalogue is well worth it. I’ve never released a cover song before, so this was fun and a great exercise to explore new sounds and ideas for my second record.” [Added: 04 November 2022]

 

·        Waka/Wazoo has finally been announced at Zappa.com, with this cunningly back-dated post. The box set is now available to pre-order from Burning Shed. [Added: 28 October 2022]

 

·        Cordelia Records has now added Rare Episodes to its Bandcamp page. Read about the album here. [Added: 28 October 2022]

 

·        Here Chanan Hanspal takes a close look at the ‘impossible guitar part’ in Sinister Footwear II. And here Shawn Persinger of Premier Guitar learns us how to solo like FZ. [Added: 28 October 2022]

 

·        Check out this radical and intense Flux Pavilion remix of Valley Girl. If you want to own a copy, you can opt for an audio download or the video. Or both, of course. [Added: 28 October 2022]

 

·        Mystery artist, Ziggy Pop, has just released this rap version of You Are What You Is – prompting the question: Does Humour Belong In Rap Music? [Added: 28 October 2022]

 

·        Cordelia Records just added Weasels Re-Ripped to its Bandcamp page. Read about the album here. [Added: 23 October 2022]

 

·        Official Release 124 will be the long-mooted Waka/Wazoo, comprising 4 CDs of studio session alternates and outtakes, master versions of the FZ produced George Duke demos, live Grand and Petite Wazoo material, plus a Blu-Ray of Atmos and 5.1 mixes of the two original albums. Out just before Crimbo, here’s the first preview single: Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus (Alternate Take). [Added: 18 October 2022]

 

·        New ZappaCast, focussing on Zappa 75, here. [Added: 18 October 2022]

 

·        The Mats & Napi pre-Zappanale Hamburg church gig is now on streaming services (like YouTube). [Added: 18 October 2022]

 

·        RIP Art Laboe, the American DJ and owner of Original Sound Records' studio, where FZ recorded the music for Run Home Slow. [Added: 18 October 2022]

 

·        Scott Thunes says of The Zappa Band (on Reddit): “After the Baked Potato gigs this Halloween I’m pretty sure that will be it for us.” Hope that's not so as they are odds on favourites to play Zappanale next year. Keep 'em crossed. [Added: 10 October 2022]

 

·        Also now available from Cordelia’s Bandcamp pages are Lost Meat (a collection of FZ penned songs you won’t find in the Official Discography) and Would You Like A Snack? (a selection of choice cuts from 200 Motels), both performed by sternly accomplished other people. You can read more about these here and here. [Added: 10 October 2022]

 

·        Baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber, of Saturday Night Live and Zappa In New York fame, recently passed away, aged 80. [Added: 10 October 2022]

 

·        The second preview ‘single’ from the Zappa ’75: Zagreb/Ljubljana album is Dirty Love. [Added: 07 October 2022]

 

·        Last week, Kinolibrary (an East London based independent archive film agency) posted some great silent footage from the 1970 Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music featuring the mighty Zep. In one clip, I spotted Herb Cohen and hoped there might be film of The Mothers in performance. This week, the company has uploaded some clips featuring the original incarnation of the MOI (with dancers Vito Paulekas and Carl Franzoni) playing at the Moonfire Happening in Santa Monica in 1966. Snippets from this clip were used in the Freak Out! Classic Albums doc. [Added: 07 October 2022]

 

·        Mike Keneally has unveiled the debut release from The Bird Brain, a new band comprising MK, Kris Myers (Umphrey's McGee), Jonathan Sindelman (The Magic Band) and former ZPZ-ers Ben Thomas & Pete Griffin. Their three-song Bird Brain EP can now be acquired via Bandcamp. [Added: 07 October 2022]

 

·        Suddenly available from Cordelia’s Bandcamp pages are Lemme Take You To The Beach (an album of surf instrumental bands covering FZ), Mappa Zappa (a collection of Zappa tunes with place names in their titles) and 21 Burnt Weeny Sandwiches (20 artists attempt to condense the album into fun-sized snacks). The latter two were compiled by The Idiot and you can read more about them here and here. (Pssst! Includes link to the 21st track). [Added: 07 October 2022]

 

·        For reasons unknown, Bored With Prozac And The Internet? by TV Mania – that is, Nick Rhodes and Warren Cuccurullo – released as a digital-only album in 2013, has belatedly been issued on Compact Disc. The material thereon was originally recorded in the mid-90s. Wacky! [Added: 07 October 2022]

 

·        Moon Unit talks about Valley Girl forty years on, with Lyndsey Parker (who ghosted Miss Mercy's posthumous memoir): the short article; the full video. [Added: 01 October 2022]

 

·        Cordelia Records recently added 20 Extraordinary Renditions of The Idiot Bastard Son to its Bandcamp page. Read about the album here. [Added: 01 October 2022]

 

·        The revised and updated version of Pauline Butcher’s book about her life with FZ in Laurel Canyon is out next week. If you haven’t read the original version, here’s my interview with Pauline from nearly 10 years ago – crikey! It gives an insight into what’s in the tome, plus it links to a later interview I did with her. Now go pre-order a copy of the new book here! [Added: 01 October 2022]

 

·        Cordelia Records has recently added The Idiot Bastard Sons Of Mr. Green Genes and On Broadway: Covers Of Invention to its Bandcamp page. Read about the albums here and here. [Added: 29 September 2022]

 

·        I Shot Frank Zappa: My Life In Photography by Robert Davidson with John Elliot is now available as an Epub from Google Books – for less than a fiver! [Added: 29 September 2022]

 

·        Wolfram Klug, who produced Burt, The Nerd, an award winning album with five Zappa alumni, will contribute the income of sales of his brand-new album Speaking To Ray to Ray White and his currently ill wife Gwenda. The album has Ray and Robert Martin on it (Ray on My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama and City Of Tiny Lights; Robert on the original, So Quiet). It contains three FZ tracks: the aforementioned My Guitar and City Of Tiny Lights, plus Chunga's Revenge. All nine tracks feature some of Germany's best musicians, and the album is available right now at Bandcamp. [Added: 29 September 2022]

 

·        Watch Ego Death by Polyphia, featuring Steve Vai here. [Added: 29 September 2022]

 

·        Here’s the press release for the new Todd Rundgren album, featuring Adrian Belew and Steve Vai. [Added: 29 September 2022]

 

·        Tyler Bartram breaks down Wet T-Shirt Nite, with help from Arthur Barrow, here. [Added: 24 September 2022]

 

·        I just found out about the Music Walk Of Fame in London: granite stones that honour artists who have changed the face of popular culture embedded in the pavement that will one day run all the way from Chalk Farm to Mornington Crescent in London’s Camden. I feel FZ is an obvious candidate, and the 30th anniversary of his passing next year might be a good time for this to happen. If you agree he’s more worthy than Madness, Soul II Soul, Blondie or Slade, maybe you’d like write to info@themusicwalkoffame.com and let them know – I did! [Added: 24 September 2022]

 

·        Steve Vai: “If you’re a Frank Zappa fan, you won’t want to miss this interview I conducted with Co de Kloet who is not only the ‘Creative Catalyst’ for all my orchestral projects, but was also a friend of Frank's. Co had many conversations with Frank through the years, and they are all represented in Co’s book Frank & Co. It was a pleasure to sit with Co and talk about his book and many of the great chats he had with Frank.” [Added: 24 September 2022]

 

·        Marc Maron chats with Adrian Belew in his latest WTF Podcast. [Added: 24 September 2022]

 

·        After the official music video for Valley Girl was unveiled, Moon Unit announced she was selling her Totally Assam brand of tea to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the song. The Zappa Store also launched some special VG merch and, as if that weren't enough, later this year the song will receive a fresh remix from British DJ, producer, electronic dance music star, and long-time Zappa fan, Dewsbury Hall Flux Pavilion. [Added: 19 September 2022]

 

·        Check out Cult Of Personality (Rock in Rio 2022 Remix) by Living Colour with Steve Vai here. [Added: 19 September 2022]

 

·        Todd Rundgren's new album Space Force, due out on 14 October 2022, features both Steve Vai and Adrian Belew. Here's preview track Puzzle, co-written by the latter. [Added: 19 September 2022]

 

·        Ray White's wife Gwenda is unwell: if you're able, Ray could use your help. Now watch this interview for more. [Added: 19 September 2022]

 

·        Arthur Brown’s new album Monster’s Ball, due out on 21 October 2022, features Shuggie Otis (on the track The Monster Hop). [Added: 19 September 2022]

 

·        A new music video for Valley Girl has just been unleashed on YouTube. The official Zappa socials, which now include TikTok, have been pooting forth a bunch of other random stuff of late – including a photo from a 1979 Hammersmith Odeon show, unfortunately bearing the wrong date. [Added: 16 September 2022]

 

·        After several months of not adding new Zappa audio content to his Reward Music site, Dweezil has just uploaded an 18 minute version of the Be-Bop Tango from ZPZ's 2014 Roxy & Elsewhere tour. He says, “Over the next 2 weeks there will be more mini concerts, a full 2½ hour concert and a plethora of individual live song releases added to the Silver Subscriber Plan.” [Added: 16 September 2022]

 

·        Record Store Day on 25 November 2022 sees the release of Missing Persons' Live In New York 81 and Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band's Clear Spot (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition), including an additional LP of rare studio outtakes, alternate versions and previously unreleased instrumental rough mixes. [Added: 16 September 2022]

 

·        Fun new ZappaCast, featuring Jim Pons here. (You will note that, unlike preceding episodes, this was not ‘made in cooperation with The Zappa Trust’: a sign perhaps of changes resulting from the Universal deal.) [Added: 13 September 2022]

 

·        The Zappa Band will play the ProgStock Festival in Rahway, New Jersey on Friday 7 October. Rachel Flowers will also be playing the fest, on the Sunday, with a band that will include Julie Slick (Adrian Belew Power Trio), Mike Keneally and Gregg Bendian (Project/Object, The Mahavishnu Project). [Added: 13 September 2022]

 

·        The UK launch of The Girls in The Magnesium Dress' debut album Rūtsu takes place at the Blackheath Halls on 18 October. Zappawoman Valentina Ciardelli tells me, “We will of course play some of Frank's music too!” Tickets here. [Added: 13 September 2022]

 

·        Guranfoe, the band formerly known as Gumbo Variation, release their second studio album on 28 October. Titled Gumbo Gumbo, you can pre-order copies in a variety of formats via their Bandcamp page. [Added: 13 September 2022]

 

·        Ahead of their set at the Betsey Trotwood next month (see below and/or Diary), Ben Watson has kindly sent me this video which helpfully explains “How AMM All-Stars relate to FVZ.” [Added: 13 September 2022]

 

·        New merch in the Zappa Store. [Added: 10 September 2022]

 

·        This should be interesting: London Zappa Collective, Ben Watson’s AMM All-Stars and Gabba Zappa Hey! are playing at The Betsey Trotwood pub in Farringdon on Thursday 13 October 2022. See you there? [Added: 10 September 2022]

 

·        Fido Plays Zappa were one of the highlights of this year's Zappanale. They are following this up next month with a short tour of Germany – with no less than Robert Martin as lead vocalist! Dates in the Diary. [Added: 10 September 2022]

 

·        Arthur Barrow has issued another new tune on his Bandcamp page: Cool2B features Larry Klimas on sax, and was mastered by Bob Rice. [Added: 10 September 2022]

 

·        Moon Unit's long awaited autobiography appears now to be named Earth To Moon: A Memoir. It is due to be published in May 2023 and, as well as the usual physical and soft versions, there are listings for an audio version too. [Added: 07 September 2022]

 

·        American pianist Mike Lang passed away last month. Here's a clip of him talking about his first time working with FZ. He appears on Lumpy Gravy, Orchestral Favorites and more. [Added: 07 September 2022]

 

·        My friend Aaron Belansky has been posting some excellent videos on his YouTube channel, utilising old interviews with FZ and whatnot. A recent one covers that time FZ played in Yugoslavia. Do yourself a favour and subscribe for more. [Added: 07 September 2022]

 

·        Mike Keneally has just added Scambot 1 and its sister album to his Bandcamp page. Buy on Friday! [Added: 07 September 2022]

 

·        Talking of stunt guitarists: check out this new documentary on Steve Vai, covering his first 30 years. [Added: 07 September 2022]

 

·        Lengthy chat with Joe Travers here, in which Zappa '75, Waka/Wazoo, Halloween 78, ‘Bongo Fury’ road tapes, The Rage & The Fury, Hot Rats Band sessions and more are discussed. [Added: 02 September 2022]

 

·        Here are the FZ-produced George Duke demos that will hopefully appear on the mooted Waka/Wazoo set. In related news, a ‘best of’ George's MPS years album was recently released: it includes Love with FZ on guitar and George's rendition of Uncle Remus. [Added: 02 September 2022]

 

·        Wind Up Workin' In A Gas Station is the first single from the forthcoming Zappa ’75: Zagreb/Ljubljana album – listen! [Added: 02 September 2022]

 

·        Check out Sinister Footwear II as performed by NakedEye Ensemble here. [Added: 02 September 2022]

 

·        The Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra recently announced it was going on a hiatus for the foreseeable future, but Mosae Zappa has just announced that two ZERO-offshoots EAK (Eric Trøim, Armin Beck & Kevin Crosby) and the Dog Breath Duo (Kevin with Niklas Lychou of MagNiFZnt) will be playing at the festival in November. And furthermore, the ZERO CD Make An Arf Noise Here has been reduced to just $8 on its Bandcamp page. Long live ZERO! [Added: 02 September 2022]

 

·        And here’s Elvis Has Just Left The Building by The Vegetarians. [Added: 02 September 2022]

 

·        Here's my third interview with Frank's buxom red-haired companion from Studio Z – Lorraine Belcher Chamberlain! As well as FZ, I asked her about Ruth Underwood, Cynthia PlasterCaster, Moon Unit and more. (There are links to our previous two chats at the end, if you want to read them all in order!) [Added: 25 August 2022]

 

·        My next interview is with Frank’s road manager from 1967 to the mid-70s, Mr Richard Barber! [Added: 25 August 2022]

 

·        After his two articles for Gonzo Today last year, Ed Mann has posted details on Reddit of the book he is writing. “The book is about my life, which has been about music since I was 3. The middle section, ½–¾ of the book, is about working with Frank. The last section is about post-Frank, which is full of reflections about Frank.” He says the now deleted Gonzo Today articles were “the first two chapters of the Frank Zappa section.” [Added: 25 August 2022]

 

·        Last month, someone at the Steve Hoffman Forum posted about a Mothers mixdown tape they had in their possession. It was recorded in October 1965, and looks similar to the material on Joe's Corsage – with a few tracks not included therein. The Vaultmeister offered his help in finding out some more-a, and I was hoping to post further details about it here. Hopefully these will come in time, but meanwhile here's the thread for your perusal. [Added: 25 August 2022]

 

·        New interview with the Vaultmeister – on the Universal deal, Zappa 75 and more, here. [Added: 22 August 2022]

 

·        Chuck Wackerman has sadly passed away. Like his sons Chad, John and Brooks, he was also a drummer. Chad posted on Instagram: “He was 91 years young. He taught music for 64 years in public schools and even started the first elementary school Jazz program in California. Dad was a drummer and passionate jazz educator. He literally taught generations and introduced so many kids to music. He was the most patient person I’ve ever know and he was the most supportive father anyone could have. I’m broken hearted.” My sincere condolences to all family and friends. [Added: 22 August 2022]

 

·        Scott Thunes talks The Zappa Band, his audition for FZ and much more here! [Added: 22 August 2022]

 

·        The next FZ release from Universal is Zappa ’75: Zagreb / Ljubljana, featuring the Joe's Menage band with Norma Jean Bell. It comprises “the best performances of the Yugoslavian concerts sequenced in the exact order of the show’s set list to present the crème da la crème from each night for the first time ever.” Currently scheduled to be released on October 14, you can read more/pre-order here. And here's what Terry Bozzio told me about those two gigs (30 years ago next month!): “I remember Zagreb was literally the smokiest gig I’ve ever played in my life. It was so smoky that as a comment on it I went out and played the show with an unlit cigarette hanging out of my mouth. The follow spots were like two beacons coming through the fog – like a lighthouse. I had never been in a hockey rink, with 10,000 people, filled with so much smoke in my life. It was probably horribly unhealthy. But the gig went over great. They didn’t say a peep through the whole show – we thought we were dying a death – then they stood up and cheered for twenty or thirty minutes. As we left, they were still cheering. It was ridiculous. Then we went to Ljubljana and I remember that I went out after the gig through the arena, which was pretty much empty – went up to the mixing board and was just saying hi to my friends on the crew and there was this guy asleep with his face welded onto the ice – out on drugs. I just remember those images.” The full interview is in my Frank Talk book, which I reckon most of you must have by now. Consequently, I have started randomly re-posting the bulk of these interviews back online – including my one with Napoleon Murphy Brock – from 20 years ago! If you want to see a particular one re-posted soon, lemme know – I’ll get them all back up at some point. [Added: 19 August 2022]

 

·        Joe Travers apparently confirmed (at a recent screening of the Zappa documenta'y) that he will remain Vaultmeister under the new deal with Universal. Huzzah. [Added: 19 August 2022]

 

·        For your pleasure, here’s Moon Unit chatting about Bryan Ferry. [Added: 19 August 2022]

 

·        Mr Ray White has a YouTube channel – check it out, subscribe, etc. Ray has recently done a couple of podcasts. Here's a clip from one where he talks about how he got into Frank's band (there's a link to the full podcast for those interested). T'other is with Greg Bendian. Around the 25 minute mark, they talk about Frank's unique guitar style. [Added: 19 August 2022]

 

·        Watch snippets of Napi and Mats Öberg’s pre-Zappanale Hamburg church gig here. And an audience recording of The Mike Keneally Project's complete headline set at the fest itself here. [Added: 08 August 2022]

 

·        American record executive Mo Ostin went on his final vacation last week. To mark this, here's Steve Vai telling his Vinnie Colaiuta sushi story! (I say ‘his’, but of course Arthur Barrow also tells it – see his excellent book, Of Course I Said Yes!; now Ed Mann is demanding Steve apologises to Arthur – which he now has.) [Added: 08 August 2022 / Updated: 02 September 2022]

 

·        This year's Zappa Night in Heubach, Germany features Inventionis Mater, Gabba Zappa Hey!, and Absolutely Frank. It takes place on 15 October at the QLTourRaum Übelmesser. [Added: 08 August 2022]

 

·        Watch Terry Bozzio jam with Zappa Band drummer Joe Travers here. Part Two (including an exclusive ‘Art of Drumming’ interview with Art Tripp) is available to Drum Channel subscribers only. [Added: 27 July 2022]

 

·        Coming soon from Sonicbond Publishing, On Track ... Captain Beefheart by Opher Goodwin. Order your copy here. [Added: 27 July 2022]

 

·        Treacherous Cretins have now added some dates around their thrice-postponed 100 Club showcase gig - see Diary for details. [Added: 27 July 2022]

 

·        Well, Zappanale #31 was indeed worth the wait – kudos to Wolfhard and Tracy for getting it all together in the face of very trying circumstances. It was great meeting for the first time Art Tripp (a genuinely nice guy). The musical highlight for me was The Mike Keneally Project. Sadly, most of the festival’s live stream has now been marked ‘private’ on YouTube – but here is the Zappawoman Trio's set, featuring Robert Martin. Next year’s date is in the Diary. See you there? [Added: 21 July 2022]

 

·        Those who attended the Napoleon Murphy Brock/Mats Öberg concert at St Catherine’s Church in Hamburg last week were able to purchase a CD EP pre-release featuring 23 minutes of Ensemble Musikfabrik's Zappanale set from 2019 – featuring Napi hisself – as recently mixed by Ali N. Askin. [Added: 21 July 2022]

 

·        Following his 2016 picture book (with illustrator Dan Santat), Because I'm Your Dad, Ahmet is following this up next year with Because I'm Your Mom. The blurb says, "An unconventional mother promises her child an unconventional childhood full of play, wonder, and creativity." Strikingly, it was inspired by his wife Shana rather than Gail. And talking of Gail, here's an interesting podcast about her. [Added: 21 July 2022]

 

·        Couple of quotes on the Universal deal: Ahmet has made sure that his father's music is in great hands...the joining of two great American families!" says Zappa Band vocalist/guitarist, Ray White; and “The trust has not been completely dissolved. The band is unrelated to the sale.” writes Zappa Band bassist and Trust Scoremeister, Scott Thunes. [Added: 21 July 2022]

 

·        Arthur Barrow: “My old friend Bruce Fowler and his pal Tom Malone are both turning 75 this summer, and they decided to throw a birthday bash at a pub in Thousand Oaks. Bruce invited me to come and be part of a jam – of course, I said yes! It was a top notch bunch of musicians, and I was stoked to play with them. There was: Bruce, Tom, Chad Wackerman, Mike Miller and Kahlil Sabbagh. A good time was had by all!” [Added: 21 July 2022]

 

·        To mark the return of the non-virtual Zappanale, I have re-posted my (largely unedited and newly annotated) interviews with the fest's guest alums for 2022: Robert Martin and Mike Keneally. (There is also a previously unseen one from 2020 with the latter for you to enjoy!). And of course, I recently interviewed the third special guest alumni, Art Tripp. Click on their names to enjoy. And to all those attending the festival: see you soon! [Added: 13 July 2022]

 

·        Guitarist Henry Kaiser paid tribute to FZ in his monthly solo for June 2022. Starts here. (Thanks to Eric H for the heads up!) [Added: 13 July 2022]

 

·        Further to last week’s announcement that the Zappa Forum will be shutting down on Friday, it has been confirmed that there will be no importing of previous data to it’s new home: we are advised to screen grab anything we wish to keep. In related news, Zappa.com has already lost its ‘upcoming dates’ tab (though the empty page can still be accessed here). [Added: 13 July 2022]

 

·        Harmonicist Tommy Morgan, who can be heard as part of the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra on Orchestral Favorites, sadly passed away recently at the grand old age of 89. He also played on a number of Beach Boys recordings, including Good Vibrations. [Added: 13 July 2022]

 

·        Jeff Cotton, aka the Magic Band’s Antennae Jimmy Semens, has his debut solo album The Fantasy of Reality coming out on the Madfish label in August. It features internal artwork by Cal Schenkel. Here's the official trailer on YouTube. [Added: 13 July 2022]

 

·        Suddenly available: I Shot Frank Zappa: My Life In Photography by Robert Davidson with John Elliott. Here's a snap John took of me introducing Pauline Butcher to Robert, over forty years after they were in the same room together at The Royal Garden Hotel. [Added: 09 July 2022]

 

·        Fred Händl: “Don't wait 'till the fat lady sings...pre-order your copy (and get perks) of my upcoming CD: Händl Plays Zappa now, and be sure to get your hands on one. The album is available for pre-order until October 2nd (only 100 copies will be made). All new recordings – full length album – signed – free worldwide shipping – digital download – cool sticker – and, if that weren't enough – your name in the booklet All tracks arranged and performed by yours truly. Want in? Please send an email to: fredhandl72@gmail.com.” Check out Fred’s website. [Added: 09 July 2022]

 

·        The Zappa Forum will be shutting down on Friday (July 15), it says here. I would imagine its eventual new home would not include any of the old posts – including those made by Gail, Mark Volman and other notables over the years – which will be a great shame. [Added: 09 July 2022]

 

·        Check out It's Too Late by Candice Night and Dweezil Zappa here. [Added: 09 July 2022]

 

·        The Zappa Trust has sold FZ's estate (including his recordings, publishing catalogue, film archive and the complete contents of The Vault) to the Universal Music Group, for a reported $25-30m. Here’s the official blurb and video. Lots of speculation on-the-line about what this all actually means for the family and fans alike. As regards the Vaultmeister, Mike Keneally posted that Travers would continue in this role (though said post was later deleted). And what of the rest of the team – like Scott Thunes (Scoremeister), Melanie Starks (President, Production, Zappa Records), Holland Greco (President, Munchkin Music) and Diva (President, ICA)? Well the latter has Tweeted that she's thrilled about it all, so I guess we all should ‘just rejoice at that news’ too. It’s not really any of our beeswax at the end of the day. But hopefully they will provide some clarity in due course. [Added: 02 July 2022]

 

·        Bogus Pomp’s grand return to the stage tonight will be livestreamed on YouTube here – subscribe for notifications. [Added: 02 July 2022]

 

·        Robert Davidson’s I Shot Frank Zappa book will be published by Aureus later this month. [Added: 02 July 2022]

 

·        Author Ted Gioia has just published the first part of his Gnarly Frank Zappa Essay here. [Added: 02 July 2022]

Lukewarm Poop

·        Ben Watson: “This radio hour could interest anyone seeking background to Frank's famous use of LioneHampton's Midnight Sun after the words ‘Dreamed I was an Eskimo...’ Of course he was emphasising tuned percussion as jazz's great contribution to modern music, but it's also about the Arctic and the Northern Lights. I wish Frank was still alive so we could talk to him about Kristian Birkeland and Hannes Alfven and their important Scandinavian contribution to Electric Universe cosmology – and Pacôme Thiellement's prescience in centering his book (Économie Eskimo: Le Rêve De Zappa, 2005) on the Eskimo, an intuition confirmed by Dance Me This.” [Added: 26 June 2022]

 

·        Lorra lorra nice things being writ about The Zappa Band's recent US tour. Here's an audience vid of one complete show. And here's a relevant interview with Ahmet (in which he also says Dweezil has been nicer of late). Sure hope the band crosses the North Atlantic soon. [Added: 26 June 2022]

 

·        Frank’sbuxom red-haired companion’, Pete (aka Lorraine Belcher Chamberlain), could use some help – read on. [Added: 26 June 2022]

 

·        Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool is being shown at the Bertha DocHouse in London next Saturday (2 July). The film features 'incidental music' by the Mothers and Wild Man Fischer. Read here for details. [Added: 26 June 2022]

 

·         Steve Vai recently rejoined Whitesnake... for Still Of The Night (their final song) at the Hellfest in Clisson, France – watch here. After he said, “I’m grateful I was able to contribute one last time to this phenomenal band that was such an integral part of my career. To feel David‘s energy on the stage again, and Tommy Aldridge‘s slamming beats, and to finally be able to jam with my friend Joel Hoekstra, and the rest of the 'Snakes' in front of 45,000 people was just electrifying.” [Added: 26 June 2022]

 

·        Cool li’l interview with Ray White – and here’s mine with the man from a few years back. [Added: 18 June 2022]

 

·        When The Zappa Band tour hit New Jersey earlier this week, Robert Martin dropped by to see Dr Dot for a bite massage. [Added: 18 June 2022]

 

·        If anyone’s interested in paying a pittance for some of the Zappa-themed albums I compiled for Cordelia Records, check out G&S Music’s closing down sale here. And Wymer UK has knocked a bit off the price of most of my Zappa books – snout around here. You’ll find lots of stuff far cheaper than you would at my online shop! [Added: 18 June 2022]

 

·        54th ZappaCast, ostensibly about Zappa/Erie, ’ere. A little more detail on the set was also snuck out here. But of course, it’s out now for us all to hear. [Added: 18 June 2022]

 

·        Dweezil has teamed up with Candice Night (Mrs Ritchie Blackmore) on a version of Carole King's It's Too Late. It will appear on an album called Songs We Were Taught by The Prog Collective – pulled together by Yes bassist Billy Sherwood. Available from 1 July 2022. [Added: 10 June 2022]

 

·        UK FZ tribute band Burger And The Beast are playing a free gig near Bath on 24 June – details in the Diary. Meantime, check out their rendition of Lonesome Cowboy Burt here. [Added: 10 June 2022]

 

·        Arthur Barrow has just released another new ditty on Bandcamp: Archie's Bathtub features Marcus Rezak (who recently played with Ike Willis) on guitar. [Added: 10 June 2022]

 

·        For those who missed the broadcast of Zadie Smith's Barbican concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which featured a performance of FZ’s Outrage At Valdez, it's being repeated on BBC Radio 3 on this Sunday (12 June). [Added: 10 June 2022]

 

·        Upcoming sci-fi comedy-drama Next Exit, written and directed by Danny Elfman's daughter Mali, stars Diva Zappa. Here’s the trailer. Hopefully it's better than her last film, Vampire Burt's Serenade. [Added: 10 June 2022]

 

·        A lost funk gem by Norma Jean Bell has just been unleashed, courtesy of former Rolling Stones Records president Earl McGrath. Check out Just Look-ah What You’ll Be Missing here. Incidentally, I tried to contact Norma around the time of my Lady Bianca interview; as well as her short stint with FZ, she was also a member of the late Tommy Bolin’s band and has played with Chic, P-Funk, Narada Michael Walden and Stevie Wonder. [Added: 10 June 2022]

 

·        Art Tripp is to make a surprise special guest appearance at this year’s Zappanale. Here’s my recent interview with him. [Added: 05 June 2022]

 

·        Down below I talk about other possible talking heads in Alex Winter's Zappa movie, and ascertained that Del Casher and Lorraine Belcher Chamberlain were both contacted (with Casher actually being fillumed). I have now been told that Robert Davidson, the  Zappa Krappa snapper, was also approached but declined to appear. Robert is finalising his I Shot FZ book, which should be out later this year. Meantime, he will be giving a talk in Totnes in July – details in the Diary. [Added: 05 June 2022]

 

·        A third preview track from Zappa/Erie has been unleashed: Montana from Edinboro, PA, 8 May 1974. [Added: 05 June 2022]

 

·        Jazz drummer Tony Williams’ 'lost' 1980 trio album Play Or Die is to be re-released next month. The trio comprised Williams, keyboardist Tom Grant and Patrick O'Hearn (credited as Patrick O’Hara) on bass. [Added: 05 June 2022]

 

·        Following release of The Mothers 1971, the Recording podcast had a chat with Joe Travers & Craig Parker Adams about their work excavating and buffing nuggets from the Vault. [Added: 05 June 2022]

 

·        Here’s a brand new interview that I have just conducted with the legend that is Arthur Dyer Tripp III! [Added: 28 May 2022]

 

·        I have just reviewed Dale Bozzio’s Life Is So Strange – Missing Persons, Frank Zappa, Prince & Beyond here. Includes a link to a DB Spotify playlist. [Added: 28 May 2022]

 

·        The revised and updated version of Pauline Butcher’s memoir – re-titled Freak Out! My Life with Frank Zappa: Laurel Canyon 1968-1971 – will be now be published on 16 August in the UK, and 19 September 2022 in the US. Meantime, Alan Clayson’s long awaited official biography (Mother Superior: The Saga of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention), which was due to be published in October 2022, has been postponed once more. [Added: 28 May 2022]

 

·        I have added The Zappa Band dates and a whole lot more to the Bastard’s Diary. [Added: 28 May 2022]

 

·        The mighty Bogus Pomp will rise from the ashes for one more performance on Saturday 2 July at the Floridian Social Club, St. Petersburg. Says main man Jerry Outlaw: “I never thought this opportunity would present itself again but to my surprise and delight, it is actually happening. This will be a memorable evening and I hope we can share it with the world via live stream.” For those wishing to attend, modestly priced tix are available here. [Added: 28 May 2022]

 

·        FZ's live recording engineer, George Douglas, has sadly passed away. George's work can be heard on Tinsel Town Rebellion, Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar, You Are What You Is, The Torture Never Stops (though he’s uncredited on Halloween 81), Buffalo and elsewhere. [Added: 28 May 2022]

 

·        The tenth episode of Dweezil’s audio documentary series covers his Return Of The Son Of... album. He also discusses "the trials and tribulations of being a band leader," and confirms that the singer who “had not done any of the required preparation” for his ZPZ audition was Living Colour's Corey Glover. He also mentions the video for ZPZ’s rendition of Billy The Mountain (featuring three current members of The Zappa Band, sports fans) – which you can viddy here... [Added: 28 May 2022]

 

·        ...and here's all of the officially released FZ versions of Billy The Mountain in one handy Spotify playlist – you know you want it! [Added: 28 May 2022]

 

·        I have updated my Zappanale travel guide to include mention of the specially discounted German train tickets that are available throughout July (and June and August). [Added: 23 May 2022]

 

·        Steve Vai has just had his debut album, Flex-Able, remastered by Bernie Grundman. This 36th anniversary edition is available in a variety of formats, including limited edition gold vinyl and green cassette! Watch the man himself tell you more here.  [Added: 23 May 2022]

 

·        New Zappa website – Life On The Road: An Analysis Of The Recordings Of Frank Zappa – has just been created by Alex D. May. So far it covers 1965-1969, with reviews and summaries of the recordings available and songs played. [Added: 23 May 2022]

 

·        Second teaser track from the Zappa/Erie album is Village Of The Sun from November 1974. [Added: 14 May 2022]

 

·        Check out the bargains at G&S Music’s closing down sale here. [Added: 14 May 2022]

 

·        Here's a teaser for The Zappa Band’s US tour next month, on the official Zappa Band YouTube channel. [Added: 14 May 2022]

 

·        Nostalgic Orange (featuring members of The Lovers Of Invention) will play a few Zappa tunes at the Royal Albert pub in New Cross this Sunday (15 May). [Added: 14 May 2022]

 

·        And now...here is my interview with Lady Bianca! [Added: 10 May 2022]

 

·        Watch Robby Krieger – with FZ alums Arthur Barrow, Jock Ellis and Sal Marquez (plus Banned From Utopia drummer, Joel Taylor) – perform two FZ tunes and more here. [Added: 10 May 2022]

 

·        The Zappa/Erie release has been delayed until 17 June. [Added: 10 May 2022]

 

·        Lady Bianca is to guest with the Stinkfoot Orchestra featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock when they play The New Parish, Oakland, CA on 24 June. The Idiot has just conducted an interview with her, coming soon. [Added: 06 May 2022]

 

·        The Zappa Band is currently on the ‘Cruise To The Edge’. As well as playing two FZ sets, Messrs Keneally, Thunes and Martin are also joining Jakko Jakszyk, vocalist/guitarist for King Crimson, for his two shows. [Added: 06 May 2022]

 

·        Not content with just finishing a tour with ProgJect and about to start another with The Zappa Band, Mike Keneally is squeezing in a gig with Beer For Dolphins in Escondido on 13 May [now postponed as MK has Covid]. He has also unleashed BFD’s 1996 album, Half Alive In Hollywood, on his Bandcamp page, for your instant downloading pleasure. [Added: 06 May 2022 / Updated: 10 May 2022 ]

 

·        Ike Willis is teaming up with guitarist Marcus Rezak for a ‘Zappa Night’ in Connecticut this eve, and again at the Karnival Of Arts in Pennsylvania in September. [Added: 06 May 2022]

 

·        Here’s part two of Dweezil’s Live In The Moment II audio documentary. [Added: 06 May 2022]

 

·        After the screening of the Zappa movie at the Alex Winter season in Leicester Square recently, I asked the director if anybody had been interviewed that wasn't ultimately included in the film. The answer was, yes: Del Casher. This has kind of been redressed now, as Del appears in the Freak Out! Classic Albums documentary. But what I should have asked was, did they try to interview someone and fail. The answer to that is, yes: Lorraine Belcher Chamberlain. Lorraine tells me, “They came to San Francisco to interview me, but [very sadly, her now late husband, the underground cartoonist S. Clay] Wilson was just out of the ICU and I just couldn’t. I feel terrible about it. Bad timing! It was just before they needed to do the final edit.” Happily, my interviews with Miss Belcher about her time with FZ can be found in my book, Frank Talk – but it sure would have been great to see her telling all on the big screen. Hopefully one day Lorraine will finish her memoir. [Added: 04 May 2022]

 

·        In 2019, Eddie Jobson was inducted (by John Taylor and Simon Le Bon) into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a part of Roxy Music. This year, Warren Cuccurullo will be inducted – as a part of Duran Duran, alongside Messrs Le Bon and Taylor. Kudos. Time to write that memoir, WC! #MeetWho? [Added: 04 May 2022]

 

·        In 2019, Eddie Jobson was inducted (by John Taylor and Simon Le Bon) into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a part of Roxy Music. This year, Warren Cuccurullo will be inducted – as a part of Duran Duran, alongside Messrs Le Bon and Taylor. Kudos. Time to write that memoir, WC! #MeetWho? [Added: 04 May 2022]

 

·        Watch Miss Pamela pay tribute to her late friend, Cynthia Plaster Caster, here. In the video, she reveals that Cynthia asked her to finish her memoir (answering my question below)...and also Jimi’s tallywacker! [Added: 04 May 2022]

 

·        Since attending the Zappa Immersion Day at the Barbican in March, I have received numerous emails telling me of other upcoming events. These I have largely ignored, thus failing to report that writer Zadie Smith read extracts from her novels and essays between selected musics performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ben Gernon, on 22 April. One piece performed was Outrage At Valdez (which was tackled by the Ubu Ensemble in March). After it, Ms Smith reveals that she was introduced to FZ by John Craven. You can hear the concert here. O@V starts at 41 minutes and 20 seconds, but the whole thing is worth a listen. Refreshing to see an influential cultural figure tip her hat in these cancel culture days, where other cheerless writers might dismiss FZ as an anti-semitic sexist. [Added: 01 May 2022]

 

·        Got seven and a half hours to spare? Here’s three and a bit VHS tapes worth of FZ in Prague. [Added: 01 May 2022]

 

·        Adrian Belew has a new download-only album out imminently, titled Elevator. He will tour it this summer. Here’s the press release, plus a preview track – which probably has nothing to do with the trunk road to the sea that’s gobbing distance from where I live! [Added: 01 May 2022]

 

·        Treacherous Cretins, the London based five-piece, has sadly had to once again postpone its planned gig at London’s 100 Club. The gig was originally to have taken place in April in the year of the plague; the new date is 26 October 2022. All tickets remain valid. The band says, “We are working to get more dates in the diary, so please watch for further gig announcements. On a much more positive note, we would like to welcome our new bassist, Alex Taglione, who is working hard learning the material as we all get our musical chops back into shape.” Meantime, please check out this YouTube playlist of the guys in action, why not? [Added: 01 May 2022]

 

·        The seventh episode of Dweezil’s audio documentary series covers his Live In The Moment II album. Watch as he attempts “to recall where the solos came from and my approach to playing them. I also discuss my overall approach to playing my dad’s music and the way my own style of guitar playing has developed.” [Added: 01 May 2022]

 

·        First teaser track from the Zappa/Erie album is one of the two versions of You Didn’t Try To Call Me featuring the fab Lady Bianca. The album has now appeared for pre-order on Amazon UK (CD set / mp3 download) and Burning Shed. [Added: 22 April 2022]

 

·        Very sad to learn that Cynthia Plaster Caster has just passed away. I briefly corresponded with her several years ago, and then met her at Zappanale in 2015. She seemed a lovely lady, with some great tales to tell. Wonder if this means we'll never get The Groupie Papers book now? In his Real FZ Book, Frank compared Miss Pamela's diaries to Cynthia's saying, “Good as they are, they're not nearly as well written or insightful as Cynthia's.” [Added: 22 April 2022]

 

·        The Girls In The Magnesium Dress has just released its crowd-funded debut album, Ruutsu. Listen to Blessed Relief from it here. [Added: 22 April 2022]

 

·        The Black Page #2, as performed by the Lovers of Invention live at the Jazz Cafe in January, will appear on YouTube on Monday. The band is playing two sets at Ronnie Scott’s on 7 May. [Added: 22 April 2022]

 

·        A little tease from the Arfs regarding this year's Zappanale: “If all goes well, we'll welcome a very special surprise guest to the Zappanale for the first time on Sunday.” Ooh, I wonder who that could be? [Added: 20 April 2022]

 

·        Details of the forthcoming Zappa/Erie set were added to the news page at zappa.com today. [Added: 20 April 2022]

 

·        The second part of the Drum Channel’s ‘Art Of Drumming’ series with Terry Bozzio and Steve Vai shooting the breeze is here. Incidentally, while I’m sure y’all have seen the excellent Drummer’s of FZ roundtable discussion with Ralph Humphrey, Chester Thompson, Chad Wackerman, Ruth Underwood and Terry, it was recently uploaded to DC’s official YouTube channel here. [Added: 20 April 2022]

 

·        The sixth and seventh episodes of Dweezil’s audio documentary series cover solo albums numbers 5 & 6: Go With What You Know & Via Zammata. [Added: 20 April 2022]

 

·        Robert Martin has been added to the Zappanale line-up. He will guest with a number of acts, including with fellow Zappa Band member Mike Keneally’s band. Additionally, the Hamburg pre-show on Wednesday will feature Mats Öberg and Napoleon Murphy Brock. [Added: 15 April 2022]

 

·        GrandMother Chris Garcia: “We start rehearsals with The Muthers for a new recording, but the band this time will be Continuum accompanying them: myself (drumset, tabla, marimba, percussion, voice), Al Garcia (bass/electric guitar), Craig Ochikubo (keyboards/synths/breath synths), plus Don and Bunk being themselves. Plus some very special guests...” [Added: 15 April 2022]

 

·        The Drum Channel has just premiered the first of a four part ‘Art Of Drumming’ series, in which Terry Bozzio interviews Steve Vai. Here's the first one. [Added: 15 April 2022]

 

·        The debut album by Italian London-based jazz singer/storyteller Germana Stella La Sorsa features an interesting cover of FZ's Inca Roads. Germana will launch her album, titled Vapour, at London's Vortex Jazz Club on 30 April. [Added: 15 April 2022]

 

·        For those thinking the asking price at zappa.com for the new Zappa/Erie limited edition box set is a bit steep, a standard version without the poster will be available for pre-order on 22 April. [Added: 12 April 2022]

 

·        In all the excitement of Zappadan, the release of the 200 Motels anniversary box set, and the run-up to Xmas, I neglected to post a couple of things: one was this article about 200 Motels, which includes a revealing interview with the amazing Ruth Underwood (take care, beware: this is a subscription site, so you only get so many free views before they want paying); and t’other was this stupendous solo rendition of Treacherous Cretins by the spectacular Rachel Flowers. [Added: 12 April 2022]

 

·        Here Pamela Des Barres talks about working with FZ on 200 Motels. [Added: 12 April 2022]

 

·        No Rhyme, No Reason is a new 45-track, 3CD set drawing from George Duke’s three Elektra albums, Thief In The Night, George Duke and Night After Night, and his six Warner Brothers albums, Snapshot, The Muir Woods Suite, Illusions, Is Love Enough?, After Hours and Cool, plus the non-album track, Guilty (Part 2). Available from 17 June 2022. [Added: 12 April 2022]

 

·        As we are just receiving our Mothers 71 box sets, the Zappa Trust announce the next Official Release: Zappa/Erie, a limited edition 6-CD set with poster comprising three complete shows (plus bonus tracks) recorded in 1974 and 1976, and featuring three separate band line-ups. [Added: 08 April 2022]

 

·        Very sad to learn that G&S Music (“dedicated purveyors of Frank Zappa & related artists”) is shutting up shop. Dave Hopkinson took it on 18 years ago and feels that now is the time for him to do something else. I can only thank him for running the biznis as long as he has and wish him all the very best in whatever he now decides to turn his hand to. [Added: 08 April 2022]

 

·        The fifth episode of Dweezil’s new audio documentary series covers solo album #3, Confessions – recalling stories from the studio and discussing the songs in detail. [Added: 08 April 2022]

 

·        My good friend, co-author of FZ88 and ‘Broadway The Hard Way’ tour photographer, Sergio ‘Milo’ Albonico, has just written his own book, titled Frank Zappa Il Padrino Del Rock. It will be published in Italian by Aracana this October. There’s a very good chance it will be translated into English at some point. Milo tells me, “Everything is true in the book. It's about life in 88, music, the beginning of the digital revolution and why FZ is the real and true Godfather of rock. It's more like a novel than a biography.” [Added: 08 April 2022]

 

·        The Zappa Band now has bespoke socials for to follow: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. [Added: 08 April 2022]

 

·        The fourth episode of Dweezil’s new audio documentary series covers solo album #4, Automatic (the one he put together for “disenchanted guitar music fans,” Xmas 2000). [Added: 01 April 2022]

 

·        Looks like The Zappa Band is doing a tour of the US East Coast starting 12 June at Homer NY followed by Holyoke MA, Tarrytown NY, Alexandria VA, Annapolis MD, Fall River MA, Beverly MA...and probably more. [Added: 01 April 2022]

 

·        Stunt guitarist news: Mike Keneally has now added Dancing Demos to his Bandcamp page; and Steve Vai has unleashed an official music video for his Inviolate track, Teeth Of The Hydra. [Added: 01 April 2022]

 

·        Sky Arts (Freeview Channel 11) will repeat its excellent Frank Zappa: Freak Out! Classic Albums documentary tomorrow (Saturday 26 March 2022) at 3pm. But it is available right now to rent or buy from Amazon Prime Video and iTunes – check your local stores. I would assume a physical version is not too far behind. [Added: 25 March 2022]

 

·        Finally, confirmation of other acts playing Zappanale this July. And here, a little about the obstacles the Arf Society has faced these past couple of years. [Added: 25 March 2022]

 

·        Idiot Fact #136: The original version of My Boyfriend’s Back by The Angels (as covered by The Mothers 1971) features Ronnie James Dio on trumpet. [Added: 25 March 2022]

 

·        The Zappa Band is playing another gig, at the Whisky A Go Go on 3 June 2022. [Added: 25 March 2022]

 

·        The third episode of Dweezil’s new audio documentary series covers the recording of his ‘difficult second album’, My Guitar Wants To KIll Your Mama. [Added: 25 March 2022]

 

·        Kaigal-ool Khovalyg – the Tuvan throat singer who appears on Civilization Phaze III and Dance Me This – is touring the UK with the group he co-founded, Huun-Huur-Tu, next week. Dates in the Bastard’s Diary. [Added: 25 March 2022]

 

·        Lots of good words have already been writ about the Barbican bash last weekend, eg. in the Grauniad. It truly was a blast. The highlight for me was the 100 piece+ BBC Symphony Orchestra navigating its way through the three movements of Mo ‘N Herb’s Vacation – woo-wee-woo-waa! Don’t forget, you can listen to highlights on BBC Radio 3 this coming Friday (25 March), and for 30 days thereafter. Ben Watson has kindly posted his recording of the chat he had with BBC Radio 3’s Andrew McGregor here. [Added: 21 March 2022]

 

·        Fred Händl is doing a 'Zappa for solo piano' tour of Britain in April. Most of these are private house concerts, though some will be live-streamed on Facebook. But you can also pop along and heckle him in the flesh - see the Bastard’s Diary for details. [Added: 21 March 2022]

 

·        ZappaCast #53 is here: a chat about The Mothers 1971 with the usual suspects. [Added: 21 March 2022]

 

·        Some original members of ZPZ will reunite as One Shot Deal to play Frank’s music at the Baked Potato on 27-29 April. Obviously no DZ, but a fab line-up of musicians fer sure. [Added: 21 March 2022]

 

·        In this recent podcast, double-bassist Jay Anderson talks about recording for FZ. (I assume he is referring to me when he talks about “the guy who runs the Frank Zappa fan club or whatever”! - our interview from a couple of years ago can be found here.) [Added: 21 March 2022]

 

·        A few years ago, Ahmet talked of his commitment to have more people experience Frank’s orchestral music. Curiously then, there's no mention of this weekend's Zappa Total Immersion day at London's Barbican at zappa.com. For those unable to attend, you can stream the final concert in your living room - tickets here. I understand this online event will include a video chat betwixt Poodle Play author Ben Watson and ‘Zappawoman’/double-bassist, Valentina Ciardelli. Excerpts from the two concerts will also be broadcast next week on BBC Radio 3, and will be available to listen again thereafter – see here. [Added: 17 March 2022]

 

·        As I hinted last week, the 8CD Mothers 1971 box set has been delayed and will now be released on 8 April – ‘at a revised price’. Meantime, certain folk are already receiving their vinyl copies of the Rainbow Theatre and Fillmore East albums. [Added: 17 March 2022]

 

·        Arthur Barrow is now making his music available via Bandcamp – including some new releases, like The Sideburn (featuring Joe Travers on drums) and Freeplay (inspired by Jaco Pastorius' River People – I love Mr Gone!); both of these were mastered by Bob Rice. [Added: 17 March 2022]

 

·         The PBS documentary tribute to The Persuasions main-man Jerry Lawson, mentioned below, can now be viddied in full on YouTube – here. [Added: 17 March 2022]

...and finally, Esther...

...available now:

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Contact: disco.boy@blueyonder.co.uk