The Black Page - The Zappa Page

ursinator2.0 - 29-8-2022 at 20:49

The Black Page - The Zappa Page is a busy FZ fansite on facebook with lots of stuff coming up regulary. Lets start with:

Gábor Csupó at Zappa's home (klick the link to see both on a nice photo):
"One Friday night in the fall of 1991, Frank invited me and Arlene, along with a colleague of mine, Larry LeFrancis, to his recording studio to play his new composition that he was working on with the Synclavier. Frank's wife Gail walked in the room too, and before the demonstration, Frank told us that he had cancer and had a maximum of two more years to live. Then he pushed a button on his computer, and the most incredibly beautiful music came out of the six Yamaha speakers that surrounded us. I had to turn away because tears came to my eyes, and I listened to the song for over ten minutes with tears running down my face. Frank noticed, and at the end of the song he said, 'Don't worry, I'm not in the box yet......' "
Gábor Csupó first heard FZ in his 20's from records smuggled in to Hungary from western countries. Later, in California, he founded with Arlene Klasky the Klasky-Csupo animation studio. They worked on The Simpsons. Csupo and Matt Groening tried, unsuccessfully, to persude the producers to hire Frank Zappa to score the show. FZ was a fan of The Simpsons and took his family to meet the animators at the studio. FZ invited Csupó to visit their home which was just a couple of minutes away from Csupó's. They became good friends sharing an interest in music, animation and politics. FZ agreed to supply the music for Csupó's new animated series Duckman and asked Csupó to create the cover art for The Lost Episodes album.

polydigm - 2-9-2022 at 23:56

Interesting documentary linked in the comments.

ursinator2.0 - 8-9-2022 at 17:42

Steve Hackett Shares Opinion on Frank Zappa: 'He Would Put His Musicians Through Hell'

Steve Hackett opined on the persona and legacy of Frank Zappa, recalling some tales about the exceedingly high standards Zappa held his musicians at.

A mad genius, a well of musical knowledge, a riddle wrapped up in an enigma - all of these descriptions have a good chance of cropping up in conversations about Frank Zappa. However, Steve Hackett thinks his overseas prog contemporary should be best thought of as an "all-round impresario", someone whose music, presentation, and philosophy should be considered together as one holistic piece of art.

Speaking to Classic Album Review in a recent interview, the former Genesis guitarist and prolific solo artist also noted how Zappa had quite a reputation for demanding *a lot* from the musicians he worked with (transcribed by UG):

"When I think of Zappa, these days when he's mentioned, it's in the sort of seminal sense of the great teacher, that he's doing this and what have you. But you know, I have a few anecdotes from friends who are talking about the fact that he would suddenly change the key of the tune on the night and expect his musicians to be able to play it, which would have created havoc. And I think that he obviously wanted these musicians to be working to a very high standard.

"But I tend to think of him as an impresario, an all-round entertainer in the best sense of the word; you had humor, you had music, you had this, you had the show, you had an extraordinary thing that he was doing live on MTV, this long-form piece, nevermind Genesis and 'Supper's Ready'... And it seemed to take in just about everything. And there's streamers going off, and it's this party atmosphere, but it's right on the money. And it's really, really great."

Recalling what Chester Thompson, former Genesis touring drummer, Mothers of Invention member, and Hackett's occasional collaborator, would tell him about working with Zappa, the guitarist went on:

"I know that Chester [Thompson] used to say, he said, 'Yeah, Frank kills himself trying to play his own guitar parts.' And other times he would say, 'Yeah, Frank would carry around a coffee urn, and he'd be drinking coffee literally all day, and cigarettes' - not the greatest diet in the world. But that's what needed to fuel him up. And do that.

"And I gather all those musicians who join that band, they'd say, 'Oh, what else would you like me to concentrate on?' And he'd say, 'All of it.' So he would put his musicians through hell. So if ever I think I'm a slave driver, expecting my lot to come up with three or four albums..."

Steve Hackett's "Genesis Revisited Live: Seconds Out & More" live album is out now via InsideOut. Hackett is embarked on the "Foxtrot At Fifty UK tour". Check out upcoming tour dates...

ursinator2.0 - 9-9-2022 at 17:34

David Bowie, Frank Zappa & Adrian Belew story short webcam interview
(entire interview: Ep 211 Adrian Belew 25th solo album, King Crimson, Zappa, Bowie, Talking Heads and more!)

ursinator2.0 - 18-9-2022 at 22:57

Frank Zappa - Tribute to Jimi Hendrix, Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA, September 18, 1977

ursinator2.0 - 21-9-2022 at 18:23

Steve Vai talking to Co de Kloet about his book "Frank & Co"

ursinator2.0 - 1-10-2022 at 11:12

Moon Zappa's complicated relationship with 'Valley Girl,' 40 years later: 'I just was trying to make my dad laugh'

Lyndsey Parker
Lyndsey Parker·Editor in Chief, Yahoo Music
Fri, September 30, 2022 at 10:36 p.m.·9 min read

In 1982, avant garde rock genius Frank Zappa scored his only top 40 hit, the Grammy-nominated, Zeitgeist-capturing “Valley Girl.” The satirical send-up of suburban SoCal teen life unexpectedly spawned a cottage industry: a cult rom-com that gave Nicolas Cage his first starring role, The Valley Girls’ Guide to Life handbook, and even fashion and cosmetic lines.

The influence of the song’s Valspeaking protagonist Ondrya, created by Frank’s daughter Moon Unit Zappa, still resonates in pop culture today — “It's just a weird thing that just keeps going,” Moon says with a shrug — as evidenced by Clueless’s Cher, Schitt’s Creek’s Alexis Rose, the recurring SNL sketch “The Californians,” and arguably even the vocal fry speech patterns of young people today.

“My dream would be to get Paul Thomas Anderson to do a music video. Maybe his wife could play a Val now,” Moon jokes, 40 years later.

Moon Zappa Valley Girl

But as Moon chats with Yahoo Entertainment to celebrate “Valley Girl’s” 40th anniversary reissue campaign — which includes a new animated music video, merchandise line, and remix by British DJ Flux Pavilion — she is candid regarding her mixed feelings about the single. Making the song was really just a way for her to get close to her absentee, workaholic father, who often locked himself away from his family in his Laurel Canyon home studio. In fact, she never even expected “Valley Girl” to come out, and she admits she felt wronged when Frank included what she’d assumed was just a private recording of “bonding time with my dad” on his ’82 album, Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch — thus making her a reluctant overnight pop star at age 14.

“I just was trying to make my dad laugh,” Moon tells Yahoo. “That was my objective. And so, having it then appear on an album was a kind of exposure and embarrassment and betrayal for me. I wasn't thinking about, ‘We're making a product.’ I was thinking, ‘I'm spending time with my father.’”

Frank Zappa, Moon Zappa - Valley Girl

The idea for the Zappas’ “Valley Girl” collaboration was actually Moon’s, at first. “I was pretty frustrated with the way the house was run. My father was touring all the time, sometimes eight months out of the year, so that's a long time to go without seeing the steady parental figure in the house,” explains Moon, who was often forced to help her mother Gail raise the three younger Zappa children while Frank was away or distracted. “He never raised his voice. He was so funny. He was so smart, so talented, so playful, very improvisational. And so, to miss that kind of stability and that grounding was really just not great, and to just be stuck with a mom who was really missing him as well. … And then when he was home, he would sleep during the day and work at night, so then there were restrictions on our own expression and having to be quiet in the house. And then the world was always revolving around him.

“So, I wrote a note and I said, ‘It has come to my attention that it would be great if you would look for an opportunity where we could work together. If that's the only way I'm going to get to spend time with you, then let's work together. Contact my people.’”

Not soon after, Frank woke up his then 13-year-old daughter at 2 a.m. on a school night and asked to join him in the studio to lay down some impromptu spoken-word vocals, on a song inspired by Moon’s imitations of her classmates at Oakwood, an artsy private school in the San Fernando Valley. “He just said, ‘Just improvise in between the choruses,’ and so I had done this voice that I called this ‘Valspeak’ voice or this surfer-dude voice,” says Moon. “It was a voice I had picked up going to school in the Valley. When I would go to school with these kids, I'd go to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and I'd get to see what I considered normal or stable families were like, and it was exotic to me.”

Moon recalls going “back and forth with some improvisations,” making up “new lingo to play around with that just made us laugh.” While the soon-to-be common catchphrase “grody to the max” was something she’d overheard at Oakwood or possibly at the Galleria mall, she totally invented “gag me with a spoon” and “bag your face,” the latter a nod to The Gong Show’s Unknown Comic. “In some ways, it's science fiction,” she chuckles.

As far as the song’s scenarios narrated by the plucky Ondrya, a couple of them were quite adult – the references to S&M and a creepy flirtatious teacher, for instance. Moon says those eyebrow-raising verses reflected her unorthodox, or some might say dysfunctional, upbringing. “I think that's a product of growing up in a hypersexual home,” she explains. “I always joke and say people were in the nude making candles near my playthings. … There was a portrait in the family home of kind of an orgy scene. There were Zippy the Pinhead cartoon comics laying around, and Oui and Hustler. And there was a lot of stuff around – vibrators! I had the bedroom next to my parents and heard sex. I knew my dad messed around on my mother. I've got many journals where I've got drawings that are just naked people chained up and having sex. It's stuff that you shouldn't be drawing at age eight, nine, and 10.”

And then… “Valley Girl” came out and became a leftfield mainstream hit, leading to appearances on The Merv Griffin Show, MTV, and Solid Gold. The song’s vapid Ondrya and politically incorrect teacher character had been based on real-life people at Moon’s school, and she was mortified.

“I thought, ‘Oh no, these people are going to get their feelings hurt,’” says Moon. “I thought we were going to get sued. I thought a truant officer was going to come and take me away. It was very stressful for me. I didn't think about it in terms of, ‘Oh, I'm launching my career.’ I just thought, ‘Oh no, who are we getting get in trouble with now?’

“I'm just a sensitive person. I don't like people to get their feelings hurt or be exposed to stuff — if they didn't ask for the exposure. I was just worried about this one girl in particular who really kind of inspired the song the most for me. And then my teacher… those two I had worried about them getting their feelings hurt, of being exposed to attention, unwanted attention — the way I felt I had this unwanted attention on me. It really put me into a state of anxiety. Plus, I was going through puberty, so my skin wasn't great. The last thing I wanted do was have any focus on myself.”

As it turned out, Frank had mixed feelings about the single’s success as well. He was frustrated that the satire seemed to go over many listeners’ heads, and that he didn’t profit from all of the above-mentioned spinoffs from the song. “Valley Girl’s” success also affected Moon’s relationship with her dad, in good ways and bad.

“My father always wanted to have commercial success. It just so happened it didn't happen until that song. And then that song came out at a time when he was already scheduled to go on a European tour, and so the American press that suddenly needed to be done was left for me to do,” Moon says. “And that was extremely stressful as a teenager, just trying to get through ninth grade or something. And then a lot of the interviews, they onlywanted to interview me. And so, then there was this strange dynamic between me and my father, like: ‘Is it an accident that when I step in, we have a success? Or am I just an instrument that he's using as a tool?’”

Moon Unit and Frank Zappa TV interview 2-1-84 daytime TV show

Moon says “Valley Girl” also altered the Zappa family dynamic in another aspect: “I think it bonded my father in a way that my mother was resentful of, because now I'm in photographs with my father. I'm paired with him. … I went on Letterman with him and we did a bunch of talk shows and we traveled together here and there. … So, he and I were the two ‘showbiz’ people in the house. … I was never wanting any of the fame part of it, but I admired my father, so I wanted to be a working artist like my father.”

As it turned out, Moon got her wish: While she'll probably always be most associated with "Valley Girl," over the past 40 years she has steadily worked as an actress, journalist, comedian, voiceover artist, singer, and author (with a memoir about her fraught childhood currently in the works). She also got to pay homage to her father when she accepted his posthumous Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honor at the Hall’s 1995 induction ceremony. “I feel happy that I got to spend that that time [with my dad]. It's just fun to just know that that that opened a door for me to go deeper inside my own creativity,” she says.

“But if I hurt my teacher's feelings, or if I hurt the girl who inspired the song, I sincerely apologize. I hope it brought you joy and connection and closer to your own creativity, and just know that I'm thinking about you all still today.”

Watch Yahoo Entertainment’s full, extended interview with Moon Zappa below, in which she discusses her Solid Gold appearance, attending the Grammys in a handmade dress, hanging out at the Galleria, and more:

Moon Zappa looks back at "Valley Girl" 40 years later

ursinator2.0 - 20-10-2022 at 20:34

Black page entry 5 days ago:
Soundtrack recorded by the Mothers Of Invention at National Film Board Of Canada, Montréal, Québec in January 1967 while they were in residence at the New Penelope.Film director Robin Spry was in the process of editing a film entitled "Ride For Your Life" about Mike Duff, a Canadian Grand Prix motorcycle champion who had been severely injured following a crash in Japan during a race there in 1965. Having heard the Freak Out! album, Spry prevailed upon Zappa to contribute a musical score for the short film. For a fee of $1000 American dollars, Zappa agreed.The recorded material was edited down to a little over four minutes and used in the film, which was released later in 1967. The Mothers Of Invention then: FZ, Ray Collins, Jim Fielder, Don Preston, Bunk Gardner, Jimmy Carl Black, Billy MundiDon Preston remembers. "We arrived at the complex; a very large brick building containing several sound stages, recording studio and remix facilities. I was very excited because two of my favorite filmakers worked there—Norman Mclauren and John Whitney (from the films we used to improvise to). McLauren pioneered animation using real people and objects. Many of his ideas were stolen and used in various films. Whitney pioneered the use of computers in animation. His son now owns a large firm in Hollywood, where computers are used for films like The last Starfigher. Anyway, we set up in the recording studio and they showed the film on a large screen. We watched it several times and then proceeded to improvise to it with Zappa giving the customary hand signals. We did two or three takes and then packed up our gear and left." - Necessity is... by Billy James, p. 60

Ride for Your Life

ursinator2.0 - 20-10-2022 at 20:59

Star Special was a music slot on BBC Radio 1, featuring guest musicians who would act as DJs and play some records.FZ, who referred to himself at such events as a 'Fraudulent DJ', appeared in a two-hour Star Special broadcast on January 27, 1980, while he was in Europe to promote his movie "Baby Snakes".

0:00 intro
0:29 The Closer You Are (The Channels)
3:28 Hyperprim (Edgar Varèse, 1922-23)
7:19 outro

The Closer You Are (Earl Lewis & Morgan "Bobby" Robinson), original recording by The Channels (Whirlin' Disc 100, 1956)

Hyperprism by Edgar Varèse is scored for flute (doubling piccolo), clarinet in E♭, 3 horns, 2 trumpets in C, tenor and bass trombones, and percussion. The percussion parts call for snare drum, Indian drum, bass drum, tambourine, Chinese cymbal, 2 cymbals, tam-tam, triangle, anvil, slapstick, 2 Chinese blocks (high and low), lion's roar, rattle, big rattle, sleigh bells, and siren.Recording by Members of the Columbia Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Craft (CBS Records, 1960)

"Varèse was a really cool guy. The only thing that he did that was wrong was he stopped composing for 25 years because people gave him a bad time. If people wouldn't have given him a bad time, he could have been writing for 25 more years and there would be 25 more years worth of stuff like that for the people who like that kind of stuff."

Frank Zappa DJ at BBC Radio 1 'Star Special', January 27, 1980 - The Closer You Are/Hyperprism

ursinator2.0 - 22-11-2022 at 21:26

The Confessions Of Kaylan:, Record Collector #419, July 2013

Ken Sharp: After The Turtles, you did a 180 degree turn and you and Mark joined The Mothers 0f Invention. To some that may seem an incongruous match.
Howard Kaylan: Frank always knew something nobody else knew. He was very much Bowie-esque with that. He could see the future. Way back in the 70s he was the first guy who said to us, “Wait and see, nobody’s going to be in a band. There’s gonna be these supergroups where a guy from this group, a guy from this group and a guy from this group are gonna get together and make real music. In every band, there’s only one real player and when those players get together to make music it’s going to be incredible and that’s the future.” That’s what he thought. I know why he wanted Mark and I in the band. He wanted to add a pop sensibility to the Morhers who were always sort of cast off as being the least playable band in music. So when we he heard that The Turtles had broken up – we were friends of his – he asked us to join.
The musicians in Frank’s band were the most shocked. When we walked into that first rehearsal, Jeff Simmons looked at George Duke, looked at Ian Underwood and looked at Aynsley Dunbar, and went, “What the hell is Frank doing?” They knew he was gonna audition new singers. They knew there was gonna be a new Mothers that were gonna make this movie 200 Motels and go to Europe. They were waiting for whoever came through the door and thought it might be someone like Gregg Rolie [Santana] but when it was us there was so much scepticism. As soon as we would leave the room there was all this, “Frank, what the fuck are you doing? Those aren’t the guys! They’re pop idiots and they’re gonna bring the band down.” And Frank said, “I don’t think so, I think they know what they’re doing.”
So he was right. We even questioned his sanity at the time, as did the audience for the first few shows in Arizona and in Europe. And then they saw what he meant. It wasn’t so much the first few shows where we had to do what Other Mothers Of Invention players had done, which was sing new arrangements of Frank’s material.
Fairly quickly it became a tight-knit group who had been through a whole lot of shit together – the fire in Montreaux, Switzerland [noted in Smoke On The Water], the European tours, the Berkeley orgies. All of these things Frank hadn’t done with his other bands: this was different now. We were sharing experiences fand hanging out and he was getting high with us. It was very different and I’m thrilled to have been part of that era because it ended quickly and his distrust for humanity kicked in big time again after that accident in England where he was seriously injured. He was never quite the same and went back to being the cynic he’d been prior to this closeness. I don’t think any band member permeated that again. I know that at the end of his life he asked us back. We reminisced and talked, but he was close to that bunch of Mothers Of Invention and it never really was the Mothers of Inventions again after that. It was different.