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Thread: Frank Zappa: Better with the Mothers?

  1. #51
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Give me "Greggary Peccary" over "Billy The Mountain" any day.

    ... although I don't have that Carnegie set, perhaps I'd like that one better.
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  2. #52
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    Give me "Greggary Peccary" over "Billy The Mountain" any day.
    Mr. Studebacher Hoch, I presume.

  3. #53
    I prefer the post Flo & Eddie era. Both the jazz/fusion stuff when he was wheel chair bound and his few albums immediately after that ending with One Size Fits All. He had about a 6-album streak of brilliant stuff (Waka through OSFA). Throw in Stage 2 to be complete. But his output was so diverse that its really hard to pick an era and say with absolute certainty that it was the best. I think a lot of fans wrote him off by the time he got to arena rock but then look at what he did with his 1988 band.

  4. #54
    Chronic Overspender zombywoof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    Give me "Greggary Peccary" over "Billy The Mountain" any day.

    ... although I don't have that Carnegie set, perhaps I'd like that one better.
    Same.
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  5. #55
    Frank Zappa: Better with the Mothers?
    Stuff like Peaches en Regalia, Twenty Small Cigars, Filthy Habits, Big Swifty, Zoot Allures, Echidna's Arf etc., seem to be on a level where there really is no such thing as better... and it kinda comes down to personal preferences. W/ FZ if you're paying attention, the odds are good that some opinions might change.

  6. #56
    Chronic Overspender zombywoof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bake 1 View Post
    W/ FZ if you're paying attention, the odds are good that some opinions might change.
    This is very true, my tastes are always shifting, even on the same artists, albums, etc.
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  7. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    I remember hearing the double vinyl of Joe's when it first came out and not liking ONE THING on it. That was the 1st time I hadn't heard at least one good song on a FZ album...

    It was also a very long time ago....
    Not even Watermelon In Easter Hay?!

  8. #58
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Not even Watermelon In Easter Hay?!
    I think Steve is misremembering slightly. The album that put him off was probably the single disc Act I, the one that contains "Crew Slut," "Catholic Girls," and the recycled "Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up." I also wasn't terribly impressed with that one when it came out. The double LP of Acts II and III that followed, although it still included a lot of silly spoken word stuff, was a lot more musically interesting, with more emphasis on spectacular guitar work (and drumming) and some cool odd-meter grooves, "Watermelon" among them.

  9. #59
    A little known factoid that I just discovered after listening to the damn songs for decades. On Howlin' Wolf's "Going Down Slow" from 1961, he utters the memorable "Great Googly Moogly". I guess I never paid attention before, having always attributed it to Zappa on "Nanook Rubs It". After further research (some people get "ear-worms", songs stuck in their head, but in my case I guess I get "trivia tapeworms" stuck in mine) I discovered that there is an entire cottage industry revolving around the usage of "Great Googly Moogly" and the associated "Great Googa Mooga":

    http://www.1960sailors.net/05c1_googamooga.htm

    https://baronvonhoopla.wordpress.com/category/great-googly-moogly

    We now return you to your regular FZ programming.
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  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post

    ... although I don't have that Carnegie set, perhaps I'd like that one better.
    The album Finer Moments (edited together by Zappa in 1972 but not released until a few years ago) has some of the improv highlights from the Carnegie Hall shows.

  11. #61
    Chronic Overspender zombywoof's Avatar
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    Frank Zappa: Better with the Mothers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    I think Steve is misremembering slightly. The album that put him off was probably the single disc Act I, the one that contains "Crew Slut," "Catholic Girls," and the recycled "Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up." I also wasn't terribly impressed with that one when it came out. The double LP of Acts II and III that followed, although it still included a lot of silly spoken word stuff, was a lot more musically interesting, with more emphasis on spectacular guitar work (and drumming) and some cool odd-meter grooves, "Watermelon" among them.
    I love Joes Garage, especially the first act. The humor and silly stuff is really part of the appeal for me, not to mention the fact that the production is amazing and the band have wonderful feel on this material.

    I'd like to see Weird Al lay down the weird rhythms in Catholic Girls, the raunchy blues of Crew Slut, the percussion weirdness of Fembot, or that stratospheric solo in On The Bus. You strip the humor away and it would still be a great record with great melodies and great grooves (Lucille, c'mon! Vinnie!!).

    Only one guy could've made Joe's Garage and that's Frank. I love that record to pieces. Kept me sane in high school, occasionally it even keeps me sane now.
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  12. #62
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    I think Steve is misremembering slightly. The album that put him off was probably the single disc Act I, the one that contains "Crew Slut," "Catholic Girls," and the recycled "Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up." I also wasn't terribly impressed with that one when it came out. The double LP of Acts II and III that followed, although it still included a lot of silly spoken word stuff, was a lot more musically interesting, with more emphasis on spectacular guitar work (and drumming) and some cool odd-meter grooves, "Watermelon" among them.
    He might be mis remembering. It was a long time ago.

    I remember only being impressed with its vapidity!
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  13. #63
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    Joe's Garage is worth the price of admission for 'Watermelon In Easter Hay' alone.

  14. #64
    Chronic Overspender zombywoof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Joe's Garage is worth the price of admission for 'Watermelon In Easter Hay' alone.
    That one's one of the most moving pieces of music ever, but Packard Goose is my personal favorite.
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  15. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay.Dee View Post
    I have the same impression after listening to their live stuff, e.g. Road Tapes #1. I do not know whether he had required skills or not, but his drumming style and approach could have been a much better fit for, say, the Who or the Move, with all the respect for Keith Moon and Bev Bevan. For the music composed by Zappa it was just a jarring mismatch to these ears.
    That's exactly it. JCB seemed to know only two or three different "pedestrian beats" and had no flexibility, while Frank's music required much more inspired, compositional-oriented drumming. Oddly enough, I can imagine Bill Ward of Black Sabbath fitting into the original MOI. Bill wasn't a great technician (especially early on), but he came up with imaginative parts that were tied to the compositions instead of just being beats.

  16. #66
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    JCBlack doesn't rank in my top 5 favorite FZ drummers. That list would look something like:

    1) Vinnie
    2) Terry
    3) Chester
    4) Chad
    5) Aynsley

    *with a special nod to Ralph and David Logeman

  17. #67
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Vinnie
    Chester
    Ralph
    Aynsley
    Chad
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  18. #68
    Well, I've alwyas said my two favorite Zappa bands ar ethe One Size Fits All band, and the 81-82 tour band. Therefore, I suppose my favorite Zappa drummers would be Chester and Chad. I know Frank himself said that Vinnie was the best drummer he ever worked with, in terms of being able to intuitively know where Frank was going during a guitar solo and be there to provide the rhythmic support he needed. So I guess that would make Vinnie number three. After that, I haven't got a clue who I'd put on such a list, other than maybe Terry.

    I had the impression one of the reasons Frank thought his later work was better than the 60's era MOI material was because he felt he was working with better musicians who could do a better job at playing the music he envisaged. I remember he said that included material by the "original" MOI in the You Can't Do That Onstage Anymore releases was because he knew there were people who thought "the only good music" Frank had ever done was with that particular group of musicians, so he wanted to appease those "fetishists" and he hoped that putting MOI material next to the work with the later ensembles would put to rest "this peculiar myth".

  19. #69
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    I had the impression one of the reasons Frank thought his later work was better than the 60's era MOI material was because he felt he was working with better musicians who could do a better job at playing the music he envisaged. .
    Yes

    1. Doing a 'better job' doesn't necessarily mean you get 'better music'. IMO. Subjective to how you define better and worse art.

    2. Ultimately, what FZ really wanted, technology finally gave him. A machine.
    Steve F.

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  20. #70
    Member Phlakaton's Avatar
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    Started out with The Mothers... soft spot for those bands. More fun in it for me... playful grotty.

  21. #71
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    My feeling is that as a composer, Zappa probably thought "The Yellow Shark" was the closest he ever came to realizing his musical vision. The Flo and Eddie records, in my opinion, are a juvenile comedy act. Why Aynsley Dunbar and some of the other Mothers joined a band with those two guys is beyond me! I guess they couldn't wait for Zappa to recover from his stage fall and thought they might be able to make a hit with The Turtles. Thank God, they left, though! Enter Hot Rat's, Grand Wazoo, and everything up until Shiek Yerbouti!

  22. #72
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    My feeling is that as a composer, Zappa probably thought "The Yellow Shark" was the closest he ever came to realizing his musical vision. The Flo and Eddie records, in my opinion, are a juvenile comedy act. Why Aynsley Dunbar and some of the other Mothers joined a band with those two guys is beyond me! I guess they couldn't wait for Zappa to recover from his stage fall and thought they might be able to make a hit with The Turtles. Thank God, they left, though! Enter Hot Rat's, Grand Wazoo, and everything up until Shiek Yerbouti!
    Hot Rats was before Flo/Eddie

  23. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post


    2. Ultimately, what FZ really wanted, technology finally gave him. A machine.
    And yet, he continued to work with live musicians periodically even after he got the Synclavier.

    I think part of the problem was he got tired of dealing with musicians goofing off on the clock. I remember Frank was interviewed in Keyboard magazine in 80 or 81, and he was talking about how when they were in the studio, Tommy Mars had a tendency to "jazz out". He said he had to keep asking Tommy to stop fooling around so they could get down to the task of working on whatever it was they were meant to be recording. In the same issue, Tommy also tells the story of how when he failed to fully memorize one piece before a rehearsal because he didn't realize that's what Frank wanted. Apparently, the episode was the inspiration for the song Yo Mama.

    So given stories like that (as well as the stories about the 88 band rehearsals), I'm guessing it was less the abilities of the musicians that drove Frank to the Synclavier.

  24. #74
    Chronic Overspender zombywoof's Avatar
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    The best musicians in the world weren't good enough for Frank.
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  25. #75
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    And yet, he continued to work with live musicians periodically even after he got the Synclavier.
    So? Doesn't disprove my point. He liked to go out and play and that wasn't possible with the synclavier.

    Also, one thing the synclavier lacked; he couldn't yell at it.

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