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Thread: The Drummers of Frank Zappa

  1. #1
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    The Drummers of Frank Zappa





    With, from left to right : Ruth Underwood, Chad Wakerman, Terry Bozzio, Chester Tompson, Ralph Humphrey.

    00:00:00 Musical opening
    00:03:00 Terry's Intro and Ralph's Audition
    00:17:47 How Chester Got In The Band
    00:31:20 Ruth's Story Meeting Frank
    00:56:57 More Stories and Chad's Audition
    01:12:20 Discussion of Other Player's Audition
    01:17:33 The Black Page of Frank's Music
    01:35:31 Playing In The Band

    Performance : https://youtu.be/qisptjwsQVk

    Aynsley Dunbar, Vinnie Colaiuta and Jimmy Carl Black (RIP) are not present

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    In the jam at the beginning, I found it interesting that after a minute or so of atmospheric cymbal and gong effects, Chester essentially said, "OK, guys, enough noodling. Here is the beat, we're drummers and this is what we do."

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post

    Aynsley Dunbar, Vinnie Colaiuta and Jimmy Carl Black (RIP) are not present
    In one past thread about this show, I mentioned that it could be interesting to do "The Drummers of Frank Zappa Part Two" with Art Tripp, Aynsley Dunbar, Vinnie Colaiuta, David Logeman and Ed Mann.

  4. #4
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    John Guerin, Jim Gordon...

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    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    John Guerin, Jim Gordon...
    Guerin has been dead for years. And Gordon was convicted of murder and is serving time.

  6. #6
    Never seen this. Thanks so much!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Udi Koomran View Post
    I miss Vinnie
    Well said what a great stick man.

    Loved when they talked about Cobham.

  9. #9
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    Aynsley Dunbar, Vinnie Colaiuta and Jimmy Carl Black (RIP) are not present
    Quote Originally Posted by Udi Koomran View Post
    I miss Vinnie


    Ainsley no world without Dunbar
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by StarThrower View Post
    And Gordon was convicted of murder and is serving time.
    More to the point, Gordon's schizophrenic. So even if he wasn't serving time for murdering his mother, who knows how coherent anything that comes out of his mouth would be. Eric Clapton said when they were in Derek And The Dominoes, Jim would sometimes "talk to people who weren't there", and everyone at the time reckoned he was "on something", like everyone else in the music biz in the early 70's.

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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

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    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    Sounds like Son of the Black Page with a caffeine buzz!

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    Quote Originally Posted by StarThrower View Post
    Sounds like Son of the Black Page with a caffeine buzz!
    Yes...and the folks from Henry Cow showed up.
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

  14. #14
    The credit on the YouTube video says that has Chad Wackerman on drums, but listening to it I think it is more likely Vinnie Colaiuta.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    According to the clarinettist David Ocker a lot of different versions were written:

    Frank started Mo 'n Herb's Vacation because I asked him to write a solo clarinet piece. He was dubious about the idea, but he did it - eventually it was called "Mo's Vacation" but he didn't like it so he added a simultaneous drum solo called "Herb's Vacation". He still wasn't happy so he added 3 more clarinets and 4 bassoons, bass and a few other audio events. (This is what John Steinmetz and I were recording at Frank's studio) I guess it was still not big enough so he added two more movements for huge orchestra - becoming the "Mo 'n Herb's Vacation" on the LSO album.

    So this particular recording should probably be placed somewhere halfway between the solo clarinet version and the orchestral piece. I also like the rock band version for drums, percussion and bass. The drum part by the way is notorious for being incredibly difficult, so you might appreciate this story told by Steve Vai about drummer Vinnie Colaiuta:
    Steve Vai"
    "I was just enamored with Vinnie. Back in the Frank days, his whole approach, when I heard Vinnie play, his phrasing - it satisfied something in my heart. It was easy to get certain rhythmic gratification from straight up-and-down-type players. Playing grooves, alternate grooves here and there. But Vinnie just came in and threw a wrench into the works. The guy is an alien. He was able to touch buttons with his sense of polyrhythms that no one has ever done. Frank's band was the perfect soundboard for that. I started transcribing his playing for The Frank Zappa Book. I mean, there's five to six different notations for the hi-hat!" [laughs]

    "I'll tell you a really great Vinnie story. He's one of the most amazing sight-readers that ever existed on the instrument. One day we were in a Frank rehearsal, this was early '80s, and Frank brought in this piece of music called "Mo 'N Herb's Vacation." Just unbelievably complex. All the drums were written out, just like "The Black Page" except even more complex. There were these runs of like 17 over 3 and every drumhead is notated differently. And there were a whole bunch of people there, I think Bozzio was there."

    "Vinnie had this piece of music on the stand to his right. To his left he had another music stand with a plate of sushi on it, okay? Now the tempo of the piece was very slow, like "The Black Page." And then the first riff came in, [mimics bizarre Zappa-esque drum rhythm patterns] with all these choking of cymbals, and hi-hat, ruffs, spinning of rototoms and all this crazy stuff. And I saw Vinnie reading this thing. Now, Vinnie has this habit of pushing his glasses up with the middle finger of his right hand. Well I saw him look at this one bar of music, it was the last bar of music on the page. He started to play it as he was turning the page with one hand, and then once the page was turned he continued playing the riff with his right hand, as he reached over with his left hand, grabbed a piece of sushi and put it in his mouth, continued the riff with his left hand and feet, pushed his glasses up, and then played the remaining part of the bar."

    "It was the sickest thing I have ever seen. Frank threw his music up in the air. Bozzio turned around and walked away. I just started laughing."

  16. #16
    Lucky Man
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    ^^^^

    That is a great, great story.

    Thx very much for that. In a time such as this, times like these, laughter is better medicine than much else.
    Perhaps finding the happy medium is harder than we know.

  17. #17
    Fall 1978 version played by Vinnie, Arthur Barrow (bass) and Ed Mann (percussion):


  18. #18
    Last edited by Udi Koomran; 03-19-2020 at 07:33 AM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    Fall 1978 version played by Vinnie, Arthur Barrow (bass) and Ed Mann (percussion):

    Listening to this version Ed Man is the man of the hour

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    Quote Originally Posted by Udi Koomran View Post
    Listening to this version Ed Man is the man of the hour
    Really. Even Ruth would have had to woodshed that part HARD.

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