1971 June 5
Vol. 6 No. 23
A Frank Zappa Spectacular
200 Motels starring Ringo Starr.....
By Tony Wright, p 10
"The new band doesn't sound like anything you've ever heard before," says Frank. "The instrumental combinations, the sonority of it is so strange." Frank tried to explain again:
"The way the tunes are voiced out, the violins will either be on the top or bottom of the chord, the clarinet is in the middle sometimes alternating with the trombone and the upper edge is usually outlined by a marimba or vibes line. The drums often play the melody along with everybody else. All of this is accompanied by a harmony line or the duplication of the marimba line on a synthesizer. As you can see, there's a lot of complicated lines being doubled all over the place – rhythmically and otherwise." (read more)
After two fifteen minute sets from Albatross and Glenn Cardier the Mothers of Invention roadies began sorting out and assembling a vast array of instruments and equipment in preparation for Frank Zappa and his eight-piece Mothers of Invention.
After a two and a half hour set – including an encore – the Mothers left an audience that had undergone a mixture of reactions concerning the performance of Frank Zappa and the Mothers. Nobody doubts that Zappa wasn't brilliant or that his band weren't first-class musicians. But as well as being farewelled by deserving applause for their fine musicianship, Frank Zappa and the Mothers left behind yawns and moments of boredom. (read more)
1973 July 14
Vol. 8 No. 28
(2) David: There seems to be two limits to your music. There's one which seems to be the comedy side, and there's the other which seems to be highly-composed and highly-thought-out. Do you tend to swing between these two because you like them both as much, or do you prefer one from the other?
Zappa : Well, let me give you an example of how people's listening habits can sometimes lead them astray. If you listen to "Live At The Fillmore" and you listen to only the text, you'll perceive it as comedy music, but did you ever listen to what the instruments are doing on that album?
David: On the last tracks – on the comedy tracks?
Zappa: On the whole album, just stop and think. And on the "Jets" album the backing tracks accompanying the vocal tracks which have simplistic love lyrics are pretty subtle. In fact there's a couple of musical references in them that have only been spotted by one or two people world-wide. There's part of the "Rites of Spring" and the out-chorus of "Fountain of Love" – would you recognise that? (read more)
Reporter 1: Mr. Zappa, I believe you have toured Europe several times. Have you ever had much trouble with things like the language barrier etc.?
Zappa: Well we considered the language barrier at one time and decided to do something about it, so we decided to learn to sing in German. (read more)
"Got news for you," said Frank Zappa, There's a new one that's just coming out that's got me singing all over it," he replied with a certain dark relish. "I am back in the singing business again. For the kind of lyrics that I write, it's hard to get somebody else to identify with them to the extent that they express 'em properly. There's millions of people who can sing better than me, but there's not many who understand the lyrics sufficiently to get them across. So I figured that I might as well do it myself. I have a pretty limited range – I can't sing very high so there are certain things that have to be done by other people. Ninety percent of that album is me singing the lead vocals." (read more)