Frank Zappa, Mothers To Appear Saturday

By Alison Beddow

Statesman, November 30, 1973

Who knows what surprises are in store when The Mothers make an appearance? They've run the gamut from satirical rock and roll, straight rock, classical rock to experimental classical. But always, Frank Zappa has been an innovator.

They first started out in 1967 with Freak Out. [...] to be released under the group name of "The Mothers," but some official, realizing the nasty connotations of such a name, quickly tacked on "of Invention." And so the name stuck. Freak Out, as the next few albums, satarized the then growing "hippie" movement, and the plasticity involved within it.

Further albums explored classical [...] of rock [...] almost dadaist in structure. Violinists Jean Luc Ponty and Don Harris were involved with Zappa's genius form of madness. One of his last groups included a twenty-two piece orchestra.

Rock was explored with such notables as Howie Kaylan and Mark Volman (later to be known as Phlorescent Leech and Eddy) on vocals. Another ex-Turtle to join was the bass player, Jim Pons. Aynsley Dunbar played drums through many of Zappa's different line-ups. Sorry folks, they're all gone now.

Genius is the correct word for Mr. Zappa. True, there are those who hate him with a passion, but mostly they misunderstand what he's attempting. Sure he curses out the audience on occasion; they love it and very nearly beg for the attention, however humiliating. Sometimes his lyrics seem vulgar, nearly obscene. But there's reasons for it and valid ones too. Zappa's experimentations with audience reaction and satire (as evidenced on such albums as Live at the Fillmore East and 200 Motels) provide stepping stones to further out c reations, as well as just entertaining. Then again, sometimes he just likes to gross people out.

For Zappa, without a doubt, is the guiding force behind The Mothers. Although ex-members of The Mothers occasionally bitterly criticize what they feel arc rip-offs, these rip-offs are no more so than synthesizing any knowledge learned from others to better oneself.

Seeing The Mothers live is like a present. They're always into something different. You go not knowing quite what to expect, and you're nearly always surprised; flabbergasted could likely be the more appropriate word. In the midst of all this musical genius and innovation there is one more inherent factor; Zappa is a performer and he forms his various groups to entertain. The show is never boring, for a "show" it is. None of this "let's go out and play our hit single," but rather a thoroughly planned show. The Mothers are professionals.

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention are returning to Stony Brook for the first time since they last appeared here in September 1971. This time there is a whole new band for your enjoyment. The new group consists of Bruce Fowler on trombone, Napoleon Murphy Brock on lead vocals, tenor sexaphone and flute, Ruth Underwood on percussion, Ralph Humphrey on drum set No. 1 and cowbells, Chester Thompson on drum set No. 2, Tom Fowie on electric bass and George Duke on keyboards and background vocals. And of course, Zappa himself to lead the evening's festivities.

You owe it to yourself not to miss it. There 11 even be two (not one but two) shows. One will be at 7:30, the other is scheduled to start around 11:00. For your convenience, both shows will be held in the gym. Tickets are priced at $2 for Stony Brook students, $5 for those who aren't. Well-worth the price, to say the least.

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