You Call That News?

Added week-ending 21 April 2024:

  • On Instagram, Dweezil has posted a few behind the scenes clips of preparations for his upcoming tour. He will be filming all of the rehearsals and in May will create a subscription based mini-series of events leading up to the first concert - at dweezilzappa.com.
  • The Percussive Arts Society has assured me that it will be making its recent Zappa article available for public browsing when it launches its new website on 1 May. As noted last week, it's a listening guide to FZ's percussionists, written with the participation of Art Tripp, Ruth Underwood and Ed Mann, as well as additional insights from Chris Garcia and Joe Travers.

Added week-ending 14 April 2024:

  • The latest edition of Percussive Notes, the official journal of the Percussive Arts Society, includes an article entitled The Mallets of Invention: A listening guide to Frank Zappa’s percussionists. It includes insights from Ruth Underwood, Art Tripp & Ed Mann, but doesn't appear to be readily available for all to view (your intrepid reporter has written to PAS querying this but in the meantime, members can view it here). The Society has curated this Spotify playlist containing all of the tracks discussed in the article.
  • There is a GoFundMe page for Lady Bianca, who has suddenly become unwell and could use a little help.
  • Moon Unit on her upcoming memoir: "I used to say having Frank for a father was a bit like having Jesus as a dad – only I viewed his fervent flock keeping our lights on as my competition, and was outraged by the ones filling our earthly father’s coffers with unlimited blow-jobs. Some of the surprises for me in writing the book were empathy for the villains in my life and for myself, along with the mortifying exposure and dismantling of faulty understandings and outdated beliefs. Personally and professionally, this was the most difficult and ambitious thing I have done so far.” Earth To Moon will be published in the UK by White Rabbit on 22 August 2024, in hardback, ebook and audio digital download. Anyone wanting a signed copy (plus as an original illustration by Moon Unit), go here.
  • Those who watched the interview with Geoff Wills about his Zappa And Jazz book ⬇️ will have noted that he has a new tome coming out, titled Reed Rapture: The Saxophone on Movie Soundtracks. 

Added week-ending 7 April 2024:

  • In the latest Rocktails podcast with Ahmet Zappa, session guitarist Tim Pierce explores FZ's Baby Snakes SG.
  • Two very different posts about Robert Fripp appeared on Facebook  this week - by Scott Thunes and Steve Vai, with one describing him as a marvel and t'other as crankypants. See if you can guess who said which.
  • For those still cogitating about going to Zappanale, I have posted my handy guide to getting there. Although focussed on travelling from the UK, for those who might fly in to Hamburg or Berlin from elsewhere, it's hopefully still handy.
  • When the Universal Music Group acquisition of the Zappa estate was announced, I wondered about what might become of the Zappa Team - specifically, Melanie Starks, Holland Greco, Michael Mesker and Joe Travers. Happily it has been business as usual as regards the latter two gents (still artistic director and Vaultmeister respectively). Meanwhile, both of the ladies became employees of UMe in 2022, where Holland continues in her full-time role as a director of art & media. Melanie (who worked for the Zappa's for 20 years and was Gail's right hand wo-man) though ceased her consultancy role with UMe in January 2024, having acted as production manager on all FZ album releases during her two years with the company. Here's wishing her well as she focusses on her career as a producer, writer and actor.
  • Montana-based musician/composer David Frick (no, not the editor of Rolling Stone) recently released his version of Watermelon In Easter Hay on Bandcamp (as did Ohio band Bad Deal).
  • Beat (Belew-Vai-Levin-Carey) dates now in the Diary. And here the band talk to Rick Beato.
  • Former Magic Band guitarist Moris Tepper will have a new album, Building A Nest, available from all streaming services on 5 April.

Added week-ending 31 March 2024:

  • Asked about how Dweezil ended up remixing Machine Head, Deep Purple's Roger Glover said, "It wasn't our choice. The record company wanted Dweezil because of his father's connection. I'd already mixed the album for the 25th anniversary, so I said, 'Well, why do you need another remix?' But they said they wanted Dweezil. I think it's probably a marketing thing. They thought it was a cool idea."
  • To cover the start-up costs of his upcoming Rox(postroph)y tour, Dweezil is flogging some of his gear - including the "Hot Rats" World Tour Gibson Custom Replica and Jackson Custom Guitar signed by Madonna. Says Dweezil, "Inflation has wreaked havoc in every sector of our lives the last four years, including the touring industry. I wanted to create a win-win situation by offering some of my favourite guitars for sale as a way to support the tour. There's a lot of variety in the items on auction, guitars, amps, pedals, speakers, studio outboard gear, cases and more." Check it out here. Most of the items for sale have a bespoke demo vid with DZ, and here's one giving an overview of the auction.
  • New interview with Zappa And Jazz author Geoff Wills about Frank and, er, jazz here. If you haven't yet read Geoff's great little book, maybe this will encourage you to correct that. 
  • The promotional video for the new Joe Satriani/Steve Vai single The Sea Of Emotion, Pt.1 features a guy cross-dressed as FZ on the cover of We're Only In It For The Money.
  • Bill Pitts (aka Dr Mumbai) has followed up his first album (The Adventures Of Dr. Mumbai, which featured Bryan Beller, Marco Minnemann, Arthur Barrow, Dweezil, Pete Griffin, Scheila Gonzalez, Aaron Arntz) with Hangar 63. This too features Marco Minnemann, alongside Billy Sheehan and (organ rising music) Mr Ike Willis! Check it out here.
  • The line-up for Zappanale has finally been announced. It includes: Ensemble Fuse & Napoleon Murphy Brock, Pygmy Twylyte, Jeff Hollie Quartet, The Wrong Object, David Cross Band, Gong, Inventionis Mater Trio and Frank Out! Full details at www.zappanale.de
  • This website is one year old! Since 28 March last year, 82,597 visitors have viewed it 133,637 times. Not bad for an old HTML site, eh? As regards social media, over 17,000 Zappa fans were reached through my Zappa The Hard Way Facebook page during the same period (a 285.7% increase over the previous 12 months), and more than 262,000 of the @idiotbastard's Tweets have been seen on X. Thanks to you all; it's encouraging that there remains so much interest in someone who passed away over 30 years ago. Frank Zappa music is the best!
  • Pretend you attended Birmingham Symphony Hall to watch the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra perform Bob In Dacron and Sad Jane on 27 March by downloading the programme here and listening to it here (the FZ portion starts at 23:50). Sorted!!

Added week-ending 24 March 2024:

  • After last year's Zappanale lost €150k, the Arf Society has revealed the seriousness of its current predicament, saying "If we do not manage to generate the necessary income, the Zappanale can no longer take place." This year is safe and happening, but it could be the last if regular attendees decide not to go. And if you've always been meaning to make the trip, please do it this year: we can't allow this amazing festival to end!
  • Péter Eötvös - who conducted The Rage And The Fury, was musical director of Ensemble InterContemporain for The Perfect Stranger, and composed Psalm 151, In Memoriam Of Frank Zappa - sadly passed away at the weekend. May he rest in peace.
  • Here's Scott Thunes on Reddit talking about working with Chad Wackerman again in Banned From Utopia: "I was a little apprehensive, but the second I saw him last year at his house for rehearsals, I just had to give him a hug. For the record, there was never any official bad blood between us. He just never spoke to me during the 88 tour, never said anything to anybody about anything (or defended me) during the past decades." Those who have read Zappa The Hard Way will know that, despite my constant badgering, Chad has indeed maintained a dignified silence about the tour.
  • The Official Grandmothers Fan Club Talk Album is now available on streaming services. It features Elliot Ingber, Bunk Gardner, Don Preston, Motorhead, Buzz Gardner and Jimmy Carl Black. Here it is on YouTube.
  • Talking of Don Preston, he is Pamela Des Barres' special guest on her latest Pajama Party podcast - here! During their chat, Miss Pamela reveals that she has just finished writing liner notes for a future Mothers 1968 Whisky A Go Go release.
  • Watch Dweezil talk about remixing Deep Purple's Machine Head here.
  • Magic Band drummer Robert Williams has a GoFundMe campaign, due to medical issues that have rendered him unable to generate an income and he is at risk of homelessness. If you can help, go here.
  • According to Joel Selvin's Drums & Demons: The Tragic Journey of Jim Gordon, when Gordon was summoned to Trident Studios to play drums on Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain, he arrived with FZ who stayed and watched him do 60 takes before producer Richard Perry was happy. Apparently Perry did countless takes with other drummers and brought Gordon in as a last resort.
  • One Shot Deal's recent show at Campus Jax (with special guest Mike Keneally) can now be viewed at your leisure here.
  • Inventionis Mater, the duo who celebrated 13 years together at the weekend, will play at the exhibition hall at Zappanale this year. Their latest album, featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock, is now readily available here.
  • Last week, I provided a link to an EP by Dweezil's new singer/guitarist Zach Tabori, which features artwork by Cal Schenkel and Tommy Mars on two tracks. If you don't want to listen to the whole thing, you should at least check out the track Buy My Shirt, which has Tommy all over it.
  • Just a reminder that next week sees the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra tackle Bob In Dacron and Sad Jane. The concert will be broadcast on BBC Radio Three.
  • Not only is the new Beat-era King Crimson supergroup endorsed by Robert Fripp, but he also says that, "Steve Vai is the only guitarist who could play my parts."

Added week-ending 17 March 2024:

  • Joe Satriani and Steve Vai will release their first ever collaborative song, titled The Sea Of Emotion, Pt. 1, on 29 March.
  • New Fripp-endorsed supergroup Beat - comprising Adrian Belew, Steve Vai, Tony Levin and Tool's Danny Carey - will play 80s King Crimson at Humphreys in San Diego on 17 September. Hopefully not a one-off!
  • Here FZ discusses the impact of the poorly educated on the decline of American democracy.
  • Dweezil US Rox(postroph)y tour dates now in the Diary. (As regards a UK tour, DZ sez "hopefully next year".) His band will again include Kurt Morgan (bass), Ryan Brown (drums) and Scheila Gonzalez (sax/keys), plus these two new guys (the chap on guitar is Zach Tabori, who recorded an EP called Ensemble which features Tommy Mars with artwork by Cal Schenkel, while the keyboard dude is Bobby Victor of Pizza Bees - DZ has now confirmed all this here). And here's a video of George Duke telling us what he thought of the Dweez. To celebrate all of this, the Idiot has curated a Spotify playlist of rock classics featuring DZ!
  • Suddenly available again on CD: Frankful by Mats Öberg!
  • As well as Deep Purple, Dweezil has apparently also been working on ATMOS mixes for Experience Hendrix, and possibly on some Van Halen material too.
  • Anyone receiving a basic German pension (or those dependent on social assistance) can now get a reduced price 'social' ticket to attend Zappanale this year.
  • Universal's plans for "efficiencies" (that is, reduce its staff headcount by 17%) has impacted on its release schedule. As things stand, the next 'new' Zappa release remains FZ For President on vinyl.

Added week-ending 10 March 2024:

  • Dweezil on his Rox(postroph)y tour: "After 4 long years, I'm pleased to announce that next Tuesday I will be able to share pre-sale ticket links for a 30 show US tour! I have a new Rocking Teen-Age Combo and we are going to play a curated list of fan favorites in ways they've never been played. 1974 yielded Apostrophe and Roxy & Elsewhere so of course we will celebrate 50 years of fun and explore uncharted territory within those records. 2 drummers on stage? Don't threaten me with a good time!" One date in Diary already.
  • Dates for Banned From Utopia's US summer tour (Joel Taylor replacing Chad Wackerman on drums) with the Paul Green Rock Academy are now in the Diary. Meanwhile, Morgan Ågren and Mats Öberg made a guest appearance at the BFU show in Stockholm on 9 March.
  • The Furious Bongos Mother's Day tour dates are also in the Diary.

Added week-ending 3 March 2024:

  • In this second recent vlog, John "Drumbo" French appeals to Jack White and the Zappa Trust regarding unpaid royalties for Trout Mask Replica.
  • The Road To Halloween 2023 Vol. 1 by The Furious Bongos (feat. Chad Wackerman) is now available to download at Bandcamp - name your price! I am reliably informed that Vol. 2 will be "a batch of other songs, plus alternate versions of the big jam tunes."
  • Also on Bandcamp is a third album by Mike Keneally and Marcelo Radulovich, called Tuesday. Keneally's excellent You Must Be This Tall album from 2013 has also been added, with bonus shiz.
  • Pygmy Twylyte superfan Chris Lammiman saw every gig on the band's recent tour and is writing a book about it. Why? Says Chris, "I have a terrible memory, so the tour diary aspect came from my desire to have something of a reminder and memento...to have an excuse for talking to people and collecting stories along the way...[and] because I can, and because I want to." He has set up a Facebook page for it: The History And Collected Improvisations Of Pygmy Twylyte.
  • Chad Wackerman has shared this great picture of Scott Thunes, Robert Martin, Ray White, Steve Vai and himself together at last weekend's Banned From Utopia shows at the Baked Potato.
  • ZappaRap is now available from Bandcamp is currently Rock Radio's CD of the week. I was interviewed about the album, Festival MOO-AH and our dear departed friend, Dave Owen, on Thursday 29th February. If you missed it, you can listen again (without the music) here.

Added week-ending 25 February 2024:

  • Moon Zappa's long-awaited memoir (Earth To Moon) now has a UK publisher - with new cover art. Check out the White Rabbit website.
  • Conductor score for Bob In Dacron & Sad Jane and musical problems: a video by Chanan Hanspal. A timely reminder that the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra will be playing these two piece next month - see Diary for deets.
  • Here's an update on the provisional bands lined-up for Zappanale #33.
  • The ZappaRap album is now available to stream on Spotify, YouTube and Amazon Music. It has also been added to Discogs and the rockradio.de music archive.
  • Episode 2 of the Over-Nite Sensation 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition ZappaCast is here.
  • ZERO's flower-power trio instrumental mix of Who Needs the Peace Corps? is available exclusively as a download when you buy the band's Six Of One CD from Bandcamp.
  • New vlog from John 'Drumbo' French covering issues with his book royalties plus upcoming releases, happenings and other cool stuff.
  • Lisa Popeil will be 'virtually' in the UK in March. Details here. (And over here also.)
  • Guitarist Mike Miller will replace Jamie Kime as he returns to play for Banned From Utopia on their brief tour of Scandinavia in March. All dates in the Diary, plus some of the summer ones (with Joel Taylor on drums).
  • As per David Logeman's hopes, the clip of him performing Pick Me, I'm Clean with The Zappa Band has now been put up on YouTube. The link to it has been added to our interview!
  • Here's a new video interview with Chester Thompson, talking about his new solo album plus the Zappa years. And here he lists the 10 albums that have defined his career.
  • Pygmy Twylyte were on fire last week for their short tour of England. If you missed them, get your arse over to Zappanale in July! They will also be playing two more shows in the North of England later in the year - see the Diary for details.
  • Suddenly back in the Idiot's webshop, copies of the AMM All-Stars Play Lumpy Gravy CD. For reasons I can understand, this disc sells better than any of the others in my store! Here's a playlist of some Zappa tracks that All-Stars members have contributed to my CDs for Cordelia over the last 16 years.

Added week-ending 18 February 2024:

  • Waiting to hear about the next FZ release - The Mothers 1969 or Zappa '74? - but it looks like it's Zappa For President on coloured vinyl for Record Store Day 😴
  • Also on Record Store Day comes a deluxe edition of The Spotlight Kid by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band.
  • What do we know about Dweezil's summer US tour so far? It will kick-off in August and last about five weeks. The band will be billed as The Dweezil Zappa Band and is likely to include Scheila Gonzalez, Kurt Morgan and Ryan Brown. They will play the music of FZ, plus whatever the f@%k they want. It will visit Los Angeles (either The Wiltern or The Orpheum Theatre).
  • You may recall a young fangirl called Flake wrote a Zappa zine (Zappa Every Day) some months back. Well, there are now just 28 copies left, and once they're gone, they're gone. Flake writes, "For the uninitiated, it's my reactions and reviews of 30 Zappa albums in 30 days and four films. Quite an adventure for someone who had never heard his shit before!" The Idiot says it's a fun read, after all of the more studious Zee tomes out there. Grab one (or more!)  of the remaining copies here.
  • Update on Ike Willis' health from Dr. Dot: "Ike is done with the detox and now officially in the rehab centre to complete his journey to sobriety and health. Cross your fingers and toes he makes it through and heals. We love Ike Willis ❤️." Amen to that.
  • What the hell was he thinking?! A charity recording of Going Home (Theme from Local Hero) by Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Heroes will be released on 15 March. It features (among many, many others) Steve Vai, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and Mr Sting. Net proceeds will go to Teen Cancer America and the Teenage Cancer Trust. Read more about it here.
  • Vai is also part of another all-star cast of musicians on the song Some Assembly Required by Jason Becker & Friends, hoping to raise money for the ailing Becker. Read all about it here.
  • Here’s a video to accompany ZERO (featuring Robert Martin)’s rendition of Teen-Age Wind from the new ZappaRap album. The album is now available to stream in Spotify.

Added week-ending 11 February 2024:

  • Just added to Bandcamp is an album of radio ads by The Firesign Theatre, called Jack Poet Loves You. It includes three ads for Hot Rats, two of which can be found on The Hot Rats Sessions box set (Heavy On Your Head and Remain Anonymous as Hot Rats Vintage Promotion Ads #3 & #4), and one that doesn't (track 38, Nifty New Teenage Album).
  • Suddenly available: ZappaRap, a new compilation album of Eff-Z covers in a hip-hop stylee, featuring the legendary Robert Martin! More here.
  • The Poodle Bites wishes us a Zappy Valentine's Day ♥️
  • Just added to the Zappanale line-up for 2024: Inventionis Mater and The Jeff Hollie Quartet (comprising Jeff, Fred Händl, Armin Beck & Kevin Crosby).
  • Deep Purple will unleash Machine Head: Super Deluxe Edition at the end of March, featuring new stereo and Dolby Atmos mixes by Dweezil Zappa. His remix of Smoke On The Water can be heard here. There's a rumour Dweezil might also be involved in ATMOS remixes of Van Halen's back catalogue. What next?

Added week-ending 4 February 2024:

  • I have just conducted a short interview with GTO Miss Sparkie Parker!
  • For years, I'd always assumed FZ got a thank you on Stevie Wonder's Songs In The Key Of Life for loaning him some gear. Turns out Frank recorded a guitar solo for the song All Day Sucker. Engineer Gary Adante recalls Frank "Was amazing, but it just really wasn’t as great as we’d hoped it to be." Snuffy Walden recorded the version eventually used on the album.
  • The countdown to the release of Part I of Frankly Zappa: An Unauthorized Biography by John Klein Sloatman III has ended, and...nothing yet!
  • Name that Zappa tune - Round 4!
  • Universal Music Group pulled its music from TikTok on 1 February, meaning all of FZ's official releases can no longer be added to posts (and have also been removed from old ones).
  • On Bandcamp Friday, a new Mike Keneally/Beer For Dolphins release became available hereLive at Lynagh’s – Lexington, KY  May 18. 2001 is a live audience recording of the seven-piece BFD that toured in support of the Dancing album. Yes please! Mike will be One Shot Deal's special guest at the next couple of gigs - see Diary.
  • Some further clarity re. Dweezil's announcement of a new tour in August. It will be a month long US jaunt and previous band members Scheila Gonzalez (keys, sax), Kurt Morgan (bass) and Ryan Brown (drums) appear to be back onboard. Unfortunately Adam Minkoff is not available so expect one or two new bods.
  • The Paul Green Rock Academy will open for Banned From Utopia on their US East Coast tour this summer. Joel Taylor will be returning to the BFU drum stool for these gigs.
  • New ZappaCast looking at the recent Over-Nite Sensation box set here - part one of three! 
  • The U-M Contemporary Directions Ensemble concert this coming Saturday (3  February), where they will play selections from The Yellow Shark, will be live-streamed. Here's the link.

Added week-ending 28 January 2024:

  • Very sadly, there will be no Muffin Men nor Denny Walley at this year's Zappanale. 
  • Dweezil is special guest on the latest Guess That Record podcast - here. Recorded before his comment about a new tour in August (see ⬇️), here he hasn't booked anything yet, but talks about wanting to celebrate the 1974 albums, Apostrophe(') and Roxy & Elsewhere. Woo-hoo! 
  • Name that Zappa tune - Round Three!!! 
  • Dweezil has been responding to questions on his website, which he says will see a lot more stuff added this year: "I spent most of last year going through concerts. I will also be starting a bunch of video content: series, interviews, filmed podcasts, guitar lessons, etc. Also there will be a new tour in AUGUST."
  • Watch Marc Atkinson recreate Vinnie Colaiuta's Deathless Horsie drum performance here. (Marc can be heard playing Mo's Vacation with Arthur Barrow and Ed Mann on Cordelia's Rare Episodes CD.)

Added week-ending 21 January 2024:

  • When the Sloatman family moved to London in 1959, Gail attended Marymount International School in Surrey until 1962. She later modelled for photographers David Bailey and Terence Donovan, and had brief dalliances with Return Of The Saint actor, Ian Ogilvy, and the co-founder of Track Records, Chris Stamp. On her return to LA, she met producer Kim Fowley and recorded this single.
  • Is Big Eyed Beans From Venus the greatest love song ever recorded, asks Brian Neavyn.
  • Here you can hear short excerpts from 200 Motels: The Suites as performed by the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra at the Zénith in Strasbourg on 21 September 2018, and the Choir of the Nice Opera and the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra at the Nice Opera on 1 December 2023.
  • The always watchable Chanan Hanspal learns us how analyse FZ's 'ugly' melodies.
  • 'Name That Zappa Tune', Round 2!
  • Andy Edwards asks, was FZ really any good on guitar - here. (Seems he was!)
  • Alex Dahl has added another new page to his Life On The Road website about the early 1977 band and their month-long tour of Europe - which takes in my first ever Zappa concert! He's also added reviews for the 1973 shows that were unearthed for the Over-Nite Sensation 50th anniversary release. Tuck in!
  • 200 Motels is available to buy on DVD for the first time ever in Japan. Hopefully this signals an imminent worldwide reissue - or not? 
  • Apparently after the Universal takeover of all things FZ, Barfko-Swill received a big bunch of old product. As a result, they are currently selling the original Barking Pumpkin Sleep Dirt CD (with Thana Harris' vox) and more. Someone tell Jenna Ortega!
  • Mike Keneally appears on a cover of Hall & Oates' Don't Blame It On Love by the Powhida​/​Perdomo Hotline. Check her out here.

Added week-ending 14 January 2024:

  • New book, available to purchase now: Not Just Happy Together: The Turtles From A-Z (AM Radio to Zappa) by Mark Arnold & Charles F Rosenay!!! More info here.
  • Here's a bit of fun: name that Zappa tune with The Poodle Bites.
  • Last month the Zappa Team announced via their socials that A Token Of His Extreme was available for streaming. This caused some confusion as no links were provided and very few people were able to locate it on the various services outside of North America - plus it seemed to be for one day only. They have now announced that Does Humor Belong In Music? is on streaming sites and I can see it on Amazon Prime here in the UK. It's not free, like, but good for those who don't own it on DVD. Earlier this week (on Discord), the Vaultmeister™ inferred that Universal felt nobody buys DVDs anymore (hence no hard copy of the Classic Album Freak Out! thing presumably), but hopefully they will get around to putting things that haven't been released on DVD like Video From Hell, The True Story of 200 Motels, Uncle Meat and The Amazing Mr. Bickford on streaming sites too one day.
  • Steve Vai tells Chanan Hanspal how he made Flex-Able and Passion And Warfarewatch.
  • Banned From Utopia guitarist Robbie 'Seahag' Mangano has teamed up with former Dweezil side-people Adam Minkoff and David Luther for a third wacky Frankie Valli murder single: I'm So Mad is available on Bandcamp now.
  • Chad Wackerman will be playing with It Bites on their short UK tour next week.
  • The final Lovers Of Invention track live from Brixton is here, while The Furious Bongos with Chad Wackerman's Find Her Finer can be found here.
  • During the Zappa festival at Bozar last month, the Ryelandt Trio played a concert that was broadcast on Belgian Radio Klara on 2 January. You can now 'listen again' here. (Jump to the start of their programme at 09:45 and hear Inca Roads / The Black Page #2 / Penis Dimension / Five-Five-Five / Sofa / The Uncle Meat Theme / I'm Stealing The Towels / Naval Aviation In Art / Florentine Pogen / Sad Jane / Strictly Genteel performed on violin, cello and piano!)

Added week-ending 7 January 2024:

  • Chanan Hanspal shows us how he learned to play Steve Vai's The Attitude Song here.
  • FOH engineer Toby Francis recently acquired some Zappa gear through Julien's Auctions. He says, "I specifically targeted some of the items that had served Frank sonically well and that I knew would make a unique difference for me. The H3000, the Ursa Major Space Station, the UREI and dbx pieces were my main focus, as those are all great vintage units—the Space Station is on Frank’s guitar on my favourite solo! The rack with the pair of 160s and the three 1176s are in the background of so many photos of Frank in the UMRK and now they are in a rack in my studio, waiting to be used to shape tone as they did for him all those years ago. I was stupid enough to sell my LA-3A in the early Eighties—it was my first real piece of audio gear—and now I have Frank’s. I bought the gear to use it as he did; the fact that it was his does make a huge difference, as I have the utmost respect for Frank and his legacy." Read a little more here.
  • My publisher currently has all of my Zappa books in it's January sale - two for a fiver each, and the two big uns for eight quid. Check out Zappa The Hard Way, Frank Talk, FZ88 and/or The Zappa Tour Atlas - even if you already have one, get another for a friend!
  • And as if that wasn't enough: updated and on special offer for 2024, my Zappa FUQs eBook. All the fun of the fair!
  • Yay! The Poodle Bites is back with a YouTube vid about FZ's planned candidacy for US President. Features the vocal talents of Podmeister Scott Parker.
  • Watch The Lovers Of Invention performing Dog/Meat here.
  • The latest Progcast from Gregg Bendian features his chat with Art Tripp and Zoot Horn Rollo.
  • In February, Marc Almond will release a single featuring I'll Never Learn, the song Essra Mohawk wrote for The Shangri-Las.
  • What can you expect to see at Zappa News in 2024? New album releases (a Mothers 1969 set is rumoured, as well as a likely 1974/Apostrophe-related something, Valentina Ciardelli's homage to FZ and another IBS/Cordelia Records collaboration). New books from Napoleon Brock, Moon Zappa and John K Sloatman III's Frankly Zappa. Gigs by Pygmy Twylyte, CBSO, Treacherous Cretins, Banned From Utopia, One Shot Deal, The Lovers Of Invention, maybe Dweezil, plus any additions to the Zappanale line-up. And of course new interviews, reviews and all the usual old tosh. So keep those hits a-coming!

Added week-ending 31 December 2023:

  • Here's another clip of The Furious Bongos, with special guest Chad Wackerman, from their Halloween show in Chicago - it's King Kong!
  • Dweezil has now posted the whole Hot Rats Live! album on his website. Recorded live in Birmingham, England in 2019, and (writes DZ) "performed in the album running order, replete with improvisational solos, the songs were extremely challenging and this recording is 100% live. So much so, you will probably hear a few mistakes, but c'est la vie, we're human!" Dweezil says that, while there are no plans for a physical CD or vinyl release of this album, "There will be an additional full length concert featuring the entire set-list as well as the Hot Rats set, coming soon." For those of you who may not know, Dweezil also uploaded Apostrophe Live! (featuring special guest George Duke) a few years back. Check 'em both out now!
  • Now announced for Zappanale #33: Frank Out & Napoleon Murphy Brock, Gong, Muffin Men, David Cross Band, Pygmy Twylyte and more. Head over to www.zappanale.de and grab your tickets!
  • Watch The Lovers Of Invention play a Joe's Garage medley here.

Added week-ending 24 December 2023:

  • Nice interview with my old pal and Gearmeister, Mick Ekershere!
  • Frankly Zappa: An Unauthorized Biography by John Klein Sloatman, III (Gail's brother, and the father of Lala Sloatman) should be a right riveting read - if it gets published. Look here and find out how 'Dunt' plans to take us "on a behind-the-scenes adventure through Frank’s unparalleled musical legacy and personal journey." Of particular interest is the statement about Frank’s prostate cancer and his decision not to have surgery and "Gail’s and Frank’s denial of the consequences of that decision."
  • Watch Frank's sister Patrice (Candy) Zappa chat with Dr. Dot here. Candy answers a few questions from folk like Steve Vai and, er, a certain Idiot.
  • Take a gander at Chanan Hanspal's splendid solo guitar rendition of Steve Vai's The Attitude Song on YouTube.
  • Check out Sofa #2 by Ciardelli-Drago-Strano, especially for FZ's 83rd birthday here.
  • Episode 26 of Dweezil's Runnin' With The Dweezil podcast features Greg Kurstin, who played keyboards on My Mother Is A Space Cadet - discussed here.
  • Here's Gerry Fialka's annual ZappaDan Rant. Gerry will be opening for the Stinkfoot Orchestra, featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock, on 25 February next year, talking about the history of FZ in Venice, California. Special guests: Kahlil Sabbagh, Suzy Williams and (hopefully) Tommy Mars.
  • Watch The Lovers Of Invention performing Cosmik Debris here.

Added week-ending 17 December 2023:

  • The Furious Bongos have posted some clips from their Halloween show in Chicago, with special guest Chad Wackerman, on YouTube. Here's Pound For A Brown and In France.
  • A Go Fund Me campaign has been set-up for FZ's niece, Lala Sloatman (that's her mum at FZ’s feet on the cover of Roxy & Elsewhere). Lala has a variety of ailments and, as a single mum, is struggling to keep things afloat. You can read all about her issues here.
  • Ed Mann has posted on Facebook that he is selling "everything musical. All mallets used and not used with FZ, boxes of weird percussion, gongs, stands, road cases, you name it."
  • John 'Drumbo' French has a Go Fund Me campaign to cover the legal fees of getting royalties for his memoir, Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic. Check it out here.
  • It seems publication of Moon Unit's memoir has been put back yet again: 20 August 2024 is the latest estimate.
  • Essra Mohawk (aka Sandy Hurvitz and Uncle Meat) very sadly passed away on 11 December. She worked with The Mothers during their residency at the Garrick Theater and her first album (Sandy's Album Is Here At Last) was produced by Ian Underwood and released on Bizarre Records in 1968. You can read my first interview with her here. Some years ago I created this short Spotify playlist featuring FZ and some of her 'hits'. RIP Essie.
  • Watch The Lovers Of Invention performing Dancin' Fool here.
  • The Banned From Utopia will be touring the East Coast of the US in July 2024. Before then, they will play two shows each night at the Baked Potato on 23-25 February.
  • Napoleon Murphy Brock on Facebook says he has almost finished writing his memoir: should be an interesting read.

Added week-ending 10 December 2023:

  • Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Gallery is currently hosting a Captain Beefheart related exhibition until 17 February 2024, called Rooms To Live and centred around two interrelated sculptural installations: Trout House Replica and So The Red RoseTrout House Replica recreates the interior of the Los Angeles Woodland Hills house where Trout Mask Replica was recorded and is being used throughout the exhibition as a performance space for musicians. More details here.
  • On the 30th anniversary of her father's passing, Diva posted one of her usual daily tarot card readings, but got a little emotional and curtailed it. Meantime, the official Zappa Team posted a clip on its socials of FZ being killed by an Xmas tree on Saturday Night Live.
  • New book, Grievous Angels, Trout Masks, and American Beauties: 1970s Rock & Roll Photography of Ginny Winn, will be out in Spring 2024. Features previously unpublished snaps of FZ, Captain Beefheart, Alice Cooper and more. Deets here.
  • The Lovers Of Invention are playing a couple of dates in the South West of England on 13th and 21st December. Details in the Diary.
  • Steffen on RockRadio.de gave out some info on provisional plans for Zappanale next year: the Hamburg church gig is likely to feature Dutch sextet Fuse with Napoleon Murphy Brock; they will also perform together at the festival itself (but with a completely different set). Others likely to be playing in Bad Doberan next July include Frank Out, Valentina Ciardelli, Gong, Inventionis Mater, Birth Control, Pygmy Twylyte and Chato Segerer's new band, Zapped. There's also the possibility of either Z3 or the Muffin Men with Denny Walley returning. Keep everything crossed. Xmas Special tix, plus camping and parking passes, now on sale here.

Added week-ending 3 December 2023:

  • Win official merch during the 12 Days of Zappa.
  • Bob Dobbs has posted a couple of videos on YouTube of his conversations with Cal Schenkel, from 1996: Stories behind Zappa album covers and Working with Zappa & Beefheart.
  • The Trinity Laban Double Bass Ensemble (introduced by Valentina Ciardelli) will play Peaches En Regalia (and other music for massed basses) at The Peacock Room in Greenwich on Friday 8 December. Details here.
  • Ahmet's "new hyper-curated and exclusive pop culture destination", Halos & Arrows, has a few FZ museum-quality art prints for sale. Check them out here.
  • New interview with Mike Keneally by Chanan Hanspal here. Elsewhere, both volumes of Mike's pre-hat. material Tar Tapes compilations are now available on his Bandcamp page. He also has another album with Marcelo Radulovich out: Bask, "a massively varied collection of vocal tunes, featuring Marcelo’s amazing voice, playing and production skills, and a whole bunch of me on guitars, keyboards and bass (and some sangin’. I sing lead on the tune Quarry)."
  • ZappaCast: Funky Nothingness - Deep Dish (Episode 2) here.
  • On 4 December, Treacherous Cretins will be paying homage to FZ by sharing their show performed alongside Robert 'Bobby' Martin at the 100 Club in London earlier this year. Here's the link.

Added week-ending 26 November 2023:

  • After Pink Napkins on bass clarinet (by Heather Roche), here's Republicans on cello by Louise McMonagle.
  • Sadly, Zappanale lost €150k this year, meaning things have got to change. Among a number of ideas being mooted are an increase in camping costs and a crowdfund campaign. More info as and when, but meantime read this report.
  • Dweezil now has another track available for free download from his forthcoming Hot Rats Live! concert album - it's The Gumbo Variations, recorded in the last city in the UK that his father ever played in (and currently DZ too).
  • The GrandMothers Of Invention are playing a gig in LA next month. Details in the Diary.
  • Ossi Duri, who formed in the mid-90s, will be releasing an album to mark the 30th anniversary of FZ's passing. Here's the first teaser track - their rendition of Little Umbrellas.
  • New book by Marco FraquelliA Nessuno Frega Un Cazzo Se Siamo Grandi Musicisti. Tutti Gli Uomini, E Le Donne Di Frank Zappa (which translates to "Nobody gives a crap if we are great musicians. All the men, and women, of Frank Zappa"). Says Marco, "It is not really a book about Zappa, but it offers 109 short portraits of musicians who played with him [from Altschul to Zavod]To make the selection, I took The Zappa Tour Atlas criteria: all the musicians who played at least three times live with FZ, with some exceptions." The book is obviously written in Italian.

Added week-ending 19 November 2023:

  • Musicians from the Rhône clarinet collective and the Lyon conservatory's large percussion ensemble will perform a 'Zappa Concert' on 1 December at Espace Jean Couty in Lyon. Full details here.
  • Julien's sold FZ's old Gibson ES-5 Switch Master guitar for $63,500.
  • In this interview with Forbes, System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian talks about his musical likes and influences - saying: "Artists that I like I listened to their whole catalogue of music. I might listen to something less than others but I'll check everything out. Zappa being an example. The orchestra stuff Zappa did versus Mothers of Invention versus a million other things. I like checking them all out because I want to understand that artist in that artist's full capacity, not just what he did on that one record that everyone loves." His version of Yellow Snow can be heard here.
  • There was another live ZappaCast, this time commemorating the release of the 50th anniversary of Over-Nite Sensation set. Check it out here.
  • Watch Cheech Marin talk about his audition for Ruben And The Jets here. (See also his liner notes for Greasy Love Songs.)
  • Part 2 of the Travers/Mesker Over-Nite Sensation artwork chat is here. The liner notes in the new 50th anniversary set state there is no documentation that lists all of the musicians on Face Down (I'm The Slime - Demo) - speculating that the rhythm guitarist might be Tony Duran. Perhaps my interview with the late Nigey Lennon provides the answer?
  • Check out Tink Walks A Log by Arthur Barrow on Bandcamp (or YouTube).
  • Interesting old video interview with Lorraine Belcher Chamberlain about her time with FZ here. My three written interviews with Lorraine can be found here.
  • Here's a recent interview with Bill Harkleroad (aka Zoot Horn Rollo) discussing his experience playing in Beefheart's Magic Band, the story behind Trout Mask Replica and more.
  • It seems work is progressing well on Emile Chill's strange AI-generated sci-fi movie, Zappa Galaxy. Here's the latest trailer.

Added week-ending 12 November 2023:

  • ZappaCast Episode #63: Funky Nothingness – Deep Dish (Episode 1) is here.
  • As well as Zappa Union, Banned From Utopia will also play a couple of dates in Sweden next March. Details in the Diary.
  • FiDOplaysZAPPA are putting together a live album from their summer tour with Robert Martin. You can pre-order your copies here. And here's a video-clip from said tour.
  • Here Cal Schenkel discusses some of his FZ album covers.
  • Zappawoman Valentina Ciardelli will be performing Peaches En Regalia at the University of West London on 15 November. More details here.
  • Stuart Penney has written this great new blog about how he lost his girlfriend thanks to Captain Beefheart. It includes an exclusive interview with John “Drumbo” French.

Added week-ending 5 November 2023:

  • Here's a third (and probably final?) teaser track from the soon-come Over-Nite Sensation set: Dirty Love (with Quad guitar).
  • The NYU Percussion Ensemble (conducted by Jonathan Haas, who took part in Zappa's Universe in 1991) performed a 'Frank Zappa Halloween Spectacular'. Check it out on YouTube.
  • Don Van Vliet: Standing On One Hand, an exhibition of Captain Beefheart's paintings, will take place from 23 November 2023 to 17 February 2024 at the Michael Werner Gallery in London's Mayfair. Here's the press release.
  • Dweezil has a free download of Willie The Pimp on his website - a Halloween treat! He says "there's a whole Hot Rats Live! concert coming very soon."
  • Recently found Mothers 1970 Piknik footage, here and here.
  • This guy has the 50th anniversary Over-Nite Sensation box set already. And here's a video of last week's listening session. And as if that wasn't enough, here's a conversation 'twixt Zappa Team members Joe Travers and Michael Mesker about the artwork.
  • Unfortunately GoldmanT's GoFundMe campaign stalled at the first hurdle, but he did get Heather Roche to perform Pink Napkins on bass clarinet. You can watch that here, but as to whether we will ever see Republicans performed on cello is in your hands.

Added week-ending 29 October 2023:

  • Praying for Ike Willis, who is apparently in a bad way in hospital. Here's hoping he gets well soon.
  • Last Tuesday there was an invitation-only Over-Nite Sensation Atmos listening party at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.
  • Bebo 'Best' Baldan, who leads The Super Lounge Orchestra, has written a 35 page guide to approaching FZ's music: ZAP! Frank Zappa Made Easy - with Brian Eno?! Earlier this year, he also put together this tribute to Frank on YouTube.
  • You can enjoy An Enchanted Evening With Pamela Des Barres at the West Hampstead Arts Club on 25 & 26 November.
  • Apparently The Dub Room Special is now available for streaming on Apple TV and YouTube movies.
  • The Opinionated Hippie is rating Zappa cover albums on YouTube. He describes the Would You Like A Snack? 200 Motels 50th anniversary tribute album I compiled as, "A fantastic listen"! Watch the video here. And buy the album here or here!
  • Julien's Auctions, in cahoots with The Zappa Trust, has now added a bunch more stuff for sale: more equipment, plus clothing, signed underpants (not Frank's), school notes, vehicle related documents and more! Look here.
  • One Shot Deal (ie. ZPZ without Dweezil) now has its own website.
  • We have some clarity on those two 'Frank Zappa' US shows in November, mysteriously listed at zappa.com last week: they seem to be a couple of orchestras playing The Dog Breath Variations.

Added week-ending 22 October 2023:

  • Ike Willis and Ray White have upcoming US gigs with (respectively) Marcus Rezak and The Stinkfoot Orchestra. Details in the Diary.
  • Wishing my friend Chato Segerer good luck on 24 October, when the Nuejazz Festival in Nuremberg will present the Nuecomer Jazz Award. The theme this year is FZ, and Chato tells me, "Just for this occasion, I founded the band ZAPPED. Same instrumentation as in my former band CHATO!, but mallets instead of keyboards." More here. And check out Chato's rendition of Marque-son's Chicken here.

Added week-ending 15 October 2023:

  • Second preview track from the forthcoming Over-Nite Sensation 50th anniversary box set is Face Down (I'm The Slime demo).
  • A few more Zappa related events in the Diary, including 'Music of the Time - Pinked Dreams' with the WDR Symphony Orchestra performing two FZ pieces in Cologne on 1 December. And the full programme for ‘Zappa. Yes. Yes. Yes.’ in Brussels can now be found here.
  • Julien's Auctions has a few more FZ items up for grabs under the banner of 'Played, Worn, & Torn: Rock ‘N’ Roll Iconic Guitars And Memorabilia'. There's a studio-used Neumann microphone, Tommy Mars' stage-played Hammond organ and Frank's Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster guitar (which was the subject of a recent YouTube video mentioned below). Look here for more.
  • Chad Wackerman will visit Europe next April - alongside Michael Lee Firkins (guitar) and Stu Hamm (bass) - on the Freeway Jam: A Salute to Jeff Beck tour. No UK dates, sadly.
  • Change of date for Zappadan Zappajam #8 in West Acton. Organiser Mike Fox says, "A problem with the venue has forced us to change the date to Friday 1st December. Bands confirmed, other than London Zappa Collective, are: MindfooD who will be playing some Zappa material; and The Spanner Trio playing Zappa arrangements. In addition, there will be some guest players and also some open sessions where anyone who wants to will be encouraged to join in."
  • Dale Bozzio: "I’m so excited to announce the release of my new LP Hollywood Lie! It’s one of my greatest accomplishments! The record features all original songs. It’s about my deep concern for all the people suffering with depression, living a double life or just getting caught up in the glitz and glamour and empty promises of Hollywood." Dale is also about to reissue an expanded version of her New Wave Sessions album featuring 5 exclusive recordings. And as if that weren't enough, Record Store Day Black Friday in the US sees the release of Missing Persons' Live In New York 1981 on clear blue vinyl.
  • Another new French language book, out now: Frank Zappa by John Raby "is intended as a practical guide to (re)discover the colossal work of one of the greatest composers of the last century".  And all being well, next year we'll see a book called Frank Zappa's America: Music, Satire, Politics & the Fight Against Christian Fascism by Bradley Morgan.

Added week-ending 8 October 2023:

  • This Idiot is happy to report that since creating this new Zappa News website at the end of March, it has had over 40,000 visitors - with over 62k page views. Big thanks to all who take the time to check it out.
  • Chanan Hanspal examines the Alien Orifice guitar interlude - with help from Steve Vai - here.
  • The Banned From Utopia (line-up as per Zappanale, with Ray White, Robert Martin, Chad Wackerman and Scott Thunes et al) will play the Zappa Union in Oslo in March next year. Before then, there's the 'Zappa - Nordic Wind Festival' featuring The Norwegian Wind Ensemble in Oslo. Dates and more deets in the Diary.
  • Alex Dahl has added a new page to his FZ Life On The Road site, covering the late 1976 band with (and without) Bianca. Here's the link.
  • Guranfoe (formerly Gumbo Variation) have posted their Live At Brighton Electric performance from August on YouTube. You can also stream or download the gig via Bandcamp.
  • Looks like the release of the Over-Nite Sensation 50th anniversary box set has been delayed a few weeks. Hopefully this doesn't make it less likely we'll see any special release marking the 30th anniversary of Frank's passing in December.
  • Ahmet has another new business venture, named after his children. Halos & Arrows is "a new hyper-curated and exclusive pop culture destination," offering large-scale, museum-quality prints for sale. Among the "rad & rare limited-editions" are a late 60s snap of FZ and this Mothers 1971 concert ticket.
  • Grab your copy of The Mother People Anthology Vol. 2 here.
  • Coming to the US this Record Store Day Black Friday (24 November) is a 45th anniversary deluxe edition of Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band's Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller). This limited edition 2LP vinyl set features the original album, plus an additional LP with twelve previously unreleased demos, rough mixes and alternate versions from the Shiny Beast-era. Read all about it here.
  • As y'all know (from The Real FZ Book and elsewhere), Dee Snider and John Denver both spoke out at the PMRC Senate hearings alongside FZ in 1985. The Twisted Sister front man recently saw Alex Winter's Zappa documentary and noted, "It repeatedly said Frank was the only one who stood up! I found myself sitting in my living room with my hand raised. ‘Excuse me…'" He added, "Frank was amazing to hang with on the day and, having subsequently spoken with some of his children, I was informed he thought highly of me. I’m not offended by the omission. Frank’s kids are incredibly proud of their dad and just wanted to shine a light on him."

Added week-ending 1 October 2023:

  • Moon Unit is brother Ahmet's special guest on his latest Rocktails podcast. Listen here. (Or, if you live outside the UK, you may be able to watch it all here. There's a 30 second reel on Instagram for anyone interested.)
  • The new The 500 with Josh Adam Meyers podcast features Ahmet Zappa - supposedly talking about Freak Out! - here. (He actually talks a lot more about other things, but an entertaining listen nonetheless.)
  • Terry Kirkman, who played with FZ and The Boogie Men circa 1960-61 and went on to form The Association, recently passed away. Read more here. And over here also (on his assocation with FZ).
  • Here's Sofa #2 from Valentina Ciardelli's new 'homage to irreverence' chamber music project, performed at Trinity Laban earlier this week. They also performed The Dangerous Kitchen and Your Mouth during the workshop. The trio are going into the studio to record a full album in the new year.
  • The Idiot's Online Shop has knocked a couple of quid off the price of my Zappa's London pocket map. Read all about it here.
  • Further to last week's news regarding tenor saxophonist Jeff Hollie: he is part of a new trio called HBH, which comprises himself, drummer Armin Beck and pianist Fred Händl. Look out for more on them soon!
  • Not sure how I missed this - from over a year ago - but Lizzy Jagger had to have the old Zappa home on Woodrow Wilson fumigated. It wasn't even reported in one of her then step-father's rags!
  • As some may have noticed, this Idiot now has a TikTok account. I also quite like the girl band HAIM (hey, ain't I hip and trendy?). Anyway, they recently lip-synched to Valley Girl - and here it is on the afore-mentioned online video sharing social networking service.
  • Just in time for Christmas comes official FZ biographer Alan Clayson's career spanning compilation album, Ancient and Modern: Highlights of Half-a-Century. Pre-order here. (No update on the bio's publication, by the way.)

Added week-ending 24 September 2023:

  • Joe's Garage saxist Jeff Hollie will be ZERO's special guest at the ZaDoppa Nacht in October. Jeff will also be playing with Fred Händl at Mosae Zappa the following month.
  • Zappawoman Valentina Ciardelli has been appointed double bass Professor by the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. Read all about it here. Valentina will be taking part in Absolutely Free / Hommage to irreverence in Music - a new chamber music perspective in the Peacock Room at Trinity Laban, King Charles Court, Old Royal Naval College, London on Tuesday 26 September.

Added week-ending 17 September 2023:

  • Here's part two of the Broadway The Hard Way album deep dive from the Poodle Bites on YouTube. (Part one is here.)
  • Frank's Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster guitar (used on the first few Mothers' albums) will be up for grabs via Julien's Auctions in November. Check out this YouTube vid.
  • Chanan Hanspal has spoken with Steve Vai again: this time they talk about Alien Orifice and Steve's transcription of the Roxy & Elsewhere album. Go here.
  • There's a silver ring reputedly worn by FZ and a couple of handwritten scores up for grabs in The Rock & Roll Americana Auction at the Gotta Have Rock And Roll auction house.
  • The original G3 (Joe SatrianiEric Johnson and Steve Vai) are reuniting and will tour together early next year.
  • Cleopatra Records are about to issue two new albums by supergroup The Fusion Syndicate. Firstly (this week) comes Speedway On Saturn's Rings, then Beautiful Horizon follows in November. These feature performances by the likes of John Etheridge, Chad Wackerman, Randy Brecker, Chester Thompson, Robby Krieger and many other similar luminaries.
  • I have recently ensured all of my books, plus the CDs I curated for Cordelia Records, are in stock in my little webshop. I have also migrated all of the old info on the CDs from my old site here to Zappa News, and the page for the 21 Burnt Weeny Sandwiches album now includes links to the 21st track and a version of Valarie by my dear departed friend Gamma (with help from Buzzo); I have also created a visulaizer video for John Tabacco's track.
  • The 8th Zappadan Zappa Jam will take place (as usual) at the Acton Garden Village Association in London on 8 December 2023. London Zappa Collective will host the event and the band's main man Mike Fox says, "We hope to have lots of guest players and possibly guest bands. If you would like to join in please get in touch. Of course, if you just want to come along and enjoy the party, you will be made very welcome." One guest band has already stepped forward: the Dan Spanner Trio will play a set of Zappa material.

Added week-ending 10 September 2023:

  • In response to uDiscoverMusic.com announcing the 50th anniversary Over-Nite Sensation set, one 'Dweezil Zappa' wrote about FZ's original intent for the material on Over-Nite and Apostrophe (plus tracks that later ended up on Läther and The Lost Episodes). This double-album project was apparently to have been named The World’s Greatest Sensation. UPDATE: Dweezil says the comment (now deleted) was NOT written by him: "I don’t have anything to do with the releases or promotion. It’s some jackass pretending to be me or a bot or a promotional ploy by the label, or all of the above. Either way it wasn’t me." How annoying. Apologies to the Dweez for any upset inadvertently caused by all this old bollocks.
  • Warren Cuccurullo makes a guest appearance on two tracks from Duran Duran's Halloween-themed Danse Macabre album, to be released on 27 October.
  • Former Magic Band guitarist Gary Lucas has been added to the line-up for Mosae Zappa in November.
  • The 30-piece Zappa Orchestra are playing the H4 Festival at Santa-Monica-Platz in Hamm, Germany this Friday (8 September). Free admission! Details here.
  • Robert Martin will be the special guest of Sinister Sister at the Zappa event at Bozar in December. More deets here.
  • GoldmanT (who is hoping to get perfect renditions of Republicans and Pink Napkins on cello and bass clarinet - see w/e 20.08.23 below, or go here to help him), has used NotePerformer technology and several hours to become the Wallander Chamber Orchestra and performed this version of Naval Aviation In Art?
  • Chester Thompson has a new album out, on Bandcamp, on 1 October. Wake-up Call features Scheila Gonzalez on one track.
  • Following the Zappa Cruise survey, the ZappaCast team has now asked for thoughts on it having a Patreon.
  • Ensemble Modern is currently touring Europe (including London's Wigmore Hall) with Sir George Benjamin: the concerts feature Edgard Varèse's Octandre. Details here.

Added week-ending 3 September 2023:

  • The Vegetarians have covered the Village People classic YMCA, with Napoleon Murphy Brock handling the vocals. Hang out with all the boys here.
  • The Wrong Object will be playing at Mosae Zappa festival in November.
  • Frank talks unions and plays guitar in this new vid from the always excellent Poodle Bites.
  • Available on Bandcamp is a collaboration between Mike Keneally and multi-instrumentalist Marcelo Radulovich. The pair last worked together over twenty years ago on Mike's excellent 'acoustic album' Wooden Smoke. It's a 24-minute instrumental collection called MONDAY - "the opening salvo of an ongoing collaboration, as we also have an album of songs with vocals in the works," explains Mike.
  • The Whole Man Bird Fireball Thing (a medley comprising I Wanna Be Your Man, What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body?, Free as a Bird and Fireball XL5) recorded by The Thurston Lava Tube in 2007, has finally been remixed and uploaded for your listening/streaming/downloading pleasure on that there Bandcamp.

Added week-ending 27 August 2023:

  • Peter over at United Mutations happened upon this great clip of Z playing at the Dynamo Open Air festival in Holland 30 years ago. Watch the band (Ahmet, Dweezil, Scott Thunes, Mike Keneally and Joe Travers) rip through The Medley.
  • A five disc (4CD/1 Blu-ray audio) Over-Nite Sensation: 50th Anniversary Edition will be released by Universal on 3 November. It includes studio outtakes plus live material from the Hollywood Palladium (where Ricky Lancelotti made a guest appearance) and Cobo Hall concerts, both featuring the Mothers with Jean-Luc Ponty and Sal Marquez. The first preview track is (aptly) Fifty-Fifty (basic tracks, take 7).
  • The fabulous Z3 have a new album, Filibuster For Frank, up on Bandcamp.

Added week-ending 20 August 2023:

  • Here's a video update from Dweezil on what he's been up to since 2020. He says he hopes to hit the road again in 2024, if it's financially viable.
  • ZappaaCast Episode #62: The History And Collected Improvisations Of The Mothers Of Invention: Epilogue.
  • Zappateer GoldmanT has a dream: to get perfect renditions of two of FZ's air sculptures (Republicans and Pink Napkins) on cello and bass clarinet, respectively. He has set up a GoFundMe page so that the musicians can be paid for their efforts. If you'd like to help him realise his dream, go here.
  • Great little article on the late Jim Gordon which focusses on his contribution to the Imaginary Diseases album.
  • Alex Dahl has been tweaking his Life On The Road website: "I've got a new page on the 1976 Pacific/European Tour, and I've updated and corrected a bunch of things, like I've included info on Funky Nothingness, a review (with YouTube link) of the newly discovered Boston '69 show and I've added a lot of extra detail to the late '71 show reviews."

Added week-ending 13 August 2023:

  • The Mother People Anthology, Volume 2 is available to pre-order from Scott Parker's website. It covers issues 14-26 of the 80s fanzine, created and edited by Rob Cerreta. Publishes on 1 October.
  • I am constantly updating and expanding my self-published Zappa FUQs eBook, which currently stands at just over 30,000 words. Topics covered include Beverly D’Angelo, Hot Rats, London Hot Spots, The Sloatmans, The Real Rubén, Dweezil, Zappa's Women, Vincent Beldon, 200 Motels, Joni Mitchell, Shirley-Ann, Drafted, Pee-wee Herman and Nervous Norvus. If you have previously purchased a copy, the download link should be unchanged (let me know if you need a reminder). Otherwise, why not grab yourself a copy now? Look here.
  • The Poodle Bites (formerly The Aaron Channel on YouTube) has posted this bonus episode of its now four part trilogy of videos taking a deep dive into the Broadway The Hard Way album. Chapter One is here.
  • The Furious Bongos (who were great a Zappanale BTW) are playing a bunch of US dates in October with Chad Wackerman on drums - details in the Diary. The band also plan to come back to Europe April/May 2024.
  • Enrico Iorio wrote this article about Moon Unit for his local online newspaper. (In Italian, but easily translated in this day and ago, right?)

Added week-ending 6 August 2023:

  • Don Preston on Facebook: "Well folks, a few days ago my heart stoped for 6 seconds. One more second and I would be dead! I had a pacemaker installed and WOW! I can now live another 90 years. Yeeeeaaaah." Here's hoping he does! Be well, Don.
  • Alice Stuart - singer, songwriter and guitarist in a very early incarnation of the Mothers Of Invention (circa 64/5) - has sadly passed away. In a recent interview, she said of her brief tenure with Frank, "I was really trying to go in a different direction at that point. He wanted me to continue playing acoustic guitar, and he wanted to play things around the Delta stuff that I was playing. The Mothers were a blues band then, and I wanted to start playing electric guitar, so we just basically had different ideas. He was obviously a go-getter, and it just made me think maybe I could do whatever I wanted to do." She went on to work with the likes of Albert King and Van Morrison.
  • The Drum Channel recently interviewed Aynsley Dunbar about his illustrious career - including, of course, his tenure with FZ.
  • New book, Drums & Demons: The Tragic Journey of Jim Gordon by Joel Selvin, will be published in March 2024.

Added week-ending 30 July 2023:

  • Samuel R. Howard finds the beat in Echidna's Arf.
  • The fifth Funky Nothingness video is up on YouTube and again features Ian Underwood.
  • Robert Martin (on Facebook): "One week ago, my Zappa alumni buddies and I were getting ready to take the stage as the headliner, the final performance on the main stage at Zappanale 2023. We were in good spirits, raring to go, feeling well prepared and excited to crank some Frank for the always appreciative Zappanale fans. And we played a show that had to be one of the best we've ever done as individuals and as a group endeavour as well. I have to say, it was freaking magic, and I am grateful to have participated in it and contributed to it." See what he means here.
  • 200 Motels - The Suites will once again be performed in France by the Nice Philharmonic OrchestraThe Headshakers and the Percussions de Strasbourg - but this time in Nice rather than Paris, where it was performed in 2018. Details here.
  • Brazilian FZ tribute band Let's Zappalin' have a new album on Spotify, One Size To Save A Drowning Witch.

Added week-ending 23 July 2023:

  • Two new albums featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock are about to be readily available: Dimention(i)s Mat(t)er by Inventionis Mater; and Bad Doberan & Elsewhere by NMB & Ensemble Musikfabrik.
  • Those of us signed up to the official UMe/Zappa mailing list just got an email: "The Zappa team has been thinking about creating a new Frank Zappa immersive experience to bring this community together, and we're thinking that a cruise vacation might be the best way to do that. In order to do this right, we want to build this together. So please sound off on the below survey what would make this event the vacation of a lifetime. Take The Survey."
  • Zappanale #32 was a total blast - as I knew it would be. My personal highlights were Orange Claw Hammer, Billy Cobham (who'll be 80 next year?!?), Jon Anderson and Paul Green Rock Academy, the Furious Bongos and, of course, Banned From Utopia: despite Scott Thunes protestations to the contrary, they were that good!
  • Check out Samuel R. Howard's St Alfonzo score analysis here.
  • The All New Frankly Don't-Wop Duo's rendition of Let's Make The Water Turn Black (which they performed at Zappanale) is available from Bandcamp here.
  • Shedloads of new dates in the Diary - including Mosae Zappa, Treacherous Cretins featuring Robert Martin and next year's Zappanale!
  • Funky Nothingness Episode 4 was recorded during the album's release party.

Added week-ending 16 July 2023:

  • Steve Vai talks Zappa - with Chanan Hanspal.
  • A few moments with Roxy & Elsehwere's Brenda Starr Light.
  • Peter Occhiogrosso has penned this blog about The Real Frank Zappa Audiobook.
  • Italian progressive jazz rock band Spirale have released their version of Blessed Relief on streaming platforms: it's a teaser from their forthcoming FZ tribute album.

Added week-ending 9 July 2023:

  • Chanan Hanspal's latest video looks at Steve Vai's Talking Guitar and Insane Tuplets!
  • The new Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra album is out. Grab it from Bandcamp or the Cordelia Record Shop. And here's a chat with ZERO's head honcho, Kevin Crosby.
  • The Stinkfoot Orchestra recently bumped into Brenda, the 'professional harlot' from Roxy & Elsewhere.
  • Quite a few 2024 dates in the Diary already, plus a bunch coming up shortly.
  • For those who missed the Funky Nothingness ZappaCast livestream, here it is on YouTube. Mention is made of 'Moldred'; Frank suggested this as the name for the unborn child of a San Franciscan couple during a phone-in on KCBS radio in 1984!

Added week-ending 2 July 2023:

  • The third ‘making of’ Funky Nothingness vid is here.

  • The Aaron Channel wishes y'all a happy Independence Day, with a little help from Frank.

  • Here's a great review of Pygmy Twylyte's recent gig in Manchester.

Added week-ending 25 June 2023:

  • Jan Akkerman has removed Zappanale from his list of 'Upcoming Dates' and Napoleon Murphy Brock & Hamburg Jazz Trio will now headline the main stage on Friday (14 July).
  • Frank's 'buxom red-haired companion', Lorraine Belcher, could use some help. Please do so if you're able.
  • Pasadena’s Los Angeles College of Music (LACM) will create a posthumous drumming scholarship in honour of Ralph Humphrey. LACM will be holding a memorial at its Pasadena campus in late August where details will be announced.
  • Check out Chad Wackerman preparing for his upcoming gigs with Banned From Utopia on Instagram.
  • A few months back, Denny Sanders posted his tape of  The Mothers with Roland Kirk at The Boston Globe Jazz Festival on SoundCloud. Here it is. (Thanks to Tim!)
  • Just added to SoundCloud (but recorded several years ago), Short Wave; Long Haul by Tom Walsh and N.O.M.A. -featuring Don Preston.
  • Alex Dahl has just published a new page on his on Life On The Road website covering FZ's Fall 1975 North American and Yugoslavian tours. Here's the link.

Added week-ending 18 June 2023:

  • It appears that former Focus guitarist Jan Akkerman has been drafted in to replace Gong at Zappanale next month. Wow!
  • The second 'making of' Funky Nothingness video features Ian Underwood.
  • Dweezil is featured on the track Is My Dick Enough? from Steel Panther's latest album, On The Prowl.
  • Nugs.net now has 96 FZ titles available to stream or download. These are all Official Releases, of which only the soundtrack to The Torture Never Stops (the Halloween 1981 MTV show) is an apparent oddity, in that it has never previously been available in this audio-only format before. The Zappa In New York 40th anniversary edition appears to have most of the tracks on Disc 5 missing, but this is likely down to shoddy admin. All a bit odd, really.
  • Mark Volman has revealed he was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia in 2020. In spite of this, it's business as usual for Flo, who is quoted as saying, “I got hit by the knowledge that this was going to create a whole new part of my life. And I said, ‘OK, whatever’s going to happen will happen, but I’ll go as far as I can.’”
  • The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University has acquired a collection of artwork, memorabilia and personal effects from Cynthia Plaster Caster including, of course, many of her casts. More here. As was reported after her passing, Pamela Des Barres is now working on completing Cynthia's autobiography. But first, Miss Pamela needs to finish writing her own third memoir.
  • Composer Steve McAllister"s first album under his own name, I Hope You Are Okay, features six-string contributions from Mike Keneally and XTC's Dave Gregory. More detail over at United Mutations.

Added week-ending 11 June 2023:

  • Read my review of Mark Volman's new autobiography here.
  • Here Chanan Hanspal talks about incidences where Frank's music sounds like someone else's.
  • In December, to mark the 30th anniversary of FZ's passing, Bozar (Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels) will present a two-day programme of talks, concerts and films. Details to follow. 
  • Part 3 of the History and Collected Improvs ZappaCast now available here
  • Latest video from The Aaron Channel is about FZ & Ted Nugent
  • In an interview with Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler in the Sunday Times Magazine, coinciding with his new memoir Into The Void, the article says one of the only nights in the band’s 49-year career he will concede got seriously 'weird' was when they celebrated FZ’s birthday watching him administer champagne enemas to naked women doing handstands in a restaurant! Funny that neither Ozzy Osbourne nor Tony Iommi mention this is their respective tomes.
  • Loads more stuff added to the Bastard's Diary.
  • One-time Mother Del Casher has an album, just out on Bandcamp.

Added week-ending 4 June 2023:

  • Another preview track now available from Funky Nothingness: listen to Khaki Sack on YouTube.
  • Impromptu Improvisations - Vol. #1 by ZAPPATiKA is now available to stream/purchase on Bandcamp and view on YouTube.
  • In August, Devin Townsend will release Devolution #3 – Empath Live In America, featuring Mike Keneally and Morgan Ågren.
  • The Banned From Utopia will play four warm-up shows at the Baked Potato in July ahead of their headline appearance at Zappanale. See Diary for dates. Regarding use of the BFU band name, Scott Thunes wrote on Reddit: "The Zappa Band is not and probably won’t be again. Since we couldn’t get Joe to travel to Europe for a one-off and Mike K had to leave to play with Devin Townsend, we lost our name. I don’t care what we’re called as long as I get to play this music."
  • Listen to The Vegetarians performing Eff-Zee's The Torture Never Stops here.
  • A whole bunch of official Zappa releases are now appearing at nugs.net for download/streaming.
  • In a few days, my old website at www.idiotbastard.com will cease to be. This means all of the interviews and reviews (including those for numerous Zappanales) will disappear. Obviously everything has been archived in The IBS Vault, and some of the interviews have already been posted here at Zappa News. But if you want to see anything in particular, drop me a line. The Festival Moo-ah website is also now under the wing of Webador, and has even kept the same URL (unlike this news site).

Added week-ending 28 May 2023:

  • Sadly, Gong will not now be playing Zappanale in July, so the Arf Society is looking for a replacement. Favourites are Magma and Hawkwind. But Wishbone Ash will be in Germany around then. Vote for who you'd like to see in my Twitter Poll.
  • Watch Dweezil play Van Halen's Eruption on the Kramer Star guitar here. Edward Van Halen gave him the guitar in 1982 and DZ used the guitar, "to record My Mother Is A Space Cadet, and it was also the guitar I used when I first played onstage with my dad at the London Hammersmith Odeon."
  • New video from Chanan Hanspal, dissecting possibly the funkiest solo George Duke ever played.
  • Alex Dahl tells me he's, "uploaded 7 or 8 more pages on Life On The Road covering all of 1974 and into 1975, including new pages on the Bongo Fury Tour and Frank's 60s and 70s classical concerts." Go check it out!
  • Pete List was tasked with shooting some stop motion animation for the Bizarre World Of Frank Zappa 'hologram' tour. Check out his work for the Dinah-Moe Humm sequence on his webpage here.
  • Congrats to Josh Freese, who now formally sits atop the Foo Fighters' vacant drum stool. Josh was of course the drummer on Dweezil's Confessions album and his first tour (with Ahmet, Thunes and Keneally) in 1991. Other Zappa/Foo Fighters connections: Steve Vai's hands appear in their Studio 666 film, and the band's producer, Greg Kurstin, went to school with Dweezil and plays on his My Mother Is A Space Cadet single (he also co-wrote the b-side).
  • Short Q&A with Mike Keneally here, covering his Zappa years and more.

Added week-ending 21 May 2023:

  • And now on TheAaronChannel: a Funky Nothingness deep dive, with guest Idiot!
  • FZ's catalogue of decades of live performances are coming to nugs.net to stream or download. The Zappa launch has just commenced with all 21 of the Beat The Boots series. The Torture Never Stops video soundtrack is also there - with a lot more to be added soon, apparently. Be here now!
  • Here's a blast from the past: Gerry Fialka produced this 1997 concert with Tommy Mars & Suzy Williams at Canter's (where FZ hung out years ago) doing musical magic, including Yo Cats.
  • To celebrate the return of Steve Vai to the UK this week, here's my interview with him from 1997!
  • Irish fiddler Seán Keane, long time core member of The Chieftains, sadly passed away recently. Seán can be seen in the 'Salad Party' home video and also plays on the tracks recorded by the band at UMRK that gave FZ so much pleasure towards the end of his life.

Added week-ending 14 May 2023:

  • The Percussive Arts Society posted this nice blog about the late Ralph Humphrey, with some quotes from Ruth Underwood.
  • Zappacast Episode #60: The History And Collected Improvisations Of The Mothers Of Invention, Vol. 2.
  • New 'making of' Funky Nothingness video, Part One.
  • First gig for 2024 in the Diary - the CBSO to spank some Frank in Brum.
  • Don't expect the Banned From Utopia to perform The Illinois Enema Bandit at Zappanale this year. Scott Thunes (on Reddit) says, "Ray White doesn’t wanna do it anymore because he feels that the song takes actual sexual assault far too lightly and he believes the original survivors probably don’t take too kindly to the fact that this song exists at all."
  • During lockdown, Orchestra Of The Swan started issuing mixtape albums featuring it's renditions of music ranging from Bowie and Bach to Rameau and Radiohead. It's latest album, Echoes, mixes compositions by Lou Reed, Portishead, Philip Glass, FZ and more. Artistic Director David Le Page says, "Although you can listen to each track in isolation, Echoes is - first and foremost - a complete journey; the way a work ends and another begins is designed to create a frisson, a jolt of recognition or a feeling of surprise and satisfaction." The Zappa piece is Ali N. Askin's arrangement of Peaches En Regalia. Look here for more. David told me, "Next season I’m planning a concert with the title 'Revolutionaries, Renegades and Visionaries' in which I’d like to include a version of The Black Page #1."
  • Coming in June: Impromptu Improvisations Volume #1 by ZAPPATiKA, a collection of live solos from over a decade of live shows. Features Ike Willis, Denny Walley, Craig 'Twister' Steward, Jeff Hollie and many more.

Added week-ending 7 May 2023:

  • In possibly Ralph Humphrey's last interview, he revealed that UMe will release a 1973 Australian gig to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Over-Nite Sensation. [UPDATE from the Vaultmeister: "Not gonna happen."]
  • Some highlights from the Stinkfoot Orchestra's show with Ike Willis last week here.
  • Not exactly 'news' (it's been on-the-line for a couple of years and had over 2k views), but it is unlisted and may be new to some of you: it's a vid of the 2016 Prague Proms Orchestra En Regalia concert featuring Ian UnderwoodScott Thunes and sternly accomplished others playing musics by FZ with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Hit it!
  • Steve Vai led a rendition of Hey Joe with 7,967 other guitarists in Wroclaw, Poland on 1 May as part of the town’s annual 'Thanks Jimi' festival. Video here.
  • Funky Nothingness is now available to pre-order from Amazon UK here. The Vaultmeister says we'll get two more 'singles' before release, but these need to meet UMe's requirements as regards length - so don't expect any monster jams! I have just created a Spotify playlist of the originals covered on the album here.
  • Eddie Jobson has announced the first worldwide release of the U.K. live album Curtain Call later this month.
  • Peter Lewis of Moby Grape has issued the track Frank Zappa's Ghost from his upcoming album Imagination. He says it "was one of those songs that came to me in a dream. What I woke up hearing was the hook - the part where I sing 'Franks Zappa's ghost' with the underlying chords. The rest was pretty much crafted. The idea of adding The Rite Of Spring section as a bridge was to bring in an ethereal/contrasting mood to the arrangement, like something Zappa might do."

Added week-ending 30 April 2023:

  • Sadly Ralph Humphrey lost his battle with cancer last Sunday. May he rest in peace.
  • The AMM All-Stars version of Lumpy Gravy is suddenly available to buy on CD from the Idiot's Web Shop here. To celebrate this, the Idiot has reduced the prices of several other items - check out these Special Offers.
  • My interview with FZ's road manager Dick Barber, which we started last summer, is finally ready for your mince pies. Get down on it here.
  • Hopefully y'all tuned in to the FZ Great Lives episode on BBC Radio 4 (it's now up on BBC Sounds if not). Well, here's Deb Grant's Big Issue article mentioned therein.
  • Here Chanan Hanspal shows us how to play Steve Vai's impossible guitar parts in Moggio. Piece of piss!
  • I was saddened to learn of the passing of Roland St. Germain, who was the musical director for the Austin Grandmothers and producer of Dreams On Long Playthe only album by that incarnation of the group. He was with the Grannies "until a couple of sudden involuntary personnel changes before the tour for that album turned what was a magical group into a supreme miscarriage of music. The only choice I could make was to walk away from that intergalactic slop." I hope he now rests in peace.

Added week-ending 23 April 2023:

  • The next FZ release from UMe will be Funky Nothingness, which features a cover of Hank Ballard's Work With Me Annie/Annie Had A Baby sung by Sugarcane Harris. Release date 30 June 2023. Full details here. An Idiot notes: the "bluesy, stripped-down" title track is believed to be an alternate name for Motorhead's Boogie, which was originally slated to appear on Chunga's Revenge; Vincent and Tommy are of course Frank and Dunbar's middle names.
  • The Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra - comprising John Parkinson, Sam Ward, Fred Händl, Niclas Lychou, and (of course) Kevin Crosby - will be playing the Zappanacht in Heubach, Germany on 14 October.
  • Through correspondence with Art Tripp I learned that Ralph Humphrey was unwell last year (Art had tried to arrange an interview with Ralph for me). But when he appeared with his ToNight Only...Band at the Baked Potato last October, I assumed he was on the mend. Sadly, that has proven not to be the case as he has just announced that he is entering hospice care. He posted on Facebook, "What I can say about impending death is that it can be done with grace, gratitude, joy, and acceptance. Giving up teaching and playing has been one of the hardest, however. Thank you to all for giving me the pleasure of experiencing music with you. Music is a gift and I have had so many of those gifts." My thoughts go out to him and his loved ones. So glad I got to see him in action at Zappanale in 2013: tremendous drummer.
  • The Aaron Channel on YouTube takes a deep dive into the Broadway The Hard Way album - Chapter One. Honestly, someone should write a book about that tour!
  • AMM All-Star Ben Watson has splashed out and gotten the band's rendition of Lumpy Gravy professionally pressed up on compact disc. Get yerselves moist by checking out their performance at Zappanale here. Then watch Ben's unboxing video here

Added week-ending 16 April 2023:

  • The subject of the next few ZappaCasts is the unreleased (and likely to remain that way) History And Collected Improvisations Of The Mothers Of Invention - which, in Gail Zappa's words, Frank "thoroughly dissected and resectioned...resequenced and recollected into other existing releases." Here’s the first one, in which the unreleased track Shirley-Ann is mentioned; here's a short article I put together about the lady in question.
  • A revised paperback, plus first edition hardback, of Jimmy Carl Black's memoir, For Mother's Sake, are now available from Amazon. There is also an e-Book version up for grabs at Smashwords.
  • Arthur Barrow has posted new music to Bandcamp: "This track is inspired by music that Frank Zappa started writing in early 1979. He called it Saddle Bags but never finished it, so it is not in his catalogue. A couple of bits of it ended up in other songs, but that's it. I had always thought the ideas he came up with were very cool, and that it would be a shame to see them go to waste. So I borrowed some of his ideas about texture, and inverted or otherwise changed the melodic parts to create Subtle Bugs. Hope you like it!" Composed, performed, produced, and mixed by Arthur. Mastered by Bob Rice.
  • Universal Music has just issued its first monthly Zappa newsletter: a “one-stop shop for all the latest happenings in the Zappaverse,” it says. Check it out here. Go to Zappa.com to subscribe to future email updates.

Added week-ending 9 April 2023:

  • Kudos to those who got more than the contestant's 8 correct answers on Monday's Mastermind. For the record, I got 11 out of 12, having tripped up on the first question. Watch it here. Not sure what's happening at the Beeb, but FZ will next be the subject of Radio 4's Great Lives on 25 April (presented by Zappa fan/comedian, John Robins). And I understand he will be Radio 3's Composer Of The Week before too much longer.
  • Henry Kaiser has once again paid tribute to FZ and Captain Beefheart (the latter with help from Drumbo) - check this out.
  • Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins' Live at Mama Kin is suddenly available on Bandcamp. Previously only physically obtainable as part of the super deluxe edition of Sluggo!, the album features covers of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song and FZ's Inca Roads, as well as a bunch of great originals.

Added week-ending 2 April 2023:

  • FZ is one of the specialist subjects on this coming Monday’s Mastermind semi-final on BBC2.
  • The ‘iconic photographic images of Robert Davidson’ are now on display at the Kommüne coffee shop in Totnes – including, of course, his Zappa on the crapper snaps (three in lenticular form). Robert’s I Shot Frank Zappa book is now available in soft and hardback.
  • More Mudd Club footage – this time it's, er, Mudd Club.
  • Watch Eric Clapton talk about FZ here (about 35 minutes in).
  • Lorra new dates in the new Diary.

Added week-ending 26 March 2023:

  • J Warner: Here’s the first of two promo videos I recently cut for the new Frank Zappa Mudd Club/Munich release!”
  • SPB Publishing has just published The Mother People Anthology, Volume 1 – which is the first 13 issues of Rob Cerreta's ‘Mother People’ fanzine (which ran from 1981 to 1989) in book form. “It's a time capsule, custom-made for anyone who wonders what it was like to be a Frank Zappa fan in the 1980s.”
  • Interesting interview here with Timothy Carey’s son, Romeo, on how his father discovered FZ. Towards the end, he talks about the recordings he has of Frank scoring The World's Greatest Sinner; hope he can get together with Ahmet to discuss this some more
  • Al 'Butzis' Malkin will perform a stand-up routine this coming Sunday before a 40th anniversary screening of Rodney Dangerfield’s 1983 film Easy Money at the St George Theatre, Staten Island, NY. Details.
  • Mark Volman is following in his partner Howard Kaylan’s footsteps with a biography of his own – Happy Forever: My Musical Adventures With The Turtles, Frank Zappa, T. Rex, Flo & Eddie, And More. Co-authored by John Cody, who “interviewed over a hundred of Mark’s friends, lovers, family and more, and covered a whole lot of ground. This is not a typical biography at all. The story is told via those voices, with Mark offering comments along the way.” The book will be published by Jawbone Press in June. Read about it here. And in the meantime, why not re-read my interview with Flo here.

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