20 Extraordinary Renditions
Official Release #1 (2008)
Throughout 2007, this Idiot Bastard, in conjunction with Cordelia Records (www.cordeliarecords.co.uk), was busy putting together a CD of 20 different versions of Frank Zappa’s The Idiot Bastard Son to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of the release of the album it first appeared on (We’re Only In It For The Money). January 2008 also happened to be when my fiftieth birthday happened. Well, we didn’t quite manage to get it together in time, but it’s readily available now.
Here’s some juicy details of the twenty artistes involved – most of whom recorded versions especially for this project:
DIE BEISTELLTISCHE – who provided a special edit of the track from their excellent Zappa-a-capella ‘Kill Ugly Radio’ CD.
Personnel: Steffen Grill (vocal); Hannes Kaiser (vocal); Marcus Beyer (vocal); Christoph Winter (vocal); Christoph Dreßler (vocal).
JERRY OUTLAW – “The piano and strings were done by Ross Jobson and the bass guitar was done by Alex Pasut, both from Bogus Pomp. This final version was recorded at Ross Jobson's home on 14 July 2007. I did all the guitars at Mindshaft studios with my good friend and engineer Bill Ehrsam. All the guitars were finished on 30 July and the final mix was completed on 31 July, engineered and mixed by Bill Ehrsam and Jerry Outlaw at Mindshaft studios. I used my Carvin C-980 acoustic guitar and my fabulous old (1981) Kramer Pacer electric guitar.”
Personnel: Jerry Outlaw (guitars); Ross Jobson (piano and strings); Alex Pasut (bass); Bill Ehrsam (engineer).
THE VEGETARIANS – arranged by Hans Annellsson & John Marshall. Recorded in the Summer of 2007 at Annellssongs & John's place.
Personnel: John Marshall (all vocals & lead guitar); Hans Annellsson (drums, keyboards, guitars & bass).
OLDGREYGOAT AND HIS GIRLS – Muffin Man Roddie Gilliard (for it is he) said “dunno what I wuz trying to do, but it just kinda happened organically”. Recorded in Cumbria and Liverpool, UK. Produced at Megala Spilia, Crete. Mixed in a jar, July 2007.
Personnel: Roddie Gilliard; Jigsaw the Goat; unknown opera singer; the skull and bones of a Lakeland fell sheep.
ENSEMBLE AMBROSIUS – from their wondrous BIS Records ‘The Zappa Album’ CD, arranged by Olli Virtaperko.
Personnel: Topi Lehtipuu (lead vocal); Matti Vanhamäki (baroque violins 1 & 3); Tuomo Suni (baroque violin 2); Josu Moisio (baroque oboe); Jani Sunnarborg (obor da caccia); Jonte Knif (dulcimer); Ere Lievonen (organ); Tuukka Terho (archlute); Olli Virtaperko (baroque cello, vocal).
FREEDOM IN HATS – “Godforsakenmotherf*ckinacidhousecountrygospel!” with a Captain Beef-harp and echoes of the Alabama 3. Recorded on 16 September 2007 – in one take.
Personnel: The Rev Freedom (acoustic guitar, vocal); Diablo (blues harp).
EVIL DICK & THE BANNED MEMBERS – a backwards version recorded in Bathroomverb.
Personnel: Evil Dick (percussive impulses, ‘psychotic gnome’ vocal); Little Pete (low rumblings, high ceilings); Jools Street (guitar, violin, musical ability); Brettany Bassoon (tooting, parping, non-melodic noodling); Anne Bowden (fluttery flute, fear of hidden microphones in the bathroom).
THE FOOLZ – an acoustic version recorded on Wednesday 8 August just after Zappanale #18 (the plan was to record a version at the festival in Big Blue, with the Zappateers singing along; I fear attempts were thwarted by Lübzer beer!). This version was produced by keyboard man, Wan.
Personnel: Pedro Steneker (bass); Lex Kemper (guitar); Wan Kemper (melodica); Remco Aalhuizen (air guitar).
JOHN TABACCO – “The 2007 version FZ might have sang if he were here with us today.”
Personnel: John Tabacco (everything).
DOOT! – due to his recent abduction by the Dick Chin Mafia, JoJo Nodraggin was not able to participate. But the project went ahead, unabated, and the DOOT! MicroAkestra carried the day.
Personnel: Stephen Chillemi (percussion, soprano sax, vibraphone, thingamagoop synth, vocals); Annemarieke Blondel-Schoonderwaldt (modified viola); Pete Brunelli (composition, engineering).
NIGEY LENNON – recorded by John Tabacco on 30th October 2007. Produced (“if such a simple track is actually ‘produced’ as opposed to merely recorded”) by Nigey Lennon. Lyrics by Nigey Lennon and Eric Weaver.
Personnel: Nigey Lennon (vocal, arrangement, programming); Jay Rozen (tuba); Eric Weaver (cameo vocal); John Tabacco (recording, minimal programming, mixing on Halloween 2007); David Walley (last laugh).
THE FRAZKNAPP FUSION PROJECT – a half remarkable production, recorded in every possible place they could find (The Jack, 4-Che, The Lab, The Mill - Devon, UK) between August and September 2007.
Personnel: Fraizer Knapp (drums – www.frazknapp.com / www.myspace.com/frazprojects); Jay Marcus (guitars); Edward Newton (bass); Kieran Hennessy (turntablist – www.myspace.com/weztax); Chris Moxey (vox – www.myspace.com/unknownmf); Bob Knapp & USA crew (overseas samples); Guy Harrop (photography - www.guyharrop.com).Thanks to: Paul Darch/Jim Dunstone/Joel Tucker/Cordelia Records/Andrew Greenaway/Frank Zappa!
The Idiot Bastard Son Interpretation
The father figure had a swastika tattoo hidden away, in congress today.
The mum’s a prostitute, flaunts her birthday suit, she’s a destitute down town hooker.
His empty arrogance, his low intelligence, no benevolence, no idea.
Left to rot, in the back of a car, stashed away in a jar, lar di dar di dar.
Dumb Pinocchio, now we think we know what you think you know.
Imagine a militant machine, different attire but still the same genes,
he’s prude, so crude, obnoxiously rude.
The equivalent king, who lets the general’s swing,
Gepeto’s really done in, so wonder who’s got the strings?
Ignorant idiot bastard.
The state will dress him and the taxes feed him,
to keep him breathing and we believe him.
Listen to absurd words, he’ll emerge into our world
of movers, shakers, losers, fakers, liars, cheaters and planet rapers.
People like you who think you’ve got it figured out,
think you know what it’s all about, well you’re wrong!
THE THURSTON LAVA TUBE – a retro/surf version featuring Cordelia’s head honcho and the inspiration for this whole project: Alan Jenkins. Recorded in the Autumn of 2007 at Cordelia Records and on location in Suffolk.
Personnel: Alan Jenkins (guitar); Blodwyn P. Teabag (organ); Marshall Cavendish (bass); Mat Bartram (drums).
PROJECT OBJECT – recorded live and unplugged at BB King’s in New York on 2 February 2005.
Personnel: André Cholmondeley (guitar); Robbie "Seahag" Mangano (guitar); David Johnsen (bass); Jordan Shapiro (mandolin).
POJAMA PEOPLE – a live interpretation, sung by Alli Bach. Basic track recorded 18 February 2007, Seattle. Overdubs took place in August at the Wall Of Cats Studio, Eugene.
Personnel: Sick Willie (interjected vocals); Alli Bach (vocals, marimbas the most); Ted Clifford (keyboards); Brian Casey (bass, odd sounds); Glenn Leonard (drums, many voices, lead & backing kazoo, marimbas the least).
The Arrogant Dubya Son
The arrogant dubya son
The father's a Nazi retired today
The mother's a lobbyist from the NRA
The arrogant dubya son
Abandonded to perish in a pointless war
Cheyney will stash him away and abhor
The idiot boy
Try and imagine a nation all fearing his god
All the time he would spend
At the church he'd attend
Warming his pew
Daddy will feed him and Ronnie will watch
The child will thrive and grow
And enter the world of liars and cheaters
And Don Rumsfeld too
Who smiles and thinks he knows
What this war's about
They think they know everything
The song we sing
Do you know
The idiot boy
Try and imagine a nation all fearing his god
All the money he spent
All the soldiers he sent
Where are they now?
BOGUS POMP ORCHESTRA – recorded on 21 August 2004 at the Tampa Theater, conducted and arranged by Tom Trapp.
Personnel: The BPO is a 15 piece chamber ensemble, combined with the 10 piece electric band.
TODD GRUBBS GROUP feat. BO SMITH – recorded by Todd throughout July 2007, and mixed on 9 August 2007. Produced by Todd at "The Office" in Brandon, Florida and mixed at Red Room Recorders in Tampa, Florida by Mark Prator.
Personnel: Todd Grubbs (guitar); Alan Tatum (bass); Jeff Henry (drums); Bo Smith (vocals).
Personnel: Michel Delville (guitar, guitar-synth); Damien Polard (bass); Fred Delplancq (tenor sax); Jean-Paul Estiévenart (trumpet); Laurent Delchambre (drums and assorted percussions); Andrew Norris (guitar, voice); Damien Campion (bass, double-bass).
WHIP IT OUT ENSEMBLE – from their live performance of We’re Only In It For The Money recorded at The Ironwood Stage & Grill, Calgary, Alberta, Canada on 5 December 2003.
Personnel: Andy Curtis, Onalea Gilbertson, Michael Green, Ty Semaka, David van Belle (vocals); Jeff Drummond (guitar); Chipp Robb (bass); David Rhymer (piano); Craig Soby (trombone & keyboards); Danny Meichel (saxophone); Dave Foley (trumpet); Brent Van Dusen (marimba & percussion); Peter Moller (drums & percussion); Michael Green (executive producer); Richard Kolke (dramaturge); Barbie Miotti (freak-out chick); Derek Waite (sound engineer).
GAMMA – the legendary Martian enunciated the crap out of it. Recorded 19 July 2007 at Tami Studios, Kentish Town, London, England.
Personnel: Gamma (vocals); Esther Leslie (xylophone); Out To Lunch, Iris Watson (backing vocals); OTL (producer, for Materialist Esthetix).
Cover by Michelle Greenaway.
For those who care, the Idiot Bastard and all the artists involved do not make one penny from these CDs. But Cordelia Records think that, after manufacturing costs and mechanical royalties, they might be able to break even. Within twenty or so years.