The Record Room / The Rubber Room / Archives / 07-08-2011 / Everything I Needed to Know, I Learned on Freak Out!

Topie: Everything I Needed to Know, I Learned on Freak Out! Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
December 7th, 2010 06:53 PM
S Giacomelli
Quote:
Jon wrote:
Glad folks're digging 'em. The real focus of course is on Ian's amazing chronology, both in downloads and in writing.


Ehh, that guy's chopped liver. I've got all this anyway...woah Copenhagen 67 and Bitter End? Not these! Thanks, Ian!

That Stockholm show is one of my favorite recorded moments in all of human history.
December 7th, 2010 07:03 PM
IanWagner
Quote:
S Giacomelli wrote:


Ehh, that guy's chopped liver. I've got all this anyway...woah Copenhagen 67 and Bitter End? Not these! Thanks, Ian!

That Stockholm show is one of my favorite recorded moments in all of human history.


Glad I was able to provide something ya didn't have already, Jocko!!
I agree on that Stockholm show. It is pretty incredible. The ending is mindblowing.
December 7th, 2010 07:05 PM
Jon Hot DAMN, that's some interesting stuff, Ian. I didn't know more than like 1/4 of that. Can't wait for the next chapter.
December 7th, 2010 07:23 PM
S Giacomelli
Quote:
IanWagner wrote:
I agree on that Stockholm show. It is pretty incredible. The ending is mindblowing.


Plus, the appearance of Gee cements that tune's place in the unified field theory.
December 7th, 2010 08:00 PM
Jason Penick
Quote:
Beckner wrote:


Hey Netflix has this on Instant. How is it?


I own it. It's worth a gander as it has interviews with some of the early Mothers, plus some rare photos and video. It's not officially sanctioned by the Zappa estate though, so no original music as I recall. A bit like those Guliano Beatles videos with better guest stars.
December 7th, 2010 08:15 PM
IanWagner It has plenty of original Zappa music in it, actually, similar to the Velvet Underground DVD in that series.
December 7th, 2010 08:56 PM
Jason Penick
Quote:
IanWagner wrote:
It has plenty of original Zappa music in it, actually, similar to the Velvet Underground DVD in that series.


Ahh! Haven't watched it in a while. Probably need to go downstairs and give the thing another view!
December 7th, 2010 10:04 PM
IanWagner It is definitely worth a few watches, for sure.
December 8th, 2010 04:53 AM
cubist
Quote:
S Giacomelli wrote:


It's a lotta talking heads but they're talking about the music, so it's worth a viewing. I got bored and haven't finished it, though.


Yeah - it's VERY long but pretty interesting. It does include the concerto for bicycle from the Steve Allen Show and interviewees include Jimmy Carl Black, Bunk Gardner, Art Dyer Tripp III & Don Preston. Bizarrely it manages to not mention Ian Underwood for it's entire running time!!
December 8th, 2010 01:29 PM
Jon The Grand Wazoo!



One of my favorite covers. I made sure to restore the reprise "R" and bizarre logo in the upper right on the tumbling tower, and the "Frank Zappa/Mothers" that appeared in the top left on some editions.
December 8th, 2010 01:50 PM
Chris D.
Quote:
Jon wrote:
The Grand Wazoo!



One of my favorite covers. I made sure to restore the reprise "R" and bizarre logo in the upper right on the tumbling tower, and the "Frank Zappa/Mothers" that appeared in the top left on some editions.


Looks beautiful. Great album, too.
December 8th, 2010 02:37 PM
Jon "Overnite Sensation." Not one of my favorite albums of all time, but definitely one of my favorite covers.



Gorgeously awful painting.
December 8th, 2010 06:40 PM
IanWagner
December 8th, 2010 07:59 PM
Jason Penick Awesome! I remember this last essay from its previous incarnation on the board a few years back. One of the most enlightening pieces I've ever read on Frank; it totally opened my eyes to the greatness of this record.

I had forgotten exactly what was going on during "the phone call", but upon re-reading it makes perfect sense to me now. Pamela was shacked up with Frank working as his housekeeper, and daddy didn't like it and went looking for our hero with his gun and the cops in tow. An awesome bit of musical verité that's later conceptually continued on "Our Bizarre Relationship" from Uncle Meat. Looks like Frank really dodged a bullet there, literally and figuratively.
December 8th, 2010 08:31 PM
Leo K My God what a thread.
December 8th, 2010 10:10 PM
Jon I think my phone is being tapped.

Don't worry about it, it's quite alright.

Awesome analysis, brilliant play-by-play, and great writing all in all. Amazing. I'm literally on the edge of my seat for each installment. Well, no, figuratively, but yeah.
December 8th, 2010 10:11 PM
Jon Oh, and Megaphone is one of my favorite pieces of music ever.
December 8th, 2010 10:36 PM
IanWagner Thanks, folks! And Jon, the covers continue to look killer.
Tomorrow, Money stereo and Lumpy Gravy.
December 9th, 2010 05:03 PM
IanWagner
December 9th, 2010 10:10 PM
Jon
Quote:
Despite the long description above of the album's contents, the effect of the work is actually quite beyond description, fully justifying the overused term "mindblowing".


You said a mouthful there. Brilliant. Two of my favorite albums in the universe, and well-considered critique and description there.

Should add that apparently the Pepper-parody cover WAS released in Australia, as I found out when researching the LP covers -- apparently they were too lazy to redo mockups that had already been created, and those versions are a huge in-demand rarity now.

God, the "pigs and ponies" thing -- I had that whole speech memorized as a senior in high school and I used to recite it word for word when I was sitting around stoned with people. They probably thought I was nuts. You know, the whole speech about the smoke. That's just some of the most funny, awesome shit ever recorded.

Quote:
Zappa would declare Lumpy Gravy to be his favourite among his own works in many interviews over the years. For the hardcore Zappa fan who can fully comprehend the history and effort that went into its creation, and for the most openminded and progressive of listeners, it is hard to argue with his judgement.


I myself veer back and forth between Money and Lumpy, but I have to say "Lumpy Gravy" almost always wins out. It's so fucking great. There's almost no way to describe how great it is.
December 10th, 2010 02:11 AM
G2 Man, this stereo Money sounds great. The Ryko release sounds like there's a damn pillow on my speakers. It's too band Gail didn't include this mix on Lumpy Money. It's also too bad the original mixes have never been re-released on vinyl. (I think Hot Rats came out a couple years ago.)
December 10th, 2010 09:17 AM
Jon I actually, weirdly, like the mono Money better. I dunno if I can even articulate why. But once I'd heard it, I was like -- wow, yeah, THIS.
December 10th, 2010 09:57 AM
Chris D.
Quote:
Jon wrote:
I actually, weirdly, like the mono Money better. I dunno if I can even articulate why. But once I'd heard it, I was like -- wow, yeah, THIS.


Me too. The stereo one is way too quiet (at least the Ryko CD...I see G2's got some good things to say about what was posted here for download). I figure the mono Money was good since he was parodying a mono album, whereas I never liked the mono Freak Out.
December 10th, 2010 11:16 AM
G2
Quote:
Chris D. wrote:


Me too. The stereo one is way too quiet (at least the Ryko CD...I see G2's got some good things to say about what was posted here for download).


Yep, to be more specific, I mean this stereo DL versus the 95 "restored" Ryko issue. Did a quick A/B and the opening chords of Who Needs the Peace Corps sounds really really muffled next to the (slightly-too-fast-but-no-biggie) DL.
December 10th, 2010 01:38 PM
Jon Interestingly, for Apostrophe, I found a HUGE HUGE photo of the Apostrophe cover in GREAT condition without the type!! I simply went in and re-set the type and color-corrected the photo a little bit. That's all I had to do. Easy-peasy.


December 10th, 2010 02:53 PM
IanWagner Can you scratch up a nice design for An Evening With Wildman Fischer, good sir? That'll be up next week, I believe.
December 10th, 2010 03:55 PM
halleluwah
Quote:
IanWagner wrote:
Can you scratch up a nice design for An Evening With Wildman Fischer, good sir? That'll be up next week, I believe.
I just realized...the fact that you've been including Zappa's outside production work right along as part of his musical chronology means that when we get to the mid-70s, it's time for some Good Singin', Good Playin'! Alright, brothers!

More great stuff going on here lately, by the way. Really, really informative stuff. I never felt like I was exactly overburdened with Zappa knowledge, but all this is making me realize I knew even less than I thought. It's turning into a hell of a resource, and it's something that is adding a lot of new dimensions to the way I thought I'd understood his music before.
December 10th, 2010 04:48 PM
Jon Not as many great source images out there, but one pretty good one that just took a minimum of cleaning:


December 10th, 2010 04:54 PM
IanWagner Chronology 1967 Part 6

http://www.mediafire.com/?5ut5lkq9w9sj162


In October 1967, as the We're Only In It For The Money and Lumpy Gravy projects were being finalised, group sessions began at Apostolic Studios for yet another artistic endeavor. This project went through a few different permutations. It was first defined in an interview as a projected three-record set to be titled No Commercial Potential, before eventual designation as the soundtrack of The Mothers' first feature, Uncle Meat.
The sessions would continue on-and-off for the next year, the results not being issued until April 1969, as the first release of a new contract at Warners.
The session details are extremely fuzzy, and dating of specific tracks is mostly unknown. What is known is that the first set of Uncle Meat sessions took place from October through December of 1968.
At one session, Ed Seeman, still documenting the group's activities with his film camera, was present, capturing some work at Apostolic. Ruth Komanoff is seen as a part of the working ensemble.
Seeman also filmed Zappa at his home on Charles St. during this era, and glimpses of Gail and baby Moon Unit can also be seen.
During the early Meat sessions, Don Preston briefly quit the band, but quickly returned, and Ray Collins returned to full group participation.
Live dates for the band in New York became very scarce during this time, and they would have to rely upon quick bouts of touring to make ends meet.
During a trip to Detroit on November 13th to promote an upcoming Mothers show in the city, Zappa undertook two separate interviews. Three excerpts from the first of these talks, in front of a group of people at a location named Mixed Media, were later released as part of The Making Of Freak Out Project/Object.
In "Psychedelic Music", Frank talks about the original meaning of, and perversion of, the "freak out" concept. He also provides a handy definition of Pachucos and their slang.
In "MGM", he discusses how the band were signed, the Freak Out sessions and sales of the group's first two audiences.
In "Psychedelic Upholstery", he talks about the psychedelic musical trends, coming up with a hilarious scenario for music utilising a '39 Chevy. When asked what the next fad will be, he responds that kids will probably shave all their hair off and baldness will be the trend. Within a couple of years, this theory would come true among a section of the youth of England.
A fourth excerpt, "That Problem With Absolutely Free", was released on The Lumpy Money Project. In this, Frank talks about the problems with MGM regarding cover designs, saying he hopes the issue with the Money sleeve won't take as long to iron out as the problem with the previous album. He also mentions that Money "doesn't even sound like the same band".
The second interview was a talk to be later edited and aired on station WDET. This recording begins with Zappa reading from a local edition of the Widget Guide, a publication geared towards radio and TV broadcasting. He offers critical commentary on the various falsehoods contaned within. This leads into an introduction of Who Are The Brain Police.
Asked how the band's albums are made, Zappa launches into a very informative, 20-minute explanation that takes in a lot of his past musical history, the subject of recording frequencies and filtering, the track America Drinks, the failure of the Monster Magnet suite, lack of money. A section of this, "How We Made It Sound That Way", was released on The MOFO Project. Discussing We're Only In It For The Money (demonstrating how the "megaphone" vocal sound on Concentration Moon and Bow Tie Daddy was achieved), he seems to think the album will be released within a month's time He explains how the electronic sounds on The Chrome-Plated Megaphone Of Destiny were achieved.
In the final section, Frank answers questions about the hippie movement, Top 40 radio, Lyndon Johnson, drugs and electronics.
A third radio interview, undated, seems to drive from this era. This is unique in that, for once, fellow Mothers members are present, in this case Motorhead, Don Preston, Jimmy Carl Black and Ian Underwood.
This talk is significant also in that Zappa talks about his relationship with Captain Beefheart for the first time. He discusses the origin of the Beefheart moniker and the ill-fated Beefheart Vs. The Grunt People film project. He says that he feels Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band are a "very important group" and that audiences have not "realised the full impact of Don Van Vliet's imagination yet". He says that Vliet's childhood was unpleasant and that he feels that the songs on Beefheart's debut LP, Safe As Milk, were inspired by this. He then singles out the track Grown So Ugly, which he feels is about an incident where Don used a couple of his mother's Avon beauty products, resulting in loss of hair and a facial rash, forcing him to move from Lancaster. The track is then played. Is is interesting to hear Zappa's thoughts about, and praise of, Vliet before bitterness intruded.
Frank brings Motorhead forward to tell a few high school stories. More tales of Vliet are told, including his customised car interior. Motorhead talks about Magic Band member Alex Snouffer, delivering a couple of embarrassingly personal anecdotes about him. Beefheart's track Abba Zaba is then faded up.
Frank introduces the other group members present, then again begins to praise Captain Beefheart. He plays a selection from a Big Jay McNeely record, and this is followed by several minutes of humourous chatter backed by various sound effects and random music.
As this continues, Zappa asks Black about his pre-Mothers musical experiences and meeting Roy Estrada. After Frank places the same query with Don Preston, two separate conversations then take place simultaneously, which combined with the background noise turns the interview into a spontaneous avant Zappa composition.
Motorhead then tells some more anecdotes. In the final section, Zappa and Motorhead tell the story of the Williams brothers, in enlightening and hilarious detail.
This interview is quite important, in that it is a rare surviving example of the personal camaraderie between the band members, and Zappa's delight in the various odd characters he had assembled.
On November 20th, the trailer single release for the We're Only In It For The Money was issued, Lonely Little Girl/Mother People. And just as with the previous Mothers singles on Verve, it became an immediate obscurity. The LP it was drawn from would not be issued for another three and a half months.
In the interim, touring and recording activities continued.
December 10th, 2010 05:30 PM
Jon AWESOME WRITING. This is all stuff I have absolutely no idea about. I can't wait to listen to the interviews, actually.



One Size Fits All. The font is CLOSE. No cigar. But CLOSE.
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