With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Dweezil Zappa – Leeds Town Hall – Tuesday 10th December 2019 December 19, 2019


I was not lucky enough to have seen the legend that was Frank Zappa play live, but I have now seen his son Dweezil play two of Frank’s greatest album’s live. The first time was for ‘Apostrophe’ back in 2011 and nearing the end of 2019 I am delighted to say that I saw Dweezil and his band perform the whole of Frank’s 1969 album ‘Hot Rats’. That album is perhaps the one that really established Frank Zappa as an iconic major talent. It was dedicated to Dweezil, who was only a few weeks old when the original album was released. It was a perfect reproduction of the record, although interestingly the band opened with “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” from the aforementioned ‘Apostrophe’, that has always been one of my favourite Zappa songs. Then it was the business of ‘Hot Rats’ in its entirety, how groundbreaking must that album have sounded when it was released in 1969. It still sounds pretty fresh today with its “out there” jazz, prog, blues, weird mix. Every one of the six ‘Hot Rats’ tracks was superbly played, my personal highlights were “Peaches En Regalia”, “Willie The Pimp” (which originally featured a Captain Beefheart vocal) and “It Must Be A Camel”. The original album was just under 45 minutes in length, so obviously there was going to be more, and there was plenty more when the band returned to the stage after a short interval.

The second part of the show consisted of twenty or more tunes by my reckoning. Dweezil has put together a supremely talented and incredibly powerful band, which he referred to as his ‘Rockin’ Teenage Combo’. I don’t know the band members names but special mentions must go to the insanely talented saxophonist and a vocalist who seemed to be able to sing in any style he needed to, his Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson piece was something majestic to behold. There were many, many highlights in the second set, but for me “200 Motels/ Bogus Pomp”, “I’m A Beautiful Guy” and ” Who Needs The Peace Corps?” were real standouts. The band revived what in essence was an outtake in its original form, although clearly, it mutated into a few future Frank Zappa tunes. That track was magnificently titled “Twinkle Tits”. The magic word for tonight, chosen by the band from towns near to Leeds on a map in their tour bus was……. Scunthorpe. They tried, and succeeded, on many occasions to incorporate Scunthorpe into a song and even had the audience singing one of those Scunthorpe variations. Surprisingly, for me at least, was a barnstorming cover of the Knack’s 1979 US number-one single “My Sharona”. This was apparently a song that Frank Zappa liked to play. Some might say that this is just a tribute band, and in some ways, they would be correct, but believe me, Dweezil and his band are so much more than that. If you haven’t seen Dweezil plays his father’s songs live yet then take the first opportunity that you get! This was one of the best shows that I have seen this year!

As a footnote I was speaking to someone on the train on the way home who informed me that Dweezil is not his birth name, he was born Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa. It was also great to spend an evening with my good friend Andy Golborne and to catch up with another great mate, Adrian Caines.

All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken by me on my cheap Chinese android phone.The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know. 

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East Village Punk ‘n’ Rock Tour (NYC) from Rock Junket Tours – Saturday 29th December 2018 January 8, 2019


As a part of my birthday jaunt to NYC my wonderful wife Catwoman (a.k.a Catherine) booked a rather intriguing East Village Punk ,n, Rock walking tour of New York’s East Village from Rock Junket. Our host and Rock Junket Head Honcho was Bobby Pinn (not his real name) and it was a pure delight to spend a couple of hours in his company. I pride myself on knowing an awful lot about rock music, but I bow to the vast encyclopaedic knowledge of Mr Pinn. I learnt so much on this tour.

We saw the apartment block where Joey Ramone (a.k.a. Jeffrey Ross Hyman and also a.k.a Jeff Starship!) lived. Not far from there is the spot where the iconic photo of the Bruddas that adorns the cover of their first album was taken. Take another look at that picture, in particular the subtle way in which Joey is bending his knee and Dee Dee is standing on tip toes just so that the vast gap between the pair of them does not appear so vast.

Whilst I didn’t try one until later in the week we learnt what an Egg Cream drink was. The drink is immortalised in song by Lou Reed and apparently one of the best spots to buy one is the Gem Spa, a one time haunt of the New York Dolls. Strangely enough the Egg Cream beverage contains neither egg nor cream! Go figure!

I already knew a lot about Bill Graham’s venue the Fillmore/ Fillmore West in San Francisco, but I knew next to nothing about the Fillmore East in New York. Many great acts took to the stage there from the Allman Brothers to Frank Zappa. The most appearances by any artist or band was by the Grateful Dead.

Apartments that were once home to a young Madonna and tortured jazz giant Charlie Parker were encountered. Charlie Parker even has a street named in his honour. Now that is not bad for a suicidal junkie who died aged just 34. But that was just a part of his story and it is impossible not to recognise the towering influential, pioneering genius of Mr Parker. Also who knew that Madonna’s early live appearances were as a drummer for her then boyfriend’s band? I certainly didn’t!

I I hadn’t been on this tour with Bobby Pinn I am certain that I would have walked right past the building that features on the front cover of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 double album ‘Physical Graffiti’. The building was the home of Jimmy Page’s drug supplier who lived on the fourth floor. That floor is conspicuously missing from the album cover after a real cut and paste job by artist Peter Corriston. The very same tenement block was used in the video for the Rolling Stones 1981 single “Waiting On A Friend”.

The tour ended at the site of the now defunct CBGB’s; the iconic 1970s New York punk venue. I took the obligatory pictures outside and even ventured into the ridiculously expensive and rather disappointing shop that is now on the site. That said, the Captain Fantastic pinball table was stunning!

In this post I have tried to give you a flavour of this magnificent tour of some classic rock landmarks in the East Village. I didn’t want to add much more and therefore spoilmyour enjoyment when you take it. Make sure that you go walking around New York with Bobby Pinn next time you are in the Big Apple. You will not regret it. Click here to check out the Rock Junket site and to book your tour.

Apart from the Rock Junket header all pictures were taken by yours truly, apart from those that feature me which were taken by the most wonderful person that I know, Catherine Adamson. If you were wondering which landmark birthday I was celebrating it was 18 with 42 years of experience. 😉

 

“You keep playing where you shouldn’t be playing” August 7, 2017


Carol-Kaye-opener

Who is the bass session player that has played on more sessions than any other bass player? Well according to the Berklee College of Music in Boston it is Carol Kaye who has played on more than 10,000 sessions over four decades.

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She contributed to the Beach Boys classic album ‘Pet Sounds’, songs by Simon & Garfunkel, the Monkees, Ray Charles, Love, Glen Campbell, Neil Young, Frank Zappa, Ike & Tina Turner, Nancy Sinatra and Johnny Mathis to name but a few. She also played on many Phil Spector productions as well as a number of film soundtracks from the likes of Quincy Jones and Lalo Schifrin. In addition to bass guitar she also plays guitar and banjo. The now 82 year old Carol Kaye is without doubt one hell of a talented lady. Now enjoy just a small selection of the hits that she played on.

 

“Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings” July 31, 2017

Filed under: Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 9:58 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

By all accounts Frank Zappa was not a great fan of rock groups, well maybe not much of a fan of anyone else’s music some would say. He was often disparaging of rock behemoths like Led Zeppelin and referred to lead singer Robert Plant as Robert Planet and Robert Plant-It. It was also Zappa he first raised the story of the mud-shark and the groupie incident, but that is another story altogether.

However maybe he did secretly like Led Zeppelin. In rehearsals for his 1988 tour he tried a few covers; “Shapes Of Things” by the Yardbirds and “Paperback Writer” by the Beatles. But most of these were never played live, particularly “Stairway To Heaven” a song which Frank claimed never to have heard from start to finish. But he recognised that a Zappa cover of the song, including sound effects, might actually blow the minds of his audience. I have listened to a few live recordings of Zappa doing “Stairway To Heaven” and it is both faithful and fanciful, a truly mental take on a true rock classic. Apparently the song took a slightly different road each night of that tour, even taking on some reggae vibes occasionally. Personally I love Zappa does Zep. What do you think? Here are a few takes from Zappa and the Led Zeppelin original.

 

Zappa Plays Zappa – York Barbican Thursday 17th November 2011 November 17, 2011


Firstly let me say thank you to my good friends Andy and Rachel for getting the tickets for this gig. It was only Andy and me that attended though. I never took the opportunity to see Frank Zappa when he was alive although I know quite  few people who did. Frank’s widow and his son Dweezil probably curate the Zappa musical estate better than that of any other sadly departed stars. Frank’s music is granted all the respect it deserves, especially when played by a band led by Dweezil. Some critics might say this is just a tribute band and whilst technically that may be true, how many other tribute bands actually share DNA with the original.

I have heard bands described as tight and very accomplished before, indeed I have used those very phrases myself. But this band go way beyond accomplished, it seems that every member is a virtuoso of sorts. Dweezil’s guitar talents are sensational, he is even beginning to look like his father. Overall they played for around two hours and frankly (no pun intended) I don’t think anyone would have complained if they had played on for another two hours.

As promised they began with a complete run through of Zappa seniors ‘Apostrophe (‘)’ album. Having listened to the album init’s entirety on my way home from work I would say it was pretty close to a perfect reproduction. It even included some excellent and supremely well synchronised video and audio of Frank. It was as if he was playing with them. Obviously that album is not two hours long; so they played some other Frank classics after the album was done.

Songs such as “Gumbo Variations”, “What Is The Ugliest Part Of Your Body” and a stupendous version of “Dancing Fool” where they even managed to incorporate a line or two from “Ghostbusters” Then there was a storming version of “Honey Don’t You Want A Man Like Me?” which Dweezil said was inappropriately dedicated to all the ladies in the audience. As we left Dweezil was still sat at the front of the stage talking to fans and signing autographs; There aren’t many artists that can be bothered to do that these days are there?

This was probably one of the best gigs I’ve seen this year and I will definitely go and see Zappa Plays Zappa again in fact I will also check out Dweezil in his own right too. This date in York is the first of this UK tour so you still have plenty of opportunity to see them play. Get yourself along, you won’t be disappointed. You know it makes sense! But remember if the big freeze comes early don’t eat the yellow snow!

Please note that none of the pictures or video used in this post are actually from tonight’s gig. Sadly my phone’s battery died. To finish enjoy a couple of excellent Zappa Plays Zappa videos

 

“Light you up, put you on top” December 18, 2010


RIP Don Van Vliet

A random selection of news is heading your way in this post. Starting with the sad news that Don Van Vliet also known as Captain Beefheart has died aged 69 from complications brought about by multiple sclerosis. Read the BBC report here. It would be fair to say that he wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s hard to deny his influence and innovation. It took me a while as a teenager but I did get into ‘Trout Mask Replica‘ indeed I now have a CD copy of the album. He was a contemporary of Frank Zappa and Zappa Plays Zappa played “Willie The Pimp” in his honour the night his death was announced.

Lady Gaga possibly not everyone's cup of tea either

At least we know what she did with Santa's beard 😉

I haven’t posted about Lady Gaga for a while so here goes with news on the Lady GG. She is set to appear in the new Muppets movie along with the likes of Dave Grohl off of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, Jack Black and Ricky Gervais. She has also been named MTV Woman Of The Year for the second year in a row. She also had an Ozzy Osbourne moment at her London O2 show the other night. A stuffed Santa toy was thrown on stage by a fan, she picked it up and made a comment about hating Christmas and then bit the toys head off! I don’t know about you but I love rock and pop stars to be real fruitloops like Lady Gaga. Read the Santa murder story here.

Gaga gets jiggy (ish) with Kanye?

 

“But with a little help from my friends I found a light in the tunnel at the end” November 2, 2010


Many hundreds of people have found their way to this blog by searching for Lily Allen, so on behalf of those people and myself I would like to say to Lily that we are all thinking of her at this sad time. Lily suffered her second miscarriage, this was at quite a late stage in the pregnancy. Hopefully the paparazzi won’t be hounding her for a while. You can read the report on the BBC Newsbeat site.

Gaga in disguise with glasses!

Apparently an US university has now dedicated a course to none other than Lady Gaga. The University of South Carolina now lets you enrol on a sociology course which is dedicated to the life, work, music and rise to fame of Gaga. The lecturer Professor Mathieu Deflem is a fan, as you might have guessed. The Professor is also partial to Frank Zappa, Prince, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Status Quo and Ritchie Blackmore. the course also has its own blog, click here to see it. Read the BBC report here.

Now these next pictures completely passed me by, but Rihanna did a rather titillating photo shoot for the Russian GQ earlier this year. What do you think?

 

 
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