Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats album was released 50 years ago today, October 10, 1969. A magnificent recording that compels us to listen to it over and over again.
December 15th, The Hot Rats Book by Bill Gubbins and Ahmet Zappa launches via Backbeat Books celebrating the 50th anniversary of Zappa’s Hot Rats album.
The commemorative book will feature previously unpublished photographs by Gubbins. He was the only photographer permitted to document the record’s studio sessions.
The book also includes an interview between Ahmet and Gubbins about the album. It also covers the last Mothers Of Invention US show. That event took place on August 10, 1969, at Cleveland’s Musicarnival.
Ahmet says: “These books provide another way for fans to connect with Frank Zappa. They give a fascinating window into Frank’s mind and the ideas he came up with throughout his career.”
I found it coincidental that news broke on Monday about a Frank Zappa hologram experience. The announcement seemed designed to build on the hype surrounding Justin Timberlake’s tribute to Prince at the Superbowl. The rumor mill speculated that half-time would involve a Prince hologram concert appearance, which did not materialize.
In 1974, Frank Zappa transformed his Los Angeles rehearsal space into a sound stage and cranked out a passionate, trademark performance seen only by the camera operators in the room who captured every last bizarrely beautiful moment. This footage, locked away in the Zappa vaults for 44 years, will serve as the basis for what will be the world’s most ambitious hologram tour to date, blending live footage of Frank with outrageous visuals that offer a striking view into his complex musical works. Dates for “The Bizarre World Of Frank Zappa” performances will be announced in the coming months.
When plans for the hologram show were initially announced last year, Ahmet Zappa “hinted” that his more musical siblings Moon Unit and Dweezil could be involved. However, Dweezil Zappa expressed surprise at his name being mentioned and at the existence of a hologram show at all. He then used the announcement to draw attention to his ongoing legal battle with the Zappa Family Trust over his ‘Zappa Plays Zappa’ show.
Not sharing his brother’s certainty that Frank would have been delighted by the show, Dweezil also began selling t-shirts emblazoned ‘No fake Frank’.
I know that it has been one of my regrets to never see Frank Zappa in concert. I am torn about attending if the concert is available near me. I have been an active supporter of Dweezil’s right to use the Zappa name in his shows. I have seen Zappa Plays Zappa with my son twice in concert including their début in NY City.
I truly hope that a fair legal resolve can be arrived at for all the Zappa surviving children.
Forty-three years ago in December 1973, Frank Zappa played a series of legendary concerts at the famed Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Considered a high-water mark of his career, owing to the incredible, virtuosic performances of himself and his stellar band The Mothers, the five shows – across three nights – included a private invite-only performance/soundcheck/film shoot followed by back-to-back doubleheaders. A few days later, continuing this incredibly prolific week, Zappa brought his band and camera crew to Ike Turner’s Bolic Sound in Inglewood for a filmed recording session. In typical Zappa fashion, he recorded it all.
On February 2, 2018, Zappa Records/UMe will release The Roxy Performances, a definitive seven-CD box set that collects all four public shows from December 9-10, 1973, and the December 8th film shoot/soundcheck, each presented in their entirety for the first time, along with bonus content featuring rarities from a rehearsal, unreleased tracks and highlights from the Bolic Studios recording session. This complete collection, totaling nearly eight hours, documents the Roxy shows as they happened and presents brand new 2016 mixes by Craig Parker Adams from new 96K 24 Bit transfers of the multi-track masters. The set is rounded out with a 48-page booklet that includes photos from the performances, extensive liner notes by Vaultmeister Joe Travers, essays from Zappa family friend, Australian writer Jen Jewel Brown, and American singer/songwriter Dave Alvin, who give their firsthand recollections about the shows, and a selection of archival press reviews. Those who digitally pre-order the box set will receive an instant grat download of “RDNZL.” Culled from the very first show on December 9, the track is a live version of the classic song featuring the never-before-heard 2016 mix that exemplifies the sonics of the new box set. Pre-order The Roxy Performances now: http://ume.lnk.to/FrankZappaRoxy
The Roxy Performances capture Zappa and The Mothers in peak condition as they play to rowdy sold-out crowds in the intimate, just-opened venue in their hometown Los Angeles following the release of Over-Nite Sensation. The extraordinary band was one of Zappa’s best with keyboardist George Duke, bassist Tom Fowler, trombonist Bruce Fowler, tenor saxophonist and vocalist Napoleon Murphy Brock, percussionist Ruth Underwood and drummers Ralph Humphrey and Chester Thompson all flawlessly in lockstep as Zappa led them through his musically adventurous compositions filled with complicated time signatures and sudden tempo changes.
I am appalled at the sibling rivalry of family descendants when it comes to inheriting and managing the Zappa family trust.
Ahmet and Diva Zappa intend to deny their brother, the other son of Frank and Gail Zappa, Dweezil Zappa the inalienable right to use his own last name to identify himself in the field of music and entertainment. Talk about restraint of trade and obstruction to earning a living. How wack-a-doodle and insensitive can Ahmet and Diva be?
We’re seeing more and more examples of absolute power corrupting absolutely.
I’m writing this blog post in the hopes that you will support Dweezil in this very important fight of personal integrity and validation.
I prefer to see Dweezil Zappa absolutely free to use his last name in business. It boggles my mind when I think of the precedents this legal action might accomplish.
My son and I witnessed the world premiere of Dweezil Zappa’s Zappa Plays Zappa at the Jammy Awards, April 20, 2006 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, NYC. His father, Frank Zappa was honored with a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dweezil Zappa is denied the use of Zappa Plays Zappa and the censorship, the outright stripping of his rights to his own legal name further evidence the abuse of power by Ahmet and Diva Zappa.
The author, Edward Komara possesses a job I envy. He is a full-time music librarian and music historian. Imagine working at something you love to that level and getting paid for it. I try my best to approximate my music contribution with this music blog. Alas, I am employed as a part-time educator and instructional technologist in the field of computer technology.
Gail Zappa, nee Adelaide Gail Sloatman, age 70, departed this earth peacefully at her home on Wednesday, October 7, 2015, surrounded by her children.
Married to Frank Zappa at age 22, Gail was a doe-eyed, barefooted trailblazer, giving equal value to her domestic and professional responsibilities as matriarch of the family and overseer of all Zappa enterprises. She devoted herself to partnering with her husband in the music business and raising their children, Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva.
Gail enthusiastically executed her role as guardian of her husband’s creative life and, with his passing, strove to ensure his legacy as one of the leading American composers and musicians of the 20th century. In this and all business endeavors, Gail passionately advocated to establish clear definitions of intellectual property and copyright laws on behalf of not just her husband, but all artists. While she conducted intricate legal negotiations with corporations as grande dame of the Zappa Family Trust, she never failed to impart the sense of humor that was part and parcel of her indomitable and formidable personality. Gail, self-described as a pagan absurdist, was motivated by love in all aspects of her life, kept her authenticity intact, unbowed and, simply put, was one bad ass in the music business and political world.
Gail will forever be identified as a key figure in the creative renaissance that is Laurel Canyon. But more than any singular accomplishment, she defined herself in her personal relationships, happiest when surrounded by loved ones and artists, often one and the same. The memories she leaves behind are indeed her own art form. Her searing intelligence, unforgettable smile, wild thicket of hair and trailing black velvets leave a blur in her wake.
There is no further information to report. This is the only statement that will be released by the family.