Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Frank Zappa FAQ- All that¨s left to know about the Father of Invention written by John Corecelli (Backbeat Books 2016)

Does the world need yet another book on Frank Zappa, that is the question?? I own Frank in his own words and a smaller one as well but have not read any of the others besides this new one. My first experience with Frank Zappa was when I was about 12 when a kid from school, named David, whose older brother played in a rock band, he played us Overnight Sensation. I was like what the hell is this, songs about Eating Yellow snow, and other strange subjects. I was intrigued. I was lucky to get to see Zappa on the Joe’s Garage tour in 1980 when I was 17.  It was a pretty mind blowing experience. I did not become a full blown zappahead until later when I was hanging out with my friend Paul and my cousin Cliff, where I got deep into Zappa and eventually recorded all of his records on tapes from Paul, Cliff and my friend Jay. Wow… Anyway.. that is my story…  This is John’s.

John tries to take a fresh approach. The book is broken up into 33 small chapters as well as a book recommendations and a complete discography, including the 30+ new releases since Frank’s death.   I learned the most in the sections about his early life as I had not read the books by his siblings, which most of this info is drawn from. The Year Book chapter, which lists nearly everyone that every played with Frank including about 100 words and their birth and death dates is very interesting as well. The cover band chapter also tells you about the most famous of the Frank Zappa cover bands but is not an exhaustive list.  Even if you have read a lot of books on Zappa, you can still learn some new stuff. If you have never read about Zappa, I would recommend picking this one up and combine that with The Real Frank Zappa, which is mostly written by Frank himself. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

STRAY- Borderline, London Nov 18th, 2016

We had a hell of a time getting to this part of London for the Beer Company and the show. At the London Craft beer Co- We tried Liquid Mistress (Red IPA), Green Hopped IPA, Extra Pale (Sussex Brewery) and I love you with my Stout (12% Imperial Stout). I think we would have tried 2 more but we were running short on time. We had a slice of pizza at a cool local place and then just made it to the first song of the show.

The Stray concert was super packed. We came in when Del Brahman was playing the first number. He played 3 acoustic numbers.

Waiting for the Big Break, Years, Around the world in 80 days.

We could get past the stairs hardly. Sue stayed but I moved to the front center.  After Del played the three songs the current lineup of Stray came out and played for 75mins or so with a great line up of songs, especially the ones from the Suicide record sounded great. He told a lot of good stories in between songs. The bass player, he has been playing with Del since I think he said 1978. He was fantastic. The drummer was also really solid and they both were having a great time.

Time Machine, Only what you Make it, Son of the Father, Jericho, Suicide, Move a Mountain, Free at Last, Harry Farr, I, Believe it.

For the next set, the guitar player who joined the band in the 1975 to make them a 5 piece, Pete Dyer came out and they played a 5-song set. He looked pretty nervous and a little stoned or drunk but he actually besides messing up a couple of guitar harmony parts did great and even sang some lead vocals.

For the People, Take it Easy, Houdini, Percy the Pimp, One Night in Texas

It was pretty emotional when the original line up came out to play. They had no rehearsals prior to them meeting and trying out the songs this afternoon and this was the first and probably the last time, there were on a stage together in 22 years!  Steve Gadd (Vocals), Del Bromham (guitar), Gary Giles (bass), Steve Crutchly (Drums).

The audience really seems to know a lot of these songs and helped to sing along. The band was clearly having a really good time. I love the drumming but he was working hard and you could tell he was not used to doing this. The set was:

Come on Over, Our Song, Pretty Thing, After the Storm, All in your Mind.

All in your Mind was their only really big hit song and it was really cool. I filmed it. See below…

They did do a short encore with a jam on the song Cold Turkey. He mentioned something about Leonard Cohen, not sure if he wrote it or if they dedicated it to him. It was a great night and about 2 and half hours and 23 songs of Stray, with more or less all the classic line-ups. Wow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Weites Luftmeer- SiebenuddreiBigachtundvierzig (Tonzonen Records TON020)

Tonzonen is back with another release, their 20th. This is a label I have only discovered fairly recently and I really am enjoying their releases a lot. This band hails from Munich, Germany and have been around since 2012. The duo have been described as making instrumental psychedelic shoegaze music…  The album features 4 long tracks and is released on black and magenta coloured vinyl in 500 copies total. Side A starts off with a track that borrows a guitar line from You know your only Dreaming from Hawkwind. Nice grooves and bass lines as the guitars are more floating and ambient.  Cool song with quite a build up at the end. Buoyancy another nearly 9min track starts with some bass and then a slow spacey build again.  Clearly the guitarist, Jochum is a big fan of Dave Brock,even though he does not do very make solos and is more of an atmospheric guitar player. Anyway, after 3mins a more melodic strummed guitar section kicks in and it goes like this until nearly the end but with a cool build with the drums and bass. Trail of Thoughts is an 11min mellow journey that slow builds up with a few more effects on the guitars here and there but overall very mellow. Oxykotin starts with a bass line and some spacey effected sounds as the guitar slowly fades up with a nice riff and then the drums kick in! Nice groove and later some cool flanged out wah guitar. What a great number. Cool record but I could use some more guitar solo!!! 

Megaritual- Mantra Music (White Dwarf WHD006)

Megaritual is the solo project of Australian multi-instrumentalist Dale Walker (from the band of Sun Of Man).  I have never heard of Dale or his band Sun of Man. The album features 8 tracks and is a sort of compilation of several of the tracks from his different band camp releases. Dale played all the instruments as he is credited for everything including the artwork.  Is the heart of the Mystery starts things off and I am immediately reminded of Lamp of the Universe. A very mystic, sound, with drones, sitar, different kinds of drum sounds.  After a few mins, the drum set kicks in and Dale does some vocal chants, while the rest continues in the background as a sort of loop. Later a more doomy guitar kicks in and the previous recorded stuff is off and now it is heavy guitar, drums and vocals, primarily.  Just as he starts to slow, it all sort of fades away and back into the sitar, eastern vibe again and then the heavy guitars and soloing is back again!  A new section now begins as all the tracks so far just sort of melt into each other. Now the heavy riffs are combined with some strummed acoustic guitar. The drums have nearly disappeared in the sound. A more dense sounds returns with the electric guitar being heavier but the strummed guitar is still in the forefront of the sound as the drums are nearly gone again.  Pretty psychedelic as it all fades down to use a vocal and acoustic guitar for the ending but comes back again. A very cool musical collage.  Side B continues in much the same way with some dark eastern stuff but a new drone and extra delays. This track becomes really heavy doomy stuff with some lead guitar in the background during the heavy riffing after the first vocal section. It comes back down to earth after a few mins. The mid section is really cool. I love the psyched out guitar and hypnotic stoned eastern vibe. After the comedown, we are still focused on the guitar. Wow.. side 2 was quite an amazing trip…….. I look forward to hear more.


This is a very special band and I was lucky to catch some of their great show at Roadburn festival last year.  Their previous album that I reviewed was pretty strange but I liked it. This group has 28 releases on their bandcamp site. The artwork is minimal and so is the information, a small insert in the CD, with cool art but no info about songs, who played what or anything, really..

Anyway, this album is only three tracks and the opening track is just a total killer heavy instrumental psychedelic rock number. I love the guitar riff and soloing while the bass and drums just keep a great groove going and then a space out and then back into some melodic guitar soloing.  Track 2 also starts off with a quite heavy guitar riff but a slower pace and some female spoken word vocals in German. The music is heavy and dark and very psychedelic and intense at times. Track 3 starts slowly and then a moto-electro groove kicks in and off we go!! A lovely spacey guitar section follows before the female vocal (in English) kicks in on this sort of space rock track. The track slowly dissolves around 11mins and you think it is over and then it comes blasting back… A really cool album.. Wow…