Thursday, May 3, 2007

Ejectamenta et al

If you heard last week's show, you now know the mystery and enchantment of Zappa's Grubby Chamber. This is thanks to author Charles Ulrich of Vancouver, B.C., who not only had the info, but an audio clip of Frank himself telling what it is.

For those who missed it, here's the transcription:

"Also, at the same concert (11/8/68 Fullerton), I was given another gift. Did you notice that little piece of plaster with a frame around it over on the side of the wall that said "Zappa's Grubby Chamber" on it? Well, at the same show, these two young men, another two young men, came over to me and gave me this chunk of plaster that had been framed. And on the plaster it said "Zappa's Grubby Chamber". Well, those words were painted by me on the interior wall of a stairwell going to the attic of a house that I used to live in at 314 West G Street in Ontario, California. And they had located that house, and had somehow gotten into the house and busted the plaster off the wall and put it in a frame and gave it to me at the concert."
_FZ, interviewed by Jim Ladd, Sunday Special, KLOS-FM, Los Angeles, December 1, 1974

So thanks, Charles. He wins the cheesy prizes – a Zappa buck (see below) and the ticket to the Stanford show (see belower). Charles also operates some highly useful FZ sites: Frank Zappa Gig List and Planet of My Dreams for you and yours.

Charles, like other folks and fans who have written in, is much more of an FZ scholar than I am. (I'd do more, were it not for the fact that I'm rather heavily sedated, plus I have this all-consuming, 24/7 job.) I'm glad to help others fill in any blanks with what I've learned and experienced over the years, though.

Speaking of filling in blanks, we could use more comments on the blog here, biys and girls. Thanks for sending in the e-mails and feel free to do so, but my hope is that you'll add those comments to the blog so everyone can experience their particular majesty.

Now then. Interviewing Mr. Ulrich got last week's show off to a good start, and I stumbled across a fun new toy: playing different versions of FZ songs one after the other for A/B comparison purposes. I did this with "Jazz Discharge Party Hats," playing Frank's version, then Mike Keneally's off "Zappa's Universe." That was fun! (I can't imagine that everyone reading this doesn't know about the utterly amazing Mr. Keneally, who served as Frank's final stunt guitarist, but if you don't, go to Mike's site and gorge yourself silly on Frank-quality musical fulfillment.)

So this week, after some preliminary folderol, I'll try and focus on duplicate versions of FZ songs. Any suggestions? I suppose if I researched it, I'd find that the award for most versions done of any one song would go to "Advance Romance," though "Peaches En Regalia" had three (and the Dregs, Phish and many of the tribute bands have covered it too). My favorite version of Peaches is the one on Tinseltown Rebellion because it's so Tinkertoy (ah, tinkertoy – my favorite strain of Frankness), but it seems that most fans seem to like the Hot Rats version. What the hell, I'll play 'em all.

And the preliminary folderol would be Frank In Space. Yes, Mr. Z, as we know, enjoyed the topic, and, off the top, here's the songs that come to mind: "Cheepnis," "The Radio is Broken" and "Inca Roads." Any others? Does "We Are Not Alone" qualify? Well, I think so! So I'm gonna play those.

OK, gotta get on with that which we euphemistically refer to as my life. Frivolity aside, thanks, folks, for all your support and participation. The show is growing, the blog is building and we're in it for the long haul – infinity and fractional divisions thereof.

See ya on the radio!

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