Thursday, December 20, 2007

That's College Rhythm – December 21, 2007

Jesse Alm & Gianni Bisio at the KHUM studio
before the Dec. 21, 2007 Zappa's Grubby Chamber.

One of Dweezil's missions with the Zappa Plays Zappa tours is to expose younger people to Frank's music. A noble endeavor, to be sure.

But you know what? By some mystical process, younger musically-intense folk who need Zappa do find their way to him and his incomparable repertoire, even without adult proselytising.

Some "Get in Touch With [Their] Inner Zappa" via the academic route, while others make contact with once-young case of arrested development accidentally placed in charge of a venerable radio show.

The serious young musicians intuitively equivilate the really good shit – Radiohead, Jethro Tull, Zappa – regardless of the decade in which it was produced.

In my travels, I've come to know two college-age guys who grok the greatness of Frank. They'll both be on the show tomorrow night – in fact, they're running it.

In alphabetical order:

Jesse Alm, 19, is the Arcata Eye's Glances editor, and a brilliant (my opinion) young writer and journalist. A student at the University of California San Diego, Jesse's majoring in International Studies with a minor in Political Science. He plays cello and piano, listens to "a lot of jazz," and particularly enjoys Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock and Medeski, Martin & Wood. His musical guilty pleasure is reggae. He likes to play frisbee, too.

Jesse likes Frank to the extent of e-mailing me during the show requesting Frank covers by other bands that I don't even know about.

Jesse co-hosts the show with a man two years his senior, Mr. Gianni Bisio. Gianni used to be a checker at Murphy's Sunny Brae Market, and knows more about '70s prog than I do, in molecular detail, even though I freaking lived through it. I'd go in to buy my deplorable groceries, and we'd end up in a half-hour discussion of John Wetton's career in the salad dressing aisle. Now he's a Psychology major at Sacramento State.

Asked to name three main musical influences, Gianni lists Jimi Hendrix, the Moody Blues and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Again, he's 21. Note that Gianni can tell you everything about Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, and probably even Marillion - probably more than the guys who were in those bands. I've never really successfully gotten him into Tull, though – it just never took. (Update: He's WAAAY into Tull - my mistake!) But he understands Frank, and that's really all that matters.

So, the premise of this week's show is College Rhythm. My goal is to have Jesse and Gianni do most of the song selection and commentary. I'm extending the charter of the show beyond Frank tunes, to include other musicks that these guys know about that might appeal to Frank fans. We'll have them play tunes, then talk about their cosmic significance in Zappa's universe.

Call or write during the show if you want; you know how.

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