Hello my dear friends and fans from Zappa's Grubby Chamber! Though March was a million years ago, you have all been in my frequent thoughts.
I sure do miss the show. I thought leaving it would give me all kinds of time back for my day job at the newspaper, but somehow it's still a mad scramble. Why's that?
Anyway, I come bearing glad tidings: There's a new Zappa show on KHUM starting this Friday night! It's called Zen Through Zappa. And our new best friend in Frankness is Mark Scatchard.
I talked to Mark today. He became a Zappa convert during a ninth grade class trip to Merrie Olde England. Someone bought a CD of Sheik Yerbouti, he popped it in his Discman and played the first song, "I Have Been In You," and his life changed.
Why? "To hear lyrics like that, and that guitar tone, and those chops..." Mark said. Oh, we understand, don't we?
His next purchase was one of the You Can't Do That On Stage Any More albums, and he couldn't handle it. "It was way too much for me," Mark said. "I wasn't ready for that."
So he traded it in for Roxy & Elsewhere and Make A Jazz Noise Here and found himself further Frankified. Today, he's another diehard.
He used to listen to Zappa's Grubby Chamber, but tuned in one Friday night after I ended the show and it wasn't there. He survived. But then next week, same thing. "I said, 'What the hell?!?'" he quipped.
So concerned citizen Mark Scatchard called KHUM expressing his dismay, and being the kind of station it is, they asked him if he wanted to do the show. So he decided to do just that.
Here's the psychedelic part: His bowling team is sponsoring the show.
Among Mark's FZ favorites are "Echidna's Arf (Of You)," "Pygmy Twylyte" and "The Black Page." Sounds to me like he thinks right.
Mark's a musician in his own right - a guitarist, so expect a lot of good, gutty guitar, at least at first. "I like the meat-and-potatoes guitar rock," he said.
Other musicians Mark likes are in the Frank range of quality guitaristics – Stevie Ray Vaughn and Steve Vai. Incredibly, he's not familiar with Mike Keneally, so wait'll he hears Boil That Dust Speck! Oh my.
He also likes early reggae, like Toots & the Maytalls, Black Uhuru and jammers like Phish. "My tastes are pretty broad," he said.
As he gets comfortable with running the studio board, he plans to focus initially on solid songs rather than the more abstruse exercises in conceptual continuity Frank's music makes possible.
"I'm kind of viewing this as a math class," Mark said. "You don't just jump in with derivatives in calculus. I'll start with basics - not necessarily radio friendly, but songs that will grab you right away, with good riffs and solid hooks."
So let's all send Mark our cosmic love pulse matrix good vibes and tune into Zen Through Zappa on KHUM this Friday night!