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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:46 am 
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What do you think of the way FZ acted out on the decision to end the Mothers of Invention's 1960s lineup? Was it the best of all possible alternatives or should he have considered other alternatives? Such as: making the least skilled musicians redundant? Notifying the band months or even weeks ahead? Proposing that the band would break up temporarily? I guess the option of paying some kind of termination salary was out of question, considering debt made FZ' finances extremely pressing.

I don't have any opinion as of yet. It was certainly tough shit and what's worse, it alienated a fair portion of the band from Zappa permanently. So what about the alternatives?

Laying off JCB, Roy and Motorhead would've been an honest approach and a statement from Zappa: "I need more skilled musicians and these guys don't cut it". However, the loss of the more colourful personalities would've alienated some freaks, so a controversial decision this would've been nonetheless.

Notifying the band members some time ahead? Would've been a better alternative than the cold cut-off, the other guys would've had time to find new employment. However I have no idea if FZ would've been able to sustain it.

Proposing a temporary break? I think it would've been a dishonest approach, even worse than the cold disbandment. Okay, so perhaps initially the guys' feelings would've been hurt less, but imagine how these guys would've felt if FZ hooked up with Aynsley, George and these other more skilled guys a year after rather than making a true reformation of original MOI that wasn't driven out of necessity for a rock band to play with the orchestra. Even Frank must've felt such duplicitous approach would violate the kind of principles of honesty he was after.

To sum up, I can assume that FZ saw that he was damned if he chose one alternative and damned if he chose another alternative. But perhaps there could've been some wiser kind of council for Frank to make the best out of a bad situation?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:50 am 
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It was his band and he could do whatever the fuck he wanted with it.

/thread.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:01 am 
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So there :P

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:10 pm 
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It was his band, no-one is disputing this. However, I have to be honest. And I do mean honest: if FZ did seem to handle some affairs poorly, was it for the lack of a better option or better judgment? I do think that is a legitimate concern.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:59 pm 
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I think it was the only way he knew how to do it. Though he did warn one of the members previously, may have been Art Tripp. It was a shame though as the original MOI weren't the most skilled band but the best at improvising and had so much impact musically and were all so colorful.

Also I don't think he would have gotten ridden of Roy for not being good enough as he said Roy was/is an excellent bass player and said he loved working with him. I love the stuff they did together on TMFU.

I can imagine they were pissed off that he reformed the mothers with new guys but kept on Don and Ian.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:22 pm 
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Ah yes, Art Tripp did say that FZ told him he'd rather form a power-quartet with himself, Art, Ian and new bass player Jeff Simmons. Of course it backfired eventually because Art couldn't get on with Jeff. Needless to say, this power-quartet played maybe one gig and then sank without trace.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:03 pm 
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So the Mothers was Zappa's band, I get it. Then again, King Crimson was also Fripp's band. Yet when Fripp wanted to stop doing this KC thing, he did offer a possibility that Wetton, Bruford and Ian McDonald would go on as a Fripp-less King Crimson. It didn't happen of course. Now imagine the scenario of a Zappa-less Mothers! Harder to imagine? Yes, I know. Were the Mothers' members unable to get any success without Zappa? Most of them, yes (though I guess Little Feat did quite well). However, imagine a scenario where the Mothers tours Zappa-less whilst FZ does the Hot Rats band thing. Preposterous? Oui, because the Hot Rats band went nowhere. How would have the Mothers of Invention lineup without Zappa fared? No-one ever knows, except FZ must've eventually realised by Spring '70 that it was useful to utilise the name Mothers of Invention for marketing purposes at least. Hence the moniker was retained up until the mid-70s.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:04 pm 
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There are some bands with leaders or members you can't imagine without them.

Imagine if you will if Dave Mustaine left Megadeth but they carried on, there would be outrage. Same with Priest and Maiden, when Bruce and Rob left the band went on but only a shell of its former self.

I would love to hear some of the Hot Rats live shows.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:48 am 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ5wCqWQNRU

Whilst Don Preston has dismissed the Duke Ellington begging advance story as "bullshit", Art Tripp confirms he did hear Duke begging some money at some jazz festival. So I think it's safe to say that FZ was indeed troubled by the state of the music biz.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:14 am 
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another thing is that if the rest of the early Mothers guys were sooooooooo talented individually they should have/would have went onto successful post-Mothers careers. MOST didn't.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:26 am 
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In this day and age, anyone who gets a deal to make more than a couple of singles is doing well. MOI had success - albums, tours, accolades, legacy, working with FZ etc. It couldn't just keep going on.
Would Justin Beiber trade it all in just to have been in MOI? If he had any fucking sense, yeah.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:52 am 
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Frank may have had the musical talent and steely determination to succeed, but the other guys supplied personality and folklore, the very thing FZ found severely lacking when he found himself in the very band that made him write "Po-Jama People". Without personality, you are going to have a po-jama band. Without talent + business acumen, you will never be successful. Maybe Frank needed the MOI as much as the MOI needed Frank.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:27 pm 
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Ed Organus Maximus wrote:
Maybe Frank needed the MOI as much as the MOI needed Frank.


uh no. and my earlier point proves this.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:06 pm 
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Apart from the 72 tours all other musicians he played with had strong personalities bar a very minor few. So even though they are not called MOI the point still stands.

Also you are suggesting that them not being talented made them unsuccessful. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of people out there more talented than most people in the business who will never be heard.

It is said that jazz is full of starving musicians.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:09 pm 
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NuclearProstate wrote:

Also you are suggesting that them not being talented made them unsuccessful. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of people out there more talented than most people in the business who will never be heard.

It is said that jazz is full of starving musicians.


that's not subject we are talking about here. now you are making things up.

what i am saying is that most of them didn't move on to other things. that is not Frank's fault. he continued to move forward. maybe if they had moved on and were making a decent living playing music they would have never even thought about suing.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:15 pm 
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I suppose that is true. They went off of the spotlight and then re-appeared with Grandemothers. Some did some work for film and other odds and ends. Roy had some success with Little Feat.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:19 pm 
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Well NP, I did consider talent alongside business acumen. Talent alone can indeed steep a musician in music of the unemployment.

I think I sort of understand JPF's position. His yardstick is the Over-Nite Sensation era. That's his fave Zappa album. Me? I heard the original MOI first. Now a rhetorical question: if your first exposure to Zappa is via Uncle Meat, BWS, WOIIFTM, Absolutely Free or even Hot Rats, then what will you then make of Over-Nite Sensation?

As for the lawsuit, I thought the Mothers simply had the idea that they deserved performance royalties. FZ chose to keep all the royalties to himself, which was a pretty rare practice in 60s rock. It sort of ties with his anti-union mentality in fact. So I can see where he came from. But I can also sense the MOI resented the fact FZ seemed to cheat them out of the money they thought they deserved. That's my effort to understand why things soured between FZ and the 60s MOI.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:29 pm 
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Just because Overnite is my favorite album doesn't mean it's the one that I heard 1st. In fact IT WASN'T. And it has nothing to do with anything. I love all eras of Frank's music. What in the fuck are are you babbling about?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:34 pm 
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Woah dude calm down. I get what Ed is getting at even if it is not 100% applicable to you. What was the first one you heard?

They rightly thought they were owed money, they thought and had a decent outcome. It happens. Fact of life.

I think my first exposure to Zappa was Why Does it Hurt When I pee? I got into Zappa because of the late 70's stuff, especially Sheik Yerbouti (in my top 5 easily) but my fav era is easily 72-75.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:20 am 
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I think the reasons why Frank was successful were because: 1) Amazing creativity i.e. compositions and the balls to take risks in rock 'n' roll. 2) The ability to find talented musicians to perform his compositions and 3) The ability to motivate those musicians to elevate their own potential.

Remember, the Mothers were just a bar band before Frank joined and I think he knew the shelf life was minimal, but managed to convince them all to play his music. Lots of musicians have had success since playing with Frank: Steve Vai, Lowell George, Adrian Belew, Terry Bozzio, Jean-Luc Ponty, George Duke, Vinnie Colaiuta, etc.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:42 am 
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tiboudre wrote:
I think the reasons why Frank was successful were because: 1) Amazing creativity i.e. compositions and the balls to take risks in rock 'n' roll. 2) The ability to find talented musicians to perform his compositions and 3) The ability to motivate those musicians to elevate their own potential.


I hope you have not forgotten his business/entrepreneurial sense. FZ spoke strongly of the value of being biz-savvy and condemned the way the biz side was not taught in educational institutions for music. Consider this Downbeat interview from '73 for instance.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:28 pm 
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I suppose it's interesting to speculate about this, but we can't repeat history...it happened, and there's no changing it.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:40 am 
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I think it was inevitable that the original Mothers would break up.
The original band went through so many incarnations from '66 until when it finished in '69 that it was barely unrecognizable.
For me that band had never sounded better than when they were on the European Autumn tour of '68.
Having said that, where was FZ gonna go next? Much of his music didn't need that many players and it must have been a huge wait around his neck.
I for one hate it when that band played all those early songs like Status Back Baby and Hungry Freaks cause they sound stupid (in my view) and totally tongue in cheek - nothing like there studio originals (which is everything that the early Mothers stood for).

What I do like is when they played the instrumental music. Everyone had a place and they sounded shit hot. I'm thinking about King Kong and all those pieces they used to play in a suite like Pound for a Brown and Sleeping in a Jar.

In terms of "keeping on" Don and Ian, I'm not sure it was quite like that. Certainly Don and maybe Ian were doing studio work and things with other people anyway so as soon as Zappa broke the band up they probably turned to studio work first, to keep working. Then Zappa chose them when he re-grouped a little later and chose them. I doubt that the other members held that against them.
Tripp also got plenty of studio work.
I cant remember if Roy went straight to Little Feat but even if he didn't that only really leaves him and JCB. Motorhead could blow the sax and play the tambourine but it's no secret that he was old (and very good) friend oz Zappa's so you can hardly include him in the untalented bunch of musicians.

JCB had a good back beat but I think that drumming had moved on so far by that stage that he would have certainly struggled to get work when you look at how most other drummers in rock (used loosely) were aspiring to play.
I don't really know about Bunk but he was a jazz player really - I'm sure he wouldn't have struggled to get studio work. I don't think he was doing much before he joined the Mothers so perhaps this way of life suited him?

In terms of how Zappa did it? I think he could have called them all together for a meeting and he should certainly have paid them their royalties - that's just my view.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:54 am 
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I think he should have paid up the royalties.

I think Jimmy never was the greatest drummer, he was inventive, could keep a beat and was the nicest guy. I bet it hurt Frank knowing he wasn't progressing and one day would get rid of him.
Art was a fuckin' monster.

Whenever I think about the short history of the mothers I think its 5 different bands due tot he amount of material, styles, personnel changes and so on.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:21 am 
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I would have to agree that Jimmy Carl Black was basically the Ringo Starr of MOI: quite a solid back-beat, but not much in terms of skill compared to what other players could do by 1970. Then again, perhaps had he moved to West Germany right after August '69, he could've beat Neu's Klaus Dinger in terms of epitomising that minimalist Krautrock drum beat (see first album by Neu! and particularly the track called "Hallogallo").

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