The Dub Room Special
Official Release #81
Catalog Number: ZR 20006
Produced, Mixed & Edited by FZ
Those Who Play This:
Tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11 recorded at KCET in Los Angeles, 27 August, 1974:
FZ: guitar, percussion, vocals
George Duke: keyboards, finger cymbals, tambourine, vocals
Ruth Underwood: percussion
Napoleon Murphy Brock: sax, vocals
Tom Fowler: bass
Chester Thompson: drums
Tracks 2 & 6 recorded at the Palladium, NYC, Halloween, 1981:
FZ: lead guitar, vocals
Ray White: guitar, vocals
Steve Vai: stunt guitar, vocals
Tommy Mars: keyboards, vocals
Robert Martin: keyboards, vocals
Ed Mann: percussion, vocals
Scott Thunes: bass, vocals
Chad Wackerman: drums
Mastering Session Super Vision & Sequencing by Dweezil Zappa
Vaultmeisterment by Joe Travers
FZ Engineers: Kerry McNabb, Bob Stone
Mastered by Steve Hall at Future Disc, April 2003
Liner Notes by John Frusciante
Art Direction & Text by GZ
Package Renderment by Michael Mesker
Production Containment by Melanie Starks
“In the Dub Room” (oil on canvas) by Eric White
Title script by FZ
While lurking in the Vault once upon a time, and quite by accident the Vaultmeister happened upon these FZ analog masters lurking right along with him. Duly noting that these were intended for vinyl (the persuasively reigning technological format of the era in evidence) Joe delivered these to be transferred into the digital realm. UMRK was at that time insufficiently equipped to handle the myriad requirements of baking and cloning that archiving demands. And so it was that this digital master was actually created from the original analog 1/2 inch 2-track master tapes. The reels (dated 11/7-8/82) were transferred into Sonic Solutions HD at 96k 24bit using Pacific Microsonics converters with HDCD technology by Steve Hall at Future Disc - where Dweezil resequenced the program for CD.
Just about that time people, we were unhiply deep in discussions with iTunes who were proposing the then novel inclusion of album art – with an exclusive Zappa program otherwise unavailable. Their idea of a good time was to showcase (insert horribly foreshortened trumpet fanfare) FZ as a (yes, drumroll goes here) Independent Artist (ho hum, how novel?) and I just had to ask – well if that is so, then why are all the deals based on record company standards and practices – and not the intent of those that create the intellectual property its very self? But that’s enough about THAT unanswered question.
Cut to: Meanwhile way back earlier in the basement, Ahmet insisted that the program MUST ROCK. Since the Dub Room LP Master was the latest greatest find, we said what about THIS? And because it was so very CLEAN, we picked it and lo, it was Good. And lo, it doth Rock. And Ahmet turned his thumbs skyward and clicked his heels and just as he disappeared iTunes realized that C (for Coldplay) comes WAY before Z in their alphabet stew.
In a cold dark corner of the chamber under the stairs - that now houses the new but old (or old but new) 3348 Sony machine (delightfully expanding UMRK’s array of capabilities in the archiving department) - we recently discovered the original 1982 test discs for FZ’s project!!!!
And yes, in the outback of the Way Back we were of course planning to simultaneously release this on DVD, CD, vinyl and iTunes – but that’s a whole other story. Still, it must be mentioned that one of the other ideas that came of those plans of long ago was the opportunity to invite John Frusciante to participate. Turns out, in all of the various and nefarious marketing plans by a certain deliberately-unreferenced record company, no one but John had the simple basic personal honesty and respect for FZ to consider checking in with us. If this was about a DNA match this kind of a hit would easily be one out of a few thousand less than the total occupancy of people versus human beings on Earth. And that, as a match for us, is perfect.
When I was 14 years old I made the decision that I was going to find and purchase every Frank Zappa record. In 1984, this took some doing since all of his records from the 60’s and 70’s were out of print. I would take buses all over L.A. and the Valley for these records, every one of which had a huge, powerful effect on me. Each one, upon finding it, would seem like the most perfect microcosm of feeling to me. Everything about each one, the smell, the cover, the inner sleeve and especially the music were pure magic to my mind. I also soon started regularly calling 818 PUMPKIN, ordering stuff whenever I had money. This included the Old Masters box (which contained re-masters of his first 5 records), the film Baby Snakes and a video called the Dub Room Special. I watched these two videos over and over, constantly showing them to anyone willing to watch.
By the time I was 15 I owned all of the records and was spending about 70% of my musical life studying and learning his music. For me, striving for the perfection he was known for demanding from his bands was a powerful motivation and force behind the huge amount of practicing I was doing back then. I taught myself to read music by comparing the written notes in the Frank Zappa Guitar Book to the recordings of those songs. The poly-rhythms in that book (brilliantly transcribed by Steve Vai), as well as those in his instrumental compositions, opened up my mind a great deal. I believe this instilled in my brain the wide open, infinite possibilities of creating shapes with music.
By the time I was 16 I knew how to play damn near everything in terms of his compositions. That learning process, as well as the dedication and devotion I had for his music was a hugely important step in my eventually having my own voice as a musician. Also, those potentially difficult years were mostly a lot of laughter in my head, as his sense of humor felt to me like a friend. Furthermore, his self-assured and confident attitude gave me the reassurance to believe in myself completely and not let anyone tell me shit. His work ethic is especially inspirational to me at this present period in my life and I am still learning from that endless surplus that is his music. His solos are some of the most enjoyable, frustrating and rewarding guitar playing to learn that I can think of. In his 30-year career, it is quite possible he played more fantastic solos than anyone.
Unlike many guitarists, every solo he played, every night on tour, was brand new. He didn’t repeat himself.
The Dub Room Special CD is the soundtrack to the Dub Room Special DVD. It is the 1974 band with a couple of songs from the ’81 band as well. The ’81 band contained wonderful musicians, my favorites being, percussionist Ed Mann and keyboardist Tommy Mars. The ’74 band was a very powerful lineup. My favorite elements, again, are the percussionist and the keyboardist, Ruth Underwood and George Duke. Both bands have great vocal stylists in Ray White (’81) and Napoleon Murphy Brock (’74).
I am still very much in awe of everyone in these groups and Frank’s guitar playing here, is still as explosive and mind-blowing to me as it ever was.
I feel very honored and privileged to have been given the opportunity to write these liner notes and share with whoever reads them the great amount of love I have, and will always have, for the wonderful music Frank Zappa gave us.
- John Frusciante