30 May 2008

Then came the last days of May...

I've been really quiet of late (loads of stuff happening IRL), the end result of which is that I have been pulled increasingly from posting here.

Without making excuses or getting into any of the reasons, here's some stuff for y'all:

My interview with Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings has now been posted and can be read HERE. A brief excerpt:

BK: Good. You guys are gonna be playing the inaugural Three Rivers Prog Fest, out in Pittsburgh. And I know Pittsburgh is where Inside/Out USA used to be based out of. Is there something special about that festival, you know, the idea that you're gonna be playing at the first one, or is it the fact that you're gonna be able to sort of route shows around it that makes it attractive?

RS: Well, in fact, we were asked to, because obviously we know a couple of people in Pittsburgh, because we had our record company there and we had people that we'd been working with in Pittsburgh for quite a while. So, we were asked to play this festival maybe some...4, 5, 6 months ago, I think.

BK: Long before it was actually announced.

RS: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. And I waited, and one of the reasons was of course that we had to cancel ROSfest. I didn't want that to happen again, you know what I mean. I wanted to be really, really, positively sure that we were gonna play the festival before I said OK. Anyway, so we were asked to do this, and I didn't know what other bands were gonna play, and then they came back to me a couple of weeks ago, and said "this is what the festival is gonna be, these are the other acts," and some of them are not announced yet. But they're really good acts, definitely. So, just looking at the lineup, I said "this looks interesting," and I think we can even attract some of the non-prog audience for this festival. So, that was one of the motivations for playing.

Secondly, my interview with Andy Tillison of The Tangent has also been posted, and you can read it HERE. Again, a brief excerpt:

BK: Is the European scene that much more vital for live progressive music, that a tour like this can happen over there? Here in the States it seems the entire progressive music scene is almost subsidized and supported by three or four festivals over the course of the year. Bands will come over and play one or two shows around the festivals and that's the only chance you get to see them.

AT: Yeah. Well...that's right. It has to be remembered that although the festivals are very impressive in America...we loved when we played ROSfest...it also has to be remembered that America actually has one of the smallest progressive rock markets, so that...you know...I think that for example there are more people into progressive rock in South America than there are in the United States. And there are certainly more people who are into it in Europe than there are who are into it in America. So the problem is the American vastness, it means that we can come over...we can play one of the festivals, but then we have to transport ourselves miles away to the next show to keep from interfering with that festivals bookings and play a gig on the other coast. The problem is...we've already discussed this with other bands who have done the same thing and they find nobody goes to the next gig because they've already gone to the festival! So these big festivals in America are sort of like, everybody goes and you see the same people or core at all festivals. So it is a bit difficult, of course, and the American market is...it's difficult to get over there to start with, and all the instrument hire, and...

So yeah...we can do the festivals, but unfortunately putting a tour together over there is almost impossible. We're not big enough yet...we haven't got enough people who could make a tour pay, and, you know...it is terrible that you have to think of money like this, but...unfortunately we do. We can't come home having to pay for our own performance.

Finally, those of you on the Frank Zappa merch mailing list know that there is a new Zappa DVD being released from the vaults, titled The Torture Never Stops. This is an apt title for a lot of long-suffering Zappaphiles who have been waiting patiently for the ZFT to finally released the long coveted Roxy DVD, which has been announced and promised for many years now (a trailer for this appears on the Baby Snakes DVD).

I am not going to get into the politics of the way releases are being made from the archives...there have been some strange choices, to be sure, but at the same time, several things have come out that are genuinely very interesting (Wazoo, the live Grand Wazoo release...the MOFO project (which has its own share of controversy)...Imaginary Diseases from the Petit Wazoo tour, et cetera).


The Roxy era band has been considered by many to be the peak of the early post-MOI Zappa groups...I mean, how can you complain about this as a band to play with:

Napoleon Murphy Brock – flute, saxophone, tenor saxophone, vocals
George Duke – synthesizer, keyboards, vocals
Bruce Fowler – trombone, dancer
Tom Fowler – bass guitar
Walt Fowler – trumpet, bass trumpet
Don Preston – synthesizer
Jeff Simmons – rhythm guitar, vocals
Chester Thompson – drums
Ruth Underwood – percussion

And yes, we have Baby Snakes on DVD, and The Dub Room Special, and Does Humour Belong in Music?, and now TTNS...but no Roxy.

And we wait.

Just like we've been waiting for...

Dance Me This
The Rage & The Fury
200 Motels (on DVD and/or CD)
A release of Uncle Meat without the 'penalty tracks'

I've long since given up trying to understand how releases get decided upon and scheduled. I'd just like to see Roxy before I die...


firefly said...

Excellent interview with Roine! I really enjoyed reading it; sounds like Roine is exactly into what I am and was ... (But, I thought you weren't going to show the readers who you wrote for- oops, I could be wrong like I am sometimes.)

Unknown said...

200 Motels was released on CD years ago. It even came with a "Do Not Disturb" doorknob thingie (which I still have). Is it now out of print?

Bill K. said...

Out of print since 2002.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys. I have 'Zappa/Mothers Roxy & Elsewhere' on CD; not sure if the in waiting DVD will be the same show or not.
This CD i have is on Barking Pumpkin Records, 1992.
Yep, same band, i just looked- good music, nasty jokes!
I also have "Zappa meets the mothers of prevention." (political) ...and not as good IMO as the above one at the Roxy.