Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Grandmothers of Invention

I'm not sure how I found out about this show, since it wasn't well advertised. None the less, I was not about to pass up an opportunity to see 3 members of the Mothers of Invention, perform Frank Zappa's music.

Meet and Greet

When I purchased this ticket, I noticed that a VIP ticket was only $20.00 more, so I bought one. Showing up an hour early, I was immediately escorted to the dressing rooms, and backstage area, to meet the musicians:

  • Napoleon Murphy Brock (with the Mothers from 1974 - 1984) vocals, tenor saxophone, and flute
  • Tom Fowler (with the Mothers from 1973 - 1978) bass
  • Christopher Garcia - drums, percussion, marimba, and vocals
  • Miroslav Tadic - electric guitar
  • Don Preston (with the Mothers from 1966 - 1974) on piano, keyboard synthesizers, electronics, magic, and vocals!

What a fantastic time, it was an absolute pleasure to be able to speak with Don, Tom, and Napoleon about their tenure in Frank's band, and most importantly get their audition stories, particularly after having the same conversation with Adrian Belew several months prior.

Since I happened to have a King Crimson - Discipline T-shirt on, I immediately struck up a conversation with Chris Garcia the drummer, who just happened to be a huge Bill Bruford fan. Wow, it seemed like we had almost identical tastes in music, and it was a rare pleasure to talk to people who shared one of your passions.

Untitled Untitled

The Show

The show started a bit late to a light crowd, on the indoor stage. I was actually trying to recall the last show I had seen inside, other than some Gospel Brunches. It has been well over a decade.

I estimate that the Grandmothers played for about 90 minutes, and covered the most of the material on the Roxy and Elsewhere album. If I remember correctly, the Roxy album was also featured prominently during the first ZPZ tour, with Napoleon. So, perhaps there was a bit of a statement being made, with this particular song selection. In addition to the Roxy material, they also played Peaches en Regalia, and one of my favorites during their encore, the Sofa.

I was truly blown away by this band, although I was not surprised, knowing their history. I should also add that Napoleon had the funniest comment of the night, in response to the persistent requests from the audiences for certain songs. He held up a zip-lock bag containing a 10 Finnish Mark note. And said, that requests would be happily taken from anyone present able to pay in this currency. (He also mentioned that this had backfired on them, during a stop of a European tour).

Here are few picture of these terrific musicians, on stage: Untitled

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