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Farewell to Motorhead…

From  Noise 11:

Mothers Of Invention’s Jim Sherwood Dies Aged 69

by Paul Cashmere on December 27, 2011

Jim ‘Motorhead’ Sherwood from Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention died on Christmas Day at the age of 69.

Sherwood was the sax player and vocals and vocal sounds effects for the Mothers and played on the Zappa albums ‘200 Motels’, ‘Burnt Weeny Sandwich’, ‘Weasals Ripped My Flesh’ and ‘We’re Only In It For The Money’.

He also appeared in Zappa’s films ‘200 Motels’, ‘Video From Hell’ and ‘Uncle Meat’.

After the demise of The Mothers Sherwood occasionally got together with other ex-Mothers and performed as The Grandmothers.

Sherwood and Frank Zappa were childhood friends. They met in 1956. Jim was in the same class at school with Frank’s brother Bobby Zappa. Jim and Frank first played together in 1964 in Zappa’s very first band The Blackouts.

He joined the Mothers of Invention initially as a roadie and contributed sound effects to the first album ‘Freak Out’ in 1966. In 1967 he became a full-time member of the band.

Jim’s nickname was Motorhead, named because he was always repairing old cars, trucks and motorbikes.

Note: Motorhead also played tambourine on several pieces.

“King Kong-Legend of Golden Arches-Sleeping in jar” at The Beat Culb(Breamen,Germany,6 October 1968) Don Preston–keyboards Ian Underwood–keyboards and woodwinds Bunk Gardner–woodwinds Motorhead Sherwood–baritone sax Roy Estrada–bass and vocals Jimmy Carl Black–drums and vocals Art Tripp–drums and percussion Frank Zappa

Here’s today’s Frank Zappa video: Inca Roads

This was requested when I did an all-Zappa radio show last week… then I found this YouTube video:

Tomorrow is the last day of Zappadan… Frank’s Birthday!

Do you suppose Zappa was influenced by Spike Jones?

This doesn’t come up in any of the Zappa commentaries I’ve read, but I was playing some Spike Jones star, Hollywood Walk of FameSpike Jones collector pieces on YouTube last night and it dawned on me that they have much in common. Although Spike and the City Slickers were a big band comedy sound… and although Spike died just as Zappa was coming up, his presence on 50s television and in Movietone shorts would certainly have been experienced by Frank at some point.

Dancin’ Fool is one of the Zappa pieces that strike me as related to some of Spike Jones:

Someone commented on this one (12th Street Rag) by saying that Spike Jones was like a cross between Zappa and the Globetrotters. I like that comparison:

Any Comments?

Very Early Zappa… after the Watts Riots

In 1966 before Zappa and The Mothers ( before they became the Mothers of Invention after signing their contract with Verve Records) came out with the Freak Out album, they recorded a song based on the Watts Riots called Trouble Coming Every Day (later renamed to Trouble Every Day.)

He later added it to the Freak Out album.

Here it is:


Well I’m about to get sick
From watchin’ my TV
Been checkin’ out the news
Until my eyeballs fail to see
I mean to say that every day
Is just another rotten mess
And when it’s gonna change, my friend
Is anybody’s guess

So I’m watchin’ and I’m waitin’
Hopin‘ for the best
Even think I’ll go to prayin’
Every time I hear ’em sayin’
That there’s no way to delay
That trouble comin’ every day
No way to delay
That trouble comin’ every day

Wednesday I watched the riot . . .
Seen the cops out on the street
Watched ’em throwin’ rocks and stuff
And chokin’ in the heat
Listened to reports
About the whisky passin’ ’round
Seen the smoke and fire
And the market burnin’ down
Watched while everybody
On his street would take a turn
To stomp and smash and bash and crash
And slash and bust and burn

And I’m watchin’ and I’m waitin’
Hopin’ for the best
Even think I’ll go to prayin’
Every time I hear ’em sayin’
That there’s no way to delay
That trouble comin’ every day
No way to delay
That trouble comin’ every day

Well, you can cool it,
You can heat it . . .
‘Cause, baby, I don’t need it . . .
Take your TV tube and eat it
‘N all that phony stuff on sports
‘N all the unconfirmed reports
You know I watched that rotten box
Until my head begin to hurt
From checkin’ out the way
The newsman say they get the dirt
Before the guys on channel so-and-so

And further they assert
That any show they’ll interrupt
To bring you news if it comes up
They say that if the place blows up
They will be the first to tell,
Because the boys they got downtown
Are workin’ hard and doin’ swell,
And if anybody gets the news
Before it hits the street,
They say that no one blabs it faster
Their coverage can’t be beat
And if another woman driver
Gets machine-gunned from her seat
They’ll send some joker with a brownie
And you’ll see it all complete

So I’m watchin’ and I’m waitin’
Hopin’ for the best
Even think I’ll go to prayin’
Every time I hear ’em sayin’
That there’s no way to delay
That trouble comin’ every day
No way to delay
That trouble comin’ every day

Hey, you know something people?
I’m not black
But there’s a whole lots a times
I wish I could say I’m not white

Well, I seen the fires burnin’
And the local people turnin’
On the merchants and the shops
Who used to sell their brooms and mops
And every other household item
Watched the mob just turn and bite ’em
And they say it served ’em right
Because a few of them are white,
And it’s the same across the nation
Black and white discrimination
Yellin’ “You can’t understand me!”
‘N all that other jazz they hand me
In the papers and TV and
All that mass stupidity
That seems to grow more every day
Each time you hear some nitwit say
He wants to go and do you in
Because the color of your skin
Just don’t appeal to him
(No matter if it’s black or white)
Because he’s out for blood tonight

You know we got to sit around at home
And watch this thing begin
But I bet there won’t be many live
To see it really end
‘Cause the fire in the street
Ain’t like the fire in the heart
And in the eyes of all these people
Don’t you know that this could start
On any street in any town
In any state if any clown
Decides that now’s the time to fight
For some ideal he thinks is right
And if a million more agree
There ain’t no Great Society
As it applies to you and me
Our country isn’t free
And the law refuses to see
If all that you can ever be
Is just a lousy janitor
Unless your uncle owns a store
You know that five in every four
Just won’t amount to nothin’ more
Gonna watch the rats go across the floor
And make up songs about being poor

A Stratocaster with a Whammy Bar…

Here’s a way to start your day… the opening of Joe’s Garage:

Frank Zappa was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 after he had been dead two years. Why he wasn’t added to the stack in 1979 when he recorded this amazing album is beyond me.


BTW: Brady Bonk, over at Ketchup is a Vegetable, has done some really good analysis and history of some of Frank’s greatest orchestral pieces… It’s worth taking a look (and a listen.)

A Zappadan Evening Treat…

Just finished walking my dogs out in the cold… So what did I pick for Today’s Zappadan post?
Why, YELLOW SNOW… what else?

(Watch out where the huskies go… and REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR… 69 years ago today.)

Wondering about the Friday Morning Winners and Losers Show and its audience.

I’m wondering how many people listen to John Case and me on Friday mornings on WSHC 89.7 FM on Friday Mornings. We get phone calls from the same four people and this morning we had a friend of John’s wife in the studio who listens on line from the Detroit, MI, area… but other than these, I’d sure like to know what the actual number of listeners comes to… and what kinds of things they wish we would talk about.

Right now we talk about Progressive and/or Liberal politics, we talk about poetry and local theater, and we talk about Jefferson County, WV, in general. The music we play is mostly blues (except when John takes the day off and I play more to the Zappa end of the spectrum) in between discussions and phone calls. If people would like to hear more of the same, or would rather hear different stuff, it would be nice to know.

Just curious.

Next to the last day of Zappadan…

Looking out the window at two feet of snow and two cars to dig out, I get back into my recliner and, instead, listen to a 1980 recording in Paris, of Frank and his assembled band doing The Illinois Enema Bandit.

Here’s the breakdown:
Frank Zappa Palais des Sports, Paris, France June 11, 1980 (early show)
Frank Zappa (lead guitar, vocals) Incredible Guitar Solo!
Ike Willis (rhythm guitar, vocals) Lead Vocal
Ray White (rhythm guitar, vocals)
Tommy Mars (keyboards, vocals)
Arthur Barrow (bass, keyboards, vocals)
David Logeman (drums)

Zappadan News in Baltimore – A TV Commercial Clip, and some (brilliant) music, too.

We’ll start the Zappadan ceremonies today with a Baltimore Sun clip by Sam Sessa:
clipped from

Frank Zappa statue to go near Highlandtown library

frank zappa statue
So the Public Art Committee finally found a home for that Frank Zappa statue: Outside the Southeast Anchor Library, a branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Highlandtown

The bust of Zappa (who was born in Baltimore) will go up sometime next year, according to committee chair Anne Perkins.

“We think this is a great place for it — a terrific neighborhood” Perkins said. “I think it will be the focal point for a lot of really fun festivals.”

Here’s a link to the full story.

At first, I was a little surprised at the site they chose. Highlandtown might get a decent amount of foot traffic, but probably not as much as the other sites they were considering — such as Fells Point.

And besides the Creative Alliance, Highlandtown really isn’t known for its arts and entertainment.. 

(Pictured is a Zappa statue in Lithuania, similar to the Baltimore statue. AP photo.)
  blog it

Now: here’s a really short treat… Zappa’s commercial for Portland General Electric:

Hadn’t seen that one before. Now here’s another rare one… Dio Fa, which was originally an (unproduced) opera Frank was working on and which turned up posthumously in “Civilization Phase III” in 1994. The greatness of Zappa as a composer becomes clearer all the time:

Zappadan Animation Deluxe: The Dental Hygiene Dilemma sequence in 200 Motels

Bye Bye, Jeff Simmons… (Simmons was uncredited as a writer on 200 motels and split with Zappa around the time this was made. Animation by Murakami Wolf Productions …Jimmy Murakami and Fred Wolf).

Bad Conscience: Han min noon toon han toon han
Good Conscience: No, Jeff!
Bad Conscience: Han toon ran toon ran toon fran min han toon ran toon nan toon fram
Good Conscience: No no no!
Jeff: Man! This stuff is great! It’s just as if Donovan himself had appeared on my very own TV with words of peace, love, and eternal cosmic wisdom . . . ! Leading me. Guiding me. On paths of everlasting pseudo-karmic negligence, in the very midst of my drug-induced nocturnal emission.
Good Conscience: Oh, I am your good conscience, Jeff. I know all. I see all. I am a cosmic love pulse matrix, become a technicolor interpositive!
Jeff: Okay . . . Where’d you buy that incense? It’s hip.
Good Conscience: It’s the same and mysterious exotic oriental fragrance as what the Beatles get off on.
Jeff: I thought I recognized it . . . Sniff, sniff . . . Mmm, what is that, MUSK? Sniff, sniff, sniff . . . mmmh!
Good Conscience: Jeff, I know what’s good for you.
Jeff: Right. You’re heavy.
Good Conscience: Yes, Jeff, I am your guiding light. Listen to me. Don’t rip off the towels, Jeff!
Bad Conscience: Piss off, you little nitwit!
Jeff: Hey man, what’s the deal?
Good Conscience: Don’t listen to him, Jeff, he’s no good. He’ll make you do BAD THINGS!
Jeff: You mean, he’ll make me sin?
Good Conscience: Yes, Jeff. SIN!
Jeff: Wow!
Bad Conscience: Jeff, I’d like to have a word with you . . . about your soul.
Good Conscience: No, don’t listen, Jeff.
Bad Conscience: Why are you wasting your life, night after night playing this comedy music?
Jeff: You’re right, I’m too heavy to be in this group.
Good Conscience: Comedy music . . .
Bad Conscience: Jeff, YOUR SOUL!

Oh . . .
Too heavy to
Be . . .

Jeff: In this group, all I ever get to do is play Zappa’s comedy music. HE EATS!
Good Conscience: Jeff!
Jeff: I get so tense!
Bad Conscience: Of course you do, my boy.
Jeff: The stuff he makes me do is always off the wall!
Bad Conscience: That’s why it would be best to leave his stern employ.
Jeff: And quit the group!
Bad Conscience: You’ll make it big!
Jeff: That’s right.
Bad Conscience: Of course!
Jeff: And then I won’t be SMALL!

Ha ha ha ha ha!
Ha ha ha!
Ha, ha, ha . . .

Jeff: Cough, cough. Ahmet Ertegun used this towel as a bathmat six weeks ago at a rancid motel in Orlando, Florida, with the highest MILDEW rating of any commercial lodging facility within the territorial limits of the United States, naturally excluding tropical possessions . . . It’s still damp. What an aroma! This is the best I ever got off! What can I say about this elixir? Try it on steaks! Cleans nylons! Small craft warnings! It’s made for the home! The office! On fruits!
Bad Conscience: This is the real you, Jeff. Rip off a few more ashtrays. Get rid of some of that inner tension. Quit the comedy group! Get your own group together. Heavy! Like GRAND FUNK! Or BLACK SABBATH . . .
Good Conscience: No, Jeff . . .
Jeff: Like COVEN!
Good Conscience: Peace . . . Love . . .
Bad Conscience: Bollocks!
Jeff: What can I say about this elixir?

Mark: Jeff has gone out there on that stuff!
Bad Conscience: He should have never have used the elixir and only stuck to the incense. Oh, Atlantis . . .
Mark: That was BILLY THE MOUNTAIN, dressed up like Donovan, fading out on the wall-mounted TV screen. Jeff IS flipping out. Road fatigue! We’ve got to get him back to normal before Zappa finds out, and steals it, and makes him do it in the movie!
Bad Conscience: You have a brilliant career ahead of you, my boy, Just GET OUT OF THIS GROUP!
Mark: Howard, that was Studebacher Hoch, dressed up like Jim Pons, giving career guidance to the bass player of a rock-oriented comedy group. Jeff’s imagination has gone beyond the fringe of audience comprehension. Jeff, Jeff, it’s me, the Phlorescent Leech!
Howard: Jeff, Jeff, it’s me, Eddie!


Mark: (right channel) Put it on your steaks, uh, send it overseas, […] ground, and put it on you surfboard so you won’t slip off. Try it on your [Jim Bean Boy], and on the, the red balloons, you can blow up all balloons with it. Put it on your . . . heh . . . on . . . on your pizza. Put it on your shoes, tie your mic with it, and fill up your tires with it.

Howard: (center) Use it to clean your swimming pool, sell it to your mother and tell her it’s a Rit tie-dye kit, you won’t even believe what’ll happen when you starch your shirt with it, ironing goes easier and your car windows never looked better in your whole life. Ladies and gentlemen, you can inhale it, and it makes your voice three keys higher, and you can’t even stand what happens when you put it on your hair, as hair tonic. Heh, heh. And if you ever tried it as a . . .

Jim Pons: (left channel) Soak your shirts in it, soak your teeth in it. Let it play the piano. Follow it around the block. Wear it instead of jeans. Bathe your puppies with it. Feed it to your ducks. Use it instead of chlorine in your swimming pool. Breathe it. Love it.

What can I?
What can I say about this?

Dupree’s Paradise: Classic Zappa Comps with Great Animation and Orchestra Conducted by Pierre Boulez

Lets start Wednesday with a really great recording of a major set of Zappa compositions conducted by Boulez set to an animation by Bruce Bickford (some used later in Baby Snakes). Animation was done in 1976, Boulez recording with the Ensemble InterContemporain was done in 1984.


Zappa performing Cosmik Debris in 1974

This is a great recording of a live studio performance. I hadn’t seen it before. It’s nice to find new experiences during Zappadan.

A Zappadan Monday – You Are What You Is

The visual quakity of this one sucks, but the sound is pretty good.
Frank Zappa Palais des Sports, Paris, France June 11, 1980 (early show)
Frank Zappa (lead guitar, vocals)
Ike Willis (rhythm guitar, vocals)
Ray White (rhythm guitar, vocals)
Tommy Mars (keyboards, vocals)
Arthur Barrow (bass, keyboards, vocals)
David Logeman (drums)

Two years later in Bolzano, Italy, he picks up the tempo on the same song… does it make a difference?

3 July 1982 Stadio Comunale, Bolzano, Italy
Frank Zappa’s Band 1982 European Tour:
Ed Mann – percussion
Tommy Mars – keyboards
Robert Martin – keyboards, tenor saxophone, vocals
Scott Thunes – bass, vocals
Steve Vai – guitar
Chad Wackerman – drums
Ray White – guitar, vocals
Frank Zappa – guitar, vocals

Zappadan for a Sunday: Jesus Thinks You’re a Jerk…

Frank performs this live with additional lyrics (printed on the screen for you), as he took on Jim Bakker and Pat Robertson in the 80s:

3 Views of “Peaches En Regalia” – This Morning’s Zappadan Classic

This is Frank playing Peaches En Regalia in a Home Movie, not the new version by Dweezil that got his father installed at the R&R Hall of Fame. Enjoy:

OK… here’s Dweezil playing Peaches En Regalia in Milan in 2008:

And one more time: Here’s Phish playing Peaches En Regalia last week:

Zappa’s accomplishment as composer will continue to grow in the Music World for years to come…

A Zappadan Morning for America…

… and the sentiment that first drew many of us to Zappa:

Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance   and   What’s the Ugliest Part of Your Body?

In 1968 I did my first real directing piece at a one-act program at Northwestern: a staged piece based on Zappa’s “Lumpy Gravy.” Of course, LG was released at the same time (and from the same recording sessions) as We’re Only In It For The Money”, and the end of that record, just played above, was the conclusion of the theatre piece which, unbelievably to the faculty folks who sat on my grade in the project, got the audience out of their seats to dance with the cast. We later took this production to Chicago’s Kinetic Playground (which Aaron Russo had opened, starting his dramatic rise in the late sixties and throughout the seventies), where it was positioned on the bill between performances by B.B. King and Albert King (were we a triumph among Kings?),  two guys it was a thrill to meet.

Anyways… thanks for the memories.

Pure Zappa for Zappadan – Black Napkins

This is from the (very long) video of Frank doing BlackNapkins at the Palladium broadcast by MTV. You can’t celebrate Zappadan without hearing the classic Zappa guitar work on Black Napkins at least once. Enjoy:

– and an UPDATE –

Dweezil Zappa plays Black Napkins… Like Father, Like Son:

Hope this starts your day off in a great way!

For a Zappadan Monday, Let’s Start Off With…

… Catholic Girls!

I get younger every time I hear this stuff!

A Sunday Morning in Zappadan:

Stop off at Fried Green Al Qaidas which is the official Zappadan site this year…

Something to wake up to. Planet of the Baritone Women: