Jeff Berlin fired by Frank Zappa

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by holytiamat777, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. Stranger Danger

    Stranger Danger Feel Like A Stranger Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    "And if you give me weed, whites & wine"

    I'll take Little Feat over Zappa any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
  2. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    If found this one for The Black Page:

    Bass Tab
  3. Bisounourse


    Jun 21, 2012
    Gent, Belgium
    I always thought the first album of The Mothers (Of Invention) was Freak Out. Bass was played by Roy Estrada. But it could be you are referring to another album...
  4. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    I would tell anyone who would have questions about FZ and Jeff and Vinnie to read "Two Orchestral Stupidities" in Frank Zappa's autobiography. Letting Jeff and Vinnie go was primarily a business conflict over money.
    Scott Thunes was by his own admission a very difficult person to work with, so much so that he took himself out of the business. There were several good articles on him a few years back. His bass work with FZ was brilliant.
    Jack Bruce was basically hired for the session on Apostrophe, he was not a member of FZ's road band to my knowledge.
    FZ hired many musicians who could read very, very well (Vai, Tom Fowler, Bruce Fowler, Chester Thompson, Ralph Humphries, Arthur Barrow, etc.) and also non-readers (Adrian Belew, for example) who brought their own spin to things.
    Someone was asking about Jeff Berlin's level of activity in the Music Biz. Like Jimmy M has stated, he has several decades worth of recording work, less so since he moved to Clearwater, but he has lately been touring with Dennis Chambers, Scott Henderson, Larry Coryell and others when he chooses to.
    Jeff stated in an interview that he moved to Clearwater and started PSM to care for his son when he had a serious illness. I would have done the same thing (and as a matter of fact chose to stop touring full-time when I did to care for an aging family member). Some things are more important than your gigs.
    Here are Arthur Barrow's thoughts about working with FZ:
    Here is Jeff Berlin's Allmusic page that lists some of his credits:
    I have several albums by Gil Goldstein, Ernie Krivda and others from the late 70s that Jeff played on not listed on the Allmusic page. He had an active career in New York and LA and has started to more actively tour since his sons are grown. We will no doubt hear more from him.
    I would encourage anyone who can hear them to go hear Zappa Plays Zappa. It's as close as you will get to the FZ experience these days.
  5. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    It was. Carol Kaye was still doing some studio dates on guitar and she played electric 12 string on the sessions. Roy Estrada played on that record and later returned to work with FZ in between Tom Fowler and Patrick O'Hearn in the late 1970s.
  6. ACalbass


    Dec 16, 2011
    b) And you think all people that can read their parts can also groove?
    Meet the most interesting and unique part of a musician : HIS INTERPRETATION !!!!.
    And his interpretation might've not be groovy.
  7. I think it simply boils down to the fact that Zappa viewed himself not as a bandleader but as a composer who was conducting his own pieces of music. To tell you the truth, if the one band I am currently heading ever decides to play live, I will probably conduct myself like Zappa. By that, I mean not being loud and angry, but simply that I would hand the performers the sheet music (or lead sheets if it involves improvisation at all), let them study it, and expect to hear what I had in my head as I composed the piece.

    That is honestly one of the main reasons why my band will remain a studio band in reality. People would get too "mad" at me for expecting them to play my compositions note-per-note. But it isn't a slight against them at all. I just, like Zappa, act as a composer more than bandleader (in that band).

    However, I am also a co-founder in a jazz band where we all are equal players, so it obviously depends on the music being played!
  8. 4001

    4001 Inactive

    Sep 29, 2004
    Lake County, IL
    I saw Scott Henderson a few months ago in Chicago with Jeff Berlin and Mike Clark. They arrived a bit late for the show due to a van breakdown, thus, they had to soundcheck in front of us all. Jeff was cracking us all up to no end as well as Mike Clark and Henderson. Jeff has a great sense of humor from what I took away from that gig. Oh, and his playing that night was incredible. What a TIGHT rhythm section Berlin and Clark were that night. After the show I was able to speak to Jeff for several minutes. Great person and really, I have a hard time reading all of the negative posts about Jeff. Yes, he has his way about things musically but he is one helluva great player and I didn't detect one bit of snobbery from him whatsoever. Maybe he wasn't the right fit for FZ but at that time Jeff was really starting to make a name for himself and in the work world everyone should ask for a raise if they think they deserve it. The worst that can happen is you get turned down. Unfortunately that wasn't the case here and maybe their personalities clashed a bit as well. Coming from Bruford's band and going into FZ's would have been quite a change for Jeff too.
  9. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Lets not forget that just because someone is an insane bassist doesn't always mean you need it..

    With bass specifically, its a rarity to get hired as the 'far out' guy for a session. Certainly not unheard of, but if someone wants more money for being a master carpenter, but all you needed was to cut a board in half...
  10. Touché.
  11. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Yep, definitely worth going to if you dig the music. Really good. Had Thunes on bass last time I saw 'em too, which was a treat.
  12. king_biscuit


    May 21, 2006

    I always liked his playing, and he even let me play his bass once at a clinic. His tone has always been too compressed with too much chorus. Scott Thunes had the right tone for Zappa's band, and his aggressive style and personality fit in perfectly with Zappa's music -- even if some of the other players didn't like him.
  13. 4001

    4001 Inactive

    Sep 29, 2004
    Lake County, IL
  14. Haha! Yeah, he's sometimes too outspoken for his own good, but I love him!
  15. bill_banwell


    Oct 19, 2002
    I love Jeff, does he not post here anymore?
  16. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Are you being sarcastic?
  17. 4001

    4001 Inactive

    Sep 29, 2004
    Lake County, IL
    Uhmmm, no.
  18. bill_banwell


    Oct 19, 2002
    Go on then, fill me in, don't leave me hanging like a boob in the breeze!
  19. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    -1 let the boob chill. Boobs are awesome.
  20. bill_banwell


    Oct 19, 2002
    Yes they are curbowkid!
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    Primary TB Assistant

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