Jeff Berlin fired by Frank Zappa

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

  1. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    Zappa = Genius?
    maybe........... but I never got it.

    To me, Zappa's music was always just weird, novelty type music.

    If he were still alive today, I would say that he is a cross between Les Claypool
    and Weird Al Yankovic.
  2. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Looks to me like JB is one of those players who gets hired once by a lot of people.
  3. pnchad


    Nov 3, 2005
    I don't know if you guys understand the rigidity of a FZ band

    the charts were EXACT precise note for note exercises in reading - every bit as demanding as classical, probably more than demanding

    I think even FZ called it 'knat notes' as in many and small - 16ths, 32nds, 64th triplets in odd times - like an experiment in how complicated you could write music

    doesn't make it music
  4. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    The "black page".;)
  5. king_biscuit


    May 21, 2006
    You are way off. Frank's brilliance was his social commentary, and he used his music for that end.
  6. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012

    His views on religion for starters.

    Made sense to me.

    His lyrics also made sense. No matter how jocular.
  7. About the gnat notes, Steve Vai got hired simply by mailing transcriptions to FZ.
  8. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012
    I never really understood what happened there. Not that it's any of my business. But it seemed that, having been given a more senior position as 'executive bandleader' or some such, the percussionist convinced the rest of the band (except the guitarist) to treat Scott like ****. Zappa made the right call IMO.
  9. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012
    two things interest me here:

    a) i didn't know jack bruce had the chops for Zappa. Those are chops beyond chops!

    b) I thought zappa wrote all the parts, so if the basslines aren't grooving for him then that's his fault for writing them that way?
  10. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    Uncle Meat
    Dogbreath (in the year of the plague)
    Mr. Green Jeans
    The Black Page
    King Kong

    ...I'm not sure how tone-deaf a person would have to be to not find those melodies "memorable or touching or exciting", but it would probably be a pathological case, one for the medical textbooks!
  11. I think Peaches en Regalia and Son of Mr Green Genes are in Real Books, but most folks who learned the circle of fifths and rhythm changes from Jamie Aebersold tapes and don't bring much more to a combo gig are gonna have probs improvising over them, let alone his more arcane stuff. And the other thing is if there are no words to sing along with, most people don't remember tunes, and his stuff is chiefly instrumental. Yeah ya don't see Zappa on karaoke discs, but ya don't see Varese either.
  12. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Frank even admitted that the only reason he used lyrics and vocals was to at least give at least a little commercial consideration.
  13. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Inactive

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England
    'Does Humour Belong In Music?' is quite possibly one of the greatest live video concerts ever. I never tire of seeing Bobby Martin.
  14. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012
    anyone that thinks pick playing isn't true bass playing needs to watch that video.
  15. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Inactive

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England
    Oh absolutely my friend, absolutely. Putting all the Thunes-related drama aside, I defy anyone to watch him let rip for an hour and a half and not be floored by the mans groove. Simply astounding bass work.
  16. king_biscuit


    May 21, 2006
    I started watching that video in about 85 (concert is from 84), and it has completely shaped my musical development. I'll bet I've seen it 500 times.
  17. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    I guess I am way off, since I never saw any of his "brilliance".

    I just listened to Apostrophe again to see if maybe I missed something since I last heard it about 20 years ago.

    Nope........ still just sounds weird to me!
  18. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    The late great Lowell George used to like to tell the story of when he was in Zappas band just before they played thier honky tonk classic "Willin". He said he play that tune for the boss one day and Frank suggested that might be happier if he went off and started his own band, and rest as they say is history.
  19. As I recall, Francis Rocco Prestia played bass on the first, the self-titled Mothers of Invention double album released on Verve maybe in 1967? Lots of interesting players went thru that band.
  20. wishface


    Jan 27, 2012
    Is there a good source for Zappa bass tab?
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