Thursday, November 20, 2008

Odds and Sods for Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm back.

Man, I've been hearing all of these great things about the Project Object tour and I am kicking myself for not catching them in New York on Monday night but oh well, I'll be finally seeing them at World Cafe Live this Sunday night (doors open at 6:00 p.m., the concert starts at 7:30)

Here's my little darling leaving for tour last week and yeah, you have to know your Zappa music to understand the outfit. Erm...nice tail, Eric:

While I haven't found much in the way of reviews on line, there was a very nice comment in my blog yesterday from "Herr Brain Pang" and he said this:

"Great show last night in NYC. Interesting that some of the improv jams had a bit of a David Allen Gong meets Zappa vibe, which is just fine by me. Ike seriously killed with his all-powerful vocal and scorching guitar. His hair looked better than usual, too, heh heh. The Slick kid had my friend's jaw on the table. Rare that I ever want more at a show, but I could have took a couple more numbers. Only complaint: Andre didn't do "San Ber'dino." Based on the previous time I saw him play, he now OWNS that song. Food complaint: the BBQ chicken was so full of water that it was like eating air."

Ha ha - yeah, the food at BB Kings seriously sucks, is incredibly overpriced, and I know I've voiced my opinion about that many times here along with the fact that you are required to eat (food minimum charge) when all you really want to do is watch the show...and there is nothing worse than waiters blocking your view and clattering silverware and plates when you are trying to listen to some really fine music.

Oh well. It is what it is and other than the food, I do enjoy when J&E play there.

I also saw a journal entry here written by "Jai" which made me smile:

"Speaking of tributes, last night i went to see Project/Object - the Frank Zappa tribute. Dweezil Zappa has his own tribute to his dad, Zappa Plays Zappa, they're pretty damn good, but Project/Object i feel is somewhat better. i think it's because P/O has Ike Willis (one of Frank's singers from over the years). never saw P/O before, always meant to, and i am so glad i finally saw them."

I'm glad you did, too, Jai. Thanks!

Then there was this note, sent to the band via their website:


Saw you guys last night at the Iron Horse and was blown away along with my 17 year old son!

Bravo to you folks, fuck Dweezil!

Keep up the good work and we will see you again soon. Maybe even tonight at Toads! :-)"

Pretty cool, huh.

ETA: This just in from Andre. Man oh man...

"Due to Adelaide Gail Zappa and her incessant, worldwide legal attacks on fans honoring Frank Zappa's music, and attempts to negate his request (according to the Zappa hotline, Dec 1993) to "Play My Music", the Project/Object show for Fri 21 Nov 2008, at Bill's Bar in Boston, has been cancelled.

Stand by for further details on the threatening letters. All other shows, have proceeded fantastically or are proceeding as planned, since what we do is 100% legal under US law. It's sad that lawyers are being enriched every year by this useless letter-writing campaign (all clubs also get threat letters).

FYI - The band Ugly Radio Rebellion, who you'll remember was under attack for Dec. 2007 shows, just had to cancel all their Nov 2008 shows due to a couple of clubs' unfounded fears of Adelaide Gail Zappa suing them. Bogus Pomp in Florida also recently was attacked for celebrating this music. Artists in Germany also continue to be attacked. What a waste of good money that could be used to release more Zappa music......

We are not breaking any laws and we will continue to perform Frank Zappa music for you. And maybe even a little of the music of Mozart, Stravinsky, Gustav Holst, The Seeds ('Pushing Too Hard' used in 'Sy Borg'), Yes (1984 'bamboozled' solo section), The Beatles (medley played on 1988 Zappa tour), Richard Berry (Frank quoted "Louie Louie" DOZENS of times), Herbie Hancock (riffs quoted in 'Greggery Peccary'), Culture Club ('I'll tumble for ya'), The Doors ('The End', 'Light My Fire')..and on and on and on....

I am conducting research into where and when Frank Zappa got permission to perform, record or parodize ALL of these and many, many other various artists' music. Of course sometimes he sought permission, and when RECORDED and RELEASED, he certainly paid mechanical royalties. But certainly many times he didn't.

For a guy who has a LARGE part of his art based on USING THE MATERIAL OF OTHERS, his estate is strangely, hypocritically opposed to any one else doing the same!

Thank you
Andre Cholmondeley

You know, I read an interesting comment at I think Kill Ugly Radio. A fellow who owned a record store said "Whenever Zappa cover bands played in my area, the next day I sold a ton of Frank Zappa CDs."

Yeah, well, guess who gets the money for that? Not Andre and Project Object, that's for sure. And in speaking from personal experience and as a total musicologist, and I know I've said this many times before, but up until the time Julie and Eric came home from the School of Rock in 1998 and played Zappa for me, and up until the time I saw Project Object perform live around the same time, I did not own one Zappa album. Gary and I were into British blues/rock and we thought Zappa sung weird songs about dental floss. We had no idea of his brilliance. So yes, yes, yes, once we were turned on to them and went to Project Object shows, we went out and bought Frank's entire catalogue.

I just wish all of this shit would stop, I really do. Musicians are supposed to be all about peace, love and understanding. It shouldn't be a fucking "business" where your creative soul is raped and pillaged.

But let me add that while I am copying and pasting comments from fans, I personally enjoyed watching Zappa Plays Zappa in Canada and really wish this didn't turn out to be a competition but rather a collaboration...but the animosity is just mind blowing. And to have a sweetheart like Adrian involved in this convoluted war...BLEH!

And speaking of Ade, switching gears real fast to the Adrian Belew Power Trio, now this REALLY made me smile - a whole thread devoted to Side Four Live posted yesterday at Progressive Ears, another favorite cyber hang-out of mine:

"This cd has been out for about a year now so I'm sure it's been discussed before. Anyhow, I just bought a copy last week and I'm enjoying the hell out of this one!

I've hesitated on most of Belew's studio output due to pop orientation of many of his releases and because of some of the cheesy artificial sounds he prefers in the studio.

None of that on this fabulous live trio recording. Just three great musicians playing their collective asses off with loads of energy and attitude. Definitely worth the pricey website only edition at this point. Anybody else enjoying this one?"

I saw these three perform in July. They were awesome."

"Sides One, Two, and Three are fantastic, as well. Run, don't walk, dude."

"Loved the Power Trio at the Iron Horse (Northampton MA) and digging a good-sounding recording of the Buffalo show from a few nights before."

"I saw the power trio earlier this year and picked up the live CD right then and there on the spot after hearing them play. Fantastic stuff!"

"This fabulous live trio recording...

....I was there that night...braved ice and snow and windy conditions, but I made it!!! saw them the previous night in Dayton, OH, as well...if you get a chance, by all means get to one of their shows!!"


Yeah, that really made my day and very cool that a year after its release, the CD is still getting a lot of attention. Oh man, I cannot wait for the studio release next year!

So while I didn't go to New York on Monday night to catch the Project Object show at BB Kings, I did have a girlie date with Julie and after doing some shopping (bleh, I hate to shop but with Julie it's cool and somehow I ended up buying myself knee high black leather boots that go with absolutely nothing I own but for which Julie has the perfect dress and is going to wear on Saturday). Actually, I can wear them with jeans but I kind of look like a deranged middle-aged dominatrix or worse, a total lunatic with an imaginary riding crop wandering the streets of downtown Philadelphia and approaching strangers asking "Where's my horse? Have you seen my horse? He must be somewhere...otherwise I'd never be wearing these boots, right? Right?"

Nah, I'm kidding. The boots are way cool and I will probably buy myself some *gasp* skirts which will work much better and Julie can share anything of mine any time she wants.

But that's not what we really did Monday night. Well, we shopped and I bought inappropriate boots but that wasn't the fun part. We spent over three hours camped out at Tria Wine Bar. Oh. My God. I'm in love.

I started out with a lovely glass of ROSÉ CAVA "ARIA," SEGURA VIUDAS, NV (Penedès, Spain), described as "Festive Catalan sipper with deep strawberry and red berry fruit from local Pinot Noir grape". Julie had MALBEC BLEND "DON TIBURCIO," BODEGAS BENEGAS, '04 (Mendoza, Argentina) "Structured yet classy blend aged in French oak with plum and cassis flavors from small producer". Yes, we got nicely toasted but the real star was the food...small plate after small plate of total gems.

Our first course was "Warm Poached Black Mission Figs with Gorgonzola and Prosciutto di Parma" only of course we asked them to "hold the prosciutto di Parma" and they did, and awesomely deducted the cost from our tab accordingly. With that we munched on Spiced Almonds. We put ourselves in the hands of Antonio, our most knowledgeable and charming server, who then recommended a cheese board. At his urging, we had a trio of the most sublime cheese ever - LA TUR (Piedmont, Italy · Goat, Sheep & Cow-P).

"Carefully whipped blend of three milks, shaped like a cupcake and heavenly as a cloud".

Wait. What is Cow-P? Ha ha - I don't want to know.

The LA Tur snuggled up to SOTTOCENERE AL TARTUFO (Veneto, Italy · Cow-P).

"Fragrant and smooth, while sexy slivers of black truffles lie under the ash", and next to that was my absolute favorite, EWEPHORIA (Friesling, The Netherlands · Sheep-P).

"Sweet, crunchy, caramel starburst of addictive butterscotch flavor".

But that's not the best part. Each cheese sample came with a tiny pot of dipping sauce. The La Tur was accompanied by honey with pieces of real honey comb; the Sottocenere paired up with pureed squash, and the Ewephoria with fresh cranberries.

We weren't through yet.

Out next came "Bruschetta with caramelized onion with feta", and the absolute show stopper of the night, "Truffled Egg Toast with Fontina Cheese", which was actually a lightly toasted brioche dusted with shaved truffles, fontina cheese, and topped with a sunny-side up egg and fresh cracked black pepper. You have never tasted anything so sensual in your life.

And yes, the wine continued to flow. At this point we changed our selection but damn if I can remember what we had. I think...but I am not sure...that I had PROSECCO, BELE CASEL, NV (Veneto, Italy) "Effervescent thirst quencher; sunny peach and nectarine flavors and a dry finish" and Julie may have had MARCILLAC "LO SANG DEL PAIS," DOMAINE DU CROS, ’06 (Marcillac, France) "Obscure gem from SW France displaying red fruit and peppery spice using local Fer Servadou grape" but after three or four glasses, I can't vouch for that and will have to double check with my daughter the wine diva.

Antonio was not through with us yet, urging us to have a "light dessert". Good freaking lord, that was yet another highlight of the evening. A plate of cookies - fennel wafers and toasted pine nut confections that came with a dipping pot of fresh lemon curd.

I could seriously eat at Tria every day of the week.

Except that I tend to eat that well at home, too. I was going to take a photo but I haven't seen my camera since J&E took it with them to Europe - I'm sure it's in a backpack somewhere but I keep forgetting to ask. But yeah, Gary was feeling frisky last night and made porcini mushroom filled ravioli swimming in a lovely sauce of really good olive oil, roasted garlic, shallots, mushrooms, chopped tomato, and white asparagus.

Yeah, yeah, I'm food obsessed. So what?

Speaking of that, I may as well share yet another pathetic Robin story. Despite all of the eating mentioned above, I have been trying to watch my weight and I swore I would stay away from the Christmas cookies Gary is already baking...he started early this year because Julie and Eric are leaving next Saturday to go back out on tour in Australia. He made old fashioned buttery sugar cookies and he put them in a big tupperware cake dish to keep them fresh.

Oh, how I wanted those cookies. But I am an addict when it comes to sweets, and I knew if I just tasted one, I'd end up eating twenty-seven. I refrained, I refrained, I refrained, until finally, I couldn't take it anymore. So when no one was looking, I lifted off the lid and saw a cookie with my name on it. It was huge and misshapen and since Gary makes these cookies by using a drinking glass dusted with sugar as a "cutter", I figured he had enough batter left for more than one but not quite two cookies so he made one by hand with what remained. I closed my eyes and dreamily bit into it, expecting to be assaulted by the taste of butter and browned sugar. So imagine my horror when I bit into something weird and doughy and salty. Wtf?

And then I recalled a conversation Julie had with Gary.

"Dad, if you put a piece of sliced bread in with the cookies, they'll stay fresher."

Well, we didn't have sliced bread, but we did have whole wheat hamburger rolls and Gary took the top half of one and stuck it in with the cookies.

So that's what I sunk my teeth into instead. A weird soggy half of a hamburger roll that had been hanging out with cookies.

Needless to say, it was a total buzz kill. I spit it out and left the cookies alone. I figured it was some kind of divine message to go upstairs like a good girl and not eat anything so fattening before bedtime.

But I was so, so bummed.

The end.