THIS IS YOUR LAST TOUR AS GRAND MOTHERS RIGHT?
Yes, this is our last actual tour as in more then 3 weeks of consecutive performances, 24 concerts, in 21 cities in 11 countries.
There may be one off performances now and then, as in 1 weekend somewhere, but not like this, not anymore. Its rough on anyone, let alone 2 guys who have been doing this pretty consistently since 1966 and are now both 85 years young, and we have been working together since 2002, almost 600 concerts on 4 continents.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS WHEN YOU LOOK BACK?
The fans and their loyalty and LOVE of all things Frank Zappa, his personae and his music
the fans know all the lyrics of most of the songs, and you must keep in mind that were 68 albums released BEFORE he passed away in 1993, so at least 700 plus songs that are part and parcel of certain types of people lives. Always coming up after the shows and telling THE MOTHERS how much that music changed and influenced their lives.
The other thing about this music is the resilience of the musicians of this band on the road, where no matter what is going on in their personal lives playing and missing home and family they continue to play THE MUSIC to the best of their abilities. Have done gigs where some of the guys were terribly ill, actually leaving the stage during performances, and quite “green around the gills” because of food poisoning on the road, hyperglycemia, etc., but knowing that the fans are there to experience the music they go on and ALWAYS give 1000 %, never letting the fans know how bad they were feeling before, during and after performance, always answering questions and giving their time etc.
As musicians you are both committed (to the music) and should be committed (to the sanitarium) as the amount of time you put into your instrument, and your abilities is never compensated and never will be.
WHAT COMES AFTER THAT? YOU RETIRE?
The guys are in good health and if they are asked to come out for a concert or 2 they might do that, but that is up to them as individuals, can’t remember who said “I don’t get paid to make music, I get paid to travel” i.e., in order to make music for 2 hours on stage it takes 22 hours of being away from home and traveling for each performance.
Being a musician is one thing, but being a working traveling, composing and performing musician is a whole different thing. I do not teach and although I play with lots of different musicians they do not consider me a "session guy" they understand that we will work together as much as possible as often as possible to get beyond the page, get beyond the notes, get beyond the music stand.
I have always played, improvised or composed music everyday of my life and constantly invited to collaborate with like minded musicians and that will never stop as long as I am blessed to have good health and take care of my family.
I READ THAT YOU NEVER MET FRANK ZAPPA.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO HIM, IF YOU COULD?
THANK YOU for all the great music, it has been pleasure to listen, learn and live your music.
There is an interview on him in the Los Angeles TIMES where he is asked about the ZAPPAS UNIVERSE concert as he was ill at that time and unable to attend or perform but he was interviewed after the concert and he was specifically asked if that ensemble would continue, his answer was “I dont know who would want to hear this music if I’m not there to wave a baton over it” i.e., I don’t think he actually knew how much his music meant to the fans as that was not his impetus for doing it. It was mostly to entertain himself and then go out and perform it in front of an audience which is a logistical feat in an of itself. His legacy of compositions, recordings and performances is consistently astounding.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE WAY YOU MAKE MUSIC? WHAT IS THE ESSENCE?
Playing music and MAKING MUSIC are 2 very different things, our most precious commodity in LIFE is our TIME.
Have been beyond fortunate to make a living doing just that
i.e., being invited to make the music that moves me.
If the music does not move me on multiple levels there is no reason to do it, not for myself anyway as making music only happens in real time with real people as often as possible and I do so every day of my life.
MUSIC MAKING is always a JOY and never a job - I don't do musical jobs not matter how much it pays, i.e., if I wouldn't do it for free I wont do it for money.
Music transcends language, borders, cultures, religions, political points of view etc., It is my life’s journey and vocation and like everything else in life should only be done with intention, intensity, integrity, sincerity and passion.
As there is an ART to everything in LIFE by everyone.
Anything less will ALWAYS be less.