Friday, October 10, 2014

hot rats

Frank Zappa turned out some hot ritz in the progressive jazz gumbo of this motherless majestic movie for your ears.  The Mothers of Invention had disbanded after the release of 'Uncle Meat' with only Ian Underwood sticking around to work with Zappa on a solo album.  

Zappy would reveal:   "As far as the completely orchestrated stuff goes, many people hearing these things that do not have a text don't hear the humor in it, in what the notes are saying and the instruments that are playing the notes.  If you consider the normal function of an instrument and the way an instrument is expected to behave in an orchestral ensemble and if you assign a function to that instrument that takes it out of its normal character that's an element of humor.  Also, some people think that the "Hot Rats" album was completely scored out. Well, it wasn't. Here's how the "Hot Rats" album was made. It started out with basic rhythm tracks that were done by a four-piece rhythm ensemble and all the rest of the parts were over-dubbed on top of that and much of it was written right there in the studio...The rhythm tracks took approximately ten hours, but to complete "Peaches and Regalia" took 100 hours in terms of over-dubbing for that one song and there's only four people playing on the album at any one time on any of those tracks...I consider myself a composer except that most people think of composers as people who write dots on a piece of paper. My idea of being a composer extends to the organisation of materials which are not exclusively musical. My compositions deal with not just the notes that are being played, the instruments that are playing them but also involve the people who are playing them. Each ensemble of personalities produces a different result even though you are playing the same written musical material. So it's a musical, chemical, psychological, elaborate sort of composition that's happening. When you consider that a lot of the stuff we do on stage is improvised for personnel combination and the mood they're in at the time, it has a lot to do with the music that's coming out."

'Hot Rats' features Frank Zappa on guitar, octave bass, and percussion; and Ian Underwood on piano, organus maximus, flute, all clarinets, and all saxes;  with Max Bennett providing bass on all tracks except "Peaches en Regalia";  Captain Beefheart supplying vocals on "Willie the Pimp";  John Guerin on drums for "Willie the Pimp", "Little Umbrellas" and "It Must Be a Camel";  Don "Sugarcane" Harris on violin for "Willie the Pimp" and "The Gumbo Variations";  Paul Humphrey on drums for "Son of Mr. Green Genes" and "The Gumbo Variations";  Shuggie Otis on bass for "Peaches en Regalia";  Jean-Luc Ponty on violin for "It Must Be a Camel";  Ron Selico on drums for "Peaches en Regalia";  and Lowell George adding rhythm guitar

The entire project was produced and arranged by Frank Zappa with Director of engineering Dick Kunc overseeing Cliff Goldstein, Jack Hunt, and Brian Ingoldsby.  The album was recorded on a state-of-the-art custom built sixteen track recorder, which allowed multiple overdubs that created a fuller sound.  

'Hot Rats' reached one hundred and seventy three in the US and number nine in the UK.  The album was  dedicated to Zappa's newborn son, Dweezil.

"Peaches en Regalia"

'Hot Rats' 
full album:

All songs written and composed by Frank Zappa. 

Side one
1. "Peaches en Regalia"   3:38
2. "Willie the Pimp"   9:21
3. "Son of Mr. Green Genes"   8:58
Side two
4. "Little Umbrellas"   3:06
5. "The Gumbo Variations"   12:53
6. "It Must Be a Camel"   5:15

Total length:     43:11

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