AMM, you hexagonal sex beasts I’m sorry for being dreadfully late with reporting, I’ve been listening to Lol Coxhill … did Coxhill and Derek Bailey do anything together? I think he’s brilliant [there’s not enough Coxhill+Bailey in my opinion, but you can hunt down Company 6 (Incus 28) and Company 7 (Incus 30) OTL] … Duke Ellington and Roland Kirk today, it’s been a hell time inside my ears where all my brain cells boogie with each other …
Yes the German expedition was interesting, I spent a lot of time as drunk as I could make my head …
TACKINESS OF COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE
Zappanale was completely tacky, full of people doing massages and waving big spoons around empty bowls and everyone in the Zappanale 2003 t-shirt because they were selling them at a discount price in the Arf tent … The atmosphere was different to what I imagined it would be, people were very serious and conservative as if there was no humour in Zappa’s music …. I thought there would be more crazy far-out freako improvisors there, a lot of people just weren’t into engaging with silliness and becoming excited, “the composed rock fan” … not everyone, but it was just more subdued than I expected – though I still had a good time.
FACT VERSUS VALUE: EXCISION OF THE DIALECTIC AS RECIPE FOR BOREDOM
We met a Dutch economics professor who we bumbled around with for a day and a half, we talked lots about Zappa and we pretty much gave our opinions and discussed our favourites songs on every album one by one, then I asked him if he had read The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play, to which he replied that he was currently in the middle of reading of it, so I asked him what he thought? To which he gave me the wettest most pathetic celery-inspired ramble about how he liked it because he’d trained himself to separate fact from opinion, so he didn’t pay too much attention to any interpretations or speculation. To which we had argument, because I said it was nonsense to say you like a book whereby you completely ignore the subjectivity of the author – and then we had a argument about Marxism which stemmed from it and he outed himself as a fan of capital and a bunged-up conservative, so we lost him…
At the finale, later, though much later than I hoped, we found the Zappateers tent, which was about as much fun as we had at the whole of the festival. There were about 20 of us with a chap strumming his guitar singing Zappa songs for 4 hours, it was brilliant because everybody was singing at different pitches, in cartoon voices adding all the little intricate bits of the song with their mouths… we sang so many fantastic songs that didn’t get played in the festival … like “Packard Goose” …
What I did like is all the Zappa-orientated humour and references, for example when I was sat in the Zappateers tent opposite a red-faced German with long silver hair who was rocking back and forth unsteady on the bench he was sat on trying to find his balance, looked at me straight in the eyes after not speaking for around 6 minutes, then said: “Greggery Peccary, ha ha ha ha”, then started laughing. Or, when back at the Airport in England we met a guy called Dave Owen who we talked to (he said it was his 13th Zappanale) and when saying goodbye he said “Keep it Greasey”, which I liked for the fact that it was a goodbye for Zappa fans..
EVEN IN THE CAMP OF INSURRECTION THERE ARE ELEMENTS WHO CRAVE THE LIFELESS JAMS WITH GOLLIWOG MOTIFS
I should talk about the bands … Some of them were dreadful, boring, energy-less karaoke, there was a band called Die Reise, they were atrocious, two piece, guitar and drums that just did really long lifeless jams that’s only novelty was that the guitar was really amplified, I hated them, I couldn’t comprehend why people were clapping and cheering, they were awful…
A band called Panzerpappa played the most generic progressive rock, it felt like it could be good if it wasn’t so tame and reserved, and then Univers Zero who were part of the original Rock In Opposition movement with Henry Cow, so were built up to be a big deal … They were just as uninspiring and tiresome, it just sounded like theme music to Vikings eating chicken, which is much more entertaining as a concept then its actual sound.
ALUMNI SWELL CORPULENT WITH FAN-ATTENTION AND THEN COAST, BORING THE PANTS OFF ESEMPLASTICS
Ike Willis and Zappatika (from Holland) were dreadful, a complete disappointment. Their covers were flat and tasted like cardboard, Ike Willis simply looked fucked, he spent the majority of the set bent over a chair saying things like “you didn’t think we’d be this fucking good did you?”, it was embarrassing, terrible slow guitar solos and Zappatika just look like they all wanted to be tucked up in their beds (undoubtedly po-jama people)…. I didn’t know if I was being “over critical” but everyone I spoke to about it agreed that it was sadly terrible.
“HATRED OF SILLINESS IS SIMPLY PETTY-BOURGEOIS FEAR OF SEX” THEODOR ADORNO; AND ANOTHER FERAL CHOIR WORTH JOINING
Inventionis Mater from Italy, who do Zappa covers on a classical guitar and clarinet were totally refreshing, being silly yet produced these really sweet-sounding Zappa tunes. They also split the crowd in two and each member conducted one half of the crowd who had to make noises by following their fingers, that sound was fantastic, I thought that was great I think that should be done more often.
TO REINHABIT THE FOSSILISED MATERIAL IT IS SOMETIMES NECESSARY TO REPRODUCE THE STUCK MOTIFS IN A LOCAL DIALECT
The Yellow Snow Crystals I found completely hilarious … they had a drummer, a trombone player, a guy that played the tuba/double bass then a vocalist that did all the vocals in German in a really severe way with all the instrumentation clashing and falling over each other awkwardly, it sounds banal but it was so interesting.
MAGMA, OLD GODS OF FRENCH ROCK, WHO SING IN VANDER’S VOLAPUK
Magma were good but they were very serious, but still impressive … but their guitar player had to pull out so I’m not sure how much that may have changed it.
TO TECHNICALLY REPRODUCE THE CLASSICS THE MUSICIAN MUST BREAK A BOUNDARY IN THEIR OWN SENSE OF INSTRUMENTAL CORRECTNESS OR WE ALL REMAIN MUSICAL VIRGINS FOREVER
But the best band of the weekend for me were the Z3, they completely blow me through my own ear and back to Nancy’s Carrot Bar, I loved how funky they made it all. The organ was like getting pounded by a overweight toddler in the testicles over and over again, the guitarist Tim Palmieri and the mighty Ed Mann were outstanding, they all were really, I wish you could have been there, Out To Lunch (though I’m sure you seen them before) [No I haven’t! OTL] I would have just loved to have fallen on peoples heads with you … They did a superb cover of “Titties ‘N Beer”.
I use to enjoy watched the videos of Mats and Morgan when I was younger, so I was really happy to get to see them both play, Mats Oberg with Napoleon Murphy Brock and the Peach Noise Experience (who were great, blew Ike Willis out of the water and into the moon) and Morgan Argan with Banned From Utopia (Bobby Martin, Ray White, Albert Wing et al) whose drumming was pummelling. Dave Owen said he thought they were the best of the weekend, they were very good, but Z3 were the ones who really scrambled my brain. Mats Oberg’s keyboard playing was unbelievable, super dynamic but he almost slapped the keyboard with his whole hand as if he had flippers, I could tell that he adored being there which just made him really engaging to watch. The relationship him and Napoleon had was really fantastic, throughout the entire set Napoleon would go to him saying things in his ear while he played and a tremendous smile appeared on his face, then at the end of the set Napoleon walked off while he hopped like a rabbit in an excited way… It was so beautiful, man..
I’d go again but I’d like to go with more PB’s and the AMM and the AMM All-Stars … most people in the audience were just too against interacting and getting weird…
Ben Moran Healy