Thursday, November 11, 2010

What I’m reading: Frank Zappa edition

Shocking, isn’t it, that you can download books from the internet. Except this one, The Frank Zappa Guitar Book, is long out of print so I couldn’t pay the author and publisher if I wanted to (second-hand copies go for as much as $US175 at AbeBooks). The bars above are a bit of it for your reading pleasure (click on the image for a bigger version). They are the opening of the guitar solo of Frank Zappa’s “Outside Now” from his album Joe’s Garage as transcribed by SteveVai, who got the job of stunt guitarist in Zappa’s band on the strength of his transcriptions. (Zappa was a bandleader on a par with Miles Davis and Charles Mingus: other alumni include Lowell George, George Duke, Adrian Belew, Vinnie Colaiuta and the best-named drummer ever, Chad Wackerman.)

The song is in 11/8 – as you can see above, it’s notated as 6/8 + 5/8 which makes it easier to count but does not explain how Zappa could create such astonishing guitar solos over it. There are many on legal CDs and other (illegal, I guess) downloads on both sound and vision. 

Here is one, a 1980 performance in Paris with Ike Willis (guitar, lead vocals), Ray White (guitar, vocals), Tommy Mars (keyboards), Arthur Barrow (bass) and Dave Logeman (drums). Zappa looks dorky as hell, but boy could he play guitar.

All together now: “These executives have plooked the fuck out of me. . .”


Penny said...

Dammit, no tab.

Stephen Stratford said...

You think a tab would help nail those frisky little quintuplets?

Penny said...

ha, just be good to attempt them on the right fret - sight reading on the guitar is such a chore