Del Casher

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Originally Del Kacher - changed name to Del Casher after moving to California.

Fascinated with chemistry as a child:

I started doing experiments with my chemistry set when I was about 10 years old; I’d build miniature rockets, using powdered magnesium and potassium nitrate.

Took up guitar at a time when guitar players did not enjoy the status they would later achieve. His decision was confirmed after hearing Les Paul recordings which inspired him to modify his accoustic guitar , by cutting a hole in the back to add pick-ups and controls and adding a home made tremolo arm, into an electric guitar.

Promoted the Ecco-Fonic tape reverb/echo unit.

Played with the popular accordion, organ, guitar trio The Three Suns in the late 1950's. Toured Japan 1958.

Backed Elvis Presley in the film Roustabout(1964).

Recorded with Bill Page's All Amplified Orchestra for the Sounds Of The Sonic Sixties album.

Recorded Space Boy, for the film Queen Of Blood (1966), with FZ and played several concerts with The Mothers.

Recalls meeting FZ and inspiration for creating the Wah-Wah pedal.

Recorded closing theme for the NBC News Center 4 which was used by NBC for 18 years.



"Frank Zappa was from Cucamonga; he came by one day, said he’d heard about me, and said he wanted to record something for a singer who had a song about a Russian cosmonaut who was lost in space (chuckles). I used to get these strange requests all the time, and Frank’s request was no different. In those days he wasn’t a guitar player, so he asked me to play guitar and bass, laying down tracks using the Ecco-Fonic to get the spacey sounds, while he played on a snare drum I had in the studio. I think this was one of the first recordings Frank did when he arrived in L.A. He was very pleasant, and he looked as weird as the sounds we created, but boy, was he talented! When he played the drum, I knew something great was going on, and we enjoyed that session so much he asked me to join his new group. I politely declined because my studio schedule was beginning to happen. Later, he formed the Mothers of Invention, and he asked me to play at several of his concerts while he and his manager, Herb Cohen, were getting a record deal together; it was an interesting experience. Frank employed me to perform with him on the David Susskind TV show featuring a 'Freak Out' concert. I met with Frank a few years ago and he mentioned this show to me; I’m still trying to find a copy of it.

To me, Frank was one of the most exciting musicians I’ve known, because he went beyond being a musician. When I first met him, he said he was interested in playing guitar, and asked me what was the most expensive guitar, and I told him that the most expensive one was a Gibson ES-5, like the one I had, so he went out and bought one.

He invited me to his home one evening, and instead of putting on a bunch of records and saying “listen to these,” he showed me his 8mm home movies. He was fascinated with film, and he proved that his talent was much more in-depth than just with music.

He also asked me to play one of his early concerts at U.C. Santa Barbara. During the concert, the smoke machine freaked out everybody, which is what he wanted. My wife was in the audience, and was terrified! She expressed some feelings about that on the way home from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, which is about 120 miles. I did play the Whiskey A-Go-Go on Sunset Strip with Frank.... without telling my wife where I was that night. We had a ball; we alternated sets with a kid named Lowell George and his band, Little Feat. Playing with Frank in his early days was great."

Del Casher, interview by Vintage Guitar magazine (excerpt), 1997

Del Casher is also interviewed in the documentary Cry Baby:The Pedal that Rocks the World.

Notes

The reference to Little Feat would be The Factory at this time.