Ruth Underwood (Born Ruth Komanoff 23rd May 1946) is a classically trained percussionist studying at Ithaca College under Warren Benson and at Juilliard.
"Oh, I was probably one of those rather stiff people from the suburbs - I think some of us did understand, and we kept coming back for more, and more, and more. I remember being very upset when they finally finished their stint at the Garrick Theatre and went back to LA. I felt as if the real heart had gone out of New York City, and I had to get back on with my Conservatory music training life, which seemed very dull after this."
She married Ian Underwood in 1970.
Provided percussion and/or synthesizer for
- Uncle Meat
- Burnt Weeny Sandwich
- Frank Zappa's 200 Motels
- Over-Nite Sensation
- Apostrophe (')
- Roxy & Elsewhere
- One Size Fits All
- Zoot Allures
- Zappa In New York
- Studio Tan
- Sleep Dirt
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 1
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 2
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 4
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 6
- The Lost Episodes
- Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa
- The Dub Room Special
- Piquantique (BTB)
- 200 Motels (The Film)
- Baby Snakes (The Film)
- Dub Room Special
- The Amazing Mr. Bickford
- Video From Hell
- The True Story Of 200 Motels.
She also recorded with George Duke, Billy Cobham, Alphonso Johnson. Used the name Amanda B. Reconwith for contractual reasons.
Having divorced she returned to using her own name and seemingly retired from the music business to raise her family.
"A couple of years ago, when I heard that Frank was ill, I called him up. For 14 years we had no contact at all. He invited me to the house and we enjoyed some really nice visits with each other. Last June ('93) he called and asked if he could sample some of my stuff. I was shocked because I hadn't touched a pair of mallets since March of '77. I ended up practicing for 14 hours, which was all the time I could get together in the context of my life now. I spent four days at Frank's house sampling. This was really a miracle for me - that I could be reunited with him and still have something to offer."
In 2003 she was working as a percussion teacher at Colfax High School, Valley Village, CA.
Ruth Underwood is referenced four times in Zappa's music:
- Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?: "Ladies and gentlemen, watch Ruth! All through this film...Ruth has been thinking: "What can I possibly do that will amaze everyone? I think she's come up with the answer, Just keep your eye on her!"
- Inca Roads: "On Ruth! On Ruth! Haha! That's Ruth!"
- Ruth Is Sleeping