German TV Interview

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German TV: June 19, 1970

Frank Zappa: We have a new personnel for The Mothers of Invention. It consists of the two lead singers from The Turtles ... Mark and Howie, and a man named Jeff Simmons. Has his album come out here? He has an album on Straight (records). Do you know about that?

Interviewer: I don't think so.

Frank Zappa: He ... uhh ... Jeff Simmons is a very talented songwriter and bass player, he also plays guitar and piano. And he has a new album coming out called: Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up.

Interviewer: (laughs)

Frank Zappa: He's our bass player and comic relief. Aynsley Dunbar on drums, and a black jazz pianist from San Fransisco named George Duke. He has recorded in the past with Jean-Luc Ponty. Do you know his work? French jazz violinist?

Interviewer: No, unfortunately.

Frank Zappa: With his own trio, he records for World Pacific records in the United States. And Ian Underwood is on saxaphone and keyboards. So that's seven pieces.

Interviewer: When did you start working together with that group?

Frank Zappa: Two weeks ago.

Interviewer: The group on Hot Rats was only temporary?

Frank Zappa: No ... uhh ... The new format I'm working with now is that if I want to form a group, I'll stick anybody in it I want to, because whoever happens to be right for the type of work that we're doing ... like for instance if I'm going to do a concert with a symphony orchestra, and don't necessarily want to do a lot of vocals with the orchestra, I won't bring the Turtles along. Or I'll add some brass players to the group. If I have occasion to play a job with a smaller group like four or five pieces where I'm just going to play the guitar I'll bring along an instrumentation like Hot Rats. It just gives me a little more artistic flexibility.

Interviewer: There isn't any change in the musical style? I mean, you bring together different musical pieces which sometimes sound dissonant with difficult bars and a very complex configuration of the whole thing.

Frank Zappa: It still is complex. The only difference is ... uhh ... in the old Mother's music, the way the material was performed, there would be sections that would be in a normal 4/4 time ... and that would continue say for about sixty seconds. Then you would have difficult areas that would be inserted in there, and so it would break up that straight structure. And ordinarily, the sections where it was just 4/4 time would be played very straight to make more of a contrast between the simpler sections, and the difficult ones. With the new Mothers, it's like ... even during the 4/4 sections, the rhythm is just so elaborate, you know, it's just more notes per bar ... because Aynsley is an excellent drummer and just fills it up. And the group has a lot more swing to it.

Interviewer: Umm Hmm.

Frank Zappa: Or more rock, or how ever you want to put it. More boogie!

Interviewer: Do you think that by now it might be changing the audience ... that there's a certain kind of audience for a certain kind of music, and this might give you a stronger economical base?

Frank Zappa: I would say the possibility exists. I haven't noticed a change yet, but I think the possibility for change always exists.