We Made Our Reputation Doing It That Way...
(FZ:) "The story of the ... the music of "The Mothers" are the ... story of the ... a combination of what I knew about music from my studies ... plus ... the musical capabilities of the players of the group as I found them. Y'know, what shed, eh, somewhere along the line I had to teach them a lot of what they did not know about music. I started out playin' Rhythm 'n' Blues when I was 'bout fourteen or fifteen years old in San Diego ... and ah ... I was playing nothing but Blues 'till I was eighteen and we ... no, I was really hawking and I st-started out playing drums with a band, 'n' I got tired of listenin' others' guitar solos ... took up the guitar 'n' started playin' lead right away ... an' I ... spent ah ... the early part of my musical teen childhood doin' the same thing that most of the ... ah ... ah, white blues bands are ... y'know pulling down heavy bread for, but in those days it was, jus'y'know, it was the underground music ... ah ... the unpopular underground music, because the kids ... ah then ... wanted to hear ... ah ... ya'know, sweeter, easier stuff. They didn't go for hard, screaming blues or Chicago weirdness.
Nobody knew who the Howlin' Wolf was 'n' ... Muddy Waters, what the fuck is that? ... and ah ... so I grew up on that stuff but simultaneously buying ... ah ... classical albums ... and ah going to libraries and study music. I had albums of Stravinsky and Varèse and Webern. And Bartok. I never bought anything else, I never bought any Beethoven or ... ah ... Mozart or anythin' like that I don't liked the way it sounded, it was too weak.
So, hm, eventually I started hearing a little folk music, I didn't like most of the commercial folk music that was around. My taste in folk music was ... ah ... sea shanties ... and ah ... uh ... Middle Eastern stuff, I like Indian music, I like ... ah ... Arab music.
So it was all my own ... personal ... taste-making ... ah ... influences. The original guys in the band had been brought up on nothing but rhythm and blues. Now, rhythm and blues branches out into about four different categories the way we grew up with it. There was the Oo-Wah-Ballad, you know, life falsetto and a grunting bass and all that stuff. That type [noise] there's this Chicago blues type with the harmonic ... er, I dunno ... funkiness. There was the Texas type with the ... y'know ... rock, uh ... Bobby, uh ... Blue bland type thing. And there was the hard drive type James Brown shit ... And off-shoots of the, ah ... of each one of those, like in the Oo-Wah-classification you've got the up-tempo-singers, well like Hank Ballard and the Midnighters and The Royals 'n, they had a different type of a thing. Uh, all the other guys in the group grew up with just that, had no knowledge whatsoever of any kind of classical music. Er ... or serious music the ... ab-above and beyond Mozart or ... uh, Beethoven or ya'know standard conzert hall warhorses, ya.
And even that they didn't give a shit about 'n' they weren't interested at all in folk music ... and ah ... so I had quite a bit of trouble in the beginning ... ya'know ... just making them aware that there are kinds of music that we could be playin'.
To top it off, we were in a ... ah ... very sterile area. We ... kept getting fired because we played anything other than "Wooly Bully" or ... ah ... ya'know or "Twist and Shout" or the rest of that stuff. We lost job after job ...
When, when is this that you're talking about? You think that it's '65?
Two years ago, yeah.
And, ah ... so t'was ... it was rough keeping it together because there's lots of times that, ah ... y'know the guys wanna quit 'n ev'rybody's quit at least two hundred times ... ya'know ... so ... we finally got a chance to come into L.A. ... and ... the reason we stood out from the bands in Los Angeles, y'know why we would attract any attention at all at that point, 'cos we working out in the sticks, this whole thing was developing out ... ah ... away from any ... ah ... ya'know ... urban civilization. We're really ... y'know, juz stuck there with the Okeys.
And we got to town, we expected to find all kinds of ... ya know, here all the bands gotta be really far out, but they were not! Bullshit! They had no balls, ya know, they weren't funky, they weren't ... ah ... tasteful, they weren't ... nothing! They were just, y'know, plastic, folk rock, teenage, puker bands, and they're making a lot o'bread. And we came on the scene, and ah, we were loud and we were coarse and we were strange and if anybody in the audience ever gave us any trouble we were telling to fuck off ... and y'know ... we made our reputation doin' it that way.