And what about your musical work?
The one for the orchestra?
Yeah. All things you did—during the recent two years you haven't been to Germany.
There was a recent concert in Los Angeles at a place called the Pauley Pavilion, at UCLA—it's a basketball arena. And it holds 15,000 people. And we filled the place for a joint concert of The Mothers Of Invention and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Zubin Mehta was conducting. And they gave the world premiere of this piece that I had written over a period of years while touring with The Mothers. It's called 200 Motels, and the reason it's called 200 Motels is because all the sketches were done either in airports, or in the hotel room, or on the planes, or just traveling around. So it's like a musical diary. And they played the first, third and four movements. The didn't do the second movement 'cause it requires a chorus and dancers.
But there is a chance that this piece will be done as a television special in Holland, in December. We're negotiating now to do a complete multimedia presentation which will involve the Dutch Radio Orchestra, the Radio Chorus that they have, some dancers, The Mothers Of Invention, plus films and scenery in the studio. They're going to do a color show and it will have a stereo soundtrack, you know, broadcast simultaneously over a radio station and the TV. So I'm looking forward to doing that.
FZ: 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. Do you know about that?
Horst Königstein: I don't think so.
FZ: He, uh, 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.
Horst Königstein: (laughs)
FZ: 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?
Horst Königstein: No, unfortunately.
FZ: With his own trio, he records for World Pacific records in the United States. And Ian Underwood is on saxophone and keyboards. So that's seven pieces.
Horst Königstein: When did you start working together with that group?
FZ: Two weeks ago.
Horst Königstein: The group on Hot Rats was only temporary?
FZ: No, uh, 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.
Horst Königstein: 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.
FZ: It still is complex. The only difference is, uh, 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, definitely on beat, 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.
Horst Königstein: Umm Hmm.
FZ: Or more rock, or however you want to put it. More boogie!
Horst Königstein: Do you think that by now it might be a change in 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?
FZ: I would say the possibility exists. I haven't noticed a change yet, but I think the possibility for change always exists.
All compositions by Frank Zappa except as noted