Alain: A few years ago you broke with the Grandmothers—do you still have any relations with your ex-partners?
FZ: The only one that I talk to periodically is Roy Estrada. The rest of them I don't hang out with.
Alain: Do you know what Roy Estrada is doing now?
FZ: He's just working as a truck driver.
Alain: He has no relation with the musical scene?
FZ: He put a little band together and he made some demos and he tried to get Warner Brothers interested, but they wouldn't touch it.
Alain: When can we expect your next tour?
FZ: I actually made some inquiries through my agent about the possibility of coming back to Europe this year, but the music I'm doing now is very much involved with the computer and I wanted to take the computer on the road. They made some phone calls to European promoters and they weren't especially enthusiastic about me coming there with a computer. So I don't know if there's a market for live performances of the things that I'm doing now.
Zappa's association with Ryko dates back to 1986, when Ryko chief Don Rose approached Zappa seeking a licensing deal to release Mothers and Zappa masters on CD. At the time, Zappa had a European deal with EMI, which gave that company the right to release his titles on CD. Ironically, EMI refused.
We finished off this deal with a company called Rykodisc, which is going to be a distributer of CDs. The basic release schedule we're talking about is eight CDs a year for the next two or three years. They want two from the Verve albums, two from a later period, two current and two wild cards. I've been working on the wild card assemblies and the digital tapes of the '82 and '84 tour.
[...] I've got another [guitar album] in the works right now. In assembling the wild card CDs for Rykodisc I found some real neat guitar solos. It hasn't been edited to a format yet, but I probably have enough for at least a CDs worth.
What's [engineer] Bob Rice's role in the process?
Basically he trims samples, keeps track of the catalogs, and types in the XBL, the computer language data. For example, recently he typed in from the handwritten music, the clarinet solo from "Mo's Vacation," the original lead sheet of "Inca Roads," things like that that have been sitting around. He knows how to type Script and XBL and I don't.
To get the "particular sound" he's looking for now, Zappa, engineer Bob Stone, and Bob Rice spend hours recording samples of real instruments in the studio. These samples are then trimmed and stored in the Synclavier's memory, "like little specimens, a little pin stuck through each and placed in a jar." The samples are then linked together to build patches, lists of samples which "live" under selected notes on the Synclavier keyboard.
Research, compilation and maintenance by Román García Albertos