Recording Sessions

Waka/Jawaka (LP, DiscReet, 1972)

Engineered by Kerry McNabb; Recorded at Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, Cal.; (under the thoughtful supervision of Marshall Brevitz) [...]

FZ, interviewed by Arthur Levy, Zoo World, April 23, 1973

[Marshall Brevetz is] in Los Angeles. My last two albums were recorded in his studio, Paramount. He doesn't own it any more, though, it was changed over, sold out over somebody's head.

It was a good studio that's really good to work in but it's so busy that they don't have adequate time to maintain the equipment. So you take your chances. You go in there and a vital piece of equipment might not work. So the engineer will call the maintenance man who'll call Marshall who'll sort of show up with something to eat, you know, while you're sitting there waiting for the machine to work. We've been served barbecued dessicated chicken and hot dogs and many things. I had so many equipment failures there that the next time it's gotta be pheasant under chartreuse or I'm not coming back. Pathetic.

Michael Gray, Mother! The Frank Zappa Story, 1996, p. 143

By the time Frank Zappa went into Paramount Studios early in 1972 to cut his Waka/Jawaka album, it had a 24-track facility.

Billboard 1972 International Directory Of Recording Studios, Billboard, June 10, 1972

Paramount Rec'g Studios (1966). 6245 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood 90038. Tel: 461-3717. Studio Mgr.: Marshall Brevetz; Chief Eng.: Brian Bruderlin; Mixers & Re-mixers: Bill Lazerus, Stan Agol, Kerry McNabb, Brian Bruderlin. [...]
Studio 1: [...] Scully 16-tr., 8-tr., Ampex 2-tr. [...]
Studio 2: [...] Scully 16-tr., 4-tr., 2-tr. [...]


Waka/Jawaka (LP, DiscReet, 1972)


Waka/Jawaka (LP, Barking Pumpkin, 1987)


Paul Hof

Charles Ulrich

He's credited as one of the "technicians" on Fillmore 1971, for "special technical assistance" on The Grand Wazoo, and for "technical" on Apostrophe ('). Someone quoted on Patrick's page for Miss Janet referred to him as "equipment manager".

Here's what FZ himself said in an interview on WGOE, 11/3/72:

"Paul Hof is our main technician, who's been with me for a number of years. And he sees to it that everything works when we go onstage."

And at some point Paul Hof was married to Janet Neville Ferguson Hof.

Patrick Neve

He's credited with co-writing Spider Woman from the Ruben and the Jets album, "For Real!"

Session Sheets

Greg Russo, Cosmik Debris: The Collected History And Improvisations Of Frank Zappa (The Son Of Revised), 2003, p. 285

04/14/72 (1-4PM) Paramount Recorders, Hollywood, CA—Think It Over [...]
MUSICIANS: FZ, Kenneth Shroyer, Aynsley Dunbar, Mike Altschul, JoAnn Caldwell, Earle Dumler, Alan C. Estes, Fred Jackson Jr., Salvador Marquez, Malcolm McNab, Anthony Ortega, Johnny Rotella, Ernie Tack, Robert J. Zimmitti, William M. Byers, Anthony Duran, Donald W. Preston, Robert H. Ross (copyist), Russell N. Brown (copyist), Vincent Bartold (copyist)

04/14/72 (5-8:30PM) Paramount Recorders, Hollywood, CA—For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers)
MUSICIANS: FZ, Kenneth Shroyer, Aynsley Dunbar, Mike Altschul, JoAnn Caldwell, Earle Dumler, Alan C. Estes, Fred Jackson Jr., Salvador Marquez, Malcolm McNab, Anthony Ortega, Johnny Rotella, Ernie Tack, Robert J. Zimmitti, William M. Byers, Anthony Duran, Donald W. Preston, Robert H. Ross (copyist), Russell N. Brown (copyist), Vincent Bartold (copyist)

04/17/72 (5-8PM & 9PM-12midnight) Paramount Recorders, Hollywood, CA—Big Swifty; Where Are You Coming From? (final title: "Your Mouth")
MUSICIANS: FZ, Aynsley Dunbar, George Duke, Salvador Marquez, Anthony Duran

04/18/72 (5-8PM & 9-12midnight) Paramount Recorders, Hollywood, CA—Minimal Art; Blessed Relief
MUSICIANS: FZ, Aynsley Dunbar, Salvador Marquez, George Duke, Anthony P. Duran

04/19/72 (12-3PM & 4-7PM) Paramount Recorders, Hollywood, CA—It Just Might Be A One-Shot Deal; Waka/Jawaka
MUSICIANS: FZ, Aynsley Dunbar, Tony Duran, Jeff Simmons, Peter Kleinow, Salvador Marquez

04/21/72 (3-6PM & 7-10PM) Paramount Recorders, Hollywood, CA—It Just Might Be A One-Shot Deal
MUSICIANS: FZ, Salvador Marquez


05/02/72 (12-3PM & 4-7PM) Paramount Recorders, Hollywood, CA—Spirit Of Love; Wedding Bells; Flash Gordon (final title: "Mah Man Flash")
MUSICIANS: Salvador Marquez (leador and only session attendee)

05/03/72 (6-9PM) Paramount Recorders, Hollywood, CA—If I Could Be Your Love Again
MUSICIANS: FZ, Salvador Marquez, Mike Altschul, Joel Peskin

05/05/72 (12-3PM, 4-7PM & 8-11PM) Paramount Recorders, Hollywood, CA—Big Swifty; Blessed Relief
MUSICIANS: FZ, Salvador Marquez, Mike Altschul, Joel Peskin

Tony Ortega

Anthony Ortega Interviewed by Steven L. Isoardi, University Of California, Los Angeles, September-November, 1994

It was around 1971, '72. This bass trombone player, Kenny Shroyer, called me. He said, "Hey, Tony, Frank Zappa is organizing this group, this big band with all kinds of different weird instruments." He said, "Would you like to get involved with it?" He said, "He's paying for the rehearsals. You might have a gig or two, but he's going to pay for the rehearsals." And I said, "Sure, man." So I thought to myself, "Hey, this is going to be a snap. We're going to go in there and play a little rock and roll and get paid for the rehearsal." [...] So I got over there, and, man, here I see all these black notes. I could have dropped dead. All these black notes for the clarinet. He said, "Well, he wants you to play clarinet and alto with electronics, you know, with the hookups." I said, "Okay." So I had the hookups and everything. I was never so surprised, seeing all these different notes. It was very difficult, the clarinet part. All the guys had to take their parts home to practice them. You know, that was my whole different, new viewpoint altogether on Frank Zappa. [laughter] Because I wasn't familiar with him. All I knew was that he had a rock band, the Mothers of Invention. That's all I knew about him.

[...] I found out, man, that he had such difficult stuff there that some of the other musicians— Like one guy, I forget what he played-I think it was guitar or trombone or whatever, I forget what the guy, what his part was—he said, "Hey, Frank, this is impossible to play." Frank said, "No, it's not." He played it, man. In other words, whatever he wrote down he could play. He could play it, man, whatever he wrote down. And I thought, "Man, this guy is a genius." Like, I couldn't believe it. I almost went out to go buy some of his records, but I didn't go that far. [laughter] But I said, "Man, this guy is something else." So that was a whole new respect for him.

He had a European tour that was going to come up. He was going to go to London. But just right at this time, that's when Nelson Riddle got this Julie Andrews show. Harry Klee, a very fine altoist who had been with Nelson for many years, said, "Oh, Nelson, you've got to get Tony on this show." Of course, Nelson probably would have called me anyway, but Harry Klee really pushed it. So consequently I was on the show, I got on the show. So I told Zappa, "Well, I'm sorry, man. I would have liked to go out on the tour, but just right now I'm going to do this TV show. I've got to stay in town, because how often do I get a TV show?" So that's what happened. I ended up doing that TV show with Nelson, but that's basically— Well, I did one album with Zappa.

Aynsley Dunbar

Aynsley Dunbar, "Former Mother Drummer Aynsley Dunbar," Zappa! 1992, p. 17

By the time I finished playing with Frank, everything was all written down—even the drum parts. There were solo areas where you could ad lib, but the music was a lot more studied, and it started taking away from my thoughts. He really required a classical player, somebody who read, who was brought up with that sort of idea. Since I play with feeling more than sight-reading, there came a time when my mind just got bogged down with the technical side of things. I got to the point where I just had to get out and play some loose things, something more straight from the heart. I needed to play some more of me. Frank was in the hospital at that time, and it was at a point where we weren't doing anything anyway. When I told him I wanted to leave, he asked me if I thought I was doing the right thing, and I said I just had to play something simple for a while.

FZ, interviewed by International Times, March, 1977

Well the reason Anysley's not with me anymore is because after The Rainbow I was off work for a year in a wheelchair—and a guys gotta go out and earn himself a living, and I wasn't touring, so he just went off and the next thing I knew he had a contract with Columbia. I still see him occasionally.

Don Preston

Andrew Greenaway, "Don Interrupts"—Interview With Don Preston, The Idiot Bastard, February 18, 2001

IB: What were the subsequent 'Waka/Jawaka' and 'Grand Wazoo' recording sessions like?

DP: Nothing unusual. I was in the studio by myself with Zappa and the engineers in the control room. I laid down my tracks and went home.


FZ, quoted by Ed Baker, The Hot Flash, May, 1974

His real name is Alex Dmochowski, and he was not a US citizen, and he was in the country past the stay of his visa and he didn't belong to the musicians' union and so I wouldn't put his real name on the album. But he used to be the bass player with Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation.


Another Hot Rats Album


FZ, quoted by Ian Pollock, Rainbow Theatre Programme, December, 1971

Future musical plans include 'another 'Hot Rats' album at the end of 1972 . . . I intend to keep on writing things for orchestras and I am now getting into the electronic music field quite heavily, via synthesizers. I'm developing my own specialized electronic musical instruments to use in conjunction with synthesizers and computers for the production of elaborate and unheard of musical textures.' (gulp)

Robert Oman, Beetle, July, 1973

I asked why "Waka/Jawaka" was a Frank Zappa album and "The Grand Wazoo" was a Mothers of Invention album when they were basically done with some new band with no significant musical difference between them. "At the time of "Waka/Jawaka", according to my contract, a Frank Zappa album was called for and "Waka/Jawaka" became a sort of follow-up to my first solo album, "Hot Rats"."


The Title

Charles Ulrich, April 13, 2003

According to FZ, the album title was "something that showed up on a Ouija board at one time."


1. Big Swifty

FZ, Circular #40, October 9, 1972

This piece (which comprises all of Side One of the HOT RATS Waka/Jawaka album) presents a theme in rapidly alternating time signatures, a few solos, and an out-chorus done up in a sort of Prom Night orchestration which suspends the opening rhythmic structure over a straight 4/4 accompaniment.

The restatement of the theme is actually derived from a guitar solo on the album which Sal Marquez took down on paper. After about an hour of wheeling the tape back and forth, Sal managed to tran scribe this rhythmically deranged chorus (I don't have the ability to do this kind of musical dictation, but, since Marquez had a full-bore education at North Texas University, he had it covered). After he'd written it out, we proceeded to over-dub three trumpets on it, and, presto! An organized conclusion for "Big Swifty."


2. Your Mouth

Chris/Kris Peterson

Original album credits

Frank Zappa—guitar, Tony Duran—slide guitar, George Duke—tack piano, Sal Marquez—trumpet & vocal, Chris Peterson—vocal, Joel Peskin—tenor sax, Mike Altschul—baritone sax & piccolo, Erroneous—electric bass, Aynsley Dunbar—drums;


(Chris Peterson appears through the courtesy of Stormy Forest Records)

4. Waka/Jawaka

Kris Peterson, interviewed by Tom Schulte, Outsight Radio Hours, September 16, 2012

TS: Were you involved in any other sections or any other material other than "Your Mouth" at that time?

KP: Yeah [...]. The instrumental on that album, uhm . . . Wasn't "The Grand Wazoo," that's not yet.

TS: The title track?

KP: "Big Swifty," "Big Swifty."

TS: Oh, "Big Swifty," yeah.

KP: I'm singing some lines with the horns.

TS: Oh, really?

KP: On "Big Swifty." But you have to listen close . . . [sings]

drdork, Zappateers, November 25, 2012

The line she sings (at 9:16-9:23 in the interview) is actually from the title track of Waka/Jawaka. She sings at 6:32-6:41 and Sal Marquez sings at 6:41-6:43.

I don't think there's any singing in Big Swifty.



Research, compilation and maintenance by Román García Albertos
This page updated: 2019-09-30