A surrealistic video for ‘Brain Police’ directed by Zappa collaborator Ed Seeman
01.23.2013
01:23 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Zappa
Uncle Meat
Ed Seeman


 
Animator and experimental film maker Ed Seeman worked closely with Frank Zappa in the late ‘60s on a film called Uncle Meat. Over 14 hours of footage was shot for the project but it never came to completion. Zappa purchased Seeman’s share of the film and basically shelved it. A documentary about the making of Uncle Meat was released by Zappa on VHS in 1987 and is highly collectible. It has never been released on DVD.

Zappa once described the film thusly:

It deals with the conflicts that face an average middle-class sort of person who works for the government and does a bunch of things for the government that he’s not proud of and can’t tell his family what he’s doing. See. Because he’s doing a top secret project for the government. See. It gets quite complicated.

Seeman has taken parts of Uncle Meat and edited them into a 40 minute impressionistic collage. Here’s an excerpt set to The Mothers Of Invention’s “Who Are The Brain Police.” If you’re interested in seeing more, you can purchase a DVD at Seeman’s website.

Of all of Zappa’s songs this may be my favorite. It melds Zappa’s cynical world view (perhaps prophetic) with a spookily psychedelic sound that creates a perfect paranoid whole.
 

Written by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Rattlesnakes and Eggs: The other magic band from the desert

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I remember reading early 70’s interviews with Don Van Vliet wherein he bragged of starting a record label called God’s Golfball and his plans to sign a band from his home town of Lancaster,California called Rattlesnakes and Eggs. I’m sure you can forgive me for thinking for lo these many years that band name to be a standard issue Beefheart non-sequiter along the lines of “There are 40 people in the world and 5 of them are hamburgers”. But no, they existed. For real. A communal affair, natch. They got their name from a resident pot-smoking 5 year old boy and boasted the occasional membership of John “Drumbo” French and future Magic Band member John Thomas. The music as heard here is not as far out as I’d hoped, but is still a pretty great slice of horn driven eccentric Zappa/Beefheart-esque desert boogie. They never released anything, but thanks again to the miracle of the Youtube, somebody put up a recording. Dig it.
 
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Written by Brad Laner | Discussion
French pop band Martin Circus: Zappa’s bastard offspring
08.11.2010
10:20 pm

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Zappa
French rock
Martin Circus

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Martin Circus was a hugely popular French group that had a string of hits in France in the late sixties and early seventies. Their stage show was glammy and Zappaesque, but their music was your typical testosterone-free French rock. They did adequate covers of American hits and later on, bad disco. But when they were good, they could be very good, as one can see in the video of the exceptional Je m’éclate au Sénégal . It’s so good I’ve included two versions of it here; a Scopitone and a live version.

The other video is Drague Party, Martin Circus doing Jan and Dean’s Surf City but with more of that redemptive Senegalese feel, which does give the song it’s distinctive flavor.

In the early 80s the band collaborated with Serge Gainsbourg. But not even the epically badass Gainsbourg could ignite a fire in Martin Circus. They were Simcas in the muscle car world of rock and roll.

The bottom line is that if Martin Circus had been as creative in the studio as they were good live, they might have been major league artists. While the comparison to The Mothers Of Invention has been made, it doesn’t extend beyond lead singer Gérard Blanc looking strikingly like Zappa. Still, these videos are fun and I hope you enjoy them.
 

 
more Martin Circus after the jump…

Written by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Brian Eno Equates Recorded Music With Whale Blubber
01.18.2010
02:17 pm

Topics:
Heroes

Tags:
Brian Eno
Zappa
Abba
Recorded Music
Whale Blubber

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Wonderful interview with Brian Eno in yesterday’s Guardian.  It starts off by reminding us that of the 100-Greatest-All-Time-70’s-Albums-According-To-Pitchfork, Eno’s had his hand in 25 of them.  The discussion goes from Abba to Zappa, and addresses, intriguingly, the very industry that made him famous:

I think records were just a little bubble through time and those who made a living from them for a while were lucky.  There is no reason why anyone should have made so much money from selling records except that everything was right for this period of time.  I always knew it would run out sooner or later.  It couldn’t last, and now it’s running out.  I don’t particularly care that it is and like the way things are going.  The record age was just a blip.  It was a bit like if you had a source of whale blubber in the 1840s and it could be used as fuel.  Before gas came along, if you traded in whale blubber, you were the richest man on Earth.  Then gas came along and you’d be stuck with your whale blubber.  Sorry mate ?

Written by Bradley Novicoff | Discussion