So there are a few things that can equate to the ideal Frank Zappa experience. I am sure everyone has their own system for how music or their favorite band or artist or composer can be dumbed down to a simple math equation keeping in to account different factors that can contribute or take-away from a good experience. This is my equation for a good Zappa experience:
+20 Ruth Underwood on mallets/percussion – There is no one better …Lionel Hampton has nothing on this woman …He may have had chops, but she had soul.
+25 Napoleon Murphy Brock on vox/dancing/telephone/flute – Napoleon is a genius on his own. And his work on “Room Service” is beyond amazing.
Zappa: Are you a christian?
Napoleon: Am i… yeah, I’m a christian, sure!
Zappa: Isn’t everyone?
Napoleon: Ah, okay, you can bring… Well you can bring some pussy in here if you’re a christian. That’s a difference…
-25 Roy Estrada leaving only to form Little Feat – That’s just silly. His goatee, however, was not.
+5 Vinnie Colaiuta on drums – Yes, he’s a machine and sometimes it can be pretty inspiring.
+30 Chester Thompson on drums – When he gets attacked by the gorilla, it’s priceless. Not to mention almost calling Zappa on his weirdness in “Approximate”. Also born in Baltimore.
-50 Steve Vai on guitar/wank – never before has a guitarist existed solely on wank-factor. Give it up lil’ Stevie.
+10 Ike Willis on vox/guitar – Only because he worked with Zappa on his Zappa’s bizarro quasi-Broadway musical, “Thing-Fish.”
+5 Warren Cuccurullo on guitar – He makes me look like a casual fan who only knows the lyrics to “Dancing Fool.”
+10 Terry Bozzio on drums/vox – While I can’t stand any other work he did, Terry’s work on “Baby Snakes” is insanity. You can’t get more insane and for being so young, he deserves part of the equation. I think he was in his early 20s when he joined up with Zappa. Jesus. Let’s also not forget his contributions in the vocal department to “Punky’s Whips”.
+15 George Duke on piano/synthesizer – Inca Roads. Inca Roads. Inca Roads. He was and still is a pioneer in synthesizers. Up there with Herbie. Simply inspirational. And he totally gave Chick a run for his money.
Of course there are other factors and players in the mix. But these are the most noteworthy for my equation today.
Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny. – Zappa