frank zappa 200 motels Concert programme
‘Growing up in the Sixties, Zappa was so far out he didn’t only upset my parents, which he did like no other rock star had ever done before, but he also managed to upset the hippies, too, with his intellectual rigour and austerity. Lyrics from Freak Out became part of our lingua franca in Tooting Bec... “Who would imagine… that they would freak out in SW17?” It can’t happen here...? I am sorry Mum and Dad... It DID!!!’ Richard Strange, London, September 2013
Frank Zappa 1966 © Jan Persson/Redferns/Getty Images
200 Motels reveals Zappa’s genius not only as a musician and composer, but also as a unique, acerbic commentator on the times in which he lived. He filtered anything and everything: his interests and inspirations spanned popular culture to high art – from entertainment to social politics and beyond. This multi faceted character mirrors our approach in our year long festival, The Rest Is Noise, which has been to look at the music of the 20th century through the history that inspired its creation. I hope you enjoy what I’m sure will be a thrilling performance, and I would also like to thank Gail Zappa for her help and involvement in this project. Jude Kelly, Southbank Centre Artistic Drector
The 200 Motels movie of 1971 and its accompanying soundtrack album featured several orchestral compositions which Zappa had written in the years preceding the movie’s production, as well as rock songs performed by The Mothers of Invention and a surreal narrative. The new performing version being presented at tonight’s concert primarily features the orchestral and narrative elements of 200 Motels.
Tuesday 29 October 2013 7.30pm, Royal Festival Hall
Cast Soprano Claron McFadden Frank Tony Guilfoyle Narrator / Rance Richard Strange Mark Ian Shaw Howard / Cowboy Burt Brendan Reilly Groupie 1 (Janet) / Larry the Dwarf Sophia Brous Groupie 2 (Lucy) Diva Zappa Good Conscience / Donovan* Bad Conscience / Ginger Jay Rayner Jeff Scott Thunes BBC Concert Orchestra Southbank Sinfonia London Voices Jurjen Hempel conductor Terry Edwards chorus master Natasha Betteridge Stage Direction David Coulter Casting Consultant With special thanks to Sam Rigby at Intermusica for his imagination and dedication in making this project happen. *Performer name not available when programme went to press.
Frank Zappa 1966 ÂŠ Jan Persson/Redferns/Getty Images
Questions & Answers
by Frank Zappa
What is it? Frank Zappa: As far as I’m concerned, 200 Motels is a SURREALISTIC DOCUMENTARY. The film is at once a reportage of real events and an extrapolation of them. Other elements include ‘conceptual by-products’ of the extrapolated ‘real event’. In some ways the contents of the film are autobiographical. How did you ever get to make a movie in the first place? FZ: I have been interested in the potential of various visual mediums since 1958 when I first started shooting 8mm films. As a composer, I feel that visual elements, organised using structural techniques commonly associated with musical architecture, provide exciting possibilities for conceptual exploration. Yeah, but how’d you get anybody to pay for this thing? FZ: After having several appointments with people who normally finance films, and having them run screaming into the distance after a partial explanation of the project, by mere chance we took it to United Artists. Mr Picker looked over our folio (ten pages of ‘treatment’, two boxes of tape and some clippings in case he never heard of our group) and said: ‘You have a deal ... get me a budget’ (Perhaps it was a little more elaborate and erudite than that.) We left the office, got a budget and a bunch of lawyers and work began in earnest. Well ... So tell me ... What is it? FZ: 200 Motels is a SURREALISTIC DOCUMENTARY, but it might also be helpful to think of the overall ‘shape’ of the film in the same way you might think of the ‘shape’ of a piece of orchestra music, with leitmotifs, harmonic transpositions, slightly altered repetitions, cadences, atonal areas, counterpoint, polyrhythmic textures, onomatopoeic imitations, etc.
Yeah? Well, I hate orchestral music... I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about, and I only like rock&roll. Is this a rock&roll movie or what? FZ: This is a ‘rock&roll movie’ and it is also an ‘Or What’. Granting the fact the The MOTHERS tend to operate somewhere on the outermost fringes of your real-life rock&roll consciousness, the film is an extension and a projection of the group’s specialised view of and participation in this intriguing area of contemporary human experience. In other words, 200 Motels, deals with things like: Groupies Life On The Road Relationship To Audience Group PersonalityChemistry Macrobiotic Food & Tie-Die Shirts Etc. ... but deals with these things in ways you might not expect (or approve of), simply because The Mothers is not your average sort of pop group, and if, for instance, we have experiences with Groupies on the road, these experiences will not be very ordinary. Our Relationship To Audience is not ordinary. Our Group Personality-Chemistry is not ordinary ... therefore an ordinary documentary based on our exploits wouldn’t be ordinary, and a SURREALISTIC DOCUMENTARY extended from these circumstances might seem to be just a little peculiar at first.
Well ... If you can’t tell me what it is, tell me what happens in it... Something ... Anything ... Help me ... Arrrrrrrrrghhhhh! FZ: First of all, there is no chronological continuity stressed. This is done to convey the sort of time-space reference alteration a group can experience on tour. On the road, time is determined by when the road manager wakes you up, when the plane or bus leaves, when you set up equipment at the hall and check your sound system, when you play your concert, and what you do for recreation after the show. Space is indeterminate. Motels resemble each other. The same for planes and buses. Concert halls may vary a bit, but over a period of years they also blend together. Audiences vary/blend in a similar way. When we go on tour, especially long tours, life in the group begins to resemble life in the army. Each concert is a campaign. On such tours it is possible to not know where you are (‘Is this really Vienna?’), sitting in your room, dealing socially most of the time with other group members, you might as well be in Los Angeles. We seem to carry a ‘mystery bubble’ of LA consciousness along on the road. Inside of this ‘bubble’, strange things happen. The situations contained in 200 Motels were organically grown inside four years worth of these ‘bubbles’. These concepts extracted from within the various time-warps, with as much care as our $600.000 budget would permit, form the basis of the filmic event. What do you expect to accomplish with this weird movie? FZ: For the audience that already knows and appreciates The Mothers, 200 Motels will provide a logical extension of our concerts and recordings. For the audience that doesn’t know, doesn’t care, but still takes a chance every once in a while on a new idea, 200 Motels will provide a surprising introduction to the group and its work. For those that can’t stand The Mothers and have always felt we were nothing more than a bunch of tone-deaf perverts, 200 Motels will probably confirm their worst suspicions.
the soundtrack of the 20th century Tonight’s concert of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels is part of Southbank Centre’s year-long festival The Rest Is Noise. Inspired by Alex Ross’ book The Rest Is Noise, the festival uses film, debate, talks and a vast range of concerts to reveal the fascinating stories behind the century’s wonderful and often controversial music. The music is set in context by a fascinating team of historians, scientists, philosophers, political theorists and musical experts as well as films, online content and other special programmes. Through listening to this extraordinary, rich and eclectic repertoire and hearing about the events that shaped its composition, we hope to bring a completely new dimension of understanding and enjoyment to you, the audience. If you’re new to 20th-century music, then this is your time to start exploring with us as your tour guide. There has never been a festival like this.
Buzz Aldrin © NASA Apollo Archive
Angela Davis © Everett Collection Historical/Alamy
Overturned cars used as barricades by rioting students, Paris 1968 © Topham Picturepoint
Martin Luther King © Everett Collection/Alamy
‘The Sixties’ is not just a decade in history. It is a collection of ideas, images and events which signified profound changes in politics and society. The middleclass youth of Europe and America was alive with protest – against the war in Vietnam, against racism, sexism and nuclear weaponry – culminating in the 1968 uprisings in Paris, Prague and elsewhere. There was a revolution in social attitudes – the contraceptive pill allowed women unprecedented control over their own fertility, and female attendance at colleges and universities subsequently rocketed. The Civil Rights movement’s campaigns of civil disobedience achieved great gains, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and drew strength from mass events such as the March on Washington of 1963. With a look towards the rebellion, sexual liberation and drug experimentation that characterised psychedelic culture, contemporary music entered its carnivalesque, topsy-turvy, through-the-looking-glass period. It also drew closer to popular music, which was rapidly acquiring a seriousness and depth to rival classical music, and an influence to surpass it. When the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, they put Karlheinz Stockhausen in amongst their cultural heroes on the cover. Although the first concert performance of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels was set to be in 1971, the work is very much a product of the 1960s. As you discover in Zappa’s introduction on page 5, a great deal of the orchestral material was mapped out by him towards the end of this decade; and the themes of the work draw from (and mock) the new rock mythology that grew out of the late 1960s. Find out more on The Rest Is Noise at southbankcentre.co.uk/restisnoise
Hippies at the Hyde Park ‘Love In’ 1967 © David Graves/Rex Features
200 Motels poster © A F Archive/Alamy
The Mothers Of Invention’s tour bus bumps off the high street and pulls up near the stage door of a venue somewhere in the middle of North America. After an unusually harrowing soundcheck, Frank Zappa waits in bored despair as shiftless equipment changeovers keep the second house waiting. The stagehands loaf about, eating pork pies and smoking. The support outfit’s obnoxious drummer piddles down the washbasin. From a high-rise window back at the motel, Zappa contemplated the concrete desolation of the car park, and it occurred to him that, for most of his musicians, the high point of the day wasn’t always the spell on the boards, but the winding-down afterwards and its associated escapades. If admirable young men in many ways, they also had their share of young men’s vices. Certain of them had bought into the myth that casual and sometimes rather experimental erotic gratification was procurable in any given town from females skilled at evading the most stringent security barricades in order to impose themselves on visiting entertainers. Yet, as he knew, time hung heavy, more often than not, in the changeless geography of rooms in Holiday Inns, Travelodges, Best Westerns... A Ramada in Indianapolis was just like a Crest in Tacoma. The Coca-Cola tasted exactly the same. If it’s Tuesday, it must be Centerville. Thus was sewn the seed that would germinate into 1971’s 200 Motels, Frank Zappa’s only major movie as both director and soundtrack composer. He was, nevertheless, no amateur in this field, far from it. Years before, he’d first attempted to carve a niche on celluloid with I Was A Teenage Maltshop, a nascent rock opera, albeit scorned by its originator in retrospect as ‘a stupid piece of trash’ – and, set on Mars, Captain Beefheart Versus The Grunt People. Moreover, one of Zappa’s high school teachers had penned a screenplay for Run Home Slow, a Hollywood western, and had asked his talented former pupil to come up with the music. Some of these melodies and themes resurfaced on disc after Zappa had become famous – as would those written when a 21-year-old also attended to 1962’s low-budget The World’s Greatest Sinner, scoring it for a 52-piece orchestra and an octet of rock ‘n’ rollers. 200 Motels was an integration of similar elements and more, though it had less to do with, say, Deep Purple mainstay Jon Lord’s contemporaneous Concerto For Group And Orchestra than Peter Maxwell Davies’ collaboration with ‘Samurai Of Sound’ the Japanese percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Stomu Yamash’ta on the music to Ken Russell’s The Devils film, or The Whale and – also in 1970 – Celtic Requiem by the composer John Tavener – two of the most adventurous releases by The Beatles’ Apple label.
‘Further problems that dogged the project were instanced by a harpist refusing to have anything to do with a modest waltz entitled “Penis Dimension”.’
Tavener had been ‘discovered’ by Ringo Starr, who, as well as playing a 200 Motels character called ‘Larry The Dwarf’ in a straggly black wig and painted-on facial hair, doubled as ‘Frank Zappa’ because the genuine article, busy behind the cameras, elected to appear only in musical segments with The Mothers of Invention and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Dressed in a nun’s habit, Starr’s pal Keith Moon was in it too (in a role earmarked initially for Mick Jagger) plus past and then-present members of The Mothers, and personnel from Girls Together Outrageously (the GTOs) – a cabal of groupies, whose only album was produced by Zappa. During rehearsals, however, another of 200 Motels’ principal actors, Wilfred ‘Old Steptoe’ Brambell despaired of ever understanding, let alone learning, dialogue riddled with rock colloquialisms. Therefore, by one of Zappa’s chance operations, the first person to enter a particular room – Starr’s chauffeur – was given a subsequent rewrite of Brambell’s part. Further problems that dogged the project were instanced by a harpist refusing to have anything to do with a ‘modest waltz’ entitled ‘Penis Dimension’ (which included, incidentally, a one-bar
200 Motels 1971 © United Artists/The Kobal Collection
directive to ‘sit on keyboard [both buttocks] and jump back to normal position without losing tempo’). In her affronted haste to quit the shoot at Pinewood film studios, where London bleeds into Buckinghamshire, she left behind her instrument, the strings of which Keith Moon was to peer through wildly, prior to being chased through an assembled Royal Philharmonic Orchestra by Ringo-as-Larry The Dwarf/’Frank Zappa’. This and other excerpts from the script by Zappa, an increasingly more active anti-censorship campaigner, was at the core of the Crown forcing the cancellation of an intended staging of 200 Motels at the Royal Albert Hall in 1971 – on grounds of sexual content that was actually no more pronounced than it would be in, say, 1987’s Resurrection opera by Peter Maxwell Davies – in which the central figure’s phallus metamorphoses into a machine gun, directed at the audience. Yet beautiful melodies frequently underlined Zappa’s well-founded premise that ‘it is
theoretically possible to be “heavy” and still have a sense of humour’. Nonetheless, his intense disquiet over social and political matters was never so stifled by burlesque that it couldn’t be convincing. Issued on a vinyl double-LP, 200 Motels peaked at Number 59 in the US chart – while, the film, if commended for its innovative visual effects and dismissal of many lodged cinematic conventions, faded swiftly from circulation, to be shown occasionally only in film clubs and arts centres. Yet the work’s longawaited and full-scale British premiere this evening will highlight its creator’s pre-eminence in breaching the abyss between highbrow and lowbrow, pop and ‘classical’, ‘real’ singing and rock ‘n’ roll hollering. Finally, it will reinforce not only Frank Zappa’s seat high above the salt in rock’s Valhalla and the hard-won elevation of him into the same ‘serious’ league as Varèse, Stravinsky, Maxwell Davies et al, but also his standing as the most remarkable North American composer of the 20th century – and, perhaps, any other time. Alan Clayson
The Music The film was to be stamped by the New York Times as ‘a subjective A Hard Day’s Night’ – and, in keeping with this, the soundtrack is reflective of its composer’s comments in 1989 on his cultural background: ‘Since I didn’t have any kind of formal training, it didn’t make any difference to me if I was listening to Lightnin’ Slim, or a vocal group called The Jewels – or Webern, or Varèse, or Stravinsky. To me it was all good music.’ Such dissolving of outlines between seemingly disparate points on the music spectrum is evidenced within 200 Motel’s 13 suites – which cover a waterfront from the ‘Lonesome Cowboy Burt’ country-and-western spoof to ‘Magic Fingers’ – with Zappa’s guitar to the fore, displaying eclecticism and unpredictability in compatible amounts – to the most distant extremes of modern classical. Though impregnated with an inbred originality, this particular genre revealed a youthful Zappa’s hard listening to Varèse, Stravinsky, Webern, Milhaud and, most conspicuously during ‘I Have Seen The Pleated Gazelle’ with its Pierrot Lunaire-esque suspension of tonality, Schoenberg. Alan Clayson 11
Frank Zappa and wife Gail 1972 © Rex Features
Why is 200 Motels an important work in Frank’s output? To me the fact that he got paid to realise a concept which included an orchestra – that someone would be paying for this and he could actually hear it – that was amazing! He had been writing music for all sorts of orchestral formats, large and small. He was so young and this was complex on so many levels. What was especially monumental was how the score actually influenced the structure of the project itself from the ground up – the layout of the sound stage, the story line, the editing process of the video. This is a real piece of music history but for him, it was an extension of his day job – dots on paper, business as usual, and then some.
Frank Zappa’s wife, explains the concept behind 200 Motels and Frank’s influences. Can you explain the circumstances in which it was made. It was written over several years, while he was on tour... The Universe indeed moves in mysterious ways. The ever efficient and elegant solution-oriented Frank Zappa was writing music constantly. When this feature film opportunity presented itself, he sat down immediately and began transforming various music – bits and pieces – many of which were part of something altogether otherwise – into this singular event. He has managed to do that throughout his life: the taking up of a music idea from over there and another from column A and a couple from Row 14 and repurposing them for the right-here of what actually shows up in the right-now. One of the gifts that came to him through this work was the opportunity to trade phone calls with Cathy Berberian. He created the soprano role for her. Both were disappointed when her schedule did not permit her to participate. And of course, he and Keith Moon remained life-long friends.
Edgar Varèse. Photo: Roy Hirkin in 1959
‘He raced across vast uncharted musical deserts.’ The work deals with the clichés of a rock band lifestyle – especially during that period of the late 1960s and early 1970s. But this wasn’t a lifestyle Frank lead himself, was it? The work in fact deals with the surreal aspects of life on the road in a rock n roll band. The jobs generated by music experimentation were a very recent cultural and sociological phenomena. They signified great importance and influence among people – especially those under the age of 25 – across the various densities of demographics defined by the disenfranchisement of the young at that time. The only place they could legitimately hear it was in a place designed for other purposes – bars, hockey rinks, football stadiums and maybe the radio. And this whole music-oriented population was being reviled by the status quo. Censorship was rampant. Access to an audience was denied. Those who loved the music were keenly interested in the personalities of the people who created it. They believed that those who made the music had the keys to the kingdom – wherever it is – the inside track. Frank was always interested in educating the audience – in an amusing and entertaining manner. He also remarked on this ‘lifestyle’ noting that it has everything to do with the attitude with which you eat your ‘TV dinner by the pool’. What where his inspirations musically around the time he wrote 200 Motels? He always loved composers Varèse and Stravinsky but he was driven by his own curiosity and his own sense of freedom and his intent. He judged success by how close he got to realising the idea as he originally imagined it. He had such an enormous work ethic and taking that discipline as the reins for his chariot if you will, as he raced across vast uncharted musical deserts – it was all invention and discovery. Looking back now it is easy for others to see what a visionary he was.
Igor Stravinsky © Moviestore Collections/Rex Features
What do you hope people take away from this performance of 200 Motels? The desire to hear more Frank Zappa. In the Concert Hall. On his recordings. His music unfiltered, uninterpreted or explained by anyone. It will always be his last word. What do you personally like about the work? The common sense and straightforwardness of it – the honesty. The simple respect for the dignity of people – no matter how weird or musical they are. And the fact that the music always turns left at Wednesday – the humor. When played correctly with the right attitude, it always makes me laugh.
BBC Concert Orchestra BBC Concert Orchestra is one of Britain’s most versatile ensembles. If you’ve never seen them live before, chances are you’ve heard them. Since 1952 they’ve been the house orchestra for BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night. They give regular broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and recent BBC soundtracks include Africa (BBC TV) and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (BBC Films). In 2012 the orchestra celebrated their 60th anniversary, as well as performing at The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert. Keith Lockhart is the orchestra’s Principal Conductor and Johannes Wildner their Principal Guest Conductor, complementing Conductor Laureate Barry Wordsworth. Keith has been Conductor of the Boston Pops for 18 seasons and Johannes came to the job with over a decade’s experience with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Barry Wordsworth is currently Music Director of the Royal Ballet Covent Garden. Arranger and jazz trumpeter Guy Barker is the orchestra’s Associate Composer. The position has previously been held by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and the Art of Noise’s Anne Dudley. A regular at the BBC Proms, in 2013 the orchestra celebrated the best of British Light Music and performed in the ever-popular Film Music Prom. As always, on the last night they’re outdoors for Proms in the Park. One of the Artistic Partner Orchestras for Southbank Centre’s The Rest Is Noise, the BBC Concert Orchestra performs eight concerts throughout 2013, encompassing music from World War One to Britain in the 1980s. The orchestra also return to Watford Colosseum for a mixture of radio broadcasts, recordings and concerts. Working with schools, colleges and a wide range of community groups around the country remains high on the orchestra’s learning agenda. This year sees the orchestra work with the Alzheimer’s Society as part of its Singing for the Brain project.
Southbank Sinfonia Southbank Sinfonia is an orchestra of young professionals described by The Times as ‘a dashing ensemble who play with exhilarating fizz, exactness and stamina’. It provides graduate musicians with a much-needed springboard into the profession. Every year its players, supported by a bursary, undertake a wide-ranging nine-month programme of performance and professional development. This comprises performances across Britain and Europe involving orchestral repertoire, chamber music, opera, dance and theatre, development sessions embracing leadership and teamwork, and opportunities to be role-models, inspiring many younger musicians on London’s South Bank and beyond. A distinctive and integral part of the programme is the orchestra’s creative partnerships with leading arts organisations including the Royal Opera House, National Theatre, BBC Concert Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields and acclaimed artists such as Patron Vladimir Ashkenazy. Southbank Sinfonia appeared at Southbank Centre earlier this year, presenting music from Terezin in the year-long The Rest Is Noise festival, of which tonight’s concert is also a part, and Yoko Ono’s Sky Piece to Jesus Christ in Southbank Centre’s Meltdown. Southbank Sinfonia wishes to thank The Leche Trust for its support in making tonight’s appearance possible. London Voices London Voices was founded by Terry Edwards in 1982. It is now co-directed by Terry Edwards and Ben Parry. London Voices draws on the pool of talented freelance professional solo, consort and choral singers who live in and around the capital. It selects for each project the most suitable team and recent engagements have been as varied as the world premiere of Stockhausen’s opera Mittwoch aus Licht and a Walt Disney soundtrack. London Voices has a discography of over 200 records including recital discs with Luciano Pavarotti, Ute Lemper, Angela Gheorgiu and Bryn Terfel; 20 and 21st Century composers including Luciano Berio, Geörgy Ligeti and John Adams; and major choral works conducted by the late Sir Georg Solti, Sir Simon Rattle and Bernard Haitink.
Terry Edwards was Chorus Director at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden from 1992 to 2004 and Ben Parry is the Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. London Voices has become the choir of choice for most of the soundtracks of films recorded in the United Kingdom. Titles include Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Lord Of The Rings and the current project The Hobbit.
Patrick Wolf, Leo Abrahams, Kimbra, Kirin J Callinan, Jherek Bischoff, Paul Kelly, Francois Tetaz and Paul Grabowsky, and has performed at major festivals and venues internationally. She has sung on Bollywood soundtracks and Hollywood film-scores, presented on cult radio station Triple R FM and curated festivals as a celebrated artistic director in Australia since the age of 22. Sophia now occupies much of her time as a solo performer, residing in both Australia and the United Kingdom since mid-2013. Soon to make her debut UK release, she has created her own vision for pop, blending a palette of widescreen pop-orchestra, exotica, jazz and industrial lounge, all crowned by her powerful voice. 200 Motels marks her debut appearance at Southbank Centre.
Terry Edwards Chorus Master Natasha Betteridge (Stage Direction) Natasha trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) and was previously Artistic Producer of Northampton Theatres and Associate Director at West Yorkshire Playhouse. For the Southbank Centre she has directed The Big Sing, three new monologues by Eve Ensler and Peter and the Wolf. Freelance credits include world premieres of Mister Heracles by Simon Armitage, Tim Fountain: Sex Addict (Royal Court and Schaubuane Berlin), Inside Out by Tanika Gupta (Arcola), Product by Mark Ravenhill (International Tour), and The Fast Show LIVE! (Dominion Theatre). She has strong links with Chinese theatre and was the first European to direct a new play in China. Her short film credits include: Burn Up (City Screen award) and A Night On The Tiles (Best Director Award ITV Wales). Natasha is Creative Director of 100 Words a multimedia project for young writers and language learners which began by linking up new artists and cultural organisations in the UK and China. In 2008 it formed part of the Cultural Olympiad for Beijing Paralympic Games. Current collaborations include curating the 100 Words Festival (Birmingham Repertory Theatre), and live radio plays for Alchemy, Southbank Centre’s annual festival. The 100 Words Education strand is currently being rolled out globally by the British Council and this April was put on the curriculum throughout India. Sophia Brous (Groupie 1: Janet/larry the dwarf) Sophia Brous is an award-winning performer, vocalist, composer, curator and broadcaster. She studied music at the New England Conservatory, Boston and Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne and undertook studies in law at Monash University. A musician with diverse musical interests, she has collaborated and toured with a vast array of artists including Mick Harvey, Julia Holter, Jens Lekman,
Tony Guilfoyle (Frank) Actor Tony Guilfoyle was born and educated in Ireland. He has been touring with Robert Lepage in the play Spades, which played The Roundhouse this Spring. He has also worked with Lepage in the Dragons Trilogy, Geometry Of Miracles and Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder. Further theatre includes Iceman Cometh (Almeida Theatre), Shopping And Fucking (Gielgud and Queens Theatres), Outskirts (Royal Shakespeare Company), Queen and I (Out Of Joint), The LA Plays (Almeida Theatre), Woyzeck (Gate Theatre and St Ann’s Warehouse, New York), Teorama (Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Florence Opera Della Roma), San Diego (Royal Lyceum). His TV credits include Merlin (BBC 1), Rome (HBO), Bleak House (BBC 1), The Murder Of Stephen Lawrence (Granada), Fanny Hill (BBC 4), The Virgin Queen (BBC 1), The Return (Film 4). The second series of Father Ted and the Xmas Special (Channel 4).
Jurjen Hempel (conductor) Jurjen Hempel studied conducting with David Porcelijn and Kenneth Montgomery at the Utrecht Conservatory (The Netherlands), and continued his apprenticeship as assistant to Edo de Waart, Hans Vonk and David Robertson. At the invitation of Seiji Ozawa he attended the Tanglewood Conducting Class where he worked with Bernard Haitink and Lorin Maazel. In May 1995 he was a prize winner in the first Sibelius Conductors’ Competition in Helsinki. From 1996 to 1999 Jurjen Hempel was Assistant Conductor to Valery Gergiev at the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1997 he made his debut with the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague (also known as The Hague Philharmonic Orchestra), since when he has been a frequent visitor to both orchestras. In 2012 he made his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam and has been invited back to work with them again in the 2014/15 season.
His reputation as a conductor of contemporary music has led him to work on a regular basis with ensembles such as Southbank Centre Resident Orchestra London Sinfonietta and the Asko Ensemble. Last year he made his debut with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and will return to them for a concert at the Centre Pompidou (Paris) later this season. Jurjen Hempel also has a busy career as an opera conductor. Notable engagements have included Salome for the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam, as a result of which he was invited to conduct the same opera at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, the first Dutch conductor in the history of this famous theatre. In the spring of 2004 he conducted Shadowtime by Brian Ferneyhough at the Munich Biennale, which was later also seen in Paris, London and New York. In the UK he has worked with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra and is a regular guest with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He made his Proms debut in 2005 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He is currently Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Youth Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Joensuu City Orchestra in Finland. Claron McFadden (Soprano) Claron McFadden studied voice at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York (USA). Her celebrated opera roles are numerous and varied, including the title role of Lulu (Berg’s opera of the same name) conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and The controller in Jonathan Dove’s Flight, both performed at Glyndebourne; Zerbinetta in Graham Vick’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos at the Dutch National Opera, where she has also performed many times; and numerous projects she has toured throughout Europe, including Dido and Aeneas and Les Indes Galantes, which she also performed at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. She sings many of the major oratorio works, but is also in demand for her interpretation of modern and contemporary music, in particular the music of Wolfgang Rihm and Harrison Birtwistle. She performed in the world premiere of Birtwistle’s The Woman and the Hare at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and in August 2009 at the BBC Proms with the Nash Ensemble. Her many recordings include Birtwistle’s Paul Celan Songs, Haydn’s Orfeo and Gluck’s Paride ed Elena with La Stagione Frankfurt and as Aspasia in Handel’s Alexander Balus with the King’s Consort for Hyperion Records. She has also made many television appearances, including Channel 4’s My Night with Handel,
performance documentary of contemporary settings of Handel’s operatic arias, available on video and DVD. In January 2014 Claron will also be performing at the Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich, Germany); performing in the opera Babylon by Jörg Widmann as well as the opera Sunken Garden at the Opera de Lyon (France); and performing in the world premiere of Shell Shock (Nicolas Lens) at Opera de la Monnaie (Brussels, Belgium). Also in 2014 Claron has been invited by various festivals like the Holland Festival in the opera Laika by Martijn Padding. Jay Rayner (Bad Conscience / Ginger) Jay Rayner is an award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster with a fine collection of floral shirts. He has written on everything from crime and politics, through cinema and theatre to the visual arts, but is best known as restaurant critic for The Observer. For a while he was a sex columnist for Cosmopolitan magazine; he also once got himself completely waxed in the name of journalism. He only mentions this because it hurt. Jay is a former Young Journalist of the Year, Critic of the Year and Restaurant Critic of the Year, though not all in the same year. Somehow he has also found time to write four novels and three works of non-fiction. His latest book is A Greedy Man In A Hungry World: How (almost) everything you thought you knew about food is wrong has just been published. He chairs BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet, and is a regular on British television, where he is familiar as a judge on Masterchef and, since 2009, as the resident food experts on The One Show. Brendan Reilly (Howard / Cowboy burt) London-based American singer-songwriter Brendan Reilly is very excited to take part in the UK premiere of 200 Motels! Its subject matter is something he is very familiar with, having toured the world extensively with artists such multiplatinum Grammy-award winners Basement Jaxx and Grammy nominee Sam Sparro. Recent projects he’s been involved in include working with Holland’s Metropole Orkest, the London Jazz Festival with Guy Barker’s Orchestra and most recently the Urban Classic Prom with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Brendan is currently working on his first full length album, and in the meantime can regularly be seen at venerable London venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, the 606 Club, The Hideaway, and Jazz Cafe with acts such as BLINQ (alongside multiple award winners Ian Shaw, Liane Carroll, Natalie Williams and Gwilym Simcock), the PB Underground, and Natalie Williams’ Soul Family.
Ian Shaw (Mark) Described by The Sunday Times as having ‘few rivals’, twice BBC award-winning vocalist, Ian Shaw is one of the world’s leading jazz musicians with 14 highly acclaimed solo albums including three US releases. His voice crosses genres, leading him to work with the likes of Quincy Jones, Abdullah Ibrahim, Pete Townsend and Nigel Kennedy, to name just a few. The role of warm-up man/devil in the shockingly brilliant Jerry Springer: The Opera (Richard Thomas/Stewart Lee) was created for Shaw who was involved in the early development of this global hit. Shaw is an experienced actor, his films include Pierrepont (Granada Production) and the brand new US/UK collaboration Titus (Dakus Films). A popular broadcaster, Shaw currently presents the hugely popular weekly Ronnie Scott’s Radio Show for JazzFM91 as well as his regular contributions for BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4. Shaw’s vocals are currently to be heard on the Camo and Krooked drum and bass mega-hit ‘Move Around’ (Hospital Records). Richard Strange (Narrator / Rance) Writer, musician, composer, nightclub host, curator, actor and adventurer, Richard ‘Kid’ Strange’s presence has been felt in every corner of London’s cultural life. Since his proto-punk rock band The Doctors of Madness was first unleashed on an uncomprehending public in 1975 (the band was supported by the Sex Pistols, The Jam and Joy Division) Richard has continued to write, record and give occasional live performances. He founded the hugely influential mixed-media Cabaret Futura in 1980, giving gigs to such emerging artists as Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, Shane McGowan and Michael Nyman. He has subsequently worked extensively as an actor, appearing on stage, in films and on television. His numerous movie appearances include Batman, Mona Lisa, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Gangs of New York and Harry Potter. As a writer he is a regular contributor to publications as diverse as The Guardian, Tatler, Culture and Travel and Vogue. In 1989/90 he toured the world in a Russian Hamlet directed by Yuri Lyubimov. His memoir Strange - Punks and Drunks and Flicks and Kicks was critically acclaimed on publication in 2003. Throughout 2004 to 2007 Richard worked with Marianne Faithfull on the Tom Waits/William Burroughs/Robert Wilson collaboration The Black Rider, performing in theatres in London, San Francisco, Sydney and Los Angeles. In 2009 he was part of Jarvis Cocker’s Meltdown Festival, at Southbank Centre, in an evening of songs from Walt Disney movies, alongside Nick Cave, Shane McGowan and Grace Jones. He has curated shows for Tate, The Glasgow International Festival of Live Art and Camp Bestival, and this year was appointed Creator In Residence at The Hong Kong Design Institute. His acclaimed Monthly Live Chat Show A Mighty Big If has been a must-see for the last year on the London arts scene, with recent guests including Nile Rodgers,
Robert Wilson, Peter Capaldi, Gary Kemp, Brian Cox and Cornelia Parker. Next year will see the premiere of Language Is A Virus From Outer Space, his collaborative cantata based on the life and work of William Burroughs, which he has created with the composer Gavin Bryars. Scott Thunes (Jeff) Scott Carter Thunes was born in Los Angeles in 1960, but raised in Northern California. He got into music through his older brother, Derek, a guitarist/composer. They played in bands, went to music school together, fought each other and shared girlfriends. When Scott was 21 years old, he heard that Frank Zappa was auditioning (from Derek, through his attempt at auditioning for the band himself) and, after an arduous process, was hired for Frank’s 1981 touring ensemble. He played bass, sang background vocals (until Frank had had enough and took his mic away), and played MiniMoog synth bass on Zappa’s subsequent tours in 1982, 1984 and 1988 (the tour Scott has been famous for ‘breaking up’, although time has proved him guiltless). Frank also made him rehearsal director, and asked him to help his son, Dweezil, with his first record. After Frank stopped touring, Scott continued to play bass, sing, arrange, and record with Dweezil (four albums). Living in back in Los Angeles, Scott found time to record with The Waterboys, Wayne Kramer, Andy Prieboy and FEAR, before ‘quitting music’ and returning to Northern California to raise a family. Once he felt his daughter, Hazle Nova, and his son, Virgil Mars, were old enough, he re-entered professional music to take the position of bassist/ vocalist for California Soul pioneers, The Mother Hips, in 2011. He continues to play internationally with them, along with a two-week stint with his erstwhile employer, Dweezil, as fill-in bassist for Zappa Plays Zappa, in February of 2012. Diva Zappa (Groupie 2: Lucy) Diva Zappa is the youngest child of Frank and Gail Zappa. She has been acting professionally since the age of 17, with parts in film and television and most recently making her stage-acting debut in 200 Motels at the Disney Music Hall in Los Angeles (USA). She says she is ‘thrilled to continue to be part of this amazing orchestral work and to experience the stage at Royal Festival Hall. When I am not acting I am knitting a scarf named ‘Emilio’ who will one day be 5,280 feet (1,609.34 meters) long. I would like to thank everyone involved in bringing my dad’s work to the stage.’
Frank Zappa, 1940 – 1993 Zappa is best described in his own words, from The Real Frank Zappa Book: ‘One day I happened across an article about Sam Goody’s record store in Look magazine which raved about what a wonderful merchandiser he was. The writer said that Mr Goody could sell anything – and as an example he mentioned that he had even managed to sell an album called Ionisation. ‘The article went on to say something like: “This album is nothing but drums—it’s dissonant and terrible; the worst music in the world” Ahh! Yes! That’s for me! ‘I turned the volume all the way up (in order to get the maximum amount of “fi”) and carefully placed the all-purpose osmium-tipped needle on the lead-in spiral to Ionisation. I have a nice Catholic mother who likes to watch Roller Derby. When she heard what came out of that little speaker at the bottom of the Decca, she looked at me like I was out of my fucking mind. ‘I bought my first Boulez album when I was in the 12th grade: a Columbia recording of Le marteau sans maitre (The Hammer Without a Master) conducted by Robert Craft, with Zeitmasse (Time-mass) by Stockhausen on the other side. ‘I didn’t know anything about 12-tone music then, but I liked the way it sounded. Since I didn’t have any kind of formal training, it didn’t make any difference to me if I was listening to Lightnin’ Slim, or a vocal group called the Jewels […] or Webern, or Varèse, or Stravinsky. To me it was all good music. ‘What do you do for a living, dad? If one of my kids ever asked me that question, the answer would have to be: “What I do is composition”. I just happen to use material other than notes for the pieces.
‘A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians. […] In my compositions, I employ a system of weights, balances, measured tensions and releases – in some way similar to Varèse’s aesthetic. The similarities are best illustrated by comparison to a Calder mobile: a multicolored whatchamacallit, dangling in space, that has big blobs of metal connected to pieces of wire, balanced ingeniously against little metal dingleberries on the other end. ‘The orchestra is the ultimate instrument, and conducting one is an unbelievable sensation. Nothing else is like it, except maybe singing doo-wop harmony and hearing the chords come out right. ‘I find music of the Classical period boring because it reminds me of “painting by numbers”. There are certain things composers of that period were not allowed to do because they were considered to be outside the boundaries of the industrial regulations which determined whether the piece was a symphony, a sonata, or a whatever. All of the norms, as practiced during the olden days, came into being because the guys who paid the bills wanted the “tunes” they were buying to “sound a certain way”. ‘It’s all over, folks. Get smart—take out a real estate license. The least you can do is tell your students: “DON’T DO IT! STOP THIS MADNESS! DON’T WRITE ANY MORE MODERN MUSIC!” ‘“Information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, wisdom is not truth, truth is not beauty, beauty is not love, love is not music. Music is the best.’” – Joe’s Garage, 1979
© mmix zappa family trust.
Impossible instant film and classic Polaroid cameras supplied by Impossible, Berlin and New York. Zappa, FZ, Frank Zappa and the Moustache are marks belonging to the Zappa Family Trust. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Conductor Jurjen Hempel Violin I Charles Mutter Rebecca Turner Peter Bussereau Chereene Allen Nuno Carapina* Eva Petrarca* Michael Howson Helena Casey Tzu-Fan Tang* Hao Zhou* Lucy Hartley Stuart James Alessandro Cannizzaro* Matthew Bethel* Violin II Michael Gray Matthew Elston Marcus Broome David Beaman Julia Loucks* Eva Demeter* Daniel Mullin Sarah Freestone Zanete Uskane* Pierre Largeron* Rustom Pomeroy Anna Ritchie Viola Robin Del Mar Nigel Goodwin Helen Knief Jacqueline Lloyd Jennifer Coombes* Joseph Fisher* Judith Webberley Mike Briggs Maria Niedbala* Tegen McGrahan* Cello Benjamin Hughes Katharine O’Kane Matthew Lee Josephine Abbott Nathan Harrenstein* Angélique Lihou* Davina Shum* Alice Murray* DOUBLE BASS Stacey-Ann Miller Andrew Wood Rupert Ring Roger Linley Jeremy Watt Laura Murphy*
FLUTE Sophie Johnson Mathilde Caldérini* Emilia Zakrzewska Joanna Marsh PICCOLO Sophie Johnson Mathilde Caldérini* Emilia Zakrzewska Joanna Marsh Nicola Smedley ALTO FLUTE Emilia Zakrzewska BASS FLUTE Joanna Marsh OBOE Kenny Sturgeon Amy Turner* Vanessa Howells* Victoria Walpole COR ANGLAIS Victoria Walpole CLARINET Derek Hannigan Rocio Bolanos* Kimon Parry* Thomas Lessels EFLAT CLARINET Kimon Parry* BASS CLARINET Thomas Lessels ALTO/TENOR SAXOPHONE Martin Williams Jeff Daly BASS/BARItone SAXOPHONE Claire McInerney BASSOON Margaret Pollock Susanne Simma* Christina Marroni* Jane Sibley CONTRABASSOON Jane Sibley
HORN Stephen Bell Tom Rumsby Mark Johnson David Wythe Charlie Hutchinson* Jonathan Bareham Laetitia Stott* Andrew Sutton Philippa Slack
HARPSICHORD Caroline Jaya-Ratnam
TRUMPET Catherine Moore David Marley David McCallum John Blackshaw Jonny Abraham
ACCORDION Tracey Goldsmith
FLUGEL John Blackshaw TROMBONE James Casey Mike Lloyd Richard Ward Matthew Lewis BASS TROMBONE Paul Lambert TUBA Sasha Koushk-Jalali TIMPANI Stephen Webberley PERCUSSION Alasdair Malloy Stephen Whibley Tim Barry Stephen Henderson Sacha Johnson Glyn Matthews Julian Poole Martin Owens DRUM KIT Matthew Senior HARP Andrew Knight PIANO Robin Green Caroline Jaya-Ratnam Joanna Smith CELESTE Caroline Jaya-Ratnam Joanna Smith
GUITAR Forbes Henderson Steve Smith Huw Davies ELECTRIC BASS Don Richardson
*Southbank Sinfonia All other players BBC Concert Orchestra
Sopranos Jacqueline Barron Elizabeth Drury Cheryl Enever Jenni Harper Rachel Major Wendy Nieper Prudence Sanders Altos Catherine Backhouse Helen Brookes Amanda Dean Freya Jacklin Jo Marshall Lucy Potterton Tenors Garth Bardsley Richard Eteson Simon Haynes Edward Leach Henry Moss Peter Wilman Basses Neil Bellingham Stefan Berkieta Nicholas Garrett Cheyney Kent Lawrence Wallington
ROCK BAND Scott Thunes electric bass Joe Travers drum kit Annie Whitehead trombone Jack Pinter saxes Leo Abrahams electric guitar Alastair Gavin keyboard 1 Steve Lodder keyboard 2
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Esa-Pekka Salonen © Karen Robinson
Frank Zappa thought for himself. He used the public library to find out about things he didn’t know. He reached his own conclusions from the evidence he amassed. He reminds me of other great Americans who operated outside of the accepted system. I’m thinking of people like historian/activist Howard Zinn, social activist Malcolm X, composer Harry Partch... people who were not afraid to forge a personal path no matter the obstacles. You can hear the self-taught, resourceful resolve in Zappa’s music, the certainty that he is following his own path. Plus he was hilarious. I’m so glad he wrote for Kronos, even though at his suggested tempos ‘None of the Above’ can only be played in his imagination. David Harrington, Kronos Quartet, San Francisco, September 2013
Frank Zappa performing live 1966 © Jan Persson/Redferns/Getty Images
Front cover: switchboard operator, 1966 ÂŠ Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images Back cover: portrait of Frank Zappa, 1970 ÂŠ Keystone Pictures USA/Alamy