Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The '69 Gumbo Variation

I was taken off guard when I first heard the Mothers of Invention.
L.A.'s  '66 soundscape was expanding far from the Beach Boys' pleasant harmonies and scenery.
Bands like Love and the Doors were surfacing and painting with a much different palette as the psychedelic era rolled in.
The sixties' album cover art was getting more adventurous as well; Cream's 'Disraeli Gears', The Jimi Hendrix Experience's 'Axis Bold as Love'... but 'Freak Out' by the Mothers of Invention was one that stared at me from the record store wall saying, 'Hey kid, we're some real crazy Mothers'.
And upon listening they were.
Lead by Frank Zappa, the music covered a spectrum from fifties' Do-wop to do-acid. Sometimes with a tongue firmly planted in cheek, these guys showed talent and had something to say 'bout the present situation. Zappa became a new found hero for me.
The Mothers soon disbanded (for the time being) and Zappa released his first solo album, 'Hot Rats'. This was a record that spent a good amount of time spinning in my room during my high school years and became my inspirational drawing/painting soundtrack. This was the record where I recognized Zappa as truly a new American composer and guitarist to follow... and it 'Jams like a Mother'.

A remix of 1969 Hot Rat's 'Gumbo Variation' can be found on FZ's 'The Lost Episodes', a release of basement tapes and remixes with artwork by Gabor Csupo.