artis the spoon man

Artis the Spoon Man provided "flatware" percussion for Civilization Phaze III, and for the unreleased Dance Me This. He appeared on stage with Zappa in Eugene Oregon on 10/4/81, and at New York's Palladium 10/30/81.


Aspirations to Manifestations from the Womb to the Void (Life and lyrics of a busker) 
Published by Hulogosi Communications, Incorporated (June, 1993) 
ISBN: 0938493205 

"since 1972, artis the spoonman's flatware percussion has taken him all over the world, from the streets and bars of seattle and san francisco to london, dublin, munich to recording sessions with frank zappa and soundgarden to "late night with david letterman" and garrison keillor's "prairie home companion."
(press release)



frank zappa: civilization phaze III
   (1994, 2cd, usa, barking pumpkin)
  jimmy ågren: get this into your head
    (1996, cd, swe, uae) - feat. mats öberg, produced by morgan ågren

  mats / morgan: on air with guests (6)
    (2002, cd, swe, ultimate audio entertainment uae disc 15) - feat. mats öberg, morgan & jimmy ågren

  morgan ågren: trum
    (2002, video, sweden, ??) - feat. mats öberg, jimmy ågren


random notes

"you haven’t got a commercial bone in your body" - frank zappa

     from: writes:

can anyone tell me if or when or on what song the great artis the spoonman recorded with zappa?  artis claims to have recorded with him but i can find no evidence! thanks for any info!

     from: jon naurin (

don't know about any recording sessions, but he was invited onstage at the palladium 10/30/81, and played a little solo.

      from: patrick neve (

before that he played at the mac court gig in eugene oregon on 10/4/81. a first-hand witness reports that steve vai was "slack-jawed".  i didn't see that show, but i've seen artis many a time besides that. his performances usually leave me slack-jawed as well.  he has to be seen to be believed.  he has a wide variety of spoons made of wood, metal, and who knows what else, and he makes actual music by pounding them off his face and body.  it's fast and furious and very funky.  he's one of a kind.  as far as i know he's a seattle resident, but he hits every major fair and festival within driving distance, and can often be seen hanging around eugene, playing at the saturday market or the oregon country fair. he's a nice guy, too.  soundgarden wrote a song about him. the following is from the liner notes to his album, entertain the entertainers: "thank you gail zappa for the first (unsolicited) contribution to this low-budget/expensive project."

     from: bill (

he might be appearing on dance me this. he was recorded at chez fz circa 1991-93.

     from: "m. delle" ( - date: mon, 04 oct 1999

the sabian drum festival -99 was held yesterday in gothenburg and featured dom famularo, richie garcia, mike portnoy, mats/morgan with spoonman and terry bozzio. im not a drummer, but i stayed the whole 6 hour performance and enjoyed the lot. mats and morgan played a complicated, yet playful set, and rounded off by playing "take your clothes off when you dance", accompanied by spoonman on spoons (amazing guy, he did things (musical i.e.) with spoons, that you could never dream of). spoonman referred to zappa by doing the "circular motion" while playing (if thats the correct term to describe what he was doing).

     from: aline (

also appeared on night music, around 1989.

     from: per wikstrom ( - ultimate audio entertainment -

mats/morgan "live": this album was recorded during the bands latest tour and is jam-packed with knock-yer-socks-off performances. this year mats/morgan celebrate 20 years of being a musical entity, and to celebrate this they enbarke on yet another tour. if you have your way through stockholm on february 27-28 (2001), we are having a release party at fasching, and you're invited!!. guests include denny walley, ali askin, todd yvega, and the ever so amazing artis the spoonman!

     from: john seman ( - date: 6 feb 2002 14:51:30 -0800

i had the great pleasure of spending a few moments with artis the spoonman yesterday, and asked him about his encounters with zappa.  an already animated artis jumped up, we were standing by the stage in an empty hall, and just about lost his mind.
"he's brilliant!  he's so brilliant!  he's so brilliant!" resounded through the hall.
he told me about having his first meet and greet in a hotel lobby in oregon while fz was in town for a 3/27/80 macarthur court show, whereupon frank exclaimed, "you've gotta be on television," or something close to that, which struck artis as odd, frank not (yet) being known as a tv-type guy. he described playing "man against machine" onstage 10/30/81 at the palladium against "wendell the drum machine", and how he got to conduct zappa.  i don't have a copy of the show (and does anyone, because i promised i'd find artis one), but apparently after fz cuts off "wendell", artis continues on in a big ol' cadenza, and then cues frank back in.  he had a hell of a grin on his face describing that to me, as if it were a highlight of his career, him conducting the master.
he mentions fz twice in his short program bio, and so i asked him where exactly does he appear on an fz recording.  his answer is dance me this and civilization phaze III.  no foolin.  he only figured it out a couple years ago, but during "this is all wrong" you can hear him, live and unedited, not sampled (unless the sample is the whole clip, todd?) for about 10 seconds behind the dialogue, flipping out like he do.  he explained this as an incredible stroke of zappa brilliance, because his spooning/body percussion sounds somewhat like a rainstick, and then a real rainstick does come in a few seconds later.  is that a real rainstick or is that a sears rainstick?
check this out:
cpIII disc 2, track 9, "this is all wrong"
0:28 - artis enters, after, "...we could probably be alone."
0:37 - artis out.
1:09 - cue rainstick
brilliant, as the man said.  artis then lamented he leant someone his copy of cpIII and never got it back.  do you have it?  it has his name on it.  he wants it.
also, if anyone has a tape of the 10/30/81 show with artis vs. wendell, please contact me, as he doesn't and would love to hear it, and so would i.
(john seman, seattle, wa)

     from: jon naurin (

i made an mp3 of the little spoon solo and put it up on

his description doesn't really match what's audible on the tape, though.frank says that artis sat in with them at the eugene 3/27/80 show too, but i've never found this on my tapes from that show.


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