dick barber

Dick Barber, a high school friend of Ronnie Williams, is name-checked on the cover of "Freak Out!" (1966) under the heading "These People Have Contributed Materially In Many Ways To Make Our Music What It Is. Please Do Not Hold It Against Them". He was the Mothers' road manager in the late 60's and early 70's.

He also played with great emotion the role of the industrial strength Gypsy Mutant Vacuum Cleaner that Motorhead falls in love with in the "200 Motels (the Film)" (1971). Appears in the Uncle Meat (The Film) (1987) and "The True Story of 200 Motels" (1989) videos. Barber, the "Gnarler", performed snorts and various vocal noises on several FZ recordings.

According to Ray Collins, Barber was present during the recording of the single "How's Your Bird?" / "The World's Greatest Sinner" (1963, Baby Ray & The Ferns), recorded at PAL Recording Studio (Cucamonga), available on various Cucamonga-era compilations; according to Paul Buff, owner of the studio, he (Buff) was the "Godfather of Snorks" and other such early Zappa noises...

Barber is also credited for contributions on the "Dear Jeepers"/"Letter To Jeepers" single (1963, Bob Guy), and "The Big Squeeze", the Luden's Cough Drop Commercial, recorded in 1967, available on "The Lost Episodes" (1996) album. He snorked on "We're Only In It For The Money" (1968) and "Lumpy Gravy" (1968). More Barber can be found on the "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 5" (1992) album: "JCB & Kansas On The Bus #1" and "JCB & Kansas On The Bus #2", both recorded in 1969 in a Greyhound bus, and Mozart Ballet (Piano Sonata in B Flat)", recorded in 1969, at the Royal Albert Hall (London).

For the "One Size Fits All" (1975), he was the Assistant Engineer, who also snorked. He is also mentioned "The Real Frank Zappa Book" (1989).


3 the mothers of invention: we're only in it for the money
   (1967, lp, usa, verve)

4 frank zappa: lumpy gravy
   (1967, lp, usa, verve)


frank zappa: chunga's revenge
   (1970, lp, usa, bizarre)


frank zappa: 200 motels
   (1971, 2lp, usa, united artists)

fz013v.jpg (37378 bytes)


frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore vol.5
   (1992, 2cd, usa, ryko)
60 frank zappa: playground psychotics
   (1992, 2cd, usa, ryko)


frank zappa: the lost episodes
   (1996, cd, usa, ryko)
  tony palmer's film of frank zappa's 200 motels
    (2010, dvd, uk, tony palmer)


frank zappa: finer moments
    (2012, cd, usa, zappa records)

zappa_finermoments.jpg (47358 bytes)




random notes

He is often attributed as being the Mothers' original snorker, and without a doubt he added a most flatulent tone to the Mothers' sound.

While the 1967 recording of ‘The Big Squeeze’ (“Lost Episodes”) is regarded as his first recorded snork, a similar sound is heard as far back as 1963 with Zappa's "How's Your Bird?".  Though not officially credited to Dick, it would appear that his relationship with Frank goes back further than previously thought.  And yet as seen below, the jury remains out as to whether the snork on this particular tune should be credited to Dick Barber or Paul Buff.

     From: Román (donlope@globalia.net)
I've read recently the Ray Collins interview, and found a bit of information to add a little mess to your Dick Barber page:

"I told Frank, "Well, I've got this idea for a song called How's Yer Bird? from the-- it was a Steve Allen saying, and so Frank said, "Oh, great idea! I have access to a studio in Cucamonga. Maybe we'll get together and do it." So he called me up a couple of days later(we exchanged phone numbers, obviously), and he said, "I have written the song, How's Yer Bird?" So he said, "Would you like to record it?" I said, "Yeah, of course," so we went up to Studio Z and we did How's Yer Bird? with Dick Barber, "Gnarler," on snorts and vocal noises. "

     From: Paul Buff (buffo@white-lightning.com)
I wasn't aware of Dick Barber - aka the snorker, and have to take full credit for myself being the godfather of snorks and other such early Zappa noises.


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