napoleon murphy brock

Frank Zappa discovered Napoleon Murphy Brock in a Hawaiian nightclub leading a top 40 soul band. After that, Napoleon Murphy Brock played in Frank Zappa's band for a number of years.

"Napi" provided vocal, sax, flute, and/or keyboards to Apostrophe ('), Roxy & Elsewhere, One Size Fits All, Bongo Fury, Zoot Allures, Sleep Dirt, Sheik Yerbouti, Them Or Us, Thing-Fish, You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 1, You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 2, You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3, You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 4, You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 6, Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa, FZ:OZ, Quaudiophiliac, and on the Beat The Boots disk Unmitigated Audacity (BTB).

His performance can be seen on the Zappa movies "Baby Snakes" (in the background), The Dub Room Special, The Amazing Mr. Bickford (in the background), and The True Story Of 200 Motels.

He has played & recorded with George Duke, gigged with his band the Nighthawks and has performed with the San Francisco Opera.
He teamed up with Bogus Pomp in October 1999, and also performs with Project/Object from time to time.

The picture on the right is from 3/10/2002, in concert  with Project/Object in Eugene, Oregon.

He performed at Zappanale in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and in 2008

In 2002 NBM released his first solo album, "Balls".

In 2003 and 2004 he toured and recorded with the Grand Mothers Of Re:Invention.

 

June 2003 he played Frank Zappa compositions with Denny Walley's Zappa Corner Band and with Ed Palermo's Big Band at The Umeå Internationella Kammarmusik Festival.

April 2004, Napoleon played "Absolute Zappa" with Kristjan Järvi's Absolute Ensemble.

June 5, 2004, Ike Willis, Ernie Watts and Napoleon Murphy Brock performed with the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival Big Band, performing an all-Zappa set.

November 27, 2004, Michael Brostlap and the Metropole Orkest, featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock did a concert at 'The Oosterpoort', in Groningen, the Netherlands.

A couple of days earlier, Napoleon recorded an episode for Charles Pater's "Blindfold Test", a radio show in which the guest has to comment on various pieces that Charles picks out of his record collection. Broadcast in January 2005.

The picture on the right shows Napoleon Murphy Brock together with Charles Pater, 2004/11/24.

October 2004, Napi did a couple of concerts with Sheik Yerbouti in Germany. A DVD of these performances got released in 2006.

August 2005, Napoleon Murphy Brock participted in the Zappanale festival again.

In 2006/04 - 2006/06 and 2006/10 - 2006/12, Napoleon toured with the Zappa Plays Zappa band.

Napoleon Murphy Brock took take part in the 2007 edition of the Zappanale festival. 

August 2008, Napoleon was a special guest at the Zappanale festival again. He performed with Bogus Pomp at the pre-Zappanale Hamburg concert, and played with the Finnish Zappa Tribute band at the festival.

August 2010, Napoleon performed with the Ensemble Ambrosius twice. The first time in Hamburg (opening the Zappanale Festival), and a couple of days later at the festival itself in Bad Doberan.
November 2010, NMB did two concerts with Dähn, Bruhn & Schmitz GBR in Hamburg, Germany. Parts were released on a promotional CDR and DVDR.

December 2014, Napoleon did a concert with Let's Zappalin in Sao Paulo.

In 2015, Napoleon made another appearance at the Zappanale festival. A.o., he performed with Mats Öberg as Colorflash.

 

 

discography

18

frank zappa: apostrophe (')
   (1974, lp, usa, discreet)

19

zappa / mothers: roxy & elsewhere
   (1974, 2lp, usa, discreet)

20

frank zappa and the mothers of invention: one size fits all
   (1975, lp, usa, discreet)

21

zappa / beefheart / mothers: bongo fury
   (1975, lp, usa, discreet)
  george duke: the aura will prevail (6)
    (1975, lp, usa, mps mc 25613) - incl. ‘echidna's arf’,’uncle remus’ (frank zappa) ; feat. napoleon murphy brock
 
  george duke: liberated fantasies
    (1976, lp, ??, ??) - feat. napoleon murphy brock
 

22

frank zappa: zoot allures
   (1976, lp, usa, warner brothers)

  michael white: x factor
    (1978, lp, ??, ??) - feat. napoleon murphy brock
 
  dee dee bridgewater: bad for me
    (1979, lp, ??, ??) - feat. napoleon murphy brock
 
  george duke: follow that rainbow
    (1979, lp, ??, ??) - feat. napoleon murphy brock
 
  frank zappa: sleep dirt (25)
   (1979, lp, usa, discreet)
 
26 frank zappa: sheik yerbouti
   (1979, 2lp, usa, zappa records)

  george duke: master of the game
    (1979, lp, ??, ??) - feat. napoleon murphy brock
 
32 frank zappa: shut up 'n play yer guitar some more
   (1981, lp, usa, barking pumpkin)

  frank zappa: shut up 'n play yer guitar - box set
    (1981, 3lp, eur, cbs)

40

frank zappa: them or us
   (1984, 2lp, usa, barking pumpkin)

41

frank zappa: thing-fish
   (1984, 3lp, usa, barking pumpkin)

51 frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore vol.1
   (1988, 2cd, usa, ryko)

52

frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore vol.2
   (1988, 2cd, usa, ryko)
54 frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore vol.3
   (1989, 2cd, usa, ryko)

57

frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore vol.4
   (1991, 2cd, usa, ryko)  
  zappa / mothers: unmitigated audacity
    (1991, cd, usa, rhino foo-eee records r2 70540)
  frank zappa: piquantique
    (1991, cd, usa, rhino foo-eee records r2 70544)
  george duke: don't let go
    (1991, cd, ??, ??) - feat. napoleon murphy brock
 
59 frank zappa: you can't do that on stage anymore vol.6
   (1992, 2cd, usa, ryko)
  supernatural fairy tales: the progr
    (1996, cd, ??, ??) - feat. napoleon murphy brock
 

66

frank zappa: frank zappa plays the music of frank zappa
   (1996, cd, usa, barking pumpkin)

67

frank zappa: have i offended someone?
   (1997, cd, usa, ryko)

??? captain beefheart: the dust blows forward
    (1999, 2cd, usa, warner archives rhino r2 75863) - anthology including one unissued track
 

 

bogus pomp: a pungent steaming affair
    (2002, cd, usa, private release) - all compositions by frank zappa, featuring napoleon murphy brock

70

frank zappa: fz:oz
    (2002, 2cd, usa, vaulternative records)

1 napoleon murphy brock: balls  (1)
    (2002, cd, usa, nmb 3118) - feat.chester thompson, mike keneally, jerry outlaw

  various artists: zappanale 13
    (2003, 3cd, ger, arf society) – incl. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

  various artists: zappanale 13 - the lewinskys - grandmothers west
    (2003, dvd, ger, the arf society) - feat. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

  various artists: zappanale 13 - retrospective
    (2003, dvd, ger, the arf society) - feat. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

  various artists: zappanale # 13
    (2003, cd, ger, arf society) – incl. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

  ossi duri: x
    (2003, cd, italy, frfrfrz 87451) - incl. various frank zappa compositions, feat. various zappa alumni

  the grandmothers: a grandmothers night at the gewandhaus
    (2003, cd, ger, warner classic 2564600682) - incl.various frank zappa compositions

74

frank zappa: quaudiophiliac
    (2004, dvda, usa, dts entertainment 69286-01125-9-9)

  various artists: zappanale 14 - 2003
    (2004, dvd, ger, the arf society) - feat. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

  various artists: zappanale 14 - retrospective
    (2004, dvd, ger, the arf society) - feat. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

  sheik yerbouti: ouch patrol
    (2005, cd, ger, goodlife records sycd0501) – incl.various frank zappa compositions, feat. napoleon murphy brock

  robert kramer: legacy of love
    (2005, cd, usa, dimension1records) - feat.napoleon murphy brock
  neonfire: neonfire
    (2005, cd, usa, crossfire publications 9502-2) - feat.candy zappa, napoleon murphy brock

  bogus pomp: live at mahaffey theatre
    (2005, dvdr, usa, private release) - all compositions by frank zappa, feat. n.m.brock & the persuasions

  the paul green school of rock music: live at the 2005 zappanale - the esoteric zappa
    (2005, dvdr, ger, arf society) - all compositions by frank zappa, feat. napoleon murphy brock & ike willis

  doctor dark: live at the 2005 zappanale
    (2005, dvdr, ger, arf society) - all compositions by don van vliet or frank zappa, feat. napoleon murphy brock
 
  metropolis orchestra: live at the 2005 zappanale
    (2005, dvdr, ger, arf society) - all compositions by frank zappa, feat. napoleon murphy brock
 
  various artists: zappanale 16
    (2006, 3cd, ger, arf society) - incl. various artists playing frank zappa compositions, also incl. one van vliet composition

  various artists: zappanale 16 - retrospective
    (2006, dvd, ger, the arf society) - feat. various artists playing frank zappa compositions 

  various artists: zappanale # 16
    (2006, cd, ger, arf society) – incl. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

  sheik yerbouti feat. napoleon murphy brock: ouch patrol - live at frankfurter hof mainz, 30. okt.2004
    (2006, dvd, ger, private release sydvd0601) - all compositions by frank zappa

  various artists: the frank zappa aaafnraa birthday bundle
    (2006, itunes, -) - feat. frank, moon, dweezil, ahmet & diva zappa

  the muffin men: muffinz moovies vol.two (1998-2003)
    (2006, dvd, uk, private release) - incl.various frank zappa compositions, feat. zappa alumni

  the muffin men: live at zappanale 14
    (2007, dvd, uk, private release / nale 031) - incl.various frank zappa compositions, feat. ike willis & napoleon murphy brock

  project/object: zappanale 18
    (2007, dvdr, ger, private release) - all zappa material / feat. don preston, napoleon murphy brock & dr.dot

  sex without nail bros.: zappanale 18
    (2007, dvdr, germany, private release)
- all compositions by frank zappa, feat. napoleon murphy brock

  various artists: fresh cuts - vol 1
    (2007, cd, usa, guitar center) - feat. zappa plays zappa (with napoleon murphy brock) performing 'magic fingers' & 'carolina hardcore ecstasy'

freshcuts.jpg (29829 bytes)

  zappa plays zappa: zappa plays zappa
    (2007, 2dvd, eu, strobosonic strobo-d-100) - all compositions by frank zappa, feat.dweezil zappa, n.m.brock, s.vai & t.bozzio

81

frank zappa: the dub room special
    (2007, cd, usa, zappa records)

2

napoleon murphy brock featuring gregarious movement: after frank - 1st movement
    (2007, cd, usa, crossfire publications)

  movie: arf society meets frank zappa
    (2007, dvd, ger, arf society) - feat.napoleon murphy brock, roy estrada, ed mann, ...

  zappa plays zappa: zappa plays zappa
    (2008, cd, usa, razor & tie 7930182993-2) - all compositions by frank zappa, feat.dweezil zappa, n.m.brock, s.vai & t.bozzio

  zappa plays zappa: zappa plays zappa
    (2008, 2dvd, usa, razor & tie 7930182997-9) - all compositions by frank zappa, feat.dweezil zappa, n.m.brock, s.vai & t.bozzio

  zappa plays zappa: zappa plays zappa
    (2008, 2dvd + 3cd, usa, razor & tie 7930182997-9) - all compositions by frank zappa, feat.dweezil zappa, n.m.brock, s.vai & t.bozzio

83

frank zappa: one shot deal
    (2008, cd, usa, zappa records)

  various artists: zappanale 18
    (2008, 2cd, ger, arf society) - incl. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

  various artists: zappanale 18 - retrospective
    (2008, dvd, ger, the arf society) - feat. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

  various artists: zappanale #18
    (2008, cd, ger, arf society) - incl. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

the paul green school of rock music feat.denny walley: zappanale 19
    (2008, dvdr, ger, private release) - all compositions by frank zappa or don van vliet  / feat.denny walley & napoleon murphy brock

  finnish zappa tribute band feat. napoleon murphy brock, denny walley & stanley jason zappa: zappanale 19
    (2008, dvdr, germany, private release) - all compositions by frank zappa

84

frank zappa: joe's menage
    (2008, cd, usa, vaulternative records)

  the grandmothers: it happened here
    (2008, 2cdr, ger, arf society) = the grandmothers (with special guests) concert at zappanale in 2002

grandm_ithappenedhere.jpg (26054 bytes)

  bogus pomp feat. napoleon murphy brock: zappa spielt für bach
    (2009, cd, ger, s.j.s.-edition nr.3) - all compositions by frank zappa

boguspomp_zappa_bach.jpg (23618 bytes)

  various artists: zappanale 19
    (2009, mp3-dvd, ger, arf society) - incl. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

z19_mp3disc.jpg (23620 bytes)

  the grande mothers: zappanale 20
    (2009, dvdr, ger, private release) - all compositions by frank zappa

grandm_dvdr_z20.jpg (29332 bytes)

  various artists: the frank zappa aaafnraaaa birthday bundle 21 dec 2010
    (2010, itunes, -) - includes a track from the zappa plays zappa album that features napoleon murphy brock

aaafnraaaa_2010.jpg (22223 bytes)

  movie / documentary: let's hear it for jimmy carl black
    (2010, dvdr, ger, arf society) - feat. moni black, geronimo black, helmut king, napoleon murphy brock, roy estrada, don preston, bruce bickford, ike willis

docu_jimmycarlblackexpo2009.jpg (48017 bytes)

  daehn, bruhn & schmitz: in rock with napoleon murphy brock
    (2010, cdr-promo, ger, private release) – feat. napoleon murphy brock, incl. zappa compositions

gbr_zappanandmore_cd.jpg (24383 bytes)

  daehn, bruhn & schmitz: in rock with napoleon murphy brock
    (2010, dvdr-promo, ger, private release) – feat. napoleon murphy brock, incl. zappa compositions

gbr_zappanandmore_dvd.jpg (22808 bytes)

 

napoleon murphy brock: this is what frank zappa heard
    (2011, cd, usa, private release)

nmb_thisiswhatfrankzappaheard.jpg (27974 bytes)
  ant-bee: electronic church muzik
    (2011, cd, usa, barking moondog records bmr1) - feat. various zappa & beefheart alumni
ant_bee_electronicchurchmusic.jpg (29175 bytes)
  frank zappa: penguin in bondage - the little known history of the mothers of invention
    (2011, download, usa, zappa records)
fz_penguin2011dl.jpg (32087 bytes)
  ensemble ambrosius feat. napoleon murphy brock: zappa spielt für bach
    (2011, cd, ger, s-j-s-edition nr.5) - lots of compositions by frank zappa  //  feat. napoleon murphy brock

ensemble_ambrosius_hamburgcd.jpg (19806 bytes)

  the grande mothers of invention: happy mothers day
    (2012, cd, switzerland, pinguin ing. büro) = napoleon murphy brock & don preston / all compositions by frank zappa

grandmothers_happymothersday.jpg (42317 bytes)

  various artists: jazzism - colive!
    (2013, cd, nl, radio 6 / ntr / jazzism) - feat. mike keneally, napoleon murphy brock & steve vai

colive_cd.jpg (21916 bytes)

97

frank zappa: a token of his extreme soundtrack
    (2013, cd, usa, zappa records)
fz_atohe_soundtrackcd.jpg (27662 bytes)
  ed palermo big band: oh no! not jazz!
    (2014, 2cd, usa, cuneiform records) - incl. various frank zappa compositions  //  feat. napoleon murphy brock

palermo_ohnonotjazz.jpg (42104 bytes)

98

frank zappa: joe's camouflage
    (2014, cd, usa, vaulternative records)
zappa098.jpg (20444 bytes)
 

the string trash project and the american-european mothers of music: zappa spielt für bach
    (2014, cd, ger, stiftung johann-sebastian) - incl. frank zappa compositions

zappaspieltfurbach2014_cd.jpg (32270 bytes)

  let's zappalin with napoleon murphy brock: café piu piu & elsewhere
    (2015, dvdr, brazil, private release) - all compositions by frank zappa  //  feat. napoleon murphy brock

letszap_piupiu.jpg (35057 bytes)

  napoleon murphy brock & peach noise: zappanale 26
    (2015, dvdr, ger, arf society) - feat.mats öberg // all compositions by frank zappa
nmb_pn_zappanaledvdr2015.jpg (16050 bytes)
  robbie 'seahag' mangano: full moon fever
    (2015, cd, usa, private release) - feat. don preston, napoleon murphy brock, ed mann
seahag_fullmoonfever.jpg (28823 bytes)

102

frank zappa & the mothers: roxy the movie
    (2015, cd+dvd, eu, eagle vision eagdv050)
fz_roxythemovie.jpg (36036 bytes)
102 frank zappa & the mothers: roxy the movie
    (2015, dvd, eur, eagle vision)
zappa_roxy_dvd.jpg (54282 bytes)
102 frank zappa & the mothers: roxy the movie
    (2015, blu-ray, eur, eagle vision)
zappa_roxy_br.jpg (43508 bytes)
  the ed palermo big band: one child left behind
    (2016, cd, usa, cuneiform records) - incl. various frank zappa compositions  //  feat. napoleon murphy brock, candy zappa

palermo_onechildleftbehind.jpg (26986 bytes)

various artists: zappanale # 26
    (2016, 3cd, ger, arf society) - incl. various frank zappa compositions, feat. napoleon murphy brock, ike willis, denny walley, jeff hollie, craig twister steward, ed mann, robert martin, albert wing, ray white, tom fowler, robbie mangano, mats öberg

varart_zappanale26.jpg (27415 bytes)

105

frank zappa: frank zappa for president
    (2016, cd, usa, zappa records zr 20021)
fz_fzforpresident.jpg (31217 bytes)
  grandsheiks: prisoners
    (2016, dvd, ger, private release) - all compositions by frank zappa / feat. napoleon murphy brock

grandsheiks_prisoners.jpg (49057 bytes)

  the vegetarians: let's have a good time
    (2016, download, usa, cdbaby) - feat. napoleon murphy brock, mats öberg, jimmy ågren / incl. 'amnerika' (frank zappa) and 'titles' (hans annéllsson's) of which the lyrics consists of zappa songs
vegetariansletshaveagoodtime2016.jpg (32091 bytes)
  the ed palermo big band: the great un-american songbook - volumes I & II
    (2017, cd, usa, cuneiform records) - incl. various frank zappa teases // feat. napoleon murphy brock

edpalermo_unamericansongbookvol1_2.jpg (31878 bytes)

     

 

 

 

 

1977 baby snakes (on a tv screen in the background)

  1982 the dub room special
  1987 the amazing mr. bickford (on a tv screen in the background)
  1989 the true story of 200 motels

 

semi-official releases

  frank zappa and captain beefheart: providence college, rhode island, april 26, 1975
    (2014, 2cd, uk, keyhole kh2cd9028)
fz_cb_19750426_keyhole.jpg (37765 bytes)
  frank zappa: the muffin man goes to college (live)
    (2015, spotify, --, sonic boom) = 1975/04/26 providence concert
fz_muffinmangoestocollege_spotify.jpg (14171 bytes)
     

 

 

concerts

  • 2008/08/13 Bogus Pomp feat. Napoleon Murphy Brock - concert 'St.Katharinen', Hamburg, Germany  
    • organised by the Arf Society / & opener for Zappanale 2008

  • 2009/08/11  Sheik Yerbouti feat. Napoleon Murphy Brock - concert 'St.Katharinen', Hamburg, Germany  
    • organised by the Arf Society / & opener for Zappanale 2009

 

  • 2010/08/10  Ensemble Ambrosius feat. Napoleon Murphy Brock - concert 'St.Katharinen', Hamburg, Germany  
    • organised by the Arf Society / & opener for Zappanale 2010
  • 2010/11/13 Napoleon Murphy Brock & Dähn, Bruhn & Schmitz GBR - concert 'Bachsaal, St. Michaeliskirche, Englische Planke', Hamburg, Germany
  • 2010/11/19 Napoleon Murphy Brock & Dähn, Bruhn & Schmitz GBR - concert 'Platzhirsch', Hamburg, Germany

 

 

bogus pomp:

1999/10/30    concert 'jannus landing', st.petersburg, fl, usa  // with napoleon murphy brock

2000/03/24    concert buffalo, ny, usa  // with napoleon murphy brock

 

joined the george duke band in the late 70s, and recorded a few albums. supposedly seen in newcastle (england) in 1989 or 1990, where he had been talking to kitchenware records about a solo album, which apparently came to nothing. after leaving the music biz, he went in to raising dogs (good occupation for an ex-zappa player; don't know how many poodles he got through). mia since then!

 fz history: peter /berg writes:
i wonder how zappa could find such a brilliant new member as napoleon m brock in a short time to replace the empty place  after ponty quit the band in the autumn of '73. my guess is that napoleon was a friend of george duke and that duke suggested him as a new member.

        from: jon naurin (naurin@mbox300.swipnet.se)
i've read somewhere that zappa found napoleon on a short vacation to hawaii. brock supposedly played in a local cover band, and fz was fascinated by his singing and his stage personality (and so am i!)

        jon naurin writes:
i found the actual quote, from new musical express, 5-oct 1974:
 napoleon murphy brock? who, you may well be asking, is napoleon murphy brock? get this, nmb is the black guy over there with the saxophone and the flute and the moustache. he is the mothers' latest lead singer, and frank discovered him in a hawaiian nightclub leading a top 40 soul band. at the end of the set, napoleon was summoned to the presence.
'i said, "who is frank zappa?" they told me he was the leader of the mothers. i said, "oh, right. he's the guy who has his picture taken sittin' on the toilet.'"
so frank told napoleon that he'd like him to join the mothers and leave the following week on a european tour. napoleon turned him down because he and his group had been booked into the nightclub for another seven weeks and told zappa to call him when he got back. he ended up joining the band, playing sax and singing backup on 'apostrophe' and graduating to lead singer of the touring band.
(writer unknown)

     from: deborah elder (delder@jsishipping.com)
napolean murphy brock was last seen, saturday night, april 24, 1999 playing a gig with the blackhawks at mariani's lounge in santa clara, ca.  great sax, great flute, great vocals - really fine all the way 'round.

     from: richard olson (rolson@debit-it.com)
on 10/30/99, at jannus landing in st petersburg, fl,  napoleon murphy brock will join bogus pomp for the 5th annual zappaween festival.  this is one show only.  repertoire will include much of the roxy and elsewhere and one size fits all tunes (among others) particularly stuff like inca roads, montana, cheepnis, idiot bastard son, son of orange county... et al. napi is in top form and this will be a great show.
for more info: http://www.bogusp.com/
rick olson
bogus pomp

     from: fhemmer209 (fhemmer209@aol.comspamnot)
     subject: zappaween v review and napoleon murphy brock interview
hi zappa fans! the following is the review as written by ward smith together with his interview with napi after the show. ward's reaction to the show is consistent with the numerous e-mails i have recieved about the show from those in attendance. i must say myself that napoleon surprised me with his contribution. not only was it his "voice" but just as much his enthusiasm and effort. and he didn't try to steal the show but rather stepped back and let bp do their thing while he enjoyed what they were doing. pictures will soon be available at http://www.bogusp.com/.

 zappaween wrap up
is there anyone who wasn't thoroughly blown away with bogus pomp and zappaween 5? the excitement that has been swirling the band ever since napoleon murphy brock confirmed his appearance, (a little more than 2 month ago) was extremely palpable even when i was parking my car.  this was going to be unlike any other zappaween.
a legendary special guest, great music, cold drinks, mirth, merriment, great costumes, fantastic weather and good people. it was all there.  twice the fun and far less vomit than guavaween, not to mention great parking. this zappaween was to be every bit as special as promised. the past shows that featured ike willis were awe inspiring and spectacular in their own right and served as a connection for more contemporary zappa music, but this show took us back to a time of pure musical inventiveness and napoleon was there at the right hand of frank. that history, experience and musical acumen oozed out of every pore of  brock's being and meshed so well with the band that you'd think it was bogus pomp on the original recordings. many zappaphiles have their preferred "zappa period".
the great thing about bogus pomp is that they consistently deliver from all areas of zappa's career and i'm willing to bet that the "roxy" period is thee favorite, hands down, among band members and fans. i know it is for jerry; there were many times throughout the evening where it was obvious that he was having the time of his life.  during several solos, i'd spot napoleon just off stage right, beaming with fatherly, or i should say, "motherly" pride. watching him pick his jaw off the floor more than once was validation that bogus pomp is for real.  if jerry and the band were having the time of their lives, i'm sure napoleon was reliving the times of his life with frank.
not only did i have a great view of the show, i had a great view of the most enthusiastic crowd ever to attend a bp gig. those now familiar faces, all sang along with tremendous zeal and the air guitar &  conducting techniques were exceptionally sharp. the second ingredient that always makes for a great show is the fact that, bp fans are always polite, giving and well behaved. they're always up for a great show and they always know they're getting a rare treat. they seem to put as much love and admiration into being fans as the band does for the shows. however, an idiot bastard son made an appearance during "the  idiot bastard son" and was escorted off the stage and then introduced to a vlsg (very large security guy).  i heard he spent the night the in the klink.  it ain't rock and roll unless there's at least one arrest right?
from my vantage point, the litmus test was "inca roads".  it was quite a moment when jerry offered "here's a song we've never played for you before".  just what, from zappa's voluminous cannon of material, was the song going to be? the collective wow that met the opening strains of this classic had everyone at jannus landing on the tips of their toes with eyebrows raised and ears cocked. what better place to debut this nugget and who better that napoleon to sing it.  judging from the reaction, the band passed with flying colors. i, for one thought this zappaween show stands out as a turning point in the life of bogus pomp.  a headline flashed through my mind "bogus pomp peaks during first set." talk about a show stopper. the ovation lasted for a whole five minutes.  no wonder jerry had to cut two songs  at the end of the night.
keyboardist and co-founder, rick olson put it this way: "those first zappa albums i bought featured napoleon.  one would think that over time, you'd never hear those songs live; forever on record.  but to hear those songs again, sung by the original vocalist and be able to play behind him too, it was such a cosmic thing that's really difficult to describe."
"difficult to describe" that's the stock answer i get from other members of the band.
a group of musicians that are never at a loss for words when it comes to playing zappa's music, are now rendered speechless from their own gig. i spoke with the "evil prince"  himself about zappaween and napoleon offered these comments.

 ws:     was there a little apprehension about performing with bogus pomp?

nmb:    "when i first got the invitation to play with bogus pomp, i didn't know what to expect. jerry told me all they play is frank's music and i'm thinking "sure you do."  i mean, when i was with frank, it was  perfection on demand; discipline, attention to detail, dedication. that's what it takes to play this stuff man. i didn't know if they shared the same level of commitment. that changed when jerry sent me a video of the last zappaween which contained a lot of the stuff from the roxy album and i thought, wow, these guys are for real!"  i started re-aquatinting myself with the material and after 20 years of not touching that music, it all came back with ease. i guess frank drilled it into me for a reason."

ws:     did the end result exceed you expectations?

nmb: "absolutely!  we had only about 8 hours of rehearsal time together but i knew these guys were totally in the groove. their desire and passion for the music was so infectious.  they made me feel so comfortable that i knew the show was going to be great."

ws:     at what point did it feel like 1974?

nmb:    around the end of the first set.  the memories were slowly coming back with every note.  when we played 'inca roads' i was so proud to be there, i loved it. that song alone is a benchmark for what bogus pomp have accomplished as a band. the entire second set was a time warp man.  those guys made it so easy for me to relax. they sensed that and in turn, relaxed themselves. we all were sharing the same mind. it was so synergistic that, well, it's really difficult to describe.

ws:     another highlight was 'cheapness'  after you guys ripped through that, you hit the deck.  that looked real.

nmb:    it was.  you see, the next song was 'song of orange county' which requires some real controlled breathing to get the phrases right.  i thought, maybe if i fake a coma, the band can take a little break. frank would give me at least a millisecond to catch my breath.  they were so pumped up and wanted to keep playing.  man, i love their spirit.

ws:     do you think frank would have hired bogus pomp?

nmb:    with out a doubt.  those guys are hungry and the level of musicianship is so superior. for frank to sign them on would be a slam dunk.

ws:     was there any disappointment?

nmb:    only when we said 'good night.'

ws:     will we see you at the millennium show with the florida orchestra?

mnb:   i'm already packed baby.

     from: fhemmer209 (fhemmer209@aol.comspamnot)
     subject: pictures of zappaween v including napoleon murphy brock
dan berg took these pictures and posted them to his "juggling" site. gives a good idea about napi's stage presence. http://www.ptlc.com/skytrix/images/zappaween5.htm

     from: computerized travel (lenora@computvl.com) - date: tue, 30 nov 1999
napolean m. brock is still playing with the nighthawks at mariani's in the san jose area on the 2nd and 4th weekends of the month and he's better than ever!

     from: fhemmer209 (fhemmer209@aol.comspamnot)
last night (august 5th 2000) napi and bogus pomp did the evil prince and it was spectacular. napi was in a cape and played the *bad dude* to the hilt. he sang the entire lead vocal part himself which is a challenge by itself, let alone singing it while prancing around the stage.  an awesome show! the persuasions were great too!

from www.ant-bee.com (june 2002)
    The legendary Napoleon Murphy Brock is back on the music scene again, much to the elation of his fans worldwide! Napoleon, who is best known for his work as lead vocals, sax, and flute with Frank Zappa and George Duke, has recently been performing around the country with Project Object. He will be performing in Europe this coming summer with the Grandmothers as well as appearing on their next album. Most recently, Napoleon unearthed some vintage recordings he made right after he left Frank Zappa's group in 1975, and before he joined George Duke's ensemble. 
    These records are a rare glimpse into the innovative artistry of Napoleon Murphy Brock, all of which showcase his incredible vocal talents. Hopefully to be featured on the recordings is keyboard extraordinaire George Duke. These recordings are now being considered for release on CD this year.


December 12, 2004, Dutch radio show "Mix Van Dat Alles" featured special guests George Duke and Napoleon Murphy Brock in the studio. Co de Kloet talked with them about their time with Zappa and about their musical colaboration.

-- info: Aad Hoogesteger


2007 05 31, the Zappanale newsletter said:

Neben Don Preston , Chad Wackerman  und Ike Willis steht nun auch Mr. Napoleon Murphy Brock auf der Zappanale-Bühne 2007.

In other words: Besides Don Preston , Chad Wackerman  and Ike Willis, we will also see Mr. Napoleon Murphy Brock on the Zappanale stage !!


2007 06 05

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Zappa Festival Adds Another Zappa Alum

Bad Doberan, Germany - June 1, 2007  Organizers of the Zappanale, the annual festival devoted to the late Frank Zappa, have announced that band alumnus Napoleon Murphy Brock will appear at this summer's 18 th annual gathering. Thomas Dippel, president of Arf-Society, the German not-for-profit organization behind the festival, said, "Napoleon Murphy Brock joining us is just one more reason why the Zappanale will be the world's premiere Zappa experience this summer. Fans will be able to see four Zappa alumni who have their own musical ventures and also choose to honor Frank's legacy with their presence." This year's festival headliner is renowned former Zappa drummer Chad Wackerman. Former Mother of Invention Don Preston will appear with his Akashic Ensemble, and long-time Zappa front-man Ike Willis will perform with his protégés Project/Object.

Napoleon Murphy Brock began his musical career at 5 years old, singing in his church's gospel choir. He started playing saxophone in high school, and was in every band and choir at his school. Frank Zappa discovered the talented musician in a Hawaiian nightclub, leading a top-40 cover band. Napoleon Murphy Brock impressed Zappa with his vocal abilities, musicianship, and stage presence, and Zappa invited him to join his band that night. Napoleon Murphy Brock insisted on honoring his band's commitment to the nightclub, but eventually joined Zappa, bringing his skills and style on vocals, saxophone, flute and keyboards. He starting touring with Zappa in 1972, and appears on the albums "Apostrophe (')", "Roxy & Elsewhere", "One Size Fits All", "Bongo Fury", "Zoot Allures", "Sleep Dirt", "Sheik Yerbouti", "Them Or Us", "Thing-Fish", and more.

After Zappa's death, Napoleon Murphy Brock promoted Zappa's musical legacy, performing with Zappa tribute bands Bogus Pomp, Project/Object, the Grand Mothers of Re:Invention, Ed Palermo's Big Band, the Paul Green School of Rock All-Stars, Zappa Plays Zappa, and others. He has also played and recorded with fellow Zappa alum George Duke, with his own band the Nighthawks, and performed with the San Francisco Opera . In 2003, he released his solo album "Balls".

Napoleon Murphy Brock will also attend the historic dedication of "Frank Zappa Strasse" in Berlin July 28, the week before Zappanale. Scott Tepper of Vacation Vibrations is running a Zappa-themed tour to the street-naming and the Zappanale, and comments, "Zappa fans also love the musicians who were in Frank's bands and who honor Frank's memory. They support their musical explorations, and honor them as living connections to the grand Zappa 'conceptual continuity'. Seeing Napoleon Murphy Brock at the street naming, and experiencing him, Chad Wackerman, Don Preston, and Ike Willis at the Zappanale will be a treat that Zappa fans will always remember."

 

Thomas Dippel
President/Public relations
Arf-Society e.V.
Am Markt 3
18209 BAD DOBERAN
Germany

www.arf-society.de 
www.zappanale.de 

Scott A. Tepper
Tour Operator
Vacation Vibrations
321 Walnut Street, #250 
Newtonville, MA 02460 
USA

www.freewebs.com/fartheroblivion


Opening night of Zappanale 19 in downtown Bad Doberan. Napoleon Murphy Brock talking to some Zappa fans from Spain !!
pictures by Wim Hoogland.


August 2009 - Der Spiegel online

"Frank hat nicht viel anbrennen lassen"

Scharfe Groupies, keine Noten und statt Drogen extrastarken Kaffee: Bei Frank Zappas "Mothers Of Invention" galten eigene Regeln. Im Interview erzählt Ex-Mothers-Sänger Napoleon Murphy Brock, wie Zappa Musiker triezte, warum er Deutschland liebte und weshalb die Witwe und Fans im Clinch liegen.

Es war ein tropisch heißer Abend auf Hawaii im Jahre 1971, als Rocklegende Frank Zappa ein Anruf seines Managers erreichte. "Hey Frank, zieh dich an, ich habe einen neuen Sänger für dich gefunden!"
Unerkannt stand der Star wenig später brav in der Warteschlange vor dem Nachtclub des Coral Reef Hotels in Honolulu und wartete auf Einlass zum Gig einer Gruppe namens Communication PL. Der Laden war rappelvoll, die Stimmung kochte. Zappa hörte eine Weile zu, dann stand sein Entschluss fest: Der lockenköpfige Frontmann mit der umwerfenden Bühnenpräsenz sollte Sänger von Zappas neuer Formation Mothers Of Invention werden.
Sein Name: Napoleon Murphy Brock.
Der Abend auf Hawaii war der Beginn einer langjährigen Zusammenarbeit zwischen dem Saxophonisten, Flötisten, Sänger und Comedian Brock und dem Musikgenie Zappa. Nach dessen frühem Krebstod 1993 mit nur 53 Jahren versucht Brock, ein schwarzer US-Amerikaner mit amerikanisch-indianischen und deutschen Ahnen, das musikalische Erbe Zappas weiterzutragen - im Clinch mit Zappas prozessfreudiger Witwe Gail.

einestages: Mister Brock, wie war das, als Ihnen eines abends Frank Zappa vorgestellt wurde?

Brock: Ich wusste anfangs gar nicht, wer er war. Erst später begriff ich, dass ich gerade mit dem Zappa sprach, mit dem damals die besten Rock- und Jazzmusiker der Welt spielten. Aber was wollte der von mir?

einestages: Das fragen wir Sie.

Brock: Er sagte, dass er ab sofort einen Job für mich hat. Ich sollte mit den Mothers Of Invention auf Welttournee gehen.

einestages: Da kann man wohl kaum nein sagen.

Brock: Ich hatte dem Club-Manager vom Coral Reef Hotel in Hawaii zugesagt, einige Wochen dort zu spielen. Ich halte gerne mein Wort. Deshalb habe ich Zappa gesagt, dass ich mich über das Angebot freue, aber leider erst meine Verpflichtungen hier erfüllen muss.

einestages: Wie bitte? Immerhin spielten in seiner Band damals legendäre Musiker wie George Duke oder der Jazz-Geiger Jean-Luc Ponty. Wie fand der große Meister die Absage?

Brock: Na ja, nicht so lustig, aber ich glaube, er respektierte meine Gründe. Er sagte mir, dass er mich nach seiner Europa-Tournee anrufen werde.

einestages: Und tat er das?

Brock: Ich hing Anfang 1972 ohne Job in Kalifornien rum. Da kam sein Anruf: Er sei gerade gelandet und ich solle vorbeikommen. Das hat mir imponiert und ich habe zugesagt. Ich ahnte nicht, was auf mich zukam. Zappas Musik zu spielen ist wie eine exotische Sprache zu lernen. Ich war an einfache Sachen wie Rock, Blues, Soul, Jazz gewöhnt. Als mir Zappa dann die ersten Notenblätter hinlegte, bekam ich einen Schreck.

einestages: Aber Sie sind doch auch Vollblutmusiker!

Brock: Zappas Kompositionen sind verdammt komplex - ständig wechseln die Harmonien, die Tempiwechsel sind total überraschend. Nichts davon war mir damals vertraut. Ich habe noch nie so geackert wie damals, als mir Frank die Noten in die Hand drückte und sagte: "Das spielen wir. Nächste Woche ist Probe." Ich habe mich mit meinem Saxophon verkrochen und Tag und Nacht geübt. Frank duldete keinerlei Kompromisse, er war ein totaler Perfektionist und Noten auf der Bühne waren verboten. Ich bin fast verzweifelt. Bis es dann diesen Kick gab und ich anfing, Zappas Musikuniversum zu verstehen.

einestages: Zappa hat ja mal gesagt, er habe Rockmusiker werden müssen, da niemand seine ernsten Sachen gespielt habe. Seine großen Vorbilder waren aber Klassikkomponisten wie Edgar Varèse, Pierre Boulez oder IgorStrawinski.

Brock: Da ist etwas dran. Sein kompositorisches Werk ist ja noch gar nicht ausgewertet. Wir wissen, dass in seinem Privathaus in North Hollywood mit dem legendären Studio im Keller noch viele Partituren und Werke sind, die er auf Synclavier eingespielt hat. Das Synclavier ist ein frühes elektronisches Keyboard. Zappa hat seine Musik an dieser Tastatur eingespielt und abgespeichert - es war für ihn eine einfache Methode, Kompositionen zu konservieren. Als bei Frank 1990 Prostatakrebs diagnostiziert wurde, ahnte er, dass seine Krankheit ihm nicht mehr viel Zeit lassen würde. Also hat er musikalisch nur noch die Dinge gemacht, die ihm Spaß machten.

einestages: So ähnlich war es bei Johann Sebastian Bach. Der stellte vor seinem Tod 1750 die Auftragsarbeiten für die Leipziger Thomaskirche zurück, um Kompositionen wie das "Musikalische Opfer" zu vollenden. War Zappa so etwas wie ein Bach der Rockmusik?

Brock: Solche Vergleiche hinken immer. Aber eines ist sicher: Zappa hat in seinen letzten Jahren bis zu seinem Tod 1993 gewaltige Dinge geschaffen. Ich kann es nicht kompetent beurteilen, da ich in dieser Zeit andere Wege ging. Aber ich weiß, wie stark er an der Verwirklichung seiner Ideen gearbeitet hat.

einestages: Auch politisch.

Brock: Absolut. Er hat sich im Streit um Urheberrechte von Musikern und Komponisten schon früher auch im US-Senat bei Anhörungen engagiert. Und auf fast jeder seiner LPs stand auf dem Innencover die Aufforderung: "Register to vote" - gehe wählen. Zappa war ein politischer Kopf.

einestages: Als er 1968 in Berlin ein Konzert im Sportpalast gab, forderten Vertreter der legendären Kommune K1 von Zappa, eine Solidaritätserklärung mit dem inhaftierten Kommunarden Fritz Teufel zu verlesen. Er lehnte ab. Der Konzertveranstalter und wichtigste Zappa-Förderer Fritz Rau befürchtete, dass die Zuhörer die Bühne stürmen würden und hat während des Konzerts das Equipment gesichert. Schließlich spielte Zappa alleine auf der Gitarre.

Brock: Das klingt sehr nach Zappa. Ich habe ihn als jemanden erlebt, der sich von niemandem vereinnahmen ließ. Und er hatte damals schon sehr kräftige Bodyguards. Mit denen war nicht zu spaßen.

einestages: Sie haben mit Zappa und den Mothers zwischen 1972 und 1976 überall in der Welt auf der Bühne gestanden. Was war an dieser Zeit das Wichtigste für Sie?

Brock: "Music is best" - das war und ist das treffendste Motto für das Zappa-Reich. Aber wir waren auch ein Teil der politischen Studentenbewegung Anfang der siebziger Jahre, der Proteste gegen den Vietnam-Krieg, von Flower Power in San Francisco und von freiem Sex für alle.

einestages: Apropos, Zappa wusste sich nach seinen Auftritt durchaus zu entspannen. Rosemarie Heinikel alias Rosy Rosy, neben Uschi Obermeier eine der attraktivsten Kommunardinnen der Hippie-Ära, schildert in ihrer Autobiografie auch eine Nacht mit Zappa nach einem Konzert in München.

Brock: Frank hat nicht viel anbrennen lassen, natürlich gab es andere Frauen. Aber große Künstler brauchen ihre Musen. Sie sind verewigt in ihren Werken.

einestages: Der Song "Jewish Princess" auf der LP "Sheik Yerbouti", hat die Textzeile: "I want a little jewish princess ... with titanic tits". Damit hat sich Zappa sogar die Klage einer jüdischen Organisation in den USA eingehandelt.

Brock: Die allerdings abgewiesen wurde. Auch Tipper Gore, die Ehefrau des US-Senators und späteren amerikanischen Vizepräsidenten Al Gore, ist 1985 wegen anstößiger Texte gegen Frank vorgegangen. Und schon 1965 saß er an der Westküste zehn Tage im Gefängnis, weil er für einen Typen mit seiner damaligen Freundin Stöhngeräusche auf Tonband aufgenommen hatte. Das Urteil lautete sechs Monate Haft wegen "Verschwörung zur Pornografie".

einestages: Damit war es dann vorbei, als er seine Ehefrau, die Diplomatentochter Gail Sloatman, kennenlernte und 1967 heiratete.

Brock: Frank war ein Familienmensch. Wenn er zwischen den Tourneen in L.A. war, dann stand die Familie ganz oben. Er hatte schließlich vier Kinder mit Gail, um die er sich intensiv kümmerte, wenn er konnte. Sein Sohn Dweezil ist ein begabter Gitarrist, mit dem ich 2006 und 2007 auf US-Tournee war. Sein jüngster Sohn Ahmet ist TV-Moderator und Kinderbuchautor. Ahmet musste damals im Hause Zappa immer den extrastarken schwarzen Kaffee kochen, den Papa für eine Nachtsitzungen mit ins Studio nahm.

einestages: Schwarzer Kaffee war Zappas einzige Droge?

Brock: Absolut. Er duldete auf der Bühne keinerlei Drogen. Nicht einmal einen Joint, geschweige denn härtere Sachen.

einestages: Zappa gab seit 1968 häufig Konzerte in Deutschland.

Brock: Frank liebte Deutschland. Er schätze die perfekte Organisation, das gute Essen - und vielleicht auch das eine oder andere Groupie. Wir hatten hier immer eine Menge Spaß.

einestages: Zappas Witwe prozessiert heute gegen jeden, der ihrer Meinung nach Zappas Erbe ausschlachtet. Sogar der legendäre Schnauzbart ist über das US-Markenrecht geschützt.

Brock: Als Künstler halte ich mich da raus. Aber Gail Zappa sollte erkennen, dass Musikenthusiasten wie etwa die Initiatoren der deutschen Zappanale das nicht machen, um Millionäre zu werden. Solche Zappa-Freunde sorgen dafür, dass sein famoses Werk nicht in Vergessenheit gerät. Wer Unsinn macht und mit dem Zappa-Logo für T-Shirts oder Klodeckel wirbt, kann ruhig abgemahnt werden. Aber wer seine Musik ernsthaft aufführt, sollte die Unterstützung der Witwe bekommen. Sie verdient ja schließlich durch die Aufführungsgebühren daran. Und ihr Mann hat sich selber bei allen möglichen Musikern Anregungen geholt - dass ausgerechnet sie gegen angebliche Plagiate vorgeht, entbehrt nicht einer gewissen Ironie. Aber ich habe noch nicht die Hoffung aufgegeben, dass sie sich endlich um das künstlerische Erbe ihres Mannes kümmert, anstatt in Kleinkriegen die Gemeinde der weltweiten Zappaisten zu bekämpfen.

einestages: Sie werden also auch 2009 wieder gemeinsam mit einer Nachwuchsband auf der zu Ehren des Künstlers Zappa ins Leben gerufenen Zappanale in Bad Doberan spielen?

Brock: Ja. Es gibt inzwischen eine ganze Zappa-Schule; junge Leute, die Franks Musik schätzen und auch in der Lage sind, sie zu spielen. Wir werden ab dem 11. August in Bad Doberan zusammen mit 19 anderen Bands auftreten. Ich bin gerne dort. Besonders gefällt mir die historische Dampfeisenbahn, die nach Heiligendamm fährt. Sie heißt Molli. Frank hätte einen Song über sie gemacht.

 

Das Interview führte Sebastian Knauer


2009/08

ATTENTION: ALL ZAPPA FANS!

An historical CD will be released in December 2009 entitled “This is What Frank Zappa Heard - Just in Case You Were Wondering - Live at the Red Noodle in Waikiki, Hawaii”.

     On August 8th, 1973, Frank Zappa was alerted by his road manager, Marty Perellis, that an incredible band with an extraordinary lead singer was performing downtown to a standing room only audience … and that it might be wise that he come and see this for himself.

     When Zappa went to the club and watched the show, he saw a young talent sing, dance, play sax, flute and keyboards, in a manner that clearly made it appear that he was having more fun than even the other patrons in the club.

     After two hours of observing and listening to this young man and his very disciplined band of musicians, he introduced himself as Frank Zappa, and the young man introduced himself as Napoleon Murphy Brock. The next words out of Zappa’s mouth were, “You are my new lead vocalist.” (Check napoleonmbrock.com – INTERVIEWS - for more details of these conversations.)

     The rest is history, as these releases attest to:

 

APOSTROPHE

ROXY & ELSEWHERE

ONE SIZE FITS ALL

BONGO FURY

YOU CAN’T DO THAT ON STAGE ANYMORE – LIVE IN HELSINKI FINLAND

THE DUB ROOM SPECIAL (DVD)

A TOKEN OF HIS EXTREME (DVD)

SHEIK YERBOUTI (All Background Parts)

THE EVIL PRINCE (From “THINGFISH)

Grammy Award Winning Performance ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA (DVD-2006)

PLEDGE FORM FOR PRE-ORDERING
“THIS IS WHAT FRANK ZAPPA HEARD – JUST IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING”

PLEASE SEND NO MONEY: This is a form for pre-ordering this historic CD. IF YOU PRE-ORDER, THERE WILL BE NO SHIPPING CHARGE. (The CD will be autographed upon request.)

This was taped on TEAC 4 Track Reel to Reel on August 8th, 1973 and will be released in December 2009. This CD performance has been digitally enhanced will put you at the next table to where Frank was sitting, and you will experience what Frank Zappa experienced and what later was described as “the audition of a lifetime”.

Just fill out the form below, and mail - or e-mail it - to the following address:   nmubrock@pacbell.net   or   napoleonmbrock.com

Or: Napoleon Murphy Brock, P.O. Box 817, San Jose, California 90187

NAME __________________________________Number of CDs  @ 15 Euros each ________

STREET ADDRESS / CITY/STATE or COUNTRY   E-MAIL ADDRESS

 


2009 10 12

Zappa Vocal Legend Napoleon Murphy Brock To Release Vintage Live Recordings

10/12/2009 - San Jose, CA - Zappa vocal legend and 2008 Grammy Award recipient Napoleon Murphy Brock plans to release a CD of vintage live recordings in December 2009 entitled 'This is What Frank Zappa Heard - Just in Case You Were Wondering - Live at the Red Noodle in Waikiki, Hawaii'. Fans worldwide have heard Napoleon's extraordinairy vocals, sax and flute on such beloved Zappa albums as 'Roxy & Elsewhere', 'One Size Fits All', 'Bongo Fury' and 'Thing Fish', not to mention his work with keyboardist, and fellow Zappa alumni George Duke, as well as the recent incarnation of the Grande Mothers Re-invented.

On August 8th, 1973, Frank Zappa was alerted by his road manager, Marty Perellis, that an incredible band with an extraordinary lead singer was performing downtown to a standing room only audience ... and that it might be wise that he come and see this for himself. When Zappa went to the club and watched the show, he saw a young talent sing, dance, play sax, flute and key boards, in a manner that clearly made it appear that he was having more fun than even the other patrons in the club. After two hours of observing and listening to this young man and his very disciplined band of musicians, he introduced himself as Frank Zappa, and the young man introduced himself as Napoleon Murphy Brock. The next words out of Zappa´s mouth were, "You are my new lead vocalist."

"As I understand it, he had just finished touring Australia, and they were getting ready to go to Europe a week or two after that," recalls Napoleon to Andrew Greenaway. "And he was taking a little break. He stopped off in Hawaii for a week or so. And his road manager, Marty Perellis, set Frank up in a hotel and then went out walking around in Hawaii probably to see if he could get lucky or something! If you want a good time, what better place to do it than in Hawaii? Hawaii is literally paradise. And he came to a show of mine outside a nightclub at the Coral Reef hotel and got curious as to why there was a line of people waiting to get into a place on a Wednesday night. He didn't recognize the name of the band, so he thought he'd get in line and come in and see why everybody was queuing up. The reason that people would line up in front of the 'Red Noodle' every night is because the club owners always hired us, and brought us to play and perform for the local people of Hawaii. The locals would get off of work between 10 pm and 11 pm. They had until 12 midnight to get in the club, after which time the tourists would be let in until the club capacity was met. We played 7 nights a week, from 10 pm until 4 am".

The band's name was "Communication Plus - music that 'communicates' to the listener and dancer, 'plus' music you can feel," explained Napoleon. "Anyway, Marty came into the club and saw us playing didn't recognise us, because no one knew about us except the club owners that hired us and the people who came to see us. He ran back to the hotel, woke Frank up and said, 'Hey, get your clothes on, I just found your new lead vocalist'. Frank got up, came by to the hotel, stood in line like anybody else and once he got in he sat at the back of the room there weren't any seats. We were quite popular there, because we were a band from the mainland. In Hawaii, a band from the mainland if you play halfway decent music you're like a star, you have star status over there. And also the music in Hawaii is like a month behind". Napoleon joined Zappa's group in October 1973 and remained until 1976 recording some of Zappa's most notable albums.

This historic performance was taped on TEAC 4 Track Reel to Reel on August 8th, 1973 and has been digitally enhanced, and the final mix done in stereo surround sound in Hamburg, Germany. It will put you at the next table to where Frank was sitting, and you will experience what Frank Zappa experienced and what later was described as "the audition of a lifetime". Some of the songs covered include Nilsson's "Coconut", Carol King's "So Far Away", James Brown's "Make It Funky" and Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage" to name a few. 'This is What Frank Zappa Heard - Just in Case You Were Wondering - Live at the Red Noodle in Waikiki, Hawaii' is currently available for pre-order from Napoleon's official website. He will also autograph copies on request.

In other news, Napoleon will be performing in concert with keyboard legend and fellow Zappa alumni George Duke on October 31, 2009 at the Amsterdam Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. The ensemble will be backed by the Metropole Orchestra. All the music performed at the concert with the Metropole Orch will be original compositions written by George Duke and Napoleon Murphy Brock only. For more information on the concert go to: www.amsterdamjf.nl

For more information on Napoleon Murphy Brock visit his offical website: www.napoleonmbrock.com


 

 


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