the big nOte files - 2003/05/11

in short:
- an interview with candy zappa
- daniel carter & andré cholmondeley music download;
- an interview with doctor dark's stephen chillemi on playing beefheart on the next zappanale festival;
- may 24, 2003, the grandmothers will be performing at the avalon ballroom in san francisco;
- short bits 
- new frank zappa bootleg: "moustache over madison";
- zappanale 14: the flyer


CANDY ZAPPA interview * CANDY ZAPPA interview * CANDY ZAPPA interview

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to ask Candy Zappa a couple of questions regarding her book, "My brother Was a Mother: A Zappa Family Album". Candy was kind enough to not just answer the questions, but to elaborate a bit as well.

Hello Candy.  I just finished reading your book, "My brother Was a Mother: A Zappa Family Album", in which the reader gets the little sister perspective of having Frank Zappa as an older brother.  I like it.  It's funny and has a lot of great pictures in it.

Why did you write the book?  Was it something that you had in your head and that you wanted to tell? Or were you contacted by a publisher to write a book about your older brother?  I can imagine that you have been asked the "what was it like?" question a lot of times.
Candy Zappa: Why did I write the book?  Your ending sentence said it all, I was asked so many times what was it like growing up with Frank, so I decided to answer all the questions that I could.  No one contacted me, I had thought of doing something like this for a long time.  so in 1996 I decided to write a screenplay (which I still have and plan on doing something with it too!) and after the two other people I worked with on it and I parted ways, it was suggested I do the book.  So I put the screenplay on hold and started to write the book and I've been doing it since 1997-98.  I had thought it was finished but you know how you go back to it, write more, take stuff out, add some other things,etc. So it finally got done this last year, 2002, and went to print January 2003.  And besides, mom had all of these wonderful, never before seen, pictures of Frank and the rest of our family, I couldn't see them going to waste!  They became a major part of the book. (bear with me please, I'm going to go into this chronologically!) then in January of 1997, I met Nigey Lennon, after having read her fantastic book "Being Frank: My Time With Frank Zappa" and I was so intrigued that I called her and had her and her then husband, Lionel Rolfe, out to dinner.  I was delighted when I met her.  We clicked immediately. I found her to be a wealth of information, inspiration, humor, razor wit and a good true friend.  There were so many questions I had to ask her about Frank because I wasn't really permitted into Frank's world after he became famous and really busy. (for reasons I state in my book) Anything I wanted to know, things as mundane as what he liked to eat, what he thought of this or that, Nigey could answer because she was there.  Then she heard a tape of mine with me singing and asked me if I would like to record on her CD "Reinventing the Wheel".  And the rest is history.
How has the response to your book been and what's the funniest reaction you got, so far?  Is the book getting any attention from the press?  I don't think that it's easy to promote a book about the Zappa family.  Can one find it in an average book store?  Or should one look for it in a specialised music store?
Candy Zappa: The reviews of my book are starting to come in.  Mostly positive.  I believe it's available online in America and Europe via and very soon in other major book stores like Borders, Barnes and Noble (Nigey and I did a book signing there on April 11 in NYC) As Nigey put it when I was in New York earlier this month, and we did a phone interview for a paper in Pennsylvania, to paraphrase her "I hate to say it but Frank's music brought out negative things in some people" and basically that the hard core fans that wanted to be in Frank's world couldn't be and anyone that was, they were jealous of.  Now you have 2 WOMEN that were close to him, a lover/fellow musician and his sister, oh my God, how dare they actually have things to say about Frank that they weren't privileged to be there as we were, that we could know Frank because we were there.  Nigey took a verbal beating for telling the world that she actually went to bed with Frank. (and obviously she wasn't the only one)   When we met, she asked me if I felt weird reading about my brother having sex with her and I told her no, I was glad he had someone he cared about and that cared about him.  For all of the doubters, Nigey was there and I grew up with him. End of story.
About you and Frank's music. We can hear you on the excellent Nigey Lennon album "Reinventing the wheel", but in the meantime, you have also performed Frank's music with the Ed Palermo big band, and not only in New York, but also at the Zappanale festival in Germany, last year.  How did that come about?
Candy Zappa: Nigey was instrumental in getting me to New York to sing with Ed Palermo's band.  It was an experience that I will never forget.  I loved them all, those heavy duty players, musicians of extreme talent and character, and of course Eddie, the biggest character!  They were all skeptical and I expected that.  Sure, I was Frank's sister, but what could I do?  After I got up there and showed them what I had worked so long to do, the thing Frank himself told me to do (get to work!) and that was to sing,  I believe I earned their respect and they had mine for sure.  I grew up with Frank's records, listening, singing along with them, getting into their meaning.  Frank told me I sang well and coming from Frank, I could take that to the bank.  He didn't bullshit anyone.  He told it straight.

Nigey was also instrumental in getting me and Ed Palermo's band into the Zappanale.  In fact we both pushed for Ed's band to get there.  It was on the strength of Nigey's CD that she was contacted and the rest happened.  I look back on the Zappanale as once in a lifetime experience that was both exciting and exhausting!  Traveling to Europe is not for the faint of heart. I am grateful to have been able to go and to have met the Arf Society, Mr. Kutz and his gracious hospitality, the wonderful people of Bad Doberan,Germany, and be a part of the dedication of Frank's bust in their lovely city.  My brother Bob and his long time friend, Bill Harris, also went and I know they both enjoyed themselves.

picture at the right, by Bill Lantz.
borrowed from his photo album.


Well, I can only talk for the audience, but we sure enjoyed ourselves as well.
Musically speaking, what have you been up to lately?  And what are your future plans?
Candy Zappa: Musically, my partner Nolan Porter, who ironically did a couple of albums in the early 70's ("Nolan", & "Nolan, No Apologies") with 3 of the original Mothers, after Frank broke up the original band, (they were Jimmy Carl Black, Roy Estrada and Lowell George) and I have done 2 shows.  Our shows are called "Legacy" and this year we will do show #3 and it's now being called "Once A Legacy..." .  They are shows that feature musical legends of the past and present that left their legacy of music and talent to us to enjoy forever and as long as there are recordings and people to perform the songs, they're there.  We're weaving a story as their music played an important part in our lives, that went along near parallel lines and then how we met.  Also on May 24th, 2003, I am doing a book signing at Borders Book Store in Westwood, California at 5pm and there will also be music.  Nolan and I will have a small group of musicians to perform some of Frank's tunes and I've also invited Ike Willis to join us.  While I was in New York this April, I also did a couple of songs with a band that Ike also works with, Project Object.  Andre Cholmondeley has had the Zappa cover band for over 10 years and they are excellent.
It's good to find out that you are keeping your brother's music alive.  Thank you, Candy.  And also for taking your time to answer these questions.  And good luck with the book and your musical adventures.

Take note:
4 Candy Zappa book signing at Borders Book Store in Westwood, California
 at 5pm + music !!

take a look at the flyer

Candy Zappa's book "My brother was a mother" is available online in America and Europe via and very soon in other major book stores like Borders, Barnes and Noble



earlier this year, january 24 to be exact, daniel carter (sax, trumpet and flute) and project/object guitarist andré cholmondeley did a jam session at a radio station.
the result can be downloaded at:

  1. troubled times (excerpt I)

  2. troubled times (excerpt II)

  3. troubled times (excerpt III)

  4. troubled times (excerpt ufo)

  5. benediction

i know that i told you this before, but this time i've listened to it  :-)
experimental, improvised music.  but it sounds very relaxed. i like it.  check it out.



doctor dark will be playing at the next Zappanale festival.  A fine occasion to ask the doctor dark drummer, Stephen Chillemi, a couple of questions.
(the pictures are borrowed from

Hello Stephen,
Doctor Dark has been mentioned in the big nOte newsletter a couple of times already. We know that you're based in the states somewhere, that you play Beefheart material and that you're scheduled at the next Zappanale. That sounds like I have to ask you some questions. How did Doctor Dark come about?

We are based in New Haven, Connecticut.
Doctor Dark came about when Bill Saunders approached me, Ed Flynn, Larry Apuzzo, and Joe Nolan to do a Captain Beefheart set at the new haven ideat village festival in june of 2002.
Since that festival, spearheaded by Bill Saunders and myself, the band continued and the name was changed from Old Farts At Play to Doctor Dark.
Ed Flynn was replaced by Travis Moody, and Larry Apuzzo more recently was replaced by Bob Demarchi. 

You 've already done a couple of concerts. How hard is it to play Beefheart and what is your goal in playing Beefheart?

Captain Beefheart music is challenging enough to keep us in high communication with each other. The goal of the band is to have fun keeping Don Van Vliet's music alive.

Do you want to play it as accurately as possible, or do you believe in a free, jazzy approach? And how did the choice in the pieces that you play come along?

Our band tries to keep it as accurate as possible to relay the truest CB feel as possible. The choices started with our favorite songs and branched out to other compositions brought in by individual band members.

Doctor Dark is (L-R) Travis Moody,

Steve Chillemi, Bill Saunders,

Bob Demarchi and Joe Nolan


You're scheduled at the next Zappanale. You went to the latest Zappanale, and if I'm not mistaken, you were quite impressed with the bands that played there. How do you feel, now that you know that you'll be on the same stage in a couple of months? And how did you get Jimmy Carl Black to perform with you?

I am grateful and honored to be among the musicians playing on the Zappanale 2003 stage. Regarding Jimmy Carl Black, I sent him a cd and he liked it; we started e-mailing each other;
then Jim Cohen made it happen!

Are you just coming over to do Zappanale, or are you trying to get other gigs in yurrip around that period?

We are obviously coming to play at Zappanale, but we would be happy to get gigs in Europe, also.

Do you have any idea what you want to accomplish with Doctor Dark? Do you want to tour or are you satisfied with an occasional concert? 

The band strives to perform Don Van Vliet's music with perfection of style to bring his music to a wider world audience. We would like to tour and play as many concerts as possible anywhere.

Is the Beefheart material a step towards performing your own, original compositions, or how do you feel about that?

The Captain Beefheart compositions are the heart of this band. Personal compositions are on the back burner. Joe Nolan and Travis Moody have side projects, but for Doctor Dark, Captain Beefheart material is central.

Thank you, Stephen, for answering my questions & I’ll be seeing you at the Zappanale festival!

Thanks for asking.

contact Stephen at:

check out the doctor dark site at:



the press release says:

Saturday, May 24th - AT THE AVALON BALLROOM - San Francisco, CA

(Warner Bros. Recording Artists) featuring former members of the Mothers of Invention
make their West Coast debut

  • Napoleon Murphy Brock(1974 - 1984 with FZ) - vocals, tenor  saxophone, flute,  suavenicity, dancing(!)

  • Roy Estrada  (1964 - 1984 with FZ) - bass, Pachuco Falsettos and operatic madness

  • Bunk Gardner(1966 - 1970 with FZ) - tenor and  soprano  saxophones,  flute, alto flute,  vocals

  • Don Preston(1966 - 1974 with FZ) - piano, keyboard  synthesizers, electronics, vocals

  • Ken Rosser - stunt guitar, regular guitar, loud guitar, vocals

  • Christopher Garcia - drumset, percussion, marimba, vocals

For the first time ex-mothers of invention, Don Preston and Bunk Gardner join forces with an original Mother of Invention, Roy Estrada,  and the dynamic Napoleon Murphy Brock to bring you the music of Frank Zappa along with their original compositions.

Now for the first time, long time fans, (and newer converts)can see and hear the musicians they have come to love strictly through CD, DVD  and video, LIVE AND IN PERSON

The NEW GRANDMOTHERS recently premiered at the Strings of Fire Festival in Liepzig, Germany with a string orchestra to an SRO crowd at the Gewandhaus, performing original compositions by Don Preston and classic Zappa material.
 (Released May 5, 2003 by Warner Bros.)
There were 60 print media journalists as well as camera crews and broadcast media in attendance.
The RAVE  Reviews are still coming in.

Visit their website for photos and additional information



- 2003/06/09, belgian radio will feature an interview with peter vermeersch en claude coppens about the release of "the purple cucumber", the zappa tribute album: radio show 'cucamonga' on belgian radio 1.
- pres (from uncle meat) sent me a picture to put on the uncle meat page.  for those of you who don't know: uncle meat is a detroit based band that plays the music of frank zappa.
- a new jeff buckley box, presenting the grace eps, features gary lucas
- next time: the jeff beck album "shapes of things", with gto material
- next time: the new beefheart album: railroadism
- next time: russian ensemble 4'33" recorded and released 'variations on frank zappa's theme' (frank zappa)



  • frank zappa: moustache over madison
       (2003, 2cd-bootleg, ger, moustache's magic music mmm 03-20/21)
    • another new zappa bootleg.  this one has the complete 1984/08/11 concert from (you guessed it right) madison, wisconsin, usa.  the sound is excellent and the concert was very good as well.
      total playing time: 120 minutes
fz_boot_moustache.jpg (21367 bytes)



click here for the flyer

music is the best, peace,

-- peter van laarhoven