Sunday, September 22, 2013

Interview with Don Preston

The Grandmothers of Invention will appear at the Sellersville Theater September 29, and I had the pleasure of writing a preview, based on a phone interview with Don Preston. He spoke to me from his home in LA, and evidently and evidently had just gotten out of bed. You can read the article here.

Preston played keyboards for Frank Zappa in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He appears on Uncle Meat and 200 Motels, among other recordings. His last gig with Frank, he said, was the set that produced Mothers at the Roxy and Elsewhere.

The Grandmothers has five members, only two of whom played with Frank. Besides, Don, there is Napoleon Murphy Brock, who also played on Roxy. The other three are relative newcomers, and two of them — guitarist Max Kutner and bassist Dave Johnsen — are quite young.

Don said they will perform the complete One Size Fits All album. We discussed, briefly, the difficulty of Frank's music, which, of course, as with Carter, is not the point. The difficulty arises from the desire to say something other than what is commonly being said (nor it is the only possible response to such a desire), but it strikes me that Frank didn't care for rock musicians. When he put his bands together, he tended to hire instrumentalists who were either classically trained or had a background in jazz. (The original Mothers were the exception, since they played together as the Soul Giants before Frank joined and took over the group.) He and Don Preston originally bonded over Stockhausen, and it was only later than Don came to appreciate the pop and doo wop elements in Frank's work.

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