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STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Grandmothers of Invention 2012 Tour

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This week, let's take a look at some videos of the GrandMothers of Invention, who will be in St. Louis to perform next Saturday, August 4 at the Old Rock House.

As their name, evoking Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, suggests, the GrandMothers are a tribute band performing Zappa's music. The group includes three former Mothers - Napoleon Murphy Brock (tenor sax, flute, vocals), Don Preston (keyboards, vocals) and Tom Fowler (bass) - along with Robbie “Seahag" Mangano (guitar, vocals) and Christopher Garcia (drums, vocals).

(Confusingly, the name “Grandmothers" also was used at one time by a band including former Zappa sidemen Jimmy Carl Black and Bunk Gardner. The current GrandMothers - the ones playing at the Old Rock House - have been together since 2002, albeit with some personnel changes, the most recent being the addition of Fowler after former bassist Roy Estrada went back to prison in California earlier this year. Adding to the confusion is that the GrandMothers of Invention at various times also have been billed as the Grande Mothers, the Grande Mothers Reinvented, the Grande Mothers Re: Invented, and several other variations on the theme.)

In any event, today we have for you some performance clips of the present-day GrandMothers of Invention, all shot during tour dates earlier this year. Note that all these clips were recorded by audience members, and so while the audio and video quality mostly are good enough, there are the sorts of variations you'd expect from material shot on the fly by non-pros using hand-held, consumer-level gear.

Up above is an extended medley, recorded in February in Verviers, Belgium, that runs through “Holiday in Berlin," “Aybe Sea" and “Little House I Used To Live In," then transitions into a couple of verses from the slow blues tunes “Merry Christmas, Baby" and “I Got News For You," and then jumps abruptly back into the end of “Little House."

Down below, the next four clips all were shot at various tour stops in May of this year. First, there's the familiar medley of “Oh No," “Orange County Lumber Truck," and “More Trouble Coming Every Day" made famous via the version on Zappa's Roxy and Elsewhere album. It was recorded at the Boulder Theatre in Boulder, CO, as was the following clip of “BeBop Tango (Of the Old Jazzman's Church)."

Then, there's a medley of “Pygmy Twylyte" and “Dummy Up," with a brief hip-hop interpolation of Grandmaster Flash's “The Message," recorded in Wilmington, DE. That's followed by another favorite combination from Roxy and Elsewhere, “Village of the Sun" and “Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?" recorded at Iridium in NYC. The final clip, recorded in February in Vienna, is a version of Zappa's memorable ode to the cultivation of dental floss, “Montana."










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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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