Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Zappa interview

As part of this concert at the Globe, I recently did an interview with Dan Condon for Timeoff Magazine. He asked me the following:

1. Last time we spoke you hadn't yet performed this Zappa show; how do you feel it has gone down?

There really has been an overwhelming response – the Zappa Big Band debuted in late January at a sold-out Brisbane Jazz Club where we were forced to turn around 70 patrons at the door, who were unable to squeeze into the packed venue. It was a really interesting audience – a mixture of people who were there for the jazz, but also a heap of Zappa fanatics (many with Zappa t-shirts on!), which was really fantastic to see!

2. You're playing another show on the weekend, can we assume that we'll be seeing more of this group in the future?

Yes, we’re headlining one of the Sunday Jazz gigs at the Brisbane Festival (in the Spiegeltent on Sunday 5 September) and then another show at the Brisbane Jazz Club in early December.

3. I hear you've prepared some new charts; what informs your decisions as to what tunes you choose to perform?

I really wanted to feature our wonderful vocalist, Stu Fisher, a little more. A lot of people know him as the big guy in the Brisbane Broncos Jersey who features in that classic NRMA television commercial. What people don’t know is that he is a very fine jazz singer – it’s an absolute pleasure having him in the group. Of course, I’m also looking for charts that feature some of the amazing soloists in the band – “Spider of Destiny” features Matt Carpenter on guitar whilst “Dwarf Nebula” features the freakish Scott Griffith on alto sax.

4. Has it been difficult getting all of the players together to perform again?

Sure – it’s always tricky co-coordinating 19 musicians, but I’ve been really lucky to have a lot of support from the band. They all really want to be there – I think they realize it’s a pretty unique opportunity to play music by one of the most underrated composers of the 20th Century.

5. What can we expect from your live show this time around?

Quite simply, a bigger sound in a bigger venue to a bigger audience! The band has also been working on a heap of new charts like “Village of the Sun” and “Evelyn A Modified Dog”. As well, we’ll be featuring an old friend of mine this time – DJ KATCH (Hydrofunk / 2 Dogs) – we played in the Resin Dogs together for many years, so it’ll be great to have him perform on the night as well!

6. What are your plans for the near future?

My plan is to keep increasing the repertoire of the band, and to inform as many people as I can in Brisbane about this extraordinary group. It’s not often you can walk into a club in the valley and see a 19-piece band grooving on stage. I think those days are possibly over, so I’m hoping people come out to check this one out!!

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