While I may be somewhat jealous, and I am also in complete awe over the fact that this project is being funded this way.
I also made my largest pledge I’ve ever given to a Kickstarter campaign, because I am fan of Frank Zappa, and I would love to see the unreleased, exclusive footage that’s only being shared with certain Kickstarter supporters.
Check out this rare clip just released by the campaign – Frank Zappa is surprise-greeted by the US Navy Marching Band performing “Joe’s Garage” at the San Francisco Airport in 1980.
Last year, we lost quite a few people in the LOUIE universe. Click on their names to read more about them.
Jack Ely, the original lead singer of the Kingsmen, was one of the two people that inspired this documentary project. I met Jack at the same event where he first met Richard Berry, the composer of this legendary song, and their stories inspired this project. It saddens me deeply that my friend will not be able to see the completed documentary.
Lady Bo was also a big part of the event where Jack Ely met Richard Berry. Her band backed up these two major players in the LOUIE universe as they played together for their first and only appearance together. Lady Bo had an extensive musical career working with Bo Diddley and a variety of other musicians.
Lemmy, of course, was the iconic leader of Motörhead that died a few days ago.
Kim Fowley, the legendary musician/producer/writer with an abundance of credits to his name, co-produced Richard Berry’s music during the years between Richard’s initial recording of THE SONG in 1957 and the Kingsmen’s recording of THE SONG in 1963.
Wally Todd, a member of Jack Ely & the Courtmen (formerly known as “Jack Ely & the Kingsmen”), left this world a few days after Jack’s passing. I’m so very grateful I was able to witness their historic reunion at Seaside, Oregon.
Steve Mackay was a saxophone player that performed with the Stooges, whose “Fun House” album was produced by Don Gallucci, original keyboardist with the Kingsmen. His collaboration with Iggy Pop continued after the break-up of the Stooges, as well as the reunion shows with the surviving Stooges.
Gary Abbott was a drummer that joined the Kingsmen for a brief period after their newfound success with LOUIE LOUIE.
Dennis Eichhorn was a gifted writer from Idaho that transformed his life stories into highly entertaining underground comic books. Denis shared memories about working at nightclubs in the Pacific Northwest and getting his hair cut by Paul Revere before the Raiders became the band became they became famous.
Gail Zappa was the keeper of the Frank Zappa legacy – the matriarch of the family and overseer of all Zappa enterprises.
Allen Toussaint was a genuine musical legend from LOUISiana that wrote a ton of unforgettable songs and shared some appreciation for Richard Berry’s special song!
P.F. Sloan was another gifted singer-songwriter that composed some songs that also became big hit records. The LOUIE team was privileged to work with him in 2014, and we discovered that he co-wrote an opera about Ludwig Beethoven entitled “LOUIS! LOUIS!”
Leonard Nimoy was a gifted actor, musician and film director whose works provided great inspiration to the LOUIE team. Using the “Five Degrees of LOUIE” principle, we found some interesting connections.
Eric Caidin is someone whose death was not mentioned on these pages, but he was a kindred spirit that appreciated this project, and provided great words of support over the years. He operated the Hollywood Book & Poster Company, a wonderful store for movie enthusiasts and was a regular exhibitor at various comic conventions in the SF Bay Area.
Joe Houston was one of the great saxophone players that was playing some wild rhythm and blues music before it was ever called “rock music.” I don’t recall him ever playing LOUIE LOUIE, but he was a great musician whose legacy should be acknowledged.
John Harada was an early member of A Western Front, a local band that ye webmaster enjoyed quite immensely back in the 1980s.
Deanna Predoehl was the beloved niece of the producer of this LouieLouie.net webpage. She left us way too early at the age of 20 years old, and not a day goes by without thinking about her.
This blog posting is blog post #7500 of this particular webpage that began in 1996, and was converted to a blog in 2005.
Time is a funny animal that I am still trying to tame….
– Eric Predoehl, producer of the LouieLouie.net experience and upcoming documentary…
Gail Zappa, beloved wife to Frank, mother for Dweezil, Moon, Ahmet & Diva, and keeper of the Zappa legacy, has left us.
The official Frank Zappa Facebook page provided this statement:
January 1, 1945 – October 7, 2015
Gail Zappa, nee Adelaide Gail Sloatman, age 70, departed this earth peacefully at her home on Wednesday, October 7, 2015, surrounded by her children.
Married to Frank Zappa at age 22, Gail was a doe-eyed, barefooted trailblazer, giving equal value to her domestic and professional responsibilities as matriarch of the family and overseer of all Zappa enterprises. She devoted herself to partnering with her husband in the music business and raising their children, Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva.
Gail enthusiastically executed her role as guardian of her husband’s creative life and, with his passing, strove to ensure his legacy as one of the leading American composers and musicians of the 20th century. In this and all business endeavors, Gail passionately advocated to establish clear definitions of intellectual property and copyright laws on behalf of not just her husband, but all artists. While she conducted intricate legal negotiations with corporations as grande dame of the Zappa Family Trust, she never failed to impart the sense of humor that was part and parcel of her indomitable and formidable personality. Gail, self-described as a pagan absurdist, was motivated by love in all aspects of her life, kept her authenticity intact, unbowed and, simply put, was one bad ass in the music business and political world.
Gail will forever be identified as a key figure in the creative renaissance that is Laurel Canyon. But more than any singular accomplishment, she defined herself in her personal relationships, happiest when surrounded by loved ones and artists, often one and the same. The memories she leaves behind are indeed her own art form. Her searing intelligence, unforgettable smile, wild thicket of hair and trailing black velvets leave a blur in her wake.
There is no further information to report. This is the only statement that will be released by the family.
To start 2014 with a bang, the first LOUIE of Week shall be a vintage recording of Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, opening for Lenny Bruce at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco sometime in June 1966.
The very first song of this set was “PLASTIC PEOPLE” – an inspired re-write of Richard Berry‘s immortal melody.
Big thanks to Dangerous Minds for reminding me of this special moment, even if it wasn’t specifically mentioned. You can hear more about the Frank Zappa / Lenny Bruce connection by visiting HERE!
UPDATE: The YouTube link with the archival recording was removed!
I’m saddened to report that George Duke has passed away. He just released his album- “DreamWeaver,” which debuted at #1 on the Contemporary Jazz Chart. It was a tribute to his wife, Corine, who passed away last year.
George passed away at Monday at St John’s Hospital in Los Angeles, where he was being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He was 67 years old.
In a career that spanned more than 40 years, Duke worked with stars including Michael Jackson, on 1979’s “Off The Wall,” Miles Davis, producing and composing tracks on several key albums of the ‘80s, and Frank Zappa, with whom he appeared on “Mothers of Invention” albums from 1970 through the early ‘90s.
Duke, who was born in San Rafael, Calif., began taking piano lessons at age 4, after seeing Duke Ellington perform.
“I don’t remember it too well … but my mother told me I went crazy,” Duke said on his website. “I ran around saying, ‘Get me a piano, get me a piano!”
George did perform LOUIE LOUIE at various times throughout this career, more than likely during his run with Frank Zappa, but his collaboration with Stanley Clarke provided what many people consider the definitive soul-funk version of the song, which was released in 1981.
Here’s a little music video created for that recording by the Clarke-Duke Project …
I was fortunate to capture a very quick little interview with George about that special song when he played San Jose Jazz Fest a few years ago.
On Christmas Eve, Ray Collins, original lead singer for Frank Zappa‘s Mothers of Invention, died in Pomona, Calif. He was 76 years old.
Ray Collins began his musical career playing with Little Julian Herrera and the Tigers. When they recorded ‘I Remember Linda’ in the 1950’s, Ray sang high falsetto backing vocals. Shortly after recording this track, Little Julian was arrested and the band broke up a little later.
David Allen interviewed and wrote about Ray for a 2009 article in Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:
Around 1961, Collins saw Zappa perform at the Sportsman Tavern in Pomona, across from the Broadside on Holt east of Reservoir, and introduced himself.
“We just liked each other instantly,” Collins said. They shared a love of a wide range of music, including doo-wop, and an admiration for TV comic Steve Allen. The two hung out and performed together sporadically as a mock folk duo, recording a single as Ned & Nelda.
Circa 1964, Collins joined the Soul Giants, an R&B cover band, by accident. When the band auditioned at the Broadside, the club owner insisted that Collins, his friend, would have to replace the singer if the band wanted the gig.
“I felt kind of awkward about it, someone firing someone else and giving me the job,” Collins says.
The band consisted of drummer Jimmy Carl Black, bassist Roy Estrada, saxophonist Davy Coronado and guitarist Ray Hunt. Hunt, however, was incompetent or purposely messed up to be spiteful, Collins relates.
“I was new to the band but it was up to me to get rid of him,” Collins says. After the deed was done – no punches were thrown, he insists – he made a fateful suggestion.
“I told them, `I know a guitarist in Cucamonga. His name’s Frank Zappa,”‘ Collins says.
Zappa auditioned and fit in perfectly, but he was a prolific songwriter and a new direction was called for.
“If you will play my music, I will make you rich and famous,” Zappa is said to have told them.
Ray’s association with Frank Zappa was not meant to last. After two records with the Mothers (rechristened as “Mothers of Invention” by record label), Ray quit the band in 1968 right before the landmark “We’re Only in It for the Money” album. Ray contributed to some other albums with the band, including “Cruising With Ruben & the Jets,” but his music career basically ended in 1968.
The David Allen article provided more details about his life after Zappa…
He moved to Claremont after a modest legal settlement with Zappa over his and other founding members’ contributions to the band, he says. Zappa died in 1993 of prostate cancer.
Collins turned down several offers to join the Grandmothers, a band made up of graying ex-Mothers.
Instead, he’s lived a hand-to-mouth existence, mostly by choice. His only income is Social Security and twice-annual royalty checks from co-writing the doo-wop song “Memories of El Monte.”
It’s enough to survive. “But not enough to pick up women,” Collins cracks.
Ray was admitted to the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center on December 18 after being found unconscious in his van. Paramedics found him in a state of ventricular fibrillation, he was rushed to the hospital, where he was placed under a medically-induced coma.
Thanks to a Facebook fan page, I learned more about his condition, which ultimately came to an end on Christmas eve.
As a tribute to Ray, here’s Ray singing “Plastic People” (a mutant variation of LOUIE LOUIE) with the Mothers of Invention, from an unofficially released archival soundboard recording of a show in Denver at the Family Dog, dated May 3, 1968.
In the clip, Frank mentioned he appeared on a talk show in Washington, D.C., the night before to challenge two politicians about free speech. When Frank went on to say he decided to be on the show because he thought its hosts were “full of shit,” Howard had to remind him that the FCC didn’t allow such language on the air. This led Frank to say the FCC’s function wasn’t to control the content of radio and television broadcasts, but instead was to control their bandwidth. Frank added he felt personalities should be able to talk the way they do in their real lives, which Howard noted was a problem he was experiencing. Frank replied people want to hear “natural” discourse, but the FCC was preventing that from happening.
Howard asked Frank why he didn’t perform at Live Aid, which had been held a few weeks before his interview and he said it was because he felt the concert was “the biggest money laundering scheme of all time.” After Frank pointed out that was just his opinion about the event, he mentioned that if the United States government officials were truly interested in getting food to Ethiopians as was the purpose of Live Aid, they would’ve sent troops to the country to hand it out themselves. Frank went on to say the tickets for Live Aid cost $30 with a $25 service charge and anyone who wanted to eat had to pay an additional $20. Robin then pointed out it was hard to find a man of Frank’s conviction.
After Frank talked about the trouble he had with getting his album, “Thing-Fish,” released due to its lyrical content, Frank asked listeners to send him money – even a quarter – to help him raise funds so he could travel to Capital Hill [sic] to talk about pornography. Frank explained he needed to raise the money because he spent most of his own releasing his music, adding, because radio stations refused to play his albums, he had to constantly find ways to get them out to the public. Howard and Frank proceeded to play “Louie, Louie” with Howard on piano and Frank on guitar, before Frank told Howard he was glad his program was on the air and that he hoped he’d never experience any problems with the FCC.
Today, I’m saddened to report another casualty in the music universe.
Larry “Wild Man” Fischer, as far as I know, didn’t record LOUIE LOUIE, nor did he have any obvious connections to the song.
Wild Man Fischer, was however, the very first musician to record for Rhino Records. The first release was a 45 single from Larry entitled “Go to Rhino Records,” released in 1975 to promote the original Rhino Records store on Westwood Boulevard in Los Angeles. A few years later in 1975, Rhino Records released it’s first album ever – a Wild Man Fischer LP entitled “Wildmania.”
In 1983, Rhino Records collaborated with KFJC Radio to release the compilation “The Best of LOUIE LOUIE,” which was released in conjunction with the KFJC Maximum LOUIE LOUIE marathon. Richard Foos, co-founder of Rhino, told me that the LOUIE LOUIE compilation was one of Rhino’s early success stories, selling a lot of records.
Rhino Records became one of the most successful reissue record labels, and was eventually purchased by a larger company, becoming a wholly owned unit of Time Warner in 1998.
In 1999, Rhino created a spinoff divsion entitled “Rhino Handmade” which focused on extremely limited editions of hard-to-find rarities. Their very first release – RHM2 7701, was “The Fischer King,” a 2 CD compilation of all the WIld Man recordings made for Rhino Records. It sold out within a weeks of it’s release. and is now selling for top dollar on eBay and Amazon.
One could argue that without Rhino Records, “The Best of LOUIE LOUIE,” and all beautiful connections that made the KFJC event so memorable, I would have never known about the LOUIE LOUIE universe.
One might also argue that without Wild Man Fischer, maybe the Rhino Records label may not have existed…?
Hard to say. To paraphrase a Ray Bradbury concept, the “sound of thunder” may or may not have happened at all….
Wild Man Fischer, was always a fascinating character to me. I was exposed to his music via Dr Demento radio shows. It took many years for me to track down his very first album “An Evening with Wild Man Fischer,” produced by Frank Zappa in 1968 for the Bizarre record label, which remains out of print to this day.
Dennis Eichhorn wrote about some of his adventures with Wild Man in his autobiographical comic book series “Real Stuff.” Those particular stories were later assembled into a biography co-written by illustrator J.R. WIlliams entitled “The Legend Of Wild Man Fischer.”
(On a side note, I did get Dennis on camera to talk about Paul Revere being his barber in Idaho during the early 60’s, but we’ll save that for later….)
Josh Rubin did a great job of directing this film, which I saw for the first time two weeks ago. Larry was a paranoid schizophrenic with bipolar tendencies. He alienated his (former) best friends, and mistrusted everybody. It was difficult for anyone to be close to him. This documentary was fascinating, yet painful on various levels.
Check out the trailer for the Derailroaded film…
Pat Moriarity, who created the illustration I used for the top of this posting, created some great animation for the documentary. He shared the uncut version of this animation on YouTube.
Here’s some other links worth checking for those that want to learn more…
Last week, we lost a true visionary with the death of Don Van Vliet, the man also known as Captain Beefheart. Ironically, my last posting in this blog was about his old high school buddy, Frank Zappa, who died 17 years ago.
Truly the most visionary man in the last 100 years of American music. A nightmare to many (including most of his band members) and probably mad as a hatter but if you can listen throught the chaotic surface there’s a surprise in almost every note he recorded. For me he was of the greatest importance, he taught me a new way to listen and watch, which delivered me lost of joy throughout the years. I could write pages about him but keep it short now: listening is the best way to remember this great uncut diamond.
“One of the four or five unqualified geniuses to rise from the hothouses of American music in the Sixties.” – Lester Bangs
“If there has ever been such a thing as a genius in the history of popular music, it’s Beefheart… I heard echoes of his music in some of the records I listened to last week and I’ll hear more echoes in records that I listen to this week.” – John Peel
“Once you’ve heard Beefheart, it’s hard to wash him out of your clothes. It stains, like coffee or blood.” – Tom Waits
There actually is a LOUIE LOUIE connection with Captain Beefheart. If you listen to the Bongo Fury album, Beefheart’s collaboration with Frank Zappa, you can hear a definite LOUIE LOUIE groove in the track ‘Sam With The Showing Scalp Flat Top.’
On YouTube, you can hear this particular track as part of a generic video clip.
To celebrate Beefheart’s legacy, this song shall be recognized as the LOUIE of the Week.
In 1997, the BBC produced a documentary on Captain Beefheart, “The Artist Formerly Known As Captain Beefheart,” which was narrated by John Peel. Thanks to the crafty archivists inhabiting the YouTube community, you can see this documentary, which has been broken up into six parts.
Just so you know, the illustration on the top of this post is by J.R. Williams, a friend of mine has done some remarkable work over the years. One particular project he did that I really loved was “The Legend of Wild Man Fischer,” an excellent graphic novel / biography of the legendary musician, created in conjunction with Dennis P. Eichhorn (another guy I’ve interviewed for the LOUIE documentary project). If you like J.R.’s work, you can buy some of his comic books, prints, and even original artwork. Visit his webpage at: