Here is a review of this CD from www.davemcmann.com....
When Andrew Greenaway, the person who runs the excellent website Idiot Bastard told me about his plans to create a CD featuring twenty bands, each performing Frank Zappa's 'The Idiot Bastard Son', well, to tell the truth, my initial reaction was to call the guys with the white jacket. Let's face it, it seemed to me that due to him listening to Zappa music, along with having an unhealthy interest in a certain lovely actress had taken it's toll on the poor man's mind, rather akin, in a way to Wilfrid Brambell on the set of '200 Motels', yes, I was convinced that the guy was a wreck, I even had visions of him refusing to either load or unload in the White Zone.
Anyway, after Mr Greenaway, along with the help of John Campbell, spent some time in a studio collating the project after many musicians sent their versions to them, the CD was unleashed on the World and I finally had a chance to hear it and I must say, my fears were allayed.
How wrong could I be in doubting this CD, instead of repetitive blandness, though 'blandness' is the wrong term to use, however, for sake of a better word, let's stick with it, the amazing thing that caught my ears and heart is the fabulous variations which have been done to one song.
From the opening Acappella version which is stunning, to the spoken part at the end and every points in between, jazz, rock, folk/country, scathing satire, this has it all. It is amazing that twenty versions of one song can sound like twenty tracks that are so much different.
This CD is a 'must have' for anyone into the music of Frank Zappa, but also, maybe more importantly, for those who aren't, they will surely enjoy this album as it certainly covers many musical boundaries and there is something for everyone.
It is available now from: Cordelia Records
A track by track take on this may follow soon, but, suffice to say, as the old saying goes, "if you have ears, listen".
A Few Moments With Brother AG/IBS
DMc: Why did you come up with the idea of '20 Extraordinary Renditions’, was it an extension to your very informative website?
IBS: It wasn't actually my idea at all: in March 2007, I wrote to Cordelia Records asking if they had any plans to produce a sequel to their excellent Frank Zappa surf instrumentals CD, Lemme Take You To The Beach. I got involved briefly in that project towards its end, when I introduced the label to The Tornadoes. Sadly, time ran out and the band didn't record anything in time (they've since recorded and released their versions of Grunion Run and The Cruncher via Crossfire Publications). Anyway, Cordelia's head honcho, Alan Jenkins, said he sensed a degree of boredom with covers compilations in the surf community but thought there was probably a fine Zappa CD to be made in a different genre. He half-jokingly suggested I organise an Idiot Bastard one: "20 versions of that tune, all in different genres - we'll do one!" So I held him to it, enlisting the help of all the musical friends I've made since starting my website – plus my good buddy, J-Roc, who gave sound advice and help all over. Basically, I just delivered the tracks and the artwork, so Alan didn’t have to worry about any of that - then he did an amazing job mastering the thing and got it all printed and pressed-up.
DMc: How easy, given the crackdown from the ZFT, was this project to get off the ground?
IBS: The project was amazingly easy throughout. Alan advised that you don’t actually need permission to record and release cover versions of a song: you just pay the necessary mechanical royalties, and you're laughing. So it's all above board. A limited number of discs have been pressed and should sell out, with Cordelia hopefully covering its costs. And none of the bands (or me) are being paid for this, so what's to cease and desist? This was always a low budget/for fun venture.
DMc: Any feedback from the ZFT at all?
DMc: Everyone on the album is great, however, one track that really stands out for me personally is Nigey Lennon, that is really funny - single material if I had my way. What are your thoughts on that?
IBS: Nigey has been my online friend since I started my website in 2000. We've met just once - at Zappanale 13 - but regularly correspond, and I wanted her involved from day one. It looked like she wasn't gonna make my deadline, and so John Tabacco (her musical partner in crime) quickly recorded another substitute version under the pseudonym Arty Rukidin with tuba player Jay Rozen. But I held out for as long as I could, and Nigey (with John and Jay’s help) finally came through, finishing her version on Halloween. I'm glad I waited. I totally agree: it's a very interesting version.
DMc: Do you have a favourite track?
IBS: Yes, and I've told the artist, but I reckon he thinks I've said the same to everyone involved! It's really hard to single out one of my lovely illegitimate babies – for instance, Evil Dick’s backward version is amazing, and FrazKnapp’s modern take blows me away every time - but it's Jerry Outlaw's instrumental rendition. If I were a musician, that's how my version would sound.
DMc: Old Grey Goat was, I thought, rather spooky, a mixture of evil aliens and the kids from Midwitch, wouldn't it be good if the Muffin Men did a live version of that?
IBS: I asked Roddie Gilliard to contribute, and originally both he and the Muffin Men were to have provided versions: I figure the band's would be a little straighter, and we were striving for diversity, but it still would have been good to have heard what they might have come up with. Roddie describes his version as 'organic'. I thought the vocals sounded like Pinky & Perky - but Roddie said they were more like the mice from Bagpuss. Yes, we should all now lobby the MufFinZ to perform this version on their May tour!
DMc: The artwork I thought, was rather striking for the CD. Was it really done by your kid and not some fancy graphic design company?
IBS: It's actually by my niece - an art student. She's just turned 21 and has an amazing talent. I don't think she's even heard the original version of the song - most of my family find my FZ obsession very odd. I supplied sparse details about the project to her and just said come up with your own idea, but please steer clear of a Sgt Pepper parody or using the famous 'tache and imperial - then we really would get into bother. I think she came up with a great concept. And I have to thank my big brother for taking the photos, else he’ll punch me in the arm.
DMc: Were there many bands which you had to turn down and, if so, why?
IBS: It really was pretty much everyone I asked on day one. Sadly, Monty & The Butchers and André Cholomondeley never found time to finish their versions, but André supplied the excellent unplugged version by Project Object, and – completely unsolicited - Jerry Outlaw gave me the Bogus Pomp orchestral rendering 'just in case' - that too is lovely, and effectively replaced Monty. The band's I had to turn down approached me in the latter stages, so I didn’t really know them. But I am grateful to them all, as they were happy to quickly record if anyone else dropped out. Happily, they didn't.
DMc: Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
IBS: Yes. FrazKnapp suggested one: 21 Burnt Weeny Sandwiches, where 20 bands reduce that whole album to a 3-5 minute track, and a producer/mixer creates a 21st using parts of those 20 renditions – I’ve spoken to Pete Brunelli of DOOT! about that, as he wanted to do something similar with the IBS tracks. Cordelia has expressed an interest, once the dust has settled on this disc. And I’d like to have the Wrong Object and the FoolZ onboard, for conceptual continuity purposes; I’ll be talking to them in Nijmegen this weekend at the Zappateers festival.
DMc: Jenny is mine, she's mine I tell you...
IBS: Well, let’s make a deal if you think that’s true. I have her in Walkabout, An American Werewolf In London, Equus and China 9, Liberty 37, and you have her in everything else she’s ever done. What d’ya say?
DMc: Normally I would make a deal, however, to reward anyone who has read this far, I think we should end here with a bonus track, which is not on the CD, you have kindly provided, by Jay Rozen and Arty Rukidin. The Idiot Bastard Tuba