February 9 1996 1:04:10 AM
Bryan has evidently written his side of events for Act VII of "LOB", he called hours ago to say he was about to email it to me and I still haven't received it...All right AOL! So I don't yet know what he's written, although I know it's long, but in any case here's the rundown from my perspective...
It's plain to me, has been for some time, that my own music has got to be my first priority. Any other considerations, conflicts etc. must necessarily take a back seat to this realization. There are things about the Zappa organization to which I object, but nothing that in and of itself would drive me to engineer my own dismissal in the way that I did - also nothing that I feel comfortable discussing in this format. Regarding the whole vaultmeister debacle, I would have loved to have been given free reign to compile a bunch of wonderful albums from the tapes, but I quickly learned that that would never occur. It is, in every way, the family's right and responsibility to deal with Frank's legacy in whichever way they see fit - it's got nothing to do with me. (I also feel strongly now that it is not my purpose in life to act as caretaker to another composer's work - there are a lot of other things that need doing. At the time that I was performing at the Zappa's Universe shows, and for several months afterward, I toyed with the notion that my purpose in life was to evangelicize Frank's work. I disabused myself of that misguidedness during the making of "hat", moreso when "ZU" turned into a disaster movie. I still get mail from sincere and kind people, thanking me for keeping Frank's flame alive. Every once in a while a journalist will refer to me as Zappa heir apparent or some such. I always hope they mean that I'm doing well by him, as I pursue my own path, rather than marking as my ultimate destiny the guitar slot in a Zappa cover band.) That all takes a back seat now; I have to get my band on the road, playing for people other than Californians for a change, lovely as they might be. I'm not in a position to turn down offers based on possible conflicts of schedule, so if I get offers I accept them. In the past I always put Z first, that's why they were paying me. I passed up an opportunity to play with Todd Rundgren last year in order to accomodate a Z tour which never materialized. I continued to get paid, whether we were working or not. But finally the burning need to bring my band to people has outweighed the need for security.
I informed them last week that Keneally engagements were my main priority now, and I would be happy to continue working with Z if they were willing to accomodate my schedule. They quickly decided not to accomodate me. That's the whole bloody story...not much to it really. I knew when I made the call what the outcome would be. I still haven't been officially dismissed - no one's called me to say I'm fired - but I am.
Bryan's decision to join me is one of the purest and most poignant gestures of support and faith I could imagine. He is my right hand man and our association will be long and productive.
And we need each other's support as engagements which seemed solid go flying out the window - f'ristance the gigs opening for the Hellecasters which are now cancelled. Efforts are being made to fill those dates with gigs in the same locations, but it may or may not happen. Calls are made to machines and not returned for two, three days...the kind of stuff about which "I Can't Stop" was written. Someone emailed me and said I should devote part of the MK Page to horror stories about the music business. That's too fucking squalid to even consider.
Last week Alain and Natasha from the group Eleven came to see us play; last night Bryan, Joe, Nordegg and I went to see them. An Eleven/BFD alliance is in the formative stages - a double bill to be reckoned with. They are such a remarkable band, I hope we do much work together. Rivera, the amp company which attempted to produce the Hellecasters/Keneally shows before the miserable reality of the biz intruded, wants to continue to promote MK & BFD, over a long period of time, hopefully resulting in many appearances nationwide. There's talk of a Stanley Snail album of all-original material. The Keneally albums and "The Mistakes" are finally receiving what I hope will be reliable distribution in Europe. Kind people from lands far and near are requesting our presence. The momentum, the desire, the energy is all in the right place. If things don't fall into place quite as readily as it seemed they might, it must only strengthen our resolve to succeed. (This part of our presentation goes out to BB.) There is much good will being expended on our behalf. We will succeed.
This afternoon I recorded the audio portion of the "Southern Rock" piece I did for "How To Play Guitar" magazine (it will appear on a CD packaged with the actual magazine), and concurrently I made the decision to resume writing columns for Guitar Player magazine. I'm writing a lot of music now that I've finally got a piano in the house. Cakewalk Software was kind enough to send me a review copy of their new Pro Audio software which, once I get it running, will result in a LOT of music being written. Yesterday I started giving guitar lessons again after five years away from the private instruction realm (plug - if you're in or around LA and are interested in receiving guitar instruction from me, please get in touch via email. Beller gives bass lessons too). I'm writing a book about what music means to me. Beller and I have started compiling the material for the BFD video club. Next week I'm working in the studio with The Hooligans, and doing some more production on the second Jip album. I'm not standing still over here.
But I won't rest until BFD makes a noise so loud that no-one will be able to ignore us anymore.