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Grandmothers of Invention (US)

BUNK GARDNER
(with the Mothers of Invention from 1966-1969)
tenor sax, CASIO DH-100, flute, bar walking, straight man, food critique/commentary and vocals

From: "Freak Out With The Grandmothers" tour booklet
A Cleveland Ohio native, born to Thelma and Charles Guanerra (why dad changed it to Gardner I'll never understand.) Started musically at age 7 with piano lessons from Elmira Snodgrass for 50 cents a lesson. Until the age of 12 I sucked my thumb and then replaced it with a clarinet, tenor sax, bassoon and finally flute. In 1954 my professional career started by being featured on sax and flute on Roulette Records Western T.V. themes. I then recorded and toured with Eartha Kitt, Tim Buckley, Frank Zappa, Little Richard, Van Morrison and the 4 Winds Ensemble. From Bassoonist with the Cleveland Philharmonic in 1950 to all the woodwinds with the Grandmothers in 1994 with a few stops inbetween like playing experimental music in 1962 with Don Preston, Frank Zappa and my brother Buzz in Don's studio to Geronimo Black with Jim in 1970. Also the Montage Trio & Quartet and one year of cullinary cooking at L.A. Trade Tech. I delved into many musical forms starting with boogie woogie and dixieland to classical and jazz to latin and fusion and finally avant-guarde. But I still love spontaneous improv and I'm secretly joined at the hip with roomate Don Preston!

DON PRESTON
(with the Mothers from 1966-1974)
piano, keyboard synthesizers, electronic wizardry, gongage, wigs, exploding devices, cycles adjuster, magic hands, Mr. MOTO, and vocals

From: "Freak Out With The Grandmothers" tour booklet
I grew up in Detroit Michigan where they make cars. At 12 years I was thrown out of school for hypnotising several students and a nun. I was also learning magic. The nuns used to beat my hands with a big ruler when I made mistakes playing the piano. Because of this weird treatment I began to like strange and dissonant music. I went to Trieste Italy in the army and shared a room with Buzz Gardner. At that time I wrote a number of chamber and orchestral works and later lost them. I learned to play the contra-bass. After returning to Detroit I insterted all the pistons in every fourth Dodge auto. Played for one year with Elvin Jones at the West End Cafe on bass. Moved to L.A. Did my stint with the Mothers and became romantically involved with 40 teenagers. Did a magic show at the Whiskey A Go Go. Later did a show at Moon Zappa's 6th birthday party.

Don Preston was quite possibly the first person to utilize synthesizers in live performance with Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Today, four decades after having built 'analog synthesizers' from scratch before most people had heard of such things, Preston is a living legend and a pioneer in music. Preston recorded and toured with Frank Zappa and the Mothers from 1966-1974 and can be heard on such classic albums as 'Absolutely Free', 'We're Only In It For The Money', 'Cruising With Ruben & the Jets', 'Uncle Meat', 'Burnt Weeny Sandwich', 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh', 'Fillmore East - June 1971', 'Just Another Band From LA', 'Waka/Jawaka', 'The Grand Wazoo' and 'Roxy & Elsewhere'. Along with Frank Zappa, Preston has worked with a number of well known music artists such as Carla Bley, The Residents, Flo & Eddie, Elvin Jones, Meredith Monk and Lou Rawls to name a few as well as scoring and recording part of the soundtrack for 'Apocalypse Now'. Preston also records and tours with former Mothers of Invention member Bunk Gardner as the Don & Bunk Show as well as Zappa alumni Napoleon Murphy Brock and Roy Estrada in the Grande Mothers Reinvented. Robert Moog, the father of the Moog synthesizer, was reportedly shocked by some of the sounds Preston was able to produce on the instrument. He even was quoted saying that Preston's solo on Zappa's "Waka/Jawaka" was the "best Moog solo ever recorded". (2010)

with
CHRISTOPHER GARCIA
drums, percussion, EAST LA (isms), invisible Mexican announcer, Art Laboe (isms), marimba, and vocals

ERIC KLERKS
electric bass, equal temperament, bows (and arrows) vocals

"MAD" MAX KUTNER
electric guitar, what nots, pedals, hats, hair, vocals

Genre
the music of FRANK ZAPPA, played by the musicians who where there when it was created

In 2002 the GMOI gathered for the first time to rehearse the music of the MAESTRO for a 10 year commemoration of his passing. It was to be a one time event at the Gewendhaus in Leipzig Germany, recorded for Warner Bros in EU and filmed for the ARTE CHANNEL. Since then the band has gone on to perform over 400 concerts in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland USA, and Wales proving THAT THEY STILL CAN DO THAT ON STAGE........

MEDIA REVIEWS
"This isn't just another comeback, this is the reincarnation of the Mothers of Invention!"...

"From Zappa's 1960's to late 70's Mothers bands, the GrandMothers are touring the world and keeping Zappa's music alive."..

."The evening contained a lot of the contradictory eclectic, serious and circusy flavors of a Zappa show...the GrandMothers were able to go deeper into the material, rather than merely parroting Zappa's notoriously tricky composed lines." ...

"Who’s more original than Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention? Probably nobody, but the Grandmothers of Invention sure come close."...

"It’s clear to see that these men may be a little more grey these days, but their wit, musicianship and performing capabilities are that of a twenty year old. Age just don’t mean a thang.".......

"Tuesday's concert was thus not only a tribute to Zappa music, but also a tribute to his approach and ideas in which nothing was considered holy and in which there are no restrictions conventions and rules. "....

"Gardner performed a saxophone solo consisting of random off kilter notes while he writhed around on the floor. Antics like this gave the feeling of watching a real Zappa show and not just a nostalgic rehashing.".....

"The number of riffs, licks and mini-solos per song was off the Richter scale; latching on to one thread of ugly genius and grooving along was the only way to move."......"you don’t have to be a manic Frank Zappa fan to see that his one-time sidemen have had extremely interesting lives, and know their way around their instruments. It’s this last point they seem most interested in exploring: bass solos, drum solos, flute, guitar, gong solos
– it’s all here"

"Since, they’ve been living, breathing and truly reincarnating Zappa’s eclectic and tricky musical scores, and doing more than just playing the same notes all over again."....

"All that was missing was his hologram, which some fans shouted for. The entire band was tight, delivering a complex cacaphony of musical scales"....

"The fact is, from the moment these guys started, to the point they ended, the music production emitting from the stage, was nothing short of awesome."...

"What can I say, the band, simply kicked ass, bringing back Zappa songs enveloped in today’s technology, making it feel that Zappa, himself, was standing right in front of us."...

"The GrandMothers are significant in that they're performing difficult compositions originally recorded by larger ensembles with just five instrumentalists, four of whom also sing."...

"The music was, as expected, wild and unrestricted, the musicians were absolutely incredible and the actual stage show was completely engaging."...

"Seeing the Grandmothers was an eye-opener for long-time Zappa fans and newbies alike. Zappa’s music lives in these men – not just through their impeccable musical abilities, but in their chemistry, stage presence and genuine love for the music."...

"The Grandmothers are indeed 'not from this planet.' They are better than that. They reminded us that this, the music of the ages, manifests in a performance without tapes, without lip synching, without pretense. And when it comes down to it, fun is the name of the game. You could see how much fun these guys were having on stage, how much they loved this."

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© Zappanale Festival 2017