After a, now let's say ... a little bumpy start of this formation at Zappanale #24, the gentlemen have now joined forces and are performing excellently now. The appearance in 2013 was followed by many more and the band has recovered to their former class . And what would a Zappanale be without Alumni, without the authenticity with which this festival has made a name in the zappaesque community?
Our tip: bring your jubilee book and take the chance to have it refined with autographs!
Ray White - Frank Zappa 1976-84 - vocals, guitar
One of the most powerful and distinctive voices that ever graced a Zappa vocal, Ray White. Ray White’s distinctive, powerful voice was first heard interpreting Zappa’s music in 1976. From that beginning, he became an integral member of Frank’s band through 1984, and can be seen on the DVD recorded the summer of that year in New York, “Does Humor Belong In Music?” A former member of the Edwin Hawkins Singers gospel group, he also brings a solid R&B guitar style to the blend, both as a rhythm player and as a soloist. Looking towards future creative endeavors with Banned from Utopia, Ray is also a gifted writer and lyricist
Robert Martin - Frank Zappa 1981-88 - vocals, keyboards, saxophone, French horn
Keyboards, horns, and of course, the voice that always made Frank smile, Robert Martin brings it all. Robert (Bobby) Martin joined Frank Zappa in 1981 and sang and played various instruments on every tour from then on, through the final tour in 1988. In addition to the diverse sonic palette Robert brought to the band with his multi-instrumental skills, Zappa relied heavily on Robert’s unique vocal power and range to enhance the variety of musical styles Frank explored in all his performances. In any moment, Frank might switch from heavy metal to classic Doo Wop, or anything in between, and Robert would be right there..
Tom Fowler - Frank Zappa 1973-75 - bass guitar
The other half of the classic Zappa rhythm section mentioned below, Tom Fowler, from one of the most prolific musical families ever. Tom Fowler’s history with Zappa goes all the way back to the early ‘70s, when he played with Frank for three years, along with his brother Bruce Fowler, in the pivotal band with George Duke and Jean-Luc Ponty. He played on Zappa classics like Over-Nite Sensation, Apostrophe, Roxy & Elsewhere, One Size Fits All and Bongo Fury. Tom would later go on to play bass with Ray Charles for ten years, was the main bassist on “Genius Loves Company” and was the featured bassist in the movie “Ray.”
Albert Wing - Frank Zappa 1988 - tenor sax, soprano sax
Just when you think the heat can't go any higher, Albert Wing makes it clear that he was just getting warmed up. After knowing Frank for many years, Albert Wing joined the elite fraternity of Zappa alumni as the tenor saxophone player in the epic five piece horn section for the final Zappa tour in 1988, reuniting with some of the members of The Fowler Brothers band he had been a part of. In addition to blazing technique, he brought a spirit of freedom and spontaneity to the Zappa horn section, and brings that same spirit to Banned From Utopia. Albert’s lyrical soprano sound and bold tenor sound add vivid colors to the the BFU sonic signature.
Morgan Ågren – drums
At the age of 20, Morgan had a guest appearance together with Mats Öberg at Zappa’s 1988 Stockholm concert. Zappa was impressed and therefore invited him to the United States to work on some of his projects. One of these was Zappa's Universe, where Zappa himself unfortunately could not participate anymore because of his illness.
He also worked with Dweezil and Ahmet, sharing the drums with Terry Bozzio on the album Shampoo Horn.
Now, after several solo albums and band projects (Mats/Morgan, Kaipa, Fläskkvartetten, Glen Hughes, ...) and his first collaboration with the Band from Utopia in the fall 2013, we again have the chance to welcome him at the Zappanale.
Robbie Mangano - guitar, vocals
At age 17, Robbie Mangano entered New York University. It was here that he discovered the whole filmography and discography of Frank Zappa at the school library. In awe of the kind of genius Zappa was, he transcribed some of this music and became influenced to write more. Robbie began playing guitar in two bands with college friend, Carl Restivo. Not having any guitar equipment (only bass equipment).Robbie borrowed from his brother and from Carl to record and play gigs. Playing guitar was new and exciting to Robbie, as he felt lead guitar was the wildcard section of the band, now being free from keeping the whole band together on the bass, and free to let go and improvise on top of chords instead of influencing them from underneath.
While at NYU, Robbie experimented with Music Composition, Cello, Drums, Midi Technology, Film Scoring, Orchestration, Recording Technology, Atonal Music Theory, Metalsmithing, and Psychology, and took an internship and landed a freelance job and transcribed for Guitar World Magazine and Amsco Publications.
Directly after college, Robbie joined Project/Object, playing bass and guitar with members of Frank Zappa's band, and embarked on his first tour and first overseas gigs through that ensemble. Soon after he would begin touring with more Zappa alumni in The Grandmothers of Invention. Most recently he has toured with John Lennon’s son, Sean Lennon.
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