Grandmothers of Invention (US)

(with the Mothers of Invention from 1966-1969)
tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, bar walking, straight man, witty repartee, food critic 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!

(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 FRANK ZAPPA (1978 to 1988)
melodic and non melodic mallet percussion, real and perceived

with the Grand Mothers of Invention (2002 to the present)
drumset, percussion, EAST LA (isms), invisible Mexican announcer, Art Laboe (isms), marimba, and vocals

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........

"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."


Bonnen, Aigui & Burghaus (DE/RUS)

Already five years ago Dietmar Bonnen (vocals, piano, organ), Alexei Aigui (violin) and Lothar Burghaus (clarinets) played the Zappanale prelude at Hamburg’s Katharinenkirche under the motto „Dylan, Hendrix, Zappa play for Bach“. This year they are coming to Bad Doberan for the first time.

The composer, interpreter and trained church organist Dietmar Bonnen, born in 1958, studied music and art in Cologne and Düsseldorf. The combination of new music, rock and jazz led early to the recording of John Cage music like "Five". For the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) Bonnen created the soundscape composition "Beijing" in Beijing and Cologne. New recordings on CDs of his Cologne music publisher "Obst" range from Hildegard von Bingen to Frank Zappa.

The violinist Alexei Aigui, born in 1971, from Moscow, Russia, studied at the Ippolitov-Ivanov Music Academy and founded the Ensemble for New Music 4'33 ''. Participation in various international jazz and ballet festivals as well as commissioned work on the remaking of classic films such as "Metropolis".

Dietmar Bonnen played his first concert with violinist and composer Alexei Aigui in Moscow, 1994. The same year Alexei founded his Ensemble 4‘33‘‘, named after John Cage’s composition. It was the first Russian Ensemble to perform works by La Monte Young, Toru Takemitsu, Morton Feldman and Terry Riley.

As a duo they have produced CDs with own versions of music by as different coposers as Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Weill. Furthermore they present one half of the Russian-German Composers Quartet. And Alexei is the solo violinist in Dietmar‘s Ensemble de Plainte.

One focus of Alexei's compositional work lies in the field of film music. Dietmar Bonnen had the pleasure to be the singer on some of his soundtracks. A theme music, the version of a soviet hit of the 80s "Do not Cry", became a little underground hit in Russia. Alexei's father is the Russian-Chuvash poet Gennady Aigui.

Clarinetist and saxophonist Lothar Burghaus, born in 1969, has been working regularly with Dietmar Bonnen in various ensembles since 1995. In addition, the physician was a member of the Cologne saxophone quartet "Brassless" and the only true wind orchestra "Dicke Luft". Burghaus also is a member of the Arf Society.


Monika Roscher Big Band (DE)

The Monika Roscher Big Band was born during a study seminar at the Musikhochschule München. An original composition for big-band earned the 1984-born jazz guitarist so much praise from all sides that she decided to continue on this path. Together with friends and fellow students, who form the core of the cast today, Monika's graduation concert in the summer of 2010 was converted into the first celebrated public appearance of her big band. From then on things went fast. As soon as the bandleader had left the backstage area, the producer Philipp Winter, who was in the audience, offered to record a CD. With the result, the band applied for a scholarship to the City of Munich and was promptly rewarded with a music scholarship from Bavarias capital. At this time, the band is existing only since half a year.

Enough time to break with just about any listener expectation tied to a classic big-band line-up. Those who expect traditional swing à la Count Basie and Duke Ellington are completely wrong. Although the compositions are related to jazz, in terms of spacious harmony and extended solo parts, the special attention to - sometimes cinematic - sound textures and the colorful, emotionally directly accessible pictorial shows a tight intellectual closeness to the contemporary music scene of indie, electro and triphop. This sounds rather "dangerous" - at least that's what an enthusiastic Monday demo jury at Radio Zundfünk thought, which Thees Uhlmann also belonged to. The usually German-speaking Tomte boss was even tempted to shout out "this shit is berserk!".

In December 2012, the band celebrated the release of their official debut album "Failure in Wonderland" at the Atomic Café, the indie temple of Munich. The CD was released by the jazz label Enja. Since then, the waves beat higher and higher - Zeit Online, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Stern, Deutschlandradio Kultur, Le Monde, the Jazzzeitung with a cover story, or the US Downbeat - oldest and biggest jazz magazine in the world - were enthusiastic about the album and about the idea of an indie big band.

In 2013, the band toured all over Germany and beyond. Highlights included performances at the Fusion Festival, which is already enjoying cult status throughout Europe, a double concert at the international South Tyrolean Jazz Festival and the final concert of the Berliner Jazzfest broadcast live on the radio, where the band shared the stage with jazz legend John Scofield. The Frankfurter Allgemeine spoke of an "incredible performance level" of the young musicians and the "surprise of the season".

In 2014, the band is awarded the Echo Jazz as "Newcomer of the Year National", a music scholarship of the city of Munich and the Bavarian Art Prize. Downbeat listed them as "Rising Stars" in his annual review of the critics.

Just one of many opinions:
"Together with her magnificent crew the guitarist and singer Monika Roscher played an unconventional "Bigband" sound with a cutting wind set and Leonard Kuhn's concise electronically generated sounds; a completely successful sound experiment of indie-pop, rock and improvisation. The audience applauded the ensemble with standing ovations at the end of the concert. "
Jazzzeitung, August 29, 2017, Thomas J. Krebs for the concert in the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.

Now, (this is for the insiders): With this Big Band LineUp we will make our Gunnar sweat heavily:

Julian Schunter: Alto
Jan Kiesewetter: Alto, soprano
Jasmin Gundermann: Tenor
Michael Schreiber: Tenor
Heiko Giering: Bass Cl, Bari Sax

Johannes Schneider
Angela Avetisyan
Matthias Lindermayr
Julian Hesse

Alistair Duncan
Lukas Bamesreiter
Christine Harris
Jakob Grimm

Rhythm section:
Leonhard Kuhn: Electronic Sounds
Josef Ressle: Piano
Ferdinand Roscher: Bass
Silvan Strauss: Drums


Gabba Zappa Hey!

Gooble, gobble … Gabba gabba hey! … Gabba Zappa Hey!

Almost 80 years ago, the movie "Freaks" was produced, in which the protagonist sang "Gooble, gobble, we accept her, we accept her, one of us, one of us!" in one scene.

Forty-five years later, the Ramones took up this line modified in their song "Pinhead": "She was gabba gabba hey, and would not be offended by the freaks, she was after all a freak herself".

"In the evening they went to bed late, in the morning they got up later, their battle cry was refreshingly brainless: Gabba Gabba Hey." Berliner Zeitung, 2000

With Gabba Gabba Hey! a catch phrase was born, with which quite special persons, but also euphorically a condition were described from then on. For example, by a reviewer, who was fittingly talking about Zappas album "Freak Out!". He ended his text with the words: "You have not completely lived your life, if you have not heard this album yet. If you get it, gabba gabba hey! If not, it's a damn shame! "(and he's damn right!)

So, the only logical path to tread for Gabba Zappa Hey! was: Starting with Freaks and Gooble Gobble and passing the hereby inspired Zappa with Freak Out! to the Ramones with gabba gabba hey.

A fairy tale? … A legend? ... pure imagination? ... Maybe, but you could imagine how three London guys with an addiction to punk (rock) reinterpret Zappa. A culture shock? Certainly! Blasphemy? Let everyone decide for themselves! But we certainly do not want to keep that away from you.

People, it gets loud, it gets heavy, it gets DIFFERENT !!! Two to three minutes per title ... that must be enough, some bonds to various punk bands and in a way still Zappa!

The Zappateers are already freaking out if they only hear the name. Gabba Zappa Hey! is wildly (!) celebrated and we can well imagine that they will equally enthuse us at Zappanale. That's why we got them for the warm-up party to fuel you up for the festival. Bad Doberan will be thrilled ... most residents (including those who stayed at home) will probably know what's going on at the Kamp, according to the motto: if it is too loud, you are too old!

If you can not get enough of them, you have the chance to experience GZH! all you can see and hear at Zappanale: first at the WarmUp party, then at the special events in the exhibition, Am Markt 3. On Friday, they will shake the showcases starting at 11.00 AM. And again on the Mystery Stage on Sunday afternoon.

Gabba Zappa Hey! are a London-based trio who play the music of Frank Zappa in a 70’s Punk style. Whilst their songs are delivered with a relentless Ramones 1234, there are many discarded corpses of other classic punk songs scattered amongst their frantic set. How many can you spot?

They have already attracted many notable admirers in their short career…

“The best one trick pony of a band you’ve never heard in your life, there’s no stoppin’ these cretins from hoppin’ “
(Andrew Greenaway, author of Zappa The Hard Way and Frank Talk, The Inside Story of Zappa’s Other People)

Gabba Zappa Hey! Are coming to get you…. Punk meets Zappa! It CAN happen here….
(Tim Op Het Broek, Poet, Lover, Hairdresser to the stars..)

Personally, I cannot see the point of reproducing well-known records in public. There is a lot of that in rock these days, and it seems to me like a descent into the soul-dead repertoire-fixation of "Classical" performances. I like a twist, an insight, a surprise, not just the same old same old. So seeing Gabba Zappa Hey! knocked my proverbial socks off. They play Zappa tunes as hardcore punk ditties, barking out numbers like "Lemme Take You To the Beach" and "Frogs with Dirty Little Lips" with a London aggro reminiscent of UK Subs (one of my favourite punk bands). In doing so, GZH! heal a rift which has scarred me for years, which is the punks' disdain for Zappa ("hippie!“) and Zappa's disdain for Punk. If you like both, as I do, you tend to be disdained by both "communities"! Zappa vs. Punk was fought out in the pages of New Musical Express in the late-70s and early-80s, and explains why there was never the kind of Zappa-worship here you got in the DDR and rest of eastern Europe: Zappa's disdain of Punk made him deeply unfashionable. Charles Shaar Murray, NME-writer and a total Mothers of Invention freak back in the day, presented FZ with the Sex Pistols, only to be told this was rubbish designed to sell boutique clothes (CSM's early journalism was replete with references to Zappa; so much so, that I think "punk", not a common English word at the time, was itself borrowed from "Hey Punk" on We're Only in It for the Money). Punk style comes naturally to British rock musicians. As the late Charlie Mitton pointed out, punk distilled a certain urgency and brittleness which informed Brit blues of the 60s. What was previously seen as a defecit was reinterpreted as a plus. So Gabba Zappa Hey! also solve the old "trying to be American" curse of Prog. They are a great band, and had me dancing upside down for the first time in my life (never having witnessed the Cardiacs, you understand). The kids thought I'd gone nuts.
(Ben Watson, author of Frank Zappa: the Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play)


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Zappanale #28

14. - 16.07.2017
The Torture stops in -312 days!
20. - 22.07.2018
The Torture stops in 59 days!