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FOUND: The Lost Bowie Album Recorded In Philly

September 26th, 2016



THE TELEGRAPH: A lost album from David Bowie might seem like the holy grail of pop music yet the peculiarly named The Gouster, raised from the archives, is right here as the centrepiece of a handsome new 12-CD box set, Who Can I Be Now? (1974-76). The 27-year-old Bowie stares from the sleeve, draped in a newspaper and the American flag, looking unusually anxious, as if wondering what posterity might make of a collection of recordings he, himself, deemed unfit for release. He needn’t have worried. The Gouster turns out to be a minor joy from a major artist, a soulful stepping stone on the way to inventing a whole new genre of music. Between 1969 and 1980, Bowie released 13 astonishing albums. In the two-year, 1974-76, period alone he put out three albums: Diamond Dogs, Young Americans and Station to Station – all included in the new box set in various mixes. And now, it turns out there’s more. Well, sort of. Recorded in that same “American” period, during a break from touring over two incredibly productive weeks in Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, The Gouster has been restored from original mixes by producer Tony Visconti. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: Q&A With Tony Visconti

David Bowie Will Never Die

EDITOR’S NOTE: Glouster begins @ track 60.

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WORTH REPEATING: Dear White People, It’s Time We Talked Seriously About This Trump Noise

September 25th, 2016


DAILY KOS: I know it’s been a good long while since we had an honest and open conversation. I can’t say that I speak for everyone from my particular demographic of African Americans, because we don’t all agree—just as we all know not every Caucasian American thinks or believes the same. But before things go too much further and get too much worse, we need to talk. Seriously talk. Not at each other, not about each other from another room, but to each other. First: Let’s get to brass tacks about this Trump guy.

He says he wants to make things better for all of us, which would be nice. However his track record is a bit spotty. He once did something nice for Jesse Jackson. Okay, that’s cool. But he was also president of his father’s company when they were deliberately trying to keep black people from living in their buildings. Yeah, sure, that was a long time ago. In the meantime there was the Central Park Five incident, when he called for the death penalty to be used on five innocent black teenagers accused of a brutal rape. That one still kinda burns.

Trump had nothing to say about the shooting of Philando Castille, who had a legal gun permit. He had nothing to say about Castille having been pulled over 52 times and never getting arrested. He had nothing to say about the killing of Alton Sterling, in a state that doesn’t require a permit to open carry. He had nothing to say about he killing of 13-year-old Tyre King, who had a realistic looking BB gun—but then again, Ohio is also an open-carry state. He didn’t say anything when Officer Slam threw a 13-year-old girl across a school room.  He didn’t say anything about the McKinney, Texas, pool party incident. He had nothing to say about the shooting of Laquan McDonald, even though police clearly lied about what really happened and tried to cover it up.  And he had nothing to say about the officer who lied and falsely arrested Sandra Bland. He didn’t say anything about any of that until he was specifically asked at a black church. MORE

POLITICO: The 87 Biggest Lies Donald Trump Told Last Weektrump89

NEW YORK TIMES: The 31 Biggest Lies Donald Trump Told Sept. 15th-21st

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Donald Trump says that taxes in the United States are higher than almost anywhere else on earth. They’re not.  He says he opposed the Iraq war from the start. He didn’t. Now, after years of spreading the lie that President Obama was born in Africa, Trump says that Hillary Clinton did it first (untrue) and that he’s the one who put the controversy to rest (also untrue). Never in modern presidential politics has a major candidate made false statements as routinely as Trump has. Over and over, independent researchers have examined what the Republican nominee says and concluded it was not the truth — but “pants on fire” (PolitiFact) or “four Pinocchios” (Washington Post Fact Checker). MORE

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INCOMING: Straight Outta Christchurch

September 24th, 2016



On the whole, Philadelphians don’t take good times for granted, yes? (We savored the Phillies’ quasi-dynasty last decade; ditto for that ‘74-75 brace of Stanley Cups.) Let’s make sure this positive approach includes the current surfeit of notable New Zealand recording artists coincidentally touring through town here in late September. (Fact: 3 Kiwi acts are playing Philly within six days of each other, all hailing from NZ’s pastoral South Island; while bigger than the country’s commercial/ political hub of North Island, its 1,076,300 residents are but a quarter of its population. Fascinating.)

Most immediately, the Renderers play Kung Fu Necktie this Saturday. Founded in 1989 by couple Brian and Maryrose Crook of Christchurch, they did what many of New Zealand’s internationally celebrated underground/ indie rock bands have done since 1981: put out their first album on local NZ label Flying Nun. 1990’s Trail of Tears established their darkly sparse,  country/ bluesy songcraft, a signature sound through to this renderers3year’s excellent In The Sodium Light. An appealing, sepia-toned melancholia pervades all, with Maryrose and Brian each singing (so well) and applying moody, unhurried guitar+more play to gorgeously atmospheric, sometimes spacey effect. It works. Any fans of the Dirty Three who aren’t already in their dusty corner should head over.

As with other quality NZ acts, there’s a Philly angle – and it does, like said others, involve eternally estimable local label Siltbreeze, who put out the Renderers’ acclaimed A Dream of the Sea in 1998. (The Crooks, who recently relocated to the Mojave Desert, will be re-releasing the album on their own Tinsel Ears imprint soon.) More local score: Rosali, the compatible Philadelphia-based “psych-folk” opener on Saturday, released her oft-shimmering, feathery-fine debut Out of Love on Siltbreeze earlier this year.

“But the big [Siltbreeze-connected successive-Kiwis-LIVE-in-Philly] story” this week is still The Dead C’s cathartic, sonic guitar-squall, controlled art-noise set @ Johnny Brenda’s on Wednesday. The New Zealand trio has earned legendary status over its three decades for producing dense yet ingeniously textured, highly listenable (yes!) slabs of “lo-fi” sound-sculpture via guitars/ amps/ pedals/ etc. It’s gone out on record – Flying Nun; Xpressway (member Bruce Russell’s label, which also, BTW, released Renderers’ Brian Crook’s earlier band, the Terminals); a slew of revered ‘90s albums on Siltbreeze; and the brand new Trouble – and it was conjured onstage in Philly, one of just four USA tour dates.

If you missed it, I’m sorry – it may be because neither The Dead C nor the Renderers, to date, got ANY known press in Philly, preview or review – but … An unbroken, shifting, droning, enthralling soundscape of nearly an hr was created by Russell and Michael Morley working their gear, with scattered drum loops from a missing Robbie Yeats (who has played on some Renderers tracks), held up by visa problems. Oh yeah: for a different flavor of Kiwi, there’s the sweet-voiced country-indie stylings of Marlon Williams (Gram Parsons-indebted, down with Townes V.Z., etc.), playing Boot & Saddle on Tuesday. Dude’s way New Zealand – Maori, actually, descended from the Ngāi Tahu, indigenous to Te Waipounamu (that’s a co-existing official name of South Island – respect).– DAVID R. STAMPONE


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TONIGHT: Teenage Symphonies To God

September 23rd, 2016



Love & Mercy tells the harrowing, heartbreaking story of the life of Brian Wilson — Beach Boys auteur and resident genius — which goes like this: Angel-headed boy from Hawthorne, California, at the dawn of the 1960s, smitten by the harmonic convergence of The Four Freshman and the shimmering Spectorian grandeur of “Be My Baby,” forms band with his two brothers and asshole cousin, calls it The Beach Boys, writes uber-catchy ditties of Zen-like simplicity about surfing, hot rods and girls (despite being slapped deaf in his right ear by his sadistic tyrant of a father), boy becomes international pop star, boy has nervous breakdown and retires from touring and retreats to the studio where he gets into a pissing match with the Beatles and the race is on to get to the next level first, boy takes LSD, boy blows mind, boy sees God, boy starts hearing strange and beautiful music in his head, boy plays the studio like an instrument, sings choirs of angels, creates music of overarching majesty, astonishing beauty and profound sadness, boy makes greatest pop album of all time (Pet Sounds) and the greatest song of the 20th Century (“Good Vibrations”), boy starts hearing terrifying voices in his head, beset by demons from within and without (his sadistic tyrant of a father, his asshole cousin) boy loses mind and, eventually, the confidence of his band mates who pull the plug on his game-changing “teenage symphony to God” originally called Dumb Angel, but later re-titled Smile, boy retreats into a years-long bedroom hermitage of Herculean drug consumption, morbid obesity and sweet insanity, columnated ruins domino, family hires Mephistophelian psychiatrist/psychic vampire Dr. Eugene Landy (played with satanic aplomb by Paul Giamatti), who switches out boy’s steady diet of cocaine, LSD, sloth and self-pity for a zombie-fying regimen of prescription narcotics, fitness Nazism, and 24-7 mind control, boy meets girl (Melinda Ledbetter, his soon-to-be second wife, played by a big-haired, puffy-shouldered Elizabeth Banks) at a Cadillac dealership and falls in love, girl rescues boy from the clutches of evil doctor, boy lives happily ever after, or a reasonably close approximation thereof.

Pretty simple, really.

Granted it’s not a story that lends itself to the linear-flow cradle-to-grave biopic treatment, which is no doubt why Love & Mercy director Bill Pohlad (executive producer of Brokeback Mountain, 12 Years A Slave and Tree Of Life) and screenwriter Oren Moverman (I’m Not There, Jesus’ Son) elected to craft a bi-polar narrative that switches back and forth from the middle-aged Brian (played with aptly vacant affect by John Cusack, who eschews impersonation for for understated evocation) and young genius Brian (played with doughy intensity and uncanny resemblance by Paul Dano, who does not so much impersonate young Brian Wilson as inhabit him), in a race to the middle where they collide in the time-space-continuum of Brian’s bedroom in a mind-bending montage that is both loving homage and direct quote of the mysterious metaphysical endgame of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The ancient, iconic moments of Wilsonian mythos — the barefoot, white Chinos- &-blue-Pendelton shirt-wearing, surfboard-toting photo shoot idylls; the terrifying nervous breakdown at 20,000 feet; the acid-fueled, poolside transfiguration; the Wrecking Crew’s adoration of his otherworldly compositional prowess; the drug den wigwam in the living room and the piano in the sandbox; the fireman-hatted Smile session meltdown; the prison of belief in Landy’s methods (less a therapist than a sinister puppeteer) — are recreated in arresting, picture-perfect period detail. The cinematography nails the shifting tone and color and tint of the times and the score and sound design is suitably mind-altering. Pedestrians may quibble, but that will fall away in time. Love & Mercy is a grand and lasting monument to the noble beauty wrung from one man’s epic suffering. It is the story of Icarus on the beach, of the boy who got too high — flew too near the sun on wings of wax — and the man who fell to Earth. – JONATHAN VALANIA


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BETWEEN TWO FERNS: Hillary Clinton

September 22nd, 2016

“Are you excited to be the first girl president?”

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WORTH REPEATING: ‘Did They Have To Kill Him?’

September 22nd, 2016



FACEBOOK: Today at school, our staff decided we needed to press pause and create a space for kids to share their thoughts and feelings in response to the killing of Mr. Crutcher. I was part of facilitating three small group discussions throughout the day: a fifth grade group, a sixth grade group, and a seventh/eighth grade group. I want to share what I experienced with the kids today, because I am convinced that if you can put yourself in the shoes of a child of color in Tulsa right now, you will have a clearer understanding of the crisis we’re facing and why we say black lives matter.

1. I look at the wide-eyed faces of the fifth graders surrounding me: 10 and 11 year olds, waiting to hear what I had to say. I tell them we will read a news article about the shooting together so we can all be informed. As I read, the students busily highlight and underline parts that stand out to them: Fatally shot. Hands raised. “Bad dude.” Motionless. Affected forever. I finish and I ask them, “What are your thoughts?”

They answer with questions. Why did they have to kill him? Why were they afraid of him? Why does [student] have to live life without a father? What will she do at father daughter dances? Who will walk her down the aisle? Why did no one help him after he was shot? Hasn’t this happened before? Can we write her cards? Can we protest?

As the questions roll, so do the tears. Students cry softly as they speak. Others weep openly. I watch 10 year olds pass tissues to each other, to me, to our principal as he joins our circle. One girl closes our group by sharing: “I wish white people could give us a chance. We can all come together and get along. We can all be united.” Let me tell you, these 10 year olds are more articulate about this than I am. We agree to love one another, to take care of one another. I tell each of them that I am white and I love them and they matter to me. MORE

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INCOMING: Moby & The Pacific Void Choir

September 22nd, 2016

These Systems Are Failing drops October 14th.

PREVIOUSLY:  Maybe this story starts in Moby’s apartment on a sunny pre-9/11 morning in New York city. Moby and his neighbor David Bowie are sitting on the couch strumming “Heroes” on acoustic guitars. They are prepping for a Tibet House benefit concert at Carnegie Hall organized by Phillip Glass. This is too good to be true, Moby thinks to himself. What if it isn’t? What if I’ve lost my mind and I’m institutionalized and just hallucinating this? Does it even matter? Just go with it. As hallucinations go, you could do a lot worse.

Then Moby thinks to himself: If I could somehow travel back to 1977 and tell the 12 year old version of me that was standing in line Johnny’s Records in Darien, Connecticut, waiting to purchase the first album he would buy (Heroes, on cassette) with the money he earned from his first job (caddying at Wee Burn Country Club), that 24 years from now he’d be sitting on his couch with David Bowie rehearsing the version of “Heroes” they will perform at Carnegie Hall later that night…Nah, even a wide-eyed 12 year old wouldn’t buy a cock-and-bull story like that.

Maybe this story starts a few months back at the Hollywood compound of his pal David Lynch, who has nailed a dead chicken to the wall in the hopes that it will draw maggots, for reasons unclear to everyone but David Lynch. Naw, that’s too weird. Maybe it starts back in 1975 when a nine-year-old Moby is starring in a super-8 movie with Robert Downey Jr., his BFF at the time, directed by Downey’s father, the iconoclastic filmmaker Robert Downey Sr. Naw, Moby hasn’t spoken to Robert Downey Jr. since he was 10. Or maybe this story starts in bed with Natalie Portman circa 2001 — nah, people don’t want to read about that kind of stuff.

Or maybe it starts at that party Shepard Fairey threw a year or two ago, and Neil Young was there and somebody offered to introduce him, but Moby declined for fear yet another long time hero would disappoint in person. “I’m sure he’s a great guy,” he thought to himself, “but on the off chance he isn’t – if he’s mean or a jerk – all of the sudden I lose 30 of my favorite songs.” Nah, too anti-climactic.

Maybe it starts at Club Anthrax in Stamford CT, circa 1983, where the Vatican Commandos, the punk band of then-16-year-old Moby, is opening for The Circle Jerks. The guitar player from Hose, the other support act on the bill, wants to borrow Moby’s amp. His name is Rick Rubin. No, too name-droppy. MORE

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BOOKS: We Have Nothing To Fear But Books Itself

September 22nd, 2016



Banned Books week starts Sunday. The barbarians are at the gate.

RELATED: Top 10 Challenged Books Of 2015

RELATED: The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Banned Books Week Survival Guide

RELATED: If Your Book Hasn’t Been Banned, You’re Doing It Wrong

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September 21st, 2016

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The writer-director has launched Save the Day, a super PAC focused on encouraging Americans to get out and vote on Election Day. The first phase of that effort is a star-studded PSA that launched Wednesday featuring the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Julianne Moore, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Leslie Odom Jr.

The Save the Day website reads, “We are a short-form production company dedicated to the idea that voting is a necessary and heroic act. That every voice in this wonderfully diverse nation should, and must, be heard. That the only thing that can save democracy is the act that defines it. We are committed to fighting the apathy, cynicism, and honest confusion that keeps citizens from using their vote. And to reminding an increasingly out-of-touch and compromised set of representatives that they are answerable to the people they were hired to serve.”

The Whedon-helmed PSA, titled “Important,” features that bevy of celebrities urging Americans to vote on Nov. 8. While it doesn’t mention either Republican or Democratic presidential candidates Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton by name, Cheadle warns against “a racist, abusive coward who could permanently damage the fabric of our society.” Odom Jr. also asks, “Do we want to give nuclear weapons to a man whose signature move is firing things?” MORE

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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING MORRISSEY: Win Tickets To See Moz @ The Tower On Thursday

September 20th, 2016


For the deeply devoted—and they are legion—there are but two periods in the history of mankind: The time Before Smiths and the time After Smiths. The years B.S. ended in Manchester one May afternoon in 1982, when Johnny Marr—his rockabilly quiff stacked high and retro, Brando-esque Levis cuffed just right—ambled up to 384 Kings Road and knocked on the door. One Steven Patrick Morrissey, terminally unemployable bookworm homebody, who at the ripe old age of 22 was beginning to get the distinct feeling that life had passed him by, answered the door. Marr did not bother with the inane niceties of small talk, and told Morrissey, in so many words, that he was starting a band, it was going to change the world, and you are going to be the lead singer. In that case, Morrissey said, you had better come inside. Years later, after he’d been ensconced as the mopey poet laureate of a lost generation, Morrissey would say he had expected something like this all along, that for years on end he sat vigil in his bedsit sanctum in his mother’s house waiting for destiny to knock on his door.

And so it had.

They went up to Morrissey’s bedroom, which was wallpapered with floor-to-ceiling shelves heaving with books, and all roads seemed to lead to a typewriter on a desk. A failed rock critic, Morrissey had taken to writing poetry as of late. They bonded immediately over a shared love of ’60s girl groups like the Shirelles, the Crystals and the Shangri-Las. “There was so much yearning in those records,” Johnny Marr told me few years ago. “They had a great sound, there was a real magic and exuberance about them. Phil Spector’s production work had a gothic intensity. He created these three-minute explosions of sound. It was these mini-symphonies sung by teenagers in Brooklyn and Queens, and each one made a statement. It meant more to me than whatever tired shit was going around in the U.K. in 1982. I wanted to make records that had that kind of intensity. I thought that Morrissey was the only other person who liked the kind of music I liked for the same reasons I did. There is an understanding there, you know?” The next time, they met at Marr’s house. Up in his attic bedroom, they sorted out the truly important things—the color of the label on their first single (blue), the record company they were going to sign with (Rough Trade)—and then they started writing songs. Thus setting into motion a decades-long series of events culminating with the arrival of Morrissey at the Tower Theater on Thursday.

This show is completely sold the fuck out. However, we just so happen to have a pair of tickets to give away to some lucky Phawker reader. To qualify, all you have to do is sign up for our mailing list (see right, below the masthead). Trust us, this is something you want to do. In addition to breaking news alerts and Phawker updates, you also get advanced warning about groovy concert ticket giveaways and other free swag opportunities like this one! After signing up, send us an email at PHAWKER66@GMAIL.COM telling us a much, with the magic words SHOPLIFTERS OF THE WORLD UNITE! in the subject line. If you are already on our mailing list, then follow us on Twitter and send us an email notifying us that you have done so. Either way, please include your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. The 337th Phawker reader to email us saying they signed up for our mailing list, or are already on our mailing list, wins. Good luck and godspeed!

RELATED: “I wish I was born Mexican. I really like Mexican people. I find them so terribly nice. And they have fantastic hair, and fantastic skin, and usually really good teeth.” — Morrissey

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Seth Meyers Calls Bullshit On Trump’s Birther Fuckery And The Flaming Turd Barge It Rode In On

September 20th, 2016

Bravo. Sickest burn: “Saying you got it from Hillary would be like Bruce Springsteen saying he only wrote “Born To Run” because he heard Jon Bon Jovi say it once.”

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September 19th, 2016

Married couple Rennie and Brett Sparks have been making songs together as The Handsome Family for 21 years. In 2014, they gained much wider fame when their haunting song, “Far From Any Road,” became the theme for the first season of HBO’s True Detective. The duo’s dark, surreal lyrics come from Rennie, and the music, which draws from country music and church hymns, is written by Brett. Their latest album, Unseen, is based on their experiences living in the Southwest.

Rennie Sparks tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that she often has a different notion from her husband of what the music will sound like. “He’ll come back singing these words in a very different way, and bringing a whole different mood to them,” Rennie says. “That’s part of the excitement of working with him.” For Brett, this musical mind-meld is “almost like a third person is writing the song.” Rennie makes no apologies for the frequently macabre nature of her lyrics. “You know, it’s catharsis,” she says. “It’s a safe place to experience really terrifying things. And that’s what art is for.” MORE

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A Q&A With Terry Bozzio, Drummer’s Drummer

September 19th, 2016


Terry Bozzio circa early ’80s

BY JAMIE KNERR Terry Bozzio has seemingly done it all in the world of drums and percussion over the last 40-odd years, in the rarified air at the very highest peaks of rock, pop, jazz, fusion, world music and, well, you name it. Or so you might think. Fortunately for him, and for all of us, he hasn’t yet reached his pinnacle and is still climbing. Now more than ever he’s inspired to find new directions, other musical worlds to explore and map, in 2016 and beyond.

Already held in the highest esteem by both his musical contemporaries and worldwide audiences alike, Bozzio is currently undertaking a tour of solo appearances across the U.S. Challenging his own limitations, expanding old forms while forging new ones, mining deeper, subtler layers of his musical expression, these performances–partly improvised, partly composed, ever-changing–invariably produce some truly breathtaking results, with plenteous rewards for the listener.

Probably best known for his brilliant work on ten albums with Frank Zappa in the 70’s, Bozzio has a zootallures1drumming resume that’s enough to make your head spin right off your shoulders. He has recorded and/or performed with no less than Captain Beefheart, Jeff Beck, the Brecker Brothers, UK, Herbie Hancock, Robbie Robertson, Billy Sheehan, Holdsworth-Levin-Bozzio-Mastelotto, Group 87, Andy Taylor, Missing Persons, even Korn, and far too many other luminaries to name. Not to mention his significant accomplishments as a composer, drum clinician, and visual artist.

A lifelong fan–but not generally star-struck–I confess to swallowing down hard on a lump in my throat when I spoke to Terry last week, in advance of his upcoming show at World Cafe Live on September 22nd. Thankfully he immediately put me at ease by being a sincere, personable, self-effacing, gregarious guy. We talked for nearly an hour.

PHAWKER: Hey Terry, how are the shows going?

TERRY BOZZIO: Well I’ve only done one so far, and that was perfect. It was sold out, at the Musical Instrument Museum Theater in Phoenix. It’s really a great place, you should check it out. You could spend hours there looking at instruments from around the world.

PHAWKER: On your current tour of solo performances in the U.S.: Is the music based on preconceived musical motifs and themes, or are you more or less shooting from the hip in terms of improvisation?

TERRY BOZZIO: Well, it’s both. There’s through-composed compositions, and improvisations. There’s form and structure and composition, but it’s always open when I solo. I never do the same thing twice, or know exactly what I’m going to do.

PHAWKER: Could you talk a little about what brought you to where you are now musically, vaultedgeterrybozzioparticularly with the greater emphasis on melody and harmony, using pitched drums?

TERRY BOZZIO: I think I started to develop my own style after Zappa. I started to compose more melodic drum parts, I threw my ride cymbal away, starting stacking cymbals, using other instruments on my set. Even more so around the time I got with Jeff Beck. Also when I began doing drum clinics I was starting to play simple ostinatos. To my amazement everybody seemed to like that, so it encouraged me to do some more. I started using a gong as ride cymbal, using multiple hi hats…it sort of went in that direction. Now I’m just trying to go deeper and deeper. I look to people like Joe Zawinul, Miles Davis, to sort of inspire me in that direction. On my current kit I started with eight DW piccolo toms, set up in a diatonic scale…eventually I expanded the kit to include five more toms, tuned chromatically, so the drum set really became almost like a European-style button accordion.

PHAWKER: The kit you’re playing these days is just enormous, it must take forever to set up for performance…

TERRY BOZZIO: Yes. We can do it, in a relaxed way, in about four hours. I think the record was about 45 minutes in Chicago when I had a lot of really good help!

PHAWKER: Tell us something that would surprise us, either musically or personally, about Frank Zappa.

TERRY BOZZIO: I think the greatest misconception was that he was a crazed drug-addict hippie or something. He was a total tea-totaler. I’d seen him take a sip or two of alcohol in my life, never seen him anything like drunk or anything. He was always anti-drugs and would fire or fine anyone in the band that was messing around in that direction. He was a genius on at least seven different levels. He could have been really successful in any of those areas…he really enjoyed being an observer though. He never participated in anything that could be considered foolish or stupid at any time. He was an arrow, absolutely straight-ahead. “Get up every day and kick it to death” was kinda his thing. That was what his dedication was like.
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