I was going to post a "review" of this show but forgot about
it until now. Went to see Don Preston and Bunk Gardner (of
Mothers of Invention fame) at Orion Studios on Saturday. It
was a good show. Both guys are closing in on 80 years old,
but you wouldn't know it from their performance. They told
stories and jokes, Don did some magic tricks and they played
lots and lots of Zappa songs (plus some original material)
and did lots of improvising and soloing. The whole thing was
very informal - almost like having these legendary musicians
come over to your house to hang out and play some songs in
your living room.
During King Kong, Don did a trick where it looked like he
jabbed a conductor's baton through is arm, then played the
whole song that way. He said he'd like to see Keith Emerson
try to do that.
Before the show they brought a female volunteer up on the
stage and Bunk gave her roses and danced with her while Don
serenaded them, then they crowed her "The Suzy Creamcheese of
The only drawback was that they had to use pre-recorded
rhythm section tracks, since it was just Don on keys and Bunk
on sax and flute. I think I liked last year's show better when
they had Paul Sears sit in on drums.
Overall a fun show. They're not going to dazzle you with their
chops anymore, but they more than make up for it with the sort
of charisma that made the Mothers a great band.
During intermission (they played two sets of about an hour each)
I picked up Bunk's CD "It's All Bunk", which collects music he's
recorded all across his career. Everything from big band
recordings from the 50s through performances with the Grandmothers
in the 90s. It's an interesting disc - much more avant garde than
I was expecting, although there are some more melodic and "pretty"
songs too. I particularly like the tracks by a trio he was part
of in the 70s called "Menage a Trois". I'd like to hear a full
album of their stuff sometime.
After the show Don and Bunk hung around to sign autographs and
take pictures with people. They said they'd like to come back
again next year - I got the impression they just love performing
music for people.