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CC CC, CC Meat...
Excuse the pun. But I'd like to illustrate how a few of Zappa's musical ideas link in with others, sometimes in a direct way, and sometimes in a more convoluted manner.
Variations on Sinister No.3 from Guitar may sound as though it's a standalone piece - indeed, it works quite well outside of it's songular context - but is actually the solo from a 1984 performance of Easy Meat. The vamp is similar to the 80-82 versions, which themselves were virtually identical to the vamp used to open some of the shows on the 78/79 tours, if a little faster. For an example of the feel of these 70s solos, check out He Used To Cut The Grass on Joe's Garage, and the Halloween example elsewhere on this page. In the 80s, Zappa often threw the opening phrase from Sinister III into his Easy Meat solos, tending to stay in the Lydian mode. This has the sharpened fourth which makes the Sinister Sound - to hear this interval yourself, play or record an F Major chord, and then play about with the C Major scale - B is the sharpened fourth. If you do this on a keyboard with a huge orchestral string patch, you can create your own faux-Hollywood soundtrack. Amuse your friends, scare your pets; one night only, E.T. in your bedroom.
Now, there's also another Easy Meat musical CC reference - I've listed the places I can remember hearing it, but I'm sure there are others. On official releases, listen to Easy Meat on YCDTOSA#5, from between 4:52 and 5:26. Now dig out your Joe's Garage Disc 2 and check out He Used To Cut The Grass from about 6:35. Hear the similarity? I recently discovered it in a most unlikely place - Bob In Dacron Movement II, from 3:54, and Craig Jones quotes it in his synth solo during the MIDI version of Purple Lagoon. It seems that this phrase is more plentiful than hydrogen, and I'm sure the large tape collectors (as opposed to the collectors of small tapes...) can furnish us with many more examples of its occurence. Stockholm 7th May 1982 is one that springs to mind - the Easy Meat solo commences with this particular Zappa vignette.
Right then - let's all cast our minds back to the 1980 band rehearsals which included Sinister Footwear - you haven't read that bit yet? Oh, ye of little linearity. Anyway, there was another song rehearsed during this time that included the aforementioned melody, along with many other musical snippets that exist elsewhere or remind me very much of other songs. To my knowledge, this piece was not played live or recorded at any time, or even named. Jon Naurin calls this mystery song they rehearsed 'The Mystery Rehearsal Song'. So that clears that up, then. It was also recorded for Banned From Utopia's demo, possibly due to the Mars/Barrow connection.
Here is a run down of what I hear in this song; some of the references are to actual known and named fragments of music, others just to phrases that are greatly reminiscent of other things in Zappa's catalogue. Not all of these are necessarily present in the soundclip.
Thirteen with 'Pick Me I'm Clean'-type melody over it, The Mystery Phrase, Call any Vegetable riff, Beauty Knows No Pain riff, Twenty One (played in Halloween 1978), Tink Walks Amok, sitar-type melody, and probably more.
This reusing of musical ideas is similar to Zappa's re-use of concepts, lyrics and ideas throughout his career. This follows along with my fractal/pattern idea of humans - everyone has a pattern to their behaviour and this pattern is subconsciously followed at any magnification, from how they conduct themselves in their work, to how they keep their house in order, to what state they leave the toothpaste in after brushing. In the same way, the social structure of an infants playground is exactly the same as the organisation of countries worldwide, it's just that the people are younger and there's crisps at stake instead of oil.
Sinister Footwear intro page
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