The Big Note | Serving The Lumpy Gravy
Magic Ink
Poofter's Froth
Galoot Update
Just Another School...
Search TBN

Get Update Notification
Who Did What Blurb

This whole monstruousity was originally conveived February through March 2001 by the members of The Big Note - a Frank Zappa YahooGroup. After an arduous gestation period, this site was birthed on April 11 2001. True to the essence of collaborative effort, these people are held responsible.

All content:
© TheBigNote 2001-2004
unless specified otherwise.
Speed will turn you into your parents.


Powered by MovableType

Ugly Counter Image


Return Of The Son Of...

Zappa Story #3
(Written by Steve Vai; submitted by Poodle)

"You Are What You Is" was the first real studio album I ever played on... I remember going up to Frank's house one night for nine days. When you worked with Frank in the studio, you could just record and record until you couldn't stand it anymore. Then you sleep a little bit, you get up, maybe eat some Raisin Bran with room temperature milk and record, then record some more. Then there will be material out with you on it for many years to come. "You Are What You Is" was a challenging record to make. Some of the material was very hard for me and I was surprised at how patient Frank was. I remember how he would sit directly next to me at the console, punching me through the guitar parts.
Moments like that are blazed into my memory, never to be forgotten. Much of the material on "Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch" was recorded on the 1981 tour, then some overdubs were done in the studio. On the song "Envelopes," my live guitar track had some hairy sounds on it, and, by accident, Frank erased it. He put his head in his hands and said, "Boy, sometimes I'm such a dumb guy."
I said, "Don't worry. I'll run around in the studio and create a live ambient sound like an audience and play the part." He chuckled, we re-recorded it, and it came out better. Guess you can't fool fate.
- Steve Vai .

Zappa Story #4
(Written & submitted by SOFA)

Here's a story that you may - or may not - find interesting...
It's no secret that I've been a rabid proponent of the quizzes that we have shared as a group (maybe rabid is too mild a term). After the relative ease with which that crafty canine (poodle) was answering my "tough" questions, I challenged myself to come up with the "best FZ quiz question ever". Though not having the time for it, I started to re-read everything on FZ that I have in order to find the "BFZQQE"; fortunately, I didn't need to research all that far! While perusing the book "Viva Zappa", I noticed a photo that I'd seen in other Zappa related tomes throughout my fanhood. One of the participants was named, simply, "Kansas". It occurred to me, after seeing -&- hearing the word Kansas relating to the early MOI throughout the years and after all that I had read - no, devoured - on FZ in all that time, I had absolutely no idea who that guy was!

My "BFZQQE" became, therefore, "Who was/is Kansas?" Of course, in my glee at discovering the "BFZQQE", I forgot to grasp the significance that I did not know the answer to the question either; I assumed this to be a minor setback. I continued my research through the published Zappa stuff that I have; nothing turned up (Ben Watson doesn't even mention him). I checked all my CD covers; found his picture and the name Kansas, but no actual credit (tho' he's featured on the GTO's "Permanent Damage", he's not in the credits!). I finally succumbed and posted the question at AFFZ (it was hard for me, as I had unsubscribed from the newsgroup after a viscous mailbombing, and had not been in for a while). Jon Naurin was my only respondent and he had no clue. I decided to play my "ace" - I e-mailed Don Preston and asked him the question (I have corresponded with Don before; he's a very nice guy). His reply follows:

"Dear SOFA, I knew Kansas for a number of years. He was from Kansas. He worked on the railroad before meeting the Mothers. I think he did some outrageous stuff at the Garrick Theater and Frank asked him if he would join the group as a roadie. He was a very colorful person and that's just about all I know about him. Don Preston"
Well, the message said a lot; but it really told me nothing. I didn't want to go back to Don, so I e-mailed Jon Naurin again, and asked him for any thoughts. He suggested I contact Cal Schenkel and ask him.

I did; my letter and Calvin's response follows:

SOFA wrote:
"Dear Calvin, As a longtime fan, I hope you can answer a question for me. Let me preface this by saying that I am a member of an informal FZ chat group called The Big Note and I take pride in coming up with FZ related trivia questions for the group (your artwork has been the focus of numerous lively discussions!). Okay so I'm wearing brown lipstick here, but it's my first correspondence!
I have a real ballbreaker question that I want to spring on the group; unfortunately, I haven't been able to track down the answer. Here is where I hope you may be able to help...The question I wish to pose is who is/was Kansas?
My research has only uncovered that he was a roadie for the MOI after attending several of the Garrick shows, that he was a "colorful" character once employed by the railroad, and that he was from Kansas (Don Preston provided me with this info).
But, I would like to know his name - other than Kansus J. Kansus. The folks at AFFZ could not answer this (Jon Naurin turned me on to your site). Don did not provide a name with his recollections. Might you be able to help me in my research by providing his name - at least a given first name? Regardless, thank-you for taking the time to read this communiqué. In admiration,

Calvin responded:
"Dear SOFA-- Kansas (I believe the correct spelling is Kansas J. Cansus) legally changed his name to that appellation sometime around 1970, at which time he forbade all from ever revealing his (former) name at birth. He currently lives in Switzerland, and Luddite that he is, does not maintain a connection to the Internet. We correspond occasionally by postal mail however--
I'll tell him you were asking about him.

Well there you have it friends - my Zappa Story. It's been lovely writing for you this evening...
Goodnight... {End post with a rousing rendition of "Tears Began to Fall"}

Frank Zappa

More Essays?