Friday, December 05, 2008

Frank Zappa and Little Feat

Neon Park, the artist for the Weasels Ripped My Flesh album cover, also did nearly all the Little Feat album covers.

Roy Estrada, original bass player for The Mothers, was also the original bass player for Little Feat

This is an interview with keyboardist Bill Payne from Little Feat. He talks about meeting Lowell George in the late sixties when Lowell was playing with The Mothers, prior to forming Little Feat.

When they were kids, Lowell George and Frank Zappa, appeared on the Al Jarvis Talent Show on KLAC-TV - George performed on harmonica in a duo with his brother and Zappa gave a puppet performance.They both lost the contest.

George's first band, The Factory, formed in 1965. Members included future Little Feat drummer Richie Hayward (he replaced Dallas Taylor in Sept 1966), and Martin Kibbee (a.k.a. Fred Martin) who would later co-write several Little Feat standards with George, including "Dixie Chicken" and "Rock & Roll Doctor".

At the end of 1967, The Factory was disbanding. They had been a staple of the club scene and were in the shows F-Troop and Gomer Pyle but a hit record eluded them. They did , however, record two demo songs for the Original Sound record label that were produced by Frank Zappa.

These two tracks, "Lightning Rod Man" and "The Loved One" (both included on the Lightning Rod Man CD) contain familiar Zappa production elements. "Lightning Rod Man", based on a Herman Melville story, was mistaken at times for a Captain Beefheart number.

Following the disbanding of The Factory, George briefly joined established hit band The Standells just prior to their disbanding. For a few months, George was a member of the Mothers of Invention. There was some confusion about which records George was actually on. Some records he played on, but got no credit, and some he got credit for but didn't play on. Weasels Ripped My Flesh? "You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Volume 5," including "Here Lies Love," with Lowell as lead vocalist? Burnt Weenie Sandwich?

According to George, he was kicked out of Zappa's group after proposing the drug related song "Willin".

Zappa's work in the studio was a big influence on George's own studio work as a producer of Little Feat records and other bands, like The Grateful Dead's "Shakedown Street".

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