Tag Archives: Frank Zappa

Rock In Opposition

Rock In Opposition, part 1 – Introduction.
RIO came as a result of British avant-garde group Henry Cow’s frustration with the music industry in the late 70’s, having travelled in Europe for most of the 70’s, and met with other avant-garde bands, they came to the conclusion that the industry was only interested in the finances not the music, making it almost impossible to create an innovative art, within the system. They invited bands of similar interests to England, and created the first Rock in Opposition festival in 1978.

Japanese band Korekyojinn at the 2013 Rock In Opposition festival.

In the beginning it was a movement or organisation, but it has also become associated with a genre, used to describe an Avant-garde style of (Rock) music, incorporating elements from 20th century Classical music, free from Jazz and experimental Rock, into an eclectic highly complex progressive rock music. That said, not every RIO associated band, plays the same style of Avant-Garde so it is impossible to give a precise description. When the term is used as a genre it is sometimes associated with the works of Frank Zappa, but it would be more correct to say that he inspired many of the RIO acts.

Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention 1969

The original RIO festival included 5 different acts : Henry Cow (England), Stormy Six (Italy), Samla Mammas Manna (Sweden), Univers Zero (Belgium) and Etron Fou Leloublan (France). Soon the organisation also included Art Zoyd (France), Aksak Maboul (Belgium) and Art Bears (England), Art Bears was made of former Henry Cow members, as Henry Cow disbanded shortly after RIO was created.

Stormy Six – 1977

The organisation was short lived, but they had created attention, proved there was a need for a music not able to exist within the borders of the UK/US record industry, made a record company Recommended Records to distribute this music, and many bands have been inspired by them. The Rio movement is not dead, Rio festival are still held and new generations make RIO inspired albums.
Etron Fou Leloublan – live 1979

The tundra’s of Winter Rock

Previous post in this series.
Now to a Rock classics about winter, taken from The Rolling Stones, 1971 album Goats Head Soup.

Winter was officially credited to singer Jagger/Richards, but it is likely the work of Jagger and lead guitarist at the time, Mick Taylor. It was the first song recorded for the album and does not feature Richards at all. There is a deep melancholy, in this ballad, underlined by the strings, Mick Taylors guitar, and Jaggers vocal. They perfectly catch the desperation and sadness, winter can represent.

Now, after all this way to serious music, luckily there is also a funny side of winter :

In Rock music the funny approach to winter , was most excellently put on Record by Frank Zappa, on his famous 1974 album, Apostrophe (‘), in “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow Suite” a story about “Nanook the Eskimo” and “The Fur Trapper”, running over the first four tracks of the album.
With the Eclecticism of Zappa’s music, I am not going to try describing that, I just hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Frank Zappa : “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow Suite” first two tracks.

(The video is not a Zappa original, but it is a perfect fit)