Frank Zappa's music has always been fascinating, confusing and unpredictable. Bringing together every single musical genre, instrument and sensibility, Zappa's vast output is a legacy of some of the most complex and brilliant music of this century.
Frank Zappa Concert Films
Classic Album: Apostrophe & Over-Nite Sensation
Runtime: 50 minThe Classic Albums series strives to be definitive, and this must-have program is fully authorized in the scope of its coverage. With complete cooperation and participation from the remaining Zappa family (sons Dweezil and Ahmet, daughter Moon, and widow Gail are all extensively interviewed) and additional interviews with Billy Bob Thornton, Alice Cooper, guitarist Steve Vai, veteran Rolling Stone critic David Fricke, and many of Zappa's closest associates and collaborators, this 97-minute documentary is packed with highlights and fascinating revelations, like the pristine precision of Zappa's hand-written compositions, Zappa's childhood fascination with the compositions of Edgard Varse, and his diligent, prolific, and disciplined, drug-free approach to recording and touring. Zappa's studio process is amazingly revealed when Dweezil and Zappa "Vaultmeister" Joe Travers sit down at a mixing table to analyze the master tapes of classic Zappa tracks like the hilariously controversial "Dyna-Moe Humm." In addition to vintage archival clips of Zappa discussing his music and career, and home movies of Zappa's band on tour during the mid-1970s, this program also includes the complete video of Zappa performing "I'm the Slime" on Saturday Night Live in 1976, live footage of a 1973 performance of "Montana," and a new performance of "Camarillo Brillo" by Dweezil's tribute band, Zappa Plays Zappa (with Dweezil playing one of his father's favorite Gibson guitars). Bonus features also include a Travers-hosted trip into the massive Zappa archives, and further deconstruction of Zappa tracks "Dirty Love" and "Nanook Rubs It." If you're a casual Zappa fan, this program will turn you into a passionate convert. For those who've loved Zappa all along, it's a little bit of heaven here on Earth.
The Torture Never Stops
Runtime: 1 hr 57 minFrank Zappa's New York Halloween 1981 concerts were filmed Live at The Palladium. This 'thing' entitled "The Torture Never Stops” was created in its entirety by FZ from the original concert production and intended by the Artist as one of 3 Television Specials. This is the longest version of the three - the others, "You Are What You Is" and "Dumb All Over", having actually aired. Halloween was Frank Zappa’s favourite holiday, and New York was the site of Frank Zappa Halloween concerts for years! The billion and a half airings by MTV of the concerts (non-edited) followed on closely from the release of the double album “You Are What You Is” in September of that year on Frank Zappa’s own recently founded and thoroughly independent label, Barking Pumpkin. Much of the set list is drawn from that work. All Frank Zappa shows were unique experiences with Zappa on guitar and baton, leading his band on flights of improvisation and drawing ever more intense performances from them. “The Torture Never Stops” cements Zappa’s reputation as one of the most innovative and challenging composers and performers of the 20th century.
Frank Zappa Top Tracks
Live in Texas '75
Runtime: 1 hr 57 minFilmed at The Summit in Houston, Texas on November 20th, 1975, this film captures a typically incendiary live performance by The Who at the start of the US leg of their tour in support of "The Who By Numbers" album which had been released earlier that year. The original video footage has been cleaned and the sound remixed by longtime Who collaborator Jon Astley but the show still retains a rawness that encapsulates the energy of The Who's performance. The set list stretches across the band's career from classic early singles such as "My Generation" and "Substitute" through an extensive "Tommy" section and up to tracks from the then newly released "By Numbers".
Live at Ronnie Scott's
Runtime: 1 hr 40 minJeff Beck is a true rock legend. From his time with the Yardbirds in the sixties, through the Jeff Beck Group and throughout his solo career his unique guitar style and constant desire to explore new musical areas and sounds has won him the admiration of his peers and the adoration of legions of fans. In 2007 Jeff Beck performed a series of concerts at the renowned Ronnie Scotts club in London. They became the must have ticket of the year with a packed audience every night of the famous and the fans. This program features pieces recorded across the different nights and presents the best version of each track. Jeff is also joined by guests Joss Stone, Imogen Heap and Eric Clapton for some very special performances.
Live at Montreux
Return To Forever
Runtime: 1 hr 49 minReturn To Forever were at the forefront of jazz/rock fusion in the seventies and like their contemporaries Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra were formed by a former Miles Davis sideman, in this case the great Chick Corea. Return To Forever hit their commercial and artistic peak with a string of albums in the mid-seventies featuring the line-up of Chick Corea on keyboards, Stanley Clarke on bass, Al Di Meola on guitar and Lenny White on drums. In 2008 this classic line-up reunited for their first tour in 25 years and proved that their musicianship and the chemistry within the band were as strong as ever. This concert was filmed at Montreux in July 2008 with the bonus tracks being filmed in Clearwater, Florida later the same month.
The Last 24 Hours
Runtime: 1 hr 2 minHere, in Jimi Hendrix - The Last 24 Hours the producers explore and explain the reasons why Jimis demise became shrouded in rumour, gossip and falsehoods. The authorities and media quickly dismissed the death of Hendrix as just another drugged rock star casualty; however for the first time, the circumstances leading to Jimi's tragic death can be examined as the producers present new and compelling evidence. Evidence, which may reopen the inquiry into what may have been for certain parties, a convenient death. Viewers will have to decide for themselves just what happened on September 18th 1970 in a small, private hotel situated in the Notting Hill area of London.
Classic Album: Disraeli Gears
Runtime: 49 minCREAM was rock's first true "super group". Combining the extraordinary talents of ERIC CLAPTON, GINGER BAKER and JACK BRUCE, this power trio became the template for many hard rock acts of the seventies. The band remains a huge influence on the genre even to this day. Powered by hits such as "Strange Brew" and "Sunshine of Your Love", Cream's second album, DISRAELI GEARS, moved the band beyond the blues into hard-driving, psychedelic pop. This was the album that not only broke the group in the United States but also established Clapton as an international superstar. This addition of Disraeli Gears to the acclaimed Classic Albums series features brand new interviews with Clapton, Baker and Bruce, along with lyricist Pete Brown, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, John Mayall and Manfred Mann. Also included on this program are acoustic performances, original studio tracks and archival live footage.
Classic Albums: Aja
Runtime: 50 minA vivid portrait of a '70s record that is still as fresh and memorable today as when it was released more than two decades ago. Pioneering pop/jazz band Steely Dan, formed by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker in the early seventies, had already secured five Top 40 albums before the release of Aja in 1977. Aja, however, was to prove to be the biggest selling album of Steely Dan's illustrious career, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard chart and spending a year in the Top 40. Becker and Fagen, renowned for their relentless perfectionism in the recording studio, recall the history of an album that was a year in the making, but rewarded with a Grammy Award and three hit singles. Steely Dan's Aja has proven to be one of the most outstanding jazz-rock albums in the history of popular music and now its story is told in this fascinating documentary.
Live at Montreux, 2003
Runtime: 1 hr 57 minJethro Tull is one of the most successful British acts of all time with a career reaching from the late sixties to the present day. In 2003 they made their first (and so far only) visit to the Montreux Festival. Split into a semi-acoustic first half and a full on electric second half, the concert was a triumph combining newer songs such as “Dot Com”, “Pavane” and “Budapest” with classic favorites. As ever Ian Anderson leads from the front with his instantly recognizable voice and inimitable style of one-legged flute playing.
Zappa Plays Zappa
Runtime: 57 minDweezil Zappa has led an extended and industrious rockin teenage combo dedicated to re-acquainting the world with the sights and sounds of his father, Frank. They revive Franks music in a fresh context that is -- above all else -- true to the elder Zappas unique and impeccable sonic heritage.
The junior Zappas guitar craft is at once like his fathers, and yet hes mature enough to have already developed his own signature touch.
ZPZ travels with a fairly substantial ensemble. Joining Dweezil are core constituents Joe Travers, Pete Griffin, Jamie Kime, Aaron Arntz, Scheila Gonzalez, and Billy Hulting. Another of Dweezils primary tethers to his father's legacy are the artists who at one time or another passed through the 60s, 70s, or 80s bands that Frank fronted.
Live at Montreux - 1974
Runtime: 51 minFormed by John McLaughlin in 1971, the Mahavishnu Orchestra pioneered the fusion of jazz elements into rock music while still undeniably retaining the power and muscle of a full on rock band. With McLaughlin as the ever-present, the line-up went through various phases and these two concerts from Montreux showcase the band at distinctively different times of their career, with the seventies show featuring later stars Jean-Luc Ponty and Michael Walden and the eighties concert featuring saxophone maestro Bill Evans.
Sum Of The Parts
Runtime: 1 hr 30 minThis is a feature-length documentary about Genesis - one of the most successful bands in rock history. And also one of the most vilified. A band that almost died in the mid-1970s with the loss of its leader ; it then survived a change of lead singer and style to storm the charts in the 1980s. Remarkably, its principle members developed successful solo careers in parallel with the band’s.
With full access to the key players, including Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, the film recounts an extraordinary musical story .
They were British public school boys, whose experimental progressive rock band, led by Peter Gabriel, attracted for much of the 1970s a fervent, mainly young male, following. But then in the 1980s, the Phil Collins-led Genesis kicked into an altogether different, more pop, sound , attracting a massive following - including many young women fans . In the process, they became one the most successful bands in the world. Their 1986 album “Invisible Touch”, for example, produced five US top ten singles including number one with the title song.
Live at Montreux
Runtime: 58 minYes are one of the most innovative and successful rock bands of all time with a career that now spans five decades. In 2003 the band made their first appearance at the Montreux Festival, despite having a long association with the town itself (they recorded there frequently in the seventies). It was a triumphant night and is regarded by both the band members and fans as probably the finest Yes gig ever to be filmed. It has been much in demand and is now finally cleared for release.
40th Anniversary Reunion Concert
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Runtime: 1 hr 28 minThe legendary rock band reunited to celebrate their 40th Anniversary and headlined London's first High Voltage Rock Festival. This was the historic moment when Emerson Lake and Palmer performed for the first time since 1998. This spectacular performance recaptured the musical genius of Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer as they performed their greatest hits in front of thousands of fans.