Friday, October 26, 2007
Trolling the Underground : Interstellar Zappadrive
Thirty eight years ago, Paris was slated tohave its first rock festival, the Festival "Actuel".
The festival did occur, but due to bureaucratic nonsense it ended up in Belgium. It must have been one hell of a scene, though. If you look at the list of bands below (click to embiggen) there are some amazing possibilities. I recognize the name Aynsley Dunbar from his work with Zappa and Jefferson Starship, and likewise recognize Keith Tippet from his brief stint with King Crimson in the 70s, but don't know if either of these bands was ever recorded. Better known bands included Yes, the Nice, and the Pretty Things. Zappa was there first as Capt. Beefheart's road manager, and soon stepped up to being the MC for the festival. This presented certain problems, however, since the audience spoke little English and Zappa's command of French was tenuous at best. He abdicated those duties and ended up playing as a guest with many of the bands instead. One of them was Pink Floyd.
I've been wanting to post this for awhile, but couldn't because it's a little too long for the storage I was using before. My new storage site has no limits, so I can post this delicious 20 minute jam from October 25 1969. On that night Zappa joined Pink Floyd onstage to improvise through an uncustomarily long and experimental version of the already long and experimental Syd Barrett classic Interstellar Overdrive.
When I found this, I actually found two different versions of it. One was called Interstellar Zappadrive and the other was Let's Be Frank. Being as it doesn't cost anything, I downloaded them both and gave them both a listen. Not only was IZ the better sounding audience recording, it also came with a few alternate soundboard cuts. What I have here, though, is from the audience - no board of the Zappa stuff. It sounds pretty damn good, though, and has become a favored listen here Under the Bridge. Those of us familiar with Gilmour and Zappa's styles will be able to pick them apart, and it's amazing how easily Zappa fits in with and influences what's going on with the song. Those of you who don't know the difference, just buckle in for some hot psychedelia. You can hear it right here.
There was a film made of this festival called Music Power, and I understand it includes footage of this song. It's never been released, however, due to objections among the artists - including Pink Floyd. It's floating around out there, though, so far eluding your Troll. Another Holy Grail, I guess.