Terry Ted Bozzio recorded and toured with Frank Zappa starting in 1975, and appeared, also as a vocalist, on a number of Zappa's most prosperous albums, including Zoot Allures, Zappa in New York, Sheik Yerbouti and Thing-Fish, and in the concert movie Baby Snakes (including him singing lead on part of the song "Punky's Whips"). He is known for performing Zappa's "The Black Page", a piece of music made to be a "musician's nightmare" a page so filled with notes as to be almost black.
Could you tell me a little bit about how you came to audition for Frank Zappa ?
|Terry Ted Bozzio|
Terry Ted Bozzio: Well, basically: I heard from Eddie Henderson – who I was playing with at the time – that George Duke had said that Zappa was looking for someone. Never heard his music. Three days before the audition, I decided to buy a couple of albums – ‘Live At The Roxy’ and ‘Apostrophe(‘)’. Didn’t sleep for the next three days. Flew myself down to LA. Went to Zappa’s warehouse – you know, he had a big huge stage, sound and light equipment I’d never seen before. Most difficult music I’d ever seen spread all over the stage. There was about 50 drummers around. There were two Ludwig Octaplus sets set up. And one drummer would set one kit up while the other one would audition. And they were going back and forth, dropping like flies. So I thought I’d never get this gig, so I asked some friends if they’d heard about a Weather Report audition, because I heard that they were looking for a drummer and I knew I wasn’t gonna get this gig. And they said, well Frank’s drummer left…
Terry Ted Bozzio: …yeah, to join them. So that made me even more discouraged. But I thought, well I paid the money to come down here, I owe it to myself to try. The one thing I’d noticed was a lot of the drummers were sort of flaunting their chops. I thought the least I could do was go up there and listen and try and play with the guy. So I did the best I could; sight-reading a very difficult piece, memorising a very difficult piece, jamming with a very odd time signature – like 19 – and then playing a blues shuffle. At the end of that, Frank said “You sound great, I’d like to hear you – after I hear the rest of these guys – again.” And I turned to his road manager, his road manager turns to the twenty or so guys that were hanging around, and they’re all shaking their heads, and the road manager turns around and says, “That’s it, nobody else wants to play after Terry.” So Frank turns to me and says “Looks like you’ve got the gig if you want it.” So I was completely blown away.
As busy and in demand as Bozzio has remained since getting his first big break with Frank Zappa in 1975, over the last 25 years he's also devoted significant time giving back to the drum community as a clinician. "The first time I did a clinic I believed that I'd reveal my hippest skills," says Bozzio. "Then by the next year everyone would have encompassed and absorbed that so I'd have to move forward and develop new material. I've been creating new material repeatedly for years, and I've found myself out in left field trying to make music and play melodically on the drums."
Bozzio has played avant-garde rock with Frank Zappa, fusion jazz with the Brecker Brothers, progressive rock with Jeff Beck, and nü metal with Korn. He additionally created his own new wave band Missing Persons at the start of the Eighties and participated in many "super group" projects like The Lonely Bears (with Hugh Burns, Toney Coe, and Tony Hymas), Polytown (with Mick Karn and David Torn), Bozzio Levin Stevens (with Tony Levin and Steve Stevens), and HoBoLeMa (with Allan Holdsworth, Tony Levin, and Pat Mastelotto). But Terry 's solo work is even more amazing than the various bands, projects, and sessions he has participated in. In 1992 he released his first solo albums, Solo Drum Music I and Solo Drum Music II,
How Terry Ted Bozzio Came Into The Frank Zappa Band ? Reviewed by Klemen Hlupič on 11:50 Rating: