Friday, November 07, 2008

My Name is Jimmy Carl Black and I'm the Indian of the Group

I'm going to skip ahead a bit to senior year.  Only because tonight I read that Jimmy Carl Black of the Mothers of Invention had passed away at the age of 70.  The Mothers of Invention were one of the finest bands of the sixties.  Weird, truly experimental, and, well, fun.  They were funny and inventive and crazy.  I loved them the first time I heard them and I wasn't even on dope.
Besides Frank Zappa, the leader of the group, Jimmy Carl Black and Ian Underwood were my favorites.  Jimmy because of the quote that opens this post and Ian Underwood because of one the finest sax solos of all time on Uncle Meat with Ian Underwood whips it out.  God, I loved that band.  Because brown shoes don't make it and we could always make the water turn black.  Impish, insane, fun, musically complex.  The best sixties rock band ever.  Better than the Stones or the Beatles because they didn't give a fuck about the music industry.  In fact they were totally anti establishment even as they made fun of hippies and doo wop and everything under the sun.  
In some ways what is even more interesting about Jimmy Carl Black is not his work with Francis Vincent Zappa but his life.  His obit says that after the Mothers disbanded and his band failed he went to work painting houses with Arthur Brown.  Arthur Brown of "Fire"!  What a bizarre house painting company that must have been.  After that he worked in a donut shop.  One of my musical idols working in a donut shop while I was driving a truck after college.  If you had told me senior year in HS that in the late 70's me and Jimmy Carl would be on the same economic strata I'd have said you were nuts.
My friends from Rutgers and I went to see the Mothers at a Halloween show at the Capitol Theater in Passaic.  It was a raucous joy from beginning to end.  Within two years they were no more and Jimmy Carl was painting houses  in West Texas.

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