joe travers

Joe Travers was the drummer for Dweezil & Ahmet Zappa's group "Z", then fell into the job of "Vaultmeister" for the Zappa Family Trust to archive and preserve the contents of Frank Zappa's extensive vault. He is the Joe in "Joe's Corsage" and "Joe's Domage"...

 Throughout this time Joe has been involved in a number of live performing groups (Duran Duran, Warren Cuccurullo, Lisa Loeb, Mike Keneally & Beer for Dolphins, Gryphon Labs & currently Zappa Plays Zappa) and studio projects in and around Los Angeles.

Joe Travers also contributed to the "FZ Birthday Bundle" albums.

The WesFest 8 Festival featured Joe Travers & Friends (Scheila Gonzalez, Kurt Morgan, Ben Thomas, Rick Musallam, James Santiago and Rico Belled). For Wesfest 2013, Joe and his group were joined by special guest vocalist Holland Greco.

February 2015, Joe Travers teamed up with Kurt Morgan (and some more ZpZ-members) to perform as Yogurt.
The band did two Zappa shows at The Baked Potato.


  z: shampoo horn
    (1994, cd, usa, barking pumpkin r2 71760)  / american edition, = ahmet & dweezil zappa, feat. mike keneally, joe travers, bryan beller, scott thunes, terry bozzio, morgan ågren
z_shampoo_horn.jpg (27902 bytes)


mike keneally: boil that dust speck (2)
    (1994, cd, usa, immune records)

  z: music for pets
    (1995, cd, usa, zappa records) = ahmet & dweezil zappa, feat. mike keneally


frank zappa: frank zappa plays the music of frank zappa
   (1996, cd, usa, barking pumpkin)


mike keneally & beer for dolphins: sluggo (4)
(1997, cd, usa, immune records)

  lisa loeb: cake and pie
    (2002, cd, usa, a&m records 493 242-2) - feat.dweezil zappa, lala sloatman, joe travers

  lisa loeb: hello lisa
    (2002, cd, usa, sheridan square records 751151-2) - feat.dweezil zappa, lala sloatman, joe travers
lisaloeb_hellolisa.jpg (32636 bytes)


frank zappa: halloween
    (2003, dvda, usa, dts entertainment 69286-01101-9-9) - vaultmeisterment

  bryan beller: view
    (2003, cd, usa, onion boy records obr-6913001) - feat. mike keneally, joe travers
bb_view.jpg (26188 bytes)
  lisa loeb: the way it really is
    (2004, cd, usa, zoe records) - feat.dweezil zappa, joe travers

lisaloeb_thewayitreallyis.jpg (14045 bytes)


frank zappa: joe's corsage
    (2004, cd, usa, vaulternative records) - vaultmeisterment


frank zappa: joe's domage
    (2004, cd, usa, vaulternative records) - vaultmeisterment


frank zappa: quaudiophiliac
    (2004, dvda, usa, dts entertainment 69286-01125-9-9) - vaultmeisterment


frank zappa: joe's xmasage
    (2005, cd, usa, vaulternative records) - vaultmeisterment


mike keneally band: guitar therapy live
    (2006, cd + dvd, usa, exowax 2408-1)


frank zappa: imaginary diseases
    (2006, cd, usa, zappa records) - vaultmeisterment

  mike keneally: boil that dust speck
    (2007, cd+dvd, usa, exowax) - reissue with bonus disc

  zappa plays zappa: zappa plays zappa
    (2007, 2dvd, eu, strobosonic strobo-d-100) - all compositions by frank zappa, feat.dweezil zappa, n.m.brock, s.vai & t.bozzio

  various artists: video games live - volume one
    (2008, cd, usa, emi) - feat.dweezil zappa, joe travers, pete griffin
  zappa plays zappa: zappa plays zappa
    (2008, cd, usa, razor & tie 7930182993-2) - all compositions by frank zappa, feat.dweezil zappa, n.m.brock, s.vai & t.bozzio

  zappa plays zappa: zappa plays zappa
    (2008, 2dvd, usa, razor & tie 7930182997-9) - all compositions by frank zappa, feat.dweezil zappa, n.m.brock, s.vai & t.bozzio

  zappa plays zappa: zappa plays zappa
    (2008, 2dvd + 3cd, usa, razor & tie 7930182997-9) - all compositions by frank zappa, feat.dweezil zappa, n.m.brock, s.vai & t.bozzio


frank zappa: one shot deal
    (2008, cd, usa, zappa records)

  gryphon labs: the blinded ep
    (2008, download, usa, --)

gryphon_labs_theblindedep.jpg (14184 bytes)

  various artists: the frank zappa aaafnraaa birthday bundle 21 dec 2008
    (2008, itunes, -) - feat. frank, dweezil, ahmet & diva zappa

aaafnraaa2008.jpg (24142 bytes)


mike keneally: scambot 1
    (2009, 2cd, usa, exowax ex-2410) - limited, numbered edition with bonus disc

mk_scambot1_2cd.jpg (30980 bytes)


mike keneally: scambot 1
    (2009, cd, usa, exowax ex-2410)

mk_scambot.jpg (28006 bytes)


frank zappa: philly '76
    (2009, 2cd, usa, vaulternative records) = vaultmeister & producer

zappa086.jpg (27298 bytes)

  dweezil zappa: return of the son of...
    (2010, 2cd, usa, razor & tie) - all compositions by frank zappa // feat. ray white

dweezilzappa_returnofthesonof.jpg (26081 bytes)

  chicanery: chicanery
    (2010, cd, usa, dpulse) = a warren cuccurullo project / feat. terry bozzio, joe travers

chicanery_cd.jpg (21312 bytes)


frank zappa: congress shall make no law...
    (2010, cd, usa, zappa records zr20011)

zappa_congress_cd.jpg (34314 bytes)

  gryphon labs: modern mythology
    (2010, download, usa, --)

gryphon_labs_modernmythology.jpg (25055 bytes)


frank zappa: hammersmith odeon
    (2010, 3cd, usa, vaulternative records 20101) - production & vaultmeisterment

fz_vr20101.jpg (24690 bytes)

  various artists: the frank zappa aaafnraaaa birthday bundle 21 dec 2010
    (2010, itunes, -) - feat. frank, dweezil, ahmet zappa

aaafnraaaa_2010.jpg (22223 bytes)

  bryan beller: wednesday night live
    (2011, cd, usa, onion boy records obr-6913004) - feat. mike keneally, joe travers

bb_wnlive.jpg (28602 bytes)

  bryan beller: wednesday night live
    (2011, dvd, usa, onion boy records obr-6913005) - feat. mike keneally, joe travers

bb_wnldvd.jpg (36201 bytes)

  frank zappa: penguin in bondage - the little known history of the mothers of invention
    (2011, download, usa, zappa records) - vaultmeisterment
fz_penguin2011dl.jpg (32087 bytes)
  mike keneally band: bakin' @ the potato
    (2011, cd/dvd, usa, exowax) - feat. bryan beller, joe travers

mk_bakinatthepotato.jpg (26510 bytes)

  gryphon labs: the red room
    (2011, download, usa, bandcamp)

gryphonlabs_theredroom.jpg (29081 bytes)

  dweezil zappa: live - 'in the moment'
    (2011, 2cd, usa, fantom records fr1 112011)

dweezilzappa_inthemoment.jpg (29530 bytes)


frank zappa & the mothers of invention: carnegie hall
    (2011, 4cd, usa, vaulternative records) - vaultmeisterment

fz091.jpg (18146 bytes)

  dweezil zappa: return of the son of...
    (2011, 3lp, eu, music on vinyl movlp257) - all compositions by frank zappa // feat. ray white  //  vinyl release of the 2010 2cd album

dweezilzappa_returnofthesonof.jpg (84282 bytes)

  dweezil zappa: f.o.h.
    (2012, 2cd, usa, fantom records) - all compositions by frank zappa / = zappa plays zappa

dweezilzappa_foh.jpg (153867 bytes)

  dweezil zappa: f.o.h. III - out of obscurity
    (2012, cd, usa, fantom records) - all compositions by frank zappa / = zappa plays zappa, feat. scott thunes

dweezilzappa_foh3.jpg (21832 bytes)


frank zappa: road tapes - kerrisdale arena, vancouver bc, 25 august 1968
    (2012, cd, usa, vaulternative records)
zappa_roadtapes19680825.jpg (31025 bytes)


frank zappa: understanding america
    (2012, 2cd, usa, zappa records)
zappa_understandingamerica.jpg (28419 bytes)


frank zappa: finer moments
    (2012, cd, usa, zappa records) - vaultmeisterment

zappa_finermoments.jpg (47358 bytes)

  various artists: jazzism - colive!
    (2013, cd, nl, radio 6 / ntr / jazzism) - feat. mike keneally, napoleon murphy brock & steve vai

colive_cd.jpg (21916 bytes)

  mike keneally: you must be this tall
    (2013, cd, usa, exowax) - feat. bryan beller, joe travers, marco minnemann

mk_youmustbethistall.jpg (30601 bytes)

  mike keneally: sluggo!
    (2013, 2cd + 2dvd, usa, exowax) = reissue with lots of bonus material

sluggo2013-1.jpg (16501 bytes)

  morgan ågren: conundrum (a percussive misadventures)
    (2013, dvd, usa, bend bars / lift gates films) - feat. frank zappa, mats öberg, dweezil zappa, marco minnemann, mike keneally, joe travers

morganagren_conundrum_dvd.jpg (50896 bytes)

  morgan ågren: conundrum undone - the deleted scenes
    (2014, download, usa, bend bars / lift gates films) = deleted scenes from the conundrum documentary

conundrum_undone.jpg (53182 bytes)

  various artists: the frank zappa aaafnraa 2014 birthday bundle
    (2014, download, --, barfko-swill)
aaafnraa2014.jpg (34969 bytes)
  dweezil zappa: via zammata' demos and rarities
    (2015, download, usa, private release) -  incl. 'dragonmaster (frank zappa / dweezil zappa), incl. z's '70's medley nyc 1995'  with snippets of frank zappa compositions ('florentine pogen', 'i'm the slime')

dweezilzappa_via_zammata.jpg (25311 bytes)

  warren cuccurullo: n'liten up
    (2015, download, --, bandcamp) - feat. joe travers, dale bozzio, shenkar
wc_nlitenup.jpg (25547 bytes)


los angeles philharmonic: frank zappa - 200 motels the suites
    (2015, 2cd, usa, zappa records zr0019)
zappa_200motels_thesuites.jpg (23174 bytes)


frank zappa: the crux of the biscuit
    (2016, cd, usa, zappa records zr20020)

fz_cruxofthebiscuit.jpg (32468 bytes)


frank zappa: frank zappa for president
    (2016, cd, usa, zappa records zr 20021)
fz_fzforpresident.jpg (31217 bytes)
  mike keneally: scambot 2
    (2016, 2cd, usa, exowax ex-2015-1) - feat.ben thomas, pete griffin, bryan beller, marco minnemann, joe travers

mk_scambot2_2.jpg (25683 bytes)


frank zappa: zappatite
    (2016, cd, usa, zappa records zr20023) = compilation
fz_zappatite_cd.jpg (35931 bytes)
  frank zappa: rollo / portland improvisation
    (2017, 10", usa, zappa records bpr1230) - record store day release
zappa_rollo_2017.jpg (30915 bytes)
  documentary: frank zappa - summer '82 - when zappa came to sicily
    (2017, blu-ray, usa, mvd visual) - featuring massimo bassoli, frank, gail, dweezil, moon and diva zappa, thomas nordegg and steve vai

  bryan beller: scenes from the flood
    (2019, 2cd, usa, onion boy records) - feat. joe satriani, joe travers, mike keneally, jamie kime, guthrie govan


random notes

     From: Stan Ivester (
the current vaultmeister, Joe Travers, has recently stated that he's continuing to assemble concert tapes for future projects down in the vault. When anything else will be released, however, is anyone's guess.

     From: Stu Mark (   
Here's the link:

and here's the relevant copy:
Recently asked by Privacy "What's going on with the Zappa material? What does a vaultmeister do?" Joe Travers had this to say: "Well, not much going on at the moment. Hopefully that will change soon. A vaultmeister is a person who looks after the tape vaults and knows all the necessary information to document the contents. I preserve the tapes by transferring them to an updated format. By doing so I get to listen to unreleased music for future projects. I've been doing it now for a few years and have come across some great things. I love my job. And I love Frank Zappa's music."

     From: Antal Adriaanse (antal67SPAM@SPAMhotmail.comZbrg)
Note: the Vaultmeister will be touring the UK with Duran Duran next month. (12/00)

I know Joe doesn't work there every day when he's on tour so is the studio closed up when he's not there? or do other continue to tweeze the masters work.

     From: Jon Naurin (
I don't know the exact details about how and when they are working, but I know Joe has (or had last I heard) at least one colleague (who is not a full-time employee).

     From: Patrick Neve (
Official Joe Travers site:

     From: Andrew Greenaway (
Just thought you oughta know about The Idiot Bastard's new and exclusive interview with the Vaultmeister, Joe Travers. Find out what he thinks about Chelsea FC and a bunch of other stuff at

     From: Antal Adriaanse
I can't remember having seen this mentioned here:


Joe Travers is known among the Zappa fans for beeing the "Vaultmeister": the legendary human who preserves the Zappa masters from getting damaged by the passing of time and the lucky one that can hear all the unreleased gems from the greatest composer ever and gets paid to do it.
But he is also an incredibly gifted drummer who has played with "Z", "Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins", Warren Cuccurullo and Glenn Hugues among others. He has recently joined "Duran Duran" on tour, so watch out for "Duran Duran" concerts near you to see Joe in action.

EIHE: When and Why did you started playing drums?

JT: I got my first drumset on my 5th birthday 8/20/73. There is a picture of that important day on the splash page of my website. Why? I was born with it in my blood, so it wasn't really a choice. It was all I knew, all I felt. Made total sense to me at an insanely young age.

EIHE:When was the first time you heard Zappa's music?

JT: My Uncle Gary played me "Sheik Yerbouti" when it came out in 1979. I was 10 years old.

EIHE: Which was the band, where you had most fun playing with?

JT: Z was a blast. As of late it's "BALL". (A band I play in here in L.A.)
clik here for more-

EIHE: Who is your favourite drummer right now?

JT: Bill Stewart

EIHE: What's your favourite Zappa album?

JT: I really can't choose one. It changes so much & I love them all. Probably "Hot Rats" is way up there!

EIHE: You play in the new Dweezil Zappa CD Automatic. When was the music recorded?

JT: Some of it is from the "Shampoo Horn" sessions 1991. The stuff with me was recorded over a period of a couple years or so. Late 90's-early 2000.

EIHE: It must be a long time ago, because I thought Mike and Dweezil had sort of discontinued theyr relationship after Mike left Z and I laso thought Scott Thunes did not want to play anymore.

JT:Shampoo Horn sessions.-1991

EIHE: Having played with Mike Keneally during all these years and also as a Zappa employee must have been a little bit difficult since Mike and the Zappas didn't talk each other. What did you think about this situation?

JT: Well, It was unfortunate that it turned out the way it did. I have respect for both of them so I tried to not get invoved in the dirt.

EIHE: How did you get the Duran Duran gig?

JT: Warren Cuccurullo saw me play with Z, asked me to play in his solo project, eventually asked me to play with Duran.

EIHE: What are your favourite albums right now?

JT: Nine Inch Nails-Things Fall Apart, Steel Pulse-Handsworth Revolution, Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols.

EIHE: Is there a lot of work as a vault meister now?

JT: Yeah, I could perserve tapes for the next ten years.

EIHE: What can you tell us about the new video release announced in the website?

JT: I don't know anything about it.......?

EIHE: What will happen with Trancefusion and Dance me this?

JT: Hopefully get released someday.

EIHE: Have you heard them?

JT: Yes.

EIHE: Are there many Synclavier unreleased stuff?

JT: Yes.

EIHE: And not finished Synclavier stuff?

JT: I'm not sure. Todd Yvega has been taking care of that.

EIHE: What's your favourite FZ unreleased song or composition?

JT: I don't really have one. I think "Portugese Lunar Landing" is special.

EIHE: What can you tell us about the 1998 Ryko CD versions of You are what you is and Tinseltown Rebellion. Did they sound the old versions bad to you? Why do you think Frank would have approved those masters if they sound so bad?

JT: Yeah, that is depressing. Those aren't the only two that sound bad. Most of the ryko masters are shitty thanks to Bob Stone. Frank just didn't put the time into them. He was working on so many different projects near the end. He just wanted to get all the titles out on cd & mostly put the remastering in the hands of Bob. Bob did all sorts of fucked up processing & effects that totally devalued the original masters. The vinyl is the way to go, if you can still find them. I hope one day that the original 2track vinyl masters will be used for the definitive issues on cd. Frank remixed alot of stuff too. Uncle Meat, most of Freak Out, Hot Rats, Ruben. They need to be restored. Frank just got bored with the originals & had his digital way with the multi track masters. Although you have to respect his decisions, hopefully it will be done right one of these days. That is what bothers me the most. Frank's music & masterworks aren't given the TLC they deserve. Look at the Hendrix catalog, or Miles Davis. Or Elvis. That's the way it should be. Frank deserves THAT! I wish I could change it.

EIHE: A lot of people think that Frank did not a really good job when he remixed the music for CD. What do you think about it?

JT: Well, it was interesting in some cases. But for a person who like nostalgia, I'd rather have the originals. Thank god "Were Only In It For The Money" was restored.

EIHE: Are there any new releases scheduled for this year?

JT: No.

EIHE: A couple of years ago started at the zappa site the sale of a lot of equipment. Because of the page is not updated very often the sale is still there. What happened with it? Is all the stuff already sold? Can anybody still buy pieces of gear?

JT: The website hasn't been updated in years. It shouldn't even be up on the net. If anyone is interested in that gear, call Marqueson at Joe's Garage.

EIHE: What are your future plans?

JT: Hopefully have my hand in releases from the vault. Continue to play drums on a professional level. Try & enjoy life.


From the december 2004 issue of, nothing new, maybe, but nice to read:

Unlocking Zappa Treasures
Preservation and restoration results in releases from legendary Zappa Vault
Laurel Fishman

Frank Zappa

Under Frank Zappa's family house in Los Angeles, the "Vault" is jam-packed from floor to ceiling with every possible recordable audio, video and film media. Within its concrete walls, the temperature-controlled Vault contains literally thousands of tapes, all neatly organized and labeled. "The Vault is infamous among Zappa fans as a treasure trove of material," says Joe Travers, official "Vaultmeister." Bit by bit, the gems are emerging.

These jewels represent the late Zappa's prolific output, spanning 30-plus years and musical genres from doo-wop to classical. Decades before the global economy, Zappa was selling out international venues that other popular musicians of the time never even dreamed of playing. From his early days around Los Angeles in the 1960s with the original Mothers Of Invention, to world tours, experiments on the Synclavier, and his orchestral works, Zappa relentlessly recorded his musical

The limitations of existing technology made it generally prohibitive for most artists to do so, but Zappa used mobile recording gear to capture his lengthy concerts. Travers learned how to "bake" the resulting tapes, heat-treating them in a convection oven at 130 degrees for four to eight hours. "Baking the tapes secures the oxide to the tape's backing so it won't shed when it's being played back," Travers explains. "If it sheds and turns into gummy residue, it's gone forever." So far, Travers has baked about 100 tapes.

When he started as Vaultmeister in the mid-'90s, Travers' job was to identify and catalog the material. He created a database, designating Zappa's ever-changing band personnel and determining song titles and which material had already been released. Travers pored over documents, publications and Web sites, and talked with the musicians involved.

Inside the Vault, Travers also found "a helluva lot of film and video, from 8 mm all the way up to one- and two-inch masters." Travers says there is early-'60s footage of Zappa's original Studio Z and from later years at the family house. There are outtakes from Zappa films Uncle Meat and Baby Snakes, and Zappa concerts on Halloween 1977 and live at
the Roxy in 1973, and more.

The Vault also houses rehearsal tapes, Zappa interviews, trim reels and other remnants. "After Frank got a mix using razor-blade edits, this was the stuff that didn't make it onto the record," Travers says. "There are a lot of rough mixes and versions of albums before Frank ripped them apart. I get to hear the missing pieces of the large puzzle."

Prior to becoming Vaultmeister, Travers already held some of the pieces. A drummer who played with Zappa sons Dweezil and Ahmet in their band Z during the mid-'90s, Travers was a serious Frank Zappa fan from an early age. "I had a massive collection," he says. "I read every book and had every Zappa record, dozens of bootlegs. And this was before eBay!"

One day in 1995, Joe requested a tour of the legendary Vault. "Just by looking at the names on the boxes," Travers remembers, "I knew more about the contents of the Vault than anyone working there at the time," including various audio experts. "The staff went back and told [Frank's widow] Gail that I knew more about what's in the Vault than anybody
else. She said, 'Great, he's the Vaultmeister.'"

Before 2003, Travers focused on refining his digital editing skills while cataloging and baking the tapes. Then the Zappas refurbished the recording studio adjacent to the Vault, allowing Travers to "dive into other tape formats with the best possible technology," he says.

In EQ-ing and mastering Zappa's music, Travers is salvaging arcane nuggets to appeal to hardcore Zappa fanatics, "material that otherwise wouldn't find a home on a major Zappa release." These obscurities are becoming the "Joe's" album series, starting with the current Joe's Corsage , whose title is a play on Zappa's 1979 Joe's Garage albums.

Joe's Corsage includes Zappa demos from 1965, '60s interview snippets, and perhaps the rarest of all Zappa rarities, a love song: "I'm So Happy I Could Cry." In typical Zappa fashion, it later mutated into the irreverent "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance" from the classic Zappa album We're Only In It For The Money.

Starting in 2002, Vault packages are being released on the Vaulternative label, created by Gail Zappa. Among its live concert recordings, a possible documentary and other as-yet-unreleased projects, "we're working on four different albums right now," Travers says. "I submit material to Gail and Dweezil for them to decide upon, or they come to me and say, 'We need material from this-or-that era.'"

While Dweezil Zappa concentrates on remixing his father's recordings into surround sound for future Vaulternative albums, Gail Zappa is instituting a subscription service for purchasing Vault releases. "There are most likely 40 albums that can come out of the Vault, not including the series I'm doing," says Travers.

"There's so much I don't even know about yet. The more I dive into the Vault, especially in the formats I wasn't able to document or play before now, the more possibilities keep coming up."

(Laurel Fishman is a writer and editor specializing in entertainment media. She reports regularly for, writes the EducationWatch column, and is an advocate for the benefits of music-making, music-listening, music education, music therapy and music-and-the-brain research.)

-- info: Marco "Kallie" Kalnenek

  • 2013/03/03 Joe Travers & Friends - concert "Wesfest 8"



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