British band Wagga Jawaka performs the music of Frank Zappa. After the response to their first gig (a concert to raise money for cancer suffers), April 1994, they decided to make Wagga Jawaka a permanent project.
Liz Carter said:
The cd was recorded live in about 3 hours, which is why we called it "warts 'n' all". It's not perfect but if we had been able to spend days in the studio it would have been a lot better, but c'est la vie!
Wagga is northeast of England slang for friend / mate.
around june 2002 wagga jawaka had two new players:
info by bob meyrick - Date: Fri, 05 Apr 2002:
Subject: Another UK Zappa tribute band
In addition to the Muffin Men and the Zappatistas there is another UK Zappa tribute band to check out. They're called Wagga Jawaka and are based in the North East. I saw then at the Maze in Nottingham on Friday 15 March 2002 and I was very impressed. The band is a nine-piece: Mick Yare (guitar), Liz Carter (keyboards), Michael Shoulder (bass), Dave Hooks (drums), Graham Hardy (trumpet, flugel), Bryn Collinson (tenor sax), Nick Kennedy (alto, soprano sax), Dave Brock (trombone), Sue Ferris (baritone sax, flute, piccolo). They have a CD available - I bought mine at the gig - which was
recorded live in the studio, and is a pretty good representation of what they do. The overall sound of the band strikes me as being an amalgam of the 1988 band and 'Roxy and Elsewhere', with a hint of 'Lather'. I'm not sure how often they play; it's very much a labour of love, and given the economic realities of the music scene in this country they are unlikely to be making any money! If you do manage to catch one of their gigs, buy the CD; the money will be used to fund rehearsals, publicity etc.- the musicians won't be pocketing any of the proceeds.
It's interesting to compare the differences between Wagga Jawaka and the Zappatistas, which have broadly similar line-ups. The Zappatistas are mainly instrumental (I don't think John Etheridge regards himself
primarily as a vocalist!), while Wagga Jawaka do more of the songs - at the gig I saw them, they did 'The Torture Never Stops', 'Bobby Brown', 'Son of Orange County', 'Yo Mama', 'More Trouble Every Day'. Also Mick Yare's guitar sound is much closer to Zappa's (he did a really nice 'Watermelon in Easter Hay') and there were times in his solos when I recognised some of Zappa's licks. John Etheridge sounds and plays like John Etheridge! (This isn't a criticism, I'm just highlighting the different approaches.)
All in all, I really enjoyed Wagga Jawaka a lot, and I'd recommend any UK Zappa fans to see them if at all possible. They don't have their own website yet, but for more information, go to www.jazzservices.org.uk and follow the links to the bands database.
- Bob Meyrick
- Robin Dawne