Ike Willis and Andre Cholmondeley
By Susan J. Weiand
Project/Object, the ultimate Frank Zappa tribute band, just launched their seven-week coast-to-coast "Weapons of Mass Distortion" tour to bring Zappa's music to new audiences. The tour kicked off in late September in Northampton, MA, and winds through the Northeast and Midwest, playing Providence, New Jersey, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, and Denver, eventually reaching the Northwest with dates in Seattle, Portland, and Eugene, and then California before heading back east. The next gigs are in Missouri, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Atlanta until the band returns in mid-November to the Northeast. Some cites, like Pittsburgh, Chicago, Seattle, and Denver, will get two-night engagements. The San Francisco Bay area gets three dates, with 10.20 at The Independent in S.F., 10.21 at the Last Day Saloon in Santa Rosa and a 10.22 date at The Brookdale Lodge in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Project/Object was formed in the early '90s as an offshoot from an annual Frank Zappa birthday celebration that took place in guitarist Andre Cholmondeley's New Jersey basement. The band has gained a reputation in the past few years not only for honoring Zappa and his music but also for attracting the appearances of actual Zappa alumni, including Don Preston, Mike Keneally, and Ray White.

Frank Zappa was extremely influential to many musicians and jam bands, including Phish, moe., and RAQ. While many fans are aware of Zappa's influence, they are usually unfamiliar with his music and many were too young to have seen him in concert. Project/Object is the closest they will get to the live Zappa experience, and the band has been enjoying increasing support from this growing scene. Much more than a tribute band, these musicians have the chops to do justice to the complicated material and bring a political awareness to their audience. In addition to Cholmondeley (guitar/vocals), the current band lineup includes Dave Johnson (bass), Glenn Leonard (drums), and Eric Svalgard (keyboards).

Napoleon Murphy Brock
By Susan J. Weiand
Joining the band for their fourth tour are Ike Willis (guitar/vocals) and Napoleon Murphy Brock (sax/flute/vocals) who were two of Zappa's front men in the '70s and '80s. Brock appears on the 1974 double LP Roxy and Elsewhere and its follow-up One Size Fits All, as well as Bongo Fury with Captain Beefheart and also sang on the 1979 album, Sheik Yerbouti. He toured briefly with Zappa for the last time in 1984, recording vocals that year for the Them or Us album. Willis is best known as the voice of Joe's Garage and toured with Zappa for over ten years and appeared on numerous recordings encompassing a 14-year period.

Expect to hear lots of classic Zappa, some new material, and Zappa & Mothers songs, with heavy concentration on the Brock and Willis' eras with the band.

"It's incredible to me that over ten years have passed since Zappa's death," says Cholmondeley. "What's even more incredible is that we continue to turn on new generations to his unmatched genius. My goal is to keep on honoring Frank. I still remember the family's answering machine shortly after his death: 'Just play his music if you're musicians, and otherwise, play his music anyway. That will be enough for him.'" Project/Object brings the music to life for old Zappa freaks, first timers, jam band fans, and classic and prog rock listeners. Catch them when they come to your city.

10.06 | Buffalo, NY | Club Infinity
10.07 | Detroit, MI | Magic Bag
10.08 | Cleveland, OH | The Agora
10.09 | Chicago, IL | Martyrs
10.10 | Chicago, IL | Martyrs
10.12 | Boulder, CO | The Fox Theater
10.15 | Seattle, WA |The Rainbow
10.16 | Seattle, WA | The Rainbow
10.17 | Portland, OR | Dante's
10.18 | Eugene, OR | WOW Hall
10.19 | Chico, CA | The Bean Scene
10.20 | San Francisco, CA | The Independent
10.21 | Santa Rosa, CA | Last Day Saloon North
10.22 | Santa Cruz, CA | Brookdale Lodge
10.23 | San Diego, CA | Winston's
10.26 | Denver, CO | Cervante's
10.27 | Denver, CO | Cervante's
10.30 | Lawrence, KS | Jazzhaus
10.31 | Kansas City, MO | tba
11.01 | St. Louis, MO | Ciceros
11.03 | Nashville, TN | 12th & Porter
11.04 | Atlanta, GA | Variety Playhouse
11.05 | Charlotte, NC | Visulite Theater
11.06 | Aheville, NC | Stella Blue
11.08 | Philadelphia, PA | World Café Live
11.10 | Cambridge, MA | Middle East
11.11 | Hartford, CT | Webster Theater
11.12 | Asbury Park, NJ | Stone Pony
11.13 | Wilkes-Barre, PA | River Street Jazz Café
11.14 | New York, NY | Knitting Factory
11.15 | Portland, ME | The Asylum
11.16 | Burlington, VT | Nectar’s

For show details and more info go to

Susan J. Weiand
JamBase | California
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[Published on: 10/7/04]

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