Sunday, July 2, 2023


UniMuta : Hi Kevin, it's good to hear that you will be back at Zappanale.
It’s not your first visit. You were already there with Pojama People in 2013 , right? What are some of the highlights (that you remember) of your previous Zappanale visits?

Kevin Crosby : The first time I played at Zappanale is literally one of the more memorable events in my life. I was playing bass for PoJama People. Ike Willis was the lead singer and guitarist, With Alli Bach on vocals, malletKat & tap dancing, Ted Clifford on keys, and Glenn Leonard playing the drums and running the band. Unfortunately, Ike was stopped at the border to the EU due to complications with his passport (there are several versions of how this happened) the day before the show. We had one day to completely re-construct our plan and set before going on to the main stage to play without our lead singer/guitarist/Zappa Alumni member. But we survived the challenge and had a great show. Sadly, it was Glenn Leonard's final gig. He died of a heart attack a little over a month later. A true loss to us all. He was a great person and an amazing musician.
One of the more memorable moments that happened when Z.E.R.O. played there in 2016, was having Candy Zappa sit in with us as a guest vocalist for "Any Way The Wind Blows".

UniMuta : At Zappanale, you’re scheduled to perform at the Mystery Stage, together with Fred Händl. This is not the first time you are collaborating with Fred. Can you already share a bit of info on what we can expect?

Kevin Crosby : Fred and I have been collaborating every chance we get since we met at the Moo-Ah Festival in the UK in 2016. We are usually in a typical band setting with drums, vocals and all that. This time we are manifesting as "The All New Frankly Don't Wop Duo", with just the two of playing interpretations of Frank's music. We are taking more of a chamber music approach to the material, with melodic interplay and counter-point being the goal. It is a really cool musical opportunity to be able to look at this music from a new direction.
We are also looking forward to having Christiane Seebach sit in as a guest vocalist for a song or two.

UniMuta : You trip to Yurrip is coinciding with the release of the 6th Z.E.R.O. album. It has become quite a series. I love the concept where you work together with musicians from all over the world. How does this work? Do you pick a song, or do you try to gather the musicians first? Do you consider Z.E.R.O. a band or is more of a (random?) collection of collaborations?

Kevin Crosby : Z.E.R.O. began as a real-time trio with me on ukulele, one of my students (Reign King) on upright bass, and a fellow band member from a ska band I was in at the time (Sean Jensen/Natalie Wouldn't). The concept grew after the death of Glenn Leonard into an organization that refused to be limited by distance and impossible challenges. I think of it as a 'rock opera in-process' with an ever changing cast of players and contributors.
We have six CD's now, approx 5 hours of Zappa. Most of the songs contain multiple references and quotes from other songs and bands. (We could spend hours discussing all of that.)
The song arrangements usually occur first within my imagination and then I begin to contact the various Z.E.R.O. alumni members that seem right for the parts to see who has the time and energy to contribute something to the track. Then I begin to build the track from the various takes everybody sends in via the internet. I really cannot express my gratitude enough for the contributions and talents of the members of the Z.E.R.O. Alumni. There have been 53 so far (including some of my musical heroes) who have all spent their time and energy in the Z.E.R.O. effort to play Zappa's music. It would be impossible to do this without them.

UniMuta : I for one am glad that Z.E.R.O. is still using the CD format (next to the Bandcamp download/streaming service) to release new material. How hard is it to release a physical CD in these streaming times?

Kevin Crosby : Glad to hear you appreciate the Z.E.R.O. CD's! I am old and need something physical in my hands after a recording project to make it seem like we accomplished something tangible. I think digital formats are great and use them all of the time as a listener, but still feel the need to produce actual CD's as a musician. Luckily I have been able to work with Cordelia Records in the UK to make that happen. Z.E.R.O. would not be able to afford to do it otherwise.

UniMuta :  I'm looking forward to seeing & hearing you very soon. Did you see the line-up for the festival? Which concerts are the ones you definitely want to catch?

Kevin Crosby : I am definitely looking forward to seeing Jon Anderson and Billy Cobham, and The Furious Bongos, and Orange Claw Hammer, and Eugene Chadbourne... So many to see, only so much time.

UniMuta: Thanks, Kevin ! Safe travels and see you soon.

Kevin Crosby and Fred Händl will be performing as The All New Frankly Don’t-Wop Duo at the Mystery Stage at Zappanale on Friday evening.
That’s Friday, July 14, 2023
Better be there !!