Bozzio: “You better love to play for playing’s sake because you won’t get rich or famous doing anything new anymore.”
Drummer Terry Bozzio’s survived playing with Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, and a slew of prog-rock lineups. He brings a concert-length solo performance on “the world’s largest tuned drum and percussion” set to Dizzy’s on October 26. He took some email questions from the road.
What are your thoughts on playing San Diego, and with which bands?
“Always had a good time there. BoHoLeMa, outTrio, Zappa, Missing Persons, UK, or Jeff Beck.”
Terry Bozzio drum solo
...at Gearfest 2013
How did you first meet Frank Zappa? What did he ask of you at your audition, and how did you survive that?
“I met Frank at the audition. He asked me to read ‘Approximate,’ a difficult piece, memorize and play the structure of ‘Achidna’s Arf,’ jam with keyboardist George Duke in 19/16 time, and play a blues shuffle. I guess I was just prepared enough. He said, ‘You get the gig if you want it!’”
What about Zappa would surprise people the most?
“Everything. He was a genius in five different areas. He worked very hard at all he did.”
How long did it take to master the infamous “Black Page” [a piece so dense the score pages were almost black]?
“20 minutes a day for a week or so.”
What about learning his compositions influenced you the most?
“It was like Marine boot camp for musicians. You lived it, breathed it. And it kept coming, more new stuff, alterations every day. Each sound check was a rehearsal and each night there were new arrangements. This helped me to appreciate the process that music is. Growing, changing, developing. It’s alive. Not static.”
Your advice to drummers just starting out?
- Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 8 p.m.
4275 Mission Bay Drive (in the showroom at San Diego Jet Ski Rentals),
“Be prepared, as we are in the worst state of depression and devaluation of the musical culture in America we have ever seen. From no music in schools, to less government support for symphony orchestras, to no music stores, to ripping off musician’s works for free on internet sites, to corporate instrument stores who just sell pop instruments and don’t teach, to the cultural dumbing down of our youth with the non-innovative pablum that shows like The Voice spew weekly.
“You better love to play for playing’s sake because you won’t be getting rich or famous doing anything new anymore!”
What are your plans for the future after this tour?
“I do what I do whether touring or not: play, practice things I don’t know how to do, compose music, build or design percussion stuff, draw my artwork.”