The story of the. .. The music of the Mothers is the story of, uh. .. A combination of what I knew about music from. .. From my studies plus the musical capabilites of the players in the group as I found them, you know, which had. .. . Somewhere along the line, I had to teach them a lot of what they didn't know about music.
I started out playing rhythm & blues when I was about 14 or 15 years old in San Diego. And, uh. .. I was playing nothing but blues 'til I was 18 and, you know, I was really honking and I started out playing drums with a band and got tired of listening to other people's guitar solos. Took up a guitar and started playing lead right away. Then I spent, uh. .. The early part of my musical teen childhood doing the same thing that most of the, uh. .. Uh, white blues bands are, uh, pulling down heavy bread for. But in those days it was, you know. .. It was the underground music, uh. .. The unpopular underground music because the kids, uh, then wanted to hear, uh. .. You know, sweeter, easier stuff. They didn't go for hard, screaming blues or Chicago, uh, you know, weirdness. Nobody knew who the Howlin' Wolf was, nobody. .. You know, Muddy Waters, what the fuck is that? And, uh, so I grew up on that stuff but simultaneously buying, uh, classical albums and, uh, going to the library to study music. I had albums of Stravinsky and Var? Se and Webern and Bart? K. And I never bought anything el. .. I never bought any Beethoven or, uh, Mozart or anything like that because I didn't like the way it sounded, it was too weak.
So. .. Eventually I started hearing a little folk music. I didn't like most of the commercial folk music that was around. My taste in folk music was, uh, sea shanties and, uh. .. Uh, Middle Eastern stuff. I like Indian music, I like, uh. .. Arab music. So, that. .. That was all my own personal taste-making, uh, influences.
The original guys in the band had been brought up on nothing but rhythm & blues. Now, rhythm & blues branches out into about four different categories the way we grew up with it. There was the ooh-wah ballad, you know, with the high falsetto and the grunting bass and all that stuff. That type. There's a Chicago blues type with the harmonica and, you know, and the funky-ness. There was a Texas type with a, you know. .. Rock, uh, Bobby, uh, "Blue" Bland type thing. And then there was the hard drive type James Brown shit. And offshoots of the, uh. .. Of each one of those, like in the ooh-wah classification you've got the uptempo singers where the. .. Like Hank Ballard and the Midnighters and the Royales. They had a different type of a thing.
Uh. .. All the other guys in the group grew up with just that and had no knowledge whatsoever of any kind of classical music, uh, or serious music, the. .. Uh, above and beyond Mozart or, uh, Beethoven or, you know, standard concert hall, uh. .. Warhorses. And even that, they didn't give a shit about and they weren't interested at all in folk music. And, uh. .. So I had quite a bit of trouble in the beginning, eh. .. Just making them aware that there were other kinds of music that we could be playing. To top it off, we were in a, uh. .. Very sterile area. We. .. We kept getting fired because we'd playing anything other than "Wooly Bully" or, uh. .. You know. .. Uh, "Twist and Shout" or the rest of that stuff. We'd lost job after job.
When. .. When is this that you're talking about exactly?
Two years ago.
Yeah. And, uh. .. So it was. .. It was rough keeping it together because there's lots of times that, uh. .. The guys wanted to quit, I mean, everybody's quit at least 200 times. So. .. We finally got a chance to come into L. A. And the reason we stood out from the bands in Los Angeles, you know, why we would attract any attention at all at that point. .. 'cuz, uh, we were working out in the sticks, this whole thing was developing out, uh, away from any, uh. .. You know, any urban civilization. We were really, you know, just out there with the Okies.
And we got to town, we expected to find all kinds of, you know. .. Uh, all the bands gotta be really far-out. Well, they weren't, they were bullshit and they had no balls, you know, they weren't funky, they weren't, uh, tasteful, they weren't nothin'. They were just, you know, plastic, folk-rock, teenage puker bands. And they were making a lot of bread. And we came on the scene. .. And, uh, we were loud and we were coarse and we were strange and if anybody in the audience ever gave us any trouble, we'd tell 'em to fuck off. And. .. We made our reputation doing it that way
"we Made Our Reputation Doing It That Way ... Lyrics
Frank Zappa – "we Made Our Reputation Doing It That Way ... Lyrics