Hand signals and great songwriting

When Rick was in Skogie and the Flaming Pachucos they had hand signals and their audience would follow the gestures. I think the guys or just Rick learned this from studying Frank Zappa and his band. Rick was really into Zappa and when he and Skogie would play they played very experimental complicated music like Zappa’s. The hand gestures or signals that Skogie and the Flaming Pachucos would do were mimicked by their fans. Everyone in the audience would follow what the band was doing. This tradition carried on to The Kats. The Kats is my favorite band. All of us in the audience would continue to mimic the signals or movements too. for example, in the song “Can’t Have You” which is one of the featured songs on the music part of this website, we would copy Freddy by singing and moving along with the line “like one and one makes two, I can’t have you.” In the song “California Here I Come” the line “You might even see a star Drive by in his car” you put your hand up to shade your eyes from the sun and watch a pretend start go by or in “Los my TV Guide” the line “I’d know just why Clark Gable’s trying to hitch a ride” we all would put out our thumbs as if we were hitching. Another song that I love and we copy the movements on is “King of the Wild Frontier.” We would sing along and say the line “generate some C02 and make the letter “c” with our fingers and then “o” and our two fingers and also when he sings “Surprise Surprise” we put our fists up like he does.

excerpt from “It’s Not A Rumour” the book, What’s in a Name:

It’s easy to see Zappa’s influence in lots of kickin’ instrumentals I wrote during that time: “The Blue Cue”, “Mutant’s Theme”, “This Figleaf’s for Frank,” “Four Ways to Use Vasoline,” “Atomic Dildo,” and “Mohenjodaro.”

I met Frank Zappa numerous times over the years. My managers always knew I was a huge fan of his, and they arranged for me to meet him personally. I shuffled nervously backstage. “Holy crap, there he is,” I thought to myself as I caught a glimpse of his frazzled black-gray hair and trademark ‘stache. He stood and greeted me.

“Hey, I’m Frank!” he said and shook my hand warmly. I froze, letting my hand stay in his for much, much longer than appropriate. I willed my mouth to push out the words I would say to this legend who inspired so many of my melodies. But alas, I was verklempt and only muttered some incoherent syllables.

I met Frank three times but never once had a conversation.

0 replies
  1. Gregg "Yo" Kubera
    Gregg "Yo" Kubera says:

    SKOGIE’s fascination with Frank Zappa was palpable…as a Pachuco we actually performed almost the entire “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” live-album with Rick cueing various portions of the arrangements with those hand signals. In fact, if you listen to that album, partially recorded @ the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, you can hear the Pachucos yelling “Yeeee” from the audience!
    -Gregg “Yo” Kubera, former Flaming Pachuco


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