"I'm Jimmy Carl Black, the Indian of the group"

Last year, when I went to see Dweezil Zappa playing his father's music, an old guy with a pony tail sitting in front of me turned and asked me if I knew “Weasels Ripped My Flesh.” He told me a story about sitting in a bar in Los Alamos, watching a trio, and realizing the drummer was Jimmy Carl Black. He went home between sets and got his copy of “Weasels” so Black could autograph it.

(Image courtesy United Mutations.)
Black was one of the founding members of the Mothers of Invention. Last week, a friend sent me this marvelous video (sorry, YouTube won't let me embed it) of a TV news story from around 1980 of Frank Zappa playing Albuquerque. He invites Black, who was living in Albuquerque at the time, to come up on stage and sing some of their old favorites.

I immediately set off in search of Black, wondering if he still lived here. This morning I got my answer:

Jimmy Carl Black, the original drummer in Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, a band that helped define the sub-genre of art rock, died of cancer Saturday. He was 70. He died in Siegsdorf, Germany, according to Roddie Gilliard, who performed with Black in recent years as part of the Muffin Men, a British group that specialized in performing Zappa's music live.

Anybody know anything about Black's life here in New Mexico? I'd love to have the story fleshed out.

Views: 97

Comment by RivetGang on November 8, 2008 at 4:02pm
Word is that JCB played with my uncle's band, Lawyers Guns and Money, back in the seventies... I moved here in 1982 and became a roadie for LG&M soon after I arrived, but he had not played with them for years (i am not ever sure that they were know as LG&M during his tenure in the band) Being a big Zappa fan, this little fact always impressed and confused me, I couldn't quite picture him playing in that county band. I never got much info out of my Uncle about him, and eventually stopped asking questions.
Comment by Bosque Bill on November 8, 2008 at 4:18pm
John, thanks for the stab-from-the-past. Must have seen Zappa at least a half dozen times in the early 70s in various incarnations. A genius who surrounded himself with extraordinary musicians. Jimmy Carl Black at 70 has outlived many of our idols of those days. Being off somewhere else, I wasn't aware of his Duke City connection till now.
Comment by Slick 27 on November 11, 2008 at 9:20am
According to the obituary in the NY Times Jimmy spent his formative years in Anthony NM.
Comment by John Cline on November 29, 2009 at 4:29pm
You might be interested in the companion video that goes along with the Jimmy Carl Black TV news story link above. It was shot by me at the Frank Zappa concert at Johnson Gym here in Albuquerque on October 12, 1980. If features Jimmy singing, "Harder Than Your Husband." It was the first time that Jimmy had played with Frank in a decade or more. This is a link to a video on my YouTube site, there are also lots of other classic Albuquerque music videos there. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zatefH0-pjQ
Comment by John Fleck on November 29, 2009 at 4:46pm
John - What a fabulous treasure! Thanks for posting.


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