Denny Walley

He has been acquainted with Frank Zappa since childhood. Back then he was friends with Frank's brother Bobby and sometimes they listened to the band rehearsals. He has also known Don Van Vliet and Jim Sherwood since then. He started his own musical development in the early 70's at Geronimo Black, the formation of ex Mothers Jimmy Carl Black, Don Preston, Bunk Gardner and Ray Collins. Evidence of this collaboration, which existed for two years, is the only album Geronimo Black from 1972. In 2008 a compilation named Welcome Back with demos, studio and live recordings has been made available via download.

In 1975 he joined Frank Zappa and the Mothers as guitarist on the Bongo-Fury-Tour. His old mate Don Van Vliet, by now Captain Beefheart, was very impressed with Denny's singing and guitar play and so he asked him if he would like to accompany him on his tour in the US and Europe. This was the beginning of a two years lasting liaison, and unfortunately only very few material exists from this time. Merely the track „Hoboism“ and the original recordings of „Bat Chain Puller“ bear testimony to the Blues which Denny brought into the Magic Band.

In the fall of 1978 and spring of 1979 he toured again twice with Zappa. Furthermore he participated in the recordings of Joe´s Garage and You Are What You Is and he can be heard on the album Tinseltown Rebellion and other live compilations.

After Zappa's much too early death Walley continued to play music. With several formations (Mats & Morgan amongst others) he made Zappa's work living on. In 1997 his CD Spare Parts was published, and besides Suicide Chump and Bamboozled By Love he recorded also pieces from other interpreters which have had influence on him. This CD is considered an outstanding Blues release.

Besides music Walley occupies himself with carving and sculptures. For the township Rabbittown he created a huge rabbit monument. He also manufactured a dinosaur with a height of seven meters for Six Flags-Colonial Williamsburg. A flying saucer in fiberglass technic by order of Coca Cola is in planning stage.

This year he will accompany The Muffin Men with his slideguitar and – knowing Denny – he won't leave it at that.


Ed Mann

Ed began playing piano and objects found in the kitchen at age 3, acquired a drum kit at age 11, played with rock, marching, orchestra, concert, pit and big band ensembles as a teen while studying at New England Music Camp and The Hartt Music School.

Ed entered the Hartt College of Music in 1972 to study with Al Lepak, where he learned and performed symphonic, jazz, experimental and 20th Century music. At Hartt, Ed met and formed an immediate bond with Tommy Mariano (aka Mars) and they formed the experimental-jazz band "World Consort" which played at arts venues throughout central New England.

In 1973 Ed moved to California to study with John Bergamo at California Institute of the Arts. At Cal Arts from 1973 -76, Ed immersed himself in experimental contemporary music as well as the music of Indonesia, Africa, North and South India and cross-culturally influenced improvisational new groove percussion ensembles. Under the direction of John Bergamo and with fellow percussionists Larry Stein, Gregg Johnson, Jimmy Hildebrandt, Lucky Mosko, Paul Anceau, Ed was a founding member of the ground-breaking cross-cultural indigenous percussion band, Repercussion Unit. By the age of 20, Ed had developed an interest in the vibes and marimba, and jazz improvisation. Being largely self 
taught, Ed also sought out lessons with significant influencing mallet teachers Dave Samuels, Emil Richards and Victor Feldman.

Basic mallet skills combined experience as a multi-percussionist; knowledge of intricate rhythms found in modern chamber music (as well as the classical music of India), and a lifetime history of playing rock and roll became the foundation that led to Ed's long association with Frank Zappa, which began in 1977. With Frank Zappa Ed performed and recorded as percussionist, synthesist, electronic sound designer, vocalist and programmer between 1977 and 1988 in electric band, small ensemble and orchestral environments.

Ed has also performed and/or recorded with Mark Isham, Rickie Lee Jones, Andy Summers, Kenny Loggins, Ambrosia,Tammy Wynette, Los Lobos, Blotto, John Cage, Bill Bruford, Shadowfax, Frogg Cafe, Wrong Object, The Grandmothers, London Symphony Orchestra, Don Ellis,  Repercussion Unit, Lou Harrison, Don Preston, Bruce Fowler, Steve Fowler, Rumdummies, ASANI, The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Bill Eddins, and a host of L.A. film composers including Jeff Rona, Hans Zimmer, Klaus Badelt, Harry Gregson Williams, CJ Vanston and others.

Ed's interest in ringing metal objects evolved over time to focused, solo use of gongs and found objects in the creation of resonant soundfields ..In the late 1989, Ed began bringing these sounds to Yoga Schools and alternative health practitioners, and in 1990 Ed began an association with European gong manufacturer Paiste  which lead to a 14 year association in which Ed functioned as recordist, product specialist and interface with the holistic community for Paiste America. In 2005, Ed began an official association with Italian Gong, bell and cymbal maker UFIP.

Ed's Gong and Resonance presentations have been well received by The National Association of Music Therapists, Don Campbell's Sound Schools, The Whole Life Expositions,The Wellness Center for Research and Education, Berkshire Museum, Abode of the Message, Ke Kumu at Mauna Lani, Barton's Crossing, Berkshire Medical Center, The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, the Noah Center, Southern Berkshire Community Center, Kripalu, Santa Monica Yoga, Yoga West and Santa Barbara Yoga and countless individual clients.

As an electronic Sound Designer Ed has created digital content libraries and programs for Wireless Developer, E-mu, Tell Me, Beatnik, FineCut. Productions, Creative, National Young Audiences, Paiste, and Frank Zappa. Perhaps most notable is Ed's creation of E-mu's critically acclaimed Planet Earth, Old Wold Instruments, World Expedition and Orchestral Virtuoso Percussion sound sets, as well as contributions to Composer, XL&7 Vintage Keyboards and Emulator X.

Ed has scored independent films for Finecut Productions, National Young Audiences, Midnite Chimes Productions, Knight Owl entertainment, and a host of one-off indie production companies. His music was also featured in the 1993 remake of The Wrong Man featuring Rosanna Arquette. In 2010 and 2011, Ed made the journey nothward to Edmonton, Alberta where brought music and sound making workshops to the inner city and reservation bound native people, immigrant populatuons and the homeless. 
Winner of top awards in Modern Drummer Magazine Reader's polls, Ed has released 6 critically acclaimed CDs of original music, composes music and sound for interactive media and film, and is active internationally as a performer, sound artist, consultant and workshop facilitator. He currently lives in Northen California USA.


The Grandmothers & The Yellow String Quartet feat. Ed Mann (US/DE)



In August of 2002, legendary former members of Frank Zappa's “The Mothers of Invention” were invited to perform the music of the MOTHERS OF INVENTION/FRANK ZAPPA at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany for a one time only performance.

It would be the first time that these esteemed "Mothers of Invention” alumni would be getting together to rehearse and perform classic Frank Zappa material.

On March 27th 2003, after 6 months of intensive rehearsals in Los(t) Angeles and Hamburg, they took the stage to a standing room only audience. The event was recorded, filmed, and released by Warner Classics in Europe, and has been broadcast repeatedly on European television via the ARTE channel. 

Due to overwhelming demand they have since performed more than 500 concert events where anything and everything can (and does) usually happen  across America, Austraila, Canada and Europe, including performances in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales

BUNK GARDNER (with the Mothers of Invention from 1966-1969) tenor sax, CASIO DH-100, flute, bar walking, straight man, food critique/commentary and vocals

DON PRESTON (with the Mothers from 1966-1974) piano, keyboard synthesizers, electronic wizardry, gongage, wigs, exploding devices, cycles adjuster, magic hands, Mr. MOTO, and vocals

CHRISTOPHER GARCIA drums, percussion, EAST LA (isms), invisible Mexican announcer, Art Laboe(isms), marimba, and vocals


"Then we hired Don Preston, who plays keyboard instruments - electric piano, electric clavichord, etc. We also hired Bunk Gardner who plays several various horns, and Jim Fielder on bass. I had known Don Preston and Bunk Gardner several years before I met the other guys. We used to play experimental music a long time ago. We got together in garages and went through some very abstract charts and just entertained ourselves. Anyway, we finally had a very workable ensemble. The second album was recorded with those eight guys. We just added a trumpet, string quartet and contrabass clarinet on one song." (FRANK ZAPPA interview 12/22/66)



Fried Dähn & The Yellow String Quartet meet The Grandmothers of Invention

The first team play happend in autumn 2014 at the ZappaUnion festival in Oslo, and from the very first moment it's been obvious that they got along well and all involved parties and the audience as well were thrilled.  When to the surprise of all Wolfhard Kutz appeared backstage that very same night and declared that he would like to take this project to Zappanale, it's been a done deal for the course of this cooperation.

A lot of new arrangements will be created for Zappanale, but the bands will present themselves as well solo in short sequences: The Yellow String Quartet will showcase G-Spot Tornado, Sofa, Uncle Meat and an absolute specialty: Live with the original Yellow-Shark- Walk-On Music, which formed the opening of the legendary show and where the musicians started to improvise on Frank's signal, a show that has never been published but for a TV documentation.

As cellist Fried Dähn was a member of Frank Zappa's latest project: The Yellow Shark with Ensemble Modern. After intensive rehearsals in Zappa's Home Studio and in Zappa's Studio Joe’s Garage in Los Angeles more practices followed one year later in Frankfurt as well as the performances of ‚The Yellow Shark’. Since adolescence Fried is a big Zappa fan and he is working in the most different areas of music: Classic and New Music, Rock, electronic and experimental music. As cellist he is represented on several sound carriers, he is art director of the Camp-Festival for Visual Music and is working as composer, from electrocello to orchestral works.

The Yellow String Quartet has been founded in the beginning of 2011 and consists of soloists of the Württembergische Philharmonie. Expeditiously the quartet established itself, caring for the traditional repertoire, but also for new music and popular styles. Especially the unusual combination of works from different eras, presented at the highest stage, is very inspiring.

Actual CD: ‚YSQ’ with works of Frank Zappa, Igor Strawinski, Erwin Schulhoff, Dmitri Schostakowitsch, Terry Riley and Joseph Haydn

Yellow String Quartet

Timo de Leo – Violin
Konrad Balik – Violin
Benjamin Hartung – Viola
Friedemann ‚Fried’ Dähn – Cello

  • Published in News

Bands Zappanale #27

Finally it's time to let the cat out of the bag. The first contracts are signed and so we would like to keep you little by little up-to-date and tell you who will delight us at Zappanale #27. So... drop in here from time to time and check out the news! We are going to start with the

Lex Bronkowitz Orchestra


Zappanale #31

15. - 17.07.2022
The Torture stops in 433 days!