Make music evolve: an interview with Don Preston (GrandMothers of Invention)
MUSIC JUNE 23, 2013 BY: GARY SCHWIND
Don Preston was one of the members of The Mothers of Invention from 1968-74, who now plays with the GrandMothers of Invention. By phone, he discussed the history of The Mothers, working with Frank Zappa, and surviving the Montreux fire in 1971.
The Mothers to this day doesn’t really sound like any other band. How did the band carve that niche for itself?
The main thing is it’s a five-piece group. We have to cover so many bases with that configuration, it necessitates that it takes doing a different arrangement of the music. On “Inca Roads,” I have to play keyboards and marimba or at least the marimba sound and try to get that all covered. The guitar player plays some of the melodies that Zappa couldn’t play at the time.
Did you realize then what a unique musical entity you had?
I don’t know if someone knows that. Maybe toward the end of his life, he started realizing that. It’s a combination of things. He knew that he was good and he knew that he had something unique. As far as realizing the importance of that in history, I think he kind of had an idea of that.