The Marvin. It is an instrument that provokes curiosity and produces sounds that literally scare the shit out of me. It’s voice is haunting, eerie and yet somehow beautiful. There is no other instrument on the planet that does what the Marvin does.
Back in January of 2017, I wrote an article on Morfbeats. It didn’t take me long, after seeing the Marvin, to send an email to Adam and inquire about writing a piece on his creation. That article only scratched the mere surface of what I wanted to talk to him about and thus spawned a discussion about a podcast episode. Which brings us to now….Let me begin by saying that this podcast is my personal favourite. I have never spent this much time and put this much thought into an episode and I believe it is my best work to date and in many ways this podcast is a tribute to Frank. It was an after thought but as I pondered over this episode more and more, it became clear that the common theme in our discussion was Frank. He just kept on coming up in the podcast and I couldn’t be happier about that. I have wanted to make some kind of project about Zappa for over a decade and this was a perfect opportunity.
MOVING RIGHT ALONG....
In this episode we begin by discussing his flagship instrument, The Marvin in detail. We learn about the night when the first drawings took place and the process in designing this incredible instrument. Before I knew how it received it's name, I was so curious about its name "The Marvin." It kind of looks like a Marvin somehow, although I can't express in words why, it just does. Without spoiling anything, all I will say is that it is very sentimental and has a lot to do with why Morfbeats exist in the first place.
From there we talk about the revered player, and Adam’s favourite drummer, Billy Martin. Adam had the chance to perform and form a friendship with Billy recently and you can easily tell that Adam is still in disbelief about how far Morfbeats has taken him. It is amazing to see that a unique instrument has given him the opportunity to meet with the artists he admires.
Then I decided to ask Adam an adverse question, based on what I know of Adam up until this point. That question was this, “What is your opinion on the current state of pop music?” Adam provides a very reasonable response to my question and it isn’t too far from simply saying, “It sucks, more or less, but some people need that quick fix.” Anyways, it is definitely a highlight to the episode.
In closing, Adam is an artist that is doing what he wants. He is not restricted by much and he can make whatever the hell he wants and that is super rad. There is nothing conventional about this stuff and it is totally open ended in regards to design and ideas. He has created himself a playground of steel, welding equipment and springs.
ONE MORE THING....
The conclusion of this episode is set to Adam’s original music, the track is titled “Catatonic”. There is an interview on YouTube where Zappa is interviewed during his illness and ultimately not too long before his death. In most Zappa interviews, he is sarcastic, witty and very forward in the direction of his message, but in this interview he is calm, relaxed and pacified. The questions that are asked are most definitely highly reflective and the tone of Adam’s music to the interview is heart wrenching at times. I felt it was a nice way to send off this podcast.
Music featured on this episode (in order)
a) Frank Zappa - Lumpy Gravy T1S1 (Capitol Version)
b) Multiple random interviews and RDNZL live (unknown concert)