80'S ROCK BEST. Beat it (Michael Jackson) -centerfold (The J. Geils Band) -heat of the moment (Asia) -hungry like the wolf (Duran Duran) -hurts so good (John Cougar) -I love rock'n roll (Joan Jett and the blackhearts) -love somebody (Rick Springfield) -money for nothing (Dire Straits) -owner of a lonely heart (Yes) -the power of love (Huey Lewis and the news) -pride (in the name of love) (U2) -rebel yell (Billy Idol) -separate ways (worlds apart) (Journey) -(there's only) one way to rock (Van Halen) -what you need (INXS) -who can it be now? (men at work) -99 luftballons (Nena). 127 pages. TABLATURE
Warren Cuccurullo is about as diverse a guitarist as you're likely to find. He has been a
charter member of Frank Zappa's band, Missing Persons, and Duran Duran. Now he is
releasing his first solo album, Thanks To Frank, a record that pulls out all the guitar
stops he has learned over the years. Cuccurullo attributes his particular guitar
approach to his love of Frank Zappa's music and the attention to detail he learned while
playing in all of the late composer's various styles. "Frank showed me what you could do
with music," Cuccurullo says frQm his home in England. "There was no end to what you
could do with him. It was the wonder of music, the juxtaposition of different styles. On
Overnite Sensation and One Size Fits All there were all these amazing sounds. But there
were 17 albums before that-they were all different, and the differences were pretty
Cuccurullo's first professional gig was with Zappa's band during the recording of Joe's
Garage. After contributing to other FZ works, including Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar,
Cuccurullo left Zappa's employ to form Missing Persons with fellow Zappa alumni
Patrick O'Hearn and Terry and Dale Bozzio, and today he wields the axe for Duran Duran.
With Zappa, Warren started out at the top, and he has been developing his decidedly
outside style ever since. Yet, there's an adhesive quality to his playing that doesn't alienate
the general listening public. "I grew up on pop music:' he says. "It wasn't as if I picked
up a guitar and said, 'I want to playa 20- minute solo. I want to play in seven and nine,'
I liked all of The Beatles' music and The Who and The Rolling Stones' stuff. There's great
satisfaction in writing a four-minute hit-type song. That's where most of the pleasure
comes from: writing something that has a beautiful melody and a fantastic guitar riff or
beautiful chord changes." Some of the more skeptical Zappa devotees
have probably found Warren's move to the realm of Duran Durandom an astounding
change-even from Missing Persons-but Cuccurullo doesn't see it that way. "Duran
Duran enabled me to develop a voice as a guitarist, and I think I've grown a lot more in the
past ten years than the eight before," Thanks To Frank finds Cuccurullo offering
gratitude to his late mentor. "It's very different from what people have heard me do," he
explains. "It's the kind of music that I played for Frank, that got me in his band. The kind of
solos that are on here, and using various sounds and techniques, are what I think
Frank liked about my playing. Thanks To Frank is about playing fast, playing weird,
playing off the drummer, really odd rhythms-the weirdest possible sounds in the
shortest possible times,"
Weird sounds have been a longstanding interest of Warren's, and he's coaxed them
from a variety of sources. "As a kid I always liked to play with a lot of effects, anything I
could step on or kick. I was a big fan of the Fox Tone Machine and the Mutron 3 which
gave a weird synthesizer sound. Sounds make you want to play differently; ifyou have
a really clean sound you're going to playa certain way, a really dirty sound and you're
going to play another way.
"There are a lot of effects on Thanks To Frank, like the Lexicon Jam Man and the
DigiTech Whammy pedal, and songs were composed around what those boxes can do.
The album is just guitar, bass and drums without overdubs, so that allowed me, using
these effects, to augment the ensemble with just my fingers and my feet. It's a good showcase
for the way you can use these effects," Warren's music doesn't rely solely on
effects; he's constantly trying new tunings to come up with evermore interesting compositions.
"When you keep changing your tuning, it leads to writing a different song, so my tuning'
s are kind of compositionally based. I say, 'Okay, let me try this: and hit the harmonics
and screw around with them for a while, and get these different kinds of melodic things
happening. Then I'll try to play some chords in there. On the upcoming Duran Duran
album, I use an interesting tuning on a song called 'Before I Die,' I tune the D string down
to a C~ and the G string down to an Ft and the song is in C~. That allows me to hit a few
more open strings than I would normally," Cuccurullo has adopted a workaholic
ethic ii. fa Zappa: he has more albums in the can right now than some musicians record in
their entire careers. "When you make as much music as I do, the idea is to get it out
there and be heard. My next album, Machine Language, is just guitar, no bass or drums. I'ill
working on another band with Nick Rhodes, and on an album called TV Mania. We're fin-
ishing part one of a rock opera which we hope will be a Broadway play called Bored
With Prozac And The Internet, with two more installments to follow that. Part one will be
out before the summer and the new Duran Duran album should be out in June, and
Machine Language in October. And if you think the last Duran Duran album, Thank
You, was weird, being all covers, wait until you hear the music on the new album-it's
going to shock a lot of people." If it does, it will in no small way be thanks to Frank.