Band of the Week: Project /Object

Band of the Week: Project /Object
Photo by Robin Gelberg

MEET THE BAND: Andre Cholmondeley (guitar, vocals, samples), Napoleon Murphy Brock (vocals, saxophone), Denny Walley (guitar), Kendall Scott (synthesizers, keyboards), Jerry Cuccurullo (drums), Andrew Walley (bass)

KEEPING THE LEGACY ALIVE: Project/Object bills itself as the longest continually touring, alumni-based Frank Zappa tribute band in the world. The group has toured for more than 25 years now, playing the U.S., Canada and Europe. Over the course of that time, nearly 20 musicians have played with the group as they have kept the late Frank Zappa's music legacy alive. "There are so many possibilities with his music," says guitarist Denny Walley. "He opened up a lot of people's ears. His roots are steeped in the basic melodies, but his orchestral arrangements and writing really cross all boundaries. He knew how to get as much emotion out of the song as possible. There's also a comedic aspect. It's like [comedian] Spike Jones. He had fun with the music, but he also knew how to write music that was really challenging."

THE LATEST LINEUP: The current incarnation of Project/Object features old bandmates Napoleon Murphy Brock and Denny Walley. Brock first appeared on the 1974 album Apostrophe (') and also appears on Thingfish and You Can't Do That Onstage Anymore — Helsinki. "Since playing with the band, I've been playing material I never played before," says Walley. "I've been working on the difficult songs. I think by the end of the tour, I should be ready to go on tour. It's one of those things."

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: The band faithfully recreates an array of tunes from Zappa's catalog. Its rendition of "Joe's Garage," one of the few Zappa songs to receive airplay on commercial radio, stays true to the original with its sardonic vocals, woozy saxophone and wah-wah guitars. Walley says the set list for the current tour will heavily feature Brock, who he says is "an amazing vocalist." "I'm really looking forward to playing in the States with Project/Object," says Walley. "I haven't toured the States with the band in three or four years, and I haven't played with Napoleon since [the Zappa festival] Zappanale and before that it would have been with Frank."

WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: projectobject.com

WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Project/Object performs with CuDa, KrishNa & CuDa at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2, at the Beachland Ballroom.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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