"Thanks 2 Frank" (Imago; 1996)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Warren Cuccurullo is one of those guys who, for no reason, flies under the radar of other guitar players who get more attention. Joe Satriani and Steve Via dominated the late 80s and early 90s and anyone who knew how to crimp their hand into a “C” chord knew without a doubt who Satch and Via were.

Warren, however, became a devoted Zappa fan and would travel to see Frank and the crew any chance he would get. He even appeared in a segment of Zappa’s “Baby Snakes” film in 1978. He became friends with Zappa and finally got the call to gig with him and took advantage of it by playing on several Zappa tours. This by no doubt allowed Cuccurullo to hone his skills (and, I’m sure, to bump into Steve Vai).

Warren left the Zappa tour in the early 80s and formed Missing Persons. Missing Persons, of course, was considered a New Wave band and they enjoyed quite a bit of success with the album, "Spring Session M." I was lucky enough to see Missing Persons in concert when I was young and that's when I became aware of Cuccurullo's real talent. It would be a few years later before I truly realized what I had witnessed.

After Missing Persons broke up, Warren joined Duran Duran and -- although he had to tone down his playing to appeal to the pop crowd -- he still played with such creativity that his fretwork gained more notice. During the time Warren played in Duran Duran he released a few solo albums.

Now that the history lesson is out of the way, "Thanks 2 Frank" is a showcase of some incredible chops by Warren Cuccurullo. He sounds like Vai in some places and Zappa in others. Needless to say, the musicianship is top notch.

A few sleepers are present but what we might call "slow and boring" is most likely control on the artist part. The music here is odd and weird and just plain rocks hard in spots. Its style (and title, of course) is obviously a big thank you to Frank Zappa from Warren. I can put this CD on and find what seems like a new song each time I play it.

Performing on "Thanks 2 Frank" are Warren Cuccurullo – guitar; Vinnie Colaiuta and Jerry Cuccurullo – drums; Pino Palladino and Nick Beggs – bass.

For more information, check out www.wrrencuccurullo.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 09 Dec 2018 12:03:11 -0500.