Arthur Barrow

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For the English cricketer, see Arthur Barrow (cricketer).

Arthur Barrow (born February 28, 1952, San Antonio, Texas) is a multi-instrumental musician, best known for his stint as a bass guitar player for Frank Zappa in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Early life[edit]

Barrow was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1952 and grew up in a part of town there called Alamo Heights. His father played piano and organ, as had his father, Arthur Barrow of Buffalo, New York, a strict piano teacher and organist. When he was 13, he washed neighborhood cars until he had saved enough money to buy his first electric guitar (an Alamo) and his first amplifier (a Kent). He learned how to play music by ear by copying surf guitar records like The Ventures, and later, Jimi Hendrix, and still later, Frank Zappa. He played in local bands through junior high and high school during the 1960s. He began to study classical organ in 1970.

While attending Alamo Heights High School, Arthur Barrow cut his musical teeth playing Lead Guitar with a rock band known as Wisdom, playing fraternity parties, high school dances, and small concerts in the San Antonio area. His fellow band members (Ian "Toby" French (singer), Raymond Tolbert (bass), Alfred Toerney (keyboards), and others) knew that Arthur was "marked for greatness" due to his outstanding talent and ability to quickly pick up songlines (source?).

He attended North Texas State University (now University of North Texas) in Denton, Texas from 1971 to 1975 where he studied composition and organ. He began teaching himself bass guitar in 1974 while at school there. He spent many hours in the electronic music labs learning about analog synthesis on the Moog modular systems there. He graduated cum laude, receiving a bachelor of music degree with a major in composition, specializing in electronic music.

Professional career[edit]

In 1975 he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a professional music career, with one of his main goals being to play in Frank Zappa's band. He took whatever kind of musical work he could get - night clubs, weddings, high school dances, a few sessions. He met Robby Krieger in 1976 and recorded synthesizer with The Doors on an album called American Prayer. He formed a jazz group with Bruce Fowler and Don Preston called Loose Connection in the latter 1970s. They made some recordings in Echo Park and performed a few times in Los Angeles. They did some recordings in Hollywood with Vinnie Colaiuta in December 1978.

In the summer of 1978, he passed the audition and began playing bass in Frank Zappa's band. In 1979, he also took on the duties of being the "clonemeister", or band rehearsal director.[1] The band rehearsed for 8 to 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. He would run the rehearsals for the first half of the day, then Zappa would take over when he arrived. He did 4 tours with Zappa and can be heard playing bass, guitar and keyboards on about a dozen recorded albums.

In the early 1980s he co-wrote music, recorded and toured the U.S. with Robby Krieger. They had a live band then for a short time called Red Shift that did only a few recordings and gigs in the LA area. By this time, having a 1/2" 8 track tape recorder, an electric piano and some synthesizer gear, he focused a lot of attention to writing and recording music at home.

He began working with Giorgio Moroder in the mid-1980s on albums and film sound tracks, including Scarface and Top Gun. He did keyboards, programming, bass, and arranging for a wide range of artists including Joe Cocker, Diana Ross, Billy Idol, Berlin, The Motels, and others.

He opened his own Lotek recording studio in the Mar Vista district of Los Angeles in 1985. Through the latter 1980s and into the 1990s he has produced albums and composed sound tracks for films and television at his studio. He has composed and produced three solo CDs and he is currently working on a fourth CD as well as other projects, like the Strange News From Mars - feat. Tommy Mars and Jon Larsen, and The Mar Vista Philharmonic, featuring Tommy Mars, Bruce Fowler, Vinnie Colaiuta, and other Frank Zappa alumni, on the Zonic Entertainment label.

Selected discography[edit]

Frank Zappa[edit]

Arthur Barrow (second from left, with bass), backing Frank Zappa during a concert at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, New York, October 25, 1980.
  • Joe's Garage
  • You Are What You Is
  • Tinseltown Rebellion
  • Shut Up 'n Play Your Guitar (15 tracks recorded in 1979 and 1980)
  • The Man From Utopia
  • Ship Arriving Too Late to Save A Drowning Witch (on the first half of "I Come From Nowhere")
  • Thing-Fish
  • Them or Us
  • You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore (select tracks on Volumes 1, 4 and 6)
  • We're Only in it For the Money (overdubbed bass tracks c.1983)
  • Cruising With Ruben & the Jets (overdubbed bass tracks c.1983)
  • Guitar (two tracks recorded in 1979)
  • Buffalo
  • Trance-Fusion (one track recorded in 1979)
  • Any Way the Wind Blows [authorized bootleg]
  • Saarbrücken 1978 [authorized bootleg]
  • "I Don't Want to Get Drafted" b/w "Ancient Armaments" (single)

The Doors[edit]

  • An American Prayer

Robby Krieger[edit]

  • Versions
  • Door Jams
  • No Habla
  • Robby Krieger

Joe Cocker[edit]

  • 9½ Weeks (movie soundtrack) - "You Can Leave Your Hat On"
  • Teachers (movie soundtrack) - "On the Edge of a Dream"

Billy Idol[edit]

Charmed Life. Keyboards, Bass, Arranger.

Diana Ross[edit]

"Touch By Touch" (Swept Away album). Co-writer, Keyboards, Bass, Arranger.

Janet Jackson[edit]

Dreamstreet. Co-writer title song.

Keith Emerson[edit]

Musical transcription and unreleased recording. Bass

Jon Larsen/Tommy Mars[edit]

  • "Strange News From Mars" - a surrealistic concert, feat. Bruce Fowler, Jimmy Carl Black, etc.
  • "Willie Nickerson's Egg" - a surrealistic audiobook.

The Motels[edit]

Shock. Keyboards, Bass.

Nina Hagen[edit]

Fearless. Keyboards.


Love Life - ("No More Words" and "Dancing in Berlin"), Oscar winning single from "Top Gun" soundtrack - "Take My Breath Away". Keyboards, Bass, Arranger.

Charlie Sexton[edit]

Pictures For Pleasure, Charlie Sexton. Keyboards, Bass, Co-writer, Arranger. 12" Remix of "Impressed".

Scott Merritt[edit]

Violet and Black. Producer, Arranger, Bass, Keyboards.

The Untouchables[edit]

Agent Double-O Soul. Producer, Arranger, Co-writer.

Oingo Boingo[edit]

12" Remix of "Stay"

Mona Lisa Overdrive[edit]

Mona Lisa Overdrive. Artist, Co-writer, Arranger, Producer, Engineer, Keyboards, Bass.

Arthur Barrow[edit]

  • Music for Listening, Eyebrow Razor, AB3, On Time. Artist, Composer, Arranger, Producer, Engineer, Keyboards, Bass, Guitar, Percussion. CDs for sale
  • "In the Mood". 12" dance remix of the Glenn Miller classic for MCA records. Artist, Arranger, Producer.

Silent film music[edit]

Torrent (1926 film) (Greta Garbo), The Boob (Joan Crawford), The Cameraman (Buster Keaton)

Films and TV shows[edit]

Top Gun, Scarface, The Doors, The Breakfast Club, The Never Ending Story, Electric Dreams, Quicksilver D.C. Cab, Iron Eagle, and The Twilight Zone. Keyboards, Bass, Arranger (in varying degrees).


  1. ^ "Arthur Barrow 13-Jan-2008 interview". Retrieved 23 September 2012. 

External links[edit]