||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2011)|
|Also known as||Stucco Homes|
|Genres||Progressive Rock, Classic rock, Alternative rock, R&B|
|Years active||1978 - present|
|Labels||Zappa Records, Barking Pumpkin Records, Reprise Records|
|Associated acts||Frank Zappa, Bogus Pomp, Ugly Radio Rebellion, Ossi Duri, Elio e le storie tese|
Ike Willis (born November 14, 1955) is an American vocalist and guitarist who was a regular member of Frank Zappa's studio and touring bands from 1978 until the last tour in 1988. He did not tour with Zappa in 1981 and 1982 because he wanted to be home for the birth of his two children, but returned to touring with Zappa for his final two tours in 1984 (which Zappa intended at the time to be his final tour) and 1988. He currently tours with the Frank Zappa tribute bands Bogus Pomp, Ossi Duri, Project/Object, Pojama People and Ugly Radio Rebellion. He's also performed several times with the Brazilian Zappa cover band, The Central Scrutinizer Band, The Muffin Men, and with the Italian bands Ossi Duri and Elio e le Storie Tese . Additionally, he has appeared multiple times at the annual Zappanale Festival in Bad Doberan, Germany. He is most recognized for his involvement in Zappa records such as playing Joe in Joe's Garage, providing vocals on Tinsel Town Rebellion, You Are What You Is, and The Man from Utopia, and as the title character and narrator in Zappa's off-Broadway-styled conceptual musical Thing-Fish.
Ike also regularly does studio voice work and compositions for movies and music projects, as well as his own solo music and project "The Ike Willis Band." He has released 2 original solo studio albums under his own name and has another album in the works.
Currently, the life story of Ike Willis is being written by a group of friends and fans calling themselves Project Scrutinizer.
Years with Frank Zappa
The triple LP Joe's Garage featured lead singer Ike Willis as the voice of the character "Joe" in a rock opera about the danger of political systems, the suppression of freedom of speech and music - inspired in part by the Islamic revolution that had made music illegal within its jurisdiction at the time - and about the "strange relationship Americans have with sex and sexual frankness". The album contains rock songs like "Catholic Girls" (a riposte to the controversies of "Jewish Princess"), "Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up", and the title track, as well as extended live-recorded guitar improvisations combined with a studio backup band dominated by drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (with whom Zappa had a particularly good musical rapport) adopting the xenochrony process. The album contains one of Zappa's most famous guitar "signature pieces", "Watermelon in Easter Hay".
• “Black Napkins,” a track from the 1976 album “Zoot Allures,” was one of the first Frank Zappa songs that slayed him.
• He met Zappa during a 1977 concert at his school, Washington University, in St. Louis, his hometown.
• He deeply regrets that Zappa died before hiring him for a killer band that would have included Flo & Eddie and George Duke that would have toured in 1996, the 25th anniversary of “200 Motels,” the surrealistic documentary starring Zappa and The Mothers of Invention.
• One of his favorite Zappa mantras is “The stupider it is, the better we like it!”
With Frank Zappa