Scott Thunes

Scott Thunes played bass on some of Zappa’s best recordings. His playing complimented Zappa’s extended solos particularly well, and he aided Zappa in arranging some Bartok pieces, for one of Zappa’s touring bands. Thunes has done tours with a handful of other artists, but has spent most of his time with his wife and two children.

What have you been doing for work these days?

I’m a stay at home dad this decade.

Have you been working on any new material?

I don’t have any old material. Really, I’m just a kind of bass player.

When was the last time you played a gig and how did it go?

Funny you should ask. Right before this weekend my last gig was with my friend Kyle Alden, helping out with low frequencies on his more pop-oriented tunes. It was nice. My wife was there and she got to see me play my flat-wound, fingerstyle which I don’t normally do. I’m more of a round-wound heavy-pick using son-of-a-gun. Mellow. Groovy. Slippy. Not growly. Punchy. Hard. Right?

Have you pursued any artistic endeavors outside of music?

Urm…takin’ pitchers? Starting thinking about writing my book? Clearing the front yard of tons of river rock?

Do you have any all time favorite composers or bands?


Do you keep up with new music, and if so do any artists stick out to you?


If you had unlimited money, highly trained musicians of your choice, and unlimited rehearsal time to produce a piece of music, what kind of ensemble would you bring together for it, and what would it sound like?

It would probably look a lot like the Ensemble Moderne and would sound like shit because I don’t know what I’m doing. On a lighter note, I’d mix up some Hindemith, Tubin, Hartmann, Henze, Busoni, and Reger in a big mental pot and cross my fingers.

If you could join any group or musical ensemble what would it be?

I would bring my brother back from the dead, all musty and decrepit, and reform the Young Republicans from the 80s. We’d get so big so quickly that I would have had to think twice about leaving to play with Frank.

Would you ever consider touring with Fear again?

I would have to add some requirements, such as Lee actually paying me for the album I made with him over 13 years ago, he’d have to apologize for the way he treated me and my friend on the last day of recording (and all throughout the tour, starting around D.C.) and he’d have to wear a different fabulous dress every night and have the words “Racist Homophobe” tattooed on his forehead (heh heh, just kidding)

What do you think of Microtonal music?

I’m a big fan. I love Charles Ives’ Three Quarter-Tone Pieces for Piano and the works of Alois Haba in general (did you know that Frank was a follower of Haba’s method of non-thematic Composition?)

What do you think was Frank Zappa’s greatest artistic achievement?

Probably 200 Motels. Or maybe Lumpy/Money. Billy the Mountain rates pretty high. YCDTOSA Complete is a dramatic statement. Solitude.

Do you see yourself becoming more involved in music again once your children leave the home?

I’ve already started the rehabilitation process.

If you could how would you restructure how music is taught at the high school and college levels?

No idea. Never really did high school.

Why do you think orchestral music isn’t as popular as rock music?

Americans, at least, have been radically dumbed-down, and it takes more than an appreciation for a pretty melody to ‘do’ orchestral music.

Where do you stand politically, and what would you like to see change over the course of Obama’s first term?

I’m a lefty, pretty hardcore, and legalizing pot would have to rate pretty high. I don’t smoke and haven’t for two decades, but it’s a sin how many people are incarcerated for things like that. Worse, Bush and his cronies are rich, free, and terminally and inhumanely cluless as to the long-tern damage they’ve done. (Or Are They?!?!) A Truth and Reconciliation committee should be convened as soon as possible.

What do you consider to be the best recorded example of your bass playing?

Sunrise Redeemer, Fire and Chains, Death And Love ( Love and Death?) off of The Waterboys’ Dream Harder, and my entire contribution to the album, In Remembrance (found on by my Junior High School friend, Geoff Wolf.

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