Jimmy Carl Black (February 1, 1938 – November 1, 2008),
born James Inkanish, Jr., was a drummer and vocalist for The Mothers of
Born in El Paso, Texas, Black was of Cheyenne heritage. His trademark
line was "Hi Boys and Girls, I'm Jimmy Carl Black, and I'm the Indian of
the group." The line can be heard several times on the Mothers of
Invention album We're Only in It for the Money (for example, on the
tracks "Are You Hung Up?" and "Concentration Moon"). He has been
credited on some Mothers albums as playing "drums, vocals, and poverty".
appeared in the movie directed by Frank Zappa, 200 Motels, and sings the
song "Lonesome Cowboy Burt".
In the seventies he toured with Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band and
with Geronimo Black, the band he founded with Mothers' wind player Bunk
Gardner. In the eighties Jimmy and Bunk and Don Preston performed under
the name The Grandmothers along with a bunch of other ex-Zappa
musicians, but the band disbanded soon. Then Jimmy moved to Austin,
Texas where he met English singer Arthur Brown. The duo recorded an
album of classic R&B songs, Black, Brown and Blue, and performed
together. In 1993 Jimmy moved to Europe, where he reformed The
Grandmothers with original members Don and Bunk and with Dutch bass
player Ener Bladezipper (stagename of René Mesritz) and Italian guitar
player Sandro Olivia.
Black performed as a guest vocalist with the Muffin Men, a Frank Zappa
tribute band based in Liverpool, England, and with Jon Larsen, on the
surrealistic Strange News From Mars project, featuring several other
Zappa alumni, such as Tommy Mars, Bruce Fowler, Arthur Barrow.
At Steely Dan's 2001 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, Walter Becker
asked the assembled if they remembered who the original Mothers of
Invention drummer was. Becker has unsuccessfully lobbied the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame for Black's inclusion as a founding member of the
Mothers of Invention.
An autobiographical audio production with Jimmy Carl Black was recorded
in 2007, called The Jimmy Carl Black Story, produced by Jon Larsen.
Black was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2008, and died on
November 1, 2008 in Traunstein, Germany. Benefits were held on November
9, 2008 at the Bridgehouse II in London and December 7, 2008 in Crown