Jimmy Carl Black

James Carl Inkanish, Jr. (February 1, 1938 – November 1, 2008), known professionally as Jimmy Carl Black, was a drummer and vocalist for The Mothers of Invention.[1][2]

Jimmy Carl Black
Black in 2005
Black in 2005
Background information
Birth nameJames Inkanish Jr.
Also known asIndian Ink, The Indian Of The Group
Born(1938-02-01)February 1, 1938
El Paso, Texas, United States
DiedNovember 1, 2008(2008-11-01) (aged 70)
Siegsdorf, Germany
GenresAlternative rock, R&B
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer
InstrumentsDrums, percussion, vocals
Years activelate 1950s – 2008
Associated actsThe Mothers of Invention,
Muffin Men,
Captain Beefheart,
Geronimo Black,
The Grandmothers,
Black, Brown and Blue,
Strange News From Mars

Career: 1960s–1990sEdit

Jimmy Carl Black (front row) with Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention (1968)

Born in El Paso, Texas, Black was of mixed Native American 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's album We're Only in It for the Money (for example, on the tracks "Are You Hung Up?" and "Concentration Moon"). The line can also be heard in Haskell Wexler's 1969 movie 'Medium Cool'. He was also addressed as such by Theodore Bikel in the film 200 Motels. He has been credited on some Mothers albums as playing "drums, vocals, and poverty".[1][3]

He appeared in the movie directed by Frank Zappa, 200 Motels, and sings the song "Lonesome Cowboy Burt". Black also made a few more appearances with Zappa in 1975 and 1980,[1] and also appeared as guest vocalist on "Harder Than Your Husband" on the Zappa album You Are What You Is (1981). The same year, 1981, he performed the very same song at the discothèque Aladdin, Oasen, Bergen, Norway, as part of The Grandmothers, after their release Grandmothers (1980), an anthology of previously unreleased recordings by ex-members of The Mothers of Invention.[3][4]

Jimmy Carl Black on Frank Zappa:

I would have told him that I appreciated his friendship through the years and that I had learned a lot from him. I really loved Frank like you do a brother.[5]

In 1972, he played with Geronimo Black, the band he founded with Mothers wind player Bunk Gardner.[3] In the summer of 1975 he played drums for Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band under the stage name Indian Ink, notably at the band's appearance at the Knebworth Festival. 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 soon disbanded. 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 live together.

After the death of his first wife, Jimmy moved to Italy in 1992 and then to Germany in 1995, 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 Oliva.[2][6][7]


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.[1] Black toured around Europe with Muffin Men between 1993-2007 playing hundreds of gigs, appearing on many of the CDs and DVDs.

Black and Eugene Chadbourne played as "the Jack and Jim Show" around Europe and US between 1992 and 2003. They performed many Zappa and Beefheart compositions alongside other material.

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 unsuccessfully lobbied the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for Black's inclusion as a founding member of The Mothers of Invention.[1]

An autobiographical audio production with Jimmy Carl Black was recorded in 2007, called The Jimmy Carl Black Story, produced by Jon Larsen.[2]

Black was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2008, and died on November 1, 2008 in Siegsdorf, Germany. Benefits were held on November 9, 2008 at the Bridgehouse II in London and December 7, 2008 in Crown Valley, California. He is survived by Monika, three sons and two daughters.[2]

In 2013, the documentary Where's the Beer and When Do We Get Paid? about Black began running in Germany.[8]

Black's autobiography For Mother's Sake was published by Black's widow on November 1, 2013 to mark the fifth anniversary of his death. The incomplete manuscript was rounded off using material from the synoptic web-bio Black published on his website, and extracts from various interviews Black gave. The main body of text was transcribed from tapes recorded by Roddie Gilliard in the Muffin Men tour bus during 1995-1998.

Band chronologyEdit

  • Them 3 Guys (1959–60)
  • The Keys (1960–2)
  • The Squires (1963–64)
  • Soul Giants (1964–65)
  • The Mothers of Invention (with Frank Zappa, 1965–1969)
  • Geronimo Black (1969–70 & 1971–73)
  • Mesilla Valley Lo boys (1974–77), Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band (1975)
  • Big Sonny & The Lo Boys (1977–79)
  • The Grandmothers (1980–2)
  • Captain Glasspack & his Magic Mufflers (1982–83)
  • Pound for Pound, Junior Franklin & The Golden Echoes, Rhythm Rats (1983–85)
  • Jimmy Carl Black and the Mannish Boys (1985/6–1987/8)
  • (Austin) Grandmothers (1988–1992)
  • The Jack & Jim Show (with Eugene Chadbourne, 1993–5, 2001–8)
  • Grandmothers (1993-4, 1998, 2000)
  • The Farrell and Black Band (1995–2006)
  • Muffin Men (1993, 1995–2008)
  • Sandro Oliva & the Blue Pampurio's, X-Tra Combo, Behind The Mirror, Boogie Stuff, Cosmik Debris, Mick Pini Band, Jimmy Carl Black Band, Tempest Quartet, Happy Metal Band, etc. (1996–2008)



  • Clearly Classic (1981)[9]
  • A Lil' Dab'l Do Ya (1987) − as Jimmy Carl Black & Mannish Boys
  • Brown, Black & Blue (1988) − as Arthur Brown and Jimmy Carl Black
  • When Do We Get Paid? (1998)
  • Drummin' the Blues (2001)
  • Is Singin' the Blues (2002)
  • Hamburger Midnight (2002) − as BEP (Jimmy Carl Black, Roy Estrada and Mike Pini)
  • Mercedes Benz (2003) − as Jimmy Carl Black & the X-Tra Combo
  • Indian Rock Songs from Jimmy Carl Black (2005) − live album
  • How Blue Can You Get? (2006)
  • Where's the $%&#@ Beer? (2008)
  • I Just Got in from Texas (2008) − as Chris Holzhaus, Jimmy Carl Black & Louis Terrazas
  • Can I Borrow a Couple of Bucks Until the end of the Week? (2008)
  • I'm Not Living Very Extravagantly, I'll Tell You for Sure... (2008)
  • Where's My Waitress? (2008)
  • If We'd All Been Living in California... (2008)
  • Freedom Jazz DanceJimmy Carl Black (2008) – (Jimmy Carl Black, Valentina Black, Bruno Marini, Daniele D'Agaro, Cristina Mazza)
  • Black/Brown/Stone (2009) − as Jimmy Carl Black, Steven De Bruyn & Jos Steen
  • Live All-Stars (2009) − live album − as Jimmy Carl Black & the Route 66 All-Star Blues Band
  • More Rockin' Blues (2009) − as Jimmy Carl Black & the Route 66 All-Star Blues Band
  • Live in Steinbach (2009) − live album − as Jimmy Carl Black, Mick Pini & Uwe Jesdinsky

The Mothers of InventionEdit

Frank ZappaEdit

  • Lumpy Gravy (1967)
  • 200 Motels (1971)
  • Confidential (1974) − live album
  • Remington Electric Razor (1980) − live album
  • You Are What You Is (1981)
  • The Supplement Tape (1990) − compilation
  • Tis the Season to Be Jelly (1991) − live album
  • The Ark (1991) − live album
  • Our Man in Nirvana (1992) − live album
  • Electric Aunt Jemima (1992) − live album
  • Lost Episodes (1996) − compilation
  • Cheap Thrills (1998) − compilation



  1. ^ a b c d e Jimmy Carl Black biography at AllMusic
  2. ^ a b c d "Jimmy Carl Black Obituary". The Guardian. November 4, 2008. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Chadbourne, Eugene. "Jimmy Carl Black Biography". AllMusic.com. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Grandmothers (1980) – An anthology of previously unreleased recordings by ex-members of The Mothers of Invention". Eil.com. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  5. ^ "Jimmy Carl Black Quotes". BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  6. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/music/2008/nov/04/popandrock
  7. ^ http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-mothers-of-invention-drummer-jimmy-carl-black-2008nov05-story.html
  8. ^ "Where's the Beer and when do we get paid? | An international Heimat movie about sex, drugs, rock ' n roll and no retirement funds". Wheresthebeer.de. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  9. ^ Chadbourne, Eugene. "Jimmy Carl Black – Clearly Classic Review". AllMusic.com. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  10. ^ "Jon Larsen Review". GandsMusic.com. Retrieved December 2, 2012.

External linksEdit