PROJECT/OBJECT formed in the early '90s as an offshoot from an annual Frank Zappa birthday celebration that took place in guitarist Andre Cholmondeley's basement in New Jersey. As the event grew in size and popularity, PROJECT/OBJECT decided to take their show on the road, performing Zappa's music in more cities and larger venues, with a growing set list from every era of Zappa's 30-year recording career. The band strives to stay true to Frank's vision of constantly challenging the musicians and the audiences.
During Zappa's 1984 and 1988 tours, members of PROJECT/OBJECT became friendly with Ike Willis, the legendary 10-plus year Zappa vocalist and guitarist whose career with Frank began in the role of "Joe" on the quintessential Zappa album, Joe's Garage. In 1995, the members of PROJECT/OBJECT sent a tape of a live show to Ike and he was impressed enough that he agreed to come out to the East Coast to join the band onstage for a few gigs in the New York area. After that tremendous first outing, Ike agreed to repeat this experience in the future.
Ike felt the members of PROJECT/OBJECT were able to recreate the fun and excitement that he felt with Frank Zappa on stage. Many other Zappa alumni feel the same way, which has also inspired them to perform with the band, some for entire tours. Since 1998, when the band first took their act on the road, the following alumni have performed with the band: Willis, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Jimmy Carl Black, Ray White, Don Preston, Bunk Gardner, Denny Walley, Mike Keneally, Arthur Barrow, Ed Mann, Roy Estrada, Billy Mundi and even Al Malkin. Other notable artists they've collaborated with include Phish’s Jon Fishman, Capt. Beefheart/Jeff Buckley guitarist Gary Lucas, Chuck Garvey, Al Schnier and Jim Loughlin of moe., New York City big band leader and "Zappologist" Ed Palermo, and Dweezil Zappa drummer Jerry Cucurullo.
In every new city they visit, PROJECT/OBJECT converts the curious into dedicated fans. They want to remind old Zappa fans of the way it used to be and let younger fans, who never experienced a Zappa show, see and hear the way it was. This show also features Ed Mann, who started his tenure with Zappa when he applied percussion overdubs to "Zappa In New York". Ike Willis joined in 1978, and together or individually they appeared on every Zappa tour thereafter, and almost every album until his tragic death. Both Ed and Ike were integral parts of Zappa's final tour in 1988, some say his most historic tour, and one that he certainly richly represented to his fanbase with several live recordings.