Hello boys and girls, my name is Frank ...
By Jonathan Kundra
"I like to make instant music; I never know exactly what's going on to happen on stage, but believe me, what ever it is, we'll find a way to put it into the music. But most of it is going right over their heads. I talk to a lot of them afterwards, and I know what they see. I know what they hear. it bears very little resemblance to what we do. Audiences are all different, and they're all the same. They don't hear music. They're not trained to hear music. They're trained to be entertained. They come to see a show. The visual aspect of what we do is more accessible to that audience than the audio aspect. Of course it's much better now than earlier; and we're getting through to more people than before, but we've been doing this for five years. We're just now beginning to see it happen. Some of the people in the audience are listening to the music rather than waiting for weird lyrics, or waiting for some kind of bullshit to happen ..."
"The Mothers are fun to be with; if I had to go out on the road with any other band I'd probably commit suicide. The original members have been together for five years. Some of them are conservatory trained, and some of them used to be salad chefs, truck drivers and gas station attendants. Artie played with the Cincinnati Symphony for two years, and then went on a world tour with them. Ian's got a Bachelor's from Yale and a Master's from Berkeley. Our road manager quit being a fourth-grade teacher to be on the road with us. We're very patriotic in the best sense of the word. I think most of the guys in the band really care. They care enough to take the chances involved with doing what we do, and saying what we say on the stage ..."
"... multiplicity is our first characteristic; unity our second. As your parts know they are part of you, so must you know that we are parts of humanity. We're not a group of freaks. We're Homo Gestalt. We weren't invented, we evolved." There was warmth and laughter and wisdom ... for each voice there was a discrete personality, a comprehensible sense of something like stature or rank, and an accurate locus ... yet in terms of amplitude, there was no difference in the voices. They were all here, or, at least, all equally near."
Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human
"I don't 'collect' people like Cynthia Plastercaster or the GTO's. We find each other. It was the same way with the band: we came together and evolved over a period of years. I try to find avenues by which people there might be able to express themselves. One of the things that keeps a society sick and frustrated is when you have creative people with no outlet for their creativity. It will eventually turn into something terribly destructive if they can't find a way to discharge it. You don't really know what kind of energy these people possess, and what they can do; they make things happen that you can't even dream of .... In order for the ones who have been able to save themselves from that fate, – in order for them to continue and do good work – they have to be shown that somebody appreciates the fact that they escaped. We appeal to these people. We let them know that anybody can create their own spaces within the world."
OK kids, this is the end of the line. If you're looking for a story, too bad; there isn't any. It would have bored me to death, and been pretty useless for you besides. Zappa and the Mothers really don't lend themselves to being laid out neatly on a page.. Don Preston told me, "a lot of people spend time with us, with the idea of doing a book. They always end up having a great time, but never write a word." I spent two days with the Mothers, and had a great time. I could have written about that, but it wouldn't have been about them, so much as me. The Mothers create music; they make open spaces for the unexpected to happen in; they touch your mind in a way that changes it. Any writer who attempts to reduce all this into an article is dishonest or simpleminded, or both. Instead of laying down a few pages of packages jive, I've tried to let them speak for themselves. And if you read between the lines, and think a bit about the photographs, you'll come out with more knowledge about Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention than any article could give you.
Read by OCR software. If you spot errors, let me know afka (at) afka.net