Frank Zappa Speaks

By Hundred Flowers

Hundred Flowers, July 10, 1970

Hundred Flowers had the rare opportunity to talk with one of the musical masters of our time between shows last Sunday at the Guthrie…

HUNDRED FLOWERS: You played in Indianapolis last night?

FRANK ZAPPA: And Friday night. That’s four shows in three nights after tonight. [1]

HF: Whew!

Z: Right on, brother. Three nights in a row is good for the exercise but it’s bad for creativity. You find yourself playing the same solos over and over again.

HF: Two of the new Mothers are ex-Turtles. Don’t you poke a little fun at them on your first album?

Z: On the cover, yeah. But the Turtles were damn good. If it lent any commerciality to their image then I regret it.

HF: Didn’t one of them used to be on “Leave it to Beaver?”

Z: That’s the ‘Larry Mondello Ruse.’ [2] They’ve been both mistaken for Larry Mondello for six years. It used to be Corky, the fat little kid that took care of Lassie between Jeff and Timmy. [3] At every concert for six years one of them has been mistaken for that kid on Beaver. Their real names are Mark Volman and Howie Kaylan.

HF: What happened to the Turtles? (We weren’t able to get a photo of these famous faces; Meher Baba, pictured in the centerfold, does look a lot like Kaylan, however.)

Z: They’re suing their record company. They made fourteen gold records and have seen nothing but pennies.

HF: How much do they expect to get?

Z: They’re suing for a million and a half.

HF: And how much do they expect to get?

Z: They’re suing for a million and a half.

HF: As we understand it, your movie, “Uncle Meat,” has gone through a lot of evolving.

Z: Yeah, and as soon as I can get some money we can get it done. Now it’s about some little girl getting hot over Mike [Don] Preston.

HF: With old Mothers, won’t it be out of date?

Z: No. Originally it was about all freaks in America being led away to concentration camps and getting their heads shaved. Including the Mothers. The head fascist was some fat headed computer-brained Colonel Sanders who sat in his office shooting chickens, all the while riding in the glove compartment of a Chicken Little truck.

HF: Why didn’t you do it?

Z: Because this mustache is six years old and I didn’t want to cut it. It’s not over yet though. We’ll see.

HF: What’s in your near future?

Z: A four hour TV special in Amsterdam, and perhaps the completion of “Uncle Meat.”

HF: How do you feel about music groups boycotting other music groups?

Z: Not much.

HF: But we agree that there have been rip offs right and left in the music business.

Volman: (cutting in): Ask the Turtles about that.

HF: How about undercutting groups or undercutting promoters? Rolling Stone is attempting to organize a union with the big name groups with salaried promoters in every city so they can lower their prices and their tickets.

Z: I wouldn’t do it. The way I feel about that is that it wouldn’t work because they’re not in it to make music; they’re in it to make money.

HF: All of them but yourself?

Z: And Captain Beefheart.

HF: Any of ‘em makes real music by accident?

Z: Beefheart makes music, but it’s no accident.

HF: Any others? Is there anybody good?

Z: I’ll have to do some research.

HF: Anything else you’d like to add your condescension to?

Z: John and Yoko Lennon and Rolling Stone magazine. I’ll probably write a song about Rolling Stone in the “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” vein.

1. This interview happened in Minneapolis on Sunday, July 5, 1970. The Mothers had gigs in Indianapolis in July 3 and 4, and then two shows in Minneapolis in July 5 at the Guthrie Theater. In May 2016 a 2 CD set Road Tapes, Venue #3 was issued, which contained two complete shows from Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. On Chunga's Revenge album "The Nancy And Mary Music" was recorded in Minneapolis, July 5.

2. Another article in the same Hundred Flowers issue – "Mothers Of Invention – Zappa De Guthrie" – is filled with the ‘Larry Mondello Ruse.’

3. Charles Ulrich: "Sylvester 'Porky' Brockway (played by Joey Vieira aka Donald Keeler) was a recurring character on the first four seasons of Lassie (1953-1957). Note that Jon Provost, who played Timmy on the fourth through tenth seasons of Lassie (1957-1964) is mentioned in "Magdalena" on Just Another Band From L.A."

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