Zappa Rings Our Chimes

By Beetle

Beetle, September, 1971

The phone rings. It's Frank Zappa from California. He wants to talk about his new album "The Mothers Fillmore East, June '71".

      Beetle: When is the new album coming out?

      Frank: At the end of July. We recorded it June 6th and 7th at the Fillmore East in New York.

      Where did you do the mixing?

      The tapes were mixed in Whitney Studios.

      How did you feel about the album overall?

      I feel it was a very good release. I am pleased with the way it came out. We did it on 16 tracks and Barry Keene engineered it. The better cuts on the album were "Willie the Pimp" and "Peaches and Regatta [Peaches en Regalia]". It turned out very well.

      Did you have any hassles?

      The only real hassle was the fact that it was ready so quickly after the production. Usually there is a two or three month delay. We wanted to get it out fast and give the people north of the border a chance to get a look at it. We haven't heard the album yet, but we should hear the tapes tomorrow. I'll listen to it then.

      Speaking of tapes, I understand that you used to carry a recorder with you.

      Yeah. I used to but not any more. There just isn't any time. These tapes you mentioned are part of a three record set to be released this November. It's the history of the Mothers.

      I understand you are making a movie.

      Yes, it's called "Two Hundred Motels", stars Ringo Starr, Theodore Bikel, The Mothers, and The London Philharmonic Orchestra. It's a fantasy musical on video tape.

      When was it done?

      We shot it in 7 days at Pinewood Studios in England.

      Christ! How long was it?

      It's a full length feature.

      Some bands like the Three Dog Night are doing television specials. Have you been approached?

      Yes, but the concept of T.V. Specials because of the type of music they're into is much easier for them. I don't mean technically, but rather that the music we're into is much more controversial. By the time the censors finished with the show, there wouldn't be anything left but the credits.

      You're much bigger in Europe than in the States. Is there anything you can attribute to that?

      (Pause) No.

      Whatever happened to Wild Man Fisher?

      He's kicking around doing records and dates.

      Oh, you're no longer producing him?

      No, I'm not producing anyone any more – just the Mothers. I'm devoting fulltime to being a Mother.

      Alice Cooper rates you as the second best rock & roll guitarist in North America. What do you say to that?

      (Musing) I think that Alice is very flattering.

      I understand that Bruce Bissel met you at the airport in Vancouver with a garbage truck. Whose idea was that?

      Warner Brothers. We arrived and there was Bruce with this garbage truck. He was ecstatic about the idea and said it would be a real gas if we were photographed beside it.

      Oh, you mean you weren't happy with the idea?

      Well, we would have actually preferred the more conventional limousine but after all, what could we do? Here was this promotion man who thinks that it's a great publicity stunt (after all, we'd never met him, and we didn't want to offend him or Warner Brothers) so we did it. It was more like what we were into in '67.

      When are you coming to Canada?

      Well, officially we're not but in October our East Coast tour starts.

      Is anyone negotiating with you?

      Yes, but nothing definite, although I hope we come to Canada and Toronto because we are so well received up there and it's a good place for us to gig.

      In the near future?

      We are touring the Northwest States including Seattle and Spokane.

      And after that?

      The next thing after the tour is kind of a sound project.

      Oh, what's it all about?

      Well, it's top secret man, but it involves about 8 months rehearsal, that I will tell you.

      Listen Frank, thanks for calling and when you get to Toronto, drop in.

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