They're Doing the Interview of the Century – Part 3

By Den Simms, Eric Buxton, Rob Samler

Society Pages (US) #3, September 1990


OK, BOYS AND GIRLS. THIS IS THE THIRD AND FINAL PART OF OUR DECEMBER 22. 1989 INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSOR ZAPPA. WE SPENT FOUR AND A HALF HOURS CHATTING WITH UNCLE FRANK IN HIS BASEMENT LISTENING ROOM ON A WIDE SPECTRUM OF TOPICS. AND THE RESULT WAS ENTERTAINING, ENLIGHTENING, AND FUNNY AS HELL. WE HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED IT ...

DS: The world's getting smaller all the time, isn't it?

FZ: Yeah, well, in some parts of America, the world is too small already. How about Pennsylvania, with this new law they just passed?

DS: That was the abortion law.

FZ: No, they got another one about phonograph records.

DS: No, I don't know about that.

FZ: Yeah. I Just did an interview with the LA. Times about it, just before you came in here. I'm not sure that it's gone all the way through the legislature yet, but so far, it looks like it's gonna pass. What it states is this: All records must be rated, and the rating must have been applied by the manufacturer – it's not like the record store can stick their own label on it – or they can't stock it. If a person stocks an unrated record, they can be criminally prosecuted, and so can the distributor.

DS: I don't see how that could stand up [in court].

FZ: The fact is, the way they work this legislation is, they'll pass a bad law, and it will be the scourge of the area until there's a test case. Now, who's gonna be the test case ...

DS: Who wants to be the guinea pig?

FZ: Who's gonna take it to the Supreme Court?

DS: Yeah. What a hassle.

FZ: Once that's on the books there, I understand that there are attempts to pass the same kind of legislation in other states, so each state law is going to have to be challenged at the Supreme Court level.

DS: What happened with Henry Cisneros (mayor of San Antonio Texas), and all that?

FZ: Henry Cisneros had a little embarrassing situation to his political career down there. Didn't he wind up having a girlfriend, or something, and have some political problems about a year ago? Yeah, I don't know what happened to his career.

DS: But the health ordinance that he was ...

FZ: That's on the books, as far as I can tell.

DS: So, I mean, down there, they can tell you that ...

FZ: It's unhealthful to go to rock [concerts]. [1]

DS: Right. Until you're some certain age, or something.

FZ: I'm waiting for the people in this country to get smart enough to go out into the street to protest about what their governments are doing, y'know.

DS: Yeah, sure. Well, it gets discouraging sometimes, doesn't it?

FZ: Yeah, it does, but you can see how, laying in bed in the middle of the night, looking at CNN, and this report comes in that [Nicolae] Ceauşescu, who is really a total asshole, just got dumped out, I mean, oh, man, they really don't ...

DS: He's a fugitive right now, isn't he?

FZ: Yeah. They don't know where he is. They think, maybe, China. He could be in North Korea. He could be in Iran. He could still be in Romania [2], but they just found the shallow grave of about forty-five hundred protesters, that were killed in that other, uh ... Timişoara, whatever ...

DS: Yeah, yeah.

FZ: ... where they had the protest earlier in the week. He just told the army to gun these people down.

DS: Y'know what I find kinda curious, is that China got so much coverage when that happened, but Romania was just sort of like, (said with nonchalance) "Yes, and two thousand people were supposedly killed", and there wasn't that much hoopla about it. I mean, I just wonder whether or not It's just that tendency for us to see something magnanimous on the news, and then you see it get repeated again, even though it's equally as heinous, or important, or whatever, and it's not that big a deal the second time around, whether it was that, or it doesn't matter what the reasons were.

FZ: No, I think that the news is managed in the United States just as it's managed in every other country. The people who control everything want to make sure that you have one focus, and the focus is PANAMA right now.

DS: Of course.

FZ: Unless you're watching CNN, and the focus is two things. It's Panama, and cold weather. (laughter) That's what you get, so, you have to learn to read between the lines.

DS: Right. OK. Let's go back to music. I've said that a few times tonight. What can you tell us about these exotic items: 'Remington Electric Razor', with Linda Ronstadt?

FZ: In 1967, we were living in New York, and I got a request from an advertising agency. See, I did one commercial in '67 for Luden's Cough Drops, and that got an award. It got a CLIO for the best music in a commercial in '67. Then I got this request from Remington. They were looking for some kind of a 'new sound' for their commercials. (laughter) So, Linda Ronstadt happened to be managed by Herb Cohen, who was our manager at the time, and they supplied me with this advertising copy, and they wanted music for it. So, Ian Underwood and I put together this track, and Linda did the vocal on top of it, and we made a demo. They paid a thousand dollars for the demo, and that was the last I ever heard from 'em. They didn't like what I did.

DS: Needless to say, they balked on doing anything with it in terms of actually, y'know, using it on the radio, or something like that.

FZ: They never did it. No. It was a funny commercial, though.

DS: Yeah.

EB: Do you have the CLIO?

FZ: No.

EB: Was it presented to you?

FZ: No, I found out about it after the fact. I mean, they don't invite me to CLIO ceremonies, but the advertising agency that did it, y'know, they told me that it got a CLIO.

DS: What can you tell us about the [Mt.] Saint Mary's College [in Claremont, California] performance of tapes and stuff that you did?

FZ: Well, I can tell you that it was the first time that I was forced to spend my own money to hear my music performed. That concert cost me three hundred dollars. Three hundred 1962 dollars, which was a lot of money then.

DS: Yeah.

FZ: The event was recorded by KPFK [Los Angeles]. I think they've run [the tape] few times.

DS: How many people attended that?

FZ: Maybe ... two hundred.

DS: It was, like, a college type thing.

FZ: Yeah, it was a small college auditorium thing.

DS: D'you have any remembrances of what their reaction to it was?

FZ: A combination of amusement and bafflement, (laughter) which was totally appropriate.

DS: Right. I've heard a recording of 'Sad Jane', for two pianos. I believe it was something that was done over Dutch radio. (To Rob) I think that's where it's from.

RS: Um-hm.

FZ: Really?

DS: Yeah, and it was really pretty. Really a nice job on it. I was quite impressed, and I just wondered if you knew anything about it, or had any idea what it was about, or anything.

FZ: Well, let me just say this, that they never applied for a license to perform it, and they never paid me for performing it or recording it.

DS: (to Eric and Rob) Speaking of performance licenses, what was the question from the guys in Belgium?

EB: In Brussels. Do you remember when I came over [last May]. before I was headed over there, and you said. "It was a surprise to me, because they never applied for any rights or anything.?" Did you get paid yet for that. do you know, for the performance in Brussels? [3] They say, adamantly, that they paid all the proper people over there, and it might just be a ...

FZ: Well. I don't know who they paid over there, but none of it ever came to me.

DS: (to Rob) Read the question as it's stated, can you?

RS: "Have you received your performance rights from Brussels. May, '89? They were paid."

FZ: No. In fact, I was not notified that there was even a performance, and we received nothing.

DS: You've confused some of your listeners with another thing, which is a medley, which you called 'Farther O'Blivion', which would usually be done in concerts in which you were also doing a song called 'Father O'Blivion. So, there's been lots of people, who aren't really listening real closely, that get them mixed up. What was the reason for the title of 'Farther O'Blivion'?

FZ: Well. 'Father O'Blivion' is a character in ...

DS: Right ...

FZ: ... 'Don't Eat The Yellow Snow'.

DS: ... 'Don't Eat The Yellow Snow'. How 'bout 'Farther O'Blivion', the medley?

FZ: That was originally done with the '72 Petite Wazoo band, and part of that medley turned into the song 'Cucamonga', on 'Bongo Fury', and the other part turned into 'Be-Bop Tango'.

DS: There's a beginning part to it which was part of 'Greggery Peccary', which I tend to think of as the 'steno pool' section.

FZ: It is.

DS: What was the relationship between that medley and 'Father O'Blivion', the reason for the similarity of those two titles?

FZ: None whatsoever.

DS: None?

FZ: No, It's ... all these are arbitrary decisions that you make, because if you write a piece of music, how is it finally going to be deployed on a record? Sometimes the way the thing is originally conceived, the idea mutates, and you do something else with it, but you gotta call it something, otherwise you can't tell the guys in the band, "Get out the music for ... you remember that one that has the ..." (laughter) You gotta give it a name.

DS: Right. The reason why I ask questions like that is because, y'know, quite often ...

FZ: People wanna know.

DS: ... there's some arcane reason for this. The example that makes me laugh so much is a recent interview in which you gave the reason for the title of the song 'Damp Ankles' [4], which is hilariously funny.

FZ: It's true!

DS: Yeah. So, quite often there's reasons like that, but on the other hand, quite often there's no reason in particular. So, it's nice for somebody that wants to try to put things in historical perspective to be able to weed through these things. So, I hope you're bearing with me on some of this stuff.

FZ: Naw, it doesn't bother me. I think 'Damp Ankles' would make a great ballet.

EB: What did you get for your birthday?

FZ: Well, Gail gave me a very beautiful black overcoat, and a new black suit, and Dweezil got me ...

(Gail enters the room)

DS: Speaking of which ...

FZ: Hi, Doll!

GZ: Hi. I didn't know you had ...

DS: Hi, there.

GZ: Did you meet the little ...

FZ: Oh, it's so cute!

GZ: ... the little princess?

FZ: Yes ... Breezer. [5] (laughter)

GZ: Oh, Breezer. Did she ...?

FZ: She breezed us. (laughter) Yeah.

GZ: Oh, God. Well, you've been breezed.

FZ: Yes.

GZ: It happened twice in the car.

FZ: It's SO adorable.

GZ: Do you know what it's like with a car full of teenage guys ...

FZ: And a Breezer..

GZ: ... and a small dog, and it's like, all of the windows suddenly open, and heads went flying. It was scary.

FZ: Everybody making sort of gakking noises?

GZ: Oh! Frightening. But, did you hear the story about the dog running ... uh, they opened a door, or something, inside the shop, and the dog ran out and into the beverage center ...

FZ: No.

GZ: ... and it found Jay.

FZ: Well, of course, it did.

GZ: (laughs) It was so extraordinary! There's a guy looking out of the store, and saying "Where's the dog?", and Jay's sayin', "It's out here." He's going, "Hey! Here's the dog.", 'cause Ahmet had it. He was playing with it, and the girl says, "Oh, he's kidding.", and I said, "I don't think so." (laughs) It was so funny. They didn't have a dog to deliver.

FZ: I'm glad you got it.

GZ: She's very cute.

FZ: It's such a pretty dog.

GZ: So, what are you guys doing?

DS: We're doin' an interview.

FZ: Yeah. They're doing the interview of the century, and, of course, if you'll notice, Eric Buxton has performed a miracle in the corner there. [6]

GZ: I noticed that, and that's so wonderful, because y'know what? I was going to replace that tree deftly, without telling anyone.

FZ: With empty space?

GZ: No, no. I was gonna get another (laughs) tree.

EB: Another one, and let's start the whole cycle over again. (laughter)

GZ: I was going to get another tree tomorrow, fix it all up, so you could have your Christmas tree.

FZ: No, I wouldn't notice. At least it's fulfilled its destiny, and y'know, what better way, than at the hands of Eric Buxton.

EB: I mean, it's not a bad job.

FZ: I think it's a great job.

DS: You did quite well, Eric.

GZ: Did you guys bring some ... oh, yeah. You have ornaments and stuff.

FZ: Yeah. They walked in with a bag of lights and some ornaments, and ...

GZ: Really?

FZ: No. (laughter)

GZ: So, the little dog has a little cage.

FZ: Yeah? Well, how's Dogess like it?

GZ: Oh, Dogess seemed to like it immediately.

FZ: What about Fighty-Bitey batting it around?

GZ: Fighty-Bitey is all fluffed up and ready.

(At this point, Eric hands one of the first SOCIETY PAGES advertising flyers to Gail for her to look at)

GZ: What a scary [picture] of you that is.

DS: That's what I thought.

EB: We were thinking of replacing that, maybe with the cover of 'Broadway The Hard Way'.

DS: Yeah, the facial expression that you have on the picture from 'Broadway The Hard Way' is one of my favorite pictures of you, 'cause to me, it makes you look like the Frank Zappa that I think of you as, which is a nice guy, with kind of a nice smile, and looking sort of bemused, y'know. That particular photo [from the flyer] kind of looks sinister.

FZ: That particular photo looks like it would be more ideal for the Czechoslovakian branch of the fan club.

ALL: (laughter)

EB: Well, then I guess it's unanimous. We'll change the photo.

DS: So, that's going to be replaced.

EB: Luckily we didn't mail too many of them.

DS: OK. Here's another question. What is the Booger Bear? What is the significance of Marty Perellis, the dog, and the two Booger Bears? Who is Rashid, and what is Do-Do room service? [7]

FZ: OK. Well, that's a lot of questions.

DS: They kind of all go together.

FZ: A Booger Bear is an extremely ugly anything, and a Booger is short for Booger Bear, in the parlance of that '73 band. Perellis was our road manager, and there was an occasion where he met some girl, I think it was in Memphis, who had a great Dane. Apparently, this girl, uh, liked to do things in conjunction with the great Dane, and Marty brought the girl and the dog to his room, and that's how that ...

DS: That's the legend of that. Yeah. How about Rashid?

FZ: Rashid is George Duke's son, right?

GZ: Yeah, that's the only significance that I know of. I like that, you're asking this. It's your interview.

FZ: I just wanted to check. I thought that that's what ...

EB: We want to set up an interview with you later on, early next year, maybe.

GZ: All right, maybe. If you change the picture.

EB: (laughs) OK.

GZ: (laughs) Or at least fix the nose.

EB: And we'll send you a copy of our mailing list as soon as we get it organized. Trade you your list for ours.

GZ: I don't think so.

EB: (laughs) I know, but Jim mentioned that you'd like it, and we'd be glad to give it to you.

GZ: Oh, yeah.

DS: Lastly, Do-Do room service.

FZ: The room service routine is something that we used to do in 'Pygmy Twylyte'.

DS: Does it just stem from adventures that you had while on the road, concerning room service?

FZ: Yeah, the whole idea of Do-Do room service is something that Napoleon came up with, and I don't know where that stems from.

GZ: Dogs, probably.

FZ: That's probably what it was, yeah. Oh, I could tell ya another story that ... I don't know whether that's where that actually came from, but it shoulda been. (laughter) Perellis had another girlfriend, that he met in Ohio, who had a cockapoo.

DS: It's one of those dogs that you can't tell which end is the front, right? Yeah.

FZ: Well, I believe we were in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the girl, the cockapoo, and Perellis were in a Holiday Inn, and, uh, it was discovered that the cockapoo had worms, and this was Sunday. So, in an emergency effort, he wanted to do something about the dog's worms, and called a veterinarian. I don't know how he managed to do all this, but the net result was, they recommended that they give the dog a Fleet enema ... in the bathtub.

DS: A what enema?

FZ: Fleet. It's one of those prepackaged chemical enemas that you buy at the store. By the way, Fleet enemas are manufactured in Lynchburg, Virginia. (laughter)

DS: I saw that show. [8] That was pretty funny ...

FZ: So, they wound up (laughs) filling this bathtub with dog do-do and worms, (much laughter) in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

ALL: (laughter)

FZ: Marty and his folklore was often directly connected to dogs.

RS: Do you think you'll have any tapes to put any further adventures of Marty and the dogs out in the future? Yeah. You did some of that on a videotape, I guess, with 'Dub Room [Special]', right?

FZ: The further adventures of Marty and the dogs?

RS: Yeah, and the Booger Bears.

DS: Well, the Do-Do Room Service, I think, is what I'm thinkin' of, on video ... on 'Dub Room'.

FZ: Yeah, it's on The Dub Room Special', but, um ... there's a sequel to that thing that was recorded in New Jersey! [9]

RS: Right. The 'Ruthie, Ruthie' ...

FZ: Yeah, that whole medley, there. That went on for two shows, and there was a follow-up there, a conclusion of the Booger Bear story, that's coming out on another one of the ['You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore' volumes].

RS: Yeah, 'cause it seems like a lot of those '74 shows, in the introduction to 'Dupree's Paradise', George Duke would ...

FZ: Do a lot of stuff.

RS: ... go on with that. Some really funny stuff.

DS: Did Tom Waits ever appear on stage. or were the references to that, that I've heard on a couple of tapes, just joking references?

FZ: He used to be our opening act, 'cause he used to be managed by Herb Cohen.

DS: Ahh. I see. OK. During 'Broken Hearts Are For Assholes', that dialogue section that comes in the center ...

FZ: Um-hm.

DS: ... there's a reference to somebody named Buddy Love. Who is Buddy Love?

FZ: Buddy Love is the character that Jerry Lewis played in that ... scientist movie.

(Gail returns with a new Honker Home Video promotional flyer)

GZ: These are hot off the presses.

RS: Oh, thanks.

DS: Thank you. Oh, great!

GZ: For you fetishists.

FZ: Oh, thank you.

DS: Yeah, everybody's anxious to see this.

FZ: Nice Job!

GZ: Um-hm. Do you want a coffee, or something?

FZ: I was gonna say, I just made a pot of coffee in there, and since I've got this thing pinned on me, could you bring me a cup?

GZ: Yes.

DS: Yeah, again, you're being exceedingly gracious with giving us, not only your time, but giving us this BIG HUNK of your time here, and ...

FZ: Hey, if you want to do something, do it right.

DS: ... yeah. Good. We're really grateful for it.

FZ: All right. Buddy Love, the nutty professor. Isn't that the character that Jerry Lewis turns into when he drinks the potion? (laughter)

DS: Yeah, I've seen that.

FZ: Yeah.

DS: Maybe, like, with the two buck teeth?

FZ: Yeah, yeah. Patrick O'Hearn is the one responsible for all the Buddy Love stuff.

DS: Right. I recognized his voice as being the one saying that. How about the involvement with Lisa Popeil? How did that come about?

FZ: She auditioned for the band one day when we were trying out drummers (To Gail) Thank you very much [for the coffee].

GZ: See ya.

FZ: OK. Gimme a kiss.

GZ: Ummm

FZ & GZ: (SMACK!)

GZ: Thanks for doing the tree.

EB: You're welcome.

FZ: Lisa had, at the time, a boyfriend, who was a drummer. We were having an open call for drummers. This was when we were auditioning, when Chad got the job. So, when her boyfriend showed up to audition for the job, Tommy got into a conversation with her, and came over to me, and told me, "This girl says she can play the piano, and sing, and sight read, and all this stuff. Why don't you try her out?" I said, "OK. I will." Her boyfriend didn't get the drummer job, but she could play. She could sight sing. I handed her the music for 'Be-Bop Tango'. She sight sang it!

DS: Wow!

FZ: And, y'know, she's a skilled musician. So, I said, "I'll consider putting a girl in the band again, why not?" And so, she attended a few of the rehearsals, I guess for about a week. and there were some things that she could do, and do very well, and other things that she couldn't, and it just turned out that there were more of the things that she couldn't do, that we needed, for a second keyboard position in the band, that it, y'know, just didn't work out.

DS: That position ultimately went to Bobby Martin.

FZ: Yeah.

DS: I heard on a tape that was made from the show that you guys did, where she appeared in Santa Monica [10], and during that segment that she did her thing, where she sort of told her life story, there was some reference in there that gave me the impression that there was ... some reference to Scott that gave me an impression that there was ... something

FZ: Some hanky and panky going on?

DS: Some hanky and panky in there.

FZ: I think you better talk to Scott about that.

DS: Talk to Scott on that, huh? (laughs) All right.

FZ: It's called unverified hanky panky.

DS: Sure.

RS: Did you hear something that Scott got married recently?

FZ: Yes he did, and he has a very lovely wife. She's German, and she was over here just the other day. Her name is Ute [11], and she's great.

RS: That's good.

DS: Congratulations, Scott [and Ute]. Tell us about something that happened with Smothers putting cheese in Arthur's suitcase.

FZ: Well. Arthur and Smothers didn't get along, and, uh there's this legendary cheese that we experience when we go to Denmark. It's some of the worst smelling stuff on the planet, that you will often find laid out for breakfast at the Palace Hotel in Copenhagen, and it's lethal stuff. (laughter) I can't remember exactly what Arthur did that pissed John off. I can't remember what it was, but the revenge was John threatened to get a quantity of this cheese, and since John often was working with the bag boy to coordinate the luggage, he was gonna slip some of this cheese in on top of Arthur's clothes for the trip back to the United States, therefore rendering them radioactive by the time they arrived.

ALL: (much laughter)

DS: Did Smothers have much of a tendency for practical joking and such, while on the road?

FZ: Ahh, yes. He was a practical joker, that's for sure. I've even got some videotape of Smothers doing practical jokes.

DS: How did your association with Smothers come about? Was he just somebody that you hired?

FZ: Perellis know Smothers from Baltimore. Perellis is also from Baltimore. When I first started carrying a bodyguard, I had tried out two ... let's see ... no, I had three bodyguards before Smothers. The first one was a guy named Newmar, who lost the job because on one occasion, he took a fan, who'd tried to jump onstage, I mean, some menial little transgression, and took him out in back of the place, and beat him up, (laughter) and, y'know, I thought, "This is totally uncalled for."

DS: That's overkill.

FZ: Yeah, way-overkill. So, he got fired. Newmar was an off duty LAPD, and then, the next guy was another LAPD, except he was a Jehovah's Witness ...

DS: Oh ... (chuckles)

FZ: ... and when you have to spend a lot of time with these guys ... and I couldn't handle that guy y'know. He didn't last long.

DS: I'm surprised that it's not that he couldn't handle you, y'know. I mean, y'know, you understand why I'm saying that ...

FZ: Well. I mean, y'know, he just had to grin and bear it.

DS: The Jehovah's Witnesses that I've met have been so devoted. I mean, they are a pretty devoted bunch, to their religion, and, uh, I'm surprised that somebody that would be that devoted would be willing to have that sort of a job for a paycheck. That kind of surprises me.

FZ: (chuckle) A buck's a buck.

DS: A buck's a buck.

FZ: Then, another guy, who was really a great bodyguard, and I wish I could remember his name, he was only with me for a short time, but he used to sing in a rhythm 'n blues group called "The Calvanes", on Dootone, and he recorded a song called "Florabelle", which I have in my collection. His name is Bob. I can't remember his last name. Bob was a good guy. We used to sit in the dressing room, and sing doo-wop tunes together, but he wasn't available anymore, and couldn't do it anymore. [24] And then, I got another guy named ... John, who was the brother ... of a girl that I went to high school with in Lancaster ...

DS: These must've been have been all through the early seventies.

FZ: Yeah, and he contributed a little folklore. He was the one who came up with 'swimp', and, uh ...

DS: With what?

FZ: 'Swimp'.

DS: Can you explain that?

FZ: Well, there is a language called Gullah. D'ya know what that is?

DS: Never heard of it.

FZ: Gullah is that black dialect, that Negro dialect that is repeated most constantly. It comes from this language called Gullah. They have different words for different things, and different pronunciations and 'swimp' is 'shrimp'. They call 'em 'swimp'. His language was very Gullah, and so, I was introduced into the concept of 'swimp'. The other thing that guy was famous for was he liked to fuck Holiday Inn maids with hairy legs.

ALL: (laughter)

FZ: And, the idea that, uh ... y'know, to imagine this guy in the morning, when the maid knocks on your door, and you have to get up too early, and he would be dragging one of these women into the room, and, y'know, strapping her on before he got on the bus, and telling everybody how hairy her legs were, scratching his back, and all this weird shit. (laughter) Quite a guy. Then, along came Smothers. At first, at the beginning of the tour, he thought I was crazy. He tried to go home. He tried to get out of the job. But, he stayed with me for ten or eleven years. [12]

DS: So, speaking of Smothers, what is 'the Falcum'?

FZ: Well, that also goes back to Copenhagen. Now, John also has a mysterious command of the English language ...

DS: Sure.

FZ: ... as we all know. Once upon a time, on his first trip to Copenhagen, we were playing at a place called the Falkoner Center ...

DS: Sure.

FZ: ... and we didn't have a limousine. I had to take a cab to the place. We get in the car. It's just this little tiny car, (laughter) not a Fiat, but maybe, slightly larger than a Fiat. You know how big John is ...

DS: Sure.

FZ: ... and it's a cab, and the driver is Danish, and he doesn't speak English. I get in the back, and John gets in the front, and the cab driver is just sittin' there, 'cause he doesn't know where to go, and John finally realizes that he must tell the driver where to go, so, he just turns to him, and goes, "FALCUM." (laughter), and the guy looks at him, y'know, kinda lookin' up like this, and John goes, "FALCUM."

ALL: (laughter)

FZ: ... and the guy DOESN'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON. And then, John gets vehement. He goes, "TAKE ME TO THE FALCUM!"

ALL: (laughter)

FZ: And the driver jumped out of the car

ALL: (hysterical laughter)

FZ: ... and ran into the lobby of the hotel to ask the guy in Danish at the desk (laughs) what the fuck is going on.

ALL: (much laughter)

DS: That's a good story.

FZ: Yeah.

DS: I imagine John provided you guys with lots of entertaining anecdotes over the years. He's a unique individual.

FZ: Oh, yeah. One of my favorites was on the last tour [13] that he did with us. We were driving in, I guess it was in Germany, in the middle of the night. coming back from the gig, and we're passing a corrugated aluminum building, and he hasn't been talking much, 'cause I found out after the tour that he was very ill. He had, uh, diabetes, and he had a bleeding ulcer. At the end of the tour, he went into the hospital, and y'know, had to have his ulcer taken care of, and he never said anything about it during the tour. So, here we are, driving along. Everybody's quiet, and he sees this corrugated aluminum building. Now, if you were in a car, you probably wouldn't even pay any attention to a regular old corrugated aluminum building. John looks at it, and goes, "LUMIUM ADELOIDS!"

ALL: (laughter)

FZ: (laughs) You figure it out! (laughter) LUMIUM ADELOIDS.

DS: (laughs) That's pretty funny. Oh, my.

RS: What about the project for Lyon, France, and the orchestra?

FZ: That's this June or July. [14] They're gonna do it. They've got the scores.

RS: Are you gonna be there for it?

FZ: Yes, I'm supposed to go there to produce the recording, 'cause they're going to record 'Sinister Footwear'.

RS: Hmm. Great.

EB: Is there gonna be a public performance of it?

FZ: Yep, and the ballet will choreograph it, and then, the tapes will be used for this ballet company to tour with it. They'll dance to the tape.

EB: Let's hope we can all attend the opening.

FZ: In France?

EB: Sure.

FZ: (chuckles) All right! (laughter) Well ...

EB: [Rob and I] just flew here ...

FZ: Yeah, I know ...

DS: It's easier for these guys on the east coast. I live up near San Francisco, so it's a little harder for me to get all the way across to do that. OK. During performances of the 'Torture Never Stops', 'Pick Me, I'm Clean', and other songs, I guess in the late seventies [15], you would, quite often, do a solo with erotic female sounds coming from the P.A. Perhaps you can settle a long-time rumor. Who's that voice?

FZ: I can't tell you.

DS: All right.

FZ: Let's just call 'em field recordings.

EB: Should've played a tape of Denise.

FZ: Of who?

EB: Denise.

DS: This woman friend of mine, who's putting us up while we're here in L.A. This lady has this sound that she makes at Grateful Dead concerts, which is ... when you were doin' the tour in '88, at the time that I was thinkin' of the tour and when it would get to the west coast, I really badly wanted to introduce this lady to you, and unbeknownst to her, say, "Denise. You gotta do your sound for Frank. He's gotta hear this.", and I would even imagine you, y'know. makin' a ...

FZ: A sample of it?

DS: ... sample of it, 'cause the sound that she makes is so unique. I would describe it as a female Tarzan at the moment of climax.

FZ: (laughs loudly) And she does this for the Grateful Dead?

DS: She does it when she goes to Dead shows, when they're comin' out for a set, and there's this kind of lull after the crowd has cheered

FZ: And the blue smoke is about here? (laughter)

DS: Right, and they're just about ready to start playing. If you know, at Grateful Dead shows, they allow people to tape their shows.

FZ: Um-hm.

DS: So, there's this thing called the 'taping section'. When we go see the Grateful Dead, we sit in an area of the seating which is always kinda near where the people tape. We have a tendency to wanna sit in a place in the hall where it's gonna sound good, so we have a tendency to be near those people with their microphones. At that point, she always let's out with her (Den lamely attempts to imitate Denise), and does this sound, and like, forty of these microphone beladened Deadhead tapers will all turn simultaneously, and look at her, and go, "G-R-R-R-R!" (laughs) It's just a thing that's happened ever the years that's pretty funny.

FZ: Um-hm. I'm sure I'll hear it one day.

RS: In the future, would you ever consider allowing the taping section at your concerts?

FZ: Probably not. Probably not, because I think that the privileged would be abused.

RS: Yeah, but you realize that there's no way to stop it anyway, right?

FZ: Well, we've done everything that we could in (laughs) the past.

RS: Well, even metal detectors don't stop people from gettin' tape recorders in.

FZ: Well, one real way to stop it is to not play live. That stops it, y'know.

AGENCY MAN

Sell us a president, Agency Man
Smiling big brothers and fathers
   perhaps
Sell us a president, Agency Man
A gay smiling nothing we know
   never craps
(One, two, three, four)
(Ba-bum-bum, ba-bum-bum, ba-bum-
   bum, ba-bum-bum-bum-bum
Bum-bum, ba-bum-bum, ba-bum-bum,
   ba-bum-bum-bum-bum, etc.)
When he's closed the schools and
   burned the books the way we
   planned,
We'll get the press together with the
   Barry Sadler Band
(La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la-la, etc.)
With lots to drink from nine o'clock
   they'll all be bombed by ten
We'll reveal he's bound for Washington
   and sell him once again
(Rumppely-pump-pump-pump,
   rump-pump-pump-pump, etc.)
We'll sell him in the movie's, on the
   tube throughout the year
We'll sell him by the buckets to the
   Okies drinking beer
We'll teach him how to walk and
   talk, we'll putty up his chin
We'll print his picture everywhere, of
   course the shmuck will win
People are a lot of pigs, they're greedy
   and they're dumb
I'm sure that's just a simple truth, look
   how far he's come
From the heart of old Death Valley to
   the ruling of our land
A simple trick, you simple pigs, just the
   way we planned

DS: Obviously. Well, the thing that has allowed the them to have some success, and have that work out, for Grateful Dead, as an example, is the fact that they tour constantly, and it's part of the scene that goes along with their whole deal, and in the long run, with them, because they are a constantly touring entity, and because over the years, there's been recording after recording after recording made by dozens of these people in the audience, the one thing that has done really good for them, in an economic way, is. It has put bootleg albums of the Grateful Dead into the realm of the past. There's no reason for them to exist, because somebody can always pick up a cassette somewhere. That's the one real positive aspect that they've gotten out of it. I've thought about that, in terms of you.

FZ: Um-hm.

DS: The one thing that you have in common with that band is the fact that there's a lot of improvisation that goes on. No show is the same. But the one limiting aspect to it is how much touring happens.

FZ: Yeah. Well, the other thing is how much they do overseas, or how much, uh I think that ... the real answer is ... I wouldn't consider it.

DS: OK. Here's something completely unrelated to that. Is Oliver North the modern day Agency Man?

FZ: No. Agency Man is about advertising agencies selling political candidates, and Oliver North is not that character.

DS: OK. I have to plead guilty to not listening closely. I'd always thought that Agency Man had something to do with the Central Intelligence Agency.

FZ: Well that's another meaning for it, but the original ... the song was written because at a certain point in American political history, politicians discovered Madison Avenue, and it changed the face of American politics. Because the Republicans always had more money that the Democrats, they were the first to hire a real Madison Avenue agency. I believe it was BBD&O, Batten, Barton, Durston, and Osborne, (laughter) that took on the Republican campaign. I think it was for the Nixon campaign. The amount of money they started to spend on the campaign became science fiction.

DS: Sure.

FZ: That was the beginning of what we have now.

DS: Yeah. Nixon's campaign machine really pioneered what we have today.

FZ: Yeah. What we have today, and how 'terrific' it is.

DS: Right.

FZ: So, that's where it came from, the idea that instead of dealing with the issues, you're just dealing with the candidate as a product "Sell us a president. Agency Man."

DS: I've seen some photos taken from some sort of a photo session ... I'll state the question over again. I saw some photos, I believe, in High Times, from a photo session which there's a bunch of potted plants and you, clad in, like, leopard skin underwear with topless harem girls, and all that.

FZ: Yeah.

DS: What was that photo session about?

FZ: That was done in Amsterdam in the early seventies. It was just a stupid photo session.

DS: Right. Pretty funny photos.

FZ: Yeah. Most of the girls were probably from the places with the little windows ...

ALL: (laughter)

EB: The picture of Baby Snakes, with the girl with the tongue. Is that just a model, or is that someones ...

FZ: That was the make-up girl.

EB: That was the make-up girl.

FZ: Yeah, It was a candid shot, y'know. She Just happened to have her tongue stickin' out when she was touchin' up my make-up on the thing.

RS: Oh. and that's why she's got, like, a little white patch of make-up smudged or something?

FZ: Yeah, yeah.

DS: What ever happened to the contingency suit that was supposedly filed by several ex-Mothers?

FZ: It is going to arbitration, and It's not gonna go to court. It's gonna be arbitrated, and it's coming up very soon. [16]

DS: OK. So, that should be sometime in the future. All right.

RS: How 'bout this one? In 1988, after the show on Hamburg, did you jam in a club, or something?

FZ: Yeah.

RS: D'you remember the name of the club?

FZ: Oh ... no. I don't.

RS: My friend from Germany wanted me to ask you that.

FZ: Yeah, we did jam. We've done that a couple of times. We did practically, well, three quarters of our live show at a place in Ann Arbor, Michigan, after the concert at the [Crisler] Auditorium there one night. We went to this fabulous club, and just went in there, and ... it was the band with Napoleon and Bozzio. We went in there, and just did our show.

RS: Wow! Never heard about that one.

FZ: That'd be a great bootleg tape, wouldn't it?

DS: That'd be a great one. Um ... have you tried doing any serial music with the Synclavier? It seems to me, like, with the computer technology, you could do some programming, and sort of sit back and see what the result is. Have you tried anything like that?

FZ: Oh, yeah. I've done that. Sure.

DS: And what was the result?

FZ: The result is it's serial music without most of the eyestrain and brainstrain. If you like the way serial music sounds, you know, you can do it

DS: Do you think that, uh ... well, certainly, I don't claim to be an aficionado of serial music. I'm aware of what it is, and all that, but y'know, I don't ...

FZ: There's certain serial procedures that you can use for tonal music, too, and I do that all the time, but, y'know, strictly serial music, that's not my realm.

DS: Right.

FZ: I tried that when I was in high school

DS: Strictly adhering to that recipe.

FZ: Yeah. I gave up on that, because I'm not that kind of a structured guy. I think that the important thing to remember to keep in mind is whether you'll like the piece when you listen to it, and however you got it to sound that way is irrelevant.

DS: So, your tendency is to just hear things in your head, and put it on the page, or type it out on the keyboard, or hum it to the guys in the band, and do it that way.

FZ: Yeah, and if I don't like the result of what I told them to do, then I change it, until I can tolerate it.

DS: Have you ever done a live show in which it felt to you like things were going badly, and at the time it was happening, you were not satisfied at all with the result, and then, subsequently listened to a tape recording that you'd made of it, and ...

FZ: Two or three times.

DS: ... found out that the result was something that was worthwhile?

FZ: Yes, two or three times. But usually, if I think it's going badly, I am right. The only time that I will get that kinda surprise is if you're playing in a hall where the acoustics are so bad that you literally can't tell what the fuck you're doing onstage, but sometimes, when you listen to the tape afterwards, because of the way microphones work, and the fact that in a multi-track mix you can turn off the ambience, you can hear that certain things are good. The concert in Metz, [France], is a good example of that, because the hall was terrible, but in listening to the tapes, there were two or three selections from that that I've used in albums. [17]

DS: Yeah, I always kind of wondered, because you had written about the acoustical quality of that facility in liner notes of things that you subsequently used, and I kind of wondered what would be the circumstances that would lead to something that seemed like that bad of an environment, yet something came out of it worthwhile ...

FZ: Because you literally can't tell while you're doing it all the time. I mean, you can tell by feel, and often, everybody on the stage hears a different thing. That's just the way acoustics are ...

DS: Absolutely.

FZ: ... and if a guy's in a position where he really ... he's just going on muscle memory, he can't tell what he's playing, he can't hear what he's singing. he's depressed, because everybody in the band likes to feel like they're into it, and doing a good job, but the remarkable thing is that the way the guys in the band have been trained, they can go on muscle memory in situations like that, and finish the show, and then, we can all be surprised, after the fact, how well things will turn out when you're performing in adverse circumstances.

DS: Lemme ask you this too. During the improvisational section that'll come in a song like 'Pound For A Brown ...' or 'King Kong', one of those sections, are there any times when that pulse which is commonly thought of as being the 'one', when you're playing a solo and that pulse gets lost ...

FZ: Sure.

DS: Generally, how do you react to that? Do you get distressed by that, or do you find that to be another element of music that you can work with in some capacity, or just, what happens?

FZ: Both. I get distressed, because I know when they lose the one, that means when I give the cue to come back in to the rest of song, there's gonna be a train wreck, (laughter) and also, when they lose the one, y'know, it's a license to kill in the middle of the solo in some ways. You just do whatever the fuck you want, because everybody's out there in the zones. But, the thing you always have to be concerned about is how you're gonna end it. Where ya gonna go when its all done?

DS: That's right.

FZ: You have to keep some sort of logic to it.

DS: Have you ever worked out any kinds of procedures with bands, in which there's, more or less, a contingency for that happening?

FZ: Sure. You wait. You wait, and then, you give one big massive downbeat. It's messy, but, y'know ...

DS: It's not subtle, but it works.

FZ: That's right.

DS: OK. Here's something I've been thinkin' about for years. On 'Revised Music For Guitar And Low Budget Orchestra', on 'Studio Tan', there's a really beautiful solo that you play on that song which has always been one of my favorites, but there's a tone quality to that guitar, which sounds brassy. To my ear, It sounds like there's a trumpet, or something, accompanying it, which I assumed, given the way that the notes are being bent, and all that kinda stuff, that it couldn't be happening.

FZ: You're so very, very wrong.

DS: Tell me all about it.

FZ: Well. I played the solo. It's an Ovation gut string acoustic plugged directly into the board, and it was transcribed by Bruce Fowler, and he wrote it down, and he doubled it with four trombones ...

DS: Oh, shit!

FZ: In harmony.

DS: With all the bent notes

FZ: All the bent notes.

DS: That is somethin'. That is somethin' else. I mean, to my ear ... when I would listen to that, my ear would say, "Brass."

FZ: It is brass.

DS: "That's brass.", but my mind would say, "Brass can't do that. That's goin'  beyond ..."

FZ: Brass can't, but Bruce can. (laughter)

DS: Well, that is really somethin' else. I'm amazed, and not amazed, at the same time.

FZ: That's one of the reasons why I was so pissed off at Warner Brothers, that they fucked those albums up, because I believe there's some fantastic pieces on those albums, and people shoulda had a chance to hear 'em with good quality sound, and ...

DS: Some of the versions which were part of Läther wound up being different versions, I guess, from what ...

FZ: Or different mixes.

DS: Yeah, and again, I guess this would revert back to the earlier question about Läther, as opposed to releasing those as they were. I mean, I'll just kinda make an assumption that since you originally wanted to release Läther as Läther, that you preferred those versions over the ones that Warners released.

FZ: Well, its been so long since I went through that brain process, I couldn't give ya a good answer to that, but I think that the way I prepared 'em for CD release, you'll be happy with the way they sound.

EB: Are you planning on re-releasing the EMI CD's? [18]

FZ: Yes. That's all for next year.

DS: How do you feel about this recent thing with rap musicians, and the sampling they do? I noticed that you put the little sampling specification, the little clause that you find on your albums.

FZ: Um-hm. Well, I don't appreciate it.

DS: You think it's a sleazy thing to do?

FZ: It depends on what they do with it. I mean, one group has already done it with one of my things.

DS: Really? With some of your music?

FZ: Yeah.

DS: Who's the group?

FZ: I can't remember. Somebody told me about it, but I know it's been done.

DS: I saw some little news story on MTV. or 'Showbiz Today', or one of those kinda things about this, and I was kinda surprised that, quite often, the music that they pull their samples from is something that's in a completely, totally different realm that what you'd think that people who are doin' rap music might listen to. I'm kinda surprised about that

FZ: Yeah.

EB: We were speaking earlier tonight about taking little snatches of other music, and inserting it in your music

FZ: But. I'm not stealing a recorded performance. That's the difference, see, because I there's a copyright on the actual performance.

DS: Here's somethin' else here. It's my impression that as a teenager, that you really didn't have the means to be able to do things like have a big hot-rod, and all that, but yet. you seem well versed in hot rod lore. [19]

FZ: I'm not well versed with hot-rod lore at all, I mean, only marginally, because that was not part of my life. I didn't drive a car until I was, what ... twenty ... two? Somethin' like that. My parents wouldn't let me get a license. They were always ...

DS: I guess I've seen these little references like, um ... I don't know, just things that I tend to think of as, like, hot-rod lingo

FZ: Appletons, and stuff like that?

DS: Dingleballs, and ...

FZ: Well. y'know. If you're a teenager in southern California. ya gotta know the language.

DS: Just pickin'up that stuff up by osmosis.

FZ: Yeah.

DS: What was the significance of Vinnie's seal calls?

FZ: That was just something that Vinnie could do. It was a noise that Vinnie could make, so why not use it?

DS: It was pretty funny.

FZ: Yeah.

DS: (laughs) He's a pretty interesting guy.

FZ: He is.

DS: He's my favorite of your drummers. It seemed to me that that particular chair in your band is, perhaps THE critical one.

FZ: True, because the style of the drummer is gonna determine the style of the band, and his personality pervades everything that goes on. If he's a wild and crazy guy, you re gonna have a wild and crazy band.

DS: Among your fans, I think still today, the drummer of yours that still keeps that status, and people think of him as the best, is probably Terry.

FZ: Yeah, because he was the most visual of all the drummers, and there's no question that he's a fabulous drummer.

DS: Yeah. The thing that I like about Terry, and I like about Vinnie, the thing I like about those two guys is not only did they have the precision, and the licks, and all of that stuff down, but they had this kind of hard to define quality, which I call 'gonzo'.

FZ: It's attitude. [20]

DS: It's attitude. It's REAL STRONG enthusiasm, or something.

FZ: Yeah. It's not just a job with these guys. It's a way of life.

DS: Well, I just saw, recently, and these guys did, too, Terry playin' with Jeff Beck.

FZ: Was he good?

DS: Yeah! He was truly amazing.

FZ: Great!

DS: Yeah. I haven't seen anybody play drums like that since seein' those guys play with you. I saw Vinnie, a few years back, playin' as part of Joni Mitchell's back-up band, and I was real curious to see how he would be in a context which is definitely gonna limit him more, in terms of ... you know how he could thrash around

FZ: Yeah.

DS: ... and he was hot.

FZ: He's always hot. He's just a fabulous drummer.

EB: Are you gonna release your versions of 'Purple Haze' and 'Sunshine Of Your Love'?

FZ: Yes, Indeed.

DS: Good. 'Sunshine ...' was taken from a rehearsal, right?

FZ: Yes. So was 'Purple Haze'. [21]

DS: We got to hear what 'Purple Haze' sounded like, but 'Sunshine ...', we haven't heard that, but Keneally tells us that it's even more bent than 'Purple Haze'.

FZ: It's pretty bent. (laughter)

DS: That's quite a statement. 'Purple Haze' was out there. Also, congratulations on your speech at the pro-choice rally. [22]

FZ: (chuckles) The prayer?

DS: Yeah, that was pretty cool. I was very surprised to hear that. It was, I thought, a good thing to do.

FZ: Yeah, I thought so, too.

DS: How many people were there?

FZ: A hundred thousand. The press reported twenty [thousand]. They tried to make it look small. It was a hundred thousand. Not my count. That was the announcement at the event. [Richard] Dreyfus was on before I was, and I think he was the one that said it. I looked out there, and to me, it looked like a hundred thousand people, I've seen twenty thousand before, and this wasn't twenty thousand. They were all over the fuckin' place.

DS: Do you think you surprised any feminists that might've been there?

FZ: No question, but I had a lot of good reports about, y'know, people appreciated the fact that I showed up, and, uh ... Dweezil videotaped it.

DS: No shit?

FZ: I've got the whole prayer on tape, plus, you can hear people praying along with it, (laughter) and I'm thinkin' about stickin' that on an album.

DS: The tapes that I've heard of it ... I got to hear a cassette tape of it from somebody who was out in the audience with a little cassette job, and it sounds great! Particularly, there was one kinda long line in the speech that ended with "... asking for the death of a Supreme Court Justice ...", and it's really cool when ya listen to it on the tape as they repeat back, 'cause the first part of that line is jumbled up, and then, the last, about, four or five words coalesce, and they all say it right together ...

FZ: How 'bout the one that goes. "HUH!"?

DS: Right! (laughs) Y'know, and you can hear that one part of that one kind of coalesces, and they all say it together, then a little bit of laughter that kind of comes up as a result, that came from the people hearing it in that way, kind of gettin' a little laugh from it.

FZ: Well, I think they needed to have that, because the proceeding was pretty fuckin' serious, up to that point, and y'know, you do need to keep up a good fight, but you need to keep some perspective, and keep your sense of humor about this stuff, because if it's all dreadful, dreadful, dreadful, then people ...

DS: It's not much fun. It's hard to keep people ...

FZ: Yeah.

DS: ... keep people on the bus.

FZ: That's right.

DS: Yeah. That's very true.

FZ: So, the kind of character that I am, I can get up there, and get away with that. I think that somebody else doing it woulda been perceived as out of place, but I thought it was the right thing to do, and so, I did it.

DS: It worked well. Um ... certain compositions such as 'Stevie's Spanking'. seem paradoxical to me, in the respect that they seem like a parody, by nature. With 'Stevie's Spanking', certainly, when seein' you guys live, you're kinda goin' through the poses, and doin' all that kind of stuff, but at the same time, it seems like there's a note of seriousness to it, in that it's being performed righteously.

FZ: Why shouldn't you? If you're gonna do parody, you can perform a parody righteously.

DS: I mean, is that something that you initially start with an intent to do, which is to have those two seemingly opposite qualities coexist, or just that you wind up doing a song, and that's an aspect that evolves as a result of it?

FZ: Well let's face it. Heavy metal is already a parody of itself. For a band like ours to do anything that even smells like heavy metal, you're well into Parodyland the minute you count it off. (laughter)

DS: Yeah. It seems these days that to be in a heavy metal band, the most important aspect is how well you can whip your hair and forth.

FZ: That's right. (laughter)

DS: So, are we beginning to wear ya out, Frank?

FZ: Yeah. Well, can you hear my voice is going down, y'know? I don't talk this many hours non-stop during the day. Remember, I work by myself, and don't talk to myself, and, y'know ... I'll answer some more, but I'm fadin'.

DS: Let us know at any time, because at this point, you've exceeded our expectations.

FZ: All right. I'll give ya three more, and you're done.

DS: That sounds reasonable. I'll tell ya what. Why don't I even do this? (To Eric & Rob) You wanna make the questions ftom you guys, 'cause certainly I've been doin' the bulk of the question asking tonight? It's the least I can do.

EB: What else did you get for your birthday? You started to tell us. This is my kinda question

FZ: Dweezil gave me a real nice sport coat, which is purple, and kind of heavy ... fuzzy weird shaped ...

EB: I know you like those heavy, fuzzy coats ...

FZ: Well, y'know, it's a very nice coat, and he got one exactly like it for himself. I said, "What's this? Our new band uniform?" (laughter) The people at the office gave me presents. Fialka gave me this videotape of 'The Worlds Greatest Sinner'.

EB: It was video?

FZ: Yes.

DS: I wonder where he came up with that?

FZ: I don't know, but he got it. Judy gave me four cappuccino cups, and Dottie gave me three or four bags of different kinds of coffee beans. Lisa gave me a little pin that looks like a Christmas bulb, that you pin on your coat, that lights up, and blinks on and off ...

EB: It's neon?

FZ: I don't know what it is. It's this cute little thing.

EB: We tried to get you a piece of the Berlin wall, but it didn't come through. [23]

RS: Yeah. it might still happen.

FZ: I'll go there and get some, live and in person. (laughter)

RS: Just watch it, though, 'cause it might have asbestos in it.

FZ: Yeah, well, that's dangerous. I won't sniff it. And, let's see, who else gave me stuff? I got two pairs of socks from Catherine, and a long list of people that called up to say , "Happy Birthday" . I started, last night, to try and call them all back. 'cause I got their numbers. I managed to call one guy, and left a message on his phone, but I'll never get through the list ... 'cause the minute I started tryin' to make the calls, all these people came over, and ...

EB: Well, when you get up to number four and five ...

RS: Yeah. [Eric and I] were four and five, but, uh, (laughter) you can thank us in person.

FZ: OK. Thank you, thank you. (laughter) And ... uh ...

EB: A new puppy.

FZ: Well, that's actually ... that's not for me. That's for the whole house. Let's see? What else did I get for my birthday? Um, the Steins gave me two books. One Is called 'A Curmudgeon's Garden Of Love', and a big picture book called 'How Things Work', which is pretty hilarious ... and that's about it. No ties. No underwear.

RS: What Is 'Fembot In A Wet T-Shirt'?

FZ: Do you remember 'The Six Million Dollar Man', or 'The Six Million Dollar Woman', those two shows?

RS: Uh-huh. Sure.

FZ: You remember, there was an episode where they were being attacked by 'Fembots'?

DS: (laughter) No.

FZ: OK. These female robots? Fembots. Well, If you've got a robot full of electrical circuitry, and she enters a wet T-shirt contest, (laughter) what happens to her?

DS: Sparks fly.

RS: So, why did you change the name of that on the CD from the original title?

FZ: Why? What does it say on the CD?

DS: 'Wet T-Shirt Nite'.

RS: No, It doesn't. The CD says 'Fembot In A Wet T-Shirt', but originally, on the album, It was called 'Wet T-Shirt Nite'.

FZ: Well, that was the original title. 'Fembot'.

RS: Oh, it was?

FZ: In fact, it was just called 'Fembot'.

RS: Uh-huh. And, I guess, the same thing with 'Toad-O Line', which is called 'On The Bus'.

FZ: Yeah.

DS: All right. I've got one here that you can probably answer with a yes or no. As a kid, did you read MAD magazine?

FZ: Yes.

EB: Do you still read MAD magazine?

FZ: No, but in the world of ...

EB: It's still really good. It's just like it was.

FZ: Really?

EB: I subscribe to it. (laughter)

FZ: Glad you enjoy it. I don't have time to read it. I talked with Jack Kirby today ... the comic book guy? Jack Kirby?

DS: Can't think of who he is.

FZ: He did Dr. Doom, and all those ... for Marvel Comics.

DS: Oh, for some reason, I read D.C. comics when I was a kid, which are definitely more whitebread, as comics go.

FZ: Yeah. Well, I talked to him, and I invited him over. He's comin' over next week.

DS: One last one. What does 'Moo-aah' mean?

FZ: It doesn't mean anything. It's just a noise.

That was the final chapter in our exclusive interview with Frank. We hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to stick around for the next issue SOCIETY PAGES. We will be presenting the first installment of an interview with Dick Barber, who worked for Frank as a road manager from 1968 through 1975, another SOCIETY PAGES exclusive!


1. In early 1986. Mayor Henry Cisneros of San Antonio sponsored legislation for that city that allowed local health department officials to set a minimum age limit of 16 years for attending a rock concert without being accompanied by a parent. This ordinance was able to skirt First Amendment questions by virtue of being regulated as a matter of 'health', rather than legality.

2. Nicolae Ceauşescu and his wife were apprehended in Romania a short time later and were summarily 'tried' and executed by firing squad.

3. May 27, 1989, Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium – 'Frank Zappa Day' with the Cucamonga Trio and the BRT Big Band

4. Aug. 18. 1989, KNON, Dallas: "There's this guy named Steve Ciedian(?) who used to be an art director at Hustler [Magazine]. He worked as an orderly in a mental institution. This is gonna sound like a science fiction story, but he was, like, the scoutmaster in the pinhead hut, and the pinheads liked him, and they would express their appreciation by licking his ankles. He had to start wearing these muffs on his ankles."

5. Earlier in the interview, the Zappa kids had come into the room with a very cute Dalmatian puppy, later named 'Shillelagh' by Frank, that they had just gotten. As they explained, they had been at a shopping mall, and the puppy had escaped from a pet store, run up to them, and captured their hearts, whereupon they purchased him and brought him home. The puppy, unfortunately, had a chronic flatulence problem, and proceeded to "breeze", emitting a dreadfully reeking gastrointestinal toxic vapor as Frank held him, much to the amusement of all. (see issue 2, page 29, right hand column)

6. Earlier in the interview, Eric had volunteered to perform the task of hanging ornaments and stringing lights upon a bare Christmas tree which was sitting in a corner of the room. (see issue 1, page 17, right hand column)

7. During the '74 world tour, the Mothers performed an improvisational 'routine', the theme of which revolved around the adventures and experiences of Marty Perellis, girls, and dogs. Do-Do Room Service, also known as 'Room Service', was another routine that often shared thematic material with the 'Marty Perellis' routine. Examples of 'Room Service' can be found on 'The Dub Room Special' and 'You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2'.

8. This was in reference to the concert on Feb. 14, 1988 at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania in which a fan presented Frank with a Fleet enema (a ready to use disposable enema), and Frank informed the audience, "See this? It's a Fleet enema. You know where they make these things? Lynchburg, Virginia, exactly the same place where [televangelist Jerry] Falwell conducts his ministry. I suspect a symbiotic relationship."

9. Frank referred to 'Ruthie, Ruthie' and 'Babbette', which were recorded on Nov. 18, 1974 at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey, and were included on 'YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON STAGE ANYMORE, VOL.1'.

10. Dec. 11,1981 Santa Monica Civic Center. Lisa's performance of 'TEENAGE PROSTITUTE' from the same concert can be heard on 'SHIP ARRIVING TOO LATE TO SAVE A DROWNING WITCH'.

11. Ute Friesteben, of Erlangen, West Germany

12. The earliest reference that the SOCIETY PAGES research staff could find of John Smothers is an Apr. 26, 1974 interview with Frank on the WLZZ, Chicago television program 'Kennedy At Night'.

13. John Smothers' last tour was the 1984 World Tour.

14. The performance is scheduled for Sept. 20-24, 1990.

15. 'Pick Me, I'm Clean' actually was not played in the seventies. It premiered on Mar. 25, 1980 at the Seattle Center Arena

16. The legal dispute between Frank and several ex-Mothers is, at this time, still unsettled.

17. The only known recording from the concert on June 22, 1982 at the Parc Des Expositions in Metz, France used on an album is the segment from King Kong (the "blow job" version) that was used on the YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON STAGE ANYMORE sampler and Volume 3 in the same series. It was also included on VIDEO FROM HELL.
C.Ulrich: Also Church Chat on YCDTOSA 4.

18. EMI released SHEIK YERBOUTI, TINSELTOWN REBELLION, YOU ARE WHAT YOU IS, and in a 'two albums on one disc' format, SHIP ARRIVING TOO LATE TO SAVE A DROWNING WITCH/ THE MAN FROM UTOPIA, and FRANK ZAPPA MEETS THE MOTHERS OF PREVENTION/ JAZZ FROM HELL. Although Frank received royalties for these albums, they were released without his prior consent, and without being remixed for compact disc.

19. The "hot rod" references that Den was thinking of were the ones that can be heard on LUMPY GRAVY.

20. Frank discusses "the Altitude" in detail in 'The Real Frank Zappa Book', pages 164 and 179.

21. While 'Sunshine Of Your Love' was never performed in concert, 'Purple Haze' was performed in front of an audience on May 26, 1988 at Stadthalle in Fürth, W. Germany.

22. Frank spoke on behalf of freedom of abortion at a pro-choice rally on Nov. 12, 1989 at Rancho Park in Los Angeles. (see issue 1, page 42)

23. A short time after this interview, the editors were able to get a piece of the wall for Frank. (see issue 1, page 43)

24. C.Ulrich: "This was presumably Lorenzo "Bobby" Adams, who sang second tenor in The Calvanes. He also worked as a bodyguard for Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, and Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley.
The Calvanes recorded FZ's song Memories Of El Monte on their 2001 CD In Harmony."

Read by OCR software. If you spot errors, let me know afka (at) afka.net