FRANK ZAPPA AS A RELUCTANT SHEIK
Two years before the Sheik Yerbouti album cover was shot, Lynn Goldsmith spotted Frank Zappa walking into a New York hotel. She ran home and wrote him a letter telling him that if he would give her an hour to make pictures, she would make it worth his while. He agreed, and the resulting photos ran in Time, Newsweek and Rolling Stone. "He trusted me from then on," she says. When the time came for this shoot for the Sheik Yerbouti album, Zappa told Goldsmith exactly what he had in mind. "He wanted to look like a Hollywood film director with a megaphone, a girl prop, etc. Frank was more comfortable being a funny man rather than a handsome man, but I thought he was very handsome and I wanted other people to see that, too. The album was a play on disco sounds, so I thought he could call it Sheik Yer Bootie, and I could make him look as handsome as a sheik."
Goldsmith worked for hours doing the shot Zappa wanted. When it was done she asked him to put on the "head-dress". Patti Smith had given it to Goldsmith and she'd saved it as a prop. "He refused. He said, 'I will not put that schmata on my head.' I cried. I told him I always do what he asks me and why shouldn't he just let me make a few rolls of film with an idea I wanted to do." Eventually he did, and this was the result.
Times Saturday Magazine – 8 October 2005