Lennon was right, says ‘Mother’ Frank Zappa

By Hugh Nolan

Disc And Music Echo, September 30, 1967

POP music is the real religion of young people today. John Lennon was right the first time when he said the Beatles were bigger than Jesus Christ, he should never have retracted the statement.

Or so, anyway, says Frank Zappa, for the last two years leader of America’s notorious Mothers of Invention, in London last week for the group’s first and only concert here on Saturday.

Four days before the concert Zappa plus about 15 assorted Mothers, camp followers and Suzy Creamcheeses ensconced themselves in Kensington’s exclusive Royal Garden Hotel and announced his readiness to join battle with the British press.

Like Bob Dylan on his last visit to London, however, Mr. Zappa is in the process of making a movie – presumably about the visit – and so anyone, from journalists to room service waiters bearing a tray of Coca Cola and ice, who knocked on the door of suite 315 became a part of the movie.


Interviews were conducted with Mr. Zappa lying on his bed beside the present Miss Suzy Creamheese surrounded by various anonymous friends or followers, to the sound of the clicking of a tape recorder, the whirring of the movie-camera held some six inches from the interviewer’s face plus assorted crashes, yells and screams from a TV film Mothers’ manager was watching in the next room.

And . . . Zappa, extra-long-haired, moustachioed, bearded, dressed in old shirt and trousers held up with braces, expounded . . . on the Mothers:

“Selling records is a by-product of what we’re doing. We’re there to help out – sort of like singing social workers.

“No radio station in the States will play our records – they just pretend we don’t exist. This month we’ve got big articles in six major American magazines but still radio ignores us. And while radio rejects us completely TV stations are twice as careful about us.

“But with no exposure whatsoever we’ve sold over 250,000 albums in America. It’s kinda embarrassing.

“The radio stations have been ignoring our records for so long that pretty soon we’re going to stop putting out single records altogether and really upset them!”

♦ Zappa on the hippies:

“Flowerpower? It sucks! It‘s a lie – all those flower children would be better off staying at home. They put on their bells and their coloured clothes and talk about how they love everyone but they don’t really mean it. They go to a love-in and then they go home and talk about who was at the love-in and who wasn’t.


♦ Zappa on Britain:

“It’s very interesting – it’s a completely different scene to the States. Kinda like Mars. So I’ve been doing a lot of research before deciding what sort of stage act to put on. What kind of research? Just talking to people.”

♦ Zappa on the Mothers’ new single, “Big Leg Emma”:

“We put out two singles in the States which I thought were making it big and I thought ‘I could make a record like that in ten minutes.’ So I did.

♦ Zappa on Zappa:

“I used to have a recording studio, which turned out two million selling records – ‘Wipe-out’ by the Surfaris and ‘Pipeline’ by the Chantays. But I didn’t endorse the product.

“I’ve played guitar since I was 18. I worked in a lot of bands, playing cocktail lounges and Go-Go bars in South California for five to 12 dollars a night. I used to have a short, combed-back hair and wore a white tuxedo with a starched shirt and bow-tie and sat on a stool. We used to pretend we were a human jukebox.”

♦ Zappa on the Mothers’ success:

“I think a lot of the people who buy our records must be mental! But really we must be a success because we’re the opposite extreme of flowerpower.”

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