The Apocalypse According To Saint Zappa

By David Mairowitz

San Francisco Express Times, February 29, 1968

"This whole monstrosity was conceived and executed by Frank Zappa as a result of some unpleasant premonitions, August through October, 1967."

It's frightening to think that the Mothers' new album was produced before last week's holocaust in the Haight. It's an amazing piece of paranoid prophesy come true – almost as if publicity conscious cops had a piece of the royalty. Hippy-Phonies come to San Francisco, contract psychedelics and crabs, get shot daring a police massacre in Golden Gate Park. Surviving freaks are carted off in busloads to Concentration Camp Reagan where: "you might imagine you have been invited to try out a wonderful new RECREATIONAL DEVICE (designed by the Human Factors Engineering Lab as a method of relieving tension and pent-up hostilities among the members of the CAMP STAFF ... a thankless job which gives little or no ego gratification . . . even for the chief warden). At the end of the piece, the name of YOUR CRIME will be carved on your back."

The album cover is a blatant send-up of Sgt. Pepper. But how do we get from there to concentration camps? Some possibilities: (1) The Beatles Pop-Art response to the military, as reflected in the uniformed-British trend of affection toward its lost Empire – imagine us adopting that attitude here! (2) Sgt. Pepper represents a pinnacle in the brief history of Stoned Consciousness, an attempt at "Discorporation," a simple and eclipsing coming to grips with the world of Bad Karma – with its final solution to a day in the life: "I'd love to turn you on."

FLOWER POWER SUCKS is the Mothers' response. "I love cops even though they beat the shit out of me" comes under the aegis of Stoned Consciousness. After listening to speakers at the Straight Theater during the Cop Riot meeting, still talking about loving cops, the reality of the Mothers' message comes clear.

DISCORPORATE and you "enter the word of a strange purple jello." You float out of your body to meet the descending nightstick in a gesture of love – you accept it, cherish it, let it mingle with the expanded awareness of the pouring blood that once was YOU.

Discorporation makes us Beautiful People. We have Messianic magic about us – we can turn lepers into Adonises, putrefaction to marigolds.

Notice how the Mothers of Invention have always cherished their ugliness. Sure, it's part of their thing, their image, and we know they're "only in it for the money." But that doesn't make them any less ugly. "What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body?" is one of the tracks from the new album. It may be hard to accept, but the Mothers establish a definite correlation between the plastic L.A. wig-wearing angel-puffs and San Francisco flower freaks – its all in the unwillingness to accept the reality and grotesquerie of CORPORATION.

What's reality going to do for the situation? What good has it ever done? Frank Zappa implies only this: It may not stop a cop from kicking your ass in, but it will bring your ass back to the consciousness of its own Survival.

Reality is the only freedom – here and now. A Stoned All-Embracing Consciousness is vacuous freedom. It's alright for the Sgt. Pepper-oriented British who have basically come to grips with their national paranoia. But not for us. Like it or not, we're at war on the home front. It was truly beautiful to love the enemy once – but he soured it, he turned all our good faith into lies. Now loving him is simply unsafe.

We'll only be free when we become a little bit paranoid. Sure it's easy to overdo it, and that's also Bad Karma. But if Frank Zappa sees concentration camps in the offing, what's so unthinkable about that? One year ago, riot squads terrorizing Haight-Ashbury would have been unthinkable. We'll only be free when Nothing At All is unthinkable.

Saint Zappa cherishes his Freakhood. And we're all "left behinds of the Great Society." Public condemnation gives him his reality. All of us have at one time or another been called Freaks, Commies, Fags, Neo-Fascists – and we'll continue to be called outlaw names because we are outlaws. Why not stop pretending here and now that we can ever be reconciled with the law?

A letter to Express Times this week calls me a Fascist for condoning black extremism. If believing in extremes as the only recourse left to an outlaw is Fascism, well, O.K. then, I'm a Fascist. Just look at the Mothers. Outrageous, aren't they?

There's nothing left to us but outrage.