Zappa: 'The Albert Hall Is Obscene'

By ?

Music Now, February 1, 1971

FRANK ZAPPA's presentation of ecerpts from his forthcoming movie "200 Motels" at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday night had to be cancelled because the Hall authorities thought there might be something obscene in the content. Zappa, his Mothers, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and twenty people from the King's Singers Chorus were due to rehearse at 1.30 in the afternoon and appear at 7.30 that evening. They all turned up at the rehearsal and got themselves filmed being locked out. Later, when the concert was due to start, several hundred people demonstrated outside the hall, some waving banners (apparently all paid for by Zappa) that said: "Zappa says the Albert Hall is obscene".

Zappa, who the Daily Mirror called 'An Underground (Pop Musician)', had this to say: "The whole thing is ridiculous. There is absolutely nothing obscene in our programme."

The Harols Davison Agency who were promoting the concert had no comment to make, and the Albert Hall Press Office, when first questioned, said it was a private matter between them and the promoters. When later reminded that a situation involving 4,500 punters was no private matter, the lady at the Hall freaked a little and said: "A copy of the libretto did not arrive here until late last Friday afternoon. We had been asking for a copy for over a month. Had we viewed the content in good time, there could have been a reasonable discussion about what alterations were necessary. As it was, we had no time. Ticket holders can get their money back by taking their tickets along to wherever they bought them."

Herb Cohen, Zappa's manager, who earlier said "I'll sue everybody" had this to say in reply: "Yeah. it's true but it's a bullshit excuse. F*** 'em man, that's my quote."

Sez MN – in a situation like this, the punter loses more than once. He doesn't get any refunds on the six journeys he may have made involving the tickets (to and from the hall to buy the tickets, to and from the hall to see the non-event, and to and from the hall to get his money back).

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