Frank Zappa. London

By Robin Smith

Record Mirror, February 19, 1977


DIG OUT your headband and don't wash for a week - 'cause Frankie's back in town.

The old cosmic warrior returned to London at the Hammersmith Odeon, memories of his bad-time swearing ban at the Royal Albert Hall still fresh in his mind. He rambled on about rectums, the Queen and waggled his bum at the audience.

So what about the music? Not much there either. Heavy guitar chords and meandering themes, but some excellent drumming from a guy who looks like the Muppet drummer. It all sounded rather dated and the bad PA meant that sometimes you couldn't hear more than a mumbler from Frank. Can anyone seriously reckon that lyrics like 'What Are You Going To Do If You're An Asshole?' are truly meaningful? You got the impression that the audience applauded because it was the thing to do.

For 10 minutes or more Frank plucked away on his guitar during his solo. Basic stuff tarted up by the strained and thoughtful expression on his face. His drummer pretended to be the devil for a while, donning a horrific mask and indulging in a shouting match with Frank. Later Frank dedicated a 'deeply meaningful' song to a guy sitting at the side of the stage.

Frank is a guy whose bizarre image has always meant he's been able to con people into believing he's good. I wonder if his heart is in the music or if he just laughs all the way to the bank.