Frank Zappa: Fuck Unions is what I got to say

By Co de Kloet

May 16, 1982

This interview was held by CO DE KLOET JR. in SONESTA HOTEL AMSTERDAM on May 16th 1982.

It was at an open air festival in Schüttorf. The Stray Cats preceded the master of ceremonies Frank Zappa. It was hot so many good looking girls showed their titties, it was in Germany, so no shortage in beer either. The set list was kind of Strictly Commercial and in accordance with the atmosphere. Steve Vai really was at it, his face showing every emotion between pain and pleasure while performing his guitar stunts. Even Frank looked in awe. On this date, like on many other dates of the tour, the audience was told that if they would throw more stuff on the stage, the band would go off the stage. They didn't, so luckily they stayed.

With a friend I ventured in the backstage area after the concert, to see if we might have a glimpse of Frank, which we did. We saw him, accompanied by Smothers, leave in a Mercedes limousine. On the way back I saw a few pieces of paper lying on a small table. I took them. What follows is exactly what was on them. I hope interviewer Co de Kloet (the guy who did the supplement tape) had a copy. If not I herewith extend my apologies to him. But he shouldn't leave his papers like that. I, of course, wasn't even allowed to be there, but nobody seemed to care.

It's not really a breathtaking interview which sheds a whole new light on something, but I think it's interesting enough for you out there to read.

Voordat hij aan zijn repetitie in de Ahoyhal begon had ik met FZ afgesproken hem over het een en ander te spreken, de volgende dag in het SONESTA-Hotel. Toen ik dit die dag aan SMOTHERS vertelde kwam ik zonder moeite zijn kamer binnen, alwaar hij in een paarse outfit rustig WINSTONS zat te roken. Mijn SONY aan, FZ aan het woord. Daarvan onder een selectie.

( Translation: Before he started his rehearsals in the Ahoyhal I had arranged with FZ to interview him the next day in the SONESTA-Hotel. When I told SMOTHERS that the next day I had no trouble entering his room, where he, dressed in a purple outfit, was smoking his WINSTON quietly. I put on my SONY, FZ started talking. What follows is a selection.)

DeKloet: Were you exited when you played your solo on ZOMBY WOOF last night?

Zappa: No.


Zappa: Well, it's not that I'm bored, but that just isn't my favourite style to play in. Because the rhythm is so strict. If I have to choose between a song where the rhythm is very stiff or where the rhythm is free, I'll take the free rhythm. I'd rather play on ZOOT ALLURES than on ZOMBY WOOF.

DeKloet: Were you surprised on the reaction on the GUITAR-box?

Zappa: In some countries, yes, some countries no. I was surprised it did well in France, and eh... You know, I think it did well anyplace.

DeKloet: Did it sell better than YOU ARE WHAT YOU IS?

Zappa: Oh yeah... that album didn't sell many copies at all.

DeKloet: It's a great album.

Zappa: Yes, but you have to remember that HOT RATS didn't sell well either in the USA. It came into the charts at number 90 for one week then disappeared.

DeKloet: I read on the inside cover of the GUITAR albums that there is gonna be a book with sheet music.

Zappa: They're working on it right now. The guitar solos from SHUT UP 'N' PLAY YER GUITAR are all written down and there is gonna be a book about 200 pages of that music... I don't know how we are gonna distribute it yet.

DeKloet: What happened to the film BABY SNAKES?

Zappa: It's gonna be a while before it comes out. Probably it won't come out in theatres in Europe. I made two television shows out of it. They are being offered for sale now.

DeKloet: So in the USA it's in the cinemas.

Zappa: No, not yet, because I have no more money to work on it.

DeKloet: I thought the version I saw was the final version.

Zappa: Yes, but there is one problem in the USA. If you make a film and somebody in a scene whistles a tune and it is not your song you have to pay money to the person who wrote that song. In BABY SNAKES there are 30 songs by other people... maybe 2 SECONDS each of somebody whistling or humming it... you have to pay each of those composers which I did... except for this one guy who wrote one song that is in ONE scene who refuses to give permission to have it used... a song called SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES, an old song... and the copyright owner demands that it will be removed from the film, otherwise he'll sue me... But in order to take that one song out of the film which lasts about 3 SECONDS it will cost me $50.000 to $100.000 to chop the movie up... so that's a problem in the USA.

DeKloet: You sent me this letter about the HOLLAND FESTIVAL...

Zappa: The reason why the people from that particular orchestra give out wrong information about it is because they don't wanna let people know how fucked they are, and that they have to cover it up to let it look like something other than what it was. It was a case of pure union greed, just like in the USA or in any country where unions think they're fantastic... FUCK UNIONS is what I got to say. Ultimately what all unions do is tend to cheapen and make boring the.. eh... life and the quality of the community. The way it works is that whenever somebody in a union says we are going on a strike and get more money... they think that when they win the strike they have succeeded but they never do because the person they are getting the money from turns around and charges even more money to the consumers of the goods, In the USA where the automobile workers go on strike to get more money... okay, fine, we'll give you more money, but then the guy who owns the factory raises the price of the car even more! AND makes a profit of the strike. The person who loses is the consumer, and the union members themselves are consumers. It's a fantasy... union members listening to union leaders who will say we go on strike and make more money are just fucking themselves in the NOSE and they don't even know it... the guy who already got all the money is still gonna have the money... you don't change that overnite... if you are a labourer and you wanna join a union o.k. Maybe you need to stick together so you can get a fair pay for diggin the ditch, but if you're in the business of making MUSIC, I think the MUSIC should come first.

Smothers: The Press Conference is ready.

DeKloet: Can I join you

Zappa: Sure.

copyright: Co de Kloet jr. 82 Kortenhoef exclusief voor Cucamonga

Read by OCR software. If you spot errors, let me know afka (at)