Ein Leben Als Extravaganza

00:00

FRANK
ZAPPA

FZ (1993): When you're the first guy to do something, and the sound that you make never existed before, I think that'll give you a little bit of time wasteness there.

Theodore Bikel: Ladies and gentlemen . . .

FZ (1988): You know, I have no idea what the name of this program is, but you're watching it.

Spider: The way I see it, Barry, this should be a very dynamite show.

EIN LEBEN ALS
EXTRAVAGANZA

DAS GENIE
FRANK ZAPPA

Eine Sendung von
RUDI "Cadillac" DOLEZAL
und
HANNES ROSSACHER

FZ (1978): I don't want to talk about anything. I'm sitting here because somebody said, "You're gonna do a television interview." Here I am. Ask me the questions. But like I said, you ask me a question, I'll tell you what I think, and the result you never know what is gonna be.

Do you know what you are?
You are what you is

1969

FZ (1970): Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's dull.

You is what you am
(A cow don't make ham . . . )

1976

FZ (1978): It's a stupid business. You know, rock & roll is all make believe, it's all fake.

You ain't what you're not
So see what you got

1988

FZ (1988): Well, I don't feel any of the work that I've done in the last 24 years has changed anything or anybody.

You are what you is
An' that's all it 'tis

1982

FZ (1982): The amount of records sold, and the amount of tickets sold does not tell you whether or not music is good. And anytime the people believe that is the only way you can tell the difference between good music and bad music, they're in big trouble.

A foolish young man
Of the Negro Persuasion
Devoted his life
To become a caucasian
He stopped eating pork
He stopped eating greens

FZ (1988): Oh, it's real bad. It's real bad.

He traded his dashiki
("Uhuru!")
For some Jordache Jeans

1984

Rudi: Is this what rock & roll is all about?
FZ (1984): That's right. It's about dishonest people trying to do things to artists.

He learned to play golf
An' he got a good score
Now he says to himself
"I AIN'T NO NIGGER NO MORE . . . HEY! HEY! HEY!"

Do you know what you are?
You are what you is
You is what you am
(A cow don't make ham . . . )
You ain't what you're not
So see what you got
You are what you is

FZ (1978): Yeah, I take a very cynical point of view. I think that being cynical is a positive value. I think that nobody should trust anybody else. I think that all people are assholes until proven different. And I think that if you take that point of view, you will be disappointed less in life. Don't expect friends, don't expect fun, don't expect a good life, don't expect anything, and then if you get something, it's a bonus.

02:26

Narrator: Frank Zappa [...]

CHAD
WACKERMAN
Ex-
Zappa
Band

Chad Wackerman: I loved working with Frank. It was a fantastic experience. It was better than going to any school, working with Frank. He would challenge you so much, at every rehearsal, at every soundcheck, at every gig, that he made you grow into, into a much better musician.

BRIAN
MAY
Queen

Brian May: It's strange, but totally wonderful. There's a lifetime of study in there.

JEAN
LUC
PONTY

Jean-Luc Ponty: He was the first real well-known rock & roll musician who I really worked extensively with, so, uh, that opened my mind.

DON
PRESTON
Original
"Mothers
of
Invention"

Don Preston: And he was more like a father figure than anything.

NICOLAS
SLONIMSKY
Conductor,
aged 99

Nicolas Slonimsky: When he produces a work, it's an opera.

GEORGE
DUKE

George Duke: Frank Zappa for president, uh? I like the guy. He's a great musician.

JIMMY
CARL
BLACK
Original
"Mothers"

Jimmy Carl Black: But I knew he was a weird guy, 'cause he had about nine cats living with him.

STEVE
VAI
Ex-
Zappa
Band

Steve Vai: Well, I'd say he's like a jewel, you know, that, just hasn't really been widely discovered enough.

KEITH
RICHARDS
Rolling
Stones

Keith Richards: What a musician needs on his tombstone when he's dead and gone is, "He passed it on".

05:11

CADILLAC STORY

RUDI
DOLEZAL

Rudi: Can remember which was your first impression when you walked in?
FZ (1989?): Oh, God, not another interview. But it turned out to be pretty funny.

Narrator: [...]

FZ (1978): Aim this camera at this guy. Ladies and gentlemen, here is a classic example of a jerk for an interview. Why is that egocentric to have a car that's comfortable to take you from the airport to the hotel?
Rudi: [...] just asking.
FZ: You like Cadillacs?
Rudi: Mmh . . . no . . .
FZ: You like being comfortable? Why don't you like Cadillacs?
Rudi: I don't think it's poss—, I don't think it's a . . .
FZ: But wait a minute. Suppose somebody give you a Cadillac, would you like it? Do you people want a Cadillac?

In the dark
Where all the fevers grow
Under the water . . .

Narrator: [...]

FZ: Now, ladies and gentlemen, Rudi has—Sound running? Very good. Now, ladies and gentlemen, this is very important for you to watch because Rudi is now inside the Cadillac. He's been, let's just say, possessed by the Cadillac. We can't get him out. He's in there with his girlfriend. We don't know how this is going to turn out, we have to urge him to leave the car.
?: Rudi! Come out! Come out!
Rudi: No! It was so fantastic! Please, no! No!
FZ: It's better for you to come out. Rudi, come out, we're gonna put you in a small car, you'll really like it. Rudi! Get him out—Take him out of that car, put him, put him in a small uncomfortable car!
?: Rudi, Rudi . . . no, no, no . . .
FZ: She likes it too. Well, you see what happens when you get an Austrian in one of these things? They go absolutely apeshit.

FZ: In this scene, Rudi is trying to recover from his Austrian Cadillac Extravaganza. Little does Rudi know that we in America have a great tradition. Along with the ride in the Cadillac, when you have a birthday, you have to be spanked. One time for each year of your miserable life. And tonight Rudi is going to be pummelled—brutally attacked by John Smothers, who needs a little bit of a haircut. Now, Rudi, this is going to hurt you more than it hurts him.
John Smothers: Gonna hurt me more than it's gonna hurt you.
CADILLAC! CADILLAC! CADILLAC!

Narrator: [...]

FZ: And this is the kind of stuff that cheap movies are really made out of.

08:01

FZ (1989?): Ladies and gentlemen, The Vault.

Narrator: [...]

FZ (1970): Hello, my name is Frank Zappa, I'm a rock & roll musician. I'm a composer. And I make movies.

Erste Filmaufnahmen
"Mothers of Invention"

Narrator: [...]

Garrick Theater
New York 1968

Eat your greens
Don't forget your beans & celery
Don't forget to bring
Your fake I.D.
Eat a bunch of these
MAGNIFICENT

Narrator: [...]

FZ (1978): Movements are always the same, you got some windbag who wants to say his philosophy, and he tries to make other people believe in it, and there's always gonna be some people who want to believe in it, and they go along with the movement, and eventually the movement falls apart, the people who believed in it turn out to be fools, the people who left the movement turn out to be fools, another movement comes along, another fool stands up, some more fools follow him. You know, it keeps going. Movements suck, they're stupid.

With sauerkraut
MMMMMMMMMMM
Sauerkraut
Eat a grape, a fig
A crumpet too . . .

FZ (1988): I've been saying that about the same things for years and years and years, you know. 23 years ago, maybe it was radical to say it, today it's only an obvious point.

10:38

RARITÄTEN

Rudi: You like Schubert?
FZ (1978): Yeah! I'm a very romantic person, are you kidding?

EC: Beautiful! God! It's God! I see God!

Narrator: [...]

Rudi: Would you say that you've became more quiet over the years?
FZ (1988): No, I don't think so. I just think that maybe the surrounding noise level went up.

Pressehaus
Wien 1976

Oh God I am the American dream
I do not think I'm too extreme
An' I'm a handsome sonofabitch
I'm gonna get a good job 'n be real rich

Narrator: [...]

Philadelphia
1980

Women's Liberation
Came creepin' across the nation
I tell you people, I was not ready
When I fucked this dyke by the name of Freddie
She made a little speech then,
Oh God, she tried to make me say when
She had my balls in a vice, but she left the dick
I guess it's still hooked on, but now it shoots too quick

Oh God I am the American dream
But now I smell like Vaseline
An' I'm a miserable sonofabitch
Am I a boy or a lady . . . I don't know which
(I wonder wonder, wonder wonder)

And my name is Bobby Brown
Watch me now, because the name of this song is "Envelopes." Thank you.

FZ (1978): They keep selling you Mozart till you wanna die. You know, stick Mozart's face on everything. You got him on little candies. They probably got Mozart toilet paper here, don't they? Eh?

12:49

FILME

Dreharbeiten
"200 Motels"
1971

Penis dimension
Penis dimension

Narrator: [...]

Penis dimension is worrying me

Narrator: [...]

RINGO STARR
1970

Ringo Starr (1971): "Each guy has his own speciality of going out to find the . . . " What is it?

Howard Kaylan: Fly out of here in the morning, you know.
Mark Volman: Oh yeah, really?
Howard Kaylan: Oh yeah, really.

NEIL
JORDAN
Academy
Award
Winner

Neil Jordan: I'd say in a position of deep and, uh, savage . . . iconoclis— uh . . . icono-clism? Is that the word? An iconoclastic figure, definitely, in terms of filmmaking.

Theodore Bikel: So, alright, listen. I'll come in, come in with my briefcase, I see all of this thing . . .
FZ: Yeah.
Theodore Bikel: I'll go, "Ping!" Everybody wakes up.

Penis dimension

Howard Kaylan: His intention is to create a, a piece of film so bizarre and, parts of it so full of bullshit and other parts of it so technically perfect, that the people are gonna leave the theater going, "I didn't understand it at all! What's he doing? What's, what's the message? What's he trying to say?" Well, that's the message, that he's not trying to say it.

Filmausschnitt
"Baby Snakes"
1979

Baby Snakes
Late at night is when they come out
Baby Snakes
Sure you know what I'm talkin' about

Narrator: [...]

Pink 'n wet
They make the best kinda pet
Baby
Baby
Snakes

I looked around
An' there's a couple right near me

FZ (1980): It's 2 hours and 43 minutes long, it has music, animation and unusual forms of behavior.

I'll take all I can get
Baby
Baby
Baby Sna-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-kes, Yeah

They live in a ho-ho-ho-ho-hole
(Tiny hole)
That is usually empty
(Usually empty; tiny too)

FZ (1978): There is continuity going through everything that I do.

Dreharbeiten
"Uncle Meat"
1968/69

Narrator: [...]

DON
PRESTON
Original
"Mothers
of
Invention"

Don Preston: Actually that movie was a parody of a movie that was made back at that time, called John And Mary, with Dustin Hoffman and Mia Farrow. And I was Dustin Hoffman, and that girl was Mia Farrow. And she wouldn't take her clothes off in the shower. It was a big problem. But we solved it by just having her take the shower with the clothes on.

16:26

BANDS

Mark Volman: Hi, friends. Did you ever consider the possibility . . .

FZ (1988): Oh, God, not them again!

"Mothers of Invention"
Fillmore West—San Francisco
1970

Mark Volman: . . . that YOUR PENIS, or in the case of many dignified ladies . . .

Narrator: The Mothers Of Invention [...]

Mark Volman: . . . that the size of the titties themselves might provide elements of sub-conscious tension? Yes . . .

GEORGE
DUKE

George Duke: There were some things that we used to do live that I, I mean, I can't even see anybody doing now. I don't think that you're gonna see anybody like that for— Maybe never again.

Mark Volman: . . . weird, twisted anxieties that could force a person to have to become a politician!
Howard Kaylan: Hooray!
Mark Volman: A policeman! A Jesuit monk.
FZ: Dominus vobiscum et cum spiritu tuo.
Mark Volman: A rock & roll guitar player!

FZ (1988): To sit around and think about old jobs with old bands, and old lawsuits and old stuff like that. I have no nostalgia for that.

Summertime
And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high.

FZ (1982): All I can say is, if you go to the Rolling Stones concert, you'll probably get a blow-job, if you come to my concert you'd probably won't.

FZ (1978): When are my concerts just a concert? How dare you!

Live Auftritt
Ulm
1978

FZ (Ulm, 1978): Ok. Listen. This is a brand new band, this is the world premiere. Let's go to work. One, two, three, four . . .

Keep it greasey so it'll go down easy
Keep it greasey so it'll go down easy
Keep it greasey so it'll go down easy

Roll it over 'n grease it down
I'll drive you through the heart of town

A good lovin' man is hardest to find
A good woman needs to ease her mind
I know a few that need to ease it behind
All y'gotta do is grease it down
'N everything is fine

FZ (1989?): Well, there's a difference between the fun and the musical value. I mean, some of the bands that are the most fun I think were not the most musical.

Keep it greasey so it'll go down easy
Keep it greasey so it'll go down easy
Keep it greasey so it'll go down easy
Roll it over 'n grease it down, down, down

Narrator: [...]

PETER
WOLF
Ex-
Zappa
Band

Peter Wolf: [...]

Grease it down . . .
I grease it down!

WARREN
CUCURULLO
Ex-
Zappa
Band

Warren Cuccurullo: When I played with Frank, he, he took me out of my basement in Brooklyn, New York. So I was like a child, I was, I was a puppy. It's, you know, one of the few men that I love, ha, ha. I love Frank, he's incredible.

FZ (1988): To accept the responsability of somebody who says, "What you're doing is garbage," you know, that's, that's my job in this case with the band.

Narrator: [...]

FZ (1980): [...] much exposure, the landscape will go zipping by.

23:24

POLITIK

FZ (1982): It always amazes me that when a government is formed, and they have all these computers and they have smart people working for 'em to figure out things to do and how to organize stuff, that they always forget the kids. They always forget. They forget how much energy they have, and they forget how much damage they can do.

I'm cryin'
I'm cryin'

FZ (1982): When you forget the kids, your government is in danger, because the kids can suddenly give you a big surprise.

Cryin' for Sharleena,
Can't you see

I called up all my baby's friends
'N ask'n um
Where she done went.

FZ (1988): It seems that the problem with government as an institution is uniformly bad worldwide. It may be the only thing that binds all nations together, it's the incompetence of all their governments.

But nobody 'round here seems to know
Where my Sharleena's been
Where my Sharleena's been

FZ (1989?): It's not that they make you think they don't know what they're talking about—They don't know what they're talking about, that's the problem with American politics, because qualified people don't run it, usually.

Ten long years I've been lovin' her
Ten long years
And I thought deep down in my heart
She was mine

FZ (1984): The unions are the Mafia, which is the CIA, which is the Catholic Church, which is the government, which is—What's the difference? It's corrupt. It's the same guys pulling these strings, you know, one day he pulls the string and woof, this lamp comes out, you know, and the next day he pulls the string and there's a missile coming out.

Ten long years I've been lovin' her
Ten long years
I would call her my baby, and now,
I'm always cryin'

Narrator: [...]

FZ (1988): They way I look at it, take a look at the people who've been presidents in the United States so far. Could I do any worse? If I didn't know shit from Shinola, could I do any worse?

ANDY
SUMMERS
Ex-
Police

Andy Summers: I'm behind him. I wanna be vicepresident. Ha ha ha!

Rudi: If you would compare President Zappa [...] what would be the main differences that you could work out?
FZ (1988): I work for more hours. And I'm awake.

27:00

GITARRE

FZ (1978): Well, I've been practising for 14 years, I'm getting good at it now.

Mudd Club, New York 1980

BRIAN
MAY
Queen

Brian May: I like talking about Mr. Zappa. He's a very inspiring man, you know. Also I suppose there's more and more pressure as you get more and more famous and more public. If you make a mistake, it's in front of fifty million people, you know. And Frank said, "Mistakes?" He said, "What are mistakes?" He said, "Who's gonna tell you if you played it wrong? It's your song, it's your guitar, it's your show. You can play whatever you like!" Yes, I think that's good advice and I take that to heart.

Openair, Ulm 1978

STEVE
VAI
Ex-
Zappa
Band

Steve Vai: Well, they might be from another planet, you know, but . . . well, I mean, anybody can like get up there and make noises, but to actually hear it the way Frank does, I mean, you don't really realise . . . You see, like he conducted that!

St. Etienne 1988

28:50

PAPA ZAPPA

Narrator: [...]

DWEEZIL
ZAPPA

Dweezil: The way we were brought up is we were brought to have a good sense of being an individual and, you know, he wanted us to have good imagination and, so, if we were ever angry, for example, instead of hit you or something, he would give us, you know, a piece of paper and a pen and say, "Draw."

FZ (1982): If they want to be professional musicians, that's fine. If they don't, that's fine, too.

1970   1988

Dweezil (1988): He's a great guy, a good dad, you know, he's funny. He's a great guy, you gotta check him out. Wherever he is, you come up and say hi, you say, "Dweezil has sent me."

ACHMED
ZAPPA

Ahmet: Actually I'd rather not speak about that because, uh, unfortunately, it was so toxic when, uh, you know, he asked me to pull the finger, you guys know the whole routine, and the actual rectal sphincter hell that was involved was so, um, horrific that, uh, I believe I phased in and out of dimensions and I lost my virginity like five hundred times by small little midgets basically were suckin' my prick continually. I was in a dream-like state. A trance basically. And I wouldn't want to relive that experience, so, I'd appreciate if YOU left me alone, basically. Right? Ok? Thanks.

31:18

SPRÜCHE

FZ: THIS is cheap. This is really cheap, watch this.

FZ (1978): It's almost as if Mozart himself rolled this one.

FZ (1982): People are people, and they are basically bad.

FZ (1988): Yeah, because failure is the natural state of human nature, you know. To succeed is the rare thing, you know. To . . . there's nothing wrong with been a failure. You can fail. Get used to it.

FZ (1984): I think that life itself is so absurd, because the human species was a mistake, I'm convinced of it. That if there is a God, he really fucked up when he made people. Because there's only one thing the human beings can do, and that's kill. They do that exquisitely well, and better than any other species. They like to make a mess, they like to kill, they make—they like to make trouble. That's why the species will eventually just obliterate itself, and the world will be safe once again for cockroaches and moss.

FZ (1984): I have a great deal of difficulty imagining a character with a long white beard who knows what's in everyone's heart, and will make sure that the good people get their reward when they die. I think that this is dangerous propaganda.

FZ (1982): Being honest is very out of fashion. Nobody wants to do that anymore. 'Cause it's easier to lie and to chisel on the side, and you'll go further, faster, if you're a fake person.

34:57

KOMPONIST

Narrator: [...]

Wien, 1967

NICOLAS
SLONIMSKY
Dirigenten-
Legende,
99 Jahre

Nicolas Slonimsky: He uses a maximum of orchestral sonorities, and he puts them together with a minimum of effort.

FZ (1988): Well, in one way it's very, very easy, because everything is so mundane in the business, that any song which is not in 4/4 is a radical idea. So, that's . . . you know, by accident, if you left the beat off, you could be radical.

Narrator: [...]

FZ (1984): Well, actually, you know, the thing that disturbed me most about Francesco Zappa is that he doesn't have his picture on a little candy, like Mozart's got his picture on a candy. But, it just goes to show you that in every era there are some composers who have hits and some who don't. Okay? They're both working at the same time, and one of them winds up on a candy that you get when you go on the airplane and you come to Austria, the other one one paragraph in the back of a book someplace.

Narrator: [...]

FZ (1988): Well, loneliness doesn't enter into it, I mean . . . Put yourself in my place, this is a great place to work, it's a perfect place for me to work, and I like working this way. I like working by myself, and I don't like it when the phone is ringing, I don't like it when I get interrupted, so, this is . . . it's not a matter of loneliness, it's perfect. I like it.

Narrator: [...]

FZ (1991): When I was here in 1990, I said, "How did you get the Communists out of here?" Somebody said, "Well, you know, they go to the country for the weekend." And so I guess that makes it easier.

Zappas letzter
öffentlicher Auftritt
Prag, 1991

Michael Kocáb: Frank Zappa!
FZ: I'm sure you already know it, but this is just the beginning of your new future in this country . . . and as you confront the new changes that will take place, please try and keep your country unique. Don't change into something else. Keep it unique.
Translator: [...]

FZ (1991): Ah, well, you know, it seems to me just like, you never forget how to fuck. You know what I mean? Unless you're really, really stupid.

Narrator: [...] "Bring your fucking cameras" [...]

FZ (1993): Well, there is conceptual continuity, 'cause here I am, you know. I'm the glue that holds it together.

Los Angeles
Juli, 1993

FZ: Rolling tape?
Engineer: That's right.
FZ: Oooh, voodn.

Narrator: [...]

Hermann Kretzschmar: [...]

Narrator: [...]

FZ (1993): Well, you gotta keep trying. You know, I'm sure there'll be some problem or mistake, but you have to try to do it perfect.

Hermann Kretzschmar: Please, go ahead. Just pull my finger.

Rudi: You think you will still be on stage in 20 years time?
FZ (1988): Uh, probably not. No.
Rudi: Why not?
FZ: Well, I don't have any plans to, but I may change my mind. But if I do and I come back here, I'm sure I'm gonna be sitting here doing an interview with you again. Ha, ha, ha!

FZ: Arf . . .
Birdlegs: About that tempo?
FZ: Mm-hm

Birdlegs: Damn!
FZ: Gettin' tired?
Birdlegs: No, unh-unh . . . my fingers got stuck!

FZ (1993): Well, you know, the important thing is that you have to remain crazy, in spite of the fact that you're Austrian.

Narrator: [...]

46:06

EIN LEBEN
ALS
EXTRAVAGANZA

DAS GENIE
FRANK ZAPPA

Contributions
DWEEZIL ZAPPA
ACHMED ZAPPA
KEITH MOON
BRIAN MAY
RINGO STARR
KEITH RICHARDS
NICOLAS SLONIMSKY
NEIL JORDAN
ANDY SUMMERS
JEAN LUC PONTY
GEORGE DUKE
MARK VOLMAN
HOWARD KAYLAN
WARREN CUCURULLO
PETER WOLF
STEVE VAI
JIMMY CARL BLACK
DON PRESTON
CHAD WACKERMAN
JOHN SMOTHERS
THOMAS NORDEGG

sowie das
ENSEMBLE MODERN

Zappa Performances

FILLMORE WEST
San Francisco
1970

VIENNA
1978

ULM
1978

PHILADELPHIA
1980

MUDD CLUB
New York
1980

VIENNA
1984, 1988

ST. ETIENNE
1988

PRAG
1991

GARRICK THEATRE
New York
1968

LOS ANGELES
1993

MÜNCHEN
1978

Ausschnitte
"The True Story Of 200 Motels"
"VIDEO FROM HELL"
by
FRANK ZAPPA
for
HONKER VIDEO

Kamera
VAN CARLSON
JERRY FELDMANN
TOM WARDE
HERMANN DUNZENDORFER
NORBERT ARNSTEINER
EYTAN HARRIS
HARRY DAWSON
MICHAEL GSELDNER
KLAUS WHO
FLODUR SENNAH
RUDI CADILLAC
WOLFGANG SIMON
MARTIN KERSTING
HANS SELIKOWSKY
MICHAEL BINDLECHNER
PETER REFLE

Kameraassistenz
DARREN RYDSTROM
PHOEBE SUNDROW
CARL F. BRAUNEIS

Licht
MARK TREMBATH

Ton
MARY JO DEVENNEY
HERBERT KOLLER
HANS DIETRICH
WALTER FIKLOCKI
JIM JACK
DARRY WOODS
ALFONS HAMANN

[...]

Buch und Regie
RUDI DOLEZAL
und
HANNES ROSSACHER

Eine
DoRo
Produktion

© 1993

 

All compositions by Frank Zappa except as noted
Site maintained by Román García Albertos.
http://donlope.net/fz/
Original transcription by Román
Corrections by Derek Milhouse Gilger
This page updated: 2017-11-02