Your mothers and fathers who are drinking beer, they're watching Roller Derby and then they change the channel, and then they see you guys on the floor. They say, "Oh, boy, they're really sick."
A lot of the kids that are walking around the street with long hair—a lot of the kids you see from time to time and rage over—are going to be running your government for you.
I think that there's a revolution brewing and it's gonna be a sloppy one unless something is done to get it organised in a hurry.
If they stop taking drugs and stop kidding themselves with their fantasies and they straighten up a little bit, grab themselves a little sense of responsibility, I think everything'll turn out all right, unless if uh, they aren't killed off systematically beforehand.
Fred Weintraub: You wanted to be a serious musician, I assume.
FZ: I've always wanted to be a serious musician.
We'd like to thank the people of the BBC for giving us a chance to do some of the things on television here that they would never allow us do in the United States.
The Mothers are real people, and tonight, during this part of our presentation they're going to do some of the things that they wanted to do on TV, and some of the things that they do in their everyday lives on the road, here in Europe.
That night, at the performance, we came up on stage, looking like we usually look, and then they came walking up on stage, looking like they usually look, and the audience couldn't believe that they were on stage with us. United States marines in full dress uniform with The Mothers. And there they were. The people were just sort of quiet, waiting for something to happen. So I gave 'em a signal, they launched to the microphone, and started screaming, "Kill! Kill! Kill!" The audience laughed. Then I had them sing their songs. After it was all over, I walked to the microphone and I said, "Thank you!" And then I motioned to Ray, lead singer, and he walked to the microphone and said, "Thank you!" And then I walked back to the microphone and I said, "Thank you!" And he said, "Thank you!" And we kept doing it, for it got very redundant, and we hoped to involve the marines in this whole redundant unit, and expected them to go up and say, "Thank you!" I pointed to the first marine, he walked to the microphone, and said, "Eat the apple, stuff the core, some of us love our mothers more." And there was dead silence in the room. Then we went into some electronic music, and they sat down on the stage. I sent out during intermission for a large doll, a girl doll about that tall, they brought it back, and during one of our hot numbers, I gave them instructions to mutilate the doll, just like they're trained to do, back in the camp. And they did it. They just ripped the piss out of this doll, they stomped on it, they mangled it, they missed the eyes up. They really did a good job on it, they train those suckers, boy!
And don't think those twelve and thirteen years old girls don't look at that stuff. They call it The Bump. I heard these girls tellin' about, "I heard Mick Jagger has a nice bump!"
We're involved in a sort of lo— low key war against apathy. I don't know how you're doing on apathy over there, but we've got lot of it, boys and girls. A lot of what we do is designed to annoy people to the point where they might, just for a second, question enough of their environment to do something about it. As long as they don't feel their environment, they don't worry about it, they're not gonna do anything to change it, and something's gotta be done before America scarfs up the world and shits on it.
There is what they call a culture boom, which means that more people are buying carefully packaged classical music at budget prices, you know? Get a little Mozart in your house, and make people think you know it's happening. Pop music, bad as it is, is better than most of the rest of what's happening.
FZ: That song was pretty white.
David Jones: Yeah, well, so am I, what can I tell ya.
FZ: You've been working on your dancing though.
David Jones: Oh, yeah, yeah, well, I've been rehearsing it. Glad you noticed that.
FZ: Yeah. It doesn't leave much time for your music. You should spend more time on it, because the youth of America depends on you to show the way.
David Jones: Yeah?
Interviewer: With all the advantages, if you compare yourself with somebody that's— screw something the whole day, small little piece, uh, what's your advantage?
FZ: Well, perhaps to a person that sits in a factory and screws a button all day, the life of a musician travelling around would seem to be quite glamourous, but we put up with some of the same boredom that they do, quite [...] as a matter of fact.
Interviewer: Now you're on the road for seven weeks in Europe, would you turn out to be so crazy before you come back?
FZ: Well . . . yes!
Interviewer: Why you do it then?
FZ: Well, some people like to be a carpenter, you know, they're interested in working with their hands, or they, or they're interested in electronics, they like to solder wires together, or they're artists, or they're something. That's their field of interest. Unfortunately I like to play music. Now when you want to play music and you want to earn a living from playing music, you have to work under the conditions that the environment imposes on you. They don't make it easy for you to be a musician. They don't, uh, in the United States specially, musicians are generally regarded as sort of useless adjuncts to the society, unless they do something creative like write a Coca-Cola jingle. Then, they'll be accepted. But musicians usually are regarded as sort of the scum of the Earth, and so if you want to be a musician, you set to realize before you start that nobody's really gonna care.
Interviewer: But isn't it true that when you are succesful in the United States like, successful in the meaning of earning money from what you're doing, then you're also accepted by the society even if you're a musician.
FZ: No, you're only, you're only accepted by that extract of the society that pays attention to what you do.
Interviewer: So it's not enough to earn money and have the right house or live in the right place and . . .
FZ: No, as long as you're a musician you're still a musician. Instead of just being merely the scum of the Earth, you can be a wealthier scum of the Earth. Or perhaps some more acceptable scum of the Earth, but you're still the scum of the Earth if you're a musician.
Interviewer: Why did you chose Ringo Starr as one actor in the film?
FZ: Why not?
Interviewer: Was that because of all that amount of money or— I mean, was it a commercial reason or was it . . . ?
FZ: No, I thought it'd be really funny. Suppose you had the opportunity to call Ringo Starr and say, "Play you." Say, "Hello, my name is [Leif], and I want you to be Larry The Dwarf, and Larry The Dwarf will look like [Leif] in this movie." I thought that it would be humorous to call him up and say, "I'd like to have you play Larry The Dwarf and Larry The Dwarf is gonna look like Frank Zappa in this movie." So we had a meeting, he read part of the script, he thought it was funny, he said that he was a bit browned off with this good guy image, and he decided to do it. So everybody had a good laugh all the way around.
FZ: Well, I don't think this very much can be done about that, because my image is connected directly to my face, you know, [...] if I'd go around preaching the gospel according to so and so, it wouldn't make any difference, because I still look like a villain, and I'm not about to get a face job.
Interviewer: But isn't it a little bit tiring to be such, in the customs for example all the time, to be, to be regarded as, as a junk, or a drug addict or whatever.
FZ: Well, that gets boring, yeah.
Interviewer: You don't want to change it. You just . . .
FZ: But how can you change it? You know, I sit here and tell you I don't use drugs and I'm a nice guy, but [...], what else would I do?
Interviewer: Probably nothing.
FZ: Well, first of all I don't think that is embarrasing or undesirable to sit on the toilet because everybody does that, you know. But it's just the manner in which that image is construed, you know? Some people think that anybody who has this picture taken sitting on a toilet, they imagine that person to be of a certain type of mentality which is not e— What they imagine is not exactly who and what I am.
Interviewer: Do you really care about what people think about you [...] from that respect?
FZ: Oh, I have certain feelings about it, but I like to keep them to myself.
Interviewer: Talking about essential thing [...] in your music is very pre-planned. I mean, sometimes when— to see you in action, to see the group in action, it gives an impression of being very well rehearsed, very, very well written, although no improvisations at all.
FZ: Oh, there's fun and improvisation in the concert, but what you see is being well rehearsed. It's the structure that allows that improvisation to occur within specified time periods during the show. Not— Improvisation includes not only instrumental solos but also dialog that can be inserted in different vocal things that can be done during the show. And also the sequence of events on a show that's all subject to change from night to night, but the blocks of material, each song, is pretty thoroughly rehearsed. I don't like to go out on stage and slop around.
FZ: The normal process is, I'll get an idea of something that I want to do and I'll lay the groundwork for it, get it to the point where I can, pardon me, I can explain it to the other members of the group in terms that make sense to them, I mean, I can give 'em little briefings prior to getting a project in focus, but I prefer to have something on paper or some notes figured up before I show it to them. At that point we discuss it and they say what they're gonna say about it, you know, like, "Why don't we do this here" or, "Why don't we do that over there." And, whenever is a project that involves a group they have a part on the shaping of it, because they are the ones that have to perform it. But if it was, for instance, a piece of music for an orchestra, I don't consult with anybody else, I just sit down and write it. And in terms of making a film, because that is a job for a large number of people, I try and do as many of the technical things involved in a film as possible so that the ultimate result has unified sort of continuity to it.
Interviewer: You are mainly the boss.
FZ: Well, I don't like to think of myself as a boss, you know, that sounds snotty.
Interviewer: But you're mainly— you work in—to use another negative word—authoritarian in your artistic work, when you're creating.
FZ: Well, let's put it this way, in the regards of the group I function on the same way that a conductor of a symphony orchestra functions, with the slight difference that I'm also the author of the musical materials being performed. But if I direct the group it has nothing to do with, you know, imposing my will upon them. It's like a referee at a sports match, where I will decide what the balance between the instruments is and who's going to play what, when they come in, and so forth, you know. It helps to keep the material organized.
Norman Gunston: I'm sitting here talking to muso colleague, uh, Frank Zappa. Legend in his own lifetime, and leader of the rock religious group The Mothers Of Invention. Mr. Zappa, how are you?
FZ: Right on, brother.
Norman Gunston: Oh, yes. And, uh . . . Funky. Uh, that's not a schtick, schmuck. Are the boys actually allowed to marry?
Norman Gunston: They are?
Norman Gunston: That's very progressive. Uh, see . . .
Norman Gunston: Animals, uh?
Norman Gunston: They're allowed to marry animals?
Norman Gunston: Oh. How adult. How sophisticated.
FZ: [...] Australia.
Norman Gunston: Oh, you went to Tasmania then, did you?
FZ: No, no, no.
Norman Gunston: No.
FZ: We didn't go to Tasmania.
Norman Gunston: You didn't.
FZ: We had the opportunity but we turned it down.
Norman Gunston: Did you? Of course a lot of that goes on there, you know? I'm thinking of playing, you know, Tasmania myself, doing a concert down there. What do you think of that?
FZ: I think it's probably one of the greatest ideas you've had during this program, you know?
Norman Gunston: Yeah. It's good to have another string to your knot, isn't it? Oh, actually have another string to mine, although— have you got an harmonica player in the band?
FZ: Not right now, no.
Norman Gunston: You haven't. Uh. I see. Well, why, you know, I mean, I'm available. I'm a— I used to play electric harmonica.
FZ: Wait a minute. Are you really available? I mean, when we come down there, will you jam with us at our concert?
Norman Gunston: You know, if I got the time.
FZ: You said you're available.
Norman Gunston: I'm available here, now, but when you come to Australia, who knows? I'm a pretty big personality here in Australia. But, the only thing is you might have to turn the music down a bit, 'cause I used to play electric harmonica, but it, you know, gave my lips a lot of static used to pick up a lot of lint, and so I stopped, and only play acoustic harmonica now. Have you got a singer in the band, or have all the boys taken a vow of silence?
FZ: No. There's quite a few singers in the band.
Norman Gunston: Oh. It's a shame.
FZ: There's seven.
Norman Gunston: Seven singers.
Norman Gunston: I see. They're all good, are they? But you don't have harmonica.
FZ: They're all mediocre.
Norman Gunston: Yeah, yeah. That's what I figured.
FZ: It's rock & roll, you know.
Norman Gunston: Well, you know. If you'd like to have a bit of a jam now. Oh, you don't call it that over here. You call it jelly, don't you? [...]
FZ: Whatever you'd like.
Norman Gunston: Well, yeah.
FZ: Name it. How about a blues? You wanna play a blues?
Norman Gunston: Do you know "Liza With A Zed"?
FZ: "Liza With A Zed"? No.
Norman Gunston: You don't. Well, whatever you— whatever you think, you know. I'm playing in the key of E.
FZ: How about, how about folk rock? You're in what key?
Norman Gunston: Folk rock. I love it, I love progressive music.
FZ: What key are you in?
Norman Gunston: Peter, Paul & Mary. Mmh?
FZ: What key is the harmonica in?
Norman Gunston: It's in E. It's an— it's an A harmonica, but I play . . . Yeah.
FZ: Well, we're not exactly in tune, but . . .
Norman Gunston: No. Well, he's out of tune.
FZ: Yeah. I really am.
Norman Gunston: I think. Take it away.
Norman Gunston: Yeah.
FZ: Now, uh. Just a shuffle, maybe?
Norman Gunston: Yeah. Okay? One, two, three . . . Oh, I count it in, I count it in. Are you a member of the musos union? You know.
FZ: No, [...]
Norman Gunston: Oh all right, just this once.
FZ: But I'll join this time.
Norman Gunston: Yeah.
FZ: Just so I can play with you.
Norman Gunston: Yeah. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten! Oh, go on, you go on . . .
FZ: I'm no Bob Dylan.
Norman Gunston: No, that was a good beat, that beat, that last beat. That had a sort of rhythm to it. It sounded very good, sounded very good, Mr. Zappa. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Zappa, it was extremely interesting. Uh, the boy's got a promising career, and when he comes to Australia, give him a break. Mr. Frank Zappa, mother superior of The Mothers Of Invention.
FZ: Thanks, Norman. Thanks, Norman. Get down [...]
Norman Gunston: Thank you.
Corrections by Charles Ulrich; further corrections from ZappaInAustralia.com
Kelly Lange: Sunday continues up here at Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles, a French bilingual school, we'd learned a lot about it. We now have the great pleasure of introducin— introducing you to Frank Zappa, one of the most innovative, prolific, interesting musicians in the world right now. This is what they say about him, one of the nastiest, one of the most irreverent, a man who just gave me one of the best backrubs I've ever had in my life. Welcome, Frank, how are you?
FZ: Hi, there, how are you doing?
Kelly Lange: I'm doing fine. Got a haircut!
FZ: That's right.
Kelly Lange: 27 albums.
Kelly Lange: This man has put out 27 albums. This one's Sheik Yerbouti, that everybody knows and loves. Joe's Garage is the new one, right? It's a rock opera.
FZ: Yeah, [...] garage.
Kelly Lange: Tell me about it.
FZ: Uh, it was originally put together to be a 3-record set, and this is the— I had to split it into two parts because of the economic conditions on our country. This is the first part, and there's another part that's got two records in it.
Kelly Lange: Now, what'd you mean "because of the economic conditions on our country"?
FZ: Well, let's just talk about fiscal responsibility for a while, you know. Our government isn't exactly crawling with fiscal responsibility and mix, mix things rough. You know what I mean?
Kelly Lange: Yeah, you've got a single coming out that's called "I Don't Wanna Get Drafted," right?
FZ: That's right.
Kelly Lange: This is another statement. How do you feel about what's going on?
FZ: Well, the way I feel is that I— Military strength is very important to our country, but I don't think that the technique of using the draft as an issue during an election year to make certain candidates look good is a very nice thing to do to a certain part of our population, because let's face it, if it's gonna be a war, it's gonna be a push-the-button war, with things that blow up really big or gas that kills you right away. And just sticking people into uniforms and making them acting an unfortunate way, I don't think that's the way to do it, you know.
Kelly Lange: If you, Frank Zappa, were running things, were running this country, d'you have any answers?
Kelly Lange: Tell us.
FZ: Not here.
Kelly Lange: Really?
FZ: That's right.
Kelly Lange: Well, you mentioned fiscal responsibility, you think there's any way that we can get the country off this inflationary spiral?
FZ: Well, I never thought it would come to this, but you know, I saw George Putnam on television last night, and he was talking about all this kind of things and, I've always felt that George's a very conservative kind of a person and, you know what?, he was saying some stuff last night that I thought was really smart. He doesn't always say things that I think are smart, but when I find myself agreeing with George Putnam, I begin to wonder.
Kelly Lange: As a matter of fact, I've read a lot about you, as everybody has, you've been in the music industry from a long, long time. This man started with The Mothers Of Invention back in the mid-sixties, and from there it was history. And things that are written about you are, he comes off like a wild man, you used to have the hair down to here, you know, as a matter of fact, [...] rather conservative fellow. Would you agree with that?
FZ: I'm probably even more conservative now than I was a couple of minutes ago.
Kelly Lange: Ha, ha, ha. The more the country gets into this shape, that's it. You're a local boy. You were born in Baltimore, but you're brought up in San Diego and Lancaster, up in the high desert country, Southern California. What kind of a kid were you back in high school?
FZ: I was naughty.
Kelly Lange: That's what I hear. Got turned out of school all the time.
FZ: Yeah, that's true. They were very happy to be rid of me, and I was happy to be rid of them.
Kelly Lange: But you really, you really loved music from the time you were . . .
FZ: Yeah, that's one of the reasons why I didn't like school, because I've always felt that what I was being trained to do in school was to grow up to be a consumer, and I haven't any— I didn't have a chance to doing the things that would improve the quality of my life, or to participate in anything that was beautiful or interesting, it was really drudgery.
Kelly Lange: So here you are and uh, a lot of— You've got— You're suffering a lot of troubles with you music, along the way too.
FZ: Well, that's not exactly true . . .
Kelly Lange: Well, that "Jewish Princess" made a lot of people mad, the Anti-Defamation League they were gonna take you to court, then you fix everything by doing "Catholic Girls" . . .
FZ: This is also not true. There was never any question of the anti-defamation league taking me to court, 'cause the Anti-Defamation League used the song "Jewish Princess" to obtain a certain amount of public relations value for their organization. There was no lawsuit, I mean, this is— There was never even anything in the paper that said lawsuit, and that's just people misreading what was actually printed in newspapers.
Kelly Lange: The people do get very sobersided, don't they? I mean, you've got a terrific sense of humor. You use it. You use it in your lyrics, you use it in your music. You offend some people.
FZ: That's their problem.
Kelly Lange: Does that bother you?
FZ: No, it doesn't bother me. The only thing I feel about that is I fell sorry for people who can't laugh at things, because when you stop laughing then, you're really in a lot of trouble and, let's for a minute go back to the "Jewish Princess" business for a moment, let's just say that if there weren't Jewish princesses, they would have a point, but unfortunately they exist, or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint. All I did was state the fact that they're up there, and the song says, "I want one."
Kelly Lange: So you are saying fortunately they exist, because you kind of like 'em, right?
FZ: So you know, why should they be getting on my case?
Kelly Lange: But you are, I think, this is something that uh, everybody in the business knows, in the music business, you are a very serious composer and very well respected by [...] don't you?
FZ: Well, of course.
Kelly Lange: Did you study?
Kelly Lange: Where?
FZ: In the library, and by listening to records.
Kelly Lange: You've got a movie coming out too.
FZ: In June, yeah.
Kelly Lange: Yeah, you produced it, you're starring in it.
Kelly Lange: You wrote it.
FZ: Yeah, yeah. All that stuff.
Kelly Lange: All that. Tell us about that.
FZ: It's called Baby Snakes, and it'll be coming out in June. It's about people who do stuff that is not normal.
Kelly Lange: People like you.
FZ: Well, I'm one of the people in the movie that's doing not normal stuff. There are other people.
Kelly Lange: Do you like the movie?
FZ: Yes. And you'll like the movie too, I know you will.
Kelly Lange: Really.
FZ: Yeah. I know, you look like the kind of a person that really needs to see that movie. I'm telling you, Kelly, when I was rubbing your neck, and I found out how stiff you actually were, I said to myself, "Here is a woman that needs to see Baby Snakes. This girl craves Baby Snakes."
Kelly Lange: I'll be there, I'll be there, I'll be first in line. Yes, I did, I said, it's getting . . .
FZ: How's your headache?
Kelly Lange: It's good, it's fine, thank you, yes . . . asking some more questions. It helped, it helped. You have four kids.
FZ: That's right.
Kelly Lange: Yeah. Tell their names.
FZ: Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva.
Kelly Lange: And they are how old?
FZ: They range in age from 13 to seven months.
Kelly Lange: And you don't think they'll ever grow up and want to change their names to Tom and Davey and . . .
FZ: I would be amazed if they did, but they'd always have that option, unless of course the laws of our great country are changed to preclude it.
Kelly Lange: What made you give them these names?
FZ: Well . . .
Kelly Lange: Why not, right?
FZ:You know, when you release an album you have the problem of what are you gonna call it and when you have a child you have the same problem, and you're trying to get the name to go with the event. And . . .
Kelly Lange: And Moon was . . .
FZ: Moon was— That, that was her name, it's what she should have been called.
Kelly Lange: That's because of the moon landing?
Kelly Lange: You are a family man.
Kelly Lange: You have lived in the same neighborhood for a lot, I mean, people get the idea that you're, you know, scattered, and as a matter of fact here you are, with a suit and tie and got your haircut, all cleaned up, and . . .
FZ: Kelly, I can't help it, I'm really a nice person, I'm a groovy guy, I'm also conservative, and, how's your headache, Kelly?
Kelly Lange: It's just fine, what's got, what else you got in the offer, besides the movie?
FZ: We're getting ready to do a tour, and we will actually be playing in Los Angeles on Easter Sunday, at the Sports Arena. I think it's sold out, so too bad, but . . .
Kelly Lange: Oh, I'm sorry, I'll stand outside listening . . .
FZ: We would get you in there if you want another headache.
Kelly Lange: Do you like Los Angeles?
FZ: I don't like Los Angeles. I think that it's really sad here.
Kelly Lange: Why you live here?
FZ: Well, when I first came here I thought that it was a nice place, because there was a lot of activity, and uh, musical activity and artistic activity, that was in the early 60s. But, there came a time when the people who were doing a lot of these things started getting harassed by the police, and the policies of the city government, the policies of the Police Department of Los Angeles drove a lot of what you could consider the artistic element out of town. Around '65 or '66 it was impossible to find a place to work, if you're a rock & roll musician and you wanna play in Hollywood, because the clubs had been squeezed out of business, and so we moved away, and . . .
Kelly Lange: And you're back.
FZ: Well, I came back because after moving to New York and working there for a while, and also having a child, it's very difficult for my imagination to think of raising a kid in New York.
Kelly Lange: Right. If L.A. is bad, New York is worst. Frank Zappa, musician extraordinaire, uh, backrubber. I say. Thanks for coming and spend some time with us.
Kelly Lange: Bye. We'll be right back with Donald Sutherland and his family.
David Letterman: My next guest is an exciting an unique figure in American music—his works have been performed by the band he founded, of course, The Mothers Of Invention, and various symphony orchestras—at the moment he's working on a Broadway musical. Please welcome back to this program, Mr. Frank Zappa! (cheers) Thanks for coming back, Frank. You're working on a Broadway musical, how much progress are you making, tell me about it, what, when does it open, when are we looking for . . .
FZ: Well, I'm still raising money for it. This is going hopefully no later than next Halloween, it'll be opening.
David Letterman: A year from now. It takes a lot of money to put a Broadway musical?
FZ: Well, this particular one is about 4 million dollars.
David Letterman: Wow. That seems high, doesn't it?
FZ: No, it's cheaper than Cats.
David Letterman: Well, that's your, that's your black[...] We have some stuff they tell me it's from the play, or you hope it would be in the play, or, what are we going to look at, Frank?
FZ: I sent over two polaroids of some of the masks of two of the characters that are going to be . . . That's Sister Ob'dwella 'X', she's a ventriloquist dummy who is operated by this other character. That's . . . His name is Thing-Fish.
David Letterman: What is the premise of this musical?
FZ: Well, there's this Evil Prince and a part-time theatrical criticizer who has come up with a disease that he hopes is gonna solve one of the big problems facing the world today, which is how to get rid of all unwanted highly rhythmic individuals and sissy boys. So he makes this stuff and before he puts it in the water supply, goes to San Quentin and he puts it in the mashed potatoes to test it on some of the guys there because they used them before when they were working with syphilis . . . and when they put this disease in the mashed potatoes, it doesn't kill these guys, it makes them really ugly. And they come out looking like . . . they have a head like a potato, lips like a duck, big white gloves like Al Jolson used to wear, and growing out of their bodies are these garments that they refer to as "nakkins" and the upper part looks like a nun's habit and the bottom part looks like Aunt Jemima's dress with an apron on it.
David Letterman: Well, it sounds like a joyous celebration of the American theater.
FZ: That's exactly what it is. It's a celebration of the American way of life.
David Letterman: Now, being that tonight it's Halloween, you, when you were working with your band played a lot of Halloween performances.
FZ: Sure we did.
David Letterman: Any memorables ones come to mind?
FZ: Oh. There have been quite a few. There was—One time we had the Dancing Police on stage to play . . .
David Letterman: Oh, tell us about that.
FZ: Well, they're two guys who are regular policemen that used to work at the Palladium—can't remember both of their names, one guy's name was Jim Fiocca. And they're really nice policemen, we used to see them every year when we come there. We decided this one occassion we were going to get two girls out of the audience to dance with them, 'cause they looked lonely.
David Letterman: Yeah.
FZ: So we got two girls from the audience to come up and they took the policemen's hats and . . .
David Letterman: Actual New York City policemen?
FZ: That's right. They took their hats, they took their nightsticks, they were reaching for the guns, but that . . .
David Letterman: No, that would get them in trouble, I tell you for sure . . .
FZ: And they did dance, and they had a wonderful time on stage and, it put a new dimension to the police force . . .
David Letterman: Yeah. Ah, and you're also putting together all of the old Mothers Of Invention albums, re-releasing them? That's a massive project, isn't it?
FZ: Yes. A lot of work.
David Letterman: How many albums are involved?
David Letterman: Goodness. And, someone would have to buy the entire collection, or can you buy part of it or . . .
FZ: It's going to be 5 boxes of 7 albums each.
David Letterman: 5 boxes, 7 albums [...]
FZ: I don't know yet, because, in order to re-release it, some of the earliest tapes like for the Freak Out! album, Absolutely Free, We're Only In It For The Money and Lumpy Gravy, the master tapes for those things were so badly stored that you can see through. The oxide is worn off, so they had to be remixed, and we had to add new drums to it, and so there's extra studio cost involved in doing that, [...]
David Letterman: Any idea when this will be available? This is truly a big . . .
FZ: That's going to depend on the Broadway show, because at the point that we'll get the money to do this thing, I'll be working on that all year, and I think that . . .
David Letterman: Well, you're busy. You've got a lot of stuff going on.
FZ: Oh, yeah, I try to be.
David Letterman: How about, any other classical music organization is doing your stuff?
FZ: There's going to be a performance in January. It's gonna be January 9th, in Paris, at the Thèatre de la Ville. Pierre Boulez is going to conduct three of my chamber music pieces.
David Letterman: Good heavens. Come a long way, uh? . . . Hah, hah, hah. Big time stuff! Frank, listen, I'm sorry we ran short tonight . . .
FZ: Nice tattoo.
David Letterman: Thank you very much, and come back here a little more time.
Transcription by Stuart and Román
If you're eighteen years old and you haven't registered to vote, you're making a big mistake. Why don't you just go down and register to vote, so that you can re-evaluate the contract of all of those people who are in office right now who don't care about you as a person and only think of the people in the eighteen years old age bracket as a consumer group. Register.
If you're eighteen years old and you have not registered to vote, go do it—you need to pay attention to what these people in office are doing to your future. Register to vote now.
So, you're eighteen years old and you haven't registered to vote? What are you waiting for? Hey, take the opportunity to let those people who are giving you a bad time now, let them have the bad time tomorrow.
If you're eighteen you can now register to vote. Did you know that? Why don't you go down there and do it? Register to vote so that you can pay attention to what happens in your community as well as the national elections and let's get rid of these people that are making things ugly.
If you're eighteen you can vote. All you need to do is go down and register. I think you do it at the Post Office. Go down, register and vote. Vote in the local elections and let's get rid of these people that are trying to put censorship in America.
Register to vote. If you're eighteen you can register, and a lot of people who are over eighteen might be too bored right now—they should register too. Vote.
Do you realise that the government that we have right now was put in office by only 15% of the eligible voters in this country? Do you like that? You're eighteen now, why don't you register to vote and let them know how you feel about the stuff that's going on?
You're eighteen. Take the spoon out of your nose, take the needle out of your arm, take the beer out of your mouth, and go vote. You know what I mean? Vote. Register and vote like a beast.
You're eighteen now. That means that you can vote. Does that sound boring? Listen, you'd better get interested in it. Go down to the Post Office and register so that you can vote, because if you don't, there's gonna be people changing your life in a way that you won't enjoy.
Register to vote. If you're eighteen you can register to vote. And you should do it, and you should pay attention to what is happening in local elections as well as the national elections. Register now.
Do you think all this record rating business is stupid? I do. You know how you can keep it from happening ever again? You, go register and vote. That's right, you. You're eighteen, you can register, you can vote. You can make these people go away.
Vote. But before you vote, you gotta register. You're eighteen now, go down the Post Office, register. I don't care what party, register, get ready to vote. Because to protect your future, you need to vote.
FZ (Royal Oak, February 26, 1988): This is a song called "When The Lie's So Big," and it's a song about Pat Robertson's campaign for President.
FZ (Royal Oak, February 26, 1988): We have been doing voting registration all the concerts on the US tour, and we are doing it here.
FZ: The administration that we have right now thinks that democracy is so great they want to export it to Latin America, or any place else they can ship it. I happen to think it's so great we oughta have it in the United States.
FZ: I'm a practical guy, I need to get something done, you know. I have the feeling that voting registration is a good idea, okay? Now, who should I call? Who'd you call? Ghostbusters?
FZ: It's only odd if you think that I'm an odd person. And what I would do to disuade you from thinking that I am odd is say, "Take a look at Michael Jackson."
I don't wanna change the way I do stuff or change the content of what I do in order to achieve commercial success. I happen to think that what I do is wonderful, doesn't hurt anybody, and it's entertaining.
The concept of shock is like an empty thrill. You don't do that. We go, "Okay, it's like this. Like it or lump it. Here is the real words, here is the real words to the real idea."
Why is that shocking? I mean, think about it, what kind of a society we have here? You know, you can, you have a nation of people who go 'round saying "(beep-beep-beep)" all the time. They do say it. From Washington to the churches to everywhere, everybody talks like that. But they pretend that if you use those words, it's WOOO! That's pathetic, I mean, it really is a juvenile way to run a civilization, don't you think?
Just living a normal life, the way I'm normal, I could be perceived as outrageous if you compare me to a person who is scared to say or do anything, because he lives his life to save his job, to, you know, to blend it with everything and won't be an individual.
It seems that during this part of the 20th Century if you just wanna be yourself, that's outrageous, whereas a long time ago, remember the pioneers and stuff, you know, it was okay to be an individual. That wasn't outrageous, if you weren't an individual, what were ya? You know? So basicly what I am is old-fashioned.
I really do have a cool job. I do optional entertainment. I'm an optional entertainment empresario.
I have no problem whatsoever selling a lot of tickets, or selling a lot of records. I would be absolutely delighted if my tickets sales and my record sales were good, okay? As a matter of fact, I think they should be, but they're not because the material doesn't get played on the radio, it doesn't get television exposure, so it doesn't make me wanna [...] my wrist.
It's okay for me to say to myself, "Yeah, you're a failure." Because I know there's so much of what I would like to be able to do that's not gonna get done. I'm not a miserable failure, I'm merely a failure.
The thing about communicating with people is, you have to talk to them in a language they understand, you can't always talk to them in the language that's the easiest for you, okay? You have to change the message in order to get it across, and then, whether or not it gets across depends on whether or not you're provided with the tools to transmit the message. So, this is one tool, and here comes the message: The emperor is not, probably never has been, and I doubt whether it will be in the future, wearing any clothes.
Arsenio: You deserve all that.
FZ: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Arsenio: I owe you my career.
Arsenio: Ha, ha, ha.
FZ: Remember the first time I met you you worked on Alan Thicke.
Arsenio: Yeah. I was Alan Thicke's mike man.
FZ: Well. You've progressed beyond that, that's for sure.
Arsenio: Yeah. I'm trying to hang on it. Yeah, a lot of you, for those of you who don't know the story, Frank Zappa canceled one night at The Late Show, and . . .
FZ: Wait a minute. It wasn't exactly like that.
Arsenio:Okay, you tell me what happened before . . .
FZ: What happened was FOX wanted me to replace Joan Rivers on a Friday night. And they had been planning the show for about three weeks, and I had chosen all my own guests, and I had this strange little program set up. (laughs) And, on the Wednesday before the Friday, when they were supposed to do the show, they panicked. And . . .
Arsenio: What kind of guests did you have?
FZ: I was gonna have Daniel Schorr. This show was going to go in the air right after the Iran-Contra hearings had been finished, and Daniel Schorr had been covering the Contra hearings for National Public Radio, so he really knew what was going on there, and I wanted to get somebody on the air who could tell the real deal. Then I had a guy who was the producer of Pat Robertson's 700 Club, who was going to tell some of the secret inside poop about what Pat Robertson was really into. (laughs) And, I was gonna bring the Synclavier on the show and do some of that kind of music. And I, you know, it was a well rounded, different, sort of a show, but they panicked over, and they were gonna do a re-run. And then, somebody said, "Let's get Arsenio Hall."
Arsenio: Yeah. They, well, they tried a few of, they like, tried some people, laid down, one hundred Caucasians and nobody answered. (laughs, applause)
FZ: Ha, ha. They never do!
Arsenio: Yeah, you know, so they kinda had to call me. 'Cause I [...] already. I wanted to do that. So, I kinda owe you for putting together a weird show. (laughs)
FZ: Well, actually then, part of that has to go to Daniel Schorr, because maybe there was a thought of danger coming on there telling about that stuff that really scared, but, I don't know, anyway, I'm glad you got the show and I hope it's gonna be sucessful.
Arsenio: Yeah, man. (applause, cheers) Uh, I saw, I saw your daughter the other night. Uh, I was at some basketball game for charity, celebrity game or whatever. Did you ever regret the names Dweezil and Moon Unit? I mean, did you ever look back and said, "Why didn't I use Suzie"?
FZ: Well, I know why, I'd already use Suzie for something else, but uh . . . (laughs, cheers, applause)
Arsenio: I mean, but, obviously they have meanings to you.
Arsenio: What is Moon Unit mean, what is the origin of it?
FZ: Well, uh, her middle name 'Unit' is because she was the first family unit, you know, so it's a technical name. (laughs)
Arsenio: Yeah, yeah.
FZ: And, uh, 'Moon' is a nice name, I mean, in other cultures they have girls who have the word 'Moon' for a name. In Spanish it's 'Luna' . . .
Arsenio: Right. So it's our ignorance that keep us from being able to deal with it.
FZ: Well, let's not be too rough on our own ignorance, I mean, after all it's the thing that makes America great. (laughs, applause, cheers) Because if we weren't incomparably ignorant, how could we have tolerate the last eight years? (applause, cheers)
Arsenio: Well. Let's take a commercial and then come back and talk about the last eight years.
FZ: Go ahead!
Arsenio: Okay. (applause, music)
Arsenio: . . . the next four years.
FZ: Well, CBS did this little thing on the inauguration, but before the inauguration they went around the country getting video clips of different people giving their message to George Bush. Congratulations. And they came to me for one. (laughs) And I'm gonna tell you what I told them. Looked in the camera and I said, "Now, George, been reading your lips for a few months now, I know you got a rough job ahead of you, said you're gonna be the friend of the environment, you're gonna be the education president, you're gonna help the homeless, you're not gonna raise my taxes. Now, George, if you can do that in four years, I'll become a Republican and I'll campaign for ya, but if you can't, I might run against ya."
Arsenio: Yeah. Eh, wow. He he. (applause, cheers) You're obviously . . . you're obviously a Dukakis supporter.
FZ: I supported him, yes. I would say a reluctant Dukakis supporter, because the more he campaigned, the less I enjoyed it. (laughs) And I think that what happened was when election day finally arrived a lot of people who maybe didn't like Bush that much, they really decided that they didn't like Dukakis at all, and just said, "Okay, I gotta vote for somebody. Give it to George!"
FZ: And I think there was a lot of that that took place, and then, there were so many mistakes that were made by the Democrats in that campaign that you just had to scratch your head and say, "How can anyone party make that many mistakes in, you know, just that short period of time?" It was embarrassing. So I don't know, I don't like either of the parties at this point, you know, I look at 'em and go, "Please, somebody, do, say something right, do something right, just for a minute!" [...] see that happen.
Arsenio: You, let me ask you about a song you, you wrote a song about Michael Jackson. What was the origin of that whole thing?
FZ: Well, it started with a clip on CNN, this was the time when people were talking about his most recent series of operations and they interviewed this little black girl in New York, about this tall, looked like a standard Michael Jackson audience kind of a person, and the guy said, "What do you think of Michael Jackson?" And the girl looked into the camera and said, "He UGLY! He WHITE looking!" (laughs, applause) So I wrote a song about it. (laughs, applause)
Arsenio: Okay. I ain't gonna touch that. But, [...] comentary about the mouth of babes, dot-dot-dot. Let's talk about . . .
FZ: Let's talk about the dots.
Arsenio: Yeah. Let's talk about Uncle Meat. What's that all about?
FZ: Well, Uncle Meat is a movie that I've been working on for about twenty years and it's finally coming out in home video, and there's a clip that you're gonna show which is not actually part of the movie itself. Let me explain this to you. In the home video cassette you get the movie, which is two hours long, and then there is this other little thing that comes at the end and which is this clip. It's like an extra, it's like the cartoon that goes with the movie.
Arsenio: Oh, yeah.
FZ: And this is clay animation done by a guy named Bruce Bickford, and the music is a song from the Jazz From Hell album called "Night School."
Arsenio: Let's check it out, Sandy.
Arsenio: Uncle Meat. What kind of time we got? 30 seconds. Wow. I can't do nothing in 30 seconds.
FZ: Well, let's just sit here then.
Arsenio: Yeah. (laughs)
FZ: You know, you do like G. Scott does.
Arsenio: "Yeah. My name is G. Scott."
FZ: "I'm not going to say anything until you're sending that money on this program." (laughs, applause)
Arsenio: How 'bout it, for Frank Zappa. Thanks for coming, man. (applause, cheers) We'll be right back with Edie McClure of The Hogan Family.
Jane Pauley: Frank Zappa joins us this morning—an author. The title of the book, The Real Frank Zappa Book, by Frank Zappa. You know . . . can I make an observation that I'm kind of toying with, and I didn't know how to put it, but—it strikes me that you're aging well.
FZ: Why, thank you.
Jane Pauley: Yeah. You seem to be living a life that has many factors, though perhaps least of which is the fact that you used to be Frank Zappa of the Mothers of Invention.
FZ: Well, that seems to be a fact, yes.
Jane Pauley: Yeah, well, you can't help that, huh?
Jane Pauley: So here you are, you've written a book.
Jane Pauley: Now, the other thing I'm struggling with is, is the . . . a question that sounds offensive, but . . . do your fans read books?
Jane Pauley: If I hadn't known your answer was going to be that, I might've hesitated to ask the question. So why did you write the book?
FZ: Well, because I thought it was a, might be fun to do, but I was wondering while I was writing it, who does read books, whether it's my fans or anybody's fans?
Jane Pauley: You also have to have somebody to . . . something to put in the pages. You have to have, shall we say, a . . .
Jane Pauley: Message?
FZ: Well, yeah, there's, you know, there's stuff in there. I think there's . . . there's some stuff in there.
Jane Pauley: I guess if you could sum it up, you wouldn't have bothered to put it in book form. But you are in real life now a social activist?
Jane Pauley: Commentator. A businessman?
FZ: For sure.
Jane Pauley: A parent.
Jane Pauley: Let's talk about the commentator part.
Jane Pauley: What . . . how do you see yourself as a social commentator?
FZ: Because I have an opinion about whatever happens to pop up, and I'm not shy about expressing it. If somebody asks me a question, I'll say what I think.
Jane Pauley: You furthermore are on the bandwagon, shall we say. You registered 11,000 young people to vote?
FZ: Yeah. Seems like a waste of time, didn't it? I tried.
Jane Pauley: Well, why was it so important to you that they voted?
FZ: Well, I think that it's important for people to wake up to the fact that in the United States, politics has turned into something . . . not nice. And you need to introduce to the political process new people who might take it seriously.
Jane Pauley: Okay, so that on the one hand strikes me as a little bit cynical, but on the other hand, a cynic doesn't necessarily believe in the process, which you must believe in, otherwise why would you encourage people to participate?
FZ: Well, there's not too many choices, so you have to consider the alternative. You either believe that politics could be fixed, and you could use the machinery of politics to bring about a constructive change, or constructive anything . . .
Jane Pauley: Are . . . to the degree that you will be remembered, and you probably will more than most, you will be remembered as Frank Zappa of the Mothers of Invention.
FZ: Yeah, the guy who had the picture taken sitting on the toilet.
Jane Pauley: Yes. Did you elevate the culture?
FZ: No. It wasn't my . . .
Jane Pauley: Did you debase the culture?
FZ: No. I didn't have much involvement with the culture because I was never denied . . . I was never allowed access to a major portion of the culture.
Jane Pauley: You are, as I said before, a, a businessman. If I was looking to do business with the Soviet Union, I'll admit Frank Zappa is not the first guy I'd think to call.
FZ: Well, you'd be making a mistake . . .
Jane Pauley: How do you know so much?
FZ: . . . 'cause I could definitely help you out.
Jane Pauley: How so?
FZ: Because I was introduced to a bunch of very interesting people over there, who know an even more interesting batch of people over there, and they all want to do business with the West. And they've asked me to help them achieve certain things, and there are people in the United States who want to do business in the Soviet Union, and they've asked me could I help them out, introduce them or help their project.
Jane Pauley: You are also a, a, a, a parent, and by today's standards, you must have done OK in that your kids are not on drugs . . .
FZ: They're not in jail.
Jane Pauley: . . . and are not in jail.
FZ: That's right. Not on drugs, not in jail. I did all right.
Jane Pauley: You did . . . can you take . . . claim credit for that, or were you just lucky, maybe?
FZ: No, 50 percent, because I think that . . . maybe less, because my wife certainly had a large role in making the kids turn out great.
Jane Pauley: You'll acknowledge that people might find that surprising. We saw you standing on stage playing your guitar, and it's not your classic American example of Father Knows Best.
FZ: Let me point something out to you. I just came from a place called Spain. In this wonderful country, if you play a guitar, this is a good thing. People respect you because you play a guitar. In the United States, if you play guitar, you are treated as if you were a public enemy, as I have just been treated here.
Jane Pauley: Oh, wait a minute, on the other hand . . .
FZ: Like playing guitar is bad.
Jane Pauley: . . . thousands of people were lining up to buy tickets to hear you play the guitar.
FZ: Yeah, but other people in the media would go, "Well, he plays a guitar, how can he be a good father, he's playing guitar?"
Jane Pauley: Yeah. Well, here you are.
FZ: Yeah. Here I am. I guess I'm going to be going pretty soon, too. (Everybody laughs) "Here you are and there you go!"
Jane Pauley: Well, we don't actually put it this way, we normally say "Thank you very much, and we'll be back after a message."
Original transcription from Reverend Neve's pages
Niles Lesh: Do you remember what you played?
FZ: What tunes?
Well, there were only a couple of original songs. One of them was called "The Omen." And another one was called "Palm City Rock." And most of the rest of the material was instrumental versions of rhythm & blues records which were not particulary current but had been released in, you know, a period five years prior to our forming of the band, songs like "Behind The Sun," which was originally recorded by The Rockin' Brothers on Imperial, and "Okie Dokie Stomp" that was done by Clarence Gatemouth Brown on Peacock, and stuff like this, pretty obscure material. But the people who liked rhythm & blues knew these songs.
And we had maybe a song list of twenty tunes. And if we were running out of songs and the dance wasn't done yet, we would just stretch 'em out or play one of the earlier ones again, 'cause we didn't have chance to rehearse a lot.
Ah, poor thing. I feel sorry for him, you know. First of all, without the assistance of Leiber & Stoller I don't think we would have had an Elvis Presley. Without anyone to write the songs that he was singing. And without the black artists who pioneered those songs—like his biggest hit, "Hound Dog"—he wasn't the first person to record that. It was done by Willie Mae Thornton on the Peacock label, 'cause I had her recording of it long before Presley put it out. And, when I was going to high school he was a big star, everybody loved him, and I couldn't stand him. And when he finally turned into this drug infested blimp and OD'ed it was just tragic.
Transcription by Javier Marcote, Charles Ulrich, Kjell Knudde.
If you're in rock, you have to be prepared to take the risk. Because when you are the record company, that means you have to finance it. That means if you make a dollar, you have to be ready to turn that dollar over and put it back into your company, so you can make more product. You know, like if you have a dollar then you buy a yak, you're running the business. And so, uh, something like, you have to be prepared to make your business worth. A lot of people go into rock & roll thinking just that when you get a video on MTV, then you're a star, and then you're wonderful, and the next step would be endorsement with Coca-Cola and live happily ever after, but not so. There's plenty of people who are famous on MTV, Sky Channel, on whatever who is still going yet, would go like eat now.
So I made the graphic prediction that the future of rock & roll would be that the major [...] companies and the major software companies will eventually start their own concert division, and build the kind of entertainment they want from scratch, so thy can really control it. Kinda like building The Monkees.
When he first came to me he was too young to be in the band. Too young to be a touring musician, I though. And the first I heard, it was when he sent me a cassette of "The Black Page," that he played on acoustic guitar, faster than the original version on the Live In New York album. He had a very impressive technique, and when we went to New York I met him, and I liked him, I though that he would be an interesting adition to the band that we had at that time, and as soon as he got over the eighteen barrier, you know, he passed the audition to be in the group.
In a sense, anything that you really call censorship came from [...] who actually took parts of albums. But there have been other more settled situations, for example, certain major chains of retail would refuse to sell my product at all, including instrumental albums. And this is something that happened last year, there was a funny story in Billboard, about this company that had 136 stores, and wouldn't sell my albums, including Jazz From Hell. And Billboard said, "Well, how can you not carry that?" I mean, it's an instrumental record, and well, it might had something to do with the cover. You know, the cover is just a picture of my face. Well, and there are video stores that wouldn't carry my video products from Honker Home Video.
Jamie Gangel: You had an extraordinary reaction, I mean, 20 minutes standing ovation, of course the nights that you were there, and when not there.
Jamie Gangel: How do you feel about that?
FZ: Well, as I said to you a little earlier, there is no accounting for taste.
Jamie Gangel: Oh, come on. You must have been thrilled.
FZ: I was sick. So I started to be truly thrilled, but I was, I was happier that they did that rather than throw things onto stage.
Jamie Gangel: [...] so you've been doing everything like playing a bicycle, to using your [...] burping. What's behind all of the different use of sounds?
FZ: Well, basically sounds are for listening to, and composition is the act of organizing sounds. The challenge of collecting and organizing unusual sounds along with the ordinary musical sounds is something that I enjoy doing.
Jamie Gangel: This days Zappa's favorite instrument is the Synclavier, a computerized keyboard that stores thousands of sounds.
Jamie Gangel: [...] ask how much of this is for the sound and how much of it is for the humor.
FZ: Both. You know I think it, sort of go there as entertainment.
Jamie Gangel: You have made a career out of making fun of everybody, gays, Jewish [...] princesses, and you have taken a lot of heat for it. Does it bother you at all?
FZ: No. I'm totally unrepentant.
Jamie Gangel: Is there anything you [...] you were sorry for something you said?
Jamie Gangel: A lot of performers do things that are shocking or might be considered obscenity or pornography, but you get singled out a lot, I think. You have any idea why?
FZ: 'Cause I'm ugly.
Jamie Gangel: Oh, stop.
FZ: Well, you know that in this world of basic stereotyping, give a guy a big nose and some weird hair and he's capable of anything.
Jamie Gangel: For the two people who might not remember, it wasn't too long ago that on Capitol Hill, as we say in Washington, you had frank and [...] discussions on the issue of record labelling with one Tipper Gore. Did it make you feel better about her when it was revealed during the campaign that she was a drummer in an all-girl band, The Wildcats, [...]?
FZ: No, I didn't ever heard that one, but I can . . .
Jamie Gangel: You didn't know that?
Jamie Gangel: She's got a new set of drums for Christmas this year.
FZ: Pfff . . . Oh, ho ho ho, ha ha ha . . . That one day I wasn't watching the news . . . ha ha ha . . .
Jamie Gangel: Then does that give you a new feeling for her?
FZ: Yeah, I've got a respect on 'em now.
Jamie Gangel: Have you heard from them since that?
FZ: Well, when it was revealed that I was sick, I got a nice letter from the Gores.
Jamie Gangel: You're a legendary workaholic for . . .
FZ: Not anymore.
Jamie Gangel: Not anymore. Tell me.
FZ: Well, basically on a good day I go 9:30 to 6:30.
Jamie Gangel: It really slowed you down.
Jamie Gangel: Has being sick affected your music, what kind of music you're writing?
FZ: No. Well, I don't do vocals.
Jamie Gangel: Can you tell me a little bit about how you've been doing?
Jamie Gangel: Fair.
FZ: Yeah. Good days, bad days.
Jamie Gangel: More bad days than good days?
Jamie Gangel: I gather that your [...] was not cut early.
FZ: That's right.
Jamie Gangel: Is there anything that you want to say to people about prostate cancer?
FZ: Well, I think that it's worthwhile being examined to find out whether or not you've got it, but then on the other hand, for over a period of years I had urinary problems and was examined and they didn't find it. And so, that's why it came as such a shock to me when they told me that I had it, because I had urinary problems for a number of years. And you can imagine how irate a person might be when you are informed that, "Yeah, you've got it, and we can't operate on it." So, yeah, go had a test. But, get another test. Get a few tests.
Jamie Gangel: Now, I know you're gonna say I'm one of this health police people, but . . .
FZ: Go ahead.
Jamie Gangel: I can't help but sit here and, you have cancer, and you're smoking cigarettes. I ask, didn't it discourage you at all?
Jamie Gangel: Why not?
FZ: Because I don't believe that all the stories about the evil effects of tobacco are true. I would say, to me a cigarette is food. Tobacco is my favorite vegetable.
Jamie Gangel: And drugs are . . .
FZ: Usually I say that the taking of drugs is a license to be an asshole which is the same reason why people drink.
Jamie Gangel: Let me go through a list of words that whenever you read about Frank Zappa, you hear them. Tell me how they strike you. Rock legend.
FZ: That's pathetic.
Jamie Gangel: Test pilot pushing the edge.
FZ: That's . . .
Jamie Gangel: Don't you like that one a little bit?
Jamie Gangel: No?
FZ: No. It's more of it too, it got that military aroma to it.
Jamie Gangel: Eccentric genius.
FZ: Eccentric, yes. Genius, maybe.
Jamie Gangel: Funny guy.
FZ: Only to a few.
Jamie Gangel: Here is a classic, and you know exactly what it is, and that is, how does Frank Zappa want to be remembered?
FZ: It's not important.
Jamie Gangel: Not important at all? [FZ says no with the head] Don't want to be remembered for the music?
FZ: It's not important even being remembered. I mean, the people worried about being remembered are guys like Reagan, Bush, these people want to be remembered, and they spend a lot of money and do a lot of work to make sure that rememberence is just terrific.
Jamie Gangel: And for Frank Zappa . . .
FZ: I don't care.
Jamie Gangel: Despite his health and the fact he says he has slow down, his classical concert Yellow Shark would be release this summer, and next year in Vienna, a Frank Zappa opera will have its world premiere.
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