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Little Feat’s Lowell George makes a cameo appearance on TV’s ‘F Troop,’ 1967
08.10.2016
02:53 pm

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Frank Zappa
Lowell George
F Troop


 
File this one under “I did not know that” (said like Johnny Carson): If you look him up on IMDB (which I did recently, although I can’t exactly recall why) you will see that rocker Lowell George, he of Little Feat fame, made a cameo appearance on the sixties TV sitcom F Troop. In 1967 George portrayed a long-haired member of an anachronistic teen combo called The Bedbugs, the joke (one F Troop used more than once) being that you have a rock group right after the Civil War. Har!

Along with George, the other members of the Bedbugs were played by guitarists Warren S. Klein (who was in the Stooges circa 1973) and Martin F. Kibbee; and future Little Feat drummer Richie Hayward. At the time, the four of them were collectively known as The Factory. Frank Zappa would produce two songs for the group, which remained unreleased until 1993’s Lightning-Rod Man anthology.

After the Factory disbanded, Lowell would briefly join The Standells before becoming (again briefly) a member of Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, appearing on the Weasels Ripped My Flesh album on rhythm guitar. The teetotal Zappa either fired him, or George left voluntarily, over Lowell’s penchant for partying and pot.
 

Zappa and Lowell George
 
The Factory would also appear in an episode of Gomer Pyle USMC but whatever song they were playing got removed from the eventual DVD release.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
DIY models kits (apparently) of Lou Reed, Frank Zappa, ‘Diamond Dog’ Bowie, Marc Bolan & more


Now who does this rock ‘n’ roll animal resin kit look like to you?
 
Monsters in Motion, the self-described “one-stop monster shop” based in Placentia, California sells many strange things. Things like a replica of the bloody shirt that Bruce Willis’ character wore in Pulp Fiction. There’s so much strange ephemera to sift through on their website that I decided to go directly for the “Rock & Roll Collectables” category to see what kind of weirdness was being offered up there.

If you came into this world at a certain time period you remember building models of hot rods because that was where it was at. While you won’t find a kit that helps you build a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 (my vintage getaway car of choice) you will find several DIY kits that allow you to create your own tiny versions of (allegededly) Lou Reed, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger-there’s even a resin facsimile of David Bowie as rendered by artist Guy Peellaert on the cover of his 1974 album Diamond Dogs.

The images are a bit tatty, but see if you can make out who they’re supposed to be.
 

 

The Lizard King
 
More after the jump…

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Freaky French comic from the 70s that tells the far-out story of Frank Zappa’s ‘Stink-Foot’


Frank Zappa ‘Stink-Foot’ illustration.
 
The strange French comic featured in this post based on Frank Zappa’s song “Stink-Foot” from his 1974 album, Apostrophe (’) was done by French illustrator Jean Solé back in 1975 when appeared in the French satire magazine Fluide Glacial in a special comic layout called Pop & Rock & Colegram.
 

An illustration from ‘Pop & Rock & Colegram’ riffing on the RCA Victor (among others) canine spokesperson ‘Nipper’ featuring Jean Solé, Gotlieb, and Alain Dister.
 
In the comics (that were published in Fluide Glacial from 1975-1978) by French illustrators Marcel Gotlieb (known as “Gotlib”) and Jean Solé the task was to create parody-style illustrations based on popular songs from bands like the Beatles, Roxy Music, Pink Floyd and in this case Solé‘s fantastic four-page take on Zappa’s “Stink-Foot.” Translated by renowned French music journalist Alain Dister, Solé‘s illustrations of Zappa’s jazzy six-minute jam about stinky feet is pretty spot on right down to an illustration of Zappa struggling to get his smelly python boots off. Here’s a samplings of the funky lyrics from “Stink-Foot:

You know
My python boot is too tight
I couldn’t get it off last night
A week went by
And now it’s July
I finally got it off
And my girlfriend cried, YOU GOT STINK-FOOT!
Stink-foot, darlin’

Your Stink-foot
Puts a hurt on my nose
Stink-foot, stink-foot, I ain’t lyin’
Can you rinse it off, do you suppose?

Though it’s rather difficult to find, the magazine has been reprinted since 1975 and if you dig what you are about to see, it’s well worth trying to track down.
 

 
More “Stink-Foot” after the jump…

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Frank Zappa performs all of ‘Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow’ live in 1978
06.16.2016
04:46 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Frank Zappa


Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow’ Zappa Utility Muffins complete with ‘deadly yellow snow crystals’

The juvenile humor that crept into Frank Zappa’s work from the early 70s onward is difficult for me to defend. Even as an admitted Zappa freak, I tend to steer clear of anything not mostly instrumental after a certain point. It was an obvious decision that Frank Zappa made, not only as an artist, but as a businessman and a touring bandleader operating his own record label, to go there with the silly, goofy sexual and scatological subject matter that would endear him to pimply-faced teenage boys the world over, and sell more records and concert tickets to be sure, but most of it just makes me wince.

I’ve heard a tape of Genesis P-Orridge and a music journalist named Sandy Robertson interviewing Zappa in a London hotel around the time that Zoot Allures came out. Genesis pursues a (polite) line of questioning about Zappa’s “old style” with the more “serious” sound of the original Mothers evolving into the “comedy” material of the 70s around the time of Over-Nite Sensation and Roxy & Elsewhere and gets a flat-out denial from Zappa that there was ever any change whatsoever in his work, which is obviously just not true.
 

 
Nevertheless, there were still some pretty incredible gems he was turning out, like the Raymond Scott-esque song suite that takes up side one of Apostrophe (’), beginning with “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow.” Yes, it’s about “doggie wee-wee” and a leprechaun who is masturbating into a sock, but Zappa does the cartoon music thing really, really well—helped out immensely by his percussionist Ruth Underwood on marimba and trombonist Bruce Fowler—and this material was super well-recorded, so on a good stereo, certain things really jump out at you.

When Apostrophe (’) came out in 1974 a disc jockey in Pittsburgh made an edited version of “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” and “Nanook Rubs It” and the song became a local hit. Zappa liked the idea and made his own edit, incorporating a part of the third number, “St. Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast.” It reached #86 on the Billboard singles chart and Apostrophe (’) became his biggest commercial success, hitting the top ten in the US for the only time in his career.

More “yellow snow” after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Some stupid with a flare gun’: Frank Zappa & the true story of Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’


 
Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water,” amirite?

Although it is among the most popular guitar riffs in history (if not the #1 most popular riff of all time, because virtually anyone, including your mom, can probably play it) and certainly a song that will never, ever fall out of the classic rock canon, the meaning of the song’s lyrics—once well-known—are becoming increasingly cryptic. It would just be confusing to most people hearing it for the first time playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band:

We all came out to Montreux
On the Lake Geneva shoreline
To make records with a mobile
We didn’t have much time
Frank Zappa and the Mothers
Were at the best place around
But some stupid with a flare gun
Burned the place to the ground

On December 4, 1971 Deep Purple were in Montreux, Switzerland. The plan was to record their next album—what would become their 1972 classic, Machine Head—in the theater of the cavernous Montreux Casino, which was closing down for renovations after a matinee show by the Mothers of Invention.

As the members of Deep Purple watched, the rockin’ teen combo led by Frank Zappa laid into their concert showstopper of the time “King Kong,” when an idiot in the audience fired a flare gun (or more likely a bottle rocket) into the venue’s rattan-covered ceiling during Don Preston’s MiniMoog solo. Although no one was badly injured, the huge casino, along with its theater, restaurants and other entertainment facilities was burned to the ground and the Mothers’ gear was toast. There was an apparently easy and orderly exit for the crowd as the fire was slow at first, but as Deep Purple’s bass guitarist Roger Glover later said “when it caught, it went up like a fireworks display.” Two of Zappa’s roadies, the last to leave, were blown out of a window, but sustained only minor injuries.
 

A postcard of the fire

They burned down the gambling house
It died with an awful sound
Funky Claude was running in and out
Pulling kids out the ground

Even if you don’t know what it means, it sounds good, right?

“Funky Claude” who was “running in and out” refers to Claude Nobs, the casino’s owner and the director of the Montreux Jazz Festival—and as luck would have it, a volunteer fireman—who helped some of the audience members escape to safety and to whom Machine Head was dedicated. He later told Gibson.com

Frank Zappa took his guitar–a Gibson, a very strong one–and he smashed the big window down with his guitar. Then a lot of people could go out through there. The people went out through that exit, and within about five minutes, the 2,000 kids were out. And the people were watching the fire thinking, “Oh, you know, Frank Zappa is just doing an incredible ending to his show.”

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Suzy Speedfreak, this is the voice of your conscience, baby’: Frank Zappa’s anti drugs PSAs
05.20.2016
04:56 pm

Topics:
Drugs

Tags:
Frank Zappa
Lowell George


 
Frank Zappa was a well-known teetotaler for such a supposedly “far out” rock star. Although he chain-smoked cigarettes like they were food and pounded coffee, the head Mother frowned on drug use and actively discouraged it in his sidemen to the point of allegedly even firing future Little Feat leader Lowell George (who was on Weasels Ripped My Flesh) just for smoking pot—that per Pamela Des Barres—or it might have been for composing a pro-pot song that he wanted the Mothers to play. As George himself revealed to a Rochester, New York audience onstage in 1975 right before playing “Willin’”:

“I was in a group called the Mothers of Invention, but I got fired for writing a song about dope. How ‘bout that shit?”

Perhaps he should have taken his mentor’s advice. Later Zappa was alleged also to have fired Ike Willis for enjoying the high life.

Zappa was so anti-drug that he did something few other rock stars (especially ones with as weird a reputation as he had) would have done (at least convincingly) at the time: He recorded several improvised anti speed PSA radio spots for the Do It Now Foundation. In one of them he claims that using speed will turn you “into your mother and father.” He also tells the listener not to “use smack or downers.”

In the first one, Zappa addresses someone who will be familiar to all Mothers fans and wonders what’s gotten into her…

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention get caught up in a German student riot, 1968

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1968 was a year of great political unrest across Europe. The psychedelic summer of love had quickly faded—replaced by angry students hurling cobblestones at police in Paris or instigating loud and bloody demonstrations against the Vietnam War in London. It was against this background that Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention paid their first visit to Germany on the band’s second tour of Europe. The trip to Germany was to prove memorable for two very different reasons.

Firstly on October 6th, 1968: Zappa and co. appeared on Beat-Club where they jammed through a superb set of tracks including “King Kong,” “A Pound For A Brown On The Bus,” “Sleeping In A Jar” and “Uncle Meat”—all of which would appear on the band’s next album Uncle Meat. There was also an instrumental version of “Let’s Make The Water Turn Black”—from We’re Only in It for the Money; an early attempt at “Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask” and some interesting takes on Richard Wagner’s prelude to act three of Lohengrin and Edgard Varese’s piece for a small orchestra Octandre. All jolly stuff and very agreeable too.

However, any youngsters catching the Mothers on tour at this time may have been fooled into thinking Zappa was the ringleader of some revolutionary collective—which leads us dear reader on to our second reason this was such an interesting occasion..
 
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The Mothers 1968—Ron Kroon / Anefo / Nationaal Archief.
 
A week after their appearance on Beat-Club Zappa and the Mothers played one of Hitler’s old stomping grounds, the Sportpalast in Berlin. It was here Zappa was approached by a group of young German radical students who—depending on which book you read or version you hear—either wanted their pop idol to demand the release of Fritz Teufel—founder of the radical group Kommune 1 who was currently under arrest; or to denounce capitalism from the stage that very night; or show his support for the imminent glorious socialist revolution or wanted they wanted Zappa’s help with their plans to riot for a “socialist education policy.” Take your pick.

Having witnessed the Civil Rights movement in America, Zappa was none too impressed by these grievance hungry students, who had mistakenly taken their cue from the length of the Mothers’ hair and Zappa’s subversive songs that he and they would willingly sign on to the student demands. Understandably, Zappa said “nope” or perhaps he said “nein.”

Undeterred, the students demanded Zappa to order the audience at that night’s concert to go out and set fire to the Allied Command Building on Potsdamer Strasse. Again and none too surprisingly Zappa said “no.” The students felt doubly betrayed.

They soon made their disappointment known at the gig that night when these red kerchiefed malcontents bombarded the stage with vegetables and blasted air horns. The Mothers carried on regardless, as Zappa later recalled:

We had to play a two hour show in the middle of all this bullshit. And these guys were out there stomping around and throwing stuff and the people on the bandstand are getting hit with hard vegetables, you know, cucumbers [laughter]. Squash. you know they really hit you like a rock up there. And they were throwing eggs, and cherry bombs. And then they grabbed this big fence, like a restraining device to keep the audience away from the performers at those events. It was made out of pipes this big around with a chain link fence in between and concrete feet. And about thirty of them picked it up and tried to throw it on stage, which would have killed both of our drummers by pinning them against the amplifiers, you see.

So our manager Herbie [Cohen] and this German promoter Fritz Rau caught it in mid air and threw it back on them. And then this other guy charged the stage and Herbie put his foot through his face. And then they kept on throwing things, and then they kept on trying to get up onto the stage. We kept pushing these guys back—and we’re up there humming and strumming…[laughter] and it was really a very unusual situation.

So then we had to take an intermission, see. We left the stage after an hour of fun and merriment. And during that time the ordinaries, that the local promoter had hired to keep everything under control at the hop thought that we had run off, so they ran away. And when they ran away, about a hundred of these kids went up onto the stage and started stomping all over our equipment.

So we come back from intermission, and here’s all these people milling around on stage. They don’t even know why they’re there. They look like cows. They’re standing there like this. But they’re standing, you know, on drums, and they’re knocking things over, and a few of the guys had stolen small pieces of equipment and disappeared into the audience. They were just making a lot of noise and standing around. Just completely blank. They don’t even know what their revolution is about.

So we started pushing them off the stage. We started putting our equipment back together. We got the PA system working. And I gave them a speech for about 15 minutes, wherein I discussed the possibility that they were acting more like Americans than anything I’ve ever seen. And that pissed them off. And they’re out there yelling “Revolution, Revolution”—and I’m saying “You people need evolution, not revolution.”

And they said, “No take it back you’re the Mothers of Reaction.” And I told them they were [beeped], and they understand English. I told them whether they liked it or not we were going to continued to play the second half of the program. So gradually they shut up, and they sat down. The only thing that happened during the second hour was one cherry bomb on stage.

And we had played about 45-50 minutes, and we were into a long instrumental piece, which was going to be our closing number, and I’d reduced the volume of the tune so that I could say goodnight to the nice German people. At which point the student leader with the red rag around his neck comes running up on stage and grabs the microphone and starts raving in German. I just knew he was telling these people, “I’ve got the matches come with me.”

So we played real loud so nobody could hear what he was saying. Two people were taking the instruments off the stage, you know piece by piece pulling things away until it was just me and the organist left on stage playing one full-volume fuzztone loud ugly note that was just going BLAAAAAH.

And it was the only thing that kept people back off the stage, ‘cause they kept trying to get up onto the stage and this noise would hit them and they’d go ...

Finally, when they got all the drums and all the rest of the stuff out of the way, we just unplugged and split off the stage. And they all came milling back up there. And they looked around and they didn’t know why they were on stage again. That’s Germany today.

Zappa later wrote about it all in the song “Holiday In Berlin”:

Look at all the Germans
Watch them follow orders
See them think they´re doing
Something groovy in the street.

See the student leader,
He´s a rebel prophet
He´s fucked up
He´s still a Nazi
Like his Mom and Dad.

Cheap shot, maybe. That’s what happened in Berlin.

After the jump Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention perform a fantastic improvisational set on ‘Beat-Club’...

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Machine Heads: Deep Purple burn New York City down, 1973

01dple.jpg
Deep Purple, topless
 
There was a point back in the 1970s that whenever you went into a guitar store there was always some dude flicking his locks and playing the familiar plodding riff from Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.” Well, either that or “Stairway to Heaven” depending on the taste of who was playing. These guys were either shop staff or some kid dreaming of a future rock career. When I bought my first and only guitar the assistant did in fact strum out a few blasts of “Smoke on the Water” to show me just how it was done. That kinda ruined it for me, I have to admit. I was more the Bonzo-Django-Benny Hill kinda player, which might explain my taste in music but doesn’t excuse my lack of any musical talent whatsoever. Least played, soonest mended. I eventually traded my guitar for a portable typewriter from a Bowie fan who had slavishly typed “I Love David” all over its ribbon.

If you hung around long enough listening to that dude riff on “Smoke on the Water” he would also probably tell you why Deep Purple were better than Led Zeppelin—because they were “proper” musicians who had performed “your actual” Concerto for Group and Orchestra with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hal, London in 1969. And why the recent incarnation of the band was better than the first—because (again) they were “proper” musicians not just pop stars, musicians who had honed themselves to the pursuit of musical excellence. Or something like that.
 
01dpehjsmbw.jpg
 
He would also undoubtedly tell you how “Smoke on the Water” was based on a very real fire at the Montreux Casino during a Frank Zappa concert in 1971, where the venue was burnt to the ground. Depending on which version you heard, the fire was caused by either a flaregun fired by a member of the audience, or possibly a firework, or possibly by a “boy throwing lighted matches in the air, and one of them got stuck on the very low ceiling.” Whichever, the fire started and quickly engulfed the building.

Founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, Claude Nobs was at the venue that fateful night and helped rescue quite a few of the audience from death. He was also key in persuading Deep Purple not to “scrap” “Smoke on the Water” from inclusion on their mighty album Machine Head. As Nobs recalled:

Deep Purple were watching the whole fire from their hotel window, and they said, “Oh my God, look what happened. Poor Claude and there’s no casino anymore!” They were supposed to do a live gig [at the Casino] and record the new album there. Finally I found a place in a little abandoned hotel next to my house and we made a temporary studio for them.

One day they were coming up for dinner at my house and they said, “Claude we did a little surprise for you, but it’s not going to be on the album. It’s a tune called ‘Smoke On The Water.’” So I listened to it. I said, “You’re crazy. It’s going to be a huge thing.” Now there’s no guitar player in the world who doesn’t know [he hums the riff]. They said, “Oh if you believe so we’ll put it on the album.”

It’s actually the very precise description of the fire in the casino, of Frank Zappa getting the kids out of the casino, and every detail in the song is true. It’s what really happened. In the middle of the song, it says “Funky Claude was getting people out of the building,” and actually when I meet a lot of rock musicians, they still say, “Oh here comes Funky Claude.”

Deep Purple were originally called Roundabout—when the band was just a concept conjured up by Searchers drummer Chris Curtis in 1967. Curtis shared a low rent apartment with young musician Jon Lord, who was earning his spurs playing with many different bands—including a tour with the Flowerpot Men (best known for the song “Let’s Go to San Francisco”). Curtis explained his idea of the Roundabout being a group of three people—Curtis, Lord and a guitarist named Ritchie Blackmore—around which other band members would hop on and off when required. Not much happened. Lord toured. And Blackmore never turned up for a meeting about this “concept band.” That is, until Curtis took way too many drugs, covered the apartment in aluminum foil—reasoning it stopped all the good vibes escaping, and upped and left Lord with rent due, no band, and not much of a future.

That very day, the fabled Ritchie Blackmore turned up at the door to discuss Roundabout with Curtis. Instead, he and Lord discussed forming their own band, which eventually became Deep Purple. The name came from the song “Deep Purple”—a favorite of Blackmore’s aunt. Other possible band names were Concrete God, Orpheus and Zephyr.
 
More after the jump, plus Deep Purple live in New York…
 

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Street art homages to Frank Zappa, Lemmy, David Bowie, Bon Scott, Ian Curtis & more

Frank Zappa street art mural under a bridge in London by James Mayle and Leigh Drummond
A massive mural of Frank Zappa under a bridge in London by artists James Mayle and Leigh Drummond.

I recently came across images of some beautiful street murals of both the sadly recently departed Lemmy Kilmister and David Bowie—which is what got me cooking up this post chock full of graffiti and street art homages to notable musicians and rock stars who are no longer with us.

Of the many public pieces, photographed at places all around the globe, I’m especially fond of the Lemmy/Bowie hybrid that popped up on a utility box in front of a restaurant in Denver, Colorado shortly after Bowie passed on January 10th, 2016, as well as a haunting image of Joe Strummer that was painted on the side of a rusted old van.
 
Lemmy/Bowie street art mashup in Denver, Colorado
Lemmy/Bowie street art mashup in Denver, Colorado.
 
Joe Strummer mural painted on the side of a van by French artist, Jef Aerosol
Joe Strummer mural painted on the side of a van by French artist, Jef Aerosol.
 
Inspired street art dedicated to everyone from Joy Division’s Ian Curtis to James Brown, after the jump…

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Frank Zappa: Shut Up ‘n’ Play yer Bike!
03.29.2016
09:41 am

Topics:
Amusing
Heroes
Television

Tags:
Frank Zappa
Steve Allen
bicycle

01fzyellopigtails.jpg
 
Long time ago on British TV there was what I guess you might call a talent show titled Opportunity Knocks. Each week host Hughie Greene offered young hopeful singers, comedians, magicians, variety acts, you know the kinda thing, the opportunity to make it big.

Among those who did make it big were the likes of Mary Hopkins who sang “Those Were the Days” and was quickly signed to The Beatles record label Apple. There were quite a few others who are better known over here than over in the US.

And of the many people who did take part but never made it big, there was always some kind of novelty act—a bodybuilder who flexed his muscles and inflated hot water bottles with his mighty breath; impressionists whose speciality was imitating the sound of railway engines and planes taking-off; belly dancers; bird-handlers who pushed little budgerigars on rope swings then made them hop thru flaming hoops; and last but certainly not least, those hobbyists who made music out of everyday objects such as kettles, washboards, radiators, hoover attachments and alike.
 
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These freaks reminded me of Frank Zappa’s appearance on The Steve Allen Show in 1960, when the precocious young musician impressed with his ability to play a bicycle.

At the time, Zappa was earning a living playing cocktail lounges and writing a score for a film called The World’s Greatest Sinner. As he explained to Steve Allen during his appearance he had also written a “bicycle concerto.”

I suppose I have to ask, what kind of twenty-year old goes on national TV to promote himself as a player of the bicycle other than one who is utterly desperate for recognition? Not just any kind of recognition but one that highlights an interest in the avant garde, some serious musical intent and (you guessed it) a zany sense of humor.

That Zappa pulls off all three says much for his talent, ego, and ambition.

Watch the video, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Frank Zappa’s Hollywood Hills rock star home is for sale for $9 million: Take a peek inside
03.08.2016
04:25 pm

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Frank Zappa


 
Wowie Zowie!

It’s the ultimate Frank Zappa fan’s stickiest wet dream. Buy—and live—in the great man’s former five-bedroom, 8000 sq ft home in the Hollywood Hills. The Zappa house is for sale on eBay for $9,000,000. Part of the proceeds of the sale will go towards preserving “The Vault” of Zappa’s immense tape, film and library (kept under the house) and funding the Frank Zappa documentary slated to be directed by Alex Winter later this year.

From the eBay listing:

This is the house in which legendary musician FRANK ZAPPA lived from 1968 until his death in 1993. It has been inhabited by the Zappa family since.

THIS IS FRANK ZAPPA’S
ACTUAL
F*@%ING
HOUSE.

The historic Zappa Estate, nestled on a secluded drive in the Hollywood Hills, is 8,000 square feet of California rockstar paradise. The property includes a rooftop tennis court, backyard swimming pool, guest cottage, beautiful mosaic art amidst the landscaping, and the space that was once the infamous Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, where musicians including Frank have recorded since the 1980s. Beneath the house is a storage chamber that, during the Zappas’ ownership of the home, was known as ‘The Vault,’ where he kept his private archives under lock and key.

The price of this house INCLUDES ALL KICKSTARTER REWARDS listed at whoisfrankzappa.com, as well as an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT on the forthcoming definitive documentary about Frank Zappa’s life by filmmaker Alex Winter. Learn more about Alex Winter’s crowdfunding campaign to make the first-ever fully-authorized, all-access Zappa movie and to save Frank’s private archives. SAVE THE VAULT. TELL THE STORY.

It’s certainly the mother of all Kickstarters now isn’t it?

29 more days to go… I really hope they’re able to sell this home to someone who will respect it.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Classic shots of Grace Jones, Alice Cooper, Debbie Harry, Frank Zappa & more at the Grammy Awards

Grace Jones and Rick James arrive at the Grammy Awards, 1980
Grace Jones and Rick James at the Grammy Awards, 1983
 
One of my really awful guilty pleasures (I also love the band Rush, but I don’t judge and neither should you), is watching awards shows. I know, I know, they’re stupid, and that my street cred just went out to the dumpster to smoke cigarettes with Milli Vanilli. I’m okay with that.
 
Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith of the Monkees at the Grammy Awards, 1968
Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith of the Monkees at the Grammy Awards, 1968. The band was up for two awards for “I’m a Believer” (Group Vocal Performance and Contemporary Vocal Group), but lost both times to The Fifth Dimension’s “Up Up and Away.”
 
Alice Cooper and Stevie Wonder at the Grammy Awards, 1974
It does not get much cooler than this: Alice Cooper and Stevie Wonder at the Grammy Awards, 1974
 
Plenty more classic Grammy moments after the jump…

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Frank Zappa plays a hunchback on a children’s show narrated by Vincent Price, 1983


 
During the 80s, Shelley Duvall hosted a Showtime series for children called Faerie Tale Theatre. It attracted what we call in Hollywood “quality-ass talent.” Jeff Bridges and Gena Rowlands joined Duvall for “Rapunzel,” Paul Reubens played Pinocchio, Susan Sarandon and Klaus Kinski starred in “Beauty and the Beast,” and, perhaps most extraordinary of all, Mick Jagger underwent the showbiz Caucasian-to-Asian transformation (local stylists call this dangerous procedure the “Mickey Rooney”) for the series’ adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Nightingale,” in which Mick portrayed the Emperor of China. What the fuck.
 

Mick Jagger as the Emperor of China on ‘Faerie Tale Theatre’
 
But the 1983 episode “The Boy Who Left Home To Find Out About The Shivers,” based on a tale by the Brothers Grimm, is remarkable because it’s got Frank Zappa playing a Transylvanian hunchback named Attilla and Vincent Price narrating, not to mention performances by Christopher Lee and David Warner. Here’s the plot, as summarized on the back of the old Betamax box:

Overcoming fear is a problem for most people. But there once was a boy whose problem was his complete lack of fear! Peter MacNicol stars as that boy in this amusing production narrated by Vincent Price. The King, played by Christopher Lee, promises the boy treasure and a beautiful Princess, Dana Hill, if he can defeat an Evil Sorcerer who has haunted the King’s castle. The boy meets an ominous mute hunchback, a headless man, and finally, in a duel to the death, the Evil Sorcerer himself! Yet still he knows no fear—until the surprising conclusion. Featuring production design inspired by the work of Breughel and Durer and marvelous performances from a superior cast, this is a tale you should be afraid… to miss!

 

 
As I learn from Román García Albertos’ detailed Zappa videography, Frank discussed the role on Australian TV a few days after the shoot:

FZ: Recently, just for a laugh, I did a role of a hunchback in a fairy tale that was completed about three days ago, in a show called Faerie Tale Theatre, which was produced by Shelley Duvall and airs on Showtime cable network here in the United States. I don’t know whether they have distribution outside the US.

Interviewer: Don’t think we get it, no.

FZ: Well, I think that they’re probably going to be trying to export the thing, but it’s a whole series of fairy tales. The first one that they did was “The Frog Prince” and it starred Robin Williams as the frog. He was really great. And things are all done on video, they use a lot of video effects. Mick Jagger did the last one that was on the air, he played a mandarin in “The Nightingale.” And so I got to be a hunchback in a story called “The Boy Who Left Home To Find Out About The Shivers.”

Interviewer: Did he?

FZ: Eventually, yes, he found out about the shivers in one of the more humorous scenes in the thing.

Interviewer: Did you have lines in it?

FZ: Yes. Here are my lines: “Uh uh uh!” and “Oooh, heh heh!”

Watch’s Zappa’s appearance as the “ominous mute hunchback” on ‘Faerie Tale Theatre’ after the jump…

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High-end plush dolls of Frank Zappa, Robert Smith, Kraftwerk, Jim Jarmusch & more, that you NEED!

Kraftwerk plush dolls by Uriel Valentin
Kraftwerk plush dolls by Uriel Valentin

Uriel Valentin is the talented Argentinian-based doll maker and artist behind a massive line of plush, hand-painted dolls that are about to send you running for your credit card. I often blog about these kinds of collectibles here on Dangerous Minds but didn’t know until today how much I needed a plush Robert Smith doll clad in look-alike pajamas like the ones that he wore in the 1989 video for “Lullaby.” Did you?
 
Robert Smith of The Cure in his Lullabye pajamas
Robert Smith of The Cure in his “Lullaby” PJs
 
Frank Zappa plush doll by Uriel Valentin
Frank Zappa in his iconic “PIPCO” shirt.
 
Among the illustrious and eclectic inhabitants of Valentin’s cool world are plush versions of everyone from famous punks like Elvis Costello, director Jim Jarmusch, Charlotte Gainsbourg (covered in blood clutching the disemboweled fox from Antichrist), Andy Warhol and Jean Basquiat (wearing boxing gloves and attire no less, as in the poster for their 1985 collaboration), Iron Maiden’s “Eddie” (as well as Maiden bassist Steve Harris, squeee!), two delightful versions of Robert Smith of The Cure and every member of fucking KRAFTWERK.

Valentin’s figures stand about fourteen inches tall, are hand-painted and sealed with a transparent acrylic varnish, and have wire inside of them so they are able to be put into posed positions. I’ve included over 40 (!) images of Valentin’s dolls for you to digest after the jump that will run you around $100 (including international shipping). The talented Argentinian also does custom orders (which are $115) - contact him via his Flickr page for more information.
 
Jim Jarmusch
Jim Jarmusch
 
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford from the 1962 film, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford from the 1962 film, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
 
Hedwig (played by actor James Cameron Mitchell in the film and play Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
Hedwig as played by actor James Cameron Mitchell from Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
 
Way more of these amazing handmade dolls after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
James Dean, Picasso, Prince, Robert Plant, Nirvana, Zappa, Jimi, Iggy & more in the bathroom!

James Dean in the bathroom
James Dean in the bathroom “multitasking”
 
Here’s another installment of a series of posts I’ve become “known” for doing here on Dangerous Minds that features photos of famous folks hanging out and doing mundane things like we all do. This time your eyes will be treated to images of writers, artist, celebrities and musicians that were taken in, well, the bathroom.
 
Pablo Picasso, 1956
Pablo Picasso, 1956
 
In this massive post, I’ve got over 30 pictures of famous faces (and their bodies in varying stages of undress) such as Serge Gainsbourg, Toni Iommi of Black Sabbath (as well as his pal Ozzy), Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen (snapped in the loo of Thin Lizzy vocalist Phil Lynott) and Pablo Picasso taking baths, spending time in a bathroom stall, or seated on the toilet. Some of the images date back to the late 30s, and others appear to have been snapped under somewhat candid circumstances. Go figure.
 
Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin on the toilet
Robert Plant
 
I mean, did you ever think you’d see a photo of one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time, Robert Plant chilling out on the crapper? Well, if you didn’t (and as I often say in my posts), today is your lucky day! As always, I’ve tried to nail down dates and places whenever possible. Also, since we’re talking about images that were taken in the bathroom, it’s likely that some of what you’re about to see after the jump could be considered NSFW. But that’s why you clicked this link in the first place, now isn’t it? Enjoy!
 
Nirvana (L-R Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl, and Kurt Cobain)
Nirvana (L-R Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl, and Kurt Cobain)
 
Prince in the bathtub (from the 1986 film, Under a Cherry Moon)
Prince in the bathtub (from the 1986 film, Under a Cherry Moon)
 
The late, great, Joan Rivers
The late, great Joan Rivers, 1966
 
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
 
Many more after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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