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Author: Subject: Muziek Expres Interviews
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music1.gif posted on 13-6-2023 at 21:22
Muziek Expres Interviews

The following interview was first published issue #193 of Muziek Expres, a monthly pop music magazine that ran from 1954 to 1986. The issue was first released in January 1972, cost f 1,20 or 18 BFR.

The issue also shows the results of the 1971 popularity poll. Best guitarist was named to be Alvin Lee.
The issue also has articles on Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Rod Stewart. What an age to live in.

The article runs 4 pages long: first page is a Zappa portrait, and pages 3 and 4 are photo collages.

Photos will be added.


200 Motels is a reflection of reality!

The honored by many Amarican music phenomenon Frank Zappa is back in the public eye, thanks to his recent Dutch concert and movie spectacle 200 Motels. In this ME we would like to go into this picturesque figure and his costly film production. The "rock-opera" 200 Motels was recorded on the communication-means of the future, video, and then transferred to 35mm cinemascope. This new way of working was preferred over traditional filming by Zappa, as it allowed to overcome several film-making issues. The Q&A we received from record company Bovema was made by Zappa himself, to, as he says himself, gets over the difficulties and endles s repeating of interviews.

Q: What kind of film is it?
A: It's a surrealist documentary. The film is a report on true events. In a certain way the contents of the film are autobiographical.

Q: Who funded this highly expensive production?
A: After I had spoken with people who always finance film productions and explained the project to them, we went to a movie company and gave them the script plus 2 boxes of tapes. I also gave them clippings of the Mothers of Invention, in case they hadn't heard from them.In the end I left the office with the budget, and could start the work, albeit modestly. I had already started the preparations in 1968. I was already working on the orchestral section. The remaining 60% was composed in various motel rooms during Mothers' tours.

Q: What gave you the idea of making a movie?A
A: I have been interested since 1958, when I started making my first 8mm movies, in the possibilities of the various visual media.

Q: Who else plays in this movie besides the Mothers?
A: Ringo Starr is Larry the Dwarf, Theodore Bikel is Rance muhammitz, Keith Moon is The Hot Nun, Jimmy Carl Black (the Indian of the group), plays Lonesome Cowboy Burt, Martin Lickert (former driver for Ringo) is Jeff, Janet Fergusen and Miss Lucy Offerall (GTO) are groupies, Don Preston and Motorhead Sherwood are themselves, our road manager Dick Barber is the industrial vacuum cleaner and Pamela Miller (GTO) is the Rock 'n Roll journalist and finally the singers Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan are themselves.

Q: Are you in it?
A: Occationally.

Q: What's Ringo Starr doing in a Mothers film?
A: I asked him if he wanted to play Larry The Dwarf. He accepted because he was unhappy with his "decent boy" image.

Q: What do you hope to achieve with this film?
A: For the people who already know and appreciate the Mothers, 200 Motels will be a logical continuation of our records and concerts.To the people who don't know us, 200 Motels will be a surprising introduction to the group and her work. People who can't stand the Mothers an were always of the opinion that we were nothing more than a couple of a-musical perverts, for these people I fear that 200 Motels will exceed their expectations.

By now we have seen the movie in pre-premiere. It has become an implausible story, born from Zappa's bizarre fantasy-world. Followers of the artist Zappa can eat their heart out to this visual brainchild of their idol. People who are less familiar with the activity of Frank Zappa and his Mothers of Invention, should at least go to the cinema to see 200 Motels' splash of colour. The film will be in cinemas in late December, early January.

In the last pages of the news section, we can also read:

"The complete (sound) installation of the Mothers of Invention burned down at a fire in the Montreux Casino. Zappa and his men and the audience could leave the building in time.

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[*] posted on 17-6-2023 at 22:14

(Source: Muziek Expres, April 1980. Issues cost f 2,75 or 46 BFR. It lso contined articles and posters of Ramones, Selecter, Pretenders, Rainbow, Styx and Queen.)

Frank Zappa:

"All music is good, because there's always someone who loves it. Even if it's the musician himself."
The great Zappa interview

A conversation with Frank Zappa is not unlike a boxing match. The Sheik of Composers is known for his quotes like mugshots from Muhammad Ali in his heyday. M.E.'s Rupert van Woerden grabbed his boxing gloves and made a rock hard interview.

His oeuvre now comprises 30 albums. By now Zappa is in an ivory tower and is seen as the most idiosyncratic of present-day composers. His music can't be fitted into a category like "modern pop" or "rock 'n roll". Actually, Zappa doesn't belong in any of them. Zappa is Zappa and he feels like a fish in the water in that nomansland.
The only recurring theme one may find in his work, is the continuous criticism of human behaviour. Even if, according to many, he doesn't make every-day music, his problematics are ost certainy every-day, if not super-realistic. Plenty of examples on his first album "Freak Out" (1960) , but also on his latest rock opera, "Joe's Garage". Unnecessary to have a long lookback on his lengthy career. We barely did that in the hour-and-a-half interview where Frank Zappa talks about his part as the Rock Hard Businessman, about Stupid Intellectuals, about Combat Ation during interviews, about the Misunderstanding of the Listener, about Crime in Pop-Journalism, about his selection as Disco-artist of the year, about his latest Commercial Success, about his Viennese Adventure, about his latest rock-opera Joe's Garage, about his French and his Band Member and about his latest film "Baby Snakes."


Q: You are currently very much in the public eye. You even have a lot of success commercially. The last opus "Sheik Yerbouti" sold very well and in some countries even like hot caks. It looks like your most recent albums, Joe's Garage Act 1 and Joe's Garage Act 2 & 3 will go the same way, How is that possible?

A: That will have to do with the fact that my new record companies (Phonogram in America and CBS for the rest of the world) saw bread in me and in my products, opposed to record compay Warner Brothers I'd joined first. That's a compan of thieves and crooks. Other factors for my recent success could be that the audience thinks my work is good enough to buy it. The rest is down to luck, I think.

Q: Luck?

A: Yes, how else can I explain what happened to me in Scandinavia? There the song "Bobby Brown Goes Down" from the LP "Sheik Yerbouti" was put out as single and was number 1 in the hit parade in Norway for 46 weeks. At this point I sold around and about 360,000 copies of Sheik Yerbouti in Scandinavia. And that is a lot. Don't think that record was bought by intellectuals, because there aren't that many of them in Scandinavia. On top of that, Bobby Brown became a hit in discotheques and that's not the type of venue intellectuals go to. Believe me, there are people there who think I'm an excellent disco artist. Otherwise they wouldn't have elected me as Disco Artist of 1979. I was also elected Best Singer of the Year and Best Artist of the Year. Either it's luck, or those people have a strange sense of humour. I don't believe at all that these people know what Bobby Brown is about. They just like the music. I have personally seen people in disco's dance to it. If they had known there was some low-brow porno in it, they wouldn't have swinged together so merrily.

Q: But it wasn't a disco song, was it?

A: No, not by a long shot. It's much slower. But apparently the Scandinavians could move their bodies in such a way that it made their clothes fit better. Perhaps that was the reason. By the way I have a lot of respect for the people of my record company, who thought Bobby Brown could be a hit. I would never have imagined it. But I don't know the Scandinavian market. What if we released a Bobby Brown single in the States. That would be completely impossible. Because of the lyrics, yes. I made a suggestion to ABBA rto record the song in Swedish and then release it as a single in America. Who knows it could become a hit. (laughs)

Q: Sheik Yerbouti wasn't a concept-album. I feel it's just a double album with several songs you made in the same period, is that right?

A: Yes.

Q: With Joe's Garage this went differently. Tell me about that.

A: Originally Joe's Garage was to be a single with Joe's Garage as A-side and Catholic Girls as B-side. I went to the studio to recod two songs, but it became more. I kept on recording and recording and by the end I had seventeen tracks. Back home I suddenly saw a connection between the songs. They all deal more or less with Joe-the-average-musician who takes off in a Joe's Garage band and whose path in music is then followed. I thought it was important to make a sort of scenario of it, in which they could all fit perfectly. That's why I created the part of Central Scrutinizer to stick it all together. The Central Scrutinizer is the man with the finger who tells you: "if you become a musician thaen this and that happens to you. In essence the Central Scrutinizer is someone you see daily on US television. In government programmes there's always a very patronizing tale on what's wrong in society.

Q: your big love used to be rhytnm & blues. You'd never use it in your own work, but in Joe's Garage there is one tiny little bit. Could you call Joe's Garage autobiographical?

A: no, absolutely not. There is a lot of information on all kinds of pop artists, but the story has nothing to do with me. I still love rhythm & blues, but in practice I don't play it. There are plenty of musicians who still blindly play the R&B riffs like the classic masters did. That's fine by me. Not that I buy those records, but the music will be good. In principle I think all music is good, because there's always someone who loves it. Even if it's the musician himself. And if I put a tiny little bit of R&B in Joe, that doesn't mean I can finally embody the love of my youth. That's bullshit.

Q: Do you occupy yourself with commerce? How to sell your producst?

A: Yes, I'm not an idiot. I run an international firm called Frank Zappa. I have to know exactly how my work holds up in the market in different countries. Such a quote could lead to the misconception that I adjust my work to different markets. In truth I have been striving for the opposite the past fourteen years. (laughs)

Q: So you are a businessman and a composer. How can you merge those two occupations?

A: If you know nothing about the music business you need a job on the side to stay alive. I think you're nly successful as a composer if you can live a composer's life as a composer, and not like a composer with jobs on the side. Therefore I have success. Being a business man is knowing the music business, you see. Being a business man is also giving interviews, signing stuff, posing for photographers. It's all an investment for my business.

Q: You are known to be a person who thrashes journalists. They usually leave the interview terrified. People are scared to talk to you. I don't have that experience. Why?

A: Scared? I ca't help that. If journalists didn't do their homework, there's no use in talking. If journalists come here to criticise me, then there's no point in that either. Do they want to know something or do they only want to out their emotions? For as far as I'm concerned they can then leave the room immediately. I don't like people who put their whole emotional baggage on my shoulders. I'm not a psychiatrist. Most of them only want a nice chat with a popular artist. That's a waste of time. If you hadn't asked me useful questions, you could have gotten out a long time ago.

Q: Do you hate what people write about you?

A: Often, yes. Usually I see the weirdest theories about my work publicized. That's very bizarre. And it can lead to misconceptions. There's nobody who understands my work 100%. But they claim they do and bore the readers wth horrible little stories on what my songs mean. Lots of bullshit. They don't even know my intentions, so what are they gabbing on about? I'm not just talking about the journalists who trash my work. There are also those "intellectuals" who love my work. That's their problem. I'm not an intellectual and I don't hang out with the studied type. They can't converse, they're never sexy and see themselves as very unordinary peopele. Because they are so proud of their own intelligence they think they can bother readers with their pseudo-intelligent bullshit. If regular people start to like my albums it's for that kind of scum that calls itself intelligent to tear down everything I do. That's why I uphold the wisdom you should never believe what you read.

Q: What type of people listen to your music?

A: That's different in every country I think. Take Sweden. At the moment i have a disco-audience there. They think I'm a disco-artist. Logical, because my music is played a lot in disco's. I think people like my music first and then like my texts. Although I doubt if that's the case in America. Somee fans have sex on my music and others have it as background. I have no idea who listens to my music.

Q: You don't have a real band, do you?

A: I have a band by grace of concerts. Meaning I form a new band for every tour. Because I want to use different instruments on different compositions. Which means other musicians. They apply for a job with me. Even if I don't need anyone, I receive cassettes from people who want to play wifh me. I don't sling those in the bin, but archive them. Who knows, I might need them. If you play with me, you'll have a full year's salary, if you work or not. That's my problem. I have the only band in the world that anybody can join theoretically. You try to join a group like Led Zeppelin. What do you think your odds are? Zero. But if you want to play with me and i can use you at that moment, you're in Zappa's band.

Q: You wrote music for a large orchestra. Do you intend to have it executed?

A: Austria is very receptive to my music. Some people think in Vienna, people are only interested in Schubert, but you can add the name Zappa to that. Although there aren't that many name signs that have Zappa in Vienna. Go and have a look there. Everywhere you can see "Schubert" over the houses. He appears to have lived in all of them. At any rate, the Viennese municipality is prepared to have my concert performed. Although money plays a major part. It needs solo players from America, it requires three weeks of rehearsal, etcetera. They plan to have that concert in the Stadthalle that holds 16,000 people. If all goes well, the concert will be recorded and put on an album. It will hold the pieces "Bob in Dacron", "Mo 'n Herb's Vacation", "Sad Jane", and "Wall".This will take place in summer 1981.

Q: Youre also here to show your latest film to the press. Tell me about it.

A: I cannot tell ou much about it. It's called "Baby Snakes" and you should see it."


The issue also has one other article on FZ:

Zappa refuses cooperation benefit concert.

During a conference in Amsterdam of the Internattional Cannabis Alliance for Reform, an oganization that wants to decriminalize marihuana and hash, David Leigh told us that the arrest of Paul McCartney in Japa had led to reaction in the press. According to some newspapers Paul apologized and promised to never touch soft drugs agan. Other newspapers report the opposite1 Paul would be someone who wants to see soft drugs become legal. In this line, a benefit concert was organized in Paradiso, that numerous pop artists joined. Frank Zappa, who happened to be in the country at the time, was also asked. He refused to join. Frank Zappa principally doesn't use hash, marihuana or alcohol!

(picture caption) Zappa refused to play a benefit concert to legalize soft-drugs.

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[*] posted on 19-6-2023 at 18:04

Good stuff Bonny thank you for posting...:cool:
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[*] posted on 23-6-2023 at 14:52

I'm now curious to know what Wall was.

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