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This whole monstruousity was originally conveived
February through March 2001 by the members of The Big Note - a Frank Zappa
YahooGroup. After an arduous gestation period, this site was birthed on
April 11 2001. True to the essence of collaborative effort, these people
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Speed will turn you into your parents.
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Some More Pt. I
Zappa Story #5
(Written by Caroline Boucher; submitted by Poodle)
SOFA's note: This interview was done in '72. The good Captain has recanted much of his bitterness in subsequent interviews.
ZAPPA STOLE MY IDEAS, SAYS THE CAPTAIN
Captain Beefheart is talking about his home, Eureka, where the snails are this big - he indicates about nine inches with his hands - and the rabbits run at two miles an hour. The house has redwood trees behind it and the ocean in front, and some days the captain and his old lady watch the whales rubbing barnacles off their backs against the rocks out at sea.
So coming out to do all this touring, he says, "is a bit freaky". But then, he adds, he has almost completed with his task in America of smashing his image as a freak, which is what he set out to do this tour.
"I am not," says the captain vehemently, "a freak", and then he dives off into his particular picture language to tell you why. "All that image was created for me by frank Zappa," he spits the name out. "He used me, and he was trying to keep the artist in me back. He stole my ideas from me in the desert. 'Hot Rats' was my title; so was 'Lumpy Gravy'. He used me for publicity purposes for himself; all this bit about being friends since we were young - I only met the guy about 25 times in the whole time I've been alive. I would never have said anything, but I don't like to have my heart deluded."
He grumbles on about never getting a penny royalty from 'Trout Mask Replica', another grudge he lays on Zappa's doorstep. "He stole all my facial expressions and my movements too," and he fixes you with a baleful stare remarkably like Zappa's. The Captain is wearing brown suede trousers, black leather coat, shattering Al Capone silk tie against a black shirt. His shoes are red suede and black patent with tassels, and cost 75 dollars because the Captain likes to treat his feet well.
Zappa Story #6
Watson --&-- Other Things
(Written by SOFA & poodle; submitted by poodle)
Hi there FZ fans! I had an interesting chat with SOFA recently, and thought "Why not share it with the group and see if anyone else has anything to add." At the very least, it is something Zappa-related for you to read.
Your Humble poodle
POODLE: Hey, remember when we last chatted -&- you were telling me about new Zappa related books you have gotten? The very next day I got a package in the mail from my sister containing a copy of "The FZ Companion." Do you have that one yet?
SOFA: Yes I do.
POODLE: It was a nice surprise for me. She has a new job managing a Barnes -&- Noble and I see that they are selling them out right now at $4.98 each. She also sent an oddity on CD. A guitar school type magazine put out an instructional recording that included an example of a Zappa style solo, and their own cover version of "Peaches."
SOFA: My latest (that I've yet to read) are: Them or Us, Electric Don Quixote, and Visual Documentary. Nice to receive one as a gift! The bonus CD thingy sounds cool too.
POODLE: I've had Them or Us around for quite a while now, and while I enjoy reading a bit from it now and then, I find it a bit overwhelming as a straight-through read. I got a sample of Ben Watson's writing in the Companion and I think I would probably feel somewhat the same towards his "Dialectics."
What did you think on that one?
SOFA: Dialectics is one nasty MF to read. Watson is extremely well informed on FZ - and that's his redeeming quality. His politics get in the way of his research and a lot of his suppositions are down right laughable. He reads so much into Conceptual Continuity; sometimes I wonder if he's kidding.
Then I find it's "No my friends, I am NOT kidding"
POODLE: That's pretty much the sense I got as well. Was there ever any reaction to his writings from FZ before his death? (I know there was no reaction AFTER)
SOFA: Oh yes. Frank invited Watson to the house. Of course, the only documentation of the visit is from Watson. Frank was "amazed" at the scope of his work. He doesn't say whether or not FZ thought he was full of shit (which I personally believe was the case). By the time of the visit, the cancer was really beating Frank up; maybe he was being polite 'cause he lacked the strength to take Watson to task. I don't know...
POODLE: Interesting. I can see where it would be hard to see what Frank's interest was. His "amazement" could well have been at how ludicrous it all was. Still, in some ways, Frank's motivations and ways of thinking could be pretty convoluted, so there's always the chance that Watson is hitting the nail on the head. Even if that is true, however, it may be a case of telling us more than we want to know!
SOFA: Yeah...Dialectics is an excellent book; I don't want to take anything away from it. I believe that if I were allowed to edit the thing with impunity, I could turn it into an awesome book. It's pretty tough to bore a fanatic with a bio of said fan's hero, but Watson manages. My favorite at this time is Greg Russo's "Cosmic Debris", but the folks at AFFZ say he is scum. I can't help feeling that he have pissed a few of them off.
POODLE: I have to say, with a bit of reluctance, some of the more ponderous members of AFFZ seem to fit Frank's tag of "intellectuals and other dead things." Those I refer to are highly educated and really look down on those who may have a less formal and "pedigreed" education.
SOFA: It is a crime to reduce Frank to academic terms; so much of the passion gets lost.
POODLE: Yes. As Dylan used to put it when people over-analyzed his lyrics: "Shoveling each into the ditch of what it means."
SOFA: Yes. But, Bob wanted those critics to use their hands - not their entrenching tool... And, they were shoveling meaning, unlike Ben Watson who predominately shovels shit.