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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 are held responsible.
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Some More Pt. III
Zappa Story # 8
The connection between Jimi and Frank started this month (although they had not actually met). Frank Zappa had invented a character, Suzy Creamcheese, who started to live a life of her own. Suzy Creamcheese (nee Pamela Zarubica) arrived in England a few months before the Mothers of Invention - who would come over in September 1967. By coincidence, Suzy appeared on the BBC2 TV program "Late Night Line Up" - which included the Jimi Hendrix Experience performing a live version of "Purple Haze" (taped two days earlier in Kingsway, London).
Dominique Chevalier wrote about Pamela Zarubica in his book "Viva Zappa" (Omnibus Press, London, 1986): "She had little interest in rock, but she knew everybody... Phil Spector, Tim Hardin, John Densmore and Jim Morrison of the Doors, Zal Yanovsky of The Lovin' Spoonful, John Judnick (who knew Lenny Bruce) and they all made contact with Zappa. Pamela contemplated her network of acquaintances with a healthy indifference to the vanities of their recently acquired celebrity. 'That Jim Morrison sure was a drag always play acting and making everybody listen to his poems!' "
"Pamela and Frank took a house at 8404 Kirkwood [in Los Angeles] while she was finishing school , and simultaneously working as weekend secretary at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go. One night at the Whiskey she met Gail Sloatman, the daughter of a scientist with the U.S. Navy... One day Pamela took her to the airport to meet Frank returning from playing in Texas. It was a fateful encounter, for Gail would soon become his permanent companion, the mother of Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Rodan, and Diva. It was soon after they met that Pamela left for Europe, and Gail moved in with Frank at Kirkwood" (p. 10).
Over the previous days, the Jimi Hendrix Experience had been recording "The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp", Jimi's first song in which he used a Wah-Wah pedal to great effect. According to Noel, Jimi had picked up this pedal in England during June, just before the Experience set off for America.
Zappa was also experimenting with this new device, as he told reporter Steven Rosen: "I think I was one of the first people to use the Wah-Wah pedal. I'd never even heard of Jimi Hendrix at the time I bought mine. I had used Wah-Wah on the Clavinet, guitar, and saxophone when we were doing "We're Only In It For The Money" in '67 and that was just before I met Hendrix. He came over, sat in with us at the Garrick Theater one night, and was using all the stuff we had onstage. Seems like every time I went to Manny's there'd be some new gizmo that we'd try out, so we were always into the hardware of the rock and roll industry" (Guitar Player, January 1977).
In his entertaining autobiography "The Real Frank Zappa Book" (with Peter Occhiogrosso - Poseidon Press, New York, 1989) Frank recalled: "Later he [Jimi] came to visit our cubicle on Charles Street [near Seventh Avenue] with his friend, drummer Buddy Miles. Jimi was wearing green velvet pants -all decked out- on his way to a party with Buddy. (The only thing that Buddy said was 'Hi, Frank,' after which he sat on the couch, leaned back and passed out, snoring.) They were there for an hour and a half. Buddy had a nice nap, and Hendrix ripped his pants at the crotch while demonstrating a dance step. Gail sewed them up for him. When it was time to leave he said, 'Come on, Buddy.' The snoring stopped, and they left" (pp. 94-95).
A few weeks after Frank and Jimi first met, The Mothers of Invention started to record "We're Only In It For The Money". The book "Viva Zappa" takes up the story... "It also captures on vinyl much of the craziness of The Mothers' shows at the Garrick Theater, (the Garrick is on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village) and nearby, in the basement of the Cafe A Go Go." Both The Fugs and Jimi Hendrix were performing at about the same time [July 1967]. The Mothers' show, titled "Pigs And Repugnant" (Absolutely Free), was a resounding success and the band stayed for six months, playing two shows a night, six nights a week. Anything might happen depending on the mood and on new arrivals, like Don Preston and Bunk Gardner."
Many evenings gave rise to memorable incidents. One night a party of uniformed Marines came in and Zappa persuaded them to mime the act of killing. The audience could not believe their eyes as the furious Marines mutilated a doll and insulted the Corps, all against a background of free jazz. A black man at the front, just home from Vietnam, broke down in tears and spoke of deserting. The show was often grotesque or sexual. But, a fascinated audience always lapped it up.
"The Mothers played at the Garrick until the start of 1968 and (apart from brief visits to Canada and LA) Zappa took advantage of his spell in New York to produce four albums: 'Lumpy Gravy', 'We're Only In It For The Money', 'Uncle Meat', and 'Cruising With Ruben And The Jets'. 'We're Only In It For The Money' (originally to be called 'Our Man In Nirvana') was a skillful blend of The Mothers' music and Lenny Bruce's lyrics. It was scheduled for release in September, but after The Beatles made a vast cultural impression with 'Sergeant Pepper', Frank realized the full extent of this new culture's potential."
So Zappa changed his plans and hired a young graphic artist, Calvin Schenkel, to parody The Beatles' sleeve. Zappa and Schenkel substituted female transvestite clothes for The Beatles' military uniforms, and replaced the flowers with carrots and sliced watermelons [plus an assortment of rotten fruit - Editor].
Paul McCartney for one was not amused, and the album's release was delayed until the end of the year. But "We're Only In It For The Money" established Zappa as both a force to be reckoned with on the rock scene and as a sharp social critic. Eric Clapton dropped round... And Jimi Hendrix, who borrowed Frank's Wah-Wah pedal back at the Garrick Theater, posed for the inner sleeve. Clapton contributed some incomprehensible vocals on one track ["Are You Hung Up?"], offering a fair impersonation of someone who is thoroughly stoned, and is also present on the song "Nasal Retentive Calliope Music," with the lines 'God! It's God! I See God!' (Ironic, given Clapton's nickname). Mayfair engineer Gary Kellgren -who worked with Hendrix on "The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp"- can be heard whispering in between several songs on the album. There's even a "Hey Joe" pastiche on "We're Only In It For The Money" - "Flower Punk," which is played in a faster tempo, more similar of the Byrds and Love renditions of "Hey Joe."
Frank himself attended the Jimi Hendrix Experience recording session at the Mayfair Recording Studio on 701 Seventh Avenue, New York, on 18 July 1967. Although his presence is unconfirmed, Zappa may very well be one of the many people who made up "the Milky Way Express" for "The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice" [S020], contributing an assortment of voices, whistles, cheers, et cetera.
continued in Some More Pt. IV