FRANK ZAPPA and THE MOTHERS
It must have been that GARRICK THEATRE poster that I saw while walking around Greenwich Village, especially the one which lasted for years outside the movie theatre on 8th Street, that piqued my interest in this strange looking ensemble known as THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION. Strange name also. Who or what are they?
It’s Spring of 1967, me a fifteen year old who mostly every Saturday when the weather was good was checking out the street art shows in and around THE VILLAGE with my art teacher, a Franciscan Nun. She was hip to what was happening, and years later left the order for a commune or something. Anyway back to the poster. We get off the subway and there it is. A few steps later there is another and another, and another… so on down the street. THE MOTHERS (written in bold) of Invention (not so bold) at THE GARRICK THEATRE Tuesday thru Sunday ,each poster had a photo of a man with a pronounced almost comical mustache with the heads of some other strange looking guys under his photo. A few months later a guy in one of my art classes brings in two albums: THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION- Freak Out and ABSOLUTELY FREE. Hey, that’s the poster, I thought. Who are these guys? I must admit my naive ears where not accepting what I was hearing. This isn’t rock music. WTF. I gave up early.
1969: I got an 8 track copy of CRUSIN’ WITH RUBIN AND THE JETS (released 1968) which never left my player for the longest time. It was a blast. This leads me to the album WE’RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY (released before R&TJ). October finds the HOT RATS album in the racks of the local record store and I’m sold on FRANK ZAPPA. A few months later CHUNGA’S REVENGE (1970) is joining my ever growing collection of vinyl. I need to see this band and soon. Until then I add as many MOTHERS records to the pile.
I had every intention of seeing THE MOTHERS at their FILLMORE EAST performance November 13, 1970 but as I had tickets for TYA at MSG (a disasterous night for me) I missed Zappa. It’s a long story. Geez, it would have been nice in more ways than one to see Frank and the boys that night.
Finally, June 1971 I have two tickets for the late show at FILLMORE EAST. It’s never been the same as that night along with other nights changed my perception of live music. Even thought I left early AND missed John and Yoko with the MOTHERS, it WAS never the same. They were funny and musically sound. WOW, never the same.
In my collection today I have basically all the major ZAPPA releases and then some.Probably got to see him live a dozen times and many time HALLOWEEN in NYC, truly a major event of two plus hours of music. And currently I enjoy ED PALERMO BIG BAND’s interpretation of the MUSIC OF FRANK ZAPPA, live and on cd.
So, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY one and all…