I am with Jimmy Carl Black at his home, we play this weekend at Schipoorst (Faust) festival near Hamburg.
Jimmy had told me about this stupid situation with Gail Zappa. We just had our own trouble, she insisted two Zappa pieces be removed from the new Jack and Jim CD coming on the Boxholder label in USA: fine versions of Mom and Dad and Willie the Pimp which I no doubt FZ himself would have appreciated because of the spirit of adventure and excellent quality banjo and guitar playing.
In doing this, she violates my understanding of the American copyright law, specifically the compulsory mechanical liscense that cover artists must apply for and also MUST be granted by the publisher once the composer has released a recording of the song.
Although I know no exception to this law, Gail Zappa will not allow her lawyer to communicate with me, all I want is an explanation of why she is allowed to violate this law.
You may be amused, although I am not sure (??) that in our correspondence she told me the Mothers of Invention as we know them do not even play on We're Only In It For the Money, only four mysterious musicians who Frank told her about but she will not reveal who they are.
The reason the Mothers are pictured on the album was pressure from the record company, a marketing ploy.
Gail, you see, wants me to believe that her husband was such a patsy that he would do whatever the record company says. Meanwhile, we wonder, who played on the record, then? A young Elton John? Neil Diamond?
Meanwhile, I wish you the best of patience with this problematic human being.
Name withheld to avoid more shit from Gail.
July 23, 2007
Ridgewood, New Jersey USA
This is an open letter to Thomas Dippel, President of the ARF Society and co.organizer of the annual
Zappanale festival and to all Frank Zappa fans on the occasion of the street naming event in Berlin
on July 28, 2007:
Dear Thomas and all Frank Zappa fans everywhere:
I am writing this letter on behalf of Frank’s original remaining family members, our brother
Carl and our sisters Candy and Ann to show our support and deepest gratitude for the special
honor that the ORWOhaus musician’s collective have arranged in Frank’s memory.
We are genuinely touched and extraordinarily pleased that the world famous city of Berlin has
agreed to permit the street renaming in our brother’s honor on July 28th. We are thrilled to
know that there will be a street in the Marzahn district of what was once East Berlin that will
be formally dedicated as "Frank-Zappa-strasse". This is an honor we humbly share in his
memory and we extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who made this event possible.
When I first heard about this event I remember reading the comments that Andreas Otto,
spokesperson for ORWOhaus, made about Frank to explain how his organization made the
decision to arrange for this honor. He said that:
"Frank Zappa was one of the best all-around musicians in the world; (he was) a guitarist,
composer, and band-leader. He was celebrated for his uncompromising pursuit of musical
exploration and excellence, and also for his courage using his music and lyrics to make
society see its faults and hypocrisies. He didn't do it just for media attention; it was part
of his highly creative and unbending character. He stood up to his own government
against politically -motivated censorship – he testified with great intelligence in the US
Congress, and he refused to hold back his own outrageous sense of humor. We of
ORWOhaus had our own battles trying to save an unused building and turn it into an
active music center, and we decided that Zappa was a great example of how a musician
can have an influence so far beyond the notes on a page. We hope Frank would be proud
to have his name as an address for so many musicians."
I know that I can speak for my brother and sisters when I say that Mr. Otto’s comments have
captured the essence of our Frank’s unique talent and motivation and that I am absolutely
certain that he would be very proud to have his name as an address for so many musicians.
And no, he didn’t do it just for media attention , or even for the money. He did it because he
had the integrity and strength of purpose that those who knew and loved his music looked up
to. Those character traits served us, myself included, as examples of how to deal with the
mean spirited, untalented and money-hungry people in this world who use threats and
intimidation to get their way. And I can think of no better way to keep Frank’s legacy alive
and out of the reach of anyone who would demean his memory for profit than to let the world
know of this special honor.
Our very best wishes and deepest gratitude to the ORWOhaus collective for their kindness and
generosity in connection with the street renaming of Frank-Zappa-strasse.