Here is Ed Mann's (Zappa alumni) opinion on this whole situation. (Not sent to me, but forwarded to me)
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2007 9:06 AM
Subject: Re: Gail vs the Germans
re: this event
I have to say that I agree with Gail – ARF fucked up royally, Just meeting Ahmet is in no way making an agreement with ZFT, nor is having Napoleon sing with Sheik Yerbouti any form of tacit endorsement by ZFT, and for ARF to mention those things as some sort of defense and their "18 years" of all they have been thru with ZFT, ARF did not see this coming? THAT is Dumb.
To be clear: ARF Head is a capitalizing promoter, just like any other promoter. The leader is a super duper capitalist who knows how to make gazillions Euro. Yes he has poured money into Z-nale but he is also building an institution which someday will make him lots of money, he is a guy who understands investment and return, just like Frank did.
I have read some responses in which z-fans react with this pre-enabled hate towards Gail and ZFT about "being ripped off for ticket money because of Gail" – This is not Gail acting out against the fans, this is the result of the promoters/ARF lack of professional procedure which then leads to bad experiences for fans. For an event this Big – naming a street for her husband, ARF should have contacted Gail formally long ago when this was in the planning stages (they have been into this for a couple of years), offer to fly her over and put her up in a grand hotel, ask her to speak, show her every respect, pay her a great fee, and then get on with it. This BTW is not unusual, the surviving spouses of many great composers required similar – fees, etc.
ARF operates in a big self created arena that is all about celebrating and making money off of FZ's persona. I recognize that they love FZ to death too and I understand the healing effect FZ's work has on the post WWII German populace. But if anyone wonders why there is such animosity toward ARF from Gail, I think this example serves to illuminate the big "why"….and now that the event is happening ARF is doing the crybaby thing and pointing fingers at Gail? Really Really Dumb.
It is big-time non-pro fuck-up shit like this that just makes it worse for the Zappa community at large.
HERE'S ARF-SOCIETY'S REPLY:
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 9:11 AM
Subject: Re: Gail against the Germans
Many thanks for these bright prospects, you’re wishing for Zappanales and Arf-Societies future in your email dated July 26, 2007.
We more than hope your guess – we’ll get a return of investment in the near future – comes true! This will be the safest and only base for all music – and zappa-interested people – worldwide, to enjoy more sophisticated and successful Zappanale festivals in the coming years.
We are honoured to read, that you really compare our voluntary work with Frank Zappas professionalism and cleverness. You’re absolutely right, saying that we acted naive and really unprofessional when we first tried to make contact to Gail and the ZFT, but even we are learning more about this year after year.
Do you really believe a more professional behaviour would have had any influence on Gail's reaction to our simple request of cooperation? I don’t! All she said in a telephone call (oh yes we talked to her personally) is the only chance for cooperation is:
If she gets total control about who’s allowed to play and all musicians have to subordinate their program under her creativity.
Thanks again Ed, maybe we see you back on stage in Bad Doberan one of the next years! If all your good wishes for us come true, we should get the chance to get you financed again.
By the way, Arf-Society has never had, or will have, any influence on Gail's behaviour. All we do is support her business, as allowing to sell her products at the festival through traders, who are all members of the Arf-Society, without asking any charges for this.
All of our Zappanale-CD’s and DVD’s are officially registered by the German GEMA, to keep the composers rights and the ZFT is paid by this.
Come on Ed, who’s got the return of investment?
We better should tell the fanbase about this.
President Arf-Society e.V.
AND FINALLY ED'S RESPONSE:
From: Ed Mann
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2007 11:36 AM
Subject: Re: Gail against the Germans
I do absolutely mean what I wrote and yes I do believe that the building of a Brand is what is going on. Wolfhard knows well how to invest and make money and one day Z-nale will be a money maker…any fans that choose to volunteer are unpaid workers toward this end result. Wolfhard KNOWS how to make money. In the case of Z-nale, FZ is his Brand. And I do believe that the years of problems between Gail and Z-nale has turned to Gail vs. the entire Zappa alumni (save Terry and Steve). Z-nale has played a part in making that worse and it has been going on for so long that now things are worse than ever. Sorry to say this; I do not intend to hurt anyone, but this is the truth as I see it. That ARF did not see this coming (from Gail) for the upcoming street-naming event amazes me. I do believe that before things were in place, the right kind of organization, professionalism and respectful pre-contact with Gail would have resulted in a positive effect.
So to be positive, take this for what it is worth, ARF would be well advised to bring their activities up to professional standards and not let unskilled volunteers be given the authority to make critical ARF decisions. The way I see it now, as a result of the street naming event and how things have transpired, and Gail's reaction to it – progress has been set back a good 5-10 years for the entire Zappa community.
I am just being honest with you.