Blank on Blank


Frank Zappa on Fads

"I don‘t think that there‘s a girl around that would fit in with what we do" - Frank Zappa on June 6, 1971, as told to Howard Smith.

AIRED: October 07, 2016 | 0:05:00

(tape rewind sound effects)

(funky music)

- I used to have a pair of shoes like that.

- [Voiceover] You did?

- When I worked at the Yard Theater.

- We must have got 'em at the same place on 6th avenue.

- I don't know where they came from.

They were given to me.

But mine were all covered with dead vegetables

and whip cream by the end of the season.

(slow paced music)

- [Voiceover] It's funny, the guy who sold me these,

that's what he had to take off of them.

(Frank laughs)

- Boil 'em a little bit.

(funky music)

- [Howard] For a long time you've been in New York

and then went to L.A., why?

I mean what's?

- [Frank] I served my time in New York.

- [Howard] What do you mean?

I didn't like it that much while I was here

and I liked California a lot better.

It was so depressing during the time I was here.

I really hate to come back.

- I don't know, I always find L.A.

and New York sort of similar.

And it's like the same hustle is going down in both places.

- Ain't no hustle where I live.

I got a place with a bunch of trees around it.

Some space, I don't have to shuffle

around the street and walk over

people who have pissed all over themselves

and are laying down there in the gutter

and policemen coming along beating them on the leg,

screaming at them to get up

and dog (bleep) all over the place.

It's just a little different in Los Angeles.

(fast paced music)

- I'm wondering if maybe touring around,

whether you've started to notice something.

A kind of more political consciousness

of the audiences.

- [Frank] That's superficial.

- [Howard] Yeah?

- [Frank] Yeah.

I really believe that.

It's as superficial as their musical consciousness.

It's just another aspect of being involved

in the actions of their peer group.

One guy in the group says, "Hey politics."

And they go "Yeah, politics."

Or they go, "Grand funk railroad."

And they go "Yeah, grand funk railroad."

It's the same thing.

- [Howard] And you don't see really

any real change that's gone down?

- Sure I see a lot of changes.

But I think they're all temporary things

and any change for the good is always

subject to cancellation upon the arrival of the next fad.

And the same thing with any change for the worse.

You have a nation of people who are waiting

for the next big thing to happen.

- [Howard] How about before each concert though.

Do you have to get yourself up to do it?

Do you think, "Oh God, those idiots out there."

- [Frank] No, I don't think "Oh God, those idiots out there"

until I find out they're idiots.

I give them the benefit of the doubt.

(upbeat music)

- [Howard] This is something from out of left field.

The whole women's lib thing.

- Yeah.

- [Howard] Has that touched you at all?

Has any people said how come you don't

have any girls in the group?

Women, pardon me, women in the group.

- Yeah, somebody asked me that last night

as a matter of fact.

- [Howard] How come you don't?

- Well I just don't think it's practical.

- [Howard] It's not practical?

- [Frank] No, not for what we do.

It's just not practical.

I don't think that there's a girl around

that would fit in with what we do.

I don't like to change personnel all the time,

but it does seem to happen.

And I would hate to stick a girl in,

get new publicity photos,

and then have the poor thing bomb out

in the middle of the tour.

- [Howard] Has it touched you at all women's lib?

I mean do you think that is a valid movement

or just a fad also?

- [Frank] Just a fad also.

- [Howard] Really huh?

- Sure.

Which is not to say it's bad if it

keeps them off the street you know.

Keeps them occupied.

- [Howard] But how do you personally though

think about women?

Do you think a woman's place is the home?

Is that basically how you see it?

- [Frank] No, some women are very badly

suited to being in the home.

And I don't think they should be there.

They should be in a factory or in a library as a Librarian.

Or even doing something more exciting.

Like show business.

Women are different.

Each one has their own sort of qualification.

I hate to think of women as a big group

because you can't judge them that way.

But in most instances I find out

that they're just really stupid people

who just happen to wear dresses.

(fast paced music)

- [Howard] Why do you think America is so fad crazy then?

Because you seem to see everything in terms of fads.

- I think that's a reasonable way to look at it.

Because it doesn't have any real sort of values you know?

And a fad provides you with a temporary

occupation for your imagination.

Really, it doesn't have any real culture.

It doesn't have any real art.

It doesn't have any real anything.

It's just got fads and a gross national product

and a lot of inflation.

- Now that also puts you in as part of the fad right?

- I'm an American, I was born here.

I automatically got entered into membership in the club.

You can compute me any way you want.

(upbeat music)

- [Howard] And is there anything else you wouldn't wanna.

I always feel whenever I'm interviewing you

that we hit some kind of a dead end.

Remember that interview a couple of years ago?

- [Frank] As a matter of fact I don't.

- [Howard] We hit some kind of similar

dead end at that point.

I don't know, you just seem so down on so many things.

- [Frank] I'm not, I have a good time.

(upbeat music)

(high pitch squeaking)

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