You Ef What You Zee — The Eternal Question

In one of the previous posts, “The MOI – Conflicted Histories“, I was struck by one of the questions posed to Jimmy Carl Black:

Q: When you are touring – or doing interviews – do you sometimes get a bit weary of the constant questions about Frank Zappa and your relationship with his career?

A: Not normally, but when some guy shows up with a shopping bag full of records and CD`s and wants me to sign every one plus fifteen pieces of blank paper I wonder what the hell is he doing with all of that? I think he`s selling them and since I am getting no royalities for the recordings, it irriates me a little.

This quote reminded me of the humorous novelty song (above), “The Eternal Question” from Don Preston‘s re-issued CD, Vile Foamy Ectoplasm (Crossfire Publications, 2007) in which he decries the same set of irritating questions being asked again and again from Zappa/Mother’s Freaks without fail:

“What was Zappa really like? Did he fly into a rage? Did he really shit on the stage? Did he really get upset? I bet he got high all of the time?”

Are we really like this? Is this how the alumni see us?

Vile Foamy Ectoplasm is available from CD Baby or Crossfire Publications.

By the way, Barry, do you find one or more of the illustrations in this fan made video somewhat familiar?

11 Responses to “You Ef What You Zee — The Eternal Question”

  1. nikita coltrane says:

    Maybe the guys in the band should ask themselves why they didn’t try to negotiate different contracts that granted them more in the way of royalties when they were actually in the band. As I recall, FZ was, in those days, putting a sizeable portion of his own publishing royalties towards paying the band and keeping things running on the road. Plus *he* was getting screwed out of money owed to him by the Bros. Cohen and Warner for a number of years.

  2. voice on the wall says:

    you right nikita good thinking the rest is all propaganda!

  3. Bob says:

    Ubgo asks, “Are we really like this? Is this how the alumni see us?”

    Walter sez, “This is a mortuary.”

  4. Tjodolf says:

    Don’t feed the trolls, they say, but what do we do when the trolls feed each other?

  5. urbangraffito says:

    Obviously, “The Eternal Question” is a good humored poke at we Zappa fans (and primarily the less open-minded fanatics among us). Of course, Zappa didn’t shit on the stage, but why doesn’t that rumor just die? Or even in the face of the facts showing Zappa’s anti-drug stance, some still believe he had to be “on drugs”? Is it because some folks just cannot accept that his unique creative weirdness was an innate inherent quality of the man?

  6. Paul Sempschi says:

    Somehow, I think the ‘eating shit’ thing got wrapped up with the film “Pink Flamingos” as this would be the only thing involving public shit eating for an audience. Those were hazy times, so many some ‘altered’ goons had confused the film (which is a two hour gross-out contest between Babs (an obese transvestite) and The Two Jealous Perverts with a Flo and Eddie era show.

    Just a theory but a damn good movie, I must say…

  7. Hugh says:

    John Waters and his Divine films are fuckin’ outrageous. Sick and demented, yet now mainstream enough for the Broadway musical Hairspray.
    Zappa and Waters are both products of Baltimore. Of course, you Pink Flamingo fans knew that already.

    “WHAT WAS FRANK REALLLL-LY LIKE?!”.
    Yes, I’m sure that would get a little annoying after awhile.

    Bitchin’ about Frank.
    As Jimmy Carl says, “Frank was the boss . . .”.
    What would you say about YOUR boss, if asked?

  8. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Hugh:

    John Waters and his Divine films are fuckin’ outrageous. Sick and demented, yet now mainstream enough for the Broadway musical Hairspray.
    Zappa and Waters are both products of Baltimore. Of course, you Pink Flamingo fans knew that already.

    “WHAT WAS FRANK REALLLL-LY LIKE?!”.
    Yes, I’m sure that would get a little annoying after awhile.

    Bitchin’ about Frank.
    As Jimmy Carl says, “Frank was the boss . . .”.
    What would you say about YOUR boss, if asked?

    Hugh, if you wish to learn more about John Water’s “Pink Flamingos” and Divine’s “shit-eating-grin” scene at the end of the film, pick up a copy of Cookie Mueller’s ‘Walking Through Clear Water In A Pool Painted Black’ (Semiotext(e), 1990) and ‘Garden of Ashes’ (Hanuman Books, 1989). Both have several stories about John Water’s films, “Female Trouble” and “Pink Flamingos” in particular. John Waters called Cookie “a lunatic Uncle Remus–spinning little stories from Hell that will make any reader laugh out loud.” You think Divine’s “shit-eating-grin” scene is outrageous (sick and demented). How about Cookie Mueller’s incredible “chicken fuck” scene?

    What would you say about YOUR boss, if asked?

    Grumble, grumble… Barry is Bitchin!

  9. peter says:

    Dont forget the great story where Waters tried to get Mink Stole to set her hair on fire for real!

  10. Hugh says:

    Thanks UrbanG for the heads up on the Water’s related books. Sounds like good summer reading material. I mentioned here that my wife’s family live in the rolling hills of the Baltimore suburds. But, there is little to remind us of the footprints left by such creative forces as FZ & John Waters. Tis a shame. Waters had a great ensemble of weird & wacky characters, just like Frank & Andy Wharhol. It’s been 20 years since I viewed Flamingos. I think it’s time to safely tuck the kids away to sleep (perhaps barricade their doors) & give it another viewing. Cookie fucks a chicken? How could I ever forget that. I guess when you have a 300 lb. crossdresser eating shit, it’s possible to forget poultry porking. My vivid memory of that film is Edith Massey (snaggle-toothed old lady) sitting in child’s playpen waiting for the “Eggman”! Waters early films are like train wreaks. It’s hard to look away.
    Peter, I think Mink Stole missed her chance for flaming fame. Hey, Michael Jackson set his hair on fire for Pepsi. And look where he is today!

    I’m glad you posted this topic.
    If I get a chance to talk to Don or Ike at P/O’s July 1st show, I’ll refrain from the, “What was he really like?”, questions.
    How about . . . “Don, when you’re done using that chicken to measure it, my friend Cookie would like to plook it!”

  11. nikita coltrane says:

    A quote from Tjodolf:

    Don’t feed the trolls, they say, but what do we do when the trolls feed each other?

    I don’t warmly greet your assertion, son.

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