2 thoughts on “Zappa On The Dick Cavett Show”

  1. Just combine this with the previous KUL post.

    The conclusion might be: stop writing books about FZ anecdotes, square centimeter subjects, etc.

    Any student or scientific interested in a difficult subject? Subject of the paper = what’s the true FZ legacy? What’s left? How to take it further now? Core challenge might prove to be the combining of truly popular & truly ” serious ” music.?
    Am I wrong?

  2. This Intv made me want to check out Frank’s musical reccomendations and I listened to “lucky number” and then I stumbled upon this transcript of FZ hosting a radio show on the BBC. Seems like I’m going to have to do some digging to hear all of these tracks…


    In memory of Frank, here’s one you won’t find in the catalogs. He took over a 2-hour guest DJ spot on UK’s BBC Radio 1, broadcast (according to my cassette card note) Sunday February 28 1982. For the record, I’ve transcribed the tape I made, below, with the selections. There are some surprises on the playlist (for me anyway) but it shed a lot of light on where a lot of Frank’s music was coming from; particulary the Froese, Stravinsky, and the close-harmony groups like The Channels and The Charts.

    The errors, spelling mistakes, punctuation and comments in [] are entirely mine, not Frank’s.

    Regards, Paul Icke
    This is the best radio show you’ve ever heard, in your life!

    Track 1: “I’m In The Music Business” – Jeff Simmons

    That was Jeff Simmons with “I’m In The Music Business” and this is Frank Zappa being a fraudulent disc jockey on BBC 1. And the next thing you’re going to hear is a song that my children really like, its called “Straight Lines”, by New Music.

    Track 2: “Straight Lines” – New Music

    We’re gonna’ do something now that, er, they don’t usually like to have done on this particular radio station, and that is segue one record into another, but I think that its appropriate to make this segue because, er, these are two of my very favourite records and I think they should be heard as a pair. The first is “The Closer You Are” by The Channels, and this will lead directly into “Hyperprisms” by Edgar Froese.

    Track 3: “The Closer You Are” – The Channels
    Track 4: “Hyperprisms” – Edgar Froese

    You’ve just heard “The Closer You Are” by The Channels and “Hyperprisms” by Edgar Froese, or ‘Varase’ [FZ pronounces Froese as ‘Varess’ and offers an alternative], depending on how good your pronounciation of the names of famous composers that you can’t pronounce too good. Froese was a really cool guy. The only thing that he did that was wrong was he stopped composing for 25 years because people gave him a bad time. If people wouldn’t have given him a bad time, he could have been writing for 25 more years and there would be 25 more years worth of stuff like that for the people who like that kind of stuff. But most people don’t, so this is “Jesus Just Left Chicago” by ZZ Top.

    Track 5: “Jesus Just Left Chicago” – ZZ Top
    Track 6: “Golden Birdies” – Captain Beefheart

    Well, you know what that means! And its time – oh that was, er, Captain Beefheart in case you didn’t know, and prior to that was, er, ZZ Top with “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and I don’t know whether they play very much of, er, ZZ Top kind of music in this country; it seems a little bit too *robust* for the countryside from what I’ve been able to detect. But if you go for that kind of stuff, I recommend a song called “The Mexican Blackbird” on, er, one of their other albums. Have you heard that one? Ah it has a good line in there. You should check out “The Mexican Blackbird”. Er and now we have “I Live In A Car” by the UK Subs.

    Track 7: “I Live In A Car” – UK Subs
    Track 8: “Soul Motion” – Don Harris

    This is Radio 1, and this is Frank Zappa, and this is the best radio show you’ve ever heard in your life. And, of course, what wonderful radio show would be complete without a performance by Don Harris on violin and a bunch a’ guys in the background that you can just barely hear playing trombones and saxophones and stuff that I never knew was there until I put these earphones on. Can you hear? That is the weirdest mix I’ve ever heard in my life. They’re in there; they must have spent another 25 dollars to hire those guys and you can barely hear ’em! Anyway, that was called “Soul Motion”, and before that you heard “I Live In A Car” by the UK Subs. And in case you didn’t know I chose all of these records because I like these songs for various, er, reasons. And the next one – we’re going to play two in a row again, because these things should be heard together – this is “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, by The Velvet Underground followed by the “Royal March” from “L’Histoire du Soldat” by Igor Stravinsky. Take it away!

    Track 9: “All Tomorrow’s Parties” – The Velvet Underground
    Track 10: “Royal March” [from “A Soldier’s Tale”] – Igor Stravinsky

    That was “All Tomorrow’s Parties” by The Velvet Underground, with, er, Nico singing, and the “Royal March” from “L’Histoire du Soldat” by Igor Stravinsky. And this is Radio 1 and I’m Frank Zappa playing a bunch of records that I like. Track 11: “Iron Man” – Black Sabbath

    [voiceover] I don’t care what you say – I still like Black Sabbath!

    Track 12: “Lucky Number” – Lena Lovitch

    OK, that’s, er, Lena Lovitch with “Lucky Number” and before that you heard “Iron Man”, by Black Sabbath. And now its time for the “Eureka Springs Garbage Lady” by the GTOs.

    Track 13: “Eureka Springs Garbage Lady” – GTOs

    I..[My tape auto-changed direction]..[the GTOs] used to exist a long time ago this is a *very rare* album and, er, he had one! That guy in there [Radio 1 engineer] he had one and he brought it in here so, er, we could, er, play it on this show. Actually, if you get another chance you gotta’ try and talk somebody else who does one of these ‘star specials’ into playing “I’m In Love With The Ooh-Ooh Man” which is another good cut from this record. Anyway, here’s another song that I like: This is “Killer Queen” by Queen.

    Track 14: “Killer Queen” – Queen
    Track 15: “Mannish Boy” – Muddy Waters & Johnny Winter

    Ahhh, a refreshing rendition of “Mannish Boy” by Muddy Waters with Johnny Winter’s band and before that “Killer Queen” by Queen. And now, the *hottest* thing to come out of Manchester in at least 15 minutes, is this record by a group called Jerry and The Holograms. When I was in New York I was doing a disc jockey show on a station there and I played this song all week and it got really good response and I think it ought to be a *hit* in this country too because its a nice record; its a nice, wholesome, family kind of a record so lets go for it!

    Track 16: “Jerry And The Holograms” – Jerry and The Holograms

    There they go, Manchester’s pride, Jerry and The Holograms! And now, direct from The South, its “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    Track 17: “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd

    When I was in New York I went to this, er, club, called the Mudd Club, and I was a disc jockey there for a night and I brought in a bunch of records and tried them out on the clientele at this particular establishment. One toon that got their buttocks pumping up and down in quite a frenzied manner was this next number, erm, by The Plastics. Its called “Robot”.

    Track 18: “Robot” – The Plastics

    That was, er, “Robot” by The Plastics, a Japanese ensemble. And, er, in order to truly appreciate the nuances involved in this particular production you have to imagine it being played over a really loud disco system in a room that’s concrete with no decorations and, er, a guy about 6-foot-5, with a blue mohawk and a black leather jacket, dancing to it, and it suddenly comes alive in your imagination. And now, this, er, its time for a little romance. This is Radio 1 and, of course, Frank Zappa being an artificial disc jockey momentarily. Here is a really good song that is probably older than you are.

    Track 19: “Desiree” – The Charts
    Track 20: “I Am The Walrus” – The Beatles

    Now wasn’t that wonderful? Just sitting here today, so sophisticated as we all are, in this modern age that we call The Eighties, and to be able to hear something like that with thousands of people in the background on that record saying ‘everybody smoke pot’. It makes you want to tighten your headband and stick a flower in the end of somebody’s gun. Anyway, before that you heard “Desiree” by The Charts, and that was, of course, “I Am The Walrus” by The Beatles, and this is “Soldier Soldier” by Spizz Energy.

    Track 21: “Soldier Soldier” – Spizz Energy

    Did you know that heaven is in your mind?

    Track 22: “Heaven Is In Your Mind” – Traffic
    Track 23: “I’m Working For The Federal Bureau Of Narcotics” – Wild Man Fischer

    Well, I’m sure you know that that was Wild Man Fischer and right before that you heard Traffic with “Heaven Is In Your Mind”. And, that guy in there asked me to say something about Wild Man Fischer and one thing that you must remember is that he actually *is* a Wild Person. He lives in the street and, er, sleeps in places where, er, it is possible for natural objects to accumulate in his hair; and on his clothes; and elsewhere in secret parts of his personage that you don’t find out about until its too late if you’re a girl. And Larry *is* dangerous; er, he has brothers and other relatives and some of them have been attacked by Larry. I think it was his brother who had his chest-bone broken with a ball-peen hammer at UCLA shortly before this album was made. They were walking towards each other on the campus; Larry had the hammer; and his brother had the bad luck. And the name of this song is “Paint It Black”.

    Track 24: “Paint It Black” – The Rolling Stones

    You know what’s really good about that record? Is the way the bass part is there ‘n’then where he’s going ‘wooom, wooom’ [that’s what it sounds like!] like that, that’s really exhilarating, its probably the, one of the finest things that’s ever happened in British Rock. Don’t you think? Aside from what you just told me about the liner notes on that album, I haven’t had a chance to read them personally, but, er, that guy in there told me that there’s a part on the record cover that says, and I’m quoting him now, he’s probably paraphrasing this, but the record says that in 1967, Brian Jones took to the sitar like a native. What do you make of that? Anyway, this is “Caravan Man” by Lew Lewis and his band.

    Track 25: “Caravan Man” – Lew Lewis
    Track 26: “Cycle Sluts” – John Cooper Clark

    Well, there’s your whimper. And now, for another person with exquisite diction, the Howling Wolf, with “I Asked Her For Water And She Brought Me Gasoline”.

    Track 27: “I Asked Her For Water And She Brought Me Gasoline” – Howling Wolf
    Track 28: “Summertime Blues” – The Flyimg Lizards

    Yes, that was The Flying Lizards with their ‘petulant minimalism’, as it says on the back of their single sleeve, and that was “Summertime Blues”. I really like that style that they’re performing that particular song in. And if they’re listening, and I hope they are, there’s a couple of other toons that I would like to hear done in that same style. I’d just like to recommend a sample repertoire for The Flying Lizards; I think they should do “Ruby Tuesday”, they should also do “Paperback Writer”, and, erm, “Last Train To Clarkesdale”, or “Clarkesville” or whatever it was, y’know, heh, give the guys a break. Anyway, this is “My White Bicycle” by Tomorrow.

    Track 29: “My White Bicycle” – Tomorrow

    Well, a lot of you fetishists out there probably wouldn’t recognise it because its being played backwards, but that was Steve Howe [of Yes] on guitar on that particular, er, in that particular group. And the song that used to be the B-side of that, erm, cut, when it was a single, was a toon called “Claremount Lake”. Remember that? That had some even more interesting guitar formalities on it. Anyway, here’s a song that, er, I heard in a disco one time and I really liked it. I didn’t know what it was; I couldn’t make out the words to it, I just thought it had a good toon. And I was really, er, shocked and chagrined when I found out exactly what it was that I was enjoying. But, er, its still a nice song. Its called “Grease” and its by Frankie Valli and was written by Barry Gibb[!].

    Track 30: “Grease” – Frankie Valli

    And the word is Radio 1 and this is Frank Zappa about to play the last selection on my artificial disc jockey program. And before I disappear into the wilderness I want to thank Graham, Martin and Trevor, and remind you that next on Radio 1 its Alexis Korner. Now they have allowed me, erm, here on this radio station, to actually play one of my own toons on this radio show, and for this fact I will be *deeply* indebted to them forever, and, er, I’ve chosen as my one representative item from the repertoire that I can squeeze in here, a song called “Watermelon In Easter Hay”. And I will now provide you with a piece of information about the ~title: That’s not the complete title of this song. The *real* title of this song is “Playing A Guitar Solo With This Band Is Like Trying To Grow A Watermelon In Easter Hay”. And that’s where it came from. From me, Frank Zappa, goodbye!

    Track 31: “Watermelon In Easter Hay” – Frank Zappa

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