Anthill Trading announces a deal with the ZFT allowing them to handle all aspects of merchandising not only for Frank Zappa but also for Zappa Plays Zappa:

Anthill recognizes not just the musical contributions Frank Zappa made but also the enormous visual impact his work contains. It is therefore with pride that we will work alongside Frank’s wife Gail in memorializing the entire Zappa legacy through a comprehensive assortment of lifestyle products that will appeal to his legions of fans worldwide.

Pipco shirts, hot-pink overalls, Bowler hats: coming soon to a retail store near you!

20 thoughts on “Merch”

  1. it’ll be like Pink Floyd with thousands of products with that prism triangle and the rainbow or the Wall, completely killing the iconic value of these pictures. Weasles everywhere!

  2. Groan …. Is this the beginning of the Zappa ‘thing’ being turned into its product-orientated opposite?

  3. Lifestyle products? Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing that Frank abhored about the music business? The complete whoring of musicians in order to make a buck (i.e. Flower Power).

  4. I think Frank had a sense of humor about this stuff (maybe a ‘werewolf’ sensibility?). After all, he and BfcoSwill sold tons of this kind of stuff for years; the ZFT trademarked the ‘moustashe’, etc. I seem to remember his saying that he was trying to make something which was beyond mere ‘product’, but that it all became product anyway. I think he succeeded in doing what he was trying to do, but the ‘swill’ was just an accepted part of it, something he went with and used to his advantage rather than eschewed (gesuntheit!)

    That being said, I don’t have and have never had any interest in any of the ancillary crap (although some of the t-shirts were sort of cool).

  5. And in his further defense, at least Frank knew the difference: he never made any teevee spots (except for that conservation one in Seattle) and I doubt he would’ve taken (for instance) AT&T as a tour sponsor. Most artists today honestly don’t see anything wrong with selling out as fast as they can, whereas in the 60s-70s, most bands wouldn’t have dreamed of having a corporate sponsor, etc.

  6. Frank sold what he could: the LA map, shirts, the Abolutely Free libretto, tabs … he was as commercial as he could.
    Bottom line is: the benefits used to go to funding new music (like Mike Keneally is doing with his drawings). After Frank’s death all FZ life style products are sold to maintain other people’s life style. It’s not about music anymore.

  7. Interesting lateral observation: Anthill Trading’s website mentions Zappa’s posthumous 1995 induction into the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame, where “he is possibly the first inductee whose music was refused a performance at the actual ceremony.”


  8. Hype and Bullshit.
    The core of the band for that year – and most of the cermonies – was Paul Schaeffer, Will Lee, and Anton Figg. Those 3 alone could whip out a “Peaches” that was most worthy, and a coupla more FZ tunes.
    His music was not refused by the Rock Hall; the rights to perform it in that recorded, public vnue, were denied by the ZFT (who – rightfully, IMO – would not bend over to a ’cause’ that FZ despised. Who needs to be remembered?), of course.
    An 8 oz, medium rare slice of marketing dujour for you dining and dancing pleasure…

  9. Jeroen – you’ve hit the nail right on the head! All FZ life style products are sold to maintain the life style of a very few (and it has nothing to do with his music – although it is often done under the guise of supporting his music). I mean, during his lifetime, did FZ ever donate money to political parties? Yet after his death, the ZFT has become one the single largest contributors to the Democratic Party. But then they tell the Zappa fan base that they haven’t the funds to produce the Roxy DVD. I definitely smell a weasel somewhere…

  10. during his lifetime, did FZ ever donate money to political parties?

    How do you know he didn’t give money in political campaigns? He didn’t join a political party, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t give.

    the ZFT has become one the single largest contributors to the Democratic Party

    You know, I have had my problems with the ZFT over the years, but these complaints might be a little over the top. Like them or not, they are his family, and I think they show a reasonable dedication – a good faith dedication – to keeping Frank’s work alive. If Gail was giving money to a fascist party, something totally opposite to what Frank believed in, that would be a different pair of sox. I would also argue that the US Democratic Party, for all its faults (and there are many), finds itself being the main opponent of what really IS a fascistic political organization (the Republicans), so, in a materialist sense, I don’t think it’s really so crazy to support it, although maybe she gives more than she can afford.

    Frank probably wouldn’t do it, but who knows? And I don’t see why Gail has to pretend to be Frank, anyway.

    I’d also say that they ARE using money to support music (eg ZPZ), and otherwise using money to support causes you believe in is not quite the same as the phrase ‘supporting someone else’s lifestyle’ would suggest. The Zappa family is not at all like, say, Paris Hilton’s, either in comportment or in riches (the Zappas will never be a hundredth as rich as the Hiltons).

    For those of you who live outside the US: much of what Frank doggedly predicted or described – starting in 1963 with ‘Agency Man’ – has actually been coming horribly true in this country. It really is that bad. I don’t know that I’d give so much money to the Democrats in response, but…it’s a valid response, and not just some selfish indulgence.

    I don’t like the commdification of music or of anything else. I won’t be buying any of this crap. But…this is not such a big deal to me.

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