This Saturday, the city of Berlin will dedicate a street to the memory of Frank Zappa. But Gail Zappa, wife of the late rock iconoclast, has threatened to sue the musicians’ collective behind the naming unless Germany’s formally-chartered Zappa fan club withdraws from the event.
Who’s right, who’s wrong?
Here’s Ed Mann‘s opinion, as I received it via email:
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.
Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it.
I’ve been following this thing from the sidelines and have to say, Ed Mann makes an excellent point. I still think Gail is over-reacting, thus putting into motion the classic Gail-Zappa-KneeJerk-Fanbase-Aversion-Reaction (can someone invent a word for this, please?). From a PR point of view, even though she may be right in this particular matter, you have to admit she’s communicating terribly in every possible way.
Update 29/07/07: picture of the unvailing of Frank Zappa Street, Berlin. This has been your temporary bogus journalist, reporting a storm in a glass of water.