From Zappa To Lenin

Found on the Where On Earth blog (via, about FZ’s bust in Vilnius, Lithuania:

A few years ago, I had the good fortune to share some beers with one of the students responsible for this very odd monument. He explained to me in a dark Vilnius pub how he and his friends, caught up in the early 1990s euphoria of post-communist freedom, decided to honor one of their favorite American singers whom they clandestinely listened to during communism because authorities banned his decadent western music.

Amazingly, during a crazy time when all things seemed possible, the students were able to convince the city government of their worthy Zappa cause. Even more remarkable, was that the students commissioned local sculptor Konstantinas Bogdanas to create the bust. Prior to this commission, Bogdanas sculpted only what the state told him to sculpt, which was mostly Lenin statues and other heroes of the socialist revolution.

And here is an interview with the sculptor:

In the far right corner is Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, while rock legend Frank Zappa stares from the left. But the subject that made Bogdanas best known, Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, is noticeably absent from the cluttered display.

Uri Balashov On The Making Of The Cover of Civilization, Phaze III

Nice interview with the artist – thanks to Vladimir Sovetov.

Well, Frank said that it’s very special record in his life, the very last. He said that his disease is incurable. In fact I know that he is seriously ill, but really hoped that US medicine can cope with this type of cancer. But unfortunately it hadn’t worked in Frank case. So he felt it and would like to see some sort of grave mound as a basic image on the cover. I thought it over and decided that I may try to put some soothing kind variation of this theme. I mean, that may be subconsciously some therapeutic role was also assigned to me by this job. That’s why I decided to make some sort of cheer up, you know, the reminder, very obvious for anyone with some mystical experience, that even after a physical death there are a lot of adventures ahead for your soul, and the symbol of it is Egyptians.

And it continues:

Yes, it was modeled after frescoes in Egyptian pyramids with scenes of pharao family having some royal fun like, you know, Nile’s alligators hunt. Everyone here have microphones and electric wires are everywhere, and everybody listen how and where it sounds. The wires winded in loops and coils which are an essential part of the Egyptian system of symbols and should remined about eternity and infinity. Zappa himself is a pharao and like in a mirror, here and there at once, passing his endless wire from one universe to another, the wire on which everything is suspended…

Gee, it’s nice. I did not know this story. I wish I had it as a good quality, big poster.

By the way: one of these days I was just thinking about the graphic works on the albums (of You-Know-Who). In CD-size these are not very good – wouldn’t it be a great idea to make a big picture-book with all the (best) covers? (Ever seen the graphic works in the vinyl version of Joe’s Garage???? Unbelieveable!!!)

A Zappa-picture

A nice picture. I’ve found it on David Ocker’s blog, but it’s originally from Richard Emmet’ homepage (go there to see some more), and the pictures were taken possibly in ’81, one of these used for the cover of You Are What You Is (the same hat!)

Posing for the sake of the photographer (we weren’t really playing any notes).

Richard Emmet, John Steinmetz, FZ, David Ocker

Pictures made by John Livzey.


… a good place to raise your kids up! Lame joke, as I’m sure you’ll agree. However, allow me to state again that:

  1. Anyone who wishes to contribute to KUR’s World Tour Scrapbook is still more than welcome to apply.
  2. Budding musicians, basement four-track noodlers and fumblers that wish to showcase their music here are still more than welcome to apply for The Voice Of Cheese.

Spot the Jewels

Do you see any in this picture?

I did recently, in Buenos Aires while visiting the Rio de la Plata galleria:

Upon asking Rik, owner of Soundtrack Records, for the price, I hastily ran out of the shopping mall to call KUR headquarters.

– (me) “The price is $200, whaddayathink?”
– (The Boss) “Mmmmh… that’s a lot of money… does it have the beret?”
– “Yes!”
– “Buy it! Why, I’ll donate a kidney if need be!”

I didn’t much like the thought of a one-kidneyed Barry — so I resorted to robbing two enchanting old ladies of their pesos, and kicked a cocacola machine to get some more cash. Mission about to be accomplished…

Here’s Rik The Enabler, checking with me whether the goods are in mint condition (i’ve waited my whole life to say “mint condition”! at last!)

Fast forward to half an hour ago. Barry is running around the house sporting the beret mumbling something about disconnected synapses and swiss cheese while i take some pictures:

I’m a little worried about the foam around Barry’s mouth right now…