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Carl Zappa Internet Interview
by Vladimir Sovetov

  Well, yes. That's it. An Internet interview with the youngest of Frank's brothers - Carl.

  He doesn't look like a man who's going to tell you all. But he's going to talk to you anyway. And with a little help from his nephew. Stanley Jason Zappa the son of Charles Robert "Bobby" Zappa.

  Below you can see proof of it. And as my good friend Dr. John wisely said (after a sneak preview) it isn't the text that really matters but rather a subtext.

  And I can't help but second this opinion.

  So enjoy.

  And thank you very much SJZ for making it possible.

* * *

VS: Mr. Zappa let us start with something like introduction. I mean all of you sons and daughter of Francis Vincent and Rose Marie have nice full names, you know, Frank Vincent, Patrice Joanne and Charles Robert. And what's your middle name? Do you like it? Have you ever used it like your two elder brothers did.

CZ: My middle name is Lewis (not Louis as written on my birth certificate.) I was named after an uncle who was murdered in Baltimore.

VS: By the way when and where you been born? And do you remember the long never ends chain of places your family moved when you were kid Monterey, Pacific Grove, Montclair, Claremont, San Diego and Lancaster? Was it something you were enjoyed or rather not? Any good relocation story?

CZ: I was born in Baltimore, Maryland on September 10 in 1947. I remember the places you mentioned. I've lived in California since 1951, except for some time in Sarasota and Jacksonville, Florida. I've spent the most time in North Hollywood (31 years) and before that I lived in Burbank from 1968 to 1972.

VS: And been so young were you really close to your brother Frank in late 50s and early 60s? Have you ever visited gigs of young Frankie's bands. Have you ever seen infamous Cucamonga's studio Z.

CZ: I went to studio Z once, though I can't really recall the circumstances. I remember when Frank played drums in the Blackouts. He used to play at a place called "The Broadside" and "The Red Barn" in Pomona. They were bars, and at the time I wasn't old enough to go to them.

VS: Your voice never heard on any early recordings of FZ. Were you a little bit envious then of your brother Bob involvement in Frank music activity? Are you singing yourself and do you playing any instruments? Is there any chance that in the cave we all known as a FZ vault still lays an unseen gem of Zappa brothers trio not duo?

CZ: I don't remember Bob being involved in FZ's music, and I don't think there are any Zappa brother recordings. I do like to sing for my own pleasure.

VS: Bob played guitar with FZ and one can hear him on The Lost Episodes CD. But what about another times and trends. Do you remember shooting of Uncle Meat movie? Did you enjoy to be in? And what's the story and the meaning of your famous line "I used a chicken to to measure it"?

CZ: Oh yes, I remember and enjoyed the shooting of Uncle Meat. I too would like to know what "I'm using a chicken to measure it" means. It was a scripted line. I had to say it over and over again. We were shooting it at a pool-hall on La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood called "Mr. Pockets Billards." I used to go there from time to time with Art Tripp and Ansley Dunbar around 1969 - 1970.

VS: And about other guys involved in the project. Like Calvin Schenkel and Motorhead Sherwood, I suppose that at least Sherwood you should know from much early days of Frank youth? Was it so? Do remember young Don Van Vliet too? Were you allowed in Frank's room when Don was a guest?

CZ: I remember Jim Sherwood. I believe he now lives in Santa Cruz (working on cars, as always.) All those guys went to Antelope Valley High. I met Cal Schenkel at Frank's house one summer. I helped him make clay figures and assisted him with animation.

VS: Anyway Motorhead Sherwood was a regular member of the Mothers and there are a great album of Beafheart performing with Zappa. Why there are no other Zappas with Zappa so to say? If my memories serves me right Frank told about a lot of would-be Zappas family projects in early Straight/Bizarre days. Why have they never seen a light? Were they ever started one way or another?

CZ: I don't know anything about this. Maybe he was kidding.

VS: Good. But still there are one of the best Frank live albums were you, Mr. Carl Zappa, so to say mentioned on stage? I mean ROXY and Elsewhere? Were you in the audience or backstage? What's the story and the meaning of "Carl Zappa's socks" line. And is it still damp?-)

CZ: Yes, the socks were mine. I was in the audience. Before Frank went on stage, he said he needed a pair of white gym sox and he asked me if he could have mine. He had it planned out beforehand.

VS: What about the show itself? How did it look and feel? For you I mean. What was the greatest moment of the night? And did you enjoy it?

CZ: I just really liked the energy of the crowd. Everyone cheered when Frank said my name. That made me feel good.

VS: By the way considering Frank mocking obsession with stinky boots and dumpy socks do you think there are some explanation of this? Were your mother Rose Marie all day cleaning freak and all you kids were subconscious victims of her habits? Frank once said that it was one of the reasons of his smoking. Just not to smell anything dirty. Were there a lot of hostile dirtiness in you youth. Or in youth of Frank.

CZ: When she was younger, she liked to do house work, but we didn't have plastic on the furniture or anything like that. No "hostile dirtiness" worth discussing here.

VS: OK. What about other Franks shows? I suppose you haven't seen the only one. What was here first and the last? Anything colourfull to part with us, FZ fans?

CZ: Aside from the show at the Roxy, I've been to three shows: one at Shrine Auditorium, another at Royce Hall at UCLA and lastly one Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The one in Santa Monica was the last show of the 1980 tour--the same year Lennon was shot to death. Security was tight even though I had a back stage pass. Frank had John Smothers working security, I remember him grabbing a photographer at the at show. John Smothers had a scar on the back of his head that looked like he had been hit with a hatchet. He was from Baltimore, too.

VS: OK. But back to ROXY and Lancaster' days of your family. These names in Frank song "Village Of The Sun" - "Little Mary, and Teddy, and Thelma too" do they sound any bells for you?

CZ: No, none of those names sound familiar to me.

VS: Do you remember the day then Frank come home with a fresh copy of Freak Out! album? How it looks and what were feeling?

CZ: Frank was living in Ontario with Kay at the time. I have no memory of that event.

VS: Your sister Candy once said that she jammed with some early Mothers while they played in your father restaurant. Do you remember this place? Where it was and how it looked. I mean the brother-sister jams if you of course happened to be around?

CZ: The restaurant was called "The Pit." I remember Candy singing "Long Tall Texan." One time I sang "Riot in Cell Block #9" with the Blackouts at the Antelope Valley fair.

VS: Where it was located "The Pit". In L.A.? Do you remember the address? Some people really wanted to know it, after Candy's exciting story.

CZ: I thinks it was located in Upland (California)

VS: What's kind of music do you like. Is it often this days that you listen to your brother Frank music? What's your favorite album or movie? And why?

CZ: My favorite album by Frank is "Crusing with Ruben and the Jets." I like Big Band Jazz, Classical and especially Old R&B--the old groups from the early 50's.

VS: Oh, yes. "So fine. My baby's so dog gone fine, She loves me, come rain, come shine". Great music. So that's the tunes you sing for yourself while shaving or cooking? Right? Not Grand Wazoo?

CZ: Right, more R&B, songs on the "Oldies" station--that sort of thing.

VS: Carl, according to FZ biographer Neil Slaven you were part of so called Log Cabin team. Who also were in? Do you remember Pamela Zarubica and girls that later became the infamous GTO?

CZ: I only went to the Log Cabin once or twice, though I do remember meeting Pam, also known as "Suzy Creamcheese".

VS: Anything special about her? According to published excerpts from her diaries she was in love with your brother Frank. And he wasn't.

CZ: I don't know about this.

VS: While FZ and Mothers where in NY where were you? In LA all the time or had a chance to visit Frank and Gail up in the East? If so have you attended Pigs and Repugnant show there?

CZ: I was living with my family in Burbank at the time. We didn't go to NYC.

VS: Do you remember relocation to Woodrow Wilson Drive? Who was there beside Frank, Gail and little Moon Unite? Do you remember Calvin Schenkel, Ansley Dunbar and other FZ sidekicks of the time?

CZ: I visited the house at Woodrow Wilson from time to time on the weekend. I remember watching "Freaks" (a movie from 1933) and old Sci-Fi films like "Angry Red Planet," "War of the Worlds," "Invaders from Mars," with Frank in the basement. He loved to watch old monster movies.

VS: Do you remember Pamela Miller that some time later became Pamela de Barres of 'I'm with the band' book fame. Have you ever read it? Is there anything resembling truth in it?

CZ: I remember Pamela--she was a GTO. I haven't read her book.

VS: So you weren't very close to this bizarre group. You weren't interested at all or you brother didn't approved such contacts?

CZ: I remember Linda Sue "Sparky" Parker very well but I guess I spent more time at the house after Pamela moved out and "Gabby" Ferguson moved in.

VS: Have you ever read any book on you brother? I mean biographies? Is there any one worth reading from your point of view? And do you like your sister Patrice recent book 'My Brother Was A Mother'?

CZ. I've seen Greg Russo's book. And I like Candy's book.

VS: Yes. It's a great family story and I hope you also add some little new bit to a lore. Thank you very much.

Any comments?