Village Of The Sun

Notes and Comments

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FZ: Good... Ken,
turn me up so they can hear what I'm saying...
  Who's Ken?
From: Bill Lantz <>
  Must be in the sound booth too, controlling the PA stacks and monitors perhaps.
From: "JWB" <>
  The soundman. Possibly the wonderful guy who has provided us with the stagger ing amount of 73/74 soundboards that have appeared.
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Goin' back home
To the Village of the Sun
Out in back of
Where the turkey farmers run, I done
Made up my mind
From: FZ (The Real Frank Zappa Book) p.48
  The reason I brought up all this old Lancaster stuff [pp.42-46] in here is to provide some details concerning the lyrics to "Village Of The Sun" (which, by my admittedly peculiar standards, strikes me as a sentimental lyric- and there aren't many of those in my catalog). We're not going to take it apart line by line, but a few references are worth following up on.
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It take the paint off your car
And wreck your windshield too,
I don't know how the people stand it,
But I guess they do
From: FZ (The Real Frank Zappa Book) p.48
  You could always tell if a guy was a 'desert rat' by the windshield on his car. The wind was a constant factor, and so were the microscopic particles of sand it carried, capable of pitting a windshield till you couldn't see out of it anymore, simultaneously reducing the finest custom paint job to garbage in an amazingly short period of tim.
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Cause they're all still there,
Johnny Franklin too
In the Village of the Sun
From: FZ (The Real Frank Zappa Book) p.45
  When I was in high school, in Lancaster, I formed my first band, the Black-Outs...
  This was the only R&B band in the entire Mojave Desert at that time. Three of the guys (Johnny Franklin, Carter Franklin and Wayne Lyles) were black, the Salazr brothers were Mexican and Terry Wimberly represented the other oppressed people of the earth.
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Little Mary, and Teddy,
From: Patrick Neve <>
  Little Mary can be heard on the Village Inn cut of the Mystery Disc, berating the MC:
Mary: "We like the band, but we don't like you. Now, get off."
MC: "Well Little Mary, we like you."
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and Thelma too, now
Where Palmdale Boulevard
From: The Thirteenth Zappanale Bad Doberan, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany 25-28 July 2002 report by Ben Watson
  Jim Cohen's lecture brought forth the information (from Frank's brother Bob, father of noted saxophonist and contributor to BANANAFISH, Stanley Jason Zappa) that "Thelma" in the song refers to Johnny Franklin's mother, providing gasps of delight from the hardcore fact fiends in the audience. `
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Wo! Cuts on through
Past the
Village Inn, well, & Barbecue, now, yeah
(I heard it ain't there...
Well I hope it ain't true)
From: FZ (The Real Frank Zappa Book) p.49
  I heard that the Village Inn was destroyed by a fire in a 'racial incident' in the early 1970's, and that the people in the neighborhood had acquired the habit of shooting each other.
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Where the stumblers gonna go
To watch the lights turn blue?
Where the stumblers gonna go
To watch the lights turn blue-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-wahhh?
From: FZ (The Real Frank Zappa Book) p.49
  However, while I was working there, it was a great little place. Between sets they'd turn on the jukebox and, as soon as they did, a guy they called "The Stumbler" would go over to it, and dance FOR it- he'd sort of worship it, as if it was The Shrine Of Music. Eventually, he'd be joined by a couple of 'assistant stumblers,' and they'd all bob and weave and grovel in front of it.
  I watched this for a few weeks and finally, one night, decided to talk to him. I thought he'd be some kind of space-wino. He wasn't- he was an okay guy. He was drunk, to be sure, but not out of his mind- just happy. He invited me to go to his house. I couldn't turn this offer down- like it says on the Freak Out! album: "Who could imagine..." what kind of a place Mr. Stumbler would live in? I had to find out.
  After the gig, I followed him out into the desert a few miles, to a small turkey ranch. There was a handmade sort of house with cinder-block steps. The light was on in the front window. I followed him in. In spite of the shabby exterior, the living room was pleasant, with new furniture and a very large, very new Magnavox stereo. Apparanly he'd been listening to some records before his evening romp in front of the jukebox- maybe a pregame warmup. The album on the turntable was Stravinsky's Firebird Suite.
From: "James, Stephen - HR"
  I once took a drive out to Sun Village, some time in '97/'98 I think. I live in Highland, CA, next to San Bernardino, so it's within easy driving distance. It's not marked on any map, so I had to go to Palmdale and explore. I asked in a realtor's office nearby, and was given vague directions, as no-one seems to call it Sun Village any more. It's between Palmdale and a wide place in the road called Little Rock, and pretty much consists of just one street going north from route 138. On the east side of the street is a long row of shabby old houses, kind of a shanty town really, rusting old cars on cinderblocks in the yard, grubby kids playing in the dirt, dogs tied up and barking, and the west side of the street is a wire fence beyond which is uninviting scrubby desert, undulating all the way to the mountains miles off in the distance. Most of the houses would probably have been there when FZ's band was playing in the area more than 40 years ago, so Sun Village would not have been any more of a hot spot to play then than it is now. The street might have looked less run-down though. I wish I'd taken a camera with me, but the washed-out photo you see in Ben Watson's pretentious, self-important "Negative Dialectics..." gives you a pretty good idea. I was disappointed when I got there, (I don't know what I'd expected), and couldn't wait to leave! I imagine that most of the citizens might feel the same. It was as barren and windswept as the song describes. How odd that Frank would feel nostalgic for times spent in such an uninspiring place.

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