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ZAPPA IN NEW YORK

The Illinois Enema Bandit

Notes and Comments

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  Check out also Titties And Beer serious music allusions discussion
  And now a little piece of history for ya
From: BBC-TV interview by Nigel Leigh
  As was cited by Neil Slaven Zappa. Electric Don Quixote p.189
  "FZ: I actually heard about it on the radio. We were returning from a job in Nornal, Illinois and had the radio on in the sation wagon. The announcer said, "The Illinois Enema Bandit" has struck again', and I went, "What!" Apparently, this guy had been ravaging the area of Southern Illinois for a number of years. He would find a co-ed's apartement with the door unlocked and he would walk in with a ski mask on and I guess a revolver, and force the woman to experience a severe internal rinse at gunpoint
  ...
  Many of the things that I've written have been true stories in song about onscure people who did obscure things, and the function in the same folk music tradition except that it's been performed on electric instruments" [To Frank, Michael Kenyon's anal obsession was " the chance to do a folk song, especially since we were playing a lot of jobs in the Midwest. He's like a household name here, he should have a song."
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And now folks it's time for
Don Pardo
To deliver our special
Illinois Enema Bandit-type announcement
Take it away, Don
From: headly@AccessPoint.North.Net (Headly Westerfield)
  I am an American and even I do not understand the importance of Don Pardo in popular culture. By all rights Don Pardo should just be a nameless voice with NBC, an American network. He annouces for the network. But his name came into public usage when on a particular gameshow (I can't remember which one) the gameshow host would say, "Don Pardo, tell her what she's won!" Ever since then the words and persona of"Don Pardo" has been fodder for comedians (Weird Al, amany others), and other popular culture outlets. Don Pardo is now an Icon.
From: thawley@fcca.csi.com (Todd Hawley)
  Well, he was the announcer for years on the Original "Jeopardy" w Art Fleming in the 60s & 70s (I guess that's when it was on). That's where I knew him from. He also was the announcer on SNL when it first started; Gilda Radner even did a bit about Pardo's house & family & Pardo did it in his usual game-show announcer voice. Those of you here in the Bay Area that listen to KFOG know him as the original announcer for Dave Morey's "10 at 10."
From: robert@kannon.sybase.com (Robert Garvey)
  I think the album was recorded around the time Frank did an appearance on Saturday Night Live, during which he'd performed "I'm the Slime" and "Approximate/The Purple Lagoon", the latter while John Belushi cavorted as the Samurai Jazz Musician. Members of the horn section on Live in New York are from the Saturday Night band, Lou Marini and Tom Malone. Frank probably hit on the idea of adding Don Pardo for the sophisticated narration in the concert(s) during while at NBC for Saturday Night Live.
  Yes, I'd agree that Don's place in American popular culture merited his inclusion in Frank's entertainment plans.
From: Biffyshrew (biffyshrew@aol.com)
  At the time ZINY was recorded, he was the announcer for the (then relatively new) TV comedy/variety show _Saturday Night Live_. He was already so well known as a game show announcer before he got the gig with SNL (which he still does, AFAIK) that he was a bit of a trash-culture icon. His voice is the very definition of the smarmy aura of TV game shows, which SNL used to humorous effect.
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"This is a true story
About a famous criminal
From right around Chicago
This is the story of
Michael Kenyon
A man who's serving time at this very moment
For the crime of armed robbery
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It so happened, that at the time of the robbery
Michael, decided to give his female victims
A little enema
Apparently, there was no law against that
But his name lives on
Michael Kenyon
THE ILLINOIS ENEMA BANDIT!"
news clipping inside album
  Michael H. Kenyon, 30, the suspected enema bandit who terrorized coeds at the University of Illinois for 10 years, has pleaded guilty in Urbana, Ill., to six counts of armed robbery. He has administered enemas to woman victims in at least three of the six robberies.
From: "D.G. Porter" (dgporter@pacbell.net)
  I heard some years ago that a guy was waiting in the unemployment office, and he heard the name "Michael Kenyon" called out, and it was the guy sitting next to him, and he asked the guy if he'd ever heard of someone named Frank Zappa, and the guy bolted from his seat right out of the building.
From: Richard C Williams (punkjazz@ziplink.net)
  At the time it happened, Bob Dylans' Ballad of Hurricane Carter was popular on the radio, and Frank figured if Dylan could write a song about an accused murderer, then he would write one about an accused Enema Bandit
From: drstephens@aol.com (DrStephens)
  For all those who love FZs song about the Illinois Enema Bandit, I thought you would be interested in this update which appears in the current issue (number 79) of the _Fortean Times: The Journal of Strange Phenomena_ on page 7. They reference the information appearing in this article as coming from the Associated Press (5 April 1975) and correspondence with former FBI agent John Finley.
  The chronicles of crime feature few more desperate characters than Michael Kenyon, a petty criminal who forcibly administered enemas to at least two dozen victims, mostly female students, between 1965 and 1975. Face hidden behind a ski mask, he would break into a woman's room, tie her up and get to work with his rubber tubing. Part of his ritual was to steal a single item from each victim; then, leaving the student trussed and terrified, he would sometimes phone the police to boast about his crime.
  The Enema Bandit first struck while studying at the University of Illinois. Kenvon committed a dozen assaults between 1965 and 1969 before graduating with a degree in accountancy. From college he joined the army, before taking to cleaning people out for a living as an employee of the Intemal Revenue Service. As he was posted around the country enema attacks occurred in Los Angeles, Manhattan (Kansas) and Norman, Oklahoma. On one occasion he administered an enema to a girl in a train travelling to Florida.
  By May 1974, the Bandit was back on home turf, attacking several University of Illinois co-eds in a single night. The police made little headway in tracing the culprit until Kenyon was arrested in connection with two robberies near Champaign, Illinois, in April 1975. Someone noticed that the method of breaking and entering was identical to that of the Enema Bandit and Kenyon was charged with armed robbery and battery. He served six years in prison and was paroled in 1981.
  Former FBI agent John Finley, who researched the case for FT, notes that Kenyon was a subscriber to Enema Digest, a specialist magazine for devotees of water sports. There is no record of further enema assaults since 1981.
  Anyone who is interested in strange and unusual phenomena, should get a subscription to the _Fortean Times_. I highly recommend it. It contains some really amazing stuff, and much of it is really funny. The magazine is published in Britain, but can be found on some newstands in the states.
From: Biffyshrew (biffyshrew@aol.com)
  One of the shittier things FZ ever did (at least in public) was to compound the humiliation Kenyon's real-life victims experienced by performing this song making a joke out of their sexual assault.
From: Michael Forrest Zink (dpgumby@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu)
  I really don't think that FZ compounded any humiliation of the victims. Or at least if he did, it was definitely not the intent. The song is just about the guy, and what he did, and how fuckin' stupid it sounds.
From: Biffyshrew (biffyshrew@aol.com)
  I don't agree. First he describes the assault in a comical way, which trivializes the trauma that these women went through, and essentially holds them up to ridicule. Then the big punch line is that the victims really like it (and even fall in love with the bandit) because "it must be just what they all needs." Now that *is* a funny line, but the problem I have with it is that it sounds just like those deplorable old saws about women secretly wanting to be raped. ("Why is there no such thing as rape? Because a woman with her skirt up can run faster than a man with his pants down.") And this isn't just a fantasy like the kinky stuff in Thing-Fish (does anyone get too upset about the fact that a [crabgrass] baby gets fucked?), or generalized sexism like FZ's notorious "women's movement" comment; this is about real people. (Jim and Tammy are real people, too--of a sort, anyway--and for that matter so is Michael Kenyon, but celebrities and evil-doers are fair game. The enema bandit's real-life victims didn't do anything to put themselves in the public eye, and they certainly don't deserve to be made a laughing stock.)
From: Andy Hollinden (ahollind@indyunix.iupui.edu)
  The latest statistics are that 1-in-4 girls and 1-in-7 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. While it's impossible to know about the victims of Michael Kenyon, I would bet that many, many victims of abuse would hear FZ songs like "The Illinois Enema Bandit" and "Magdalena" not only as offensive but as conduit to deeply humiliating and painful memories. Obviously, I doubt that was FZ's intent, but, in these days, to deny the possibility seems oafish.
  To Album Refs
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The Illinois Enema Bandit
One day he'll have to pay
One day he'll have to pay
The police will say, *"You're under arrest!"*
And the judge would have him for a special guest
The D.A. will order a secret test
And stuff his pudgy little thumbs in the side of his vest
Then they'll put out a call for the jury folks
And the judge would say, *"No
poo-poo jokes!"*
From: John Henley <jhenley@mail.utexas.edu>
  "Poo-poo" is a childish expression for "shit", in this context.
From: Bill Lantz <lantz@primenet.com>
  A really bad joke along the lines of "What was Beethoven's last movement? - The brown thing under the piano bench" But I'm not sure that even qualifes as a joke.
  To Album Refs
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HOT SOAPY WATER in the FIRST DEGREE!"
And then the bandit might say,
"
Why is everybody looking' at me?"
From: Fogoz
"Why is everybody lookin at me?"
or
"Why is everybody always pickin' on me?"
(ref: "Charlie Brown" by the Coasters)
  I distinctly hear the first one.
From: Biffyshrew (biffyshrew@aol.com)
  Yes, actually, I agree with you. But the printed lyrics have the word- for-word Coasters quote. The latter was probably FZ's intention, but you're right, it's not what's on the record.
From: Charles Ulrich (chulrich@itnerchagne.ubc.ca)
  Napoleon Murphy Brock had formerly sung, "From dorm to dorm", which makes more sense in the context of the song. Why do the lyrics mention Bloomington (site, I believe, of Illinois State University), while the newspaper clipping reproduced in the lyric sheet says that the events happened at the University of Illinois, in Urbana [and Champaign]? I guess it's just a case of poetic license--Bloomington scans better.
  But on more time for the world:-)))
  To Album Refs
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HOT SOAP WATER in the FIRST DEGREE!"
And the Bandit might say "Why is everybody always
pickin' on me?"
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WELL DID YOU CAUSE THE MISERY?
WELL DID YOU CAUSE THE MISERY?
WELL DID YOU CAUSE THE MISERY?
One girl shout: "
Let the Bandit be!"
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Another girl shout: "Let the fiend go free!"
From: ZINY booklet
  "The basic story is true, some of the mechanical details of the bandit's process had to be guessed at, and the final courtroom verse is a parody of traditional blues mythology where some girl has got to have your man go free, no matter what he's been accused of"
  And here is a piece of the very blues mythology for you (thanks Randy Cech for pointing toward the right direction)
BACK DOOR MAN
( W.Dixon)

As was performed by Howlin' Wolf

They took me to the doctor
Shot full of holes
And the nurses cried
Please save his soul

I was accused of murder
In the first degree
The judge's wife plead
Let the man go free

I'm a back door man
Men don't know
But little girls understand

The cop's wife cried
Don't take him down
I'd rather you give me
Six feet of ground
  And so on, and so on

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