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“She was a strait-laced English typist. He was a sexually incontinent rock innovator.”

from The Guardian

Frank Zappa, his groupies and me

She was a strait-laced English typist. He was a sexually incontinent rock innovator. So why on earth did Pauline Butcher become Frank Zappa’s secretary?


Monday 3 October 2011 14.59 EDT

Pauline Butcher with Frank Zappa

Pauline Butcher with Frank Zappa backstage in Anaheim in 1968 Photograph: Plexus Books

One single incident serves as a perfect illustration of just what an extraordinarily unusual and charismatic person the US musician¬†Frank Zappa, who died in 1993, must have been. In 1968, a year that saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, a man turned up on the doorstep at the Log Cabin, the ramshackle, open-all-hours-to-all-comers crash pad in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, that Zappa and numerous other weird people called home. “My name is Raven. I brought you a present,” this stranger announced, handing to Zappa a transparent bag, apparently filled with blood, before pointing a revolver at his chest.

Calmly, Zappa cajoled and manipulated Raven into walking with him, and numerous spectators, including Zappa’s 24-year-old English secretary, to a nearby lake. He then persuaded everyone present to start throwing things into the water, including Raven, who threw in his gun. The secretary, Pauline Butcher, threw in a twig, which “floated on the algae” causing her to look round “apologetically”. After that, Zappa, shoved the bag of blood back into Raven’s hand, saying: “You must leave now.” Raven did. Immediately exhorted by the many witnesses to call the police, Zappa refused. Why? “Because if I call the police, the police will arrest him and he’ll go to jail and no one deserves to go to jail.”

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on October 11, 2011 by Editor

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