Okay, here goes (I'd appreciate any corrections to the following info; I'm going by memory here).
When FZ and Gail, and baby Moon, moved into their first home in Laurel Canyon - the "Log Cabin", previously owned by 'cowboy' movie star Tom Mix - it was in effect occupied. Carl Franzoni, Christine Frka, and Miss Lucy & Miss Sandra were all illegally "squatting" at the house. Carl lived in what became the first Vault, while the girls occupied the bowling alley. They were asked to leave, but not forcibly evicted; Frank found them 'interesting' characters. Carl moved out first, followed by Lucy and Sandra; Christine was asked to stay on as Moon's governess in exchange for her room and board. (Christine is the lady peering out of the empty vat on the cover of "Hot Rats".)
Christine ended up as the artistic mentor of the GTO's, but I don't want to get ahead of myself...
This little "freak" enclave provided a bit of 'entertainment' at the early MOI gigs, dressing 'outrageously', dancing, singing along, exhorting the audience to "freak out", etc. In a short time, the female contingent grew to include all of the GTO's - at the time, they were known as the Laurel Canyon Ballet Company - by attracting some of the groupies from the LA area. Pamela Miller DesBarres was one of these (her account of these activities in her book "I'm With the Band" is really the best telling of this story; an entertaining read, I highly recommend this book - not for Pamela's writing, which stinks, but for her reminiscences). Misses Sparky, Mercy, & Christine (not Frka) were also a part of the groupie troupe. Misses Sandra and Cinderella were not far behind...
The Zappas had an 'open door' policy with regards to these ladies. They provided Gail with company, and domestic assistance, when Frank was away. So the GTO's pretty much were a constant feature of the Zappa household for quite a while before the recording was ever realized. The girls would swap groupie stories, sew original 'freaky' clothing, sip tea, and keep Gail company.
(Side note: the girls received their "Miss" titles from Tiny Tim, another early, frequent visitor to the Zappa home.)
At some point in time, Miss Pamela & Miss Sparky got Frank to sit still long enough to listen to a couple of their poems. Frank commented that the poems might make interesting lyrics for an album. The girls thought that was too cool and immediately the ensemble began to work on what was to become the GTO's recording "Permanent Damage". In a few weeks, they assembled much/most of their material. Frank started to record them, fitting them into his already hectic schedule as best he could. Then, Miss Mercy (I think; one of them anyway. Remember, I'm going from memory and it's been a couple of years since I read the book...) got caught with some heroin; that nearly derailed the project, as Mr. "I don't do drugs" Zappa was pretty pissed off. It was a little over a year later that Frank calmed down enough to complete the project.
FZ oversaw most of the early work, which was little more than "field" recordings of the girls chatting, giggling and reciting their poetry. When the project resumed, he turned the reins over to Ian Underwood and it was Ian who created most of the instrumentation / arrangements that appear on the recording. Jeff Beck & Rod Stewart appear courtesy of Noel Redding, who had one of the girls chasing after him - can't remember which.
What I never understood was how Christine Frka's heroin use escaped his notice; I mean, he left her in charge of his infant daughter after all... Christine's influence on the GTO's is apparent in their dress and make-up. She also influenced her then boyfriend Vince to do something similar as a front man for his band and the Alice Cooper persona was born. She died of an overdose a few years later.
So, forget the record label connection; that is the least bit of continuity here. The Girls practically LIVED with the Zappas for a number of years and that is why much of the stuff on their album sounds 'familiar' to a Zappa fan.
That's about it...
For further Z-related fun, please visit http://www.thebignote.com or http://www.killuglyradio.com , thank you.
Yahoo! Groups Links
- Re: [Zappa-List] GTO - Conceptual Continuity? SOFA
- Re: Re: [Zappa-List] GTO - Conceptual Continuity? Bart
- Re: [Zappa-List] GTO - Conceptual Continuity? Cris Haldenby
- [Zappa-List] GTOs, Lord Buckley, etc Dawayne Bailey
- [Zappa-List] Re: GTOs, Lord Buckley, etc bizarredk
- Re: [Zappa-List] GTOs, Lord Buckley, etc SOFA