You read it here ladies & gents - Gail admits there are special editions of 
Lumpy Money coming out subsequently - that she didn't want to "confuse" the 
fans by mentioning it now.


See my profile at or

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From: zav_sto <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Sat, 15 Nov 2008 12:33 pm
Subject: [Zappa-List] Gail Zappa on Frank's New Reissue, Lumpy Money - 

Culture and Celebrity

* Music

Gail Zappa on Frank's New Reissue, Lumpy Money

by Michael Hogan
October 21, 2008, 12:08 PM

Before you completely tune out the endless procession of
40th-anniversary tributes to 1968's rock 'n' roll landmarks (hey, it
was a big year), reserve a little head space for Lumpy Money, a
three-CD package honoring Frank Zappa's historic one-two punch of
Lumpy Gravy and We're Only in it for the Money.

The albums have always been linked, thanks to Zappa himself, who
insinuated on the album covers that they were Phase One and Phase Two
of a single work. (The final phase came decades later, with the
posthumous release in 1993 of Civilization Phase III.)

Conceived as Zappa's first solo record, Lumpy Gravy was originally
recorded in 1967, as a 20-minute orchestral work. After a legal tangle
with Capitol Records prevented its release, Zappa, whose prowess with
an editing razor was second to none
, chopped up what he had and tossed
it with a bunch of crazy sounds and weird conversations. The result is
a 30-minute mindfuck that blurs the boundaries between rock,
classical, and noise.

We're Only in it for the Money, released six months earlier, flirted
with those same boundaries but ultimately cast its lot with rock 'n'
roll. The cover is a crude send-up of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club
Band, the music twists familiar genres into sonic pretzels, and the
lyrics viciously ridicule everyone from weekend hippies ("Oh, my
hair's getting good in the back!") to frigid housewives ("You're phony
on top, you're phony underneath/You lay in bed and grit your teeth").
Zappa was calling out the hypocrites and fakers, no matter which side
they were on.

At least that's how it's always seemed to me.

To get a more authoritative read, I spoke to Frank's widow, Gail
Zappa, who is known for her tireless (some have said extreme) efforts
on behalf of her husband's legacy. She runs Zappa Records and has been
overseeing the 40th-anniversary releases.

VF Daily: How would you explain these two albums to somebody who isn't
all that familiar with Frank Zappa?

Gail Zappa: Lumpy Gravy and We're Only in it for the Money are part of
what Frank called his master work. For him, every album was just part
of the same composition and everything was all one big piece of music.
But the three particular pieces that he considered his absolute
masterwork were Lumpy Gravy, We're Only in it for the Money, and
Civilization20Phase 3, the last album that he actually finished.
They're constructed in a similar way.

Lumpy Gravy is Frank's first outing on his own as an artist, and We're
Only in it for the Money is his first outing as a producer. It was
supposed to also be his first outing as a rock 'n' roll artist, but
the record company insisted on it being a Mothers album, for marketing
reasons. [The Mothers of Invention were Zappa's band.] But technically
these are both Frank's first ventures as rock 'n' roll artist and also
as a classical composer.

How does this fit in with the rest of the re-release series you're
working on?

We want to honor all the re-releases in the 40th anniversary. But the
exception is these two, because they are also part of the masterwork.
Because they belong with Civilization to be seen properly. So in this
particular case what we're going to try to do is to be more focused on
the process on Frank's work, as opposed to [including alternate]
versions [of individual songs]. If you look at a score, sometimes
you'll see sketches of what's going to be in the score before the
score is written. That's kind of what we're going for with this
record. Little sketches of it, as opposed to completely other versions
that didn't "make it to the record."

Will Civilization be sold separately?

Yeah. Although we are going to do a special edition of these three
records, shortly. We didn't announce that because we thought it would
be too confusing. And it already is confusing. I'm going to
 be really
surprised if I manage to get through this alive.

If you don't like confusion you should probably step away from the
Frank Zappa discography. That's part of the fun of it, don't you

Confusion I'm not fond of. But chaos I thrive on.

You're very conscientious about protecting Frank Zappa's legacy.
What's the thing that worries you the most about that legacy and how
it's being treated?

Identity theft. I'm glad you asked me. No one has asked that before.
And that's what it is: Identity theft. Because everybody imagines who
Frank Zappa is. And then they go on, some of them, to imagine, I could
make some money if I reinvent Frank Zappa in my own image. Which may
suck, by the way. So people write books and they make records and they
do this stuff. So every day my job is to protect and serve, like the
L.A.P.D. Protect the integrity of the work itself. And serve the
intent of the composer.

How does that work out, pragmatically speaking?

It's a lot of squabbling over copyright issues. The real reason why I
do this is because it's just my obligation to Frank Zappa, who really
believed in the Constitution of the United States of America, and one
of its provisions covers copyright. And I don't like people fucking
with Frank's last word, and his last word is his music.

I know that you've had some issues with iTunes, and that you object to
the MP3 format because it requires music files to be so compressed. Do
you ever worry that if people can't get MP3 downl
oads, you're going to
miss a chance to reach new fans?

Well, you know, I'm of two minds there. First of all, this is a
concept that Frank thought up in 1983 and published a copyrighted
document on, that was filed with the copyright office. The idea was to
deliver music over phone lines. As usual, he's prescient. I don't know
how it would be different had Frank lived. Or how he would necessarily
feel about it. But I do know his intention was that his music should
not be massively compressed. And for that reason he insisted that his
masters be sold in a specific format; anything less than that format
was not permitted under the agreement. And iTunes was way below 16-bit
technology [when Rykodisc, which had the rights to the Zappa
catalogue, made it available there]. So I'm not having an argument
with iTunes. I was always having the argument with the delivery by
Ryko of something that they weren't entitled to do, which is the
digital download of less than 16-bit technology.

I don't want to fault delivery systems. Really what is happening with
music—because people steal it more and more, I think they just want to
have it. They don't want to listen to it. Because if they wanted to
listen to it, they wouldn't buy it that way.

You mean compressed?

Yeah. It's like you want a knock-off of something. You just say that
you have it. To appear as if you're hip or cool, whatever it is. You
want to hear the musical idea. But you don't want to hear the music.

Frank makes fu
n of hippie culture a lot in We're Only in it for the
Money. What do you think he'd be making fun of today?

Well, anybody who takes themselves seriously. Nobody was spared,
including himself. He was certainly relegated to that sort of—it's
hard for you to imagine, because you sound like you're about 12.

I'm 33.

Very close, from my perspective. I have a son your age. When these
records were made, everything in the media was about them and not us.
We were excluded. And if we were talked about at all, they pointed the
finger: those are them and they're dangerous. So we were a little
separate community, everybody under the age of 25 in 1965. It's hard
to imagine for people now, especially your age, that your whole
country, your parents and everybody, would be against you if you
behaved or looked a certain way. It's so pervasive now that no one
cares anymore.

The mainstream culture has also become very adept at co-opting
anything that's at all creative or "edgy."

Absolutely. That's absolutely true. Frank never intended to be
psychedelic or avant-garde or any of those titles that have been
visited upon him by everybody else in retrospect. That wasn't what he
was trying to do at all. He was just saying, This is what I think
about that, and this is how I'm going to show you what I think.

Speaking of your children, I caught one of Dweezil's performances of
the Frank Zappa catalogue a year or two ago at the Jammies.

You have to see it now! It's nothing like that now
. That was when they
first started out. And there was so much pressure for them to have
original members that played in Frank's band. And it was just so
heartbreaking for all of us—especially the family—that we had to do
that. Because we just believe in the music and that it's alive and
well, and that it doesn't need those guys to hold it up anymore. Or to
participate in any way. If it can't be played by people of your
generation, then what's the point?



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