Blood On The Canvas

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"Blood On The Canvas" a FZ/Eric Bogosian project was commissioned by the Los Angeles Museum Of Contemporary Art. It featured interviews and Synclavier music by FZ, and was supposed to be available on cassette from the museum's bookstore (1986/1987). No copies are known to have been released.

The contents included two parts: 1) "Blood On The Canvas", a drama involving FZ and Bogosian that dealt with art, morality and censorship in modern society; and 2) a 07/11/86 interview with Bogosian and FZ conducted by Greg Fitzgerald from WGBH, Boston.

"Blood On The Canvas" was produced by FZ, while the Fitzgerald interview was produced by WGBH in association with the Museum Of Contemporary Art.

The entire program had a warning about its language content and discretion was advised.

From the musical side, there's at least "Massaggio Galore" (probably specially written for this) and "Reagan At Bitburg".

"From Rock 'n' Roll to Buy and Hold", Patricia A. Dreyfus, Money magazine, September 1986 (v15, p66): "Iconoclastic rocker Frank Zappa became notorious in 1967 when he was photographed sitting on the john. Today, Zappa still revels in outraging the bourgeoisie. His latest effort, in collaboration with monologist Eric Bogosian, is a satire on show business entitled Blood On The Canvas. It can be described as a musical comedy about onstage castration and death. 'It's probably the most blasphemous thing anyone has ever heard', Zappa gloats with a devilish gleam in his black-brown eyes."

Film director Rick Linklater interviewing Eric Bogosian (source unknown): RL: In 1986, you worked with another hero of mine on a radio piece, Blood On The Canvas. How was it working with Frank Zappa? EB: It was great working with him. It was strange, like I had never met my real parents or something, and then one day, I'm sitting with this person and going, "Oh, he's got eyes like me, he's got hair like me, I'm related to this guy". It was like that psychically, you know. I'd forgotten that before there was Richard Pryor, before there was Richard Foreman or Richard anybody, Frank Zappa had shaped my nascent teenage mind with a certain brand of cynicism and a certain sense of humor. Basically in the Sixties, it was MAD Magazine and Frank Zappa that told me the way I was going to think about the world. RL: There was a certain Dadaist kind of notion, just music, performance, and poking fun at everything. EB: I suddenly said, "Wow, I'm at the source, you know". At the time, he was very involved with the Dead Kennedys thing because they had gotten censored. So he wanted to make a tape that basically had to be censored. In fact, no one ever played it on the radio. It was censored in every radio station except for Boston. We had a deal with the Museum of Modern Art in LA that they could only make 10,000 copies. So these 10,000 copies were made and that was it. It was very extreme. It has these little bits of music in it, and these funny characters that talk about all these innuendo sexual experiences.

Bob Stone said it was never released because: "The version I heard involved a dispute over royalty participation, with Eric wanting more than Frank was willing to concede for his participation".

Anyway, FZ went sour on the project somewhere along the line and prevented it from getting much, if any, distribution. In Society Pages (1988), FZ tells that "it will not be coming out".

From: Eric Bogosian (ararat[at]interport.net)
Subject: the horse's mouth
You want the real deal, here it is. Frank and I made the tape in 1986 in his studio in the Hollywood hills. After the tape was finished, Frank wanted to control the copyright. Since his death, Frank's estate has continued to want total control of the copyright. I have been advised not to relinquish this. Which makes sense since I wrote and performed (excepting the music) the whole thing. Frank edited and produced my stuff. So there it stands. Neither side will give in. I think it's a drag. I've offered to share the copyright and they're not interested. I love the piece and I would love people to hear it, especially Zappa fans, since I have been one since the mid-Sixties. Thanks for giving me this oppurtunity to explain it. Yours truly, Eric Bogosian.