Cal Schenkel

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Cal Schenkel in 2005

Cal Schenkel (January 27, 1947, Willow Grove, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American illustrator, painter, photographer, cover artist and cartoonist, best known for his longtime contributions to various Zappa projects, especially his album covers. [1]


Schenkel dropped out of the Philadelphia College of Art and went to California. There he encountered Zappa several times and even visited the studio where Freak Out! was being recorded. He returned to Philadelphia in the summer of 1966. In the spring of 1967 Zappa and the Mothers arrived in New York. At the suggestion of his girlfriend Sandy Hurvitz, who studied with them at Philadelphia College, he showed his promotional artwork and cover designs to Zappa. [2]

"When I first met him in New York, the art studio was in his apartment – but that was only for a brief period. I didn’t actually live there, but I would commute to work at his place. When we moved to LA when he had rented the log cabin, I had a wing of it. It was my living quarters and art studio, which I rented separately from him. There was probably more of a chance to fraternize when I lived in that close proximity than when I didn’t, but even when I lived in my own place I’d be hanging out a lot and listening to what he was doing with the music. I think that it was just that I happened to fit the mold. I’m not sure I totally did understand it, but it just happened to coincide with what I was doing. I liked working in a lot of different directions and doing very eclectic stuff and working in different styles and Frank was doing that with his music."

Cal Schenkel
Zappa sketched by Schenkel for Uncle Meat

Schenkel had a brief affair with Pauline Butcher and fathered a daughter, Raven, with Sandra Leano. He said that Jen Taylor, one of the people on the cover of [[We're Only In It For The Money], was an "old flame."

Artistic contributions to Zappa projects

We're Only In It For The Money
Lumpy Gravy
Cruising With Ruben & The Jets
Uncle Meat
Hot Rats
Burnt Weeny Sandwich (the artwork was originally done for an Eric Dolphy album.)
Trout Mask Replica
Chunga's Revenge
Fillmore East, June 1971
200 Motels
Just Another Band From L.A.
The Grand Wazoo
Over-Nite Sensation
Apostrophe (')
Roxy & Elsewhere
One Size Fits All
Bongo Fury
Zoot Allures
Tinseltown Rebellion
Does Humor Belong In Music?
The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life
Playground Psychotics
Ahead Of Their Time
Cheap Thrills
Mystery Disc
Son Of Cheep Thrills
Threesome No. 1 slipcase art
Threesome No. 2 slipcase art.

Schenkel and Zappa

Cal Schenkel accordion.jpg


See also