FZ's Cadillac Extravaganza
March 30, 1978
Part of the rock docu "Ohne Maulkorb"
aka Rudi's Cadillac Extravaganza
Frank and the interviewer (Rudi Dolezal, one of the later owners of the film company "DoRo") have a disagreement about the use of Cadillacs and the possible status involved, which results in a small movie under FZ's direction.
FZ is at his sneering, cynical "best". His comment "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a classic example of a jerk for an interviewer" is a classic.
In the docu Dolezal asks Zappa, if driving to concerts in a Cadillac is appropriate for an Underground icon. With his indignant counterquestions FZ pretty quickly disconcerts the rookie interviewer. Later that night ... under Zappa's direction Dolezal stars as Cadillac maniac who has to be spanked by John Smothers to have his demons exorcized.
The interview was done before and after the FZ shows in Vienna in Feb '78 and is obviously heavily edited and consists of several parts.
Amusing sidenote: FZ's "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a classic example of a jerk for an interviewer" had rather euphemistic German subtitles, supposedly done by Dolezal's production firm DoRo: "Meine Damen und Herren, das ist eine sinnlose Frage." ("Ladies and Gentlemen this is a meaningless question"). (Ed. Franz Fuchs)
FZ: I don't wanna talk about anything, I sit here because somebody said you're gonna do a television interview, here I am, ask me the questions; but like I said: You ask me the questions, I tell you what I think, and the results – you never know what it's gonna be ...
RD: Why are you still in … in this … why are still touring?
FZ: Well, I've been practising for 14 years and I'm getting good at it now.
[Obviously stupid question by Rudi Dolezal] ... when are my concert's just a concert? How dirty! No, it's special!
... [obviously stupid question by RD] ... There's continuity going through everything that I do.
... [obviously stupid question ...] ... I think a lot of what I do is based on reporting. I see something and I report on what I see based on my point of view. My point of view is not a normal point of view and I tell people about what I see about it. They can agree with it or they can say it's bullshit, whatever. I don't care. It's there for the ones who like it. For the ones who don't, there is millions of other groups.
[...] yeah, I take a very cynical point of view, I think that being cynical is a positive value, I think that nobody should trust anybody else, I think that all people are assholes until proving different and I think if you take that point of view you'll disappointed less in life. If you always expect the worst from people then the minute they do something nice it's a pleasure. If you think the people are good then you'll always be disappointed.
Because they're not! They don't care. Don't expect friends, don't expect fun, don't expect a good life, don't expect anything and if you get something, it's a bonus.
[Obviously stupid question by Rudi Dolezal] ... Understanding the text isn't understanding the music or understanding the reasons for saying those words you're playing that music, you know, English people don't get the idea of what we are doing.
RD: Is your stage act influenced by this circumstance that the people don't understand the text?
FZ: Yeah, it is. Especially when we are playing in places where there ... there is very little English spoken. Because I don't think it is fair to the audience that sits there and you know like ... for some of the songs there is long stories that you have to tell before they ... before you play the song. So I just leave them out because the audience won't ... understand it. It won't help the song any ...
RD: There is one thing which is quite interesting: In the beginning you were often criticizing the so-called American Way of Life. And years later then, more and more in your songs was one theme were important was sexuality. Aw … how come?
FZ: Well, first of all, the original criticism of the American way of life still stands true. Not only that, the records are still available. And only a moron repeats himself for the rest of his life. The stuff that I said on my first albums are still true, and they're still available. You wanna hear that stuff, go listen to those records. Somebody has to talk about sexuality, the rest of the people just talk around it. Ya know? I'm here to provide that service. To talk about the things that other people don't want to talk about. Dennil Floss, anything.
(Obviously after the show):
RD: … okay for the audience?
RD: The audience was okay for you?
FZ: Yeah! [nods] Except for the fact they couldn't understand what I was talking about, what more could a person ask?
Someone else: Is that a problem almost at … ah … every place?
FZ: Every place in the world ...
RD: America as well?
FZ: Yeah. There are troubles with the words in the United States too. Hrm. I mean, as soon as you get words of more than two syllables they're in a lot of trouble there.
RD: And therefore that the singing is very quick? Is that the reason?
FZ: Yees, get it over with ... ya know ... Americans don't like to sit still for instrumental music, see, so you sing a little bit and they think they hear the song and then you play ... of course it's getting more like that over here too.
... Yeah, but there's all kinds of music around too, you just don't get to hear it, ya know, the government caters too much to the tourist trade, they keep selling you Mozart till you wanna die. They're sticking Mozart's face on everything: you got 'im on little candies, they prob'ly got Mozart toilet paper here, don't they? Eh? (RD laughs) Take that sonofabitch and just make a buck off of that poor guy with a white wig ... his parents abused him ... trodded him all over Europe when he was a kid 'n' never gave him any time ever ... a bit of personal fun ... these prodigies ... wind up on a little candy like that's given to you on an airplane it's ... depressing when you hear about that. 'Hey! Mozart-land! He slept here!'
You must have some people here who are still alive and writing music. What do you do about those people? (music: Wind Up Workin' In A Gas Station) Nothing? They are working at a gas station? Well, see, you 're just like America. The have composers in America too, they're doin' ... but don't need it ...
'cept in da United States you can write a jingle for Pepsi Cola 'n' make a living.
(FZ takes a Manner Schnitte puts it in his mouth and ingnites it like a cigarette to the instrumental version of Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance from Lumpy Gravy)
It's almost as if Mozart himself had rolled this one!
RD: What are you trytfdghjd what you criticizing?
FZ: I don't think you have to be discontent in order to be cynical and I think being cynical is the best way to be.
RD: Well, what d'you think about the music business? You're often cr… ah … you're often criticizing it in your songs in a … ah … cynical way. What you think about it?
FZ: It's stupid.
RD: And why?
FZ: It's a stupid business. Y'know, rock 'n' roll is all make believe, it's all fake.
RD: And why are you into music business if you think it's stupid?
FZ: I'm a musician, it just so happens that in order to ply my trade I have to do business with business people. If I was a music business man who sat at a desk maybe you'd have something to talk about. But I'm a composer, and in order to earn a living from what I do, I have to go out, I have to tour, I have to make records and when I do that, I have to do business with people that I don't like.
RD: And ... ah ... are there ... are there any difficults with the record companies, I mean you had some – some troubles ...
FZ: Still have.
RD: Warner-Warner Brothers ...
FZ: Yeah. They don't pay me.
RD: What-what did not they pay you?
FZ: They didn't pay me the money they owed me for four albums that I delivered to them.
RD: And now you're not to Warner Brothers any more?
FZ: No. No, they breached their contract. There's a large law suit coming up about this.
RD: What do you think is the reason that Warner Brothers didn't pay you?
FZ: They're bunch of assholes, f'course.
RD: You like this Schubert?
FZ: Yeah. I'm a very romantic person. You kidding?
FZ: Aw, our record sales are what they are, you understand? Whatever they are is what they are, ok? And the sales factor has more to do with the work of the record company than with what's on the record. As you can tell, there – there have been many records that don't have good music on them that sold a lot – not because people really liked what was on the record but because the guys in the record company said, we're gonna make this a hit, y'know? So they make it a hit. You get exposed to it and it becomes a hit. They don't do that for my records so I doubt there is ever gonny be – y' know – millions of units sold.
One one song on the We're Only In It For The Money album there was a line that said "I still remember mama with her apron & her pad, Feeding all the boys at Ed's cafe!" And the people at MGM Records cut that off of the record. You know why? I mean, does that make any sense to you? Why should they censor that line?
RD: I don't know, did they … did they … say you why?
FZ: Three years later I found out why. Because an executive at that company thought that the 'pad' was a, uh, pad that goes there [pointing between his legs], y'know? And they couldn't imagine this waitress walking around with an apron and a 'pad' feeding the boys at Ed's cafe. That shows you how twisted the minds are of some of these people in a record company.
RD: Now, it was not that you ah … wanted to explain
FZ: No, folks, it was not a Damenbinden.
People will always make music. Musicians will always make music. However, the people who make records are not always musicians. Y'know, sometimes they are just plain show people. Or, in the case of some of the punk groups, they're guys off the street, they're gathered together by a boutique owner, y'know.
The fact of the matter is, that advertised properly, people will buy anything, see?
And now that the lesson of Punk has been learned that you can sell anything to anybody, there's no telling what the next trend will be.
[...] Movements are always the same: You get some windbag who wants to sell his philosophy and he tries to make other people to believe in it, and there's always gonna be some people who want to believe in it and they go along with the movement and eventually the movement falls apart, the people who believed in it turn out to be fools, the people who led the movement turn out to be fools, another movement comes along, another fool stands up, some more fools follow him, y'know, it keeps going! Movements suck! They're stupid.
RD: So, what you're believing in?
FZ: I'd say: Musik!
RD: Ah, aw, a change in your person now … ah … from the late Sixties to now, I mean, now today at the airport, you're ... ah ... taking a very big car, a Cadillac or something and then you were going to the hotel now. I don't suppose you did this in the very beginning. Is that any change of your personality ...
FZ: Yeah! Now I can afford to do it. And I would've done it then if I had the money to do it. You think sombody gives me the Cadillac? No. I pay for it.
RD: Aw, isn't that more – more – er – egocentric just to think of what you get out of it of the music?
FZ: Aim this camera at this guy. Ladies and gentlemen, here is a classic example of a jerk for an interviewer. Why is that egocentric to have a car that is comfortable to take me from the airport to my hotel?
RD: I was just asking. I mean ... [pause]
FZ: [scratching his cheek]You and your movement questions. You like movements?
FZ: You like Cadillacs?
FZ: D'you like bein' comf... why don't you like Cadillacs?
RD: I don't think its possi... I don't think it is errr … necess...
FZ: Now, wait a minute! Suppose somebody gave you a Cadillac, would you like it? Do you people want a Cadillac?
RD: I don't need one.
FZ: I don't need one either! But that's there, why not ride in a Cadillac?
RD: What I wanted to express is that ... ah ... I suppose that you are criticizing something in your ... in your songs and you are also criticizing the American way of life ...
RD: And for me – I mean, maybe I am wrong – something like a Cadillac is ... is ... ah ... fits together with this American way of life.
FZ: But suppose I would 've gotten a Mercedes instead of the Cadillac, what would you say to that?
RD: There's no difference, I mean ...
FZ: But it woulda been because a Mercedes is not part of the American way of life. I'd gotten the wrong car, right?
RD: No, I ... I ... I mean something else. I mean that ... that ahh ... a car is ... can-can-can can be something just to show people I got money or it can be something just to get from one place to the other.
FZ: Well, for ME, it gets me from one place to an other.
RD: And you don't care what's ... what's it all about?
FZ: So long as I'm warm, so long as I'm comfortable, so long as the car is safe and the guy that's driving it knows where it's going, it's ok. And if I had to choose between riding in a car this big, with the draft coming in the window and riding in a Cadillac, I'm getting the Cadillac. Because I'm not crazy.
Outside. We see FZ with a mikrophone in front of a car; Rudi is inside yelling and having fun.
(beginning of Stink-Foot: "In the dark ...)
FZ: You get down there. Look at the girl the Cadillac show how long and beautiful this car is. Now you have to be just in there having ecstasy about how great this ... just rubbing the upholstery, ya know, 'n just aaaah, it's really, y'know? But ... y'know, rub everything in the car, y'might even rub the driver a little bit.
Now, ladies 'n' gentlemen, Rudi has … the sound running? ah, very good. Ladies 'n' gentlemen, this is very important for you to watch because Rudi is now inside the Cadillac, he's been – let's just say – possessed by the Cadillac, we can't get him out. He's in there with his girl friend, we don't know how this is going to turn out, we have to urge him to leave the car.
RD: Let me in here (but he IS in there -Ed)
The others: Come on, come on!
RD: It's so fantastic!! Please no! No! Nooo!
FZ: It's better for you to come out. Rudi, come out, we're gonna put you in a small car, you'll really like it. Rudi, get him ... take him out of the car, put him – you see what happens when you put an Austrian in one of these things, they go absolutely ape-shit!
(Cut. Band snort from Zappa In New York)
Inside. Several people sitting at tables, John Smothers with a hairbrush.
FZ (off): In this scene Rudi is tryin' to recover from his Austrian Cadillac Extravaganza (underlying music from The Purple Lagoon. Little does Rudi know that we in America have a great tradition ...
... Well then Fido got up off the floor an' he rolled over
An' he looked me straight in the eye
An' you know what he said?
RD (feigning some sort American dialect): Rolls Royce, Well, that's different.
FZ: It's not much that different, you see, a Rolls Royce and Cadillac present the same thing: It's like rich people riding in big cars. Now, you have to tell 'im again about how funny it is riding in shitty little uncomfortable cars. You don't wanna be miserable for the rest of his Austrian little life, do you?
Talk to the boy. Even though he is unconscious it will register. He's 20 years old now, he can make up his own mind, but you have to help him. Give him discipline (underlying music: The Purple Lagoon) You can give him ... pfrrrbrr (blowing away some hair locks that got between his lips) ... some discipline ... you can give him some discipline ... you can give ...